Adobe is attempting to allay fears over the security of video created for its Flash technology by releasing new content-protection server software to guard against misuse.
The Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server is aimed at broadcasters and media companies who deliver video that can be viewed in both online and offline formats. The company says that the product will integrate into existing and emerging media-delivery workflows, including Adobe Media Player and video applications that run on Adobe's AIR cross-operating system runtime software.
In the wake of repeated hacks to the BBC's iPlayer, security concerns surrounding online video content delivery are high. However, both the BBC and Adobe have asserted that protecting media content is a fundamental part of developing next-generation television business models.
"At Sony Pictures Entertainment, we are looking for innovative new ways to distribute our movies and TV shows so consumers can view them when and where they want," said Richard Berger, senior vice president of new media and technology for the company. "Safeguarding digital media assets from unauthorised usage is a key component of our online strategy."
According to Adobe, content owners can use Flash Media Rights Management Server to encrypt FLV and F4V audio and video files that are downloaded from the web and subsequently played locally on a PC or Mac.
Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk today, Steve Allison, technical evangelist for the dynamic media group at Adobe, explained part of the encryption procedure. "Essentially it is a two-step process. First of all, the content provider encrypts the actual file itself with a unique key for every file — and even every user, if needed — then a policy is implemented which contains information on the usage rights. Usage-control policies then allow service providers to specify a range of parameters for user access and media expiration, while dynamic rights management lets them change usage rights even after a file has been distributed," said Allison.
Adobe Media Player is a customisable desktop player that lets viewers select when and where they watch downloaded or streamed media. Currently in beta, the final release is scheduled to be available in spring 2008.
Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server is now available for Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat Linux. Users will be able to protect unlimited content as allowed by server capacity.