Project Canvas looks to open standards for DRM

Web TV project has laid out its plans for digital rights management

8 Jul 2010

The Project Canvas web TV effort has opted to use the open Marlin standard for its digital rights management (DRM).

Project Canvas was last week approved by the BBC Trust, paving the way for the partnership between the public broadcaster, Channel 4, Five and ITV to offer net-based video-on-demand.

Our content protection requirements have to cater for the widest possible number of content providers

One of the sticking points with moving television content online has long been how to prevent piracy while still allowing the content to be shared between providers and easily accessed by users.

Rather than force all partners to use the same level of DRM, Project Canvas has opted for a varied approach so that broadcasters will be able to offer videos with no protection, with some level of management, or with full DRM, depending on the type of content.

"Our content protection requirements have to cater for the widest possible number of content providers, including giving reassurance to those looking to support pay-per-view and subscription access to film," said Canvas's chief technology officer Anthony Rose.

While it considered letting broadcasters pick their own DRM providers, Canvas decided everyone taking part should use the same system, opting for open-standards based Marlin. Developed over the past five years by Intertrust, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony, Marlin is used widely in Japan and by Sony for its PlayStation Network.

"The industry is looking for a fully supported DRM solution, and Marlin will give content providers the best option at launch," said Rose. "Marlin is based on open standards, is already widely supported and is being increasingly deployed by the industry."

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