Benefits of Windows Media DRM

Windows Media digital rights management (DRM) is a flexible platform that makes it possible to protect and securely deliver a la carte and subscription content for playback on a computer, portable device, or network device. This benefits everyone who wants to create, deliver, or play digital media content by offering the content protection necessary to ensure that content owners make high-quality content available, and the portability to ensure that consumers can enjoy their content wherever they may be, on the device of their choice.

The rapid development of online distribution and consumption of digital media has received great notoriety. There are a variety of technical, legal, and business-related issues impacting this market. The net result is that for a wide variety of digital audio and video content to be available, it has to be protected—but this protection needs to be as transparent as possible so it doesn't impact the consumer experience. Windows Media DRM is platform technology that makes it possible for:

Content owners to protect their digital media content by packaging files with robust encryption algorithms Content owners and content service providers to experiment with new business models through the flexibility of the Windows Media DRM platform Consumers to find, acquire, and play content virtually anywhere

Advantages for Content Owners

Microsoft, along with most of the software industry, has battled piracy for many years. As a result, Microsoft has gained a deep understanding of the damage that the copying of digital media can do to artists and corporations alike. Windows Media DRM was first released in August 1999. The platform includes both server and client software development kits (SDKs) and "porting kits" that enable programs to protect and play back digital media files. For more information, see Platform Components of Windows Media DRM.

Windows Media DRM 10 supports a number of new scenarios that give content owners new outlets to reach consumers. Most importantly, content owners will not have to re-encode existing content to take advantage of the new functionality.

The Windows Media Rights Manager SDK lets content providers deliver music, videos, and other digital media content over the Internet in a protected, encrypted file format. These files can be either streamed or downloaded to the consumer's computer—and with Windows Media DRM 10 they can be delivered directly to devices that are connected to the Internet.

The DRM component in the Windows Media Format SDK enables developers to write applications to acquire licenses and decrypt protected digital media files. The consumer can then use these applications to play protected digital media files.

Windows Media DRM, in conjunction with Windows Media Encoder, can also support real-time encryption; encoding and encrypting the file simultaneously such that the content is never vulnerable prior to delivery.

Advantages for Content Service Providers

Many content service providers have set up online stores to distribute digital media files protected with Windows Media DRM. Content providers can remain confident that their digital media files will stay protected, no matter how widely they are distributed. Windows Media DRM 10 enables content service providers to offer new business models designed to expand the market for online content. For more information, see Scenarios for Windows Media DRM. Among other benefits: It extends the capability to play content acquired through subscription services to be transferred to portable devices, opening up a potentially huge market. It speeds up the process of acquiring or renewing licenses in large content libraries, improving customer satisfaction with the online service. The flexibility of the platform also makes it possible to offer content samples or trials that are good for a specified duration, and for content to be distributed between consumers while keeping the content protected. In short, content service providers have a wide variety of vehicles to attract and maintain different target audiences.

Advantages for Consumers

Digital distribution offers consumers a convenient way to access their favorite content at any time, and with content protected with Windows Media DRM 10 they'll have even greater flexibility and choice. Today consumers can choose from a variety of content service providers, a multitude of devices, and a variety of "purchase and download" payment options and subscription models. Windows Media DRM 10 ensures that consumers will be able to enjoy even greater flexibility and choice by allowing them to acquire and/or transfer their subscription content to the devices of their choosing.

Multimedia technology