Digital rights management architectures

Pramod A. Jamkhedkar, Gregory L. Heileman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Digital rights management (DRM) is increasingly becoming a necessity for content management and distribution in highly networked environments such as the Internet. However, very few DRM models have been able to achieve commercial success and acceptance among users. This paper analyzes the problems with current DRM environments and proposes an open layered framework for development of DRM systems, where different technologies can interoperate within the framework. Furthermore, interoperability is studied in terms of the proposed layered framework, and problems posed by the current rights expression languages (RELs) are identified. We conclude that a refactoring of current RELs based on a set of design principles is necessary to achieve a reasonable level of DRM interoperability. We emphasize the need for middleware services for DRM, along with their responsibilities and places of operation within the proposed framework. Finally, a specific prototype architecture is introduced that makes use of existing infrastructures in order to implement a DRM environment consistent with the design principles described in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-394
Number of pages19
JournalComputers and Electrical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital rights management
  • Interoperability
  • Multimedia architecture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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