Author: Daniel Kim

Protecting Audio Content with PallyCon Multi-DRM: Part 2

In the last post, we found out the historical background and the need for audio DRM. In this post, we will learn to more about Protecting content with Multi-DRM.

 

Protecting audio content with Multi-DRM

 

What is ‘Multi-DRM’?

 

The early-stage DRM solutions were provided by each DRM vendor in the form of an embedded DRM or client SDK supporting a limited range of devices, using a proprietary single DRM specification. ‘Multi-DRM’ differs from ‘Single DRM’ in that multiple DRMs(PlayReady, Widevine, FairPlay) are provided by major platforms(browser or OS) and applied to content by a standardized specification.

 

Multi-DRM is applied to DASH or HLS type content according to the supported target platform. In the case of DASH contents, PlayReady and Widevine DRM that support MPEG CENT(Common Encryption) are used. To support Multi-DRM on Apple platforms such as macOS and iOS, you must apply FairPlay DRM to a separate HLS content. That is, you need to generate and serve two DRM contents(DASH and HLS) for one original content.

 

Widevine, MS Playready, Apple FairPlay logo
Figure 9. Microsoft PlayReady, Google Windevine, Apple FairPlay

 

 

Multi-DRM and web browser support

 

Traditional ‘single DRM’ solutions required the use of a separate browser plug-in, such as `Flash`, to protect the audio/video content played in a web browser. However, due to various security and performance issues, plug-in support in web browsers is being discontinued. So plug-in based DRM solutions are disappearing from the market.

 

One of the benefits of multi-DRM is that you can play DRM content in a web browser without a separate plug-in. You can support DRM content playback on most platforms with a single web application, without having to develop native applications for each client platform, such as PC and mobile.

 

Information on supported DRM and content types by platform and browser are listed in the table below.

 

OS Browser Streaming type DRM
Windows 8.1 or later IE11, Edge MPEG-DASH PlayReady
Windows 7.0,
Mac OS 10.10 or later
Chrome v35,
FireFox v47 or later
MPEG-DASH Widevine
Modular
Android 4.4 or later Chrome v57 or later MPEG-DASH Widevine
Modular
Mac OS 10.10 or later Safari v8 or later HLS FairPlay
Streaming
iOS 11.2 or later Safari v11.2 or later
(same as iOS version)
HLS FairPlay
Streaming
Table 1. Supported DRM and content types by platform and browser

 

 

OS / Browser
Streaming Type / DRM
Windows 8.1 or later / IE11, Edge
MPEG-DASH / PlayReady
Windows 7.0, Mac OS 10.10 or later / Chrome v35, FireFox v47 or later
MPEG-DASH / Widevine Modular
Android 4.4 or later / Chrome v57 or later
MPEG-DASH / Widevine Modular
Mac OS 10.10 or later / Safari v8 or later
HLS / FairPlay Streaming
iOS 11.2 or later / Safari v11.2 or later (same as iOS version)
HLS / FairPlay Streaming
Table 1. Supported DRM and content types by platform and browser

 

 

How to apply Multi-DRM to audio content

 

MP3 format is mainly used for downloading and streaming services of DRM-free audio content. However, in order to apply Multi-DRM, you must package MP4 audio (M4A) format source instead of MP3 format and convert it to DASH or HLS streaming format.

 

Basically, audio content can be packaged in the same way as DRM packaging for video content, and content playback in a web browser can be supported through HTML5-based player solutions just like video content.

 

It takes a lot of manpower and time to implement these complex processes such as Multi-DRM packaging, DRM key/license management, and player integration. By using a DRM SaaS(Solution as a Service) such as PallyCon Multi-DRM from INKA Entworks, DRM can be applied easily with reduced time and cost.

 

 

PallyCon Multi-DRM Cloud

 

PallyCon Multi-DRM is a cloud based SaaS(Solution as a Service) product. With PallyCon Multi-DRM service, complex Multi-DRM technology can be applied easily and quickly to support various platforms and environment.

 

Source Content → Encoder → PallyCon Packager or 3rd party solution → CDN storage and PallyCon Key Management Service
Figure 10. PallyCon Multi-DRM

 

To apply DRM to content services, it is necessary to package the content in a format (DASH, HLS) that multi-DRM supports. PallyCon Multi-DRM supports various packaging methods such as Command Line Interface(CLI) type packager, commercial encoder/transcoder solution integration, and cloud-based packaging service.

 

How does PallyCon multi-drm work
Figure 11. Multi-DRM license issuance

 

DRM content that has been packaged is delivered to the user’s device through the Content Delivery Network(CDN) such as AWS CloudFront and Akamia. When the content usage right is confirmed, the content key for playback is delivered to the device.

 

PallyCon Multi-DRM provides HTML5 player integration specification and guide for browser playback. It also provides API specification and SDK to support mobile devices such as Android and iOS or various OTT client devices.

 

 

With these solutions provided by PallyCon Multi-DRM, content service providers can easily and quickly protect their contents with simple integration. If you have a content service built on AWS Cloud Platform such as AWS Media Service you can get the benefit of one-stop billing by subscribing PallyCon Multi-DRM Cloud product on AWS Marketplace.

 

 

Cases of PallyCon Multi-DRM for audio content

 

PallyCon Multi-DRM service has already been applied to NAVER AudioClip and  Influencial welaaa services which are mentioned in the introduction.

 

NAVER audioclip logo welaaa logo NAVER Vlive logo NAVER Series logo
Figure 12. Cases of PallyCon Multi-DRM for audio content

 

Naver has not only the AudioClip service but also VLIVE which is a global star internet broadcasting platform and Series(former NAVER N store movie) service. Naver Built an integrated content security system based on PallyCon Cloud service and PallyCon Client SDK.  Customized license issuance processing has been applied to support various user authentication methods of Naver. And PallyCon cloud service smoothly handles traffic originating from a large user base by auto-scaling.

 

Welaaa service, which is a knowledge content platform that is operated by Influencial also protects audio/video contents such as lecture videos and audio-books using PallyCon Multi-DRM service.

 

Summary

 

As described in the introduction, the sustenance and development of the audio content ecosystem require the production of quality content and a revenue model to support it.

PallyCon Multi-DRM is a Cloud SaaS for content protection, and it can easily and quickly apply to not only video but also audio content to protect the business model of content service.

 

You can download the white paper to read the full text of this article.

 

Download White Paper

References

1. Video Streaming Now Makes Up 58% of Internet Usage Worldwide
2. The Myth of DRM-Free Music, Revisited
3. PallyCon Multi-DRM Cloud on AWS Market Place

 

 

Naver Audioclip and Influential welaaa's audio contents are protected by PallyCon Multi-DRM. Find out details!

 

AWS SPEKE API integration with PallyCon

Early last year (2018), we announced the API integration between PallyCon multi-DRM service and Amazon Web Services (AWS). As AWS officially announces the release of the Secure Packager and Encoder Key Exchange (SPEKE) API, we are happy to post this updated article about the integration.

 

This API integration enables media customers to encrypt live and on-demand content using PallyCon multi-DRM service with appliance and cloud-based encoders, transcoders, and packagers which also support SPEKE, including AWS Elemental MediaConvert, AWS Elemental MediaPackage, AWS Elemental Live, and AWS Elemental Delta.

SPEKE and CPIX API integration for AWS Elemental, Harmonic, Anevia and more

The Secure Packager and Encoder Key Exchange (SPEKE)’ specification defines the standard for communication and authentication between encryptors and packagers of media content and digital rights management (DRM) key providers.

 

INKA ENTWORKS’ PallyCon multi-DRM service is a cloud-based service that provides integrated content key management and license issuance for Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine, Apple FairPlay Streaming, and Netsync Content Guard (NCG) DRM. PallyCon  is a Software as a Service (SaaS) running on AWS, so customers do not need to build an on-premises DRM server, and it is easy and quick to apply multi-DRM with pay-as-you-go pricing.

 

AWS Elemental Media Services are a family of fully managed services that make it easy to build reliable, broadcast-quality video workflows on the cloud. AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features. It allows users to easily create video-on-demand (VOD) content for broadcast and multiscreen delivery at scale. AWS Elemental MediaPackage is a video origination and just-in-time packaging service which allows anyone to securely and reliably deliver streaming content at scale.

 

SPEKE is an open, royalty-free API specification based on the DASH-IF Content Protection Information Exchange Format (CPIX) specification and adds information to standardize communication and authentication between key servers and encoders, transcoders, and origin servers. For example, Pay TV operators or OTT service providers can easily and quickly apply PallyCon multi-DRM protection to live streams or VOD content generated by AWS Elemental Media Services or AWS Elemental appliance-based solutions with just a simple setup.

Search 'PallyCon' on AWS Marketpalce.

To enable one-stop payment for PallyCon multi-DRM, the PallyCon multi-DRM service is available on the AWS Marketplace as a SaaS subscription product.

In addition to integrated content key management and DRM license issuance services, PallyCon multi-DRM enables users to easily and quickly support various client environments through the integration of HTML5 browser players, client SDKs for Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as SDKs for various OTT platforms.

 

For more information on SPEKE API integration, please visit our online document or contact obiz@inka.co.kr.

Protecting Audio Content with Multi-DRM - PallyCon

Audio content seemed to be forgotten due to the popularity of video content. But it is in the spotlight again. As paid audio content and platforms grow, there is a growing interest and application of DRM technology to protect audio content.

First of all, Find out the historical background and the need for audio DRM in this post.

 

 

The rise of audio content

 

 

With the growth of online video services such as and YouTube, Netflix video content has become the king in the online content industry. In 2018, video streaming took up nearly 60% of the world’s internet traffic and the percentage is getting higher. (Ref.1) In contrast, audio content such as digital music and audiobooks seemed to become less important. But in recent years, audio content is emerging as a new business opportunity for IT companies. This is because the spread of AI speakers such as Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod and Naver Firends has expanded. And the number of platforms that can use audio content such as ‘connected cars’ has increased as well.

 

Amazon AI speaker Echo
Figure 1. Amazon AI Speaker Echo

 

 

Audio content Platform in Korea and overseas

 

Among the global companies, Amazon is very active in the audio contents business. Amazon acquired Audible, an audiobook content company, in 2008. Since that, Amazon has distributed audiobooks as well as various self-produced contents via its Amazon Audible service.

 

In Korea, Naver has been receiving good responses about its Audioclip platform. Audioclip provides audio contents about knowledge and culture. The service also provides audiobooks which are recorded by popular entertainers.

 

Another Korean content company named Influential is operating welaaa, welaaa is a knowledge content platform with video and audio content for self-improvement.

 

Case of Audio content market : Amazon Audible
Figure 2. Amazon, Audible

 

Case of Audio content market : NAVER Audioclip
Figure 3. Naver, Audioclip

 

Case of Audio content market : Influencial welaaa
Figure 4. Influential, welaaa

 

 

As audio content and service platforms grow, so does the need for Digital Rights Management(DRM) solutions to protect paid audio content from piracy.

 

 

The history of audio content and DRM

 

 

Compatibility issues with early audio DRM

 

In the early 2000s, portable MP3 players such as iRiver and iPod were popular worldwide. And P2P music sharing services such as Napster and Soribada became major social issues. Online music services such as iTunes protected audio content by applying DRM solutions. DRM solution encrypts the content and restricts it to authorized users only. So content services were able to prevent unauthorized distribution and use of audio contents. Various DRM solutions have been applied by in-house development or 3rd-party DRM solution vendors.

 

itunes user
Figure 5. Using iTunes music service

 

In this way, different types of DRM that are incompatible with service providers and playback devices have been applied. And users have suffered from inconveniences because they could not play their legally-purchased music files on incompatible devices.

 

To solve the problem, INKA Entworks has developed the EXIM standard and DRM Adaptor solution. EXIM and DRM Adaptor are DRM interoperability technologies that enable DRM contents to be exchanged between devices with different DRM systems.

 

 

INKA Entworks' EXIM - DRM interoperability product
Figure 6.  EXIM

 

EXIM is a DRM interoperability technology developed jointly by INKA Entworks and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute(ETRI) in 2006. At that time, a DRM project group under Korea Telecommunications Technology Association(TTA) worked on the standardization of EXIM in order to spread it throughout the industry.

 

INKA Entworks also developed DRM Adaptor, its own DRM interoperability product, to solve the constraints caused by the coexistence of various DRM systems. The solution enabled conversion and content transfer between different DRMs.

 

 

Steve Job's decision : DRM-free music

 

In 2007, Apple’s Steve Jobs announced the idea of ‘DRM-free music’ through an email titled ‘Thoughts on Music’. Then most online music services, including Apple iTunes started to offer DRM-free MP3 music.

 

Apple' presentation about DRM-free MP3
Figure 7. Apple's presentation about DRM-free Mp3 music

 

DRM-free music files were able to play on a variety of devices without restrictions on playback devices. Users who suffered from DRM compatibility problems welcomed this change. And DRM technology seemed to be no longer needed in the digital music industry.

 

 

The need for audio DRM was not gone

 

Sales portion graph of digital music market by content type
Figure 8. Sales portion of digital music market by content type (ref 2)

 

However, even after the era of ‘DRM-free music’, audio DRM has not disappeared from the market, rather its importance is increasing. As online streaming becomes more popular than MP3 download scenario, the incompatibility of earlier DRM solutions is no longer a problem. In the digital music market as well as intellectual content such as podcasts and audiobooks, which have led to the recent rise of audio content, audio DRM has become a necessity to maintain a desirable content ecosystem.

 

In order for the content market to become active, quality content must be continuously produced. And to produce quality content, it is necessary to guarantee a meaningful profit  to the content creators. In the case of video content such as YouTube, the most popular way is sharing revenue generated by advertising between the platform and the creator. Audio platforms also have advertising-based revenue models, but they are limited comparing to video advertisement. It is because video advertisement can be exposed in more various ways than audio.

 

Therefore, in addition to the advertising-based business model, the audio contents ecosystem requires paid content models such as subscription and purchasing. DRM technology must be applied to protect these paid audio contents from illegal use. Recently, more and more services are protecting audio contents with multi-DRM technology, which has been mainly applied to video contents.

 

To learn more about Protecting content with Multi-DRM, read our blog next week

 

OR you can download the white paper to read the full text of this article.

 
Download White Paper
 

 

 

 

 

Naver Audioclip and Influential welaaa's audio contents are protected by PallyCon Multi-DRM. Find out details! 

Introducing PallyCon DR(Disaster Recover) system

The stability of online services based on cloud platforms has emerged as a major issue due to the massive failure of the AWS Seoul region in November last year. Traditionally, high-availability (HA) systems have been applied to redundant systems within a region to prevent failures in some systems. However it is impossible to cope with the problems that arise in a whole region with HA systems. Therefore, there is a need for multi-region DR system.

This article introduces the application of the multi-regional DR system to PallyCon cloud service to automatically address large-scale failures of cloud platform and minimize damage.

Introducing PallyCon DR System

 

PallyCon DR system uses AWS Seoul region as the main system in normal condition. When it detects a failure of the main system through the health check function of Seoul region, it automatically switches the service to the backup system in Tokyo region.

Amazon Route53 periodically checks the service status of the AWS Seoul region to convert the service DNS to the Tokyo region in the event of a failure.

Health Check

 

PallyCon DR System Health check function
Cycle 30 seconds (minimum 10 seconds possible)
Region Seoul, Tokyo
Method Check whether the database connection state of the region is normal through a specific API such as DRM license request URL
Failover condition If a service failure is continuously detected for 3 minutes, it will be switched to Tokyo region. Then, if the disruption of Seoul region is recovered and the normal state of service is continuously detected for 3 minutes, it returns to Seoul region again.
Alarming

 

Health Check results are stored in Amazon CloudWatch, and in conjunction with CloudWatch's SNS Alarm function, administrators are notified about disaster recovery processing.

DR Server Architecture and Restrictions

 

The database used by PallyCon service is replicated in real-time with a cross-region replica. When the service is running in Tokyo region due to a fault, it is possible to inquire existing information and issue licenses in a 'Read Only' state. This backup system minimizes the impact of the regional failure on PallyCon's customers.

 

However, it is not possible to write new data such as content packaging info during the failure, because processing multi-master in the inter-regional database is not supported.

 

The backup system in the Tokyo region basically runs one instance of each major servers, but it can be expanded automatically by auto-scaling depending on the traffic.

Automatic configuration and deployment of DR infrastructure

 

PallyCon DR system uses AWS CloudFormation or Terraform to quickly and accurately handle repetitive DR infra configurations and deployments.

 

It enables asynchronous copying of changed resources such as AMIs, and handles automatic configuration and deployment tasks such as reorganizing the launch configuration for AMI changes and deploying auto-scaling.

Conclusion

 

The use of cloud platforms such as AWS for various online services is becoming commonplace, and transition from on-premise solutions to cloud-based solutions-as-a-service (SaaS) is accelerating. In addition to your own service, it is also needed to make sure that the SaaS solution used by the service is also covered by a disaster recovery system.

 

PallyCon multi-region DR system can recover PallyCon service in about three minutes even in the event of a major failure across a region of AWS cloud platform. This minimizes disruption to your business continuity or finances.

Be safe with PallyCon content protection service.

PallyCon case study : vidio(KMK online)

Protecting large-scale live streaming channels with scalable and easy-to-use multi-DRM SaaS

 

Background: Running a media platform on AWS

KMK Online is a subsidiary of Emtek which operates free-to-air television channels, Pay-TV business, and several online media presences. Vidio.com is one of KMK Online’s media services which delivers premium contents, UGC, and free-to-air television in Indonesia.

KMK Online wanted to utilize AWS Media Services for Vidio.com’s live streaming workflow. And they were looking for a DRM solution which can be integrated with AWS to protect the live channels.

 

kmk online logo
vidio.com logo

 

Challenge: Simplifying multi-DRM and handling peak traffic on events

Vidio.com supports multi-screen clients such as PC web browsers and iOS/Android mobile devices. Due to the fragmented client platforms, they needed a simplified solution to solve the complexity of content protection.

The scalability and reliability were also important factors of DRM solution since the service had high volume traffic on occasional events. And finally it was too much of hassle to manage separate invoices from multiple service vendors.

 

Solution: PallyCon Multi-DRM SaaS on AWS

AWS and INKA ENWORKS collaborated to propose PallyCon Multi-DRM Cloud to KMK Online. PallyCon is a SaaS product which provides license management service for PlayReady, Widevine, FairPlay Streaming and NCG(Netsync Content Guard) DRM, and it is registered on AWS Marketplace.

 

aws marketplace logo pallycon logo

 

PallyCon simplified the complexity of adapting multi-DRM with pre-integrated solution for AWS Elemental Media Services. PallyCon is integrated with AWS Elemental MediaPackage via ‘Secure Packager and Encoder Key Exchange (SPEKE)’ API. So KMK Online could easily enable a single secured content workflow from encoding to CDN delivery.

 

vidio.com content workflow using AWS and PallyCon

 

Built on a scalable architecture based on AWS platform, PallyCon provided the scalability and reliability required by Vidio.com. And since PallyCon Multi-DRM Cloud is a SaaS subscription product on AWS Marketplace, KMK Online could have the benefits of its simplified operations and consolidated invoice on AWS Billing.

 

Result: Secure and reliable content workflow applied in time

Leveraging AWS Media Services and PallyCon Multi-DRM Cloud allowed KMK Online to create secure and reliable live content workflow within their schedule. It took just a couple of days to prepare the integrated test environment, and the new workflow went live on Vidio.com successfully after three months of thorough testing and preparation.

Vidio.com had a popular live event on the first month of launching the new workflow. The number of DRM license requests on the day was ten times higher than the average daily volume. This peak traffic on the event didn’t cause any impact on user experience, because the auto-scaling of PallyCon service handled all of the requests with no additional delay.

 

Benefits of PallyCon

Pre-integrated with AWS Media Services
Pay-as-you-go pricing and one-stop billing
Studio-grade content security solution with Multi-DRM and Forensic Watermarking

 

More Resources

PallyCon Multi-DRM Product on AWS
PallyCon Online Guide Documents
SPEKE API Customer Onboarding

Learn More about PallyCon Multi-DRM.

PallyCon