Digital Rights Management: Protecting and Monetizing Content

Joan Van Tassel

Publisher Focal Press
ISBN ISBN 978-0-240-80722-5
RRP £24.99
Reviewed by John Beaver MBCS CITP
Score 6 out of 10

Digital Rights Management: Protecting and Monetizing Content book cover Digital rights management is a subject of growing interest to many market sectors. The ease of distributing, editing and copying audio, video, and multimedia content through relatively inexpensive means has been both a boon and a curse to executives in record companies, film studios, production houses and publishing companies.

This book examines the changing business landscape in the various content production industries, and provides an overview of the various technologies that can be used to protect, encrypt, identify and monetize digital media.

The book is logically structured, beginning with an overview of the industry and of the fundamental concepts of intellectual property and copyright (although references to key laws and court cases are somewhat US-centric) before examining how advances in technology such as the mobile phone, the internet, DVD and the iPod have necessitated changes in business models and the introduction of mechanisms to protect content.

The various technologies for DRM functions are presented in differing degrees of detail. There is some risk here that the business-minded reader will get lost in the jungle of acronyms, abbreviations and tables (of which the book undoubtedly suffers an excess), whilst the technical reader will search in vain for in-depth detail. But, on the whole, the text is accessible and treads a viable middle ground for both business and technical audiences.

Of particular interest to executives in business and product development is a chapter examining business, marketing and revenue models and their interaction with DRM.  The book concludes with a review of some of the ethical and social issues around DRM such as trust and privacy.

Any book about evolving technologies and business models risks being out of date by the time it is published. Whilst this volume largely avoids this trap it does give the impression of being rushed to press.

Sentences are frequently rendered incomprehensible through missing words and paragraphs finish abruptly mid-sentence. I counted 11 such mistakes in the first chapter alone suggesting that this book could never have been proof-read, let alone edited. This adversely affects the text's readability.

That aside, for the reader who wishes to learn more about DRM and the issues facing content-production industries, this book presents a useful and often insightful guide. It decomposes the clump of technologies collectively known as DRM into a set of interacting and complementary technologies each fulfilling a clear business purpose.

Further information: Elsevier