HyperLOCK Was Good, But Not Good Enough

Marrying CD or DVD to the Internet to create a more robust Web experience while offering copy protection is a chief aim of HyperLOCK Technologies Inc. The company’s basic technology “cripples” a file and allows the missing parts to be received from an outside source “seamlessly and instantaneously,” giving the control of data use to an outside source. HyperLOCK’s technology shifts file transfer from telephony to the computer’s CPU.

hcdSpecifically, to use a HyperCD or HyperDVD, missing bits must be obtained via a remote server, or a host Web site. These bits, which can be further encrypted in a “bit file,” are pulled from the server by the HyperCD or HyperDVD plug-in, which is loaded at the time of insertion in the CD/DVD-ROM drive. (These discs replace the traditional ROM discs.) A proprietary mapping file and decoder piece the file back together within the memory of the user’s computer. It then plays back the now complete video file after authenticating the user with the HTML structure of the host, the company explains.

How does it all work? The end-user, having installed a HyperCD, is instantly connected to a designated URL, and information is time-released by the server. HyperCD can embed all video, audio, music, and JPEG images within a Web page and will reportedly create a fast Web experience. How do these products aid in copy protection? In the case of HyperDVD, “multiple layers of content protection are provided that prevent unauthorized access or use of proprietary content or time-sensitive information stored on the DVD. All content on the DVD is completely controlled from the HTML source code on the remote Web server. The developer can turn files on or off, or make changes and additions to them in minutes by altering the code on the Web site using standard HTML. This allows for enhanced advertising and sales opportunities, point-of-purchase merchandising, protection against obsolescence, and robust tracking of video user and user demographics,” the company says.

HyperLOCK’s Tony Caputo, vice president, new business development, offered us some recent case studies. Warner Brothers Online is among the first to use HyperDVD. Using HyperLOCK’s view-only encryption technology, Warner Brothers is producing a 12-episode tour of the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank, California. Each of the 12 episodes will have a short preview clip, and if the user likes what he sees and wants more, he can purchase the rights to view the entire 20-minute episode. The Warner Brothers Drive-On HyperDVD will be available with new DVD-ROM drives this holiday season.

Another current user is Ameritech Creative Media. According to Caputo, Ameritech’s director, George Macropolus says that incorporating video and Web media was the “draw” to HyperCD, but when he discovered the added bonus of encryption features he was thrilled. “Using firewall security, Ameritech was able to limit access to any content to internal employees only. However, with a few hours of video content, the flexibility of the Web didn’t include the pipeline of high-quality video, and the protection of that video content. The HyperLOCK solution provided 42 high-quality QuickTime movies (the disc is cross-platform), which are seamlessly embedded within their fluid Web pages and easily controlled by simple HTML tags. The view-only encryption would provide for limited access to the video clips to employees only, with authorization through the firewall,” Caputo explains.

Also, by producing a HyperCD, rather than a CD-ROM, each of Ameritech’s 42 video clips were controlled by a single key from the server. “For example, if two of the video clips became obsolete within the six months, prior to the release of the second bi-annual edition, the webmaster need only deactivate those two clips by removing the two keys from the server. Again, with the Web serving as the fluid interface, users have the flexibility of replacing an obsolete clip with either a JPEG image, or by pushing a new video in the background, onto the hard drive. This creates a seamless and creative solution to starting from scratch,” Caputo adds.

Then there is JAMtv (Rolling Stone Network), another HyperLOCK client. To benefit the most from the JamTV Web site, the user needs ShockWave, iChat, BackWEB, Flash, Hot player, Real Audio, and a customized Internet Explorer browser. JamTV HyperCDs provide these web applications within a 12-minute install and also offer a bonus full-length music video. Caputo says, “The music video was protected by HyperLOCK encryption, so the rights-holders’ fears disappeared and the products increased web traffic. JamTV has distributed about 1 million copies of several discs we’ve assisted in developing for them.”

HyperCD was the first HyperLOCK product to be brought to market, and HyperDVD was introduced in June 1998. HyperShield, a downloadable player which holds all the keys to unlocking tens of thousands of Web images stored on a traditional Web server, is in beta testing. Also in alpha testing is HyperBROADCAST which is designed to allow a content provider the ability to push an “encrippled file” down a high bandwidth pipe (for example, satellite) and instantaneously take the same user to a host site where he or she will be given immediate playback of that file.

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