updated 01:35 pm EST, Mon December 19, 2011
Next Generation Secure Memory standard detailed
A coalition of companies have proposed the Next Generation Secure Memory standard to lock down movies and other content stored on flash memory. Panasonic, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony, and Toshiba are working on a system that would put unique IDs on embedded and removable storage like SD cards and encrypt content based on public keys. The move would let studios offer movies on a non-disc physical format but theoretically keep it from being freely copied without relying on protection in the file itself.
The move would not only allow offering 'HD-capable' movies directly on cards but would theoretically improve the comfort level of studios jittery about allowing downloads of their content. Android smartphones and tablets could get downloaded TV shows and digital copies from Blu-ray movies that they could load on to an SD card but not necessarily shuffle over elsewhere.
Having just made an "agreement in principle" for NGSM, the alliance doesn't have a timetable for when it might finish the standard or get it into products.
The attempt to lock down SD for copyrighted material comes at a time when calls are growing louder for looser protection and when streaming video sometimes makes it irrelevant. Comedian Louis CK recently made disproportionately high profits based on an unprotected version of a self-produced special. Netflix, YouTube Movies, and other services also work for subscriptions and rentals on Android for anyone with an active high-speed connection.
Apple is notably absent from NGSM and is unlikely to support it. Apart from not making devices other than Macs with SD card slots, it has usually taken an all-or-nothing approach to copyright, either preferring a self-developed standard or no protection at all. The late Steve Jobs contended that pseudo-universal DRM formats are often slow to adapt to exploits and make the firms using it beholden to others that might have conflicting interests. [via Engadget]