RealTime IT News

Mobile Tech Players Tweak DRM Plan

A new consortium including chipmaker Intel and phone maker Nokia has whipped up a licensing system for ensuring the delivery of digital content to such gadgets as Web-enabled mobile phones and handheld computers.

The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Content Management License Administrator (CMLA) group wrote the CMLA spec to make sure content conforms to the Open Mobile Alliance's (OMA) Digital Rights Management (DRM) specification version 2.0, which helps line up an interoperable service provider for DRM.

The creation of the CMLA, which consists of Intel, mm02, Nokia, Panasonic, RealNetworks, Samsung and Warner Bros. Studios, dovetails with the release of OMA DRM 2.0. OMA was formed in June 2002 by nearly 200 companies to establish standards for interoperable products and services on mobile networks.

Ted Abe, general manager of Panasonic's Corporate Research and Development Group, said the CMLA will provide a licensing and compliance framework to provide the proper encryption keys and certificates to licensed device manufacturers and service providers.

"This approach is needed to ensure interoperability for the transfer of content digital media services and the devices that will use them," Abe said. "We need to ensure content owners will license content into a DRM platform and trust the quality of implementations. We need to make sure there are no weak links between OMA DRM 2.0 and CMLA because when companies license they commit to certain business rules and CMLA is the enabler for the media services, such as online music services."

By doing so, the consortium is essentially meeting digital content delivery concerns head first, as vendors and service providers must allay customer fears that downloading content from the Web, including music, video clips and games over their mobile devices is safe.

To that end, Abe told internetnews.com the CMLA will look to drive participation in the OMA DRM system by defining standard agreements among service and content providers and device makers.

The CMLA intends to have agreements available for device makers, service providers and content participants in the first half of 2004, and a toolkit including encryption keys delivered by the end of 2004.

"With the CMLA compliance framework and commercialized DRM technology, this community is signaling to rights holders that the time is now to embrace the delivery of their content to a ready world of mobile consumers," said Martin Plaehn, Executive Vice President, RealNetworks.

In related news, CMLA member RealNetworks announced plans to integrate the new Open Mobile Alliance DRM 2.0 specifications into its own Helix DRM, a multi-format platform used by digital music and Internet movie services, and the Seattle company's media software RealPlayer.

Ian Freed, vice president of mobile products and services, told internetnews.com that the addition of OMA DRM 2.0 to Helix will let content owners use a standard DRM system to deliver content safely from PCs to hundreds of millions of portable music players and mobile phones.

It will also allow device makers using the Helix DNA Client to add OMA DRM 2.0 to their devices.