Sun: Open Source DRM is the Answer

Sun Microsystems has called on the industry to rally around a single standard for digital rights management and is touting its latest project DReaM, or DRM Everywhere Available, as a possible solution.

Dubbed the Open Media Commons, Sun will offer its DRM to any interested party free of royalties. Company president and COO Jonathan Schwartz debuted the initative at the Progress and Freedom Foundation Aspen Summit.

"We are entering the Participation Age -- an age where individuals are creating and supplying the news as much as they are consuming it," Schwartz said.

"Incredible economic value is waiting to be tapped, but we must not allow progress to be stifled by clumsy, self-defeating Internet tollgates in the form of a monolithic, closed digital rights management system."

Schwartz was likely referring to both Apple and Microsoft, which have used and touted their own closed-DRM solutions. Microsoft has pushed Janus, its technology that allows rights protected content to be distributed to customers through a subscription-pricing model onto PCs and portable devices.

Microsoft has even attempted to get its DRM onto music CDs - a move that would cripple copying abilities for iPod users.

Apple, on the other hand, has used FairPlay and has chosen to refuse licensing the technology to other companies in order to solidify its dominance in the digital music player industry.

In statements to the media, it appeared that Sun was intending to work with companies other than Microsoft or Apple, saying "those who (prefer) a single-vendor or single-device solution don't see the network as we do."

"We fundamentally believe that a federated DRM solution must be built by the community, for the community," Schwartz said. "We must find an open path forward, it's in the economic self-interest of every one of us. And, after all, widespread and shared economic growth makes all progress possible."

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