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October 11, 2009

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STB 2009 and MultiRights

I got a warm reception this week at the STB 2009 conference in San Jose where many speakers were presenting on the convergence between pay-TV and Internet delivery channels. Also see Jeff Vinson's blog write up. On the topic how to live in a multi-DRM world, I presented it as a challenge from both a technical and a business perspective. As our friends in the DECE like to say, how would it seem if DVDs you bought from WalMart only worked in DVD players from WalMart - you probably wouldn’t be very happy to only have this restricted option. But this is the  issue that we see with much of the online video distribution today - different vertical silos have been erected for purchase and playback in pay-TV systems, online stores and portable players. It can be argued that the business challenge is even greater than the technical one. Even if the same file format is offered, the synchronization of rights from one silo to another simply does not exist. Verimatrix is offering an approach (MultiRights) that can help harmonize rights between DRM systems operating under a single operator umbrella, but its going to take broader cooperation to solve the silo to silo communication issues. We continue to work this axis, believing that the health of the overall industry - and an effective defense against illegitimate distribution channels - is to be found in a simplified and effective legal sales environment.

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