Thomson, VeriSign to build content security service

Thomson said Tuesday that it is teaming up with VeriSign to build a digital authorization and authentication service that promises to secure delivery of content such as movies, music and games.

The service, slated for launch in mid-2005, will be aimed at content providers such as online retailers, telecommunications firms, entertainment companies and technology companies. It will offer transaction reporting and other back-office functions, the companies said.

Electronic management and distribution is a key strategy area for Thomson, which foresees a market boom as companies look to deliver the "triple play" services of voice, data and video, it said.

Just Monday the French consumer electronics maker said that it agreed to take a stake in digital rights management (DRM) company ContentGuard Holdings, along with Microsoft and Time Warner, and added that it plans to introduce a host of new services aimed at content owners.

However, a Thomson spokeswoman said Tuesday that the service planned with VeriSign is centered around developing platforms for processing transactions, and not DRM.

The joint service will incorporate VeriSign's authentication and network infrastructure, as well as its transaction authentication technology. Thomson also hopes to take advantage of the security company's strong relationships with major telecom companies, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Thomson said it will leverage the content preparation, management and distribution of its Technicolor division.

The companies are collaborating on developing proprietary technology for content authorization and authentication, as well as an interface for a variety of home networking devices, such as handhelds, computers and home video recorders, they said.

They did not disclose how much they are investing in the service.

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