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Real reveals DRM for MPEG-4 and MP3

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 11 Jan 2003 12:46 User comments (7)

Digital Rights Management is a hot topic..
RealNetworks (Quote, Company Info) plans to hit the CES trade show floor Thursday with a new Helix DRM digital rights management technology touting support for the popular (and competing) MP3 and MPEG-4 formats, among others.

Helix DRM replaces the company's Media Commerce Suite (MCS), which provided DRM only for RealAudio and RealVideo formats, and is part of RealNetworks' ambitious open-source push for adoption among content producers and consumer electronics manufacturers.

RealNetworks VP of media systems Dan Sheeran told the decision to support competing formats with a DRM product would let content owners, for the first time, deliver secure content to any PC or non-PC device using a single DRM and a single engine to support all formats.

As with many undertakings by Real, the latest strategy shift puts the company nose-to-nose with Microsoft (Quote, Company Info), which has its own DRM product for its proprietary Windows Media format. Sheeran described Microsoft's DRM suite as "a distasteful offering" because it forced media and consumer electronic companies into using only the Windows Media format.

"Helix DRM is compelling because once you get beyond the PC, neither the Real or Windows media formats are dominant. On music players, the dominant ones are MP3 and on DVD players, it's MPEG. With Helix DRM, content producers can still protect the products, even in standards-based, non-proprietary formats," Sheeran said.

Available Thursday as a beta release Helix DRM will still support RealAudio, RealVideo in addition to MPEG-4, MP3, H.263 video, and AAC and Narrowband AMR audio, Sheeran explained. It won't support Windows Media "because that technology is already available" but Sheeran hinted Windows support could be added down the road.

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7 user comments

112.1.2003 6:08

Oh great! More products that won't work when you buy them :(

Play Atari today, it won't break-down tomorrow ;-)

212.1.2003 9:49

This is why my last post(s) have been so bitchy. I don't mean to be so cranky (normally I'm not) but this DRM, even though we're stuck with it, has got to be fought. Folks have to *know* that what they have purchased is not necessarily theirs to fairly use as they have come to expect. This DRM is an insideous cancer. Probably fatal, as I don't know the cure. I DO know though, that I will *never* knowingly purchase a piece of hardware, standalone or computer-related especially, that has DRM 'hidden' within it. Let's see how 'honest' and upfront the manufacturers will be in disclosing what they are selling. (It's sort of like selling copy-protected music cds without saying a damn thing about it on the packaging. This is a deceitful, sleazy practice!) Ooops..... I'm getting angry again....I better run..... Windows Media and now Real Networks.... the beginning of the end? Others to follow? Quicktime? Divx-5? (I'm pretty sure divx-5 already has drm; I haven't used it since 3.11 alpha). We need some heavy-duty hackers in there to nip this thing in the bud. HACKERS OF THE WEB UNITE !!!!!! (You wouldn't want to feel 'guilty' now, would you, when Micro$oft tells you that you may have an "untrustworthy" file would you?) -- Klingy --

312.1.2003 10:31

Still using Win98 so I have been spared most of the heartache so far. I was using a friends PC yesterday running XP. Damn thing has got a mind of it's own, goes to sleep when it wants, interferes in everything I was doing, and the *constant* hand-holding that goes on is a real pain. All I wanted to do was play a damn DVD I had just bought. 1,How can a BBC DVD of *The Old Grey Wistle Test* be untrustworthy, and 2, I had already chosen to use WinDVD player and I didn't want to use WMP 'cos it's CRAP for playing back DVD's, but it kept trying to use it, even though it is NOT the default player, Bah! Got ME mad now :<

Play Atari today, it won't break-down tomorrow ;-)

412.1.2003 10:37

BTW how do we know that REAL/Micro$oft hasn't got at the hardware already? I wonder if anyone has had problems with MP3/WMA walkmans and such yet regarding DRM? I have a feeling that it has been under our noses for sometime and we didn't even know it, 'til now. :(

Play Atari today, it won't break-down tomorrow ;-)

512.1.2003 18:51

Matt, from what I understand (from another post), you and I are in good company in that *most* people still use Win-98. It has to do with numbers. Win98 was the prevalent OS in use when PC-sales hit a sort of High Point several years ago. It may or may not be as "modern" (or "as screwed" as you may wish to think of it) as ME or XP or whatever, but I believe it is the most widely-used OS in use today. The very fact that Micro$oft expressly makes a Windows Media 9 Player/Encoder for Win-98, acknowledges it's popularity and installed user-base. To my mind, it also acknowledges that MS is doing what it can to firmly entrench/bog-down Win-98 users into the DRM quagmire. 98 may be the last relatively DRM-free OS that we have. I wouldn't wipe my ass with it. (WMPlayer 9) Sometime ago in this forum, we talked about a freeware program called "UnFuck.exe". (I did not make this name up). For early attempts at cracking drm-riddled .wma files, it *was* successful. It would take a drm-protected .wma file as input, and output an "unfucked" (drm-free) .wma file. I used the program myself, free-ing up a licensed, time-restricted file that I had downloaded myself. But billy-goat Gates caught on to that one soon enough, and promptly incorporated more severe DRM protection in later versions of WMP. I am now waiting for some young bright mind, to kindly hack the sh-- out of this one as well. We shall have to see. I too use WinDVD when playing-back (testing) DVDs (and my homemade VCDs) on the computer. And WMP 6.4 for just about everything else. -- An_Ever-Vigilent Klingon --

613.1.2003 5:36

Yes, long live Windows 98. I haven´t used XP (very widely9, but 98SE seems alright for me. Helix=open-source=workable code=no more DRM-Helix. Right?

71.2.2004 20:15

You can record anything analog with various programs one is called lineripper but you'll have to clean the spyware off with adaware because it doesn't remove the program. The EULA is not violated by removing the spyware. If you cannot play a file on the billware go restore your liscences and you should be able to play it. Also I have a suggestion. Remeber the comodore shape code that apple hastily abandoned that would run anything. So what if you used a dos/kernal base to stabalize it, wouldn't we be able to put bill out of business and entrench open source in the os business like bill has windows. I'm no programmer but with a little work there could be light at the end of the tunnel.

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