A method of protecting the copyright of digitized content that's distributed to consumers online. It is server software that enables the secure distribution of paid content over the Web, while disabling illegal distribution. Using encryption, content is encoded, and in order to get the key, a user must do something (such as pay money or provide an e-mail address). DRM providers deliver the protection tools, and content owners set the conditions.
These technologies are being developed to protect against the onlinepiracy of commercially marketed material (which has proliferated through the widespread use of Napster and other peer-to-peer file exchange programs). Although onlinecontent is protected by copyright laws, it is currently difficult to catch lawbreakers in cyberspace; DRM technology intends to make it impossible to steal Web content in the first place. (*see: copyright page)