(Via The Register) Key Consumer electronics players are creating a Community Source Program for digital rights management and will license the whole kit and caboodle, the patents, copyrights, compliance logo and source code to anyone that wants it. Effectively CE DRM is going open source (to the extent that Community Source is the same as Open Source) in order to flood the market with DRM systems and route the threat offered by Microsoft in consumer electronics. Excerpts with edits and comments:
DRMs that can be created with the new development tools will all be compliant with and ready to interoperate through the Coral interoperability standard. These moves were made by the Intertrust–Sony–Philips Samsung, Matshusita DRM and co-opts HP and 20th century fox. In effect, the Marlin JDA is proposing a set of specifications that will help companies, create their own DRM systems which are automatically compliant with the Coral Interoperability standardwhen it comes out. Coral is expected to be based on Intertrust’s NEMO architecture for DRM service orchestration which will have the capability built in to work with existing DRM systems such as Microsoft’s Media DRM and Apple’s Fairplay and Sony’s MagicGate, but in order to do so, each DRM owner would have to agree to “open” their DRM to the interoperability standard.Coral competes head-on with the Content Reference Forum that was put together a year ago, lead by Microsoft and ContentGuard.Talal Shamoon, CEO of Intertrust says, "Think of Coral and Marlin as two planes, one on top of the other. Whenever a DRM system, whether it is one built to the Marlin specs or an existing DRM, finds that it needs help interoperating with another DRM, it will just turn to Coral for help.Coral is being written in XML and according to web service standards, so it can run as a remote service or it can run on a nearby server, for instance a Home Network media hub," Shamoon added. Most DRM systems, such as Apple’s Fairplay used in its iTunes service and on the iPod, prevent consumers from playing content packaged and distributed using one DRM technology on a device that supports a different DRM technology.Coral’s answer is to separate content interoperability from choice of DRM technology by developing and standardizing a set of specifications focused on interoperability between different DRM technologies rather than specifying DRM technologies.The resulting interoperability layer supports the coexistence of multiple DRM systems and permits devices to find appropriately formatted content, hopefully in the time it takes to press the play button, without consumer awareness of any disparity in format or DRM technology.
Given the similar parallel arrangements between the Microsoft camp, led by the Content Reference Forum and ContentGuard, which also preached web services and DRM interoperability, then it seems likely that there will eventually be a web service that will orchestrate movement in and out of the Coral environment to Microsoft’s and vice versa. In Nemo there are a defined set of roles of client, authorizer, gateway and orchestrator, and it assumes that they talk to each other over an IP network. Work is allocated to each of them such as authorization, peer discovery, notification, service discovery, provisioning, licensing and membership creation.
The consumer electronics companies had better get a move on, because Microsoft is gaining allies in CE which are prepared to put Windows Media DRM on devices such as DVD players, DVRs and Home media servers, and these, mostly small Chinese players, will begin to eat into Sony, Philips, Matsushita’s and Samsung’s markets if they cannot offer in return a standardized DRM approach, and so on.Refer our recent coverage on Russell Beattie's view - Its game over for microsoft's competitors in the CE sectorIn the digital media world that is coming, all future entertainment players will need to have a processor and an operating environment (most will chose CE Linux), and the commonality between platforms will not reside in the operating system but in the file types, the digital identifiers and an interoperability layer for the DRM systems which are most likely to be orchestrated by web services. This in a way vindicates the expectations set when Coral was formed - Viz. "the best news about Coral is not only that it benefits both content providers and consumers, but also, unlike many other DRM technology scenarios, that we can see where the money may come from to pay for it: it's architected so that network service providers can offer DRM interoperability as a differentiating service."