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Protecting content on tablet PCs

Jan 6, 2012 10:18:43 AM

It is difficult enough for companies to protect their documents from unauthorized copying and usage on traditional computers, but the rise of new technology is complicating matters a great deal more. Wireless internet and tablet PCs add a whole new level of challenges to organizations that want to be able to distribute files to customers but are afraid that their data will be too easy to share with other users.

The sheer number of mobile devices that consumers are purchasing is staggering, especially considering the fact that people want easy access to things that they've purchased. For example, a study by NPD DisplaySearch found that around 73 million tablet PCs shipped in the United States throughout 2011, a figure that accounted for over a quarter of all mobile computer units that year.

That figure is expected to grow, meaning that businesses in the content and information industry need to step up their games when it comes to making sure that users aren't illicitly copying and sharing data, whether intentionally or not. This requires the application of digital rights management (DRM) software for all manner of content that's commonly distributed on the internet.

The Guardian reports that in the United Kingdom, Amazon sold 242 e-books for every 100 traditional tomes. This means that people are embracing new ways of reading, but it also indicates that there is the increased chance that people will be sharing books with others. After all, readers are notorious for wanting to lend works that they've enjoyed with friends and family. The reduced price of e-books over regular books is intended to counteract this trend and discourage people from illegally copying their favorite stories, but it may not be enough to stop consumers. DRM is therefore essential if the growth of digital text is to survive.

The entire reason that magazines were popular for almost a century is that they were cheap and could survive on a mixture of advertising and subscription fees. However, the internet has made high-quality text and images incredibly easy to come by. Consequently, the only way that magazines can survive in the digital era is by focusing on good stories and exclusive media. Without digital rights management protection, there is little expectation that companies will be able to sustain their previous business models, especially considering the ease with which much of their content can be come by through other means.