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Cracking the licensing code

A LOCAL technology company believes it has solved the problem of complicated and unaccountable licensing of business software and content.

Optimiser Digital Rights Management, which recently received a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth Government’s AusIndustry initiative, has combined intellectual property protection with online delivery of services. It allows vendors to fully account for the use of their software and for clients to pay only for what they use.

The DRM system already has been integrated with several applications, including Adobe Acrobat.

Optimiser DRM managing director Leo Mullins said unlike common licensing methods, which used encryption-based systems with the key residing on only one computer, an authorised user can access files from any computer with Internet access.

“Unlike a traditional licensing system, any number of users can access it at once. Users are simply billed for what they pay for,” Mr Mullins said.

It bypassed the need for software suppliers to fax or mail encryption codes to clients every time they upgraded or reinstalled software, he said.

Mr Mullins said licensing and intellectual property issues were still at the “horse and cart” stage compared with the rest of the technology sector. He gave the example of one major Australian mining company that still accounted for licensed software through an honour system.

“And at BHP they spend $20 million annually in employing clerks to physically go around the offices and record which software is being used on what machine,” he said.

Optimiser DRM was established in 1996 after the licensing technology was established to protect software used in a North-West shelf gas project. Mr Mullins said he recognised the value of the DRM tools and the company planned to market it to Australian and global software vendors.

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