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DRM getting you down? Here’s how to strip your music and movies of restrictions

Oh, DRM, how we love to hate you.

The technology — short for Digital Rights Management — has been giving consumers trouble since its inception, when it was intended as a means to protect digital media from piracy. DRM has taken many forms over the years, from CD keys and digital watermarks to proprietary file types, but the end result is the same: You can’t copy the stuff you buy or play it on anything other than the intended device. As we see it, that’s a problem.

Related: 5 reasons to liberate your ebooks from their DRM prison

Today’s DRM restrictions may prevent you from sharing a copy of Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour, sure, but the technology’s implications reach further than you might expect. The restrictions also leave users susceptible to the whims of giants like Amazon and Google. Remember when Amazon deleted two George Orwell titles from Kindle libraries back in ’09? No? Well, it happened before, and it could happen again.

Fortunately, there are several ways to create local backups and rid your music and movie purchases of unwanted DRM. However, keep in mind removing said restrictions might violate the various Terms of Use you agree to when your purchase a digital product, even if you don’t intend to share or otherwise distribute the content. Below are a few of our favorite methods for both Mac and PC, whether you prefer to use third-party software or Apple’s proprietary service.

Skip ahead for how to remove DRM from video and audio files on a Mac

Removing DRM from audio and video using Aimseroft Media Converter (Windows)

Apple may be the most notorious for affixing DRM restrictions, but that doesn’t mean other companies don’t do the same through their official retail channels. Nonetheless, while everyone from Amazon to Microsoft has been known to do so, Aimersoft’s Media Converter handles it all. The basic software helps you remove DRM from video and music using a Windows-based machine, thus allowing you to access your content on a variety of devices. Moreover, the application allows for batch conversions and adjustments to parameters such as resolution and frame rate, make the program suitable for more than just stripping DRM restrictions. The premium version of the software will run you $36, but you can always opt for the free trial if you want to kick the tires first.

Step 1: Head over to the Aimersoft website and click either the green Free Trial button or orange Buy Now button. Afterward, follow the on-screen installation wizard and launch the software as you would normally.

Download Aim

Step 2: Once open, click the green Add icon in the top-left corner, select the DRM-laced file(s) from its respective save location, and click the Open button in bottom-right corner of the window. Alternatively, simply drag-and-drop the file(s) into the main application window.

Add Aim

Step 3: Next, select your desired output format for the resulting media files using the drop-down menus located beneath the file list. For most users, we recommend choosing an output format from the list of Common options. You can also change a slew of different aspects, such as the bit rate and resolution, by clicking the Settings button beside the drop-down menus and setting the parameters in the resulting pop-up window.

Aim Output

Step 4: Once you’ve finalized the output, click the blue Start button in the bottom-right corner of application window and allow the process to run its course before opening the file in the media player of your own choosing!

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