Digital Rights Management (DRM) usually refers to technologies used to place restrictions on the enjoyment of digital content. They go beyond simple copy protections, used to protect copyrighted content from piracy, and instead create more sophisticated rules of use (such a the 5 computer rules for Apple iTunes) with a view to creating greater product diversity, and enabling more sophisticated price discrimination and hence greater profits for rights holders.
However, users often experience technical difficulties with DRMs due to the huge complexity of these technologies. Another problem with DRM is the unintended (or sometimes intended) side effect of preventing users from the fair use of their purchased materials or expiration of continued access to the material. In other cases, companies have abandoned supporting content sold with DRMs, leaving consumers stranded with no means of continuing to use legitimately purchased constent. Finally, DRMs implement copying rules based on (rights holders assessments of) present usage and practise - DRMs inevitably do not accommodate uses that consumers may want to make in the future (e.g. a DVD does not (legally) permit a copy to be made to a portable video player for in the car); indeed the deliberately retain these rights for rights holders (who have enjoyed selling consumes CDs in addition to LPs, and DVDs in additions to VHS).
Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access control technologies used by publishers and copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. It may also refer to restrictions associated with specific instances of digital works or devices. To some extent, DRM overlaps with copy protection, but DRM is usually applied to creative media (music, films, etc.) whereas copy protection typically refers to software.
Proponents of DRM believe technology will eventually advance to the point that it will be able to protect copyrights without inconveniencing users. Others believe that any DRM scheme will eventually be defeated by pirates, and therefore DRM only punishes the honest.
One of the worst implementations of DRM was the 2005 Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal. By playing certain Sony BMG Audio CDs, specific DRM technology installed on the user's computer without the user's permission. The controversy involved a rootkit that installed along with the DRM technology which then compromised security on the affected computer. Sony, in its part, was slow to acknowledge the existence of this rootkit. Sony later released a security patch that prevented their DRM and rootkit from being installed but did not uninstall the software from infected computers. Ultimately, Sony decided to replace all of their CDs that contained this DRM software.
DRM Free Music Retailers
In the recent years, many online music retailers, specifically Amazon Music Store and Apple's iTunes Music Store, have been in the public spotlight for changing the way that they distribute their content. One example of this is the recent removal of and support for removal of DRM systems placed on content. Both Amazon and Apple have removed DRM from their stores. Amazon's MP3 store is completely DRM free, while Apple is offering many, but not all, tracks in high bitrate and without DRM called iTunes Plus tracks. The tables are quickly turning for DRM and many consumers and analysts are predicting a complete fall of DRM within a year.
Cost of DRM
This (whatever the wiki term is) is meant to show off Mollys Math skills and show how silly DRM and Supporters of DRM have muddied the waters
According to Molly Wood's Math on Buzz Report 05-22-2008
The Companies would have MADE (using the fuzzy math they use to value a songs cost when shared) 37,000,000,000,000 TRILLION DOLLARS. (or 20 Euros *joke*). This is based on about 4 Billion songs a year @ .99/song * 9 years they were fighting DRM.
Note: To access music in the iTunes store, you will need to download and install the iTunes software.