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By moving to the cloud Amazon opens door on the simplest of rights lockers

There is a confluence of two major movements in media which Amazon has managed to combined this week perfectly to take a key step forwards in online v

By PETER WHITE

Published: 31 March, 2011

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There is a confluence of two major movements in media which Amazon has managed to combined this week perfectly to take a key step forwards in online video – the two concepts are the cloud and a rights locker.

We have read a number of stories about the Amazon Cloud Drive and Cloud Players for both the web and for Android, written from the point of view of the drift towards the cloud and one that mentions DECE, the original rights locker idea, but we think, like the song says, “you can’t have one without the other.”

Well this is not strictly true. A right locker is a dispensation outpost for content that can look up if you have actually paid for that content, and give permission for another copy to be issued to you. Some software rights lockers exist but are very limited, you can download a spare copy if your copy gets deleted, and usually you have to pay a separate and extra payment over and above the purchase to register for the locker.

A content right’s locker, especially in the modern digital world, can also take care of upgrades and quality issues, so that if you buy a PC copy of some content, you can enable business models such as counting all or some of the money you paid for that version to go towards buying a better quality HD version which will work with both your PC and your HD connected TV.

A rights locker puts the price of the storage into the original purchase so that as you buy content, particularly music or video, it can retain the version you have bought and under secure delivery give you another equivalent copy. It can also allow key business models such as play a certain number of times, or buy for a year, arranged by keeping your rights described in a detailed rights statement, probably using a rights language, which transactional systems can interrogate. It also manages the security itself.

Now with an internet that is arguably ready to stream commercial Netflix class HD video content, then that model of having a rights locker becomes far simpler. Instead of the rights conversation happening with one central server, and it then passing on permission to a remote content service to “allow” another download, an actual streamed copy can sit in the locker, as it were, ready to be streamed again and again. So as the cloud comes along, it makes rights lockers far easier than when they were focused on downloads.

It should take away grief for the customer. So for instance, right now, by buying songs from iTunes in MP3 format, but storing them on an Android phone, there is no official “route” onto the phone, and the transition process is clunky. If there is a piece of software on the locker that decides what device you want to stream it to , it should then be able to allow the stream, select the most appropriate format for the content, and either transcode to that format or have a stored version in that format, and simply select it, and work in a multi-device world. So you may buy video for your iPad, but want to play it on a TV set and it will check you are allowed to and make sure it happens for you to the best of its ability.

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