News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Video Distribution and Playback", for Approval

July 29, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Jannard, James H. (Las Vegas, NV); Land, Peter Jarred (Los Angeles, CA); Lohman, Rob Wouter (Lake Forest, CA); Flickinger, Jon (Topeka, KS); Farhat, Jon Anthony (Los Angeles, CA); English, Stuart J. (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA); Nattress, Thomas Graeme (Acton, CA), filed on October 9, 2013, was made available online on July 17, 2014.

The patent's assignee is RED.COM, Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates generally to distribution of audiovisual content over a network.

"A content distributor generally distributes audiovisual content, such as television shows, movies, or other videos, over a network to compatible and capable devices. The content distributor can receive the content from an author or other original source, such as a movie studio, and distribute it to network-connected playback devices configured to retrieve and play such content. The network-connected devices can be configured to request a particular audiovisual asset, which can then be transmitted directly to the device and streamed to the user or downloaded to the device and presented after it has been downloaded. For security purposes, the content can be encrypted at any point in the chain of delivery from the author to the content distributor to the playback device. An authorized device, then, would be able to decrypt the content and play it back while an unauthorized device would be unable to decrypt the content."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The systems, methods and devices of the disclosure each have innovative aspects, no single one of which is indispensable or solely responsible for the desirable attributes disclosed herein. Without limiting the scope of the claims, some of the advantageous features will now be summarized.

"In some embodiments, systems and methods are provided for implementing and managing an audiovisual device over a network. The present disclosure also provides for systems and methods for providing a content delivery network with one or more network-connected audiovisual players. A content delivery network provider can use the systems and methods provided herein to provide an access module residing within the network-connected audiovisual player wherein the access module can be configured to control the player. The access module can be configured to function within a gateway environment on the player such that the gateway environment passes commands from the access module to the firmware or secure module on the player operating in a secure environment. As a result, each player with the access module can become a part of the content delivery network as the content delivery network provider can control the network-connected audiovisual players. For example, a provider of a content delivery network can choose to write an access module (e.g., a Java application) to function within the gateway environment of a player. This application can then pass application program interface ('API') commands to the player, thereby effectively establishing the audiovisual player as a part of their own network. As a part of the network, an audiovisual player can be configured to seed content to other audiovisual players or other nodes on the network, such as through peer-to-peer file sharing protocols (e.g., bit-torrent).

"In some embodiments, systems and methods are provided for distributing audiovisual content over a network. The audiovisual content can be associated with a license that can be modified by each distributor in the distribution chain such that any attempted playback of the audiovisual content is subject to the restrictions in the associated license. The audiovisual content can be encrypted along the distribution chain such that only the intended and authorized recipient is able to access the content. The key used to decrypt the audiovisual content can itself be encrypted and delivered with the associated license, separate from or together with the audiovisual content. An audiovisual player that receives the audiovisual content can be configured to decrypt the license and key to enable decryption of the content.

"In some embodiments, an audiovisual asset is provided which has a plurality of associated presentations or versions (e.g., a theatrical cut and a director's cut of a movie). The audiovisual asset can include a plurality of audiovisual clips. The asset can include a playlist associated with each presentation which includes a list of one or more of the plurality of audiovisual clips and an order in which to present the clips to provide the associated presentation. The playlist can also include a starting point and/or duration of each clip to be presented. Advantageously, this can allow a distributor of the audiovisual asset to provide access to multiple versions of the asset without providing each version as a separate digital file, saving on bandwidth, time, computing resources, and cost.

"In some embodiments, an authoring tool is provided which receives an audiovisual asset and generates one or more audiovisual clips, one or more presentations, and the one or more playlists associated with each presentation, wherein the playlist includes a list of the one or more audiovisual clips to present and the order in which to present them. The authoring tool can be configured to encode the plurality of audiovisual clips into a file format compatible with recipient devices. The authoring tool can be configured to generate an author license associated with the audiovisual asset. The author license can include access restrictions which limit or prevent access to the audiovisual asset based on included parameters. For example, the author license can include a release date which limits or prevents a recipient system from accessing the audiovisual for playback before the release date. In certain implementations, the authoring tool can encrypt the asset and/or the author license. In certain implementations, the authoring tool can digitally sign the license for security purposes. In some implementations, the authoring tool can receive a modified license from a content distributor and encrypt and/or digitally sign the modified license, which results in a verified license.

"In some embodiments, an audiovisual player is provided which is configured to receive an audiovisual asset and one or more associated playlists, and present a version of the audiovisual asset based at least in part on the information provided in the playlist. In some implementations, the audiovisual player can be configured to display the presentation when a subset of the clips in the playlist is available on the playback device. In certain implementations, the audiovisual player can be configured to stream the asset over the network, to playback the asset after a portion of the asset has been transferred to the device, or to playback the asset after the entirety of the asset has been transferred to the device.

"In some embodiments, the audiovisual player can be configured to decrypt an encrypted audiovisual asset by first decrypting the license associated with the asset to obtain the asset encryption key. The audiovisual player can then use the asset encryption key to decrypt the asset for playback, if restrictions in the decrypted license are satisfied. In some implementations, the audiovisual asset is encrypted using a symmetric key. The audiovisual player can receive the encrypted audiovisual asset over a network or through physical ingest (e.g., using a USB drive or other connected non-transitory storage device). At the same time or at a different time, the audiovisual player can receive an encrypted license associated with the asset, wherein the encrypted license also includes the symmetric key. The encrypted license and symmetric key can have multiple layers of encryption. For example, the license and symmetric key can be encrypted using asymmetric encryption techniques using public and private key pairs. The license and symmetric key can be encrypted using a first public asymmetric key associated with a global private asymmetric key present on compatible playback devices. This results in a first layer of encryption, or a base-encrypted license and symmetric key. The base-encrypted license and symmetric key can be encrypted using a second public asymmetric key associated with an intended recipient of the asset, such as an intermediary distributor or a playback device. This results in a target-encrypted license and symmetric key. The intended recipient can include the complementary private key to unwrap this second layer of encryption, to decrypt the target-encrypted license and symmetric key. Advantageously, this allows an audiovisual asset to be distributed in an encrypted state, limiting access to the asset to authorized recipient machines. Furthermore, the associated encryption key can be distributed separate from the asset and be encrypted, along with the license containing access restrictions associated with the asset, all along the chain of distribution until it arrives at an authorized playback device.

"In some embodiments, rights management system is provided which receives an asset and a license and encodes the asset and encrypts the license and encoded asset. The rights management system can modify the received license to add restrictions. The rights management system can digitally sign the license for validation purposes. The rights management system can perform multiple layers of encryption. For example, the rights management system can generate a symmetric key and encrypt the asset using this key. The rights management system can then encrypt the symmetric key and the modified license using a first public asymmetric key corresponding to a private asymmetric key present on authorized playback devices. The rights management system can perform another layer of encryption, using a second public asymmetric key corresponding to a private asymmetric key present on an intended recipient of the license and symmetric key. The intended recipient can be a content distributor, a playback device, or another entity in the chain of distribution.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The drawings are provided to illustrate example embodiments described herein and are not intended to limit the scope of the disclosure. Throughout the drawings, reference numbers may be re-used to indicate general correspondence between referenced elements.

"FIG. 1 illustrates a block diagram representing an example content distribution chain including an asset server, a content distributor, and a plurality of playback devices.

"FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of a rights management tool configured to provide a secure license associated with an audiovisual asset.

"FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate block diagrams of example distribution chains which encrypt audiovisual assets, licenses, and encryption keys.

"FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of multiple layers of encryption configured to limit access to an asset encryption key.

"FIG. 5 illustrates a block diagram of an example player having a gateway environment with an access module and a secure environment in communication with the access module through a library of commands.

"FIG. 6 illustrates an example file format associated with an audiovisual asset which includes a plurality of packages each with one or more playlists.

"FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate example playlist files dictating presentation of audiovisual clips associated with a presentation of an audiovisual asset.

"FIG. 8 illustrates example file formats associated with audiovisual clips and audiovisual chunks.

"FIG. 9 illustrates a block diagram showing the flow of data from an authoring tool to an audiovisual playback device.

"FIG. 10 illustrates a flow chart of an example method of securely distributing and playing an audiovisual asset.

"FIG. 11 illustrates a flow chart of an example method of playing an encrypted and licensed audiovisual asset.

"FIG. 12 illustrates a flow chart of an example method of licensing an audiovisual asset."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Jannard, James H.; Land, Peter Jarred; Lohman, Rob Wouter; Flickinger, Jon; Farhat, Jon Anthony; English, Stuart J.; Nattress, Thomas Graeme. Video Distribution and Playback. Filed October 9, 2013 and posted July 17, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=108&p=3&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140710.PD.&OS=PD/20140710&RS=PD/20140710

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Encoding and Encryption, RED.COM, RED.COM Inc.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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