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RealNetworks Introduces Trans-format DRM

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CNET reports:

    The Seattle-based software company is unveiling Helix DRM, digital-rights management technology designed to be format-agnostic protection for the delivery of content to PCs, home appliances and mobile devices. The technology supports the emerging video standard MPEG-4 and H.263; audio formats MP3, AAC and Narrowband AMR audio; and its RealAudio and RealVideo streaming formats.

    “It used to be that content owners would have separate DRM for each format that they wanted to support, and consumer electronics makers would have to implement a separate DRM engine to decrypt those files on their devices,” said Dan Sheeran, vice president of media systems for RealNetworks.

    ….Analysts say that the development is particularly positive for content owners who want to publish to devices that support industry standards but have long been afraid of digital theft.

    “That this can support MP3 and MPEG-4 is significant because up until now you haven’t seen adoption of these formats by major content providers because they lacked digital rights management,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research.

    Still, the company faces stiff competition from the likes of Microsoft and others.

    RealNetworks also announced new customers of the technology, including Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, Triggerstreet.com and music label EMI Recorded Music. Other companies already signed onto use the technology include Starz On Demand and Movielink. Available for download in test form, the software is available for the PC and in development for a variety of consumer electronics devices.

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