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Disney Licenses Microsoft's Rights-Management Software

Windows Media technology will be used to create and push digital content to PCs and other consumer devices.
The Walt Disney Co. and Microsoft agreed to work together to speed the availability of Disney movies, TV shows, and other digital content on cell phones, personal digital assistants, and a new generation of portable-media players. The two companies said Monday they've signed a multiyear agreement for Disney to license Microsoft's Windows Media digital-rights-management technology, which protects digital content from being illegally copied or played. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Disney already licenses its movies for Internet rentals over the third-party Movielink service, which uses technology from Microsoft and RealNetworks Inc. to protect movies and process payments. Disney uses a proprietary technology to protect movies sent to consumers in their homes over its MovieBeam service.

The nonexclusive deal with Microsoft is part of Disney's wider effort to make movies, television shows, and other content available to consumers in digital format, including on a home network and in the next generation of high-definition DVDs.

Disney also wants its programs available for use on personal-media players, a new generation of devices set to hit the market later this year and next. The players allow people to store movies, personal photos, music, and other digital content on portable devices.

"Our shared goal is to ensure that consumers will have access to great content on many different devices including Windows XP Media Center PCs, high-definition TVs, or Portable Media Center devices--without having to worry about compatibility issues," said Will Poole, a Microsoft senior VP, in a statement. "Together we aim to prove that the distribution and consumption of digital media can be done in ways that benefit everyone."