Adobe Fortifies Rights Management Capabilities With New Flash Server

Mar 21, 2008

With a nod toward broadcasters and media companies that are looking to deliver and protect Flash video, Adobe Systems Incorporated announced on Wednesday the availability of the Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server software. The product allows content owners and distributors to control how and where their media content can be distributed and experienced (even after it has been downloaded) by encrypting audio/video files and setting policies for their access. The new server integrates into existing and emerging media delivery workflows, including Adobe Media Player and video applications that run on Adobe AIR software.

“Flash today is the ubiquitous video delivery leader on the internet,” says Laurel Reitman, senior product manager of Flash Media Server Services. “We are releasing this product in the interest of expanding our server ecosystem through the introduction of a rights management server. The product will allow users, for the first time, to deliver and protect videos within the Flash ecosystem both online and offline.”

The server protects downloaded media from being tampered with by encrypting the content and signing playlists. Adobe Media Player can detect if encrypted content has been corrupted and deny access to it. To protect content from being stolen, the server associates the media file with a particular policy that specifies its rights—who can view it, when, and for how long.

Adobe’s Reitman says that the primary market for the Flash Media Rights Management Server consists of content and media owners. “Broadcasters are starting to deliver more and more video content over the internet,” she says. “As they do, they want to protect how, where, and when content is viewed. This product provides the flexibility for business owners to determine their own rules.” In particular, Reitman points to the Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server’s offline ad-supported playback ability as a function that will be particularly useful as viewers’ online video-watching habits evolve and media companies strive to keep up.

Naturally, big media companies are grateful to have the tools to protect their audio and video content. “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,” says Richard Berger, SVP of New Media and Technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Safeguarding digital media assets from unauthorized usage is a key component of our online strategy. We are pleased to see Adobe launch the Flash Media Rights Management Server and look forward to exploring its ability to enable new and secure distribution models with our partners.”

Beyond big media companies pushing video content out to consumers, Adobe’s Reitman says that the Flash Media Rights Management Server can be a useful tool within the enterprise walls. “More and more content inside the firewall is delivered via video: company meetings, training videos, and so on. There’s a lot of media content flowing within the enterprise. A growing problem is that sometimes that content ends up on YouTube. This product builds on the technology we have today so now you can protect video assets within the enterprise.”

Adobe Flash Media Rights Management Server runs on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition or Standard Editon and Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS or ES 4.0 operating systems. It requires a BEA WebLogic 8.1 application server, and an Oracle database is required for storing encryption keys and access control lists. The product is available for $40,000 per CPU, and users will be able to protect unlimited content as allowed by server capacity.