What Does License Mean?

A license is an agreement that allows someone to copy, use, or resell a commodity, such as digital content. In digital rights management (DRM), acquiring a license to use protected copyrighted electronic material is essential. Licensing within the DRM realm primarily involves obtaining a license from a specific copyrighted author, artist, or software manufacturer. It permits the user to have access to otherwise circumvented or protected digital material.


Licensure is not always easy to obtain, and may depend on the amount of digital material being used and/or if the user can prove the license will be used good faith, meaning it will not bypass or negate the original copyright owner’s profits or rights. Technologies are also licensed in order to protect patents or copyrights.

Techopedia Explains License

DRM licenses are used for two key reasons. First, licenses are necessary for the copyright holders to protect their information so that their electronic media is not pirated. Second, electronic technologies are licensed to provide manufacturers of digital technology their due compensation, but also to make certain their technologies are not pirated. DRM licenses are necessary for the protection of rights owners as well as the users of electronic technologies. Thus, users are unable to be held liable as long as they adhere to the requirements set forth in the license agreement.

The bad news about DRM licensing pertains more to small licensees than large ones, especially in the world of digital music reproduction. Smaller organizations or individual artists do not usually possess the financial ability to issue DRM licenses. Larger organizations have more resources to do so. Online music sources, such as the iTunes Store, have the ability to pay record labels huge sums of money to license music. This makes it possible for iTunes to sell that music to its users.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…