As the 2013 International CES (no longer officially the "Consumer Electronics Show") winds down in Las Vegas, a few observations.
The show broke records in terms of show floor space--1.9 million square feet-- and attendance--150,000 people. The show felt much more crowded than it did last year. Long lines, very crowded show floor, etc.
Noticeable was the continued absence of Apple and the absence on the show floor this year of an official Microsoft booth(s), this after Balmer announced Microsoft's withdrawal from the show last year. The official absence of both Apple and Microsoft felt like there were a couple of huge holes in the show. Given the empty conceptual space, if you will, the view provided--however broad and deep--has important limitations, chief among them is that it's not possible to leave the show with a reasonably complete picture of the "space."
At the same time, Microsoft did have a substantial presence, but one had to look for it in the products of Microsoft's partners in the smartphone, PC, tablet, and other verticals.
DRM remains alive and well in the TV / video / Blu-ray / Xbox / mobile space. The major smart TV vendors (LG, Samsung and then Panasonic, Sony, and may Sharp) remain committed to controlling video content, especially streaming movies, TV shows, and the like.
InfoWeek has an article commenting on the Bush adminstration's apparent desire to prioritize educating other countries regarding intellectual property rights and a response suggesting that education at home should come first. Patricia Keefe's article got things started. Editor Mitch Wagner continued the discussion. A few snippets:
Off topic for this blog (another is in the works), but Christine Rosen's article in The New Atlantis on The Age of Ego Casting might be of interest. Thanks to Bob Horn for the pointer to the article and to the publication, which I had not seen before.
Take a look at Gord Larose on DRM. Lots of useful information. The DRM graveyard page should be of particular interest to those with a historical bent. So much for first mover advantages.
It would appear that with notable exceptions, it's the third generation of DRM companies that starts to get enough right -- business models, easy-of-use, technology, compelling content--to gain traction in the market place.
A couple of early content metering / copy protection companies missing from the list (perhaps too early to be categorized as DRM) include InfoSafe Systems and the company whose name escapes me (halfheimers, I forget half the things I should remember) that involved the Wiedemers.
Also missing are Magix, the UK clearinghouse for DRM-enabled applications started by NatWest prior to their acquisition by the Royal Bank of Scotland, and ASPSecure-->TrustData Solutions, a San Jose, CA-based company focused on DRM-enabled email and other applications for healthcare and financial services which failed to get a follow-on round of financing as the Internet bubble collapsed.
Apart from the walk down history lane, the site is thoughtful and probably useful to many.
An intellectual property attorney at a large New York law firm turned 40 and had a midlife crisis. He resigned his senior partnership and began to travel the world in search of enlightenment.
While in India, he heard about a holy man, a guru, who had been sitting on the top of a mountain in deep meditation continuously for a very very long time. The former attorney went to the top of the mountain, sat down in full lotus position across from the guru and began to meditate.
After several days the former attorney couldn't stand it any more, opened his eyes and said loudly to the guru: "oh great Master, what is the meaning of life?"
The level of conflict is at an all-time high, especially in the consumer space, as illustrated by the the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits against consumers and by the virtual demonization of the media companies by certain consumer advocates.
Having settled the InterTrust patent lawsuit, Microsoft is now embedding rights management closer to and within the operating system, which is the right foundation for efficient security.
The sale vs rental battle between Apple and Real is a positive harbinger of business model experimentation enabled by DRM with increased security and greater flexibility.
Open source is now an important idea in many markets. It will be most interesting to see how the open source advocates deal with DRM in the enterprise markets, especially if open source desktop applications become more widely adopted. The potential ideological conflict between the open source community, large enterprises, and licensors of DRM-relevant patents is already fascinating to contemplate.
The US regulatory context has fueled demand in the Enterprise market: HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley are examples.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. So it is with rights management.
From 1990 until the end of 1995 I was a Principal at Northeast Consulting Resources (NCRI) before it was acquired by NerveWire. For companies large and small, my consulting practice was focused on the information and publishing industries, including early DRM companies, technologies, and applications.
At the end of 1995 I was recruited away by founder and then CEO Victor Shear to join InterTrust Technologies as SVP, Strategy. I was employee 28. During my tenure at InterTrust I contributed to their intellectual property portfolio that was eventually licensed by Microsoft for a half billion dollars (in round numbers). As InterTrust headed towards its IPO in October, ‘99, I left to do another start-up and to return to consulting. For family reasons, I moved back to the Boston area in 2001.
I decided the time had come to do a blog on rights management in part because I believe I have something to contribute that won’t be found elsewhere. Of course, you will be the judge. Dialog is great; please take flames elsewhere.
As you can see from the various categories I’ve established for my rights management blog (others on “strategy and planning” and “start-ups and innovation” are in the works), here I’ll address the following:
General commentary about and contributions to the various rights-related debates.
Companies that provide foundations for others: Adobe, ContentGuard Digimarc, Intel, InterTrust, MacroVision, Microsoft, Wave Systems, etc.
Vendors focused on the Enterprise value chain: Artesia, Authentica, Documentum, Liquid Machines, Microsoft SealedMedia, etc.
Vendors focused on the Consumer value chain: Apple, Microsoft, Real, Sony, etc.
Patents relating to DRM and perhaps security and encryption as relevant to DRM
Policy and legal issues.
Any category scheme is imperfect; the boundaries are always unclear. Still, the above list will give you some idea of my intended subject matter.
So what is DRM? What remains the same, and what has changed? These are topics to be addressed in the next few posts.
(Disclaimers: Under no circumstances whatsoever shall the content of this rights management blog be construed as the giving of legal advice and/or the practice of the law. All trademarks are the properties of their owners.)
Copyright (c) Copyright 2005-2014 Patent Kinetics, LLC No portion of this site including headlines may be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever without attribution and a link to www.managingrights.com.
All vendor profiles are based on original, indepenent reserach that has not been financially supported by the vendor profiled prior to publication.