The rise of digital media and analog-to-digital conversion technologies has vastly increased the concerns of copyright-owning individuals and organizations, particularly within the music and movie industries. While analog media inevitably lost quality with each copy generation, and in some cases even during normal use, digital media files may be duplicated an unlimited number of times with no degradation in the quality.
The rise of personal computers as household appliances has made it convenient for consumers to convert media (which may or may not be copyrighted) originally in a physical, analog or broadcast form into a universal, digital form (this process is called ripping) for portability or viewing later. This, combined with the Internet and popular file-sharing tools, has made unauthorized distribution of copies of copyrighted digital media (also called digital piracy) much easier.
In 1983, a very early implementation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) was the Software Service System (SSS) devised by the Japanese engineer Ryuichi Moriya.
 and subsequently refined under the name superdistribution. The SSS was based on encryption, with specialized hardware that controlled decryption and also enabled payments to be sent to the copyright holder. The underlying principle of the SSS and subsequently of superdistribution was that the distribution of encrypted digital products should be completely unrestricted and that users of those products would not just be permitted to redistribute them but would actually be encouraged to do so.
Common DRM techniques include restrictive licensing agreements: The access to digital materials, copyright and public domain is restricted to consumers as a condition of entering a website or when downloading software.
Encryption, scrambling of expressive material and embedding of a tag, which is designed to control access and reproduction of information, including backup copies for personal use.
DRM technologies enable content publishers to enforce their own access policies on content, such as restrictions on copying or viewing. These technologies have been criticized for restricting individuals from copying or using the content legally, such as by fair use. DRM is in common use by the entertainment industry (e.g., audio and video publishers). Many online music stores, such as Apple's iTunes Store, and e-book publishers and vendors, such as OverDrive, also use DRM, as do cable and satellite service operators, to prevent unauthorized use of content or services. However, Apple dropped DRM from all iTunes music files around 2009.
Industry has expanded the usage of DRM to more traditional hardware products, such as Keurig's coffeemakers, Philips' light bulbs, mobile device power chargers, and John Deere's tractors. For instance, tractor companies try to prevent farmers from making DIY repairs under usage of DRM-laws as DMCA.