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Old 01-31-2013, 06:07 PM   #1
simplyparticular
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Is "Universal DRM" coming?

So I had a lengthy conference call from a vendor who is trying to sell my not-for-profit a (not yet existing) web site designed to sell a digital download service of video, audio and books to our organization's donors.

The saleswoman was quite snotty when I raised questions about her company's ability to offer downloads for all the major walled-garden devices (Kindle vs Nook, iTunes vs Amazon, etc). I already found it laughable that her tiny grant-funded company would be directly licensing content from the studios, record industry and BPH, but she says from her previous experience at a "home entertainment company" she has the contacts. She threw around names like Baker & Taylor, but I know they can't serve up Kindle content.

My favorite comment was "since you know so much about this stuff, you know Universal DRM is coming, right?" When I questioned that, she claimed she was "in the know." Then she implied that she should have been talking to my boss (who dumped the call on me to begin with), because "perhaps you are not visionary enough" for her product.

Since I have to present the results of this incredible call tomorrow, I'm just covering my bases.

So is there some future of Universal DRM that I'm unaware of?
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:16 PM   #2
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"Universal DRM" is streaming content which requires specific hardware and software settings.

Anyone who babbles about universal DRM needs to be asked first how it's going to work on Linux machines, and next how it's going to work with accessibility features like larger fonts and text-to-speech. Then, if they have answers for that, ask what languages it'll support.

So far, anytime I've heard the phrase "universal DRM," it's meant "we can serve audio, video and text through our streaming software." Which you can operate in Internet Explorer. On a Windows 8 machine.

Awfully tiny universes these people operate in.

(I am amused at anyone who thinks that getting Apple and Amazon to work together is just a matter of getting the right salesperson in the room with their marketing people.)
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:26 PM   #3
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"Universal DRM" is streaming content which requires specific hardware and software settings.
I specifically asked if she was selling streaming or download, and she was emphatic it was download. Her "content aggregators" like Baker & Taylor were offering most of the content, and she would license stuff they couldn't provide (including BBC video).

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(I am amused at anyone who thinks that getting Apple and Amazon to work together is just a matter of getting the right salesperson in the room with their marketing people.)
Her assertion was that the studios and BPH would get Amazon and Apple playing on the same DRM page (which of course doesn't address format...).

Yeah, right.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:27 PM   #4
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Probably about the same time as Universal Peace...
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
"Universal DRM" is streaming content which requires specific hardware and software settings.

Anyone who babbles about universal DRM needs to be asked first how it's going to work on Linux machines, and next how it's going to work with accessibility features like larger fonts and text-to-speech. Then, if they have answers for that, ask what languages it'll support.

So far, anytime I've heard the phrase "universal DRM," it's meant "we can serve audio, video and text through our streaming software." Which you can operate in Internet Explorer. On a Windows 8 machine.
Big vendors could force implementations similar to what happened with UEFI. TPM's sound like the next big nuisance.

One very nice thing that could wind up being restrictions and headaches for all is PGP. Why not?

Last edited by silasgreenback; 02-23-2013 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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It's not going to happen.

Although if it did, great — only one DRM removal tool will be needed for everything!
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyparticular View Post
So is there some future of Universal DRM that I'm unaware of?
Might be a brand name of some sort. Other than that, the only think you're missing is an a tasty glass of snake oil.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:24 PM   #8
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It is probably best to state that she was not able to provide evidence that supports her claims and that you are not prepared to recommend the vendor's product because of that.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyparticular View Post
I specifically asked if she was selling streaming or download, and she was emphatic it was download.
Oooh, neat! Single-DRM crack program for *everything!*

I think the only DRM on the market right now that hasn't been cracked is Apple's iBooks--and that's because iThings are a closed platform; you can't manipulate code and data on them. (And maybe I heard those had been cracked. I don't remember.)

AFAIK, every type of DRM that involved loading content and the key to open it onto a general-use computer has been cracked, with the speed and efficacy of the crack directly relating to the usefulness and quantity of the content. If nothing else, there's the screencap-and-CBZ option for text.

Quote:
Her "content aggregators" like Baker & Taylor were offering most of the content, and she would license stuff they couldn't provide (including BBC video).
Yes, most tv networks are happy to provide content through a DRM provider who can't explain how their system will work with books, movies, and audio files.

Quote:
Her assertion was that the studios and BPH would get Amazon and Apple playing on the same DRM page (which of course doesn't address format...).
Of course. They've been doing such a great job of that so far. Insisting on a single sales platform for all vendors wouldn't trigger another DOJ investigation at all.

... If she calls back, ask her how well her system works with Linux. Then ask if the ebooks can be read on a non-wifi device like the Sony PRS-505. I suspect she's oblivious to *all* dedicated ebook readers; anyone offering DRM that's not Adobe or Amazon's is going to say "well, it'll maybe work on Android devices if you download our app."

ETA: Is that the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem? I just love claims that "the cloud" is the answer to everyone's DRM problems.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:38 PM   #10
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Might be a brand name of some sort. Other than that, the only think you're missing is an a tasty glass of snake oil.
Hey, maybe Universal Studios is cooking up a proprietary DRM.

As Mr Durant said: a Universal DRM would simply provide crackers with a universal target. I'm guessing it would be cracked faster than ADEPT.
(And ADEPT lasted something like 24 hours.)
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:52 PM   #11
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Oooh, neat! Single-DRM crack program for *everything!*

I think the only DRM on the market right now that hasn't been cracked is Apple's iBooks--and that's because iThings are a closed platform; you can't manipulate code and data on them. (And maybe I heard those had been cracked. I don't remember.)
Yes, iBooks has been cracked. But it is nowhere as easy as it is with the Calibre plugins.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:54 PM   #12
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... If she calls back, ask her how well her system works with Linux. Then ask if the ebooks can be read on a non-wifi device like the Sony PRS-505. I suspect she's oblivious to *all* dedicated ebook readers; anyone offering DRM that's not Adobe or Amazon's is going to say "well, it'll maybe work on Android devices if you download our app."
I've figured out how it will work with Apple and Amazon. An app for iOS and an app for the the Kindle Fires. The eInk devices are screwed.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:55 PM   #13
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So is there some future of Universal DRM that I'm unaware of?
Well sort of. Don't know of course if you are aware of it or not. For video the Ultraviolet format is an attempt at a universal drm. It has some interesting features, and by using it I have been able to play a movie bought from one vendor on different devices and through other vendors players. I can buy a movie with a UV code, and play it on my roku, through my lg blu ray player, on my android phone and tablet, and if I had an iOS device I would be able to use that as well. It also is playable on a computer using a flash based player. It however is no longer coming however, but has been in public use now for around four months

They have done this by divorcing the encoding/format from the playback rights. They also allow a few different comment drm schemes for storing the aes key to decode the content. It looks like it will allow pretty universal playback. Now it is not universal in the sense you can't get all content you want in it. Disney for one has not signed on to it. Amazon has, but so far has not actually shown anything using it.

There is no reason this or another similar scheme could be used for ebooks and other digital content, but I have not heard of anybody planning for it yet.
I would love to divorce rights from format though. Then we would not have to worry about conversions from epub to mobi or whatever future format a device uses. It would be great to have a more open system like that then the current vendor to device tie in's we mostly have now.

Last edited by twobits; 01-31-2013 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:59 PM   #14
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I would love to divorce rights from format though. Then we would not have to worry about conversions from epub to mobi or whatever future format a device uses. It would be great to have a more open system like that then the current vendor to device tie in's we mostly have now.
Yes, we still would have to worry about conversions. There's no chance in hell that Amazon is going with a ePub and there's also no chance in hell that Amazon is going to license their formats to anyone else. And then there is Apple who you won't get them away from iBooks to something standard. B&N with their DRM which most won't support because that would mean being able to by eBooks from B&N.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:07 PM   #15
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Yes, we still would have to worry about conversions. There's no chance in hell that Amazon is going with a ePub and there's also no chance in hell that Amazon is going to license their formats to anyone else. And then there is Apple who you won't get them away from iBooks to something standard. B&N with their DRM which most won't support because that would mean being able to by eBooks from B&N.

That would not matter as the content would be served with the proper format.

Right now if I play the movie on my blu ray using the vudu app it is sent in with a different encoding then I get when I play it using the flixter app with google tv. This is from the same UV code redemption, so from the same purchase.


Mapped to ebooks, the kindle app would check the rights locker for the books,
and once granted download the content it could use, and the nook would do likewise. You don't worry about conversions because the right to the material is mapped to the proper format for you.

Last edited by twobits; 01-31-2013 at 08:14 PM.
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