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.”