[Matroska-devel] Free DRM Superdistribution

Steve Lhomme steve.lhomme at free.fr
Sat May 12 21:20:01 CEST 2007

Andrew Abbass wrote:
> Hello,


> I'm looking for people interested in building a Not For Profit Free
> DRM database that will give independent artists a cookie cutter
> solution for selling media over the Internet.

You want to build a database or the system that uses the files ?

> I'd like to build it around the Matroska container system as it's the
> only truely cross-platform system that I've found that will allow this
> kind of system to exist.
> I need coders familiar with DRM, as well as people who're willing to
> help draft the digital rights (read as: constitution) aspect of the
> DRM system.

For all discussions regarding DRM you may have a look at these threads:

The discussion then went on in private (since nobody else seemed to 
care). And we got to the point where we almost have something secure and 
usable. I'm not sure there's a way to share my Thunderbird folder on the 
web, but I could zip a copy if you want.

> The key ideas are ease of use, the ability to export a DRM-Free
> version for use on any device, and the ability for fans who've
> purchased media to resell their unique DRM'd copies.

We're talking here about managed copies. Ie the ablity to 
transcode/transfer the content to another version/party according to the 
rights set in the file. This was one of the requirement of the solution 
we studied.

> The closest system this resembles is the Weedshare network, which
> recently closed it's doors.
> By building this kind of system in Canada, it's possible to bypass the
> patent royalties and create a system where the majority of the revenue
> goes into the hands of the artists and the consumers, without a large
> percentage going to support the corporation that's maintaining the
> database.

Well, the more people want to help on this, the better. Although there's 
a lot of work to do to support this. For playback only "secure" players 
could achieve what you want to do, so that it's not possible to hack the 
player to remove the rights. And for reencoding it's the same. That 
means using closed source softwares. Either they need to be written from 
scratch or they need to be modified version of open source ones (in that 
case we need the right to make closes source forks).

For the player CorePlayer, on which some of us are working, can be 
considered such a secure software and it already supports some DRM 
systems and it can play matroska files. So I guess it's the obvious 
candidate for the matroska DRMed files.

For managed identical (no reencoding) copies a simple EBML/matroska tool 
could be written to do that.

For the encoder unfortunately there's nothing of that kind available. 
Maybe a modified version of the LGPL FFMPEG could work, as long as it's 
statically linked. But it may violate the LGPL. So we need more "free" 
encoders to do that or write them from scratch.


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