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Future Is Now for New Download Company

13 Oct, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

New company Artio Systems has developed a technology that will allow suppliers to offer protected video content for download and burning to a DVD or Video Compact Disc (VCD).

The download will carry with it an intricate licensing and digital watermarking system and will work on any playback device, the company reports.

Many people who crave the convenience of a digital download don't get that excited about watching a movie on their computer screen, said Artio Systems CEO Jim Flynn. And even among the most technologically savvy consumers, most have not yet networked their computer to their TV sets, “There's still that gap between the PC and Internet world and the consumer home electronics world,” he said.

But the gap is closing every day, thanks to greater broadband access and more homes with burning-enabled computers, Flynn added. “We estimate that about 20 million households have broadband and the ability to burn at least VCD,” he said. In the United States, broadband adoption over the last few years has been on a steady growth spree and will hit 38.5 million households this year, he noted.

Artio Systems has two test Web sites, getnburn.com and eztakes.com. The company plans a test run in November and to go live by December, Flynn said. Eztakes.com, once it's up and running, will be Artio's storefront where customers can find and purchase content from multiple suppliers. Getnburn.com will provide download fulfillment for purchases consumers have made at a supplier's Web site.

Artio's AES encryption technology is more effective than the CCS technology that's already included on retail DVDs, Flynn said. “CCS is a good piece of work. However, it is something that's been broken and that's been broken wide open,” he said. “It's as easy to decrypt a DVD as it is to copy it.”

Pirates can buy a copy of a product at retail, decrypt it and mass replicate it more easily and anonymously than they could reproduce the digital download from Artio, Flynn said. That's because Artio's technology includes, with each download and each burning, not only several strains of digital watermarking, but a branded license to the consumer who purchased it. Any replication of the content after that would be traceable back to the consumer, and Artio is constantly updating its watermarks to prevent people from cracking them, he said.

Although Flynn wouldn't give specifics, he said Artio Systems has three confirmed independent suppliers signed up to offer documentaries and feature films, and the company is in negotiations with others. “We help these content owners exploit the Internet and help other content owners avoid the ‘Napsterization' of their product by giving customers a legal way to download it,” he said.

Artio will work with content suppliers either through connecting the company's downloading technology to a supplier's existing Web storefront, or by acting as a kind of distributor — licensing, providing for download and rev-sharing content from copyright holders.

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