The problem of illegally copying digital data dates before the Internet. A famous attempt to fight piracy is the Betamax case. Universal City Studios insisted that Sony prohibit the production of VCRs with a recording function. The result of this case was a precedent, according to which it became legal to produce systems that have lawful uses in addition to illegal applications. For example, recording TV programs for subsequent viewing at a more convenient time for the viewer was recognized as fair use in court.
The first copy protection system and the ways to circumvent it were created by the company Macrovision. Later all such systems were called DRM.
One way to protect digital content is DRM - digital restriction management or digital rights management. These software tools restrict and hinder copying, modification, browsing, and other actions on electronic data and help detect those actions. In simple terms, DRM is a set of access control and management systems. Many global companies now use DRM, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Sony, and others.
The world has a different attitude to DRM. On the one hand, DRM helps eradicate copyright infringement on the Internet and preserve the companies' revenues: such a digital framework can solve the problem of intellectual property theft. Others think that DRM as a system of copyright protection is ineffective: it provokes misunderstanding between suppliers and legitimate customers and levels competition in the market. Besides that, the impossibility to automatically distinguish the legal copying from the illegal one (for example, the works with expired exclusive rights) causes criticism among the human rights activists.
For some kinds of information, the task of total protection against copying is unsolvable. This phenomenon is called the analogue hole: music, for example, can be recorded into a microphone while a book can be scanned. In other words, the DRM systems are not perfect, so the effectiveness of DRM has to be backed up by legal protection.
Lawmakers in many countries have introduced liability for circumventing DRM to accommodate major rights holders. At the international level, the obligation of states to provide legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of existing DRMs is enshrined in Article 11 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty and Article 18 of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. In the U.S., these treaty provisions have been implemented through the DMCA and in the European Union through the EUCD.
Intel has developed HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) technology to prevent illegal copying of high-quality video signals transmitted over the three main connection types - DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI. These channels carry an encrypted signal to prevent content from being copied directly and consumed by third parties. If a breach of the license agreement is detected, the access key is revoked. Thus, high-quality content is blocked from being transmitted to devices manufactured by a company that violates the system.
However, HDCP proved to be unreliable and was finally cracked in 2010.
In 2014, the Austrian company Denuvo Software Solutions GmbH developed Denuvo Anti-Tamper or simply Denuvo. This system is used to protect video games. The essence of its functioning is that it requests cryptographic keys, which are unique for each installed system. Nevertheless, Denuvo has a bad reputation. Gamers have repeatedly complained that the protection protocol slows down the game itself. And since 2017, this protection system has been circumvented by hackers quickly since the game's release. In short, the idea is good, but there are questions about the implementation.
Based on the above, I can draw an obvious conclusion: automatic systems of such a plan are not enough to eliminate violations in terms of illegal use of digital content. Because they are susceptible to hacking, companies using only them lose money not only because of piracy but also by paying for ineffective tools.
I also recommend you read “What is an HTTP Proxy and How Does it Work for Your Goals” and “Secure the Distance: How to Protect the Personal Data of Students Enrolled”