Xbox 360 Digital Rights Management

Xbox 360 Digital Rights Management: Frequently asked questions

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Xbox Live.

Note This article pertains to DRM and the Xbox 360. If you have questions about DRM and your computer, see the You may be unable to play protected content after your computer hardware changes article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base.

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What is "Digital Rights Management"?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology is used by content providers such as Xbox stores to control how game and video files are used and distributed. Xbox stores sell and rent DRM-protected videos, games, and add-in content that are covered by media usage rights that allow specific uses of that content.

When you purchase content, you receive a license to use that content. The license has two parts: the system license and the local license. The system license applies to the gamertag that purchases the content, and the local license applies to the console where you first downloaded the content.

Can I transfer a content license from one Xbox 360 console to another?

Yes, you can transfer content licenses from one console to another once every four months.

If your console was recently repaired or if you’ve purchased a new console, use the license transfer option on your console to transfer content licenses. Here’s how:

  1. On your console, sign in to Xbox Live using the gamertag that you used to purchase the content.
  2. Go to Settings and select Account.
  3. Under Your Billing Options, select License Transfer.
  4. Follow the instructions to transfer the content licenses.
  5. After the licenses are transferred, you need to download the content again to update the local licenses. For information about how to do this, see Download content you’ve previously purchased.

After you follow these steps, content can be used by other profiles on your console and when you’re not connected to Xbox Live.

What is protected content?

Protected content is any game, video, or add-in that uses Digital Rights Management protection. To play a protected game, video, or add-in, you must have the license for that content.

Examples of protected content

  • Games
  • TV shows
  • Movies
  • Music videos
  • Game add-in content

What is a license?

A license is another name for media usage rights.

How does the Xbox 360 console use licenses?

When you try to use a protected game, video, or add-in, the Xbox 360 console checks whether you have a valid license for that piece of content. If the license allows you to use the content, the Xbox 360 console plays the content or allows use of the add-in.

If the Xbox 360 console doesn’t find a valid license for the content or if the license doesn't permit you to perform the action, your Xbox 360 console won't perform the action. Typically, you receive an error message that states why the action wasn't performed.

How do I get licenses for content?

Licenses are automatically acquired when you download content. If a license is missing or has become corrupted, you can access the download history on your Xbox 360 console and redownload that content to reacquire its license. This process refreshes existing licenses but doesn't transfer licenses to a new console unless you first used a license transfer tool to do that.

Can I transfer movie and TV show licenses?

Unfortunately, you cannot transfer movie and TV show licenses from one console to another due to licensing restrictions.

What is a "roaming" Xbox 360 console?

The term “roaming” refers to using content that you purchased on one Xbox 360 console (say, console A) on another Xbox 360 console (say, console B). For example, you might download a game from the Xbox Live Games Store to console A, and then attach the hard drive that contains that game to console B. When you attach the hard drive to console B and sign in to Xbox Live, you can play the game without any restrictions.

Note For such roaming to be allowed, you must be connected to Xbox Live by using the profile that purchased the content so the license to the content can be verified.

Why can't I view, play, or use previously downloaded content?

Follow the troubleshooting steps at Can’t play downloaded Xbox Live content.

Can I transfer content from one Xbox Live account to another?

No. Content licenses are stored in the Xbox 360 console rather than in the Xbox Live account.

To enable someone else's Xbox Live account to use your content licenses, you must download your Xbox Live profile and then transfer your content licenses to that person's Xbox 360 console.

After you've downloaded your Xbox Live profile and transferred your content licenses to another Xbox 360 console, the content can be used by all the profiles on that console.

Why do I get the error message "This item cannot be transferred between profiles" when I try to transfer content to a different profile?

Some items that are stored on your Xbox 360 console can’t be transferred from one profile to another. For example, Xbox Live Games Store content can’t be transferred to a different profile. If you can't move an item to a different profile, you have to download the item using the second profile in the same way that you obtained the item using the original profile.

Note You must recreate some items in the second profile. For example, you must recreate a saved game under the second profile.

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