Digital Rights Management (DRM): An Introduction

What is DRM?
Digital Rights Management (DRM) seems to be the buzz word of the moment in the adult webmaster community and therefore I thought that I would shed some light on the subject to bring everybody up to speed about what it is exactly. DRM is the ability to brand digital media with features that ensure copy protection and can affect the way in which your media is played back. Digital Rights Management is a technology that enables the secure distribution, promotion, and sale of digital media content on the Internet.

Why is DRM important?
The evolvement of the Internet and PC’s has significantly altered the way digital media content such as music, video clips, etc., are produced, distributed and consumed. Internet users now rely on downloading the content that they are interested in as opposed to physically going to the store to purchase their favorite CD or DVD. File sharing programs are now the norm among Internet users as they provide immediate access to desired content. The quality of digital media files now remains the same even when copied and can be distributed with much ease. Because there are no security measures in place, piracy is becoming a concern as digital media files are being widely distributed on Internet, both through authorized and unauthorized distribution channels. There needs to be something put into place to protect this content. DRM  empowers content providers and allows them to put control over the distribution of their content. For each file that a content provider produces, they can set up a license that will protect their rights and they can also set guidelines restricting how their content is distributed or viewed. The procedure of setting up these licenses also allows webmasters to receive important information and demographics concerning their customers. This information enables content providers to stay in tune with what kind of content their clientele is most interested in and allows them to better serve their customers. 

What are some of the capabilities of DRM?
I have already explained how DRM technology can benefit webmasters in general, but let’s also take a closer look at what kind of things DRM can do for adult webmasters specifically. Here are some examples of what Digital Rights Management is capable of:

  • Webmasters will be able to gain information about what videos their customers watched, the times they watched them, what location they were in, the configuration of their computer, etc. It works great for gaining marketing information about your customers.
  • A time limit can be set on customers so that they may only view content for a specified amount of time, say 30 days. Once this time is up, the customer must purchase another license.
  • You could distribute your video clips through a file sharing program such as Kazaa, and after surfers view them, they can be directed to a web page where they can either sign up for a trial membership or even just type in an email address.
  • The technology works great within the pay-per-view model as customers can buy blocks of time to view their favorite movies.
  • It is a great tool to use if you are providing content for your affiliates. If it is necessary to close off an affiliates account due to misuse, you can also shut down their access or license to your content.

These are just some of the ways that DRM technology can assist adult webmasters. There are many uses for Digital Rights Management and because of the fact that webmasters can take it and configure it for their own needs, more and more capabilities are being discovered.

What are some benefits of DRM?

Besides the benefits that I have already mentioned, there are some other advantages to incorporating DRM technology into your business model. Not only does DRM protect your content, but also it allows you to decrease bandwidth costs, because only those with licenses will have access to your content. DRM stops the scam artists who jump from trial to trial downloading the videos and watching them repeatedly even after their trial expires. DRM puts control back into the hands of the Webmaster and allows them to manage their content right through all distribution channels. 

Something to remember when using DRM...
There has been much discussion on the boards relating to DRM and disclosure. Webmasters are concerned that customers will get angry if you put a time limit on their video usage. Many customers do download movies during their membership period and then view them once their membership has expired which is totally within their right. DRM technology allows webmasters to put an end to this if they wish. If you own a paysite and you wish to put a time limit on your videos, you will have to inform your customers in the fine print that you are doing so. The great thing about DRM is that webmasters can customize the technology to suit their needs, so it is their choice whether they would like to limit their members or not. One thing to remember would be to inform your customers prior to making any changes that will affect them.


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