Media big hitters slam digital distribution security

Thursday, 12 June 2003, 2:58 PM EST

A lack of secure standards for distributing digital content is threatening to hold back the development of the media, software and consumer technology industries.

Thatís the view, delivered in separate statements earlier this week, of two of the biggest names in world media: Dick Parson, chairman and chief executive of AOL Time Warner, and Mel Karmazin, chief operating officer of Viacom.

The statements have been issued amidst what many are regarding as a new atmosphere of co-operation between the media and technology industries, with both areas said to be suffering in the economic doldrums, and both now focusing on the potential opening up by the increasing penetration of broadband.

"Without a robust digital rights management structure we could all be losers," said Mr Parsons in a panel discussion at the US cable industry's annual convention in Chicago, reported by the Financial Times. "At the end of the day that is what is holding the content providers back - fear of putting product out there and having it pirated. And if we don't have a means of securing any of this digital content in the broadband world eventually it will begin to choke out creation."

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