Glossary Entry: Digital Rights Management

Quick Definition

Digital Rights Management, or DRM as it's usually known, is a type of protection that is placed on software products to deter software piracy*. Put simply, it's only fair to compensate people for their work (James 5:4), and since software can be copied an endless amount of times easily, something has to ensure that a product was legally purchased.

But, while most DRM works as expected, some attempts have been huge disasters. These bad examples are usually the ones you'll hear about when people decry DRM, but there are other, often technical, problems with DRM. This has led to "DRM free" becoming a selling point.

Personally, I could take it or leave it. For what it's worth, Steam and Origin are technically forms of working DRM, as they are far less intrusive than usual and actually do their job without bothering the user.

Lastly, while the correct term is "digital rights management", detractors of this form of software protection often say DRM stands for "digital restrictions management".

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