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Telefonica signs up for Intertrust DRM

Spanish operator Telefonica Moviles Espana and its European subsidiary, O2, signed up for Digital Rights Management (DRM) licenses from Intertrust on Tuesday.

The agreement includes a trial of both Marlin DRM and OMA technologies and will include an evaluation of interoperability between OMA v.2.0 devices and other Marlin devices.

Last week at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, the GSM Association (GSMA) threw its backing behind Intertrust, welcoming it as a licence for all patents from Intertrust, Philips and Sony used by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and/or Marlin DRM services for a single price.

“It is a major step in enabling the adoption of open standards for mobile DRM,” the GSMA said.

Telefonica’s trial is scheduled to go live in the second quarter.

“We are constantly evaluating flexible, open, standards-based technologies that enable a convergent entertainment experience for our subscribers that cross fixed and mobile data networks,” said Cayetano Lluch, technology general manager at Telefonica Moviles Espana.

“Marlin’s rich feature set and ability to run in mobile, PC and consumer electronic devices makes it a natural fit for such systems,” Lluch added.

Marlin is a DRM standard originally developed by Intertrust, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony that is available through an open technology initiative called the Marlin Developer Community. Marlin supports mobile, broadband and digital TV and IPTV applications and is compatible with the Open Mobile Alliance v2.0 standard.

Although the GSMA claims that such developments signal that the industry is moving away from OMA DRM, which the association rejected as unfair and unreasonable, it really seems that many operators are using whichever technology they can get hold of now with an eye to shifting to OMA v2, when it becomes viable.

A source close to the Telefonica deal said that the main issue with OMA DRM 2.0 is the ownership of essential IPRs. Operators have voiced concerns that what the OMA is proposing is too expensive, which in turn has segmented the market and delayed adoption of OMA DRM.

And with companies like Content Guard, Macrovision, Intertrust and now Microsoft fighting for a slice of the cake, nobody can guarantee they are the last guest to the party.

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