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Project Canvas looks to open standards for DRM

online TV

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 8 Jul 2010 at 11:30

The Project Canvas web TV effort has opted to use the open Marlin standard for its digital rights management (DRM).

Project Canvas was last week approved by the BBC Trust, paving the way for the partnership between the public broadcaster, Channel 4, Five and ITV to offer net-based video-on-demand.

Our content protection requirements have to cater for the widest possible number of content providers

One of the sticking points with moving television content online has long been how to prevent piracy while still allowing the content to be shared between providers and easily accessed by users.

Rather than force all partners to use the same level of DRM, Project Canvas has opted for a varied approach so that broadcasters will be able to offer videos with no protection, with some level of management, or with full DRM, depending on the type of content.

"Our content protection requirements have to cater for the widest possible number of content providers, including giving reassurance to those looking to support pay-per-view and subscription access to film," said Canvas's chief technology officer Anthony Rose.

While it considered letting broadcasters pick their own DRM providers, Canvas decided everyone taking part should use the same system, opting for open-standards based Marlin. Developed over the past five years by Intertrust, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony, Marlin is used widely in Japan and by Sony for its PlayStation Network.

"The industry is looking for a fully supported DRM solution, and Marlin will give content providers the best option at launch," said Rose. "Marlin is based on open standards, is already widely supported and is being increasingly deployed by the industry."

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User comments

Ho hum!

Yet another DRM shambles. Its time these companies woke up and realised that DRM only inconveniences 'honest' customers. How long before this one is cracked, asuming it hasn't been already?

By omnisvalidus on 8 Jul 2010


Interesting piece.

Although I'm no supporter of DRM, with such a large backing (Panasonic, Phillips, Samsung, Sony), I'm inclined to think that something like this, in the context of on-line television, could and will work.

It will be used and abused without doubt, but for those that have no interest in stuff that may cost you your broadband account, it will appeal.

The agreement to allow different levels of DRM permits them to restrict the range of content without hindering their aim of allowing a single portal to provide users with multi-channel television. That they've adopted a open-standards format is only a blessing.

Good stuff.

By sbeams on 8 Jul 2010

Subcription based Movies and TV Shows

Ok here is the holy grail for both side.

On demand Films and TV shows for a FLAT fee.

I would change from Sky now if I could get access to all the shows and Films I watch on demand and watch realtime events.

By hadphild on 8 Jul 2010

hadphild: I completely agree. If they were to offer that I think piracy would vanish overnight.

The resistance, of course, is the media industry.

By bubbles16 on 9 Jul 2010

Open standards doesn't help DRM

The reason that it's good to use open standards to store your data is that you'll be able to get it out if the particular program you used goes under, away or something else.

There's still going to be a central management system somewhere that needs to be online and accessible for you to watch this stuff.

As it stands it doesn't matter that TrueCrypt is completely open source, you still aren't getting your data out of it without knowing your key.

By steviesteveo on 10 Jul 2010

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