The widespread dissemination of digital video and audio is a frightening prospect for content providers, who see the possibility of endless perfect copies of their intellectual property destroying their revenue streams. Now a group of personal computer and content providers have come together to agree on a joint framework proposal aiming to both protect digital […]
The widespread dissemination of digital video and audio is a frightening prospect for content providers, who see the possibility of endless perfect copies of their intellectual property destroying their revenue streams. Now a group of personal computer and content providers have come together to agree on a joint framework proposal aiming to both protect digital video and audio content, and to transparently transmit and receive that content between a range of different products, including personal computers, high definition televisions, set top boxes, digital video cassette recorders and digital video disk players. The lack of such a standard has meant that movie studios and the recording industry have been reluctant to offer their catalogs to run on the new generation of consumer devices, holding back the market. Companies involved in the proposal include Hitachi Ltd, Intel Corp, Matsushita Electric Co (Panasonic), Sony Corp and Toshiba Corp, and the five are submitting it as a part of the digital transmission proposals currently under review by the entertainment industry regarding the delivery of video and audio content and protection against unauthorized duplication. The new proposal represents a level of protection above the Copy Generation Management System already hammered out for DVD systems by the industry, and independent from proprietary scrambling and encryption schemes used by broadcasters and content providers on satellite systems and DVD disks. It focuses instead on protecting unscrambled bit-streams within a set top box or DVD player, transmitted to PCs or recorders via the IEEE-1394 FireWire serial interface. The five, backed by the IEEE-1394 Trade Association, hope the framework will have the side effect of encouraging consumer device manufacturers to evolve from analog interfaces over to FireWire more rapidly. It is based on standard public key and symmetric key integration techniques, and incudes a new transport layer encryption algorithm designed specifically to run over FireWire. All five companies have contributed technologies for the proposal, which was presented to the Copy Protection Technical Workgroup, an ad hoc, cross-industry body, on Wednesday in San Jose, California. The group is reviewing this and other proposals. Other industry bodies, such as the Motion Picture Association, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association, will then be approached. If accepted, the technology could be completed by the summer.