For the second time in three weeks, a giant Japanese firm has agreed to use a system from little-known InterTrust Technologies for secure electronic commerce over networks and for digital rights management.
Mitsubishi, with $166 billion in annual revenues, will use InterTrust's operating system layer for its JapanNet online service and for Cybermarket, a business-to-business electronic commerce platform. Global services for Mitsubishi customers are planned later.
"Mitsubishi, with its global reach and a clear understanding of the need to move toward electronic commerce solutions for its traditional businesses as well as for new opportunities, makes a strong first partner in setting global standards for secure e-commerce," said David Van Wie, InterTrust senior vice president.
On October 16, Softbank announced it would use InterTrust's technology for an electronic clearinghouse for digital rights and to create a turnkey service for companies to outsource the handling of high volumes of customer purchases and other transactions over the Internet.
InterTrust uses its DigiBox technology to put a secure wrapper around digital content before it is sent across networks such as the Internet. The DigiBox includes business rules for how the contents may be used or copied as well as pricing information. InterTrust's broader operating software manages those rules, processes payments, and also tracks usage of the DigiBox content.
In addition, Mitsubishi will join InterTrust in forming a global consortium to help manage digital rights to information. InterTrust declined to elaborate on the consortium's goals.
InterTrust has been involved for six months with a copyright protection working group, along with Mitsubishi, examining how to protect digital rights of material distributed on new DVDs (digital video discs). The entertainment industry is particularly concerned that copies of its films on DVD will be easily pirated.
InterTrust's approach would put its DigiBox on DVDs with related technology in DVD players, which eventually will include both VCRs and personal computers.
InterTrust's middleware and tools also can be used for content distribution, intranet security management, electronic data interchange (EDI), financial communications, or advanced trading applications.
Its operating system layer, called the InterTrust Commerce Architecture, lets information providers and others in electronic commerce securely control electronic relationships and ensure payment, usage measurement, and other rights management on the Internet, corporate intranets, and DVD.