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Controlling Interests: Technology to Secure Proprietary Content

Intellectual property protection and privacy are high priorities on university campuses today. Original research, confidential data, and proprietary content, whether owned by a university or sent to the university by a content provider, must be protected by some sort of management system.
One option is to use a content protection tool—hardware or software that protects an institution's intellectual property by giving the owner complete control over who can view it, how it can be viewed, and whether it can be shared, copied, or printed.
Such tools don't package or distribute content per se; they simply encrypt the data as it leaves the content owner in such a way that its use is tightly controlled. Of course, the technology behind the tools is hardly simple, and each vendor offers a different approach to content protection. We've surveyed a few of them here.

Alchemedia's Mirage 3.1
Alchemedia Technologies Inc.'s Mirage 3.1 product is a combination of patented display technology and an encryption tool. The latest version uses a server/client framework. Mirage Server integrates with a Web server to dynamically encrypt data as it is being sent to an end user. Mirage Client then decrypts the information on the end user's computer and displays it securely in the browser. A non-transferable key authenticates the user's identity. Without the key authentication, the document being sent can't be displayed. Because Mirage Client transparently safeguards information, users cannot copy, print, save, capture, or forward the data without authorization. Like a mirage, users can see the information but they can't touch it. Mirage's modular architecture, standards-based protocols, and application program interface suite allow it to be integrated into most e-learning environments. In use by corporate clients such as AOL Time Warner Inc., AT&T, and Nintendo of America Inc., Mirage is being marketed primarily to technology,
pharmaceutical, and financial institutions. However, it is appropriate for educational uses where there are
a limited number of users to be authenticated.

Contact: Alchemedia, Grapevine, Texas

(817) 442-8552

Aladdin eToken
Aladdin Knowledge Systems Inc.'s eToken is a portable USB device the size of a house key. It can be used for authenticating individuals on a network or an electronic business application. Like Mirage, this inexpensive solution would work well for institutions that want to control data sent from and to specific users. The designated user must plug in the eToken, which resides on his or her computer, and type in a designated eToken password. eToken Enterprise, the plug-and-play software that allows systems administrators to integrate eToken into their existing security frameworks, provides organizations with Microsoft Corp. Windows 2000/XP smart card log-on security for online Web services and virtual private networks. The software also facilitates quick public-key infrastructure implementation, including support for seven major certificate authorities, and provides simple methods for securing e-commerce, extranet services, and ISP/ASP services. Using a set of industry-standard application program interfaces, the eToken SDK, a separate solution from eToken Enterprise, allows organizations to integrate eToken into their customized security applications. For example, Control Break International uses eToken to add a physical layer of protection to its preboot security solution for laptops and PCs.

Contact: Aladdin, Arlington Heights, Ill.


SealedMedia manages and delivers secure online content using a server-based check in/check out mechanism. This approach allows a user to view content from any device, not just the device from which the content was originally downloaded. Customers have a choice of content delivery modes, including trial access, pay-per-view, subscription-based delivery, and roaming access. SealedMedia, which won the Gold Award for Digital Rights Management Solution of the Year from Publishing magazine, works with several publisher clients, including, Harcourt Inc., Pearson Education, Congressional Quarterly Inc., and Xansa. SealedMedia's products feature integration with related technologies and internal processes, auto-update for new formats, and security that prevents screen grabbing, hacking, and reverse engineering. SealedMedia also provides feedback on end-user access patterns and gives customers the ability to act on that feedback without requiring them to reseal and redistribute content. The product is compliant with emerging content-related standards, including Digital Object Identifiers and Extensible Markup Language.

Contact: SealedMedia, Burlington, Mass.

(781) 685-4973

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