Knowledgebase: SilverScreen
What is DRM (Digital Rights Management) Video Security?
Posted by - NA -, Last modified by on 30 June 2006 12:21 PM

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Q. What do DRM, protected files, and media usage rights mean?

A. DRM, which stands for digital rights management, is a technology used by content providers, such as online stores, to control how the digital media files you obtain from them are used and distributed. A file that is protected with DRM requires media usage rights to be delivered with the file. The media usage rights define how the protected file can be used. For example, a right may give you the permission to play the file on your computer (a play right), burn the file to an audio CD (a burn right), or sync the file to a portable device (a sync right). Each right can have certain qualities, such as the following:

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The right to play a file on your computer an unlimited number of times

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The right to sync a file to two portable devices five times per month

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The right to burn a file to an audio CD twice

A second kind of protected file is one that was created when copy protection was turned on when you ripped music from an audio CD.

It is not possible to remove DRM from a protected file. However, if you have a file that was copy-protected when ripped from a CD, you can turn copy protection off and then rip the file again. For more information, see How do I turn off copy protection when ripping music from a CD?

Note that in earlier versions of the Player, media usage rights were called licenses.

Q. How do I tell whether a file is protected and what I can do with it?

A.

To determine whether a file is protected, do one of the following:

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Display the Protected column in the library. For information about displaying columns in the library, see Windows Media Player Help.

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Right-click a file you are playing in the List pane, click Properties, and then click the Media Usage Rights tab (called the License tab in Windows Media Player 10). If the file is protected, the terms appear in the box that is displayed. If nothing appears in the box, either the file is not protected or the file is protected but the rights are not present on your computer. If nothing appears in the box, it might be due to one of the following reasons:

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The file is not protected.

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Your computer is missing the media usage rights for the file.

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The media usage rights for the file have expired.

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The file has not been downloaded to your computer. For example, the file might be subscription content that is stored on an online store's Web site.

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Create an auto playlist of protected files in your library. To do so, use the criteria Protection is present in the auto playlist. (An auto playlist called Music tracks with content protection is included with Windows Media Player 10 that you can view to identify protected music files in your library. For information about viewing the auto playlist, see Windows Media Player Help.)

Q. I can no longer access my protected files. What should I do?

A.

There might be a problem with the media usage rights for the files. To help identify the problem, try playing a protected file and then clicking the error icon next to the file (Windows Media Player 11) or right-clicking the file and then clicking Error Details (Windows Media Player 10). Typically, a message will be displayed that gives information and instructions for resolving the problem.

If you obtained the files from an online store, check to see if the rights are missing or expired. For information about checking the rights, see How do I tell whether a file is protected and what I can do with it? If the rights are missing or expired, contact your online store to find out if the store provides the ability to restore or renew rights. Note that if the DRM system on your computer is corrupted, you must fix the corruption before downloading new rights. For more information, see Why do I get an error message that the rights (or licenses) for my files are corrupted or not valid?

If you are using Windows Media Player 10 and you have backed up your licenses, you can try to restore them. (It is not possible to back up and restore licenses in Windows Media Player 11.) For information about backing up and restoring licenses in Windows Media Player 10, see Windows Media Player 10 Help.

If the files you want to access were ripped from a CD, it is possible that copy protection was turned on during ripping and that the limit for the number of times new rights can be downloaded for the files has been reached. For more information, see When I try to play a file, a Web page is displayed that says I need to download more rights and mentions something about migration. What does this mean?

Q. Why do I get an error message that the rights (or licenses) for my files are corrupted or not valid?

A. The DRM system on your computer is corrupted. This problem may occur if you have replaced hardware components in your computer. As a result, existing media usage rights on your computer may not work correctly, or it may be impossible to download new rights. To resolve this problem, you can reset the DRM system on your computer and then try to obtain new rights for your protected files from the content provider. The procedure for doing so varies, depending on the version of the Player you are running.

click to expand Windows Media Player 11

To reset the DRM system, do the following:

Warning

This will delete all media usage rights and you will not be able to play any protected files until the new media usage rights are downloaded. Microsoft Recorded TV Shows (DVR-MS files), however, will be deleted and cannot be replaced.

1.

Verify that Windows is configured to show hidden files and protected operating system files.

If your computer is running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, you should also stop the Media Center receiver service by typing net stop ehrecvr at a command prompt.

2.

Open the Windows Media DRM folder. This folder is usually at C:\public\DRM.

If you cannot find the DRM folder, do the following:

1.

In Windows, click Start, and then click Run.

2.

In the Open text box, type regedit, and then click OK.

3.

In Registry Editor, click the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\DRM.

4.

Double-click the DataPath value. The path to the DRM folder is displayed in the right column.

3.

In the Windows Media DRM folder, select and delete all of the files, and then restart the computer.

4.

To download new media usage rights for a file, start the Player and play the file. The Player will contact the online store and attempt to download new rights.

If you want to download rights for a lot of files, you can also contact your online store to find out if the store provides the ability to restore or renew rights for all files that you have obtained from the store.

click to expand Windows Media Player 10

For information about resetting DRM for Windows Media Player 10, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, see article 810422, "'Licenses for your media files are corrupted' or 'License is either corrupted or not valid' error message when you try to play licensed media files."

Q. Why am I prompted to download a new version of the Player or upgrade security components when I try to play a file?

A. This typically occurs when you are trying to play, burn, or sync a protected file and the content provider, such as an online store, requires you to install the latest version of the Player before you can use the file. To download the latest version of the Player, click the link provided by the content provider or see Windows Media Download Center.

Note that even if you have Windows Media Player 10 installed on your computer, you still might not have the most recent version of the Player available. Microsoft periodically posts newer versions of the Player (including newer versions of Windows Media Player 10) to the Windows Media Web site. When Microsoft makes relatively minor improvements to the Player, the digits at the end of the version number are incremented (for example, version 10.00.00.xxxx could be replaced with a more recent version such as 10.00.00.yyyy).

Q. When I try to download the Player security upgrade, I get a message about a "date certificate." What should I do?

A. If you get the message "The date certificate is invalid or has expired" when upgrading the security components of the Player, try reinstalling the latest version of Internet Explorer. To do so, see Internet Explorer.

Q. Why do I get a message that rights can't be downloaded when I am trying to play a file?

A. There are several reasons why you might not be able to download media usage rights from an online store, including the following:

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You aren't connected to the Internet. Connect to the Internet and then try again.

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There is a temporary problem with the store's server (it might be busy or it might not be online). Try again later.

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You had a subscription account with an online store, but you cancelled the subscription. Contact the online store about reinstating your subscription account or purchasing the file.

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The rights prohibit the action you are trying to perform. For example, the online store might grant you the right to burn a song to a CD five times, but you have exceeded the limit. Or the online store might not permit you to sync the file to a portable device. For more information, contact your online store.

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Your online store doesn't have your current billing information, such as your credit card number or expiration date. Go to the online store's Web site and try updating your billing information.

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Your online store requires you to log in, but you haven't entered a valid user name or password. Contact your online store for further assistance.

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Your online store requires that you install a more recent version of the Player or some security components and you have opted not to install the software. When prompted to install the software, do so.

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Your online store requires that you install a more recent version of the Player or some security components but the software is not yet available for your version of Windows. Either upgrade to the required version of Windows or wait until the software is available for your version of Windows.

Q. Why do I get an error message that says no backup licenses can be found when I try to restore my licenses?

A. This problem may occur when you back up your licenses using Windows Media Player 10, and then roll back to an earlier version of the Player before restoring the licenses. To restore licenses backed up in Windows Media Player 10 while using earlier versions of the Player, do the following:

1.

Install a hotfix for your version of the Player:

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Windows Media Player 9 Series for Windows XP

•

Windows Media Player for Windows XP

2.

Restore your backed-up licenses again. For information about backing up and restoring licenses, see Windows Media Player 10 Help.

Q. When I try to play a file, a Web page is displayed that says I need to download more rights and mentions something about migration. What does this mean?

A. The file you are trying to play was copy-protected when ripped from an audio CD, which limits the number of computers on which the file can be played. To play the file on your computer, you must download the media usage rights (also called a license). This process is known as migration. To do so, click Download License on the Web page, or see Windows Media Personal License. There are several reasons why you might not have rights for the ripped file:

•

You ripped the CD on one computer and you are trying to play the file on another computer. You need to download new media usage rights because the original rights are only valid for the computer on which the CD was ripped.

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You ripped the CD on the computer that you are currently using, but the media usage rights have been deleted. This typically occurs when you reformat your hard disk drive (such as when you perform a clean installation of Windows), but it can occur in other circumstances as well.

•

You obtained the file from someone else who ripped the CD.

Q. When I try to download more rights, why do I get a message that says the rights can't be downloaded because they already have been downloaded 10 times?

A. The migration service can only be used 10 times to download new media usage rights for a file that was ripped from a CD on a particular computer. You might encounter this message for the following reasons:

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You copied the ripped file to 10 computers and then used the migration service to download new rights to each computer.

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You deleted the rights on your computer 10 times (for example, by reformatting your hard disk drive prior to performing a clean installation of Windows), and you used the migration service 10 times to download new rights.

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You shared the ripped file with 10 friends and each friend used the migration service to download rights.

•

You are trying to play a file that someone else ripped and one or more people have already used the migration service 10 times to play the file.

Q. How do I turn off copy protection when ripping music from a CD?

A. It isn't possible to remove protection from files you have already ripped, but you can prevent files from being protected the next time you rip music from a CD. In addition, you can replace the existing protected files by ripping the CD again.

1.

On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Rip music tab.

2.

Clear the Copy protect music check box. Files that you rip in the future will not be copy-protected.

3.

click to expand (Optional) To replace your existing protected files

If you don't delete the files from both locations before ripping the tracks again, duplicate files will appear in your library.

1.

Click the Library tab, right-click the files that you are having problems with, and then click Delete. If prompted, choose to delete the files from both your library and computer.

2.

Rip the tracks from the CD again.

Keep in mind that whenever you rip music that you did not create, it may be copyrighted and, therefore, protected by U.S. and international laws. Ownership of a CD does not necessarily constitute the right to redistribute or share the content. If you intend to redistribute or share content, be sure you have the necessary permissions to do so.

Q. My question isn't answered in this FAQ. What can I do?

A. If you do not find an answer to your question in this FAQ, try the following resources:

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See Windows Media Player Help. To access Help, start Windows Media Player and then press F1.

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Submit a question to the Media Advice column.

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For other Windows Media FAQs, including other versions of the Player, see Frequently asked questions about Windows Media.

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To find additional support and troubleshooting resources, see Troubleshooting Windows Media Player.

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Submit a question to the Windows Media Player newsgroup. Please note that the newsgroup is maintained by a community of knowledgeable users offering peer-to-peer assistance. It is not an official Microsoft technical support resource. As such, Microsoft cannot guarantee that your question will be answered. When you ask a question on the newsgroup, be as specific as possible. For example, be sure to include the following basic information:

•

Windows Media Player version. (On the Help menu, click About Windows Media Player.) For example, the version might be 10.00.00.xxxx.

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Windows operating system version. (Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.) In your question, include the full version name (for example, Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2).

•

The task that you were trying to accomplish prior to encountering the problem.

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If an error message is displayed, note the error message text. (For example, it might say "Windows Media Player has encountered an unknown error.")

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If an error message is displayed, note the error message ID number (for example, "C00D11CD"). You can determine the ID number by clicking the Web Help or More Information button when the error message is displayed.

•

If the problem only occurs when you use a particular file, Web link, or URL, provide details about that item.

Q. How do I find information about error messages?

A.

To find the error code identification number for a particular error message, on the error message, do one of the following:

•

Click the Web Help button. A Web page is displayed. The specific error code identification number is mentioned in the first sentence (for example, C00D1197).

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Click the More Information button. A Help topic is displayed. The specific error code identification number is mentioned in the title or at the bottom of the topic (for example, C00D1197).

For information about Windows Media Player error messages, see Troubleshooting Windows Media Player Error Messages.

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