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Microsoft PlayReady Content Access Technology

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Microsoft PlayReady Content Access Technology

    Microsoft PlayReady Content Access Technology

    White Paper

    Microsoft Corporation

    July 2008

Applies to: ?Microsoft PlayReady? Content Access Technology

    Summary: Microsoft PlayReady technology provides the premier platform for applying business models to the distribution and use of digital content. This white paper provides an overview of the features, business scenarios, and the technology ecosystem.

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    ? 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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    Contents

    Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 1 The Evolution of Microsoft PlayReady .......................................................................................... 1 Microsoft PlayReady Ecosystem Overview .................................................................................. 1 Microsoft PlayReady Features ..................................................................................................... 4 Core Enhancements................................................................................................................ 4 Enabling Business Models for Digital Content ........................................................................ 6 Distribution Options: ................................................................................................................ 7 Now Available: Microsoft PlayReady Porting Kit v1.1 .................................................................. 8 Now Available: Microsoft PlayReady PC Software Development Kit v1.0 ................................... 8 Now Available: Microsoft PlayReady Server Software Development Kit v1.0 ............................. 8 Related Products and Documentation .................................................................................... 9

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    Introduction

    Microsoft PlayReady content access technology provides the premier platform for applying business models to the distribution and use of digital content. With specific optimizations for mobile operators and handset manufacturers, Microsoft PlayReady enables a wide range of business models to be applied to virtually any type of digital contentincluding music, video, ringtones, images, games,

    and more. Whether you are looking to deploy purchase, subscription, rental, pay-per-view, preview, or super-distribution business models, Microsoft PlayReady will meet your needsand provide

    easier-to-use entertainment experiences for your customers.

    The Evolution of Microsoft PlayReady

    Mobile operators are continually challenged to increase revenues per subscriber and reduce churn in their subscriber base. Many operators have invested heavily in high speed data networks as a means to meet these challenges.

    Products and services have already been deployed by operators to monetize these data networks, with many more planned. From a consumer standpoint, some of the most appealing offerings revolve around multimedia and, in particular, the delivery of music and video. Additionally, there is tremendous interest in other popular data services, including downloadable games and ringtones. The deployment of commercial content services brings with it the need to ensure that the content is not widely distributed in unauthorized ways. Content access technologies provide a mechanism to protect content-owner rights, while enabling a range of new content-based services, and are a key enabling technology for mobile operators and handset manufacturers looking to increase revenues from data-based products and services.

    Microsoft Windows Media? DRM technology has evolved greatly since its launch in 1999, adding support for an ever-wider range of business models. As a result it has been broadly deployed across the computing and Consumer Electronics industries. Mobile industry leaders such as Nokia, Motorola, Verizon Wireless, and NTT DoCoMo have adopted Windows Media DRM, adding to the millions of users of the technology worldwide.

    Microsoft continues to work closely with leading service operators and handset manufacturers to understand how their requirements are evolving. Over the past few years, many have pointed to additional capabilities that they would like, but which are not supported in Windows Media DRM. Consequently they asked Microsoft to build content access technology specifically optimized with the needs of the mobile industry in mind. The result: Microsoft invested heavily to create new content access technology, called Microsoft PlayReady, which provides a major step forward to enable a wide range of new entertainment scenarios, products, and services.

    Microsoft PlayReady Ecosystem Overview

    Content access technologies enable rights for digital content to be specified and enforced, to enable the secure distribution of digital content. The system enforces usage rules and may protect the content from being used in unauthorized ways. Usage rules can include expiration dates, whether the content can be transferred to a portable device, and more.

    In use, Microsoft PlayReady protects content by encrypting data files. Since files are encrypted, the data itself is protected. Thus, the files may be moved, archived, copied, or distributed without restriction. There is no need to hide files, make them inaccessible, or put special protection in place when files are transmitted from system to system. In other words, there are no requirements for high security transport or storage mechanisms.

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    Microsoft PlayReady Content Access Technology White Paper

    Each license contains rights and restrictions, defining exactly how the data in a file may be used, and under what conditions. For example, a music file license may contain a "right to play" but not a "right to burn to CD" and it might enable these rights for the period between September 1, 2008 and October 1, 2008. It is also possible that there will be multiple licenses for a single file. As long as one of those licenses grants the needed right, the user will be able to access the content. Copying protected content and giving it to a friend will not necessarily enable them to use the content until they have obtained the proper license. However, PlayReady supports granting licenses for content to be consumed on a single machine or as a member of a domain specified by the content service. Because licenses need no longer be bound to a single machine, but can refer instead to a virtual entity (the domain), content sharing within the domain is easier. Protected content can be consumed by any user that is part of the domain. Additionally, PlayReady’s support of

    embedded licenses means that protected content that is bound to the domain can be simply transferred to any device that is part of the domain, and the content and its domain license can be backed up just like any other file.

The Microsoft PlayReady Ecosystem

    The main elements of the Microsoft PlayReady Ecosystem are PC Clients, Devices and Servers. PlayReady Devices and PC Clients for playing back content are capable of acquiring protected content, interpreting a license, and enforcing the rules contained in the license. PlayReady Servers include:

    ; Content Packaging Servers: Take in unprotected content and package it for distribution. When

    the content is packaged, the protected content is copied to a Distribution Server and the license

    information is transferred to a License Server.

    ; Distribution Servers: Are used to store and distribute content. Distribution Servers are usually

    Web servers but Microsoft PlayReady technology does not require a specialized Web server for

    content storage and distribution.

    ; License Servers: Store the content protection information and rights for using the content.

    Before a client can play back protected content it must acquire a license, typically from a license

    server (or the license may already be embedded in the content file).

    ; Domain Controllers: Are used to determine what the domain represents (a user, a family, or a

    group of users, for example) and holds a list of entities that are associated with the domain. The

    Domain Controller also enforces the policy defining how many devices or PCs may join the

    domain.

    ; Metering Servers: With metering, the device maintains a count of how many times a file is

    played. When the portable device connects to a computer or the Internet, this metering count is

    uploaded to the content provider. Metering does not alter or affect any behavior on the user’s

    system and does not identify the user. Metering allows the content provider to accurately assess

    royalties. Because metering can be more cost-effective, service providers can provide much

    larger music catalogs for customers to download.

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    Following is a high level illustration of how content and licenses flow between servers and clients to

    enable access to protected content.

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    Microsoft PlayReady Content Access Technology White Paper

    Microsoft PlayReady Features

    Core Enhancements

    Microsoft PlayReady content access technology supports features found in DRM systems today, as

    well as enhanced features and functions designed to enable content distribution scenarios for the

    mobile communications industry. The following list provides a summary of the core enhancements of

    Microsoft PlayReady technology compared with Windows Media DRM.

Feature/Enhancement Description

    Protection for many Microsoft PlayReady supports essentially any type of content, content types including games, images, and ringtones, in addition to music and

    video. For audio and video content, support includes WMA, WMV,

    AAC, AAC+, enhanced AAC+, H.263, and H.264 codecs.

    Domains From a consumer's standpoint it is very attractive to easily transfer

    content to all supported devices that they own, and be able to play

    back the content on all those devices. Domains support in Microsoft

    PlayReady enables this capability, benefitting service operators by

    enabling the delivery of an enhanced user experience. Customers

    can enjoy content from the operator’s service on all the devices

    joined to the domain.

    The domain registration phase allows the service provider to verify

    that the number of devices already registered with the domain hasn’t

    exceeded the service’s defined number, and that the device is an

    authentic PlayReady device, so the service can issue a domain

    certificate.

    All devices that support Microsoft PlayReady technologyfrom a PC

    to a mobile devicecan be part of a domain. Registering and

    unregistering phases can be performed using any type of

    connectivity. It is not even required for a device to be connected to be

    unregistered; the service may be built so that this can be performed if

    desired from any Internet connected device already on the domain.

    The functionality provided by the Microsoft PlayReady Domain

    feature is very intuitive from an end user experience: the service

    provider allows the user to designate a group of devices as a

    “domain.” Any device on the domain can consume Microsoft

    PlayReady-protected content that is acquired by any other device in

    the domain, if they have a domain-bound license for the content. The

    user may easily add or remove devices from the domain, as long as

    the total number of devices (and PCs) in the domain does not exceed

    the limit defined by the service.

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    Feature/Enhancement Description

    Embedded License PlayReady provides the option to have the content license be

    embedded in the content file itself, rather than distributed separately.

    This enables more seamless scenarios for consumers, whether

    moving content from PC to device, from device to device (including

    when upgrading devices), or when backing up protected content.

    Backward compatibility Content services, media players and devices that support Microsoft

    with Windows Media DRM PlayReady can provide backward compatibility with Windows Media

    DRM. A Microsoft PlayReady based portable device has full support

    for Windows Media DRM 10 content, licenses, and services, and

    therefore can acquire content from both existing Windows Media

    DRM and new Microsoft PlayReady-based services.

    A service provider who is running a Windows Media DRM 10 license

    server application can add the Microsoft PlayReady Server Software

    Development Kit v 1.0 to the Windows 2003 Server without needing

    to modify the licensing application. This enables the service provider

    to migrate to Microsoft PlayReady in manageable stages, and also

    helps to optimize use of server hardware. A license server application

    can support both Windows Media DRM clients and Microsoft

    PlayReady clients concurrently. The server can easily identify which

    kind of client it is dealing with, and issue appropriate content and

    licenses for either.

    Performance Performance of key areas affecting the user experience has been

    enhancements enhanced to improve the responsiveness with protected content

    compared with Windows Media DRM. Specifically, new methods to store licenses in the license store have enabled a faster lookup time

    and faster storage time, making both playback and storage of

    protected content faster. These changes, along with the use of the

    Extensible Media Rights (XMR) expression language, provide a

    smaller more efficient license store.

    Rights visibility Microsoft PlayReady enables programmatic access to the rights

    information for a piece of content so users can be provided with more transparency about their rights to use the content. This allows content

    services, software vendors, and device manufacturers to provide

    users with information such as if the content can be played or copied,

    or whether the license has expired.

    Enhanced developer Microsoft recognizes the importance of providing a porting kit that experience allows a good device developer experience, enabling a rapid time to

    market. The Microsoft PlayReady porting kit is easy to integrate and deploy. The documentation is intuitive and easy to use. The code is

    well documented, with useful comments and descriptions of the

    functions, data types, and error codes. The code has been validated

    across multiple platforms so the engineering team can have greater

    confidence the porting kit will work on their platform.

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    Microsoft PlayReady Content Access Technology White Paper

    Enabling Business Models for Digital Content Microsoft PlayReady technology supports a wide range of business models for delivering digital content. Business models supported by Microsoft PlayReady for all digital content types include:

Scenario Description

    Subscription Subscription functionality allows a Service Provider to charge a flat rate for

    access to any and all content in the service provider’s catalogue. Microsoft

    PlayReady supports subscription business models through three

    mechanisms:

    First, the license issuer can specify the length of time for which a license is

    valid, ensuring that if a subscriber fails to maintain payments for their

    subscription, access to the content will eventually expire. If the subscription

    is kept in good order, the licenses are renewed prior to their expiration with

    the result that the user enjoys uninterrupted playback.

    The second mechanism, called Metering, involves the device maintaining a

    count of how many times a file is played. When the device connects to a

    computer or the Internet, this metering count is uploaded to the content

    provider. Metering does not alter or affect any behavior on the user’s

    system, and does not identify the user. Metering is provided to allow the

    content provider to accurately assess royalties.

    The third mechanism is license chaining. This enables a service to deliver

    each user only one new (master) license per subscription period to maintain

    the user's access to all the content on the user's PC or device, rather than

    what could have been literally thousands of licenses for individual content

    items.

    Purchase In this scenario, consumers purchase and download tracks protected with

    Microsoft PlayReady from content service providers on a per-track basis as

    opposed to the subscription model.

    Pay per view Microsoft PlayReady supports pay-per-view scenarios for all content types.

    Rental Microsoft PlayReady makes possible rental scenarios by supporting time-

    based licenses. This means that, for example, movie download services

    can create licenses that satisfy consumer viewing habits while ensuring that

    the content is used in the way the content owners intended. For instance,

    consumers might rent a movie that allows them to begin viewing it anytime

    within 30 days, and for 24 hours once they start playing it.

    Purchasing rights Microsoft PlayReady supports the ability for one person to effectively pay for another user the other person’s fees for accessing the service or its content. The gifting

    ("Gifting") experience is service provider defined, while the giftee experience is

    identical to the Basic Download, Progressive Download or Streaming

    experiences described below.

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