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New White Paper and NAB Workshop: Strategies for Secure OTT Video in a Multiscreen World March 22, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Events, Standards, Technologies, White Papers.
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I have just released a new white paper called Strategies for Secure OTT Video in a Multiscreen World.  The paper covers the emerging world of multi-platform over-the-top (OTT) video applications and how to manage their development for maximum flexibility and cost containment in today’s world of constantly expanding devices and user expectations of “any time, any device, anywhere.”  It’s available for download here.

The key technologies that the white paper focuses on are adaptive bitrate streaming (MPEG DASH as an emerging standard) and the integration of Hollywood-approved DRM schemes with HTML5 through Common Encryption (CENC) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).

It is becoming possible to integrate DRM with browser-based apps in a way that minimizes native code and without resorting to plug-in schemes like Microsoft’s Silverlight.  Yet the HTML5 EME specification creates dependencies between browsers and DRMs, so that — at least in the near future — it will only be possible in many cases to integrate a DRM with a browser from the same vendor: for example, Google’s Widevine DRM with the Chrome browser or Microsoft PlayReady with Internet Explorer.  In other words, while the future points to consolidation around web app technologies and adaptive bitrate streaming, the DRM and browser markets will continue to be fragmented.  In other words, to be able to offer premium movie and TV content, service providers will need to support multiple DRMs for the foreseeable future.

The white paper lays out a high-level solution architecture that OTT service providers can use to take as much advantage as possible of current and emerging standards while isolating and minimizing the sources of technical complexity that are likely to persist for a while.  It calls for standardizing on adaptive bitrate streaming and app development technologies while allowing for and containing the complexities around browsers and DRMs.

Many thanks to Irdeto for commissioning this white paper.   In addition, Irdeto and I will present a workshop at the NAB trade show on Tuesday, April 14 at 1pm, at The Wynn in Las Vegas.  I’ll give a presentation that summarizes the white paper; then I’ll moderate a panel discussion with the following distinguished guests:

  • Dave Belt, Principal Architect, Time Warner Cable
  • Jean Choquette, Director of Multiplatform Video on Demand, Videotron
  • Shawn Michels, Senior Product Manager, Akamai
  • Richard Frankland, VP Americas, Irdeto

This session will include ample opportunities for Q&A, sharing of experiences and best practices, as well as a catered lunch and opportunities to network with your peers and colleagues.  Attendance at this event is strictly limited and by invitation-only to ensure the richest possible interaction among participants.  If you are interested in attending, please email Katherine.Walsh@irdeto.com by April 7th. Irdeto will even give you a ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center and back if you wish.

New White Paper: Content Security Requirements for Multi-Screen Video Services January 9, 2012

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Conditional Access, DRM, Technologies, Video, Watermarking, White Papers.
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I have released a new white paper on content security requirements for video services that distribute content to multiple devices.  This white paper discusses copyright owners’ requirements for security in today’s world of proliferating devices and delivery channels.

So-called managed networks (cable, satellite, and telco TV) are under increasing pressure to compete with “over the top” (OTT) video services that can run on any IP-based (unmanaged) network to a variety of devices — services like Netflix and Hulu.  In the US, in fact, total subscriberships of OTT services are fast approaching the total subscriberships of cable, satellite, and telco TV.

Therefore pay-TV operators have to respond by making their content available on a similar variety of devices and even through unmanaged networks.  While some major pay-TV providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable are launching “TV Everywhere” services, many more pay-TV operators are trying to keep up by building their own service extensions onto mobile phones, tablets, and home devices other than traditional set-top boxes (STBs).

Content security is one of the many requirements that operators have to meet in order to license content from studios, TV networks, sports leagues, and other major content sources.  Life for pay-TV operators used to be relatively simple: adopt a conditional access (CA) technology that was equally effective in thwarting signal theft as it was in thwarting content piracy.  Economic and security goals were aligned between operators and copyright owners.  Now life is considerably more complicated, as operators have to support home networks and branch out into mobile services.  Content security requirements are more complicated as well.

This white paper gathers security requirements from major content owners and describes them in a single document.  The intent is to help pay-TV operators and other video service providers  that are looking to launch multi-screen video services, so that they know what to expect and avoid any unpleasant surprises with regard to security requirements when licensing content to offer through their services.

I spoke to representatives from most of the major Hollywood studios to get their requirements.  Although it is not possible to build a gigantic table that an operator can use to look up DRM or conditional access requirements for any given delivery modality and client device — among other things, such a table would become obsolete very quickly — I was able to create a set of guidelines that should be useful for operators.

Content security guidelines do depend on certain factors, including release windows (how long after a film’s theatrical release or a TV show’s first airing), display quality, and the usage rules granted to users and their devices.  In the white paper, I map these factors to certain specific content security requirements, such as roots of trust, watermarks, software hardening, and DRM robustness rules.  Security guidelines also depend on external market factors that the white paper also describes.

Many thanks to Verimatrix for commissioning this white paper.   To obtain it, follow this link and fill out the form for a PDF download.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or other follow-up.

New White Paper: The New Technologies for Pay TV Content Security August 18, 2011

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Fingerprinting, Technologies, Video, Watermarking, White Papers.
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I have just published a new white paper: The New Technologies for Pay TV Content Security.  This white paper was commissioned by Irdeto.

The 28-page paper describes the current state of the art of techniques for protecting video content delivered over pay television networks such as cable and satellite.  The two primary theses of the white paper are:

  • Pay TV often leads in content protection innovation over other media types and delivery modalities.  That is because, among other reasons, it is a fairly rare case where the economic interests of content owners and service providers are aligned: content owners don’t want their content used without authorization, and pay-TV operators don’t want their signals stolen.  Therefore pay-TV operators have incentives to implement strong and innovative content security solutions.
  • Before today, many content security schemes could be described as hack-it-and-it’s-broken (such as CSS for DVDs) or a cycle of hack-patch-hack-patch-etc. (such as AACS for Blu-ray or FairPlay for iTunes).  Now technologies are available that break the hack-patch-hack-patch cycle, thereby decreasing long-term costs (TCO) and complexity.

The white paper starts with a brief history of content protection technologies for digital pay TV, starting with the adoption of the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) standard in 1994.  Then it describes various newer technologies, including building blocks like ECC (elliptical curve cryptography), flash memory, and secure silicon; and it describes new techniques such as individualization, renewability, diversity, and whitebox cryptography.  It ties these techniques together into the concept of security lifecycle services, which include breach response and monitoring.

The final section of the paper discusses fingerprinting and watermarking as two techniques that complement encryption as ways of finding unauthorized content “in the wild.”

My thanks to Irdeto for sponsoring this paper.

Content Monetization and Screen Culture April 29, 2010

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Publishing, White Papers.
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On Tuesday I had the pleasure of being a guest of the Copyright Clearance Center’s Chris Kenneally on his interview series on BlogTalkRadio, a live streaming audio platform.  His topic was “More Screens, More Content, More Questions.”  The audio is available here.

The discussion generally fell into two categories: how can publishers best take advantage of the proliferation of devices and platforms, particularly mobile ones; and how they can monetize content.

Which reminds me to remind you of the workshops I’m leading on content monetization on May 19 in New York, at the Manhattan Theatre Source in New York City’s Greenwich Village.  The workshops will be held at 1pm and 4pm.

The workshops will feature a presentation on Content Monetization, based on my new whitepaper, a moderated discussion on attendees’ requirements and possibilities for monetizing content, and a demonstration of content monetization tools from Atypon.  Each workshop will be followed by a reception.

The location is 177 MacDougal Street between West 8th and Waverly Place.  May 19 is the day before the Henry Stewart DAM conference.  I will be moderating a panel on rights information management (the subject of another whitepaper I wrote in 2006), including case studies from advertising and publishing, on May 20 in the afternoon.

Please register today — the workshops are free, but space is limited.  You’ll enjoy an informative presentation and a chance to discuss monetization strategies with your peers.

Japan Is an Island (in Online News) April 9, 2010

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Japan, Law, Publishing, White Papers.

An interesting article in today’s New York Times discusses the decision of Nikkei, Japan’s leading financial newspaper, to forbid external links to its new website, which requires paid subscription to access.  Apparently anyone who puts links to Nikkei online articles on their own websites without permission could face legal action.

This restriction is not limited to “deep links” to individual articles; it also includes the Nikkei’s home page.

Nikkei has huge circulation — 3 million, compared to the Wall Street Journal’s 2 million.

This decision has provoked some outrage in Japan (a country not particularly noted for public outrage), though not as much as many outside Japan might feel.

Unfortunately, the article missed a critical point about this: Japanese copyright law.  The law does not automatically give one the right to link to a copyrighted web page.  In the UK, so-called deep links are illegal without permission, though links to home pages are allowed.  Deep links are legal in the United States.

Japan is supposedly “behind the times” when it comes to online news content, meaning that not every major news publisher casts their content freely upon the waters in hopes that some revenue (from ads, or whatever else) may wash ashore.  Of course, its copyright law enables publishers like Nikkei to construct their own islands within the Internet — in ways that may make some American or European news publishers jealous.

The law gives Japanese publishers a significant economic advantage online, even if they decide to give their content away.  An interesting whitepaper by Daniel and David Marburger, respectively an economist and a lawyer for the newspaper industry, analyzes how legal deep linking has crippled US news publishers’ ability to make money from ads online.

The Marburgers say that the many news aggregator sites have appeared with headlines, links to stories on publishers’ websites, and lots of advertising; this results in a vast oversupply of inventory which lowers ad rates while shrinking the proportion of ad revenues that go to the actual publishers.  Japanese news publishers, with their ability to quash external links, do not have this problem.

Still, the news publishing industry is finding out that there are many ways to monetize news content, as I explain in my new whitepaper on online content monetization.  Japan will be an interesting place for the rest of the world to watch in this regard.

New Page with White Papers and Presentations April 6, 2010

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in White Papers.
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Look up at the top of the site and you’ll notice a new tab that says “Documents.”  Click on it and you’ll find a selection of white papers, presentations, and other documents I’ve created that are relevant to the subject matter of Copyright and Technology.

Included are the new whitepaper on content monetization that we released yesterday; a freshly updated version of my spreadsheet of DRM and content protection technologies; and a number of presentations I’ve given at conferences, some on technology, some on public policy.  These are hosted by SlideShare, the popular “YouTube for PowerPoints” site.

Go ahead, take a look — they’re all free (well, except for the spreadsheet).

New White Paper on Content Monetization April 5, 2010

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Business models, Events, Publishing, White Papers.
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I have written a new whitepaper, The New Content Monetization Opportunities for Publishers: Best Practices, Strategy and Architecture.  This whitepaper is sponsored by Atypon and reflects our mutual interest in making the industry aware of the resurgence of interest in consumer-paid business models for content.  It’s a free PDF download.

The online ad market has dropped precipitously; many say it will not recover to pre-2008 levels in the foreseeable future.  The New York Times has announced that it will adopt a metered-access model in which users who access more than a certain level of content will be asked to pay.  Hulu is known to be considering adding a paid subscription service.  The momentum is clear.

This whitepaper examines trends and best practices in content monetization models.  It focuses on newspapers, consumer magazines, B-to-B publications, and professional information, but it draws examples from music and video content as well. The final section on monetization architecture introduces the concept of Offer Management, a set of capabilities that tie together components like content management, e-commerce, and user authentication to enable content providers to launch monetization models with flexibility and scalability.

I’ll be leading a series of workshops on content monetization on May 19 here in New York, in partnership with Atypon; registration is free.

The release of this whitepaper is also the occasion to launch a new page on the Copyright and Technology website containing several whitepapers, presentations, and other documents that may be of interest to C&T readers.  More on this soon.

Updated DRM Reference Table December 8, 2009

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Technologies, White Papers.

I have published an updated version of the DRM Reference Table that was first published in June.  It contains details of over three dozen currently available DRM, content protection, and conditional access technologies for commercial media, including audio, video, e-books, and games.

The Table is available in two ways:

  • As the full Excel spreadsheet with outlining, for USD 500 (PayPal accepted).  If you would like to order, please click here and include your name and email address in the message body.
  • As a free restricted PDF, using an interesting new technology called PDFSalesLeads from Vitrium Systems  (an improvement over the company’s older Docmetrics technology).  PDFSalesLeads uses JavaScript within the Adobe Reader to display a form, which in this case asks for basic contact information.  PDFSalesLeads compiles contact information and tracks basic usage of the document.  Usage information will not be shared or sold under any circumstances. I welcome your feedback on this technology.  Click here to download.

Vendors of technologies listed in the table who find factual errors are more than welcome to send feedback.

Now Available: The DRM Reference Table July 8, 2009

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Technologies, White Papers.

I have published a reference table of over three dozen currently available DRM, content protection, and conditional access technologies for commercial media, including audio, video, e-books, and games.  It’s available in two ways:

  • As the full Excel spreadsheet with outlining, for USD 500 (PayPal accepted).  If you would like to order, please click here and include your name and email address in the message body.
  • As a free PDF, using an interesting new technology called docmetrics from Vitrium Systems.  Docmetrics uses Flash within the Adobe Reader to display a form, which in this case asks for basic contact information.  Docmetrics compiles contact information and tracks basic usage of the document.  Usage information will not be shared or sold under any circumstances. I welcome your feedback on this technology.  Click here to download.

Vendors of technologies listed in the table who find factual errors are more than welcome to send feedback.

New White Paper: Digital Rights and Digital Television April 2, 2009

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Fingerprinting, Video, Watermarking, White Papers.
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I have published a “new” white paper: Digital Rights and Digital Television. It’s an overview of digital rights technologies as they apply to digital TV, including watermarking and fingerprinting as well as various applications of encryption and DRM.  It covers the DRM strategies of the major “axes of power” in consumer electronics and the tensions among CE, content owners, and consumers regarding DRM.

I put “new” in quotes because this white paper is actually an update of a piece I wrote over a year ago, which is a chapter in the newly published book Television Goes Digital (Springer, 2009).  This in turn was created as the proceedings of a conference on digital TV at Columbia Business School in November 2007.  Darcy Gerbarg organized the conference and edited the book, for which she deserves much credit.

A year went by between my submitting the book chapter and its actual publication, rendering a bit of the information in it obsolete — as is inevitable in this fast-changing field.  In addition, the publisher introduced some errors during copyedit, so I wanted to set the record straight.

The overall book is a very informative overview of digital TV, with chapters written by some of the thought leaders in the field.  If you buy it, I suggest that you read my white paper in lieu of Chapter 14.


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