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EU Funding Opens Up 'On Line' Music For The Masses

European research led by a UK scientist has the potential to break open the multimedia industry for artists and consumers thanks to 2.26 million euros from the EU's Framework Programme.

Emerging business models in the multimedia industry all require intellectual property (IP) management and protection. This can cause difficulties for both consumers and manufacturers because many of them are incompatible. Now, the two-year MOSES (MPEG Open Security for Embedded Systems) project has helped to develop a standardised way to manage and protect (IP) rights associated with music. This will provide much-needed interoperability between digital rights management (DRM) systems, enabling music and films to be played on different manufacturers devices., ,"The music market may look healthy, but its only exploiting a fraction of its potential," says Dr Panos Kudumakis who, as Senior Staff Scientist at Central Research Laboratories, led MOSES. "In the digital music world many companies have opted for proprietary DRM strategies and are developing devices that dont play the same format of protected music files. This is the same as some CD players only playing a certain type of CD or some devices only allowing you to email someone with the same device as you. This creates a complicated digital music landscape." "Manufacturers would like to lock people into devices with proprietary DRM solutions, but this isnt good for either consumers or the music industry," he says. "Theres no valid reason for consumers to buy five devices to play five different songs. A common standard can benefit everybody, from the owner of content, to manufacturer, to those who want to play it." MOSES has helped to create a new standard for interoperability between DRM-enabled multimedia players. In the case of music, this means people can buy digital music and play it wherever they like - in vehicles, on portable devices, and at home just as they would with a CD. , ,"We can widen access, remove obstacles and give end users an unrestricted experience of music," Dr Kudumakis adds. The research and development work carried out as part of the MOSES project helped to specify and implement the so-called IPMPX (Intellectual Property Management and Protection Extensions) international standard under the auspices of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 (MPEG). MOSES also developed architectures featuring IPMPX for both broadcasting/MPEG-2 and internet/MPEG-4 applications. The latter, known as OpenSDRM, can be accessed at http://www.music-4you.com ,By adopting MPEG-21 concepts and standards such as the Rights Expression Language MOSES enables protected content to be distributed in a way that honours rights, conditions and fees associated with it. Thus, MOSES forms the first European test-bed for testing interoperability among different content protection technologies and innovative business models. "MOSES in another example of the success UK organisations have enjoyed in obtaining Framework Funding," says Peter Walters, FP6UK National Contact Point for IST. "Framework funding is most effective when it is being used in support of the well developed technology strategies of the partners. This is achieved through the encouragement of collaboration, support of networking and - by provision of access to diverse skills - the stimulation of strategic interchange." The current Framework Programme (FP6) runs until 2006 and organisations wanting free information on how to access some of the 19bn available should log on to http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk or call central telephone support on 0870 600 6080.The EU's Framework Programmes are the world's largest, publicly funded, research and technological development programmes. The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) covers the period 2002-2006 and is the European Union's main instrument for the funding of collaborative research and innovation. It is open to public and private entities of all sizes in the EU and a number of non-EU countries. It has an overall budget of 19 billion. Most of the budget for FP6 is devoted to work in seven priority thematic areas:,? Life sciences, Genetics and Biotechnology for Health;,? Information Society Technologies;,? Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences, Knowledgebased Multifunctional Materials and New Production Processes and Devices;,? Aeronautics and Space;,? Food Quality and Safety;,? Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems; and,? Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society. There is also a focus on the research activities of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across all seven thematic areas. The services of FP6UK are provided by the Office of Science & Technology (OST) / Department of Trade & Industry (DTI). More information can be found on http://fp6uk.ost.gov.uk IST Programme ,The IST Priority Thematic Area (PTA) of the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) is the largest of the seven PTA's - with a budget of 3.822bn over the lifetime of FP6. Over 400 projects will arise from the first and second calls, with call budgets of 1070m and 525m respectively. The 3rd Call for proposals was one of three separate calls in the IST domain that have a closing date of 15 October - including a Joint Call with the Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production technologies area. Further calls for 1bn and 800m are expected late 2004 and mid 2005.

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United Kingdom