Toshiba's SD-Card-Based Digital Rights Management System Opens up Full Potential of Digital Content Distribution Market

17 July, 2003

High level copyright protection combined
with full access and use of digital content on multiple platforms

TOKYO -- Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has developed a digital rights management (DRM) system that supports safe, secure distribution of digital book content, including music and visual images. Toshiba's DRM is the first to allow downloaded materials to be freely saved to and used on different media, including DVD, CD, HDD and flash memory, and to allow users to enjoy the same content on a wide range of different platforms.

A DRM system that achieves a high level of copyright protection while maximizing content usability is essential for any system of digital content distribution. While the ease-of-use and immense cost-efficiency of such a system is clear, concerns about copy protection have forced digital content owners to completely avoid on-line distribution or to impose copy protection that limit the use of downloaded content. However, these copy restrictions have discouraged user interest and slowed market growth. Toshiba's new SD-Card-based DRM system proposes an innovative solution that protects the rights of content owners while maximizing the ability of users to freely use downloaded digital products on multiple platforms.

The essence of the system is an SD Card. This holds an encrypted Key, a right to access, that opens separately delivered encrypted digital content. The Key is securely delivered on-line and securely saved to the SD Card, and is used to open access to the encrypted digital content. For example, a digital book downloaded from the Internet can be seen on a PC, saved to a PDA, or copied to a removable memory, and so read on any portable equipment.

Toshiba's DRM system allows encrypted content to be freely copied, from medium to medium, but it can only be opened and accessed when used with the Key. This system switches emphasis from possession of content to access. The content can be freely copied and distributed in any media, including CD and DVD, but its encryption cannot be broken and it cannot be accessed without the Key. The Key is also secure. It is encrypted in association with the unique ID given to the SD Card, and will not work if copied to another SD Card with a different ID.

Current on-line content distribution systems usually limit access to digital content to the device to which it is downloaded, typically a PC and PDA. Toshiba's solution expands it to any equipment. As a result, users with the Key have full and fair use of the content, while the rights of the content owner are fully respected. The ultimate advantage of Toshiba's DRM system is its support for superdistribution, in which content can be copied freely to and from diverse media and even passed from person to person in an encrypted form, but users pay for it only when and if they want to access the content.

Toshiba will continue to refine the system for commercialization by content providers and equipment manufacturers.

Outline of digital rights management platform

Outline of digital rights management platform

Information in the press releases, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the press announcement,but is subject to change without prior notice.