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RealNetworks, Sony, Others Announces XMCL Initiative, An Open Standard For Internet Media Commerce

RealNetworks ®, Inc. and a host of industry leaders today announced the eXtensible Media Commerce Language (XMCL) initiative, an open XML-based language designed to establish industry-wide standards for Internet media commerce.

By standardizing the language for business rules, XMCL will enable content to be played in a way that is independent of codecs, digital rights management systems, and e-commerce systems. XMCL will greatly simplify deployment and accelerate the market for digital media commerce over the Internet. RealNetworks intends to submit the XMCL proposal to the appropriate standards organization, and will work with other industry leaders to ensure the initiative evolves into a widely accepted standard.

“The digital media market is growing fast, with incredible breakthroughs in both technology and the quality of content that is being made available. Now is the time to unleash the true commercial potential of the medium by establishing standard business rules for secure digital distribution,” said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO, RealNetworks, Inc. “With the XMCL Initiative, RealNetworks and its partners are stepping up today to help define the standards that will drive this exciting market.”

“We are pleased to join with other industry leaders in this initiative,” said Victor Shear, Chairman and CEO, InterTrust. “As InterTrust helps lead the drive toward digital commerce convergence, we believe it is also crucial to deliver trusted rights management solutions that have usability, reliability and predictability of rules enforcement. We believe XMCL will help create an appropriate common framework.”

“IBM believes a common standards-based approach, like the XMCL Initiative, is an important step forward for content owners, retailers, and distributors, and ultimately for consumers,” said Dick Anderson, general manager IBM Media and Entertainment. “The initiative announced today will help evolve the digital distribution of content over the Internet to create new e-commerce opportunities. Open standards are key components to deploying new business models, and this initiative addresses pertinent issues in connecting back-end infrastructure and retail commerce necessary to propel the industry.”

“RealNetworks is a long-time leader in Internet media delivery, and we believe this new XMCL Initiative will make it easier to deliver a broader range of digital content to consumers in more flexible ways,” said Barry Schuler, Chairman and CEO, America Online. “We think this new initiative will ultimately be a win for interactive consumers, who are more and more looking to the Internet for their music, and enable all parts of the industry to take the delivery of digital media to the next level.”

“BTopenworld welcomes this initiative as it believes it is imperative for global DRM standards to develop not only to ensure further deployment of quality content offerings across multiple platforms, but also to maximize the monetization opportunities for leading ISPs and destination site aggregators,” said John Raczca, head of content and applications at British Telecom’s BTopenworld. “Until this is achieved, commercial models will be limited and fail to mature without proper scale through ubiquitous deployment.”

Currently, digital media commerce requires the integration of rights management systems with proprietary, often incompatible, back-end systems such as e-commerce management, customer relationship management, and asset management. In order to create interoperable digital commerce, including cross-system rights management, rights holders and retailers need a set of standard business rules to define the parameters of media usage-for example, establishing that a piece of content be viewed a certain number of times per payment.

The XMCL Initiative endorsed today by many industry leaders proposes a standard business rule definition language providing rights holders the ability to take existing media business models – such as purchase, rental, video-on-demand, and subscription services – and deploy them on the Internet to generate new commerce opportunities. XMCL will give rights holders the freedom to use multiple back-end systems that interoperate with rights management solutions under a common interchange language. More information about XMCL will be available soon at http://www.xmcl.org.

The XMCL Initiative introduced today by RealNetworks is supported by a broad array of industry-leading technology and media companies including: Abril Group, Accenture, Adobe Systems, Anystream, America Online, Artesia Technologies, Avid Technology, Bertelsmann, British Telecom’s BTopenworld, Clear Channel, Context Media, EMI Recorded Music, eMotion, IBM, IFILM, InterTrust, MGM, Napster, Rightsline, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, Starz Encore Group, Sun Microsystems, Tiscali, Viant, and Virage.

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