Secure film distrib

NorthStar, GNSS develop transfer system

Telecommunications giant NorthStar Communications is readying to roll out a key piece of the puzzle that it says digital cinema’s biggest cheerleaders have thus far not developed — a secure way to transfer a pic from a studio to a theater.

The company has teamed up with Los Angeles-based Internet security services firm GNSS-secure to create what it is calling a digital-rights management control network for the distribution of intellectual property.

The software system, which the companies say has already been developed and is ready to deploy, securely manages the encryption of a film, delivers it to a theater (via fiber or satellite) where it is then stored and archived, decrypted and fed to a digital projector.

System also controls the availability of a pic, down to the time of projection or the number of viewings, can make copies of films available only to specific theaters, and electronically automates billing and other contracts between exhibitors and distribbers.

“GNSS technologies offer a true end-to-end solution to deliver media securely while retaining control and enforcement,” said James Sinclair, prexy of GNSS-secure.

Showing off at ShoWest

NorthStar and GNSS are announcing the availability of their system as ShoWest begins this week in Las Vegas, where the topic of many conversations of exhibitors and distribs will be the rollout of digital cinema.

So far, digital cinema’s biggest proponents, including Kodak, Boeing Digital Cinema and Technicolor Digital, have focused on the actual digital delivery and projection of movies in theaters, not the secure encryption and distribution of a pic from a studio to a theater. Boeing has been unsuccessful in attempts to provide a digitally secure transmission of a pic file.

NorthStar and GNSS plan to market their system directly to the studios, since it’s the studios that will require security when transmitting their movies to exhibitors. The open system can be configured to use any theater’s cinema operating system, its delivery methods (including either satellite, fiber or DVD) and digital projector.

The final pricetag to clients has yet to be determined.

Initially, NorthStar and GNSS-secure are focusing on the emerging digital distribution of films to theaters, but in the future, they plan to adapt the software system to securely control the delivery of digital files to the oil, financial, health care and other industries, as well.

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