The US Patent Office has recently published a patent application by Disney Enterprises which appears to be the groundwork for Disney’s announced digital rights management (DRM) technology dubbed ‘Keychest.’
The technology is intended to allow an individual to purchase the right to a movie or a song or book or any other type of protected content and be able to play that same content on any number of multimedia devices with just the single purchase. For example, songs purchased through iTunes are limited not just to iPod/iPhone/iTunes devices, but specific ones. With ‘Keychest’ technology, that song might also be able to be played on a PC using any copy of iTunes (or even another application), on any other mobile device, etc. The same would apply for movies. For example, purchase the latest Disney film on DVD and immediately be able to stream it on your friend’s computer or play it on your cell phone, all at no additional cost.
But, as Disney has been quick to note, Keychest is not a form of DRM. Rather it’s a technology to introduce a system in which a trusted authority can validate that an individual has the rights to a particular multimedia item. So for example, purchasing a song on iTunes would notify the trusted authority that you now own that song and when you attempt to play it on a different, compatible device, that device can confirm with the trusted authority that you own the item and allow you to play it on the alternate device.
Through various actions by the Walt Disney Company that we have already reported on, we believe that it’s not Disney’s intent to actually create the system using Keychest technology, but rather that they will license the technology out to a company (or perhaps an independent organization composed of various licensors) that will operate the authority under its own name and that Disney will be a client, having already registered several domain names which support the notion that the technology will apply to Disney films.
For your daily recommended reading, here is the Keychest Patent Application.