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License-Based Adaptation of Hardware Performance

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012875D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jun-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-05
Document File: 2 page(s) / 51K

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It is assumed a device which is fully under control of a so-called DRM (Digital Rights Management) system. Now the idea is to encode into licenses of this DRM system the maximally available resources and performance (CPU, memory, communication bandwidth, fidelity of audio, etc.), and set a typically very low performance for content that comes without a license. In other words, an application without license is slowed down. Generally, the idea allows an adaptation of software or applications to respective licenses.

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License-Based Adaptation of Hardware Performance

   There are several variants how this can be done: The restrictions can be explicitly specified, in a license or policy that is enforceable through the DRM system. Or they can be implicitly specified, by assigning the application to a certain class for which these limits are defined. There might be one special class that covers all applications that are not governed by the DRM system.

The following can be performed with the disclosed idea:

Limiting the available resources and performance per application offers a new business model: application providers and vendors can charge for additional performance without the need to deliver different version. Note that this is different from the business model (used, e.g., by IBM) that limits the overall performance of a computing platform: Here the performance and resources are limited per application, not for all applications together. One does not really need to protect specific content, but only the licenses: without a license, any content will be processed with low performance only. For instance, it will become pointless to make copies of DVDs, as "correct" DVD-players would not play such illegal DVD's, and "self-made" DVD players would not get sufficient resources and performance. On the other hand, low performance might be sufficient for most legally self-made content (e.g., documents in a text processor, drawings, self-written scripts), so that this system does not exclude this content.

Related known solutions are
a) in the music and video industry, where the goal is that hardware only plays content with licenses, and then always in the same way,
b) and in current DRM additions to general computer architectures such as Microsoft Palladium or Intel La Grande, where there would be either unlimited resources for self-made content, with the consequence that once any single device has been broken, anyone can play the content from that device anywhere in full quality, or it would be done as under a).
c) A related solution for playing self-made content is to register it, but this poses privacy problems because, registered content must be compared with previously registered content.

It should be noted that a lot of self-made content with high requirements, in particular in terms of output (Videos, Images, Audio) is actually made by devices. These devices may be tamp...