UltraViolet, Light My Way: Cloud-based 'Digital Rights Locker' Introduced


The entertainment and technology industries are teaming up to take another stab at digital rights management, and this time they’re using cloud computing to get the job done.

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) on Tuesday introduced UltraViolet, the brand name for the consortium’s forthcoming cloud-based DRM solution.

UltraViolet uses an account system that gives users a “Digital Rights Locker” that will store their UltraViolet-licensed digital entertainment. Users will be able to create a free account and then access their locker and access their content on a variety of devices through the UltraViolet cloud, regardless of where the content was purchased. So in theory, users could purchase and download an UltraViolet-supported movie via their desktops, register it to their Ultraviolet accounts, and then access their Digital Rights Locker to play the movie on their laptops, smartphones, and other devices.

“The introduction of the UltraViolet brand is another important step towards the consumer launch of UltraViolet products and services,” said Mitch Singer, DECE president and CTO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a press statement. “Our goal is to firmly establish UltraViolet as the symbol for digital entertainment – one that gives consumers the freedom of access wherever they are, the confidence of knowing how it will work and the broadest choice of content, stores and devices.”

The DECE consortium now has nearly 60 members, including major entertainment studios like Warner Bros., Fox Entertainment and NBC Universal, as well as numerous IT giants such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco, Sony and Microsoft. Apple is not currently a member of DECE and is unlikely to join considering it has its own proprietary DRM system.

Currently, the DECE says UltraViolet will focus on digital video -- movies and television shows. It’s unknown if the consortium has plans to include music, e-books and computer games. If successful, UltraViolet will become the first viable cross-platform DRM solution for the digital entertainment market. Currently, there is no adequate DRM solution that allows users to play their digital media on a range of disparate devices, which has become serious problem as more devices like smartphones, netbooks and tablets have flooded the market and the number of digital devices per user has grown.

The DECE said it plans to introduce technical specifications and licensing details for UltraViolet later this year.