DRM Experts Debate Limits of Interoperability

Consumers are expected to resist if they can't convert content between devices, but the technology is not in place to enable any-to-any conversion.

NEW YORK—Consumer acceptance will be critical to the success of DRM, but consumers are unlikely to accept digital rights management schemes that force them to wrestle with multiple, incompatible systems.

DRM technology leaders put their heads together at this weeks DRM Strategies Conference & Expo to lay out a path to a better end-user experience.

"Its the iceberg that lies ahead of us," declared Knox Carey, director of technology initiatives for Intertrust Technologies, referring to the fact the consumers will increasingly want to play their digital content on all the media devices that they own.

"There are big risks to not addressing this immediately," he said, speculating that the lack of DRM interoperability will impede acceptance of new consumer electronic devices and create incentives for piracy. "Its getting easier every day," he said with regard to the constant increase in the availability of tools for unauthorized copying of protected content.

Moderator Nicholas R. Givotovsky, who is founder and president of Datasphere Interactive Inc., offered some thoughts on the mindset of DRM developers and end users when it comes to interoperability. "People mean different things when they say interoperability," he said, pointing out that many essential concepts are still not generally agreed upon by all players.

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