You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thomson in piracy fight

Company joins Microsoft, Time Warner as shareholders

French media technology firm Thomson said Monday it would buy a third of U.S.-based antipiracy software maker ContentGuard in a deal aimed at spurring the entertainment industry to move business to the Internet.

At an undisclosed price, Thomson would join shareholders Microsoft and Time Warner, who were in the process of taking over ContentGuard from Xerox.

Bethesda, Md.-based ContentGuard is one of the world’s key patent holders of software that protects digital content, including music, films and documents. Without this digital rights management (DRM) software, media companies will not be able to protect or earn money on their film and music libraries.

Internet shops like Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft Music Store are equipped with DRM software to prevent consumers from making unlimited digital copies.

After the deal, Thomson, Microsoft and Time Warner will own equal stakes in ContentGuard. TW will help persuade other music and film producers to move their business to the Internet with the help of DRM. Microsoft needs DRM in all its software products, such as Windows Media Player and Office.

Thomson, which provides media technology and decoders to broadcasters and other network owners, will approach its customers. As a company that has helped to invent popular music and video compression technologies, Thomson also can help ContentGuard manage and sell patents, it said in a statement.

Antitrust probe

The takeover by Microsoft and Time Warner is still subject of a European Union antitrust probe, as the European Commission wants to investigate if the new owners would attain a dominant position in the crucial field of DRM software.

Microsoft did not want to speculate if the entry of Thomson as an investor would change the commission’s stance. The deadline for the probe is Jan. 6.

The patents of ContentGuard and that of its rival InterTrust put them at the center of the digital age, at least until 2014, when ContentGuard’s first patents start to expire.

ContentGuard chief executive Michael Miron said ContentGuard would not abuse its position. “We will have sub-optimal growth of DRM if we don’t play in the right way. We haven’t planned for punitive pricing.”

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content