Web Extra: Super-Distribution Turns Pirates Into Friends

In the post-Napster world, companies outside the entertainment world are investigating the use of digital content controls to protect data and create buzz for new products. CIO Insight Copy Chief Debra D’Agostino spoke recently to Scott Burnett, director of marketing for IBM Digital Media, about the use of digital content controls as marketing tools.

IBM is taking a lead in developing digital content controls designed to both fend off pirates and attract new customers. Why is this significant?

The philosophy behind our digital rights management technology is what we call “super-distribution”—allowing for content to be wrapped and rights to be ascribed to the use of that content as it travels over the Web—not just for music, but for any media type.

How do you think this technology will shape the market in the future?

Digital content protection in the digital age can provide for whole new opportunities for business. For instance, in the consumer world, there’s a thing called super-distribution that is associated with CRM.

Let’s say you and I download a piece of content. I download something I paid for and I send it to you. But it has super-distribution rights associated with it. You can access that file, but you may play it and review it once or keep it in order to get a taste for it, and then it allows you to separately license it for your own use.

That’s what we call “super-distribution.” It’s almost like viral marketing in the consumer world. If I am able to provide a solution that allows these peer-to-peer networks to distribute these files and share them and pass them around, but do it all within a secure environment so that the content is really protected and I do have an opportunity for revenue, wouldn’t that be something? That’s where it’s heading.

Right now, the way we discover music is we hear it on the radio or someone tells us about it. There’s a lot of, “Hey, did you hear that new song from Oasis?” “No, I didn’t.” “Oh, it’s on XYZ album.” And then people start hunting and searching for that content. With this new technology, you can hear the music, and at the point of you being able to hear it, you can share it—but share it in a secure fashion. If you’re able to do that, you’re able to tap e-commerce into that sharing.

Most recently, in Europe, we tested our super-distribution strategy with a promotion for a new release from Oasis. The band was looking at how to use DRM to compliment existing business. IBM assisted them in producing two million CDs that were distributed in the London Times.

The CD had three song clips that people could play on their normal CD player. It also had additional protected content backed with the technology’s security measures, which allowed only a limited number of plays if users put the CD into their computers.

The promotion tied together content from the artist, never-before-released content—both video as well as music—and that was protected with DRM. Via a link to the band’s Web site, it also provided the user a chance to preorder the CD; the album was not out, so this was kind of a promotion from HMV, the retailer.

CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight Staff
CIO Insight offers thought leadership and best practices in the IT security and management industry while providing expert recommendations on software solutions for IT leaders. It is the trusted resource for security professionals who need network monitoring technology and solutions to maintain regulatory compliance for their teams and organizations.

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