Intel CEO, Craig Barrett, has called for the adoption of a worldwide digital rights management (DRM) system that allows consumers the flexibility to manipulate the content they own in ways of their choosing.
Speaking in Tokyo as part of a seminar to promote Intel's vision of the future digital home, Barrett criticised some existing or proposed systems for the restrictions they enforce.
At the heart of the company's envisaged digital home is a set of standards that allow computer and consumer electronics devices to interconnect and communicate with each other.
Such standards are being developed by the Digital Home Working Group, of which Intel is one of 17 founding members.
The group was expected to publish its first specification during the next quarter, he said. Devices based on the standard were expected to begin appearing in the second half of this year.
"What we want to do is be able to share content anytime, anywhere on any device," he said. "This is the whole concept of the home network in the digital home. It's making these devices interoperable so if you have content on one device you can share it on any other device at any time." But the DHWG standard only addresses the technical interoperability of such devices and DRM technology is potentially a large spanner waiting to be thrown in the works of what the group is trying to accomplish.
Anybody who has obtained content from one of the licensed music download services, such as iTunes Music Store or Napster, may have experienced such problems already because of restrictions placed on copying or moving of the files and many people have been frustrated to find that DVDs bought on holiday don't play back home because of regional rights management.
"Once you see how easy it is to move content around, then sometimes you are faced with regulatory issues about what you can do with content that other people own," Barrett said. "I think everybody involved in the Digital Home Working Group fully supports content protection that protects the people who own the content.
"But one aspect is when a consumer has access to the content, does the consumer have the right to move that content from device to device to device that they own in their home. The basic concept of the DHWG is the ability to use that content anytime, anywhere within your home once you've purchased it."