Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Digital Rights Management Primer

Posted by - May 8, 2005

By Damien Stolarz for SiliconValleyWatcher

weak Link.gifBefore I tell you the punchline is "software DRM doesn't work," go ahead and read this chapter on DRM from my book Mastering Internet Video.

The chapter is formatted as a movie script and humorously teaches about the promise and perils of digital rights management software and systems.

Here's probably my favorite part of the chapter:

The fundamental difference between encryption techniques and DRM challenges is the trusted parties. In usual encryption scenarios, the end users are assumed trustworthy and a malicious third party is assumed to be the threat that the user needs to defend against. In contrast, DRM assumes that only the devices are trustworthy, and that the users are the potentially malicious interlopers. This is why DRM cannot depend on encryption technology alone--it is only one technical component of a complete DRM solution. Vendors that brag about the strength or complexity of their encryption are saying little about the robustness of their DRM.

 Multimedia Video Fig7 23

Figure 7-23: Encryption assumes trustworthy end users and a malicious third party. DRM assumes that only the devices are trustworthy, and any user is potentially malicious.

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