Microsoft Licenses Its Audio Watermarking Tools to Activated Content

Microsoft's tools will let Activated Content insert and extract non-secure data into audio files.

Microsoft is licensing the audio watermarking technology developed in its research labs to Activated Content, a digital technology and application services company.

Microsofts audio watermarking technology consists of digital audio software tools that will enable Activated Content to insert and extract non-secure data into audio files that they can use to offer additional services to users.

As such, Active Content, based in Seattle, plans to expand its current audio watermarking offerings within the entertainment, advertising and telephony industries.

The company already has its own patented watermarking solution for encoding identifiable, robust, inaudible and unique codes into digital audio.

Its technology has been deployed by major and independent record labels, recording studios, mastering studios, duplication houses, cable television channels and online content distribution services worldwide.

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But the agreement with Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., now lets Activated Content offer its customers interoperability, since its technology will now be available to both traditional content owners and those creating user-generated content.

Prior to this agreement, Activated Contents products were based on its own proprietary technology, CEO Eric Silberstein said, adding that the collaboration with Microsoft will allow the company to rapidly deploy innovative solutions and create new applications for the audio watermarking market.

"Being able to combine our existing assets with Microsofts innovative technologies and vast intellectual property portfolio was a unique opportunity for us … Activated Content can now be in the forefront, providing a digital link in the multibillion dollar mobile advertising marketplace and enabling aggregators to link advertising and consumers with user generated content," he said.

For his part, Louis Carbonneau, general manager for Microsofts Intellectual Property Licensing Group, said Activated Content was uniquely positioned to extend the audio watermarking technology developed by Microsoft Research to emerging applications, "and we feel great about supporting the development of a company based in our own backyard."

Microsoft was committed to licensing its intellectual property portfolio in a way that would benefit both customers and the IT ecosystem as a whole, he said, adding that these types of agreements allow companies to access its patent and research and development portfolios to create cutting edge technologies that enhance their value proposition to customers.

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Microsoft has been moving aggressively to license its intellectual property and patent portfolios to both proprietary and open-source companies, including Novell, JBoss, XenSource, Linspire, Samsung, Xandros, Zend and Fuji-Xerox.

But the wave of recent open-source patent indemnity deals has been controversial, with Ubuntu leader and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth saying recently that Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with those deals.

Microsoft has signed more than 200 licensing agreements since launching its IP licensing program in December 2003, which was developed to open up access to its significant research and development investments and growing patent and IP portfolios.