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Digital Rights Management

The Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology is part of Trusted Computing Platform Alliance and is implemented in Windows Media Player. It offers protection against tampered applications. To decrypt DRM-protected content, users must install a DRM license. The license is installed in one of following two modes:

  • Silent mode, in which the license is installed quietly in the background

  • Nonsilent mode, in which the user is prompted to install the license

By default, the Windows Media Player is installed in (yes, you guessed it right) silent mode, so the license is downloaded and installed without the user getting prompted. You can switch from silent to nonsilent mode by configuring the option in Windows Media Player, but users cannot disable this technology in Windows XP. See the section "Windows Media Player," later in this article, to learn how to switch to nonsilent mode.

DRM also includes a built-in feature known as application revocation. If secure DRM contents are compromised, Microsoft or other third-party vendors can place your application on a DRM revocation list. This blacklist of sorts is downloaded automatically inside a DRM license and is installed on the user's computer silently without the user's knowledge. The list is updated automatically so that digital content cannot be distributed illegally and played on blacklisted players. If you try to use the blacklisted application, you will receive an error and will be asked to contact the vendor. The vendor may decide to lock out all applications from accessing the old DRM-protected content.

While no reasonable person will argue against vendors' rights to ensure that their product is used legally, what makes people nervous is the control that a vendor can have over remotely controlling the applications running on their home computers.

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