Content control is the action of exerting control over content, just as content management is the overarching management of content and its use.
Content may be web content, or other digital content such as text, graphics, still or moving pictures, sound or a combination of all of these. Content control may therefore have to vary according to the nature of the content itself. Some content control, such as the classical computer industry access controls, read, write, delete and so on may be appropriate to some types of content, such as text, but not have much meaning with sound files or video clips, where play and record may have rather more meaning. Edit (essentially a combination of play and record in the film and music industries, but read and write for text) may have other dimensions such as with or without the ability to save the results in a form that only the current user may use or that may be transmitted to other recipients.
Another dimension of content control is the ability to indicate the ownership of the content (intellectual property or Copyright) or the distributor of the content, or the authorized recipient of the content. At first glance this might be thought to be a ‘new dimension’ to content control, but on a moment’s reflection it will be realized that it is not new at all.
One has only to look at physical world examples – the watermarks in banknotes that prove the bank actually issued them, the multiple security methods used in bearer bonds (watermarks are only the start in seriously high value documents) that not only authenticate the creator but also the issuer, or the vehicle licensing agency that provide documents that show if there is an attempt to photocopy or forge them, to see that these ideas about content control are not new. It is only the translation of the function from one industrial implementation to another that may change (more or less radically).
Content control in the digital document may be far more precise than it was in the paper world. The ability to carry out content control over information being entered in the paper world was almost none. It was more of a ‘free for all’ than a control. In digital documents it is possible to insist on various controls, although, again, the type of content expected may determine the type of content control that can be applied. For instance, being able to insist that the entry must be A-Z, a-z, 0-9 does not make a whole lot of sense for a sound file, and entering MP3 format content into a picture file doesn’t either.
But flash content, for instance, may have many things in it, and being readily able to apply content control to the incoming information may be far more difficult, although it is possible to apply content control on the recipient side more readily.
However, applying some of the ownership information as part of content control may be challenging. Watermarks, as part of content control, present various technical problems. In a Video you may or may not wish them to be visible. Also, if they are visible, can you be sure that they do not interfere both with each other, and with the recipient’s reasonable use of the content. This would be more content out of control than content control. If you put a control that affects printed output, does it make the printed output unusable, or is it too easily removed as a control by the person (or software) doing the printing?
So we must conclude that we can consider content control in two ways. In one way it is in the form of ‘hard’ controls that can be applied effectively to content, and ‘soft’ controls that may be applied to content.
Use our DRM software to control copying and use of your content – control what users can view your content, what they can do with it (copy, print, etc.) and when it can no longer be viewed (expire).