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Patent Issued for Method and Client Agent for Monitoring the Use of Protected Content

February 11, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Vivolo, Olivier (Rennes, FR); Becker, Claudia (Rennes, FR), filed on October 21, 2010, was published online on January 28, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8640261 is France Telecom (Paris, FR).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A digital rights management (DRM) license, associated with content protected by encryption, is a data structure generally containing: an identifier for establishing the link between the license and the content to which it relates; a cryptographic key enabling the content to be decrypted; one or more conditions of use of the content.

"The conditions of use of the content may comprise a maximum number of uses of the content, a time window during which the content can be used, an authorized number of transfers of the content between different terminals, etc. In order to use content that is protected and associated with a DRM license using a terminal, a DRM client agent located in the terminal first checks whether the conditions of use are satisfied. If such is the case, the DRM client agent generally supplies the cryptographic key present in the license to a decryption module which then decrypts the content.

"Moreover, there are parental control management applications. A parental control management application makes it possible to automatically restrict access to certain contents, in order to protect certain users from inappropriate contents. There are different types of parental control management applications. An application according to a first type is configured to apply the legislation in terms of parental control. An application according to a second type is managed by the parents in order to allow them to automatically restrict access to certain contents for their children. In this case, the application is parameterized by the parents who define parental criteria applicable to their children. The contents are characterized by information relating to their nature which may comprise, for example, levels in terms of violence, nudity and sex. When a user requests access to a given content, the parental control management application can provide the user with information concerning the nature of the content, in other words, concerning the levels of the content in terms of violence, nudity and sex. Then, if the parental criteria require the user to be of a certain age to access this content, the application can ask him or her to prove that he or she is old enough by prompting him or her either to input a confidential parental code, or to identify him/herself with a user account considered to be old enough, or to supply bank card details, or to provide identification data, etc. The parental control management application then determines whether the use of the content by the user concerned is authorized or not, depending on the proof provided.

"The DRM systems make it possible to control the use of contents according to digital rights attached to these contents, whereas the parental control management applications make it possible to control the use of content on the basis of parental criteria. These two systems are quite distinct and not compatible. In particular, it is currently not possible to establish parental control simply on content protected and managed by a DRM license.

"The document WO 2008/083163 describes a system (VPE--Viewing Policy Engine) for controlling access to encrypted contents stored on a media disk connected to a reader. When a user wants to read content stored on the media disk, the control system checks a set of conditions before authorizing or denying the reading of the content. These conditions may comprise a condition relating to the current date, said current date having to be later than a release date, a valid subscription condition, a condition relating to the number of times the content has been read, this number having to be less than a maximum number. Furthermore, if the content is prohibited to children whose age is below a given age limit, provision is made to request the input of a password. Thus, the document WO 2008/083163 provides, for access to encrypted content, for various access criteria (release date, subscription, etc.) to be checked and for a parental control operation to be performed. In the final analysis, this document proposes that one and the same control system simultaneously checks the content access criteria and performs a parental control operation with the user wanting to access the content. This system does, however, require the user to use the parental control module specific to the control system, which lacks flexibility."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "An aspect of the present disclosure relates to a method for obtaining and controlling the use of content by a terminal, said terminal comprising a client agent for controlling the use of the content, in which in response to a request transmitted to a server, the terminal receives said content in encrypted form together with an associated digital rights management license, said license containing conditions for the use of the content, in case of a command to read said content, the controlling client agent checks the conditions of use of the content, present in the license,

"characterized in that the terminal transmits to the server a parental control management module identifier, the received license, associated with the content, contains a condition making the use of the content conditional upon the prior performance of a parental control operation and the identifier of said parental control management module transmitted, when checking the conditions of use of the content, the controlling client agent determines that the use of the content is conditional upon an obligation to perform a parental control operation on the content and, using the identifier of the parental control management module extracted from the license, it transmits a request for authorization to use the content to the parental control management module, the parental control management module performs a parental control operation on said content and transmits a result of the parental control to the controlling agent in order to authorize or deny the reading of the content depending on whether the result is positive or negative.

"According to an embodiment of the invention, one of the conditions of use of the content present in the license associated with the content is a condition making the use of the content conditional upon the performance of a parental control operation. Thus, the checking of the conditions of use of content initiates the parental control operation. Furthermore, the terminal transmits to the server the identifier of a parental control module and receives in response the content and a license generated specifically for the terminal and containing the parental control module identifier previously transmitted. This allows for a more flexible management of the use of the parental control modules. The terminal can easily change parental control module. All it has to do is transmit an identifier of the selected new parental control module to the server for said server to generate, following a subsequent content request, an associated license containing the identifier of this new parental control module.

"In a first embodiment, the parental control management module identifier is present in the request transmitted by the terminal to the server to obtain the content.

"In a second embodiment, the parental control management module identifier is transmitted by the terminal to the server in a preliminary configuration step and is stored by the server in a database in order to respond to subsequent requests from the terminal to receive contents.

"Advantageously, a step is provided for authenticating the parental control management module by the client agent controlling the use of the content.

"An embodiment of the invention also relates to a communication terminal comprising means of communication with a server arranged to transmit to the server a request to obtain content and to receive, in response, the content in encrypted form together with an associated digital rights management license containing conditions for the use of the content, means for reading the content and an agent for controlling the use of the content, arranged, in the case of a command to read said content by the reading means, to check the conditions of use of the content, present in the license,

"characterized in that the communication means are arranged to transmit to the server a parental control management module identifier, the received license, associated with the content, containing a condition making the use of the content conditional upon the prior performance of a parental control operation and the identifier of said parental control management module transmitted by the terminal to the server, the controlling client agent is arranged to determine that the use of the content is conditional upon an obligation to perform a parental control operation on the content, and transmit a request for authorization to use the content to the parental control management module, identified by the identifier of the parental control management module extracted from the license, authorize or deny the reading of the content by the reading means depending on whether the result of the parental control is positive or negative."

For additional information on this patent, see: Vivolo, Olivier; Becker, Claudia. Method and Client Agent for Monitoring the Use of Protected Content. U.S. Patent Number 8640261, filed October 21, 2010, and published online on January 28, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=9&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=426&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140128.PD.&OS=ISD/20140128&RS=ISD/20140128

Keywords for this news article include: Legal Issues, France Telecom, Information Technology, Information and Cryptography.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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