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CE vendors unite to develop DRM

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DRM is coming to consumer electronics kit courtesy of an alliance between some of the arena's biggest names and DRM developer Intertrust, it has emerged.

Together known as the Marlin Joint Development Association (MJDA), the group's founder members comprise Sony, Philips, Samsung, Matsushita/Panasonic and Intertrust.

MJDA's goal, they say, is to develop a specification that will allow CE equipment makers to implement DRM and be sure it will work across a range of devices from different manufacturers. And, presumably, one that doesn't leave them in hock to Microsoft.

This isn't the only DRM-standardisation effort around, of course. Last October, all the MJDA members founded the Coral Consortium with the intention of defining an interoperability framework to allow multiple DRM technologies to co-exist. Coral also has the backing of 20th Century Fox and HP.

MJDA's initial specification is expected to appear by the middle of the year, with the intention of getting Marlin-based devices to market early 2006. Marlin will be designed, the MJDA members said, to hook straight into Coral.

Whenever these technologies appear, their development points to greater adoption of such copy-protection methods by content providers. The CE vendors clearly believe DRM is going to go mainstream, beyond its relatively limited use today in song downloads. ®

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