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Friday, March 18, 2005
Mobile Phone Industry To Drive Interoperable Rights Management


The mobile phone industry and its content partners will benefit from being first to implement interoperable digital rights management (DRM) solutions, which will provide greater revenue opportunities and better user experiences, according to Parks Associates' upcoming report Digital Rights: Content Ownership and Distribution.

"Unlike the personal computing and consumer electronics spaces, the mobile phone industry has been able to develop interoperable DRM solutions from the ground up, which is a real advantage for providers seeking to add multimedia content to their services," said Harry Wang, a research analyst at Parks Associates. "This environment has created a clean slate for the mobile phone industry to write its own DRM standard."

Specifically, the Open Mobile Alliance's (OMA) DRM Specifications 1.0 and 2.0 are key interoperability standards in this market, and they have attracted the attention of other, more entrenched DRM players ? including Apple, Microsoft, and RealNetworks ? that want to leverage it for their own solutions.

Over one-fourth (28%) of the U.S. households are likely to purchase a mobile phone over the next 12 months, according to Parks Associates' recent Consumers & Emerging Multimedia Platforms survey. With this influx of new phones, many of which will have increased bandwidth capabilities, content owners will seek to leverage these platforms as media receivers and players and will push for interoperability between those devices and platforms that have traditionally resided on the home computer and/or consumer electronics side, Wang notes. However, he cautions that the OMA's DRM implementation plans will not be without hurdles.

"The current dispute over the appropriate amount of patent royalty fees between MPEG LA, a DRM patent licensing body, and mobile carriers highlights such uncertainty," Wang said. "But overall, we are optimistic that this dispute will be settled and the OMA's DRM implementation will continue as planned."


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