Nokia's IMEI-based DRM scheme

Searching through the US Patent office applications, I came up with this one on an IMEI-based digital rights management scheme proposed by Nokia, entitled System and method for using a graphic and/or audio license with digital rights management systems.

License files that include graphic and/or sound files no longer simply take up space in a device’s memory without serving another function which can be helpful to a user. The present invention also allows the super-distribution with OMA forward-lock enabled device, and is also less expensive to distribute for the service provider. With the present invention, the user is also capable of actually seeing the licenses that exists in the designated subdirectories on the device. Licenses can be backed up with other content, and OMA forward-locked content is still not usable on other devices if copied.

The present invention makes it easier for an end user to obtain a license than it is using conventional systems, where a code is based upon the device’s particular International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). The present invention is also less expensive for the service provider than conventional systems where the service provider must handle specific consumer requests. Instead, the service provider only needs to sell content keys. The present invention is also preferable over the installation of an additional piece of software (such as a dynamic link library) because the location of personalized graphics and/or sounds is standardized and a browser is capable of handling the installation process with a specific installer.

With this system, content does not reside on the enduser’s device, but on the telco/server-side, only to be downloaded and displayed or presented upon request. Also, the content license is issued only for specific IMEIs (or mobile serial numbers), so you cannot load or view a graphic, video, or audio on other handsets.

The inventor’s claim is that this lessens the space requirements on the mobile device, but come on, we all know this is a design to lessen copying and distribution of content henceforth (pretty much like how streaming videos are not as easy to save).

So if DRM schemes like this one proposed by Nokia prevail in the future, we’ll all have to “rent” our content instead of being able to buy them outright and do what we desire. Personally, I’m of the opinion that I should be able to use content that I purchase any way I prefer, as long as it’s within fair use.

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At any rate, as with most content-restriction systems, these things are likely to be cracked in a matter of hours or days.

When will they learn?

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