DRM (Digital Rights Management) is supposedly a tool for protecting intellectual property in digital media, but the usage of it has introduced numerous other challenges. These side-effects (or in some cases, arguably intentional effects) cause other problems for the proliferation and use of beneficial technology.

These challenges can include:
  • Speed, resource, and energy overhead
  • Losing media you already “own" if the provider decides to discontinue it or goes out of business
  • Inability to consume the media in different formats, backup the media, or use it offline
  • Inability to edit the media for accessibility needs or personal projects (such as notetaking for review)
  • Inability to lend, re-sell, trade, or gift the media

But there is pernicious another angle to DRM. The Electronic Frontier Foundation discusses one of these legal issues in a recent post, discussing how legal precedents around DRM also challenge the ability to improve the safety and security of critical devices (such as medical devices).