When we meet with companies we get a substantial number of questions about how to protect digital content. Adobe has at least 2 offerings in the Digital Rights Management space, Adobe Content Server and Adobe LiveCycle Rights Management. These products both fall into the DRM category, but they solve very different problems for very different markets. This article will discuss the capabilities and licensing of each and what problems they are targeted at solving.

Adobe Content Server – DRM for Commercial eBooks

This product, also known as ACS, is capable of securing content in the ePub and PDF file formats. The product is sold by Adobe partners as a server license, and there are transaction charges incurred for each individual content license granted.

The target market for this offering is eBook or other digital content distributors such as Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Noble or Google. Content is licensed on a one to one basis and rights are applied at the time a specific item is purchased. More specifically, content is licensed to an individual with a specific Adobe ID or Vendor ID, and may not be consumed on reading devices that are not registered with that ID. ACS provides granular control over the rights that may be granted with each content license. For example a book store may sell a popular title for one price with the rights to read it on multiple devices, re-download it a future date and print a range of pages, and may also have the same book listed at a different price with more restrictive rights. Once rights are applied, generally at purchase time, these rights cannot be modified or revoked.

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