Sun Makes DRM A Dream

    August 22, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Sun Microsystems has opened up its “Project DReaM,” which it wants to develop as a royalty free, open source DRM option.

Microsoft has one that lots of companies use. Apple’s got theirs and won’t share. Sony has one that no one seems to want. Even cell phone makers will have one soon. Now, Reuters reports that Sun Microsystems has brought its Project DReaM out of the labs and into the world of open source.

Sun describes its DRM initiative, previously an internal project at Sun Labs, as “a comprehensive system to enable digital content protection and rights management services for media & entertainment,” as well as other markets, on its web site.

On Sunday, Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz told reporters the DReaM project would become part of the Open Media Common initiative. Like other Sun open source projects, this one will probably be available under the terms of Sun’s Common Distribution and Development License (CDDL).

Sun will have to convince a lot of people in a lot of industries that an open source approach, where any developer can view the source code of the project, would be a better option than the closed proprietary mechanisms available now.

Microsoft has been successful in getting big music companies to use its DRM on CD releases and music distributed via download services other than iTunes. Toshiba, which cross-licenses Microsoft technology, will use that DRM on its next generation HD DVD releases; Sony and other supporters of Blu-ray technology will use its own DRM scheme for copy protection.

Sun seems to have a good idea, but the biggest users of DRM appear entrenched in their ways, and even the prospect of a royalty-free protection mechanism as good as or better than others may not be able to change minds in Hollywood boardrooms.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.