Why Only a DRM Can Adequately Protect Your Intellectual Property


Intellectual property theft keeps increasing even though it leads to a loss of revenue for the many people who work hard to come up with original content. And, it seems as though most people are unable to do anything about it. However, contrary to popular opinion, something can be done if you choose to take proactive steps to help prevent intellectual property theft of digital goods. At the forefront of the measures to counteract intellectual property theft are DRM systems.  These are especially useful when dealing with valuable documents.

Why Only a DRM Can Adequately Protect Your Intellectual Property
Why Only a DRM Can Adequately Protect Your Intellectual Property

Some of the features offered by a document DRM system that can help protect your intellectual property include the following. 

  1. High-Level Encryption for Documents

Encryption is not a new term when it comes to protecting documents from unauthorized viewing and sharing. People encrypt their documents with passwords all the time. Unfortunately, this is a one-off measure and not a very good one because you have to send the recipient the password along with the document.

Such recipients could include company employees, lawyers, court officials, and anybody else who needs access to your documents. And, given that these recipients are not necessarily as invested in protecting your intellectual property as you are, they can decide to eliminate the encryption and password (just by decrypting the document and saving the decrypted file to disk) as it may be an inconvenience to them. The risk of you finding your documents on a torrent site grows exponentially if this happens. Also, password removal apps are freely available and password sharing and theft are also possible.

Document DRM systems such as those by Locklizard, eliminate all these risk scenarios by removing the common factor in all of them: the password. The document is still encrypted, but it also now contains DRM controls to control authorized document use and licensing controls to control document distribution. For example, users are not given a password to decrypt a document but instead a key is securely and transparently delivered to an authorized users device. Users do not have direct access to the key – it is stored encrypted in their devices and locked to the device. In this way, the key cannot be removed, shared or stolen.  As such, even if the document is stolen or shared, the unauthorized recipient will not have the decryption key and cannot open the file.  For authorized users, document use can be controlled to prevent copying and printing of document content. 

2. Disabling the Copy and Paste Functionality

The biggest threat to intellectual property is the ease with which people can make copies of documents on their devices. They just need to highlight or select the section that interests them, paste it into a blank Word document, and share it with the world as they see fit. By eliminating this possibility, you will be well on your way to reducing intellectual property theft.

Fortunately, a document DRM system will disable keyboard shortcuts that allow document users this functionality. Also, the proprietary viewer of a DRM will mask the document whenever a user tries to use another app to try and take screenshots. Also, DRM service providers stay up to date on screen grabbing apps and device countermeasures to reduce their effectiveness.

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3.  Revoking Access

Half the time, intellectual property theft is perpetrated by employees and former employees. For this reason, it is essential that you retain a bit of control over your documents by being able to revoke document access at a moment’s notice. In this way, when an employee leaves your organization, you can withdraw their access to all documents. This control is provided by document DRM systems.

4. Watermarking

Part of being able to protect your intellectual property is being able to verify the authenticity of your documents. A watermark helps you do just that.

You can also use dynamic watermarking as a deterrent. Such watermarks not only verify the ownership of the specific document, it also displays details about the user. These details may include the user’s name, IP address, and other identifying information. As a result, the user cannot make copies of a particular document without the watermark information leading right back to him. And, since the watermark on an unauthorized copy can be used in a court of law as evidence, criminals would rather not steal your intellectual property.

5. Tracking and Logging Document Use Patterns

Another tool that could be useful in protecting your intellectual property is monitoring how people use your documents. You are often unaware of how people are using your documents and so you cannot take action if users behave suspiciously. By using DRM to track where people are opening your documents, how often they do so, and how many copies they print, you will be in a better position to decide when to revoke access.

 So, what other reason are you waiting for to acquire a document DRM system to protect your intellectual property?

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