Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a term you have probably come across by now. Although simple enough at first sight, DRM has a vast array of applications and an equally large number of benefits. To break it down: DRM refers to any scheme that controls access to copyrighted/licensed material through technology. It (partly) hands over tedious tasks related to usage control of digital content from the person and puts it in the hands of a computer program. This way, it enforces rules automatically but admins maintain control of the process at all times.


A few examples of how Digital Rights Management could be applied:

  • A server that blocks forwarding of emails containing sensitive information
  • A newspaper website that allows online readers to view only the first two paragraphs of an article for free
  • An online video that streams service releases country-specific content. It blocks viewers from certain countries from accessing content not meant for their region
  • A music label incorporates bits of information on its CD’s intended to confuse ripping software


Additionally, when it comes to Digital Asset Management, it’s better to refer to Digital Rights Management as Intellectual Property Rights Management (IPRM). This refers to the ability to properly document the rights you own to use content. Let’s keep it at DRM for now.

There’s a fair chance you regularly encounter multiple Digital Rights Management applications in your daily life. Whereas the majority of those digital restrictions serve external purposes, DRM can be a useful tool for internal regulating.

Digital Rights Management & DAM


Recently we published a beginner’s guide to digital asset management, to highlight most of all that DAM is about managing your content. It is the place where your content stands at the core and acts as the single version of truth for all of company marketing assets. The content becomes findable. By describing /tagging/classifying content through metadata, the digital files (assets) become easy to store, view, and share.

In DAM access to certain content is restricted through security. While DRM used to be a separate software category, it’s now rapidly collapsing with DAM. Naturally, a digital asset management platform wears DRM well.


A few basic DRM use cases:

The foundation of documenting rights are typically based on parameters such as media, geography, period in time e.g.

  • ‘I want to use a picture on the cover of a brochure, which will be distributed in the US, during this year’
  • This asset can only be used in a Facebook and Twitter campaign during March 2018 in Belgium, Europe.

Of course this can get much more sophisticated and complicated:

  • DRM contains much less structured info that runs down to the legal contract, eg. very specific model release clauses
  • Composite assets, such as video, may have many layers of rights (talent, director, music, brands etc)
  • Digital rights management combines these pieces of metadata about rights with security to restrict access.

The correct use of DRM in DAM benefits in:

  • respect rights, get ROI on what you’ve paid for, and procure additional rights where necessary
  • avoiding litigation risk and compliance issues
  • leverage the company’s back catalog with proper rights documented (very important for media and entertainment customers)
  • make the difference between your content being usable or not.
How can we help?


Marketing Content Hub makes a priority of security. While regular DAM platforms keep security to a basic level, securing download/upload permissions for users, DRM in Marketing Content Hub goes beyond that. We offer an embedded and fully integrated enterprise grade DRM in one single solution covering DAM, PIM and MRM. No integration necessary.

By combining DAM and DRM in one platform, you can now also restrict your search or secure user’s search using DRM criteria upfront. All in addition to checking rights after you identified an asset. This avoids cumbersome checks or disappointments which would not be possible with an integration of 2 separate systems.

How it works in Marketing Content Hub


  • Every marketing asset can be associated with one or more Rights Profiles
  • Rights Profiles are line items that define what you license, e.g. media, geography, period or other restrictions
  • Sophisticated use cases, such as for composite assets including moving images, are supported by combining or intersecting Rights Profiles
  • Multiple rights Profiles can be combined into a Contract, for better manageability
  • The combined Rights Profiles can drive security, search criteria upfront, or checks against intended use before download.
  • Rights Profiles are adapted as part of the workflow where users request and procure extensions. This makes the latest information immediately available for other users.

Most noteworthy, the goal is to speed up the production cycle, reduce overhead costs and mitigate compliance risk at the same time.

More functionalities are:


  • Manage contracts and rights
  • Live filter of allowed assets for a certain intended use
  • Auto-approve licensed content when the correct intended use is provided
  • Have a workflow in place with additional manual approval or extension requests

The core driver to enable Digital Rights Management on asset level is to classify the asset as “Restricted”. This will disable download rights for standard users, make the preview watermarked, and enforce users to go through a usage restriction workflow before they can start downloading.

A few DRM cornerstones:

  • Restricted Asset: No
    Default value when uploading an Asset. The user is allowed to download this.
  • Restricted Asset: Yes
    Asset with limited usage rights. Download options depend on the intended asset usage.
  • Contract
    Bundles multiple Rights Profiles and provides additional data and possible contract files.
  • Make a request
    When users do not have a valid intended use or when an asset is marked to require explicit approval a DRM request can be made. DRM requests are represented by tasks in the DRM requests project.


Interested in seeing DRM in action for yourself? Then be sure to sign up for our exclusive DRM webinar on Thursday, March 8!

To revisit the basics of DAM, give our DAM 101 guide a read!

Share This