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UltraViolet -- the next step in DRM, and maybe we'll finally see legal movie downloads

UltraViolet, with its prehistoric-looking ooh-Web-2.0-reflection!! logo, is about to make a big splash in the world of content distribution. If you thought the days of DRM were behind us, you were wrong. Unless you're using an Apple device, actually -- but more on that in a moment.

Be it music, movies, TV shows or books, UltraViolet has enough clout (some 60 major partners) to significantly alter how digital goods are consumed. Ostensibly, UV is a DRM platform, but because the technology will be ubiquitous and omnipotent, 'you won't even know it's there.' It's quite intelligent in its operation too: somewhere, in the cloud, there is a database that stores all of your digital purchases. When you insert a disc (or open a downloaded file), your credentials are checked before the file plays.

Developed by DECE, with partners like Sony, Adobe, Cisco, HP, Microsoft and Intel, this is actually pretty big news. If this means we'll finally have full access to legally-downloadable movies and TV, UltraViolet is huge news. But most tech blogs only picked this story up for one reason: Apple isn't one of the partners. You won't be able to play UV-encoded content on your Mac or iPhone. It'll be Blu-Ray and HD-DVD all over again!

There doesn't seem to be any formal road map for adoption, so I have no idea when we will first start to see UltraViolet-enabled devices and media. Presumably an initiative this large will take some time to reach critical mass... but we'll see!

[On second glance, the UV logo has two mirrored elements -- how overkill is that?!
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Tags: apple, content, dece, drm, media, ultraviolet, uv, uvvu