DRM Compatability

Endorses NARM Statement that Says Compatibility Will Satisfy Consumer Expectations and Discourage Piracy

ENCINO, CA (November 7, 2006) … The Board of Directors of the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) yesterday urged the adoption of interoperable digital rights management (DRM) systems, stating that DRM compatibility would satisfy consumer expectations and encourage consumers to buy and rent more digital media rather than download pirated, DRM-free files. As part of its call for DRM compatibility, EMA endorsed a statement on DRM compatibility issued by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) on July 27 and joined the Coral Consortium, a cross-industry group to promote interoperability between DRM technologies used in the consumer media market.

"EMA has long supported use of DRM to strengthen legitimate copyright protection, but has opposed the use of DRM to control, restrict or eliminate lawful non-infringing choices that consumers and retailers currently enjoy," noted EMA President Bo Andersen. "We believe that, as in the music space, incompatibility and the resulting consumer confusion and frustration will be a deterrent to the growth of legal video digital commerce. While today the market for digital delivery of video is relatively small, now is the right time to address this important issue."

Digital rights management (DRM) is the umbrella term referring to any of several tools used to enforce pre-defined models and policies controlling access to digital software, music, movies, and video games. An important type of DRM, known as technical protection measures, are technologies that control or limit the access and use of digital content when played on hardware compatible with or limited by the protection technology.

The digital delivery of video (movies, TV shows, etc.) is in its embryonic phase, spurred by the recent launch of Amazon's Unbox and the iTunes Movie Store. Like digital music, DRM in digital video is included to control copying and distribution, but also similar to music, compatibility is an issue. Movies downloaded from Unbox or CinemaNow, for example, will play on Windows PC, and will play in portable media players certified as "Plays For Sure" by Microsoft (such as players manufactured by Creative, Samsung, and Archos) as well as on Sony's PSP – but they won't play on the Video iPod. And, likewise, video downloaded from the iTunes Movie Store will only play on an iPod and not on the PSP or "Plays for Sure" players.

EMA is a member of the Coral Consortium, a cross-industry group to promote interoperability between digital rights management (DRM) technologies used in the consumer media market. The Consortium's goal is to create a common technology framework for content, device, and service providers, regardless of the DRM technologies they use. This open technology framework will enable a simple and consistent digital entertainment experience for consumers.

For more information on the Coral Consortium, click here.

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