Akamai adds digital rights management

Content delivery specialist Akamai Technologies is integrating digital rights management into its media delivery services, meaning that users now can not only use the Akamai network to speed the download of audio and video files, but also to protect those files from misuse and track who accesses them.

On Monday, Akamai announced updates to its Akamai Media Delivery service, including Akamai License Delivery for Windows Media Digital Rights Management. Akamai is integrating Windows Media Digital Rights Management into its service in response to a growing demand from customers, who are putting more content in digital format, says Kieran Taylor, Akamai's director of product management.

"They want bit delivery, but beyond that they want to be able to bill for content, accept payment for content, deliver licenses for consumers to actually view content," Taylor says.

Akamai has had a media delivery service for some time, pushing audio and video files out to its network of more than 16,000 edge servers worldwide in order to speed delivery. But customers had to manage the digital licenses that protect content on their own.

With Akamai License Delivery for Windows Media Digital Rights Management, customers won't have to maintain a separate infrastructure or contract with another provider for license delivery, Taylor says.

"When they come to Akamai they will bypass all that capacity planning and all that infrastructure deployment," he says.

Instead, Akamai will provide that infrastructure on demand, Taylor says.

A senior technology executive at a large media and entertainment company uses Akamai for content distribution, but uses DRM specialist Entriq to track and protect content downloads.

"Even Akamai will say that Entriq's solution is more advanced right now," says the IT executive, who asked not to be named. "Entriq remains an important partner to Akamai, in fact. However, I'm interested [in Akamai's new DRM service] because with Akamai it would be more tightly integrated to delivery, and I'd concentrate more business with them and probably get a cost advantage."

"I am less interested in the higher-value services Entriq offers, and really just want someone to serve tons of licenses for me, which I think Akamai can do more effectively in the long run," he says.

Akamai also is updating its media delivery services with support for delivery of live media entertainment via Macromedia Flash. In the past, Akamai supported only static Flash delivery.

Further, Akamai is integrating reporting and tracking technology it acquired with Speedera into its management portal.

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