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Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) releases content protection specification for peer review


The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA), a global alliance of nearly 40 industry leaders in content management, distribution infrastructure, and streaming media, announced that it is releasing for peer review a new content protection specification which will serve as the technical foundation for the secure delivery of streaming and download media content.

Finalization of the new content protection specification is expected in June following a two-month period of peer review. The specification provides a single, end-to-end encryption scheme for streaming media and file downloading that can easily integrate with different key and rights management solutions and licensed content protection devices.

The specification builds upon the ISMA's v1.0 specification released in 2001, which defines an end-to-end, implementation agreement for streaming ISO-compliant MPEG-4 video and audio over Internet Protocol networks.

"The ISMA's new content protection specification represents a significant next step toward greater market adoption of multi-vendor, interoperable streaming media products and services," said Tom Jacobs, ISMA President. "It builds upon existing open standards and provides a core technical foundation for the protection of digital content. It will ultimately enable a wider range of high-value content to be distributed by content owners and help to promote greater product and service interoperability."

"ISMA's goal is to bring the same level of ubiquity and interoperability to streaming that such broadly used technologies as HTML and HTTP have done for the World Wide Web. ISMA's new specification is to secure media delivery what secure sockets layer (SSL) and HTTPS are to secure web communication."

Jacobs noted that the new specification is based upon open standards and technology, including the National Institute of Standards & Technology's (NIST) 128-bit AES encryption standard, which has been embraced by the consumer electronic and wireless communities. As such, Jacobs said that the ISMA's content protection solution is "unencumbered by any additional royalty fees and intellectual property concerns." The specification is also compatible with established Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) specifications.

Key Features

Key features of the ISMA's new specification include end-to-end encryption for the secure delivery of streaming and download content at the content level. This allows media content to stay encrypted throughout video delivery over IP networks and remain encrypted on player devices.

The content protection scheme has been designed for easy integration with many different types of rights and key management systems providing content owners with maximum flexibility to manage business and technology decisions. "In developing this specification, we spent a significant amount of time gathering feedback from major content owners," Jacobs said. "As a result, our specification does not bind them to utilize specific rights and key management systems or pre-selected solution vendors. This allows content owners to retain control over critical business processes and related decisions."


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