Wireless content gets new security spec

The Open Mobile Alliance reveals a new set of specifications to help protect music and video distributed over the Web through wireless devices--and a group of vendors backs it up with a new coalition.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read
Big names in the wireless technology market have joined forces to protect music and video distributed over the Internet through wireless devices.

On Monday, the Open Mobile Alliance revealed a new set of interoperability specifications that is designed to shield music and video files transmitted through wireless gear from illegal file-sharing and piracy.

In an effort to drive the specification, a group of vendors, including Intel, mm02, Nokia, Panasonic, RealNetworks, Samsung and Warner Bros. also announced on Monday a coalition called the Content Management License Administrator (CMLA) that will develop the licensing framework.

The Digital Rights Management 2.0 Enabler Release allows content producers to protect premium content, such as music tracks, video clips and games with enhanced security, according to the Open Mobile Alliance. While the OMA DRM 1.0 Enabler Release, issued in November 2002, provides basic protection functions, OMA DRM 2.0 offers improved support for audio and video, streaming content and access to protected content using multiple devices, the group said.

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As earlier reported, the group--which develops interoperability specifications for mobile devices--views the enhanced standard as the next step in protecting content that will be accessed through handsets and other mobile devices. With these improved encryption and security specifications, the group believes that content distributors can develop more secure methods for distributing their content over the Internet.

"Our upgraded enabler release reinforces the high priority of DRM within OMA, and underscores the importance of content and copyright protection when using mobile devices," Willms Buhse, vice chair of OMA's DRM Working Group, said in a prepared statement. "As trust and security improves, the industry will benefit from significant revenue enhancement opportunities through offering rich content through pervasive mobile access."

The CMLA will arrange the licensing agreements for disseminating the encryption keys and certificates to vendors and service providers. The group will also help the OMA define standard agreements among service and content providers and device makers, so that vendors and service providers can bring new products to market more quickly. The CMLA plans to provide a toolkit including encryption keys by the end of the year.

DRM has become an increasingly important--and controversial--technology as media companies fight against piracy and illegal file swapping over high-speed Internet connections.

A wave of competing and incompatible DRM products has hit the market from Microsoft, Apple Computer, Sony, IBM, RealNetworks and others, creating interoperability headaches for consumers.

Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications and Siemens already make handsets that use an early version of OMA's DRM, while Ericsson and Openwave Systems make servers that use the technology, according to OMA's Web site.