Intertrust Launches OMA DRM Trust Services

Intertrust has gotten into the OMA DRM business.  The company announced this week that Seacert, its trust management services subsidary, will be offering OMA DRM 2.0 trust services, including key material and certificates.

Intertrust built Seacert originally to provide trust services for implementers of Marlin, the DRM that Intertrust designed along with Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, and Sony.  It claims over 20 current customers for this service.

Trust management services are necessary in any DRM implementation in order to provide a root of trust that guarantees the security and validity of encryption keys and other elements of security throughout the system.  This is the case whether keys are distributed through physical means (as with simpler DRMs like CSS or CPRM) or through the network (like OMA DRM 2.0 or Marlin).

OMA DRM 2.0 is the much more sophisticated successor to OMA DRM 1.0.  But while 1.0 is very widely installed, with a worldwide base of over half a billion devices, OMA DRM 2.0-based services are thin on the ground.  Intertrust has had an interest in expanding the OMA DRM 2.0 market because it represents opportunities for the company to license its DRM patents.  Its offering of trust management services should make it simpler for wireless carriers or third-party providers to launch actual content services based on OMA DRM 2.0.

The new offering also furthers Intertrust and its partners’ goal of improving interoperability between Marlin and OMA DRM 2.0.  Marlin represents the DRM strategy of the “media player” axis in consumer electronics, while OMA DRM represents the DRM strategy of the “mobile handset” axis.  Those two axes are obviously converging, with neither one gaining dominance over the other, so it makes sense to try to unify their respective DRMs.  Accordingly, Seacert’s services provide a single source for keys and certificates across both technologies.

Intertrust has been offering licenses to its relevant patents to implementers of both Marlin and OMA DRM 2.0 under similar terms.  Intertrust and Philips, together with CoreMedia of Germany, have developed a spec called OMArlin that enables interoperability between the two technologies; Seacert supports OMArlin now.

Full, seamless interoperability between the two DRMs should help improve experiences for users while also helping consumer electronics makers compete with the other important DRM technology in the mobile space: Microsoft’s PlayReady.

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