Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 9 October 2001
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ContentGuard to Focus on Digital Rights Licensing

ContentGuard, Inc. has announced that it's restructuring its business to focus on digital rights management (DRM) standards work, technology licensing, and intellectual property. ContentGuard's revised strategy will extend the company's work to establish a rights-language standard for the digital content industry. By allowing different technology vendors' and content owners' systems to interoperate, the creation of standards will accelerate the use of DRM to manage high-value digital content sold over the Internet or distributed within and between enterprises.

Beginning immediately, ContentGuard will focus on those products directly related to standards support and intellectual-property licensing. As such, the company will exit its services business and some other product areas, scaling down the size of its operations accordingly. ContentGuard will work with customers affected by the change to help them complete their transitions with minimal disruption.

Michael Miron, co-chairman and CEO of ContentGuard, said: "The market for digital content commerce and use of DRM in the enterprise is forecast to reach $35 billion by 2005" [according to a December 2000 Accenture report]. "However, industry development is being seriously hindered by a lack of standards to enable participants' systems to work together and create a seamless experience for both content providers and end-users. The industry needs to coalesce around a single rights-language specification so our common interests in growing the industry will not be hindered. Our new company structure reflects this immediate priority, focusing additional resources on addressing this issue to speed market growth."

ContentGuard's standards work will concentrate on increasing industry adoption of the eXtensible rights Markup Language (XrML), the rights-specification language that ContentGuard launched as a potential DRM industry standard in April 2000. More than 2,500 technology and digital media players have already licensed XrML, which is based on more than 10 years of pioneering and patented research at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). According to the announcement, ContentGuard has been working with several major standards bodies and intends to submit XrML to them as the most viable XML-based rights specification language available today.

ContentGuard, Inc., which launched in April 2000, is a joint venture of Xerox Corp. and Microsoft Corp. [Editor's Note: The Washington Post has reported that ContentGuard has laid off an undisclosed number of workers as a result of the restructuring, and now has 30 employees remaining.]

Source: ContentGuard, Inc., Bethesda, MD, 866/248-2734, 650/813-7886; http://www.contentguard.com.

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