RealTime IT News

New DRM Play for Mobile Content

Two new technology initiatives may make the elusive goal of profitable mobile content a little closer to reality, provided that industry groups behind the move stay united.

On Monday, the Open Mobile Alliance announced OMA DRM 2.0 Enabler Release, an interoperability service for the application of digital rights management for music, video and games delivered to mobile phones and other wireless devices.

The OMA, formed in June 2002, has 350 members, including software vendors, electronics manufacturers, content creators and game developers.

OMA DRM 2.0 Enabler Release protects data from unauthorized access and copying. It enhances the 1.0 spec, released in November 2002, with enhanced security and improved support for rendering, streaming content and multiple device access to protected content.

"OMA is helping the entertainment and media industries deliver premium content to millions of mobile consumers in a trustworthy and secure way," said Willms Buhse, vice chair of OMA's DRM Working Group.

The timing is perfect, said Jeff Lipton, senior vice president of product development for Pulse, which provides technology to create 3D virtual characters for the Web and mobile devices. "This is just the dawm of the mobile media age, especially when it comes to video and other types of rich media content. The more common protocols - at any level -- the easier it is for third-party software developers like ourselves."

Lipton also approved of the broad membership of the OMA, calling it a real cross section of the industry.

Also on Monday, a consortium of hardware manufacturers and content providers announced plans for a licensing and compliance framework called Content Management License Administrator (CMLA). Both announcements were made during OMA Secure Content Delivery for the Mobile World, a conference in Los Angeles from Feb. 1 through the 6th.

However, while the CMLA announcement positioned the organization as focused on furthering OMA's DRM 2.0, the OMA appears to want to keep its distance. OMA members weren't available, and a spokesperson declined to comment, but a position statement from the group detailed some concerns that, without naming the CMLA, could be construed as a criticism of the group.

The statement said the group wants to maintain an open organization, actively communicating and collaborating with other industry organizations. "Openness also means developing industry solutions in a transparent manner, allowing other organizations insight into the technical aspects of the organization," the statement read. "Being able to see and comment on early versions of documents and contributions allows external organizations to be more involved in and aware of evolving service enablers." Finally, it emphasized that any interested party can join the OMA and contribute to the specs.

The CMLA was developed in secret, with the code name Project Hudson, and no details were released before the announcement. Neither does the CMLA Web site have any information about becoming a member.