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I'm trying to implement DRM (Digital Rights Management) on some video files (MPEG-4) that will be played on cellphones. Is this possible? Is this associated with great license costs? From a software perspective, are there any free tools out there?

Edit: I'm also interested in tools that do cost money, if they exist?

Thank you.

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Boo! I hate DRM... – Jakub Dec 9 '09 at 15:12
May I suggest something? Don't do it! Find a way to not use DRM...the only ones who suffer from it are your customers who paid for it. If you need it to enforce f.e. security rules of your company or something similar, than I apologize for what I just said and I take it back...except the "Find another way" part. – Bobby Mar 5 '10 at 8:50

The question is: what cellphones, and what players are available on the cellphones in question? Unless you plan to make the user's download new software just to play your videos, you're going to have to work with whatever is already on the phones in question.

What I'd do is to look at the default configuration of the phones in question and see what players are on it, then contact the developers of that software to find out what DRM they support. For instance, an iPhone by default has iTunes on it, so you'd need to talk to Apple about what DRM is possible, how to get licensed, etc, etc. This approach of using whatever is already on there will give you maximum compatibility with the phones.

Be warned: if your plan is to get the users to download some software of your own, then you have a hard road ahead of you - even with compelling content, you'll find that a lot of people won't be bothered to download new software just to see your stuff.

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The plan was indeed to look at the default configuration and then just give my users the movie file so they can transfer it to the cellphone. However, my problem is that I dont know how to implement DRM on the file. – user20722 Dec 9 '09 at 14:00
Then you need to talk to the vendors of the default config's players. They control the DRM for their system, and they probably will require you to go through them to get the proper tools and encryption keys. They ARE the only ones who can help you. – Michael Kohne Dec 9 '09 at 23:12

By definition you cannot have DRM tools that are open-source. If you did that, it would be trivial to take the source and remove the DRM checks. I would rethink the purpose behind trying to wrap the videos in DRM. Is the cost (licensing, time, customer support, etc.) going to outweigh the benefit (people actullay buying your stuff instead of downloading it for free). Please note that the benefit is sales. It doesn't help your bottom line to prevent people from looking at your stuff for free if they never would have paid for it in the first place.

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Yes you are right. I'm aware of the bad protection DRM actually gives, but thats not a decision for me to take unfortunately. – user20722 Dec 9 '09 at 14:10

Have a look at the SonyEricsson DRM Packager. It's does OMA DRM for mobiles and it's free of charge.

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There is also the OpenIPMP, which is a Open Source implementation. I haven't tried it though.… – Johan Carlsson Mar 5 '10 at 8:38

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