A cross industry group of more than 20 technology giants is getting together, to develop a new form of "buy once, play anywhere" digital rights management (DRM).

James Middleton

September 16, 2008

2 Min Read
Industry giants try to repackage DRM with "play anywhere" tag

A cross industry group of more than 20 technology giants is getting together, to develop a new form of “buy once, play anywhere” digital rights management (DRM).

The newly formed and charmingly named Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), said it has been formed with the remit of defining and building a new digital media framework using industry standards, that will enable consumers to acquire and play content across a wide range of services and devices.

The founding members include Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast, Fox Entertainment, HP, Intel, Lionsgate, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Philips, Sony, Toshiba, VeriSign and Warner Bros.

The organisation pretty much admits that the raft of controversial copy protection and DRM systems currently in play is “growing consumer confusion,” and said it is working toward a simple, uniform digital media experience.

“This is great news for consumers hungry for access to a wider array of digital content they can enjoy on any device they own. We formed this consortium to give consumers that kind of power and choice,” said Mitch Singer, president of DECE.

Unfortunately, Singer then goes on to say that DECE is, “taking the lessons learned from the successful “buy once, play anywhere” experience that we enjoy with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray today, and using a similar approach in developing the next generation digital media experience.”

And whilst physical media is probably the safest method of ensuring compatibility with a particular player, CDs and DVDs have long been dogged by DRM initiatives which have restricted playability of content.

Of course, the new framework will also mean new devices. When DECE has got around to issuing its proposed specification it will also introduce a new logo and compliancy system for devices that can play the protected content. Which means users have to buy a range of new devices to play the content they have bought, which is locked into the new framework. And the vendors can control entry to the platform and stifle competition.

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James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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