Sydney-based software developer IPR Systems is providing an essential technology behind the next wave of mobile phones.
Its Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) has been adopted by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) as a universal standard for controlling digital content usage.
IPR Systems has spent about $2.5 million on development in the past 18 months and expects to see a return on investment by the middle of 2004. It will do this by selling the ODRL application to organisations wanting to control the use of MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) content.
Typical content would include news, sport, entertainment, video clips, animation and video streaming.
“It is a great success for Australia that IPR Systems has established ODRL as the industry standard,” CEO, John Worton, said. “It is helping intellectual property owners to tag these rules onto their content so they can trade it, track its use and therefore maximise its value.”
ODRL beat off competition from languages written by, among others, Microsoft. IPR plans to run a couple of pilot schemes with “prestigious sports content owners” in the UK before going fully out to the market.
The recently launched Nokia 3650 is one of the first MMS DRM (Digital Rights Management) handsets to hit the shelves with a ‘forward-lock’ to prevent consumers sending content to other users.
Service offerings from other manufacturers and telcos are set to follow and IPR estimates they will move on to peer-to-peer ‘super distribution’ capabilities by the end of the year.
This means content forwarded will not be able to be viewed by the receiver until a license has been obtained from the copyright owner. Other variations on the application include playing a video three times or viewing an image for one week only.
“When Hutchison launches it’s new 3G network [next week] you can expect more of the same. Music will be huge,” IPR’s business development manager, Fergus Stoddart, said.
“Having the [ODRL] language in the handset gives [service providers] control all the way down to the end device.
“OMA has learned its lesson from the Internet and put infrastructure in place to control content. It’s too late for the Internet because the information is already out there.”
Market analysts at Datamonitor predicted the market for content over mobile phones would reach $US38 billion by 2006.