AfterDawn: Tech news

CE companies plan a universal DRM

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 21 Jan 2005 12:19 User comments (9)

Group of consumer electronics companies, dubbed as Marlin Joint Development Association, have decided to unite in order to develop a universal DRM scheme for consumer electronic devices, such as future video and audio players. Companies are worried that a possible situation where each and every hardware and software vendor and every single content publisher has their own set of DRM schemes available.
DRM, or digital rights management as it is called, is a way to limit consumer's use of purchased digital content. A typical -- and one of the best implementations of relatively user-friendly DRM scheme -- example is the Apple's FairPlay that is used for tracks purchased from iTunes -- each track is digitally signed so it can be only played in specified number of computers (and, as to prove the problems with DRM schemes, can be played only with specific application, in this case with Apple's iTunes software), specific devices (iPods) and burned to an audio CD. Ultimately, content owners would love to see a scheme where you can watch a TV show, but you must pay few cents for recording it. And most likely you could only watch the recorded show only a specified number of times. And transferring to other devices would cost few cents more, etc.

Anyway, MJDA's aim is to make a DRM system that could create a universal system that all manufacturers could implement in their devices, so by purchasing a movie from, say, Warner Bros. it could be watched with any manufacturer's player, not just with RCA's or Sony's. Additionally, it is obvious that manufacturers are afraid of Microsoft's plans to conquer the digital multimedia world and spread its tentacles to living rooms by setting its own proprietary DRM scheme as a standard with content owners material.

Companies behind the MJDA initiative include Sony, Philips, Samsung, Matsushita and Intertrust.

Source: The Register

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9 user comments

121.1.2005 14:55

yet another DRM scheme that will fail. making a universal method is pointless and will just make it all the easier to crack. when will they learn...

221.1.2005 19:56

I really don't understand websites like afterdawn or any other tech websites posting doom and gloom predictions about the neferious plans of the entertainment industry in the united states to better secure their bottomline. As much as i hate the mpaa and the RIAA i could reasonably assume places in the world where afterdawn and is located pirating of copyrighted material on a commercial scale (criminial intellectual properety theft )is quite rampant. Copyright law in the united states is defined as if you don't pay a property owner in the united states for their work you are stealing. I quite sure if you were in the business of movie or music making you would not like losing money. Things here in the united states are so fucked up people can't legally break the css encoding on a movie dvd to make up a personal copy. Actually there is no uniform law on the books that technically makes it legal for a us citizen to make a legal copy of a music cd other than some fuzzy loosely interpreted fair use doctrines that were decided by the united states supreme court. Intellectual property holders in the united states have a lot of money and they have a lot of political clout in the united states congress and it will be only a matter of time before most civilized countries will adopt dmca like laws as agreed upon having membership in the world intellectual property organization. The bottom line is that big business in the united states is in bed with the united states congress and and the WIPO is in their pocket and they will do want they want to do.

321.1.2005 21:25

That may be fucknut, but to some, it just makes it all the more pleasurable to crack it. I guess some people just don't like fitting nicely into the corporate business model.

421.1.2005 23:04

fucknut: In most countries outside United States, the legislation explicitly states copyrights for users and compensates content owners via blank media levies, etc. So, the fair use rights are part of the copyRIGHT legislation in most other countries. I'm not saying that you aren't right, our predictions might sound like doom and gloom, but look at iTunes/Napster/etc -- that's only a start. And as such schemes actually cripple our fair use rights, how in the hell they can be enforceable? And the whole concept of copyright hasn't even existed for more than a century or so. I am all for a copyright legislation for its original purpose -- to compensate original author for a specific time period for making his/her creation and banning others from commercially benefiting from that work until that point. It used to be for a song that the copyright was enforceable for, say, 15 years (btw. patents work like this -- patents can be only enforced for 15-25 years, depending on country, after which point, anyone can use the patent without royalty fees) after the song was first composed. After that, it became public domain, like Bach's symphonies are public domain. Then, eventually record labels started negotiating deals with artists where artist don't own their music anymore, but labels do. And as labels don't exactly die that often, the copyright has been extended over and over again and if I remember correctly, now it stands at 70 years after original author's death. So, even that the author hasn't been here to benefit from the royalties since 1930's, labels still get their royalties for that music. Now, back to the blank media levy (concept that is widely used in Western countries, apart from the U.S.). In most countries that use blank media levy (Canada, Finland, Germany, etc) the levy is paid exactly for the reason that it compensates authors for lost revenue, but at the same time, allows regular Joes certain rights what they can do with the material. In Finland, I can go to public library, loan a CD, go home and make a copy of it for myself. Legal. I can visit my friend, borrow his CD, make a copy of it for myself. Or for my brother. Or I can go to my bro's place, borrow a copied CD and make a copy of that one for my friend. Legal. And yes, I can tape record songs from radio -- habit that is theoretically illegal in some countries, like UK. And yes, I can download music, movies, etc from P2P networks and it is legal. I can't share copyrighted material to P2P tho, as that would be "distribution of copyrighted material in large scale" and thus illegal. Now, apply DRM to that -- I can't anymore legally copy anything as breaking the DRM and tools for breaking the DRM would be illegal. So, a CD with a very-easy-to-crack copy protection, I can't copy it because distribution of tools that allow cracking copy protections is illegal and the process of cracking DRM is illegal. So, I can copy the CD, it is just because it has a copy protection, I can't anymore. And I still pay levy for blank media, for the reason that I am allowed to crack it.. "Things that make you go 'Hmm..'"

522.1.2005 12:10

Hmmm........ It would appear on the surface that people in countries that pay a levy on blank media, should be able to make legal archival back-ups of movies, music, software, etc. The problem is how do the levy fees get back into the hands of everyone equitably for lost revenue? There has to be a better way. Jim

622.1.2005 12:31

yeah, I've heard about all that before. I can't believe the US is so fucked up...

723.1.2005 1:30

This is pretty good news I beleive. Not only will we get compatibility, hackers will only need to crack one set of DRM in the future. Talk about convenience.

823.1.2005 3:19

Well said, Ghostdog.

If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

923.1.2005 12:19

VERY well said...

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