Modern media consumers have come to expect access their content anywhere, anytime, on any type of device, and growing consumer demand is driving rapid changes in the way digital content is created and distributed. In this complex, evolving environment, the Ericsson Digital Rights Management (DRM) framework provides highly secure, flexible, market-leading features designed to meet the needs of content providers and consumers alike.
The basic role of any DRM system is to protect digital content from unauthorized use, allowing content owners to properly monetize their valuable intellectual property. But the marketplace for digital media is highly fragmented, with a variety of entitlements offered across multiple device types with differing screen resolutions, security mechanisms, and other abilities. Furthermore, while over the top (OTT) distribution requires entitlements based on device, location, and network type, live content entitlements require mechanisms for time-shifted viewing, advertisement support, and recording.
“Content owners need the maximum protection for their content, whereas content consumers need the maximum flexibility and choice,” says Farjola Peco, Mediacom Technology Strategist at Ericsson. “The balance between these needs has always been elusive, and has been a major focus in the development of Ericsson DRM.”
Because of that focus, and Ericsson’s experience in media delivery, Ericsson DRM has emerged as a lightweight platform for OTT distribution that covers a wide ecosystem of devices, yet has the flexibility and agility to support different entitlements across multiple delivery types without disrupting the user experience. And underpinning these capabilities is a highly secure architecture.
“At the software level, Ericsson’s patented processes allow the system to bootstrap a robust, tamper-proof trust mechanism for key generation and linking,” says Pablo Argon, Senior Director, Technical Strategy IPTV at Ericsson.
“Furthermore, beyond the software stack, Ericsson has also worked with major vendors to ‘bake’ support into silicon, allowing the DRM stack to use a hardware root of trust within a trusted execution environment (TEE).”
Movie Labs, the R&D joint venture of the major Hollywood studios, sets industry benchmarks for next generation video and content protection. Accordingly, Ericsson commissioned three independent auditing agencies – Escrypt, Merdan, and L&T – to assess Ericsson DRM’s architecture, design, and implementation respectively. Their assessments confirm that at both the software and hardware levels, Ericsson DRM is fully compliant with Movie Labs specifications. The Merdan security assessment, for example, rated Ericsson DRM as robust “up to the level of tampering by Criminal Enterprises”.
Ericsson DRM is a fully realized commercial product, which has been deployed successfully in a range of operations. And, while it is a key component of the Ericsson Mediaroom solutions, it is also available for non-Ericsson systems, as its design allows the maximum level of entitlement control without compromising its ability to be deployed on virtually any type of platform, or the security of the implementation.
“Ericsson DRM matches all the features available on other major content protection systems, and its extensibility makes it suitable for any type of VoD and linear content distribution business model, with the latest studio-approved security,” Argon says.