Xbox 360 Digital Rights Management

DRM Frequently asked questions

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Xbox 360.

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

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What is "Digital Rights Management"?

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

You receive a license to use content when you purchase 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 Xbox 360 console to a different Xbox 360 console. However, you can only transfer a license 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.
  1. Under Your Billing Options, select License Transfer.
  2. Follow the instructions to transfer the content licenses.
  3. 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 How to redownload previously downloaded or purchased content to your Xbox 360.

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 is protected by Digital Rights Management. To play or use 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 lets you use protected content. Another name for a license is media usage rights.

How does the Xbox 360 console use licenses?

When you try to use protected content, the Xbox 360 console checks whether you have a valid license for that content. If the license lets you use the content, the Xbox 360 console plays the content.

If the Xbox 360 console doesn’t find a valid license for the content, or if the license doesn't allow the action, your Xbox 360 console won't let you use the content. 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 refresh the license.

Note This process 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 because of licensing restrictions.

What is a "roaming" Xbox 360 console?

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

Note To verify the content, you must use the profile that purchased the content to sign in to Xbox Live.

Why can't I view, play, or use previously downloaded 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 let someone else use the content license, you must download your Xbox Live profile to their Xbox 360 console and then transfer your content licenses to that 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 re-create some items in the second profile. For example, you must re-create a saved game under the second profile.

Why can't my friend play the games I downloaded to his/her console?

The content you purchase is licensed for a single account or a single console. If you purchase and then download a game from Xbox Live, anyone in your household may use it. You may also install and play the game on as many other consoles as you like, but only the original account that purchased the game will be able to play it. If your friend tries to play the game using his or her own account, it will not play. Your friend should purchase the game using his or her own Xbox Live account to play the game.

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