At Internet World this week, IBM will try to create a standard for "digital container" technology by helping products from other vendors work with Big Blue's own cryptolope software.
Digital containers provide content or software publishers with a way to protect copyrighted material--be it a news article, a program, or a digital image--from being duplicated and passed on to others throughout the Internet. A container serves as a kind of encrypted envelope, preventing users from opening the item unless they pay a fee.
The most well known digital container technology is IBM's cryptolope, which the company introduced commercially in May. So far, IBM has been its own best customer for cryptolopes, deploying the technology on its InfoMarket service and, in the future, in Lotus Smart Suite. Outside companies such as CyberCash and Acxiom have also agreed to incorporate cryptolopes in their products.
But other vendors have their own container technologies that compete with the IBM cryptolope. This week, IBM will make a bid to head off incompatibility problems between these various digital container technology.
"It's in the consumers' best interest to not have three or four non-interoperable choices," said David Holtzman, business development manager at IBM. "You can liken these [digital containers formats] to VHS and Beta."