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Digital rights management (DRM) is

[a] form of access control technology to protect and manage use of digital content or devices in accordance with the content or device provider's intentions.[1]


DRM is a coding system applied to digital content that protects the copyrights of works distributed over the Internet or other digital media by enabling secure distribution and/or disabling illegal distribution of the works.

The purpose of DRM technology is to control access to, track and limit uses of digital works. These controls are normally imbedded in the work and accompany it when it is distributed to the consumer. DRM systems are intended to operate after a user has obtained access to the work. It is in this "downstream" control over consumer use of legitimately acquired works that DRM presents serious issues for libraries and users.[2]


  1. NICCS, Explore Terms: A Glossary of Common Cybersecurity Terminology (full-text).
  2. American Library Association, Digital Rights Management (DRM) & Libraries (full-text).

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