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Definition: Digital Rights Management

What is Digital Rights Management?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a widely used and trusted method for protecting the copyright of digital media assets and files. It helps individuals and businesses control the access and usage of their digital assets, which is vital in the age of social media and widespread file sharing.

DRM software was designed to protect businesses from the impact of unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing and other forms of digital piracy. While the majority of digital content is protected by copyright law, going through the process of proving that permissions have been violated, and actually identifying and catching the perpetrators can be a time-consuming and frustrating business.

DRM technologies can save businesses valuable time and money with monitoring usage of their assets and avoid lengthy legal processes when assets are used without permission.

What does Digital Rights Management software do?

DRM software works by forming a digital barrier between the asset and the person trying to use or access them. Permissions and usage can be restricted in a variety of ways including.

Preventing editing, sharing, screen-grabbing, and saving; limiting or preventing the printing of files; locking documents to specific IP addresses or locations, and watermarking files.

The most widely used DRM software systems embed computer code in the digital asset to limit or restrict access to the file. To prevent people making copies of the work, publishers can add encryption code which only particular systems or software can understand. Publishers and authors can add a specific time limit for access or limit the amount of devices the asset can be installed on at one time.

Some popular types of DRM strategies include: virtual private networks (VPNs), software licenses and keys, proxy servers, user authentication and IP authentication protocols. Some publishers opt for simply adapting the design of their products to only work on specialized devices or with particular software.

Why is DRM important for DAM?

Organizations can reduce the risk of legal penalties by recording information regarding the use and reuse of digital assets. It’s also important for organizations to keep track of when assets can be utilized, where they can be utilized and even how they can be utilized by internal and external parties. For example, if you have a photo shoot on a location, you may be tasked with keeping track of the place where the photograph was taken, the name of the photographer, the names of the models pictured in the photograph and so on. Frequently when organizations solicit third-party agencies to create content on their behalf, with it comes a host of contracts surrounding when, where, why and how these digital assets can be utilized. Keeping track of this manually in a spreadsheet is a manual labor of love, meanwhile, sensitive assets may be sitting around on shared network drives widely accessible to the entire marketing department. That’s where DAM comes in - providing context about when, where and how you can utilize these types of assets in a self-service portal for employees.

Within a DAM library, you are able to relate digital rights information directly to specific assets or groups of assets, providing explicit usage information to the right people, at the right time, so they can make the right usage decision. Keeping track of the rules across a library of thousands or even millions of assets is no easy undertaking - making automating DRM with DAM as easy as set it and forget it.

Limitations, expiration dates, model rights, location rights and more...there’s no shortage of rules around how you can use content that you procure, but you may also have your own rules for content created in-house and will want to share the usage information with external parties so they too, can stay in compliance.

But it’s not just about being compliant. Asset misuse has very real consequences behind it. Lawsuits, risking your brand’s reputation, wasting time hunting down asset usage information… all of these things are easily avoided with a DRM (digital rights management) strategy in place and the technology to facilitate automating these rules.

How does DRM for DAM actually help me automate asset expirations and embargo dates?

When uploading content to the Bynder DAM, you are able to quickly select a future date you’d like the content to expire. This can be incredibly useful if you have known expiration dates for specific types of content (i.e. you have a standard two-year agreement with photographer XYZ.)

Or, you can select the date you’d like the content to “go live.” If you select this option, the content will not be visible or actionable to people who do not have access to view embargoed assets. This feature allows you to control things like sensitive product launches or big company announcements that shouldn’t be privy to everyone until a specific date.

How does DRM for DAM help control asset usage through user permissions and download approvals?

User permissions in digital asset management solutions like Bynder allow you to control everything a user can do, see or interact within the DAM. For example, you may have DAM managers or librarians who need full access to archival material, and you may have individuals who do not need (or want) to see archival assets ever. You could also have limited users who don’t need full access to every asset. For each specific user group, you may have rules about which types of assets are downloadable or viewable. User permissions and download approvals allow you to codify these rules and automate their implementation through technology.

Learn exactly how Bynder can help boost the ROI of your content with our guide to marketing resource management.

How can I prevent unauthorized distribution of sensitive digital assets with a DAM solution that offers DRM capabilities?

Understanding which types of content you have, how they should be used, the record retention schedules they pertain to and more can help you to start mapping out which features to engage in a DAM platform to support these policies.

Can I see for myself how DRM for DAM could drive my digital operations?

Yes! Let’s talk DRM for DAM. Sign up for a Bynder DAM demo and talk to one of our consultants about how DAM software could improve digital rights management at your organization. Meanwhile, get the Bynder guide to digital rights management to learn more.