MusicDish e-Journal - November 30, 2015
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IBM Makes Comeback in DRM Space
By Sounni de Fontenay
(more articles from this author)
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Whether it was Napster or a sense that the major labels are close to making a serious dip into the digital medium, IBM is again making waves in the DRM market with its Electronic Media Management System (EMMS), a DRM solution for digital media. EMMS is IBM's answer to the needs for an industry approved secure and trackable media distribution infrastructure. Many might remember EMMS from its infancy when it was tested cooperatively with the 5 major labels in a trial called AlbumDirect™. The successful trial, commonly know as "Project Madison" and completed in December 1999, gathered valuable information on user experience with broadband media and EMMS from 1000 households subscribing to the Time Warner RoadRunner cable modem service. Despite a 95% retention rate of participating households after the trial, there remained some doubt in the industry as to whether EMMS would actually take hold in view of the greater media attention and partnerships of alternative DRM solutions such as Intertrust and Microsoft WM Rights Manager.

IBM has been working to revive the EMMS system and has struck a number of key partnerships. The latest is with Toshiba's i-value Creation company, which has licensed EMMS for a new music portal, to be launched in March, In conjunction with EMI and Warner Music Japan, will offer music downloads specifically for the Japanese market. The agreement with Toshiba follows on an earlier agreement to use EMMS in Toshiba's digital devices.

"We believe advancement of the digital music distribution marketplace is dependent on bold moves like the one Toshiba is undertaking with, which addresses not only content owners' security issues, but also the usability and efficiency of the consumer experience," explained Dick Anderson, general manager, IBM Global Media & Entertainment Industry.

The EMMS system was also used to offer downloads of Grammy nominated artists, the first public showcase of EMMS. RealNetworks was chosen as the featured application for playback of the copyright-protected downloadable music from the Grammy website.

"Digital Rights Management, the ability to protect intellectual property on the Web, is essential to the welfare of the creative and technical professionals the Recording Academy represents," said Michael Greene, Academy President/CEO.

Other company licensing EMMS include BMG, Liquid Audio Japan, MusicMatch, Reciprocal and Sony. MediaMatec, a content clearinghouse company, has also licensed EMMS to deliver digital music in the European market by providing a back-end infrastructure for record labels and retailers, eliminating the need for these companies to implement their own in-house DRM solution.

Most recently, DigMedia, a b2b service provider for media companies and content providers, announced the licensing of EMMS for their dBoxer DRM toolkit. DigMedia has gone the route of providing agnostic support for DRM systems, having also been certified by InterTrust.

"IBM designed EMMS to be flexible and inclusive of all segments of the music industry that want to leverage e-Business and participate in digital music distribution," said Scott Burnett, Business Development executive, IBM Global Media & Entertainment.

IBM is also know as a member of the 4C group, a collaborative effort between IBM, Intel, Matsushita and Toshiba, that is spearheading Content Protection for Recordable Media and Pre-Recorded Media (CPRM / CPPM) Specification. The CPRM / CPPM Specification defines a renewable cryptographic method for protecting entertainment content when recorded on physical media. However, the CPRM/CPPM specifications are drawing controversy due to it residing on physical media such as computer hardware - thus possibly limiting the full "fair use" of media by consumers.

Mr. Anderson, further stated in a January 22nd press release, "For digital distribution to succeed as a business, content owners need to be compensated for their intellectual property and have access to technology that will enable different business models. EMMS' security features and new superdistribution capabilities are designed to meet these needs."

But with Microsoft and InterTrust seeming to lead the DRM market, what advantages does IBM have? Well to start off, DRM is not IBM's main suite, it's e-commerce. IBM has long established themselves as a b2b provider of e-business solutions. Adding e-business to its DRM solution provides an added advantage to companies wishing to license the EMMS system. Just look at which has recently been redesigned using IBM e-Business.

Finally, IBM's EMMS system is a combination of five modules that can be licensed individually or together as one. These modules are Content Mastering Program, Web Commerce Enabler, Clearinghouse Program, Content Hosting Program, and Player Software Development Kit. This allows for the customization of IBM's EMMS to the specific needs of business wishing to implement digital distribution of media.


DigMedia -
Grammy -
Intel -
InterTrust -
Liquid Audio -
Matsushita -
MediaMatec -
Microsoft -
MusicMatch -
Napster -
RealNetworks -
Reciprocal -
Roadrunner -
Sony -
Toshiba -

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Will the New CPRM / CPPM Specification End the Fair Trading of Media Files? (2001-01-04)
» BMG Reveals its Plans for Taking on Digital Downloading; Sony Follows with Help From Reciprocal (2000-04-12)
» Five Major Music Companies and IBM Successfully Complete Electronic Music Distribution Trial (2000-02-15)
» Sony Music Entertainment Becomes The First Major Record Company To Launch Internet Based Music Distribution Service (2000-01-06)

Related News from Mi2N:
» IBM Digital Management Software Chosen By Toshiba For New Music Portal In Japan
» IBM Showcases Electronic Music Distribution On GRAMMY(R).com
» IBM Releases Napster-proof Music Locks
» IBM Demonstrates 'Any Tune, Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow' At Midem
» IBM And Mediamatec Bring Digital Music Distribution To European Market
» IBM To Introduce Superdistribution Capabilities For Advancement Of Digital Music Marketplace

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