RealNetworks Attempts Standards for Digital Commerce

On Wednesday, RealNetworks announces an initiative built on what it’s calling the eXtensible Media Commerce Language (XMCL). This is a “dialect” of XML that’s designed to establish industry-wide standards for digital commerce, including music clips.

The company claims that, if adopted, XMCL will enable content to be played in a way that is independent of codecs, digital rights management systems and e-commerce systems. It will also simplify deployment and accelerate the market for digital media commerce over the Internet.

Currently, digital media commerce requires the integration of rights management systems with proprietary, often incompatible, back-end systems–including e-commerce management, customer relationship management and asset management.

Standard business rules, passed from one server to another via XCML, can define the parameters of media usage. For example, these rules can establish that a piece of content can be viewed a certain number of times per payment.

XMCL will be supported by RealNetworks’ RealSystem Media Commerce Suite, which is also being announced. It extends the RealSystem and RealPlayer architecture to accommodate the incorporation of a wide range of rights management systems.

Barry Schuler, chairman and CEO of America Online, says, “We believe this new XMCL Initiative will make it easier to deliver a broader range of digital content to consumers in more flexible ways. We think this new initiative will ultimately be a win for interactive consumers.”

The XMCL initiative has gained support from many companies, according to a RealNetworks’ statement. They include Adobe Systems, America Online, Bertelsmann, Clear Channel, EMI Recorded Music, IBM, Napster, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment and Sun Microsystems. However, one company is unlikely to support it: Microsoft, which has been feuding with RealNetworks for years.

From Adweek Magazines’ Technology Marketing