Do you know who owns the rights to the creative works you’re using on your site, from images to statistics to quotes? Or who uses the content you and your team work so hard on?


The rightful compliance with copyright and license agreements for digital content and the controls to protect the same, is an area every business owner should be aware of. If not, it can not only mean costly lawsuits, in addition to a damaged company goodwill, but also confidential company information being leaked and re-used.


Here’s everything you need to know about digital rights management and what it means for your business:


What is DRM?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a set of access control technologies that allow the creator or publisher of a work to exert their rights to control what the purchaser of their work is allowed to do.


DRM refers to the processes by which one can prevent someone from copying, printing, editing or otherwise making available their privileged content to others.


Pirated e-book copies and films, PDF documents and youtube-to-mp3 converter websites, all demonstrate how easy it is to duplicate and distribute work that don’t have DRM applied to them. Their spread is rampant and completely un-monitored.


DRM is a necessary tool if your business creates and shares information with others, whether it’s an industry report, a newsletter, an excel sheet, a price list, or a podcast.


It’s a Two-Way Street

The emergence of DRM proves to be a two-way street for business owners.


It’s highly beneficial in the first instance because it allows you to prevent others, whether it’s individuals or competitors, from using your in-house created content and intellectual property and modifying it to use as theirs. It also protects your organization’s confidential information and enables you to share documents securely with third parties.


On the flip side, it also means that you need to be extremely cautious about every little bit of content, in whatever form – text, audio, gifs, infographics, images – that go on your website, blogs and social media accounts.


What DRM Covers

DRM allows publishers to control who receives their content and what they do with it. It covers:


  • Preventing editing and saving
  • Preventing printing
  • Preventing forwarding and sharing
  • Preventing screen grabbing
  • Watermarking documents with unique user information to establish an identity
  • Locking documents to devices, IP addresses, and country locations
  • Document expiry
  • Document revocation


The Need for DRM

Adopting a DRM policy for your business is essential because an effective one will not only protect your creative content and confidential information but it will also track whether creative content is developed in-house or procured. This will outline the specific authority that your business has for re-licensing and re-purposing the content across various projects and platforms.


Statutory Implication

If that’s not enough, then here’s the statutory implication of ignoring the adoption of a sound DRM policy. The 2012 amendment of copyright laws implemented DRM protection, with section 65A imposing criminal sanctions on circumvention of effective technological protection measures.


Section 65B criminalizes any interference with DRM information and distribution of any work whose management rights information is modified.


Under both the provisions, a prison term is mandatory, with a maximum term of two years. This may be accompanied with a fine.


Most businesses don’t just lack an effective DRM system but are also unaware of the need for DRM. While there are certain challenges and costs in implementing a sound DRM system, its payoff is huge.


It will not only equip your business with valuable security of important digital assets but it will also help you steer clear of third-party damage claims.