Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application


The present-day business world creates numerous challenges for companies, and most of them are related to the safety of processing and storage of essential online data. For this purpose, they apply the approach known as digital rights management, which efficiently addresses the task while limiting the access of the population to specific information (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016).

However, this method is relatively new and requires particular consideration. Therefore, this paper aims to provide a definition of digital rights management (DRM), describe the way organizations use technology to protect intellectual capital and give an example of a typical application of DRM. It also considers the drawbacks of the specified approach for the companies which adopt technological solutions to address their need to ensure the safety of information.

The Definition of Digital Rights Management

The term “digital rights management” is related to a series of measures intended to protect a company’s data. It controls access to the content on digital devices, thereby ensuring the correspondence with the principles of copyright and proprietary hardware use (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016).

In other words, it implies technological solutions ensuring compliance with the regulations, according to which people should not have a right to use certain assets (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016). This concept is widely adopted by various companies, the activity of which implies specific risks with regard to the possibility of unauthorized data use (Heitner, 2018). Therefore, it represents an optimal method for performing the mentioned task.

The limitation of the ways people can access the companies’ information under digital rights management implies the implementation of one of the two approaches. They are permission management and copy protection, and the selection of one or another technique depends on the particular needs of a company. Thus, the former represents the introduction of restrictions regarding the users of data (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016).

It can be done through the application of software licenses in the case of computer programs or user authentication, which identifies the people who are allowed to access the information (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016). The second form of DRM, in turn, implies the protection of work by prohibiting making any kind of copies of disclosed data (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016). In this way, the efforts of organizations can be aimed at setting restrictions either regarding the people or the methods for the use of information.

The Use of Technology for Protection of Intellectual Capital

The present-day organizations adopt various technological solutions within digital rights management to protect their intellectual capital. The reason why they widely implement them is in the fact that nowadays, most business operations are performed online, and this situation requires the development of corresponding means for protection.

In this case, the targeted data are trademarks, copyrights, and patents (Heitner, 2018). However, despite the overall effectiveness of this approach, it is oftentimes unavailable to small or medium-sized enterprises due to its high cost (Heitner, 2018). Therefore, it is easier to analyze the adoption of DRM solutions on the example of large enterprises.

In this situation, the need for the protection of intellectual capital is connected to the possibility of substantial financial losses. They stem from the policies of some companies monitoring others’ actions and trends to keep up with the competition in the international market (Heitner, 2018).

From this perspective, the protection of intellectual property becomes a crucial task for businesses, and it is usually addressed through the services of solution developers. Some of the examples of such partner organizations are TM Cloud assisting in the management of intellectual property filings and NPER using the blockchain to document intellectual property ownership and licensing (Heitner, 2018). In this way, the demand for these services is efficiently addressed by the corresponding enterprises.

A Typical DRM Application for Managing Access to Digital Content

A typical application of digital rights management can be analyzed on the example of a single company. For instance, the approach of Alibaba to the need to protect their data is one of the most effective schemes (Sun, 2018). This enterprise’s principal aim in this regard is to track and trace pirated and counterfeit goods on their way to target customers (Sun, 2018).

In this way, they contribute to the initiative on ensuring the safety of information and property rights by identifying the cases of unauthorized access to digital content and similar preventive attempts. For this purpose, the company uses such new technologies as big-data analytics and machine learning (Sun, 2018). Therefore, they not only efficiently perform the specified operations but also provide a model for the adoption of these tools for others.

Indeed, the sphere of e-commerce is one of the principal industries dependent on technological solutions protecting their data. Their transactions pose a threat to the overall profitability of the businesses in case if they are unsafe. Meanwhile, in the context of globalization, the experience of such pioneers as Alibaba is invaluable for establishing similar practices worldwide (Sun, 2018). Even though the regulations differ depending on the governments’ policies, the technologies can still be successfully adopted and adjusted to a particular environment.

Disadvantages of DRM

The use of digital rights management is an advantageous approach for present-day businesses. However, its wide dissemination implies not only benefits but also specific drawbacks for them. The opposition of American organizations to this method is based on a row of principles (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016). Thus, for example, they see a threat to the balance between private and public interests deriving from DRM (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016).

It is explained by the fact that the concept of fair use is an ambiguous notion, and the protection of specific information might be viewed as an action against the government’s interests (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016). Moreover, DRM seems to limit users’ options by punishing the owners of legitimate products instead of pirated copies’ holders, and it sometimes completely prevents people from accessing content, thereby promoting its unauthorized use (Dingledy & Matamoros, 2016).

From this perspective, the efficiency of DRM would be significantly increased in the case if the regulations address the specified drawbacks. However, it does not appear to be possible due to the inflexible nature of this approach to data management.


To summarize, the challenge for the companies conducting regular online operations is addressed by digital rights management. This practice implies controlling access to the content on digital devices, thereby protecting the essential data of businesses. In this way, the intellectual capital of organizations can be safe from transferring to third parties, who might use the information for their personal benefit incurring the former’s financial losses.

The example of Alibaba proves that the implementation of big-data analytics and machine learning can address this gap in e-commerce. Moreover, their practices can be borrowed by other companies around the world. In general, this approach seems effective, but it is still being criticized for causing the enhanced distribution of pirate copies and ambiguity of regulations.


Dingledy, F. W., & Matamoros, A. B. (2016). What is digital rights management?. In C. A. Lemmer & C. P. Wale (Eds.), Digital rights management: The librarian’s guide (pp. 1-25). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Heitner, D. (2018). Why intellectual property is important for your business and what you should be doing now to protect it. Inc. Web.

Sun, J. (2018). Intellectual property and e-commerce: Alibaba’s perspective. WIPO Magazine. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


BusinessEssay. (2023, January 10). Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application. Retrieved from


BusinessEssay. (2023, January 10). Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application.

Work Cited

"Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application." BusinessEssay, 10 Jan. 2023,


BusinessEssay. (2023) 'Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application'. 10 January.


BusinessEssay. 2023. "Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application." January 10, 2023.

1. BusinessEssay. "Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application." January 10, 2023.


BusinessEssay. "Digital Rights Management: Definition and Application." January 10, 2023.