Consumer Electronics Companies Team Up for DRM

By | January 21, 2005

A group of consumer electronics companies launched an effort this week to establish a standard for the protection of digital content across multiple devices.

The Marlin Joint Development Association include Intertrust Technologies Corp, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Royal Philips Electronics, Samssung and Sony.

The companies have developed a set of specifications, called Marlin JDA. Marlin JDA will enable the companies to build core DRM functions into the devices. The plan is to build interoperability for any Marlin-supported content.

“Marlin will give people fixed ingredients to make a DRM system with a common core,” Dave Maher, chief technology officer for Intertrust, said. “The core is a set of rights objects that have a form expressed in XML (extensible markup language) that all devices can interpret and react to in a consistent fashion.”

The line as to who will support which aspects of Marlin is still unclear. Despite the exceptions, proponents say Marlin JDA would be a big step toward reducing the many different DRM systems used today, which frustrate consumers looking to move content between devices. Unless DRM systems match, for example, a movie downloaded from the Internet and onto a PC wouldn´t play on a digital video player.

“We´re hoping this group (of manufacturers) gives (the standards effort) a good running start,” Shamoon said. “The market power of a Samsung device being able to talk to a Sony, Philips or Panasonic device is much stronger than a Diamond Electronics talking to a Rio.”

Last October, the same companies, along with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., launched the Coral Consortium, which created an interoperability layer that handled communications between different DRM systems. While that effort still exists, use of standard DRM technology would make for better interoperability among the many devices of CE manufacturers.

Leave a Reply