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What is DRM(Digital rights management)


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MagiKHanD avatar
Posted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 19:33
Author:
What DRM Means
Digital rights management (DRM) is a generic term for access control technologies that can be used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the usage of digital content and devices. The term is used to describe any technology that inhibits uses of digital content not desired or intended by the content provider. The term does not generally refer to other forms of copy protection which can be circumvented without modifying the file or device, such as serial numbers or keyfiles. It can also refer to restrictions associated with specific instances of digital works or devices. Digital rights management is used by companies such as Sony, Amazon, Apple Inc., Microsoft, AOL and the BBC.

The use of digital rights management is controversial. Proponents argue it is needed by copyright holders to prevent unauthorized duplication of their work, either to maintain artistic integrity[1] or to ensure continued revenue streams.[2] Some opponents, such as the Free Software Foundation (through its Defective By Design campaign), maintain that the use of the word "rights" is misleading and suggest that people instead use the term digital restrictions management. Their position is essentially that copyright holders are restricting the use of material in ways that are beyond the scope of existing copyright laws, and should not be covered by future laws.[3] The Electronic Frontier Foundation, and other opponents, also consider DRM systems to be anti-competitive practices.[4] This position says that it is the rights of the user that need legal protection.
Introduction

DRM technologies attempt to control use of digital media by preventing access, copying or conversion to other formats by end users. Long before the arrival of digital or even electronic media, copyright holders, content producers, or other financially or artistically interested parties had business and legal objections to copying technologies. Examples include: player piano rolls early in the 20th century, audio tape recording, and video tape recording (e.g., the "Betamax case" in the U.S.). Copying technology thus exemplifies a disruptive technology.

The advent of digital media and analog/digital conversion technologies, especially those that are usable on mass-market general-purpose personal computers, has vastly increased the concerns of copyright-dependent individuals and organizations, especially within the music and movie industries, because these individuals and organizations are partly or wholly dependent on the revenue generated from such works. While analog media inevitably loses quality with each copy generation, and in some cases even during normal use, digital media files may be duplicated an unlimited number of times with no degradation in the quality of subsequent copies. The advent of personal computers as household appliances has made it convenient for consumers to convert media (which may or may not be copyrighted) originally in a physical/analog form or a broadcast form into a universal, digital form (this process is called ripping) for location- or timeshifting. This, combined with the Internet and popular file sharing tools, has made unauthorized distribution of copies of copyrighted digital media (so-called digital piracy) much easier.

Although technical controls on the reproduction and use of software have been intermittently used since the 1970s, the term 'DRM' has come to primarily mean the use of these measures to control artistic or literary content.[citation needed] DRM technologies have enabled publishers to enforce access policies that not only disallow copyright infringements, but also prevent lawful fair use of copyrighted works, or even implement use constraints on non-copyrighted works that they distribute; examples include the placement of DRM on certain public-domain or open-licensed e-books, or DRM included in consumer electronic devices that time-shift (and apply DRM to) both copyrighted and non-copyrighted works.

DRM is most commonly used by the entertainment industry (e.g., film and recording).Many online music stores, such as Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store, as well as many e-book publishers have implemented DRM. In recent years, a number of television producers have implemented DRM on consumer electronic devices to control access to the freely-broadcast content of their shows, in response to the rising popularity of time-shifting digital video recorder systems such as TiVo.

Technologies

DRM and film
An early example of a DRM system was the Content Scrambling System (CSS) employed by the DVD Forum on film DVDs since ca. 1996. CSS used a simple encryption algorithm, and required device manufacturers to sign license agreements that restricted the inclusion of features, such as digital outputs that could be used to extract high-quality digital copies of the film, in their players. Thus, the only consumer hardware capable of decoding DVD films was controlled, albeit indirectly, by the DVD Forum, restricting the use of DVD media on other systems until the release of DeCSS by Jon Lech Johansen in 1999, which allowed a CSS-encrypted DVD to play properly on a computer using Linux, for which the Alliance had not arranged a licensed version of the CSS playing software.

Microsoft's Windows Vista contains a DRM system called the Protected Media Path, which contains the Protected Video Path (PVP). PVP tries to stop DRM-restricted content from playing while unsigned software is running in order to prevent the unsigned software from accessing the content. Additionally, PVP can encrypt information during transmission to the monitor or the graphics card, which makes it more difficult to make unauthorized recordings.

Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is a DRM system for HD DVD and Blu-ray Discs developed by the AACS Licensing Administrator, LLC (AACS LA), a consortium that includes Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Matsushita (Panasonic), Warner Brothers, IBM, Toshiba and Sony. In December 2006 a process key was published on the internet by hackers, enabling unrestricted access to AACS-restricted HD DVD content.After the cracked keys were revoked, further cracked keys were released.

DRM and television
The CableCard standard is used by cable television providers in the United States to restrict content to services to which the customer has subscribed.The broadcast flag concept was developed by Fox Broadcasting in 2001 and was supported by the MPAA and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). A ruling in May 2005 by a US Court of Appeals held that the FCC lacked authority to impose it on the TV industry in the US. It required that all HDTVs obey a stream specification determining whether or not a stream can be recorded. This could block instances of fair use, such as time-shifting. It achieved more success elsewhere when it was adopted by the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), a consortium of about 250 broadcasters, manufactures, network operators, software developers, and regulatory bodies from about 35 countries involved in attempting to develop new digital TV standards.

An updated variant of the broadcast flag has been developed in the Content Protection and Copy Management (DVB-CPCM). It was developed in private, and the technical specification was submitted to European governments in March 2007. As with much DRM, the CPCM system is intended to control use of copyrighted material by the end-user, at the direction of the copyright holder. According to Ren Bucholz of the EFF, which paid to be a member of the consortium, "You won't even know ahead of time whether and how you will be able to record and make use of particular programs or devices".[9] The DVB supports the system as it will harmonize copyright holders' control across different technologies and so make things easier for end users. The CPCM system is expected to be submitted to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in 2008.



Computer games
Computer games sometimes use DRM technologies to limit the number of systems the game can be installed on by requiring authentication with an online server. Most games with this restriction allow three or five installs, although some allow an installation to be 'recovered' when the game is uninstalled. This not only limits users who have more than three or five computers in their homes (seeing as the rights of the software developers allow them to limit the number of installations), but can also prove to be a problem if the user has to unexpectedly perform certain tasks like upgrading operating systems or reformatting the computer's hard drive, tasks which, depending on how the DRM is implemented, count a game's subsequent reinstall as a new installation, making the game potentially unusable after a certain period even if it is only used on a single computer.

One of the earliest prominent uses of online-based DRM technology in an AAA title was the result of Valve's decision to bind Half-Life 2 to the Steam platform. This was met with considerable protest from the gaming community and a number of legal challenges were submitted, including consumer groups. In some cases, retail houses were required to attach labels to the front of the game's cases clearly stating that an Internet connection was required to activate the game.[citation needed]

In mid-2008, the publication of Mass Effect marked the start of a wave of titles primarily making use of SecuROM and Steam for DRM and requiring authentication via an online server. The use of DRM scheme in 2008's Spore backfired and there were protests, resulting in a considerable number of users seeking a pirated version instead. This backlash against 3 activation limit was a significant factor in Spore becoming the most pirated game in 2008.

Many mainstream publishers continued to rely on online-based DRM throughout the later half of 2008 and early 2009, including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Atari. Ubisoft broke with the tendency to use online DRM in late 2008 with the release of Prince of Persia as an experiment to "see how truthful people really are" regarding the claim that DRM was inciting people to use pirated copies. Although Ubisoft has not commented on the results of the 'experiment', the majority of their subsequent titles in 2009 contained no online-based DRM since the release of Prince of Persia - notable examples being Anno 1404 and James Cameron's Avatar: The Game making use of the online version of the TAGES copy protection system. An official patch has since been released stripping Anno 1404 of the DRM. Electronic Arts followed suit in June 2009 with The Sims 3,with subsequent EA and EA Sports titles also being devoid of online DRM.

Ubisoft formally announced a return to on-line authentication on 9 February 2010 through its Uplay™ on-line gaming platform, starting with Silent Hunter 5, The Settlers 7 and Assassin's Creed 2.Silent Hunter V was first reported to have been compromised within 24 hours of release,but users of the cracked version soon found out that only early parts of the game were playable.[26] The Uplay system works by having the installed game on the local PCs incomplete and then continuously downloading parts of the game-code from Ubisoft's servers as the game progresses, making cracking games using the system a daunting task.[27] It was only more than a month after the PC release in the first week of April that software was released that could bypass Ubisoft's DRM in Assassin's Creed 2, demonstrating its strength. The software did this by emulating a Ubisoft server for the game. Later that month, a real crack was released that was able to remove the connection requirement altogether.No fully working crack for Silent Hunter V has been confirmed.

In early March, 2010, Uplay servers suffered a period of inaccessibility due to a large scale DDoS attack, causing around 5% of game owners to become locked out of playing their game.[30] The company later credited owners of the affected games with a free download, and there has been no further downtime.

Some most prominent cases making use of online DRM technology SecuROM include Spore, BioShock, Mass Effect and Gears Of War.


Watermarks

Digital watermarks are features of media that are added during production or distribution. Digital watermarks involve data that is arguably steganographically embedded within the audio or video data.
Watermarks can be used for different purposes that may include:
* for recording the copyright owner
* for recording the distributor
* for recording the distribution chain
* for identifying the purchaser of the music


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