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 the usage and distribution of game and video files. 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 licence to use content when you purchase that content. The licence has two parts: the system licence and the local licence. The system licence applies to the gamertag that purchases the content, and the local licence applies to the console where you first downloaded the content.

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

Yes, you can transfer content licences from one Xbox 360 console to a different Xbox 360 console. However, you can only transfer a licence once every four months.

If you’ve recently repaired your console or if you’ve purchased a new console, use the licence transfer option on your console to transfer content licences. 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. Go to Your Billing Options and select Licence Transfer.
  2. Follow the instructions to transfer the content licences.
  3. After transferring the licences, you need to download the content again to update the local licences. 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, other profiles can use content 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 Digital Rights Management protects. To play or use a protected game, video or add-in, you must have the licence for that content.

Examples of protected content

  • Games
  • TV programmes
  • Films
  • Music videos
  • Game add-in content

What is a licence?

A licence lets you use protected content. Another name for a licence is media usage rights.

How does the Xbox 360 console use licences?

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

If the Xbox 360 console doesn’t find a valid licence for the content, or if the licence 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 licences for content?

You automatically acquire licences when you download content. If a licence is missing or has become corrupted, you can access the download history on your Xbox 360 console and redownload that content to refresh the licence.

Note This process doesn't transfer licences to a new console unless you first used a licence transfer tool to do that.

Can I transfer film and TV programme licences?

Unfortunately, you can't transfer movie and TV show licences from one console to another because of licencing 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 licences are stored in the Xbox 360 console rather than in the Xbox Live account.

To let someone else use the content licence, you must download your Xbox Live profile to their Xbox 360 console and then transfer your content licences to that Xbox 360 console.

After you've downloaded your Xbox Live profile and transferred your content licences to another Xbox 360 console, other profiles can use the content 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?

You can't transfer some items that are stored on your Xbox 360 console from one profile to another. For example, you can't transfer Xbox Live Games Store content 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 licence for content you purchase is 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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