Coral Cross-Industry Group to Address DRM Interoperability

Well, I must say I’m pleased at the announcement – let’s hope it comes to something: seven major technology and media companies have come together to form the Coral Consortium, with the objective of promoting interoperability amongst the competing digital rights management systems in the market. Coral has been founded by HP, Intertrust Technologies Corporation, Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Sony Corporation and Twentieth Century Film Corp.

Fragmented DRM systems are threatening to dull the public’s enthusiasm for digital media as they discover that they can’t play files that they’ve bought the rights to on all of their devices or can’t transfer music and video to their new PC because of license incompatibilities.

The group aims to ensure interoperability between standards and systems so that consumers will be able to access their digital media easily – however, they won’t be doing this by making DRM systems compatible. They plan to do this by introducing a new technology layer that will allow DRM systems to co-exist, and by publishing a set of specifications based around interoperability. Their ambition is to make the whole process transparent to the end user, so that they don’t realise what’s going on under the hood.

“The classic approach to solving the interoperability problem is to either use a single proprietary platform for media distribution, or to standardize a common content protection and management technology,” said Jack Lacy, Coral Consortium’s president and Intertrust’s SVP of Standards and Community Initiatives. “Consumers typically just want to buy, play, and use content in an intuitive manner and do not want to dwell on differences between esoteric technology features. Coral aims to provide them with such functionality and ease of use.”


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?