Windows Media DRM Device Transition Plan
For Legacy Agreement Licensees

As of June 19, 2009, Microsoft has made changes to the way Windows Media DRM (WMDRM) for Devices is licensed. If you are a current or prior WMDRM for Devices licensee, it is extremely important that you carefully review all of the information below to begin assessing:

  • Your current licensing status (as well as how this change may impact your suppliers and customers).
  • The potential impact these changes may have to your future product roadmaps.
  • The recommended next steps to transition to PlayReady license agreements to maintain your license rights so you can continue developing and/or distributing products based on the WMDRM code base once your current agreement expires.

The information on this web site assumes that you are either (a) a current WMDRM for Devices licensee who wants to continue licensing the WMDRM technology, or (b) a former WMDRM for Devices licensee whose agreement has recently expired within the last 60 days and is interested in relicensing the WMDRM technology.

If neither of these conditions apply to you, or if you are a new customer interested in licensing WMDRM for Devices functionality, please click here for more information.

When reading this web page, the term "Legacy Agreement(s)" refers to the following WMDRM for Devices agreements listed here:

  • WMDRM 10 for Devices Development and Interim Product Distribution Agreement
  • WMDRM 10 for Devices Final Product Distribution Agreement

Background

In July 2008, Microsoft released PlayReady, a content access and protection technology that is the successor to WMDRM. PlayReady provides many new advanced and frequently-requested features, such as domain control, embedded licenses, and the ability to protect a wide range of content types and formats, all on a new and improved code base. PlayReady is also backwards-compatible with WMDRM for Devices, meaning that devices you build will be compatible with content that works with WMDRM-based devices. Even if you only use the PlayReady code base to provide WMDRM functionality for devices, you will enjoy performance and application development benefits compared with using the WMDRM for Devices code base.

To help licensees make a smooth transition from the WMDRM code base to the PlayReady code base, Microsoft has launched the WMDRM Device Transition Program (the "Transition Program"). Under the Transition Program, new licensing agreements enable existing licensees of WMDRM for Devices technology to continue to develop and/or distribute devices that support WMDRM, on the existing WMDRM code base, after expiration of your current agreement. This enables you to extend the use of your WMDRM for Devices code base for an additional three years, which gives you time to study the PlayReady code base and migrate to it when your engineering teams are ready.

If, however, you wish to license just the WMDRM functionality of the PlayReady code base, click here for information on how to license the PlayReady code base.

Transition Program Benefits

  • Enables existing Legacy Agreement licensees to continue shipping existing and new products during a transitional period of three years
  • Provides Legacy Agreement licensees with enough time to revise roadmaps and coordinate with customers and suppliers
  • Facilitates a smoother licensing transition from the WMDRM code base to the PlayReady code base so licensees can benefit from PlayReady‚Äôs improvements in functionality and performance.

Key Licensing Changes

Here is a summary of how the Transition Program works:

  • Microsoft will continue to license WMDRM for Devices functionality on the WMDRM code base for a three year period under a PlayReady Agreement after the existing Legacy Agreements expire.
  • The following Legacy Agreements will not be extended as they expire:
    • WMDRM 10 for Devices Development and Interim Product Distribution Agreement (WMDRM IPA)
    • WMDRM 10 for Devices Final Product Distribution Agreement (WMDRM FPA)
  • The following PlayReady agreements will replace the Legacy Agreements for those who wish to continue licensing the WMDRM code base for a limited period of time:
    • WMDRM Device Development and Intermediate Product Distribution License (WMDRM IPL)
    • WMDRM Device Final Product Distribution License (WMDRM FPL)

The table below is for Legacy Agreement licensees who wish to continue licensing the WMDRM code base and summarizes which PlayReady agreement(s) succeed their respective Legacy Agreement(s).

Product Type Legacy Agreement PlayReady Agreement
Replacing Legacy Agreement
Interim / Intermediate Products WMDRM 10 for Devices Development and Interim Product Distribution Agreement (WMDRM IPA) WMDRM Device Development and Intermediate Product Distribution License (WMDRM IPL)
Final Products WMDRM 10 for Devices Final Product Distribution Agreement (WMDRM FPA) WMDRM Device Final Product Distribution License (WMDRM FPL)

For questions about the Transition Program, please click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions or contact WMDRMTP@microsoft.com.

Detailed Program Licensing Changes

This section describes, in more detail, the terms and conditions of the new WMDRM IPL and WMDRM FPL agreements.

For Interim/Intermediate Products Based On The WMDRM Code Base: To maintain development and distribution rights, licensees of the WMDRM 10 For Devices Development and Interim Product Distribution Agreement (WMDRM IPA) will need to replace this agreement with the new PlayReady agreement titled WMDRM Device Development and Intermediate Product Distribution License (WMDRM IPL) upon expiration of the existing WMDRM IPA. If you wish to distribute Interim/Intermediate Products to WMDRM IPL or WMDRM FPL licensees, you will be required to replace your existing WMDRM IPA with a WMDRM IPL before expiration of your existing WMDRM IPA.

The WMDRM IPL agreement:

  • Has terms and conditions that are very similar to the WMDRM IPA that it supersedes
  • Allows licensees to continue developing Interim/Intermediate Products with the existing WMDRM code base for the full 3-year term of the license
  • Will terminate and replace your existing WMDRM IPA
  • Has no royalties
  • Requires a U.S. $5,000 one-time license fee (Note: This fee is waived if any fees were paid to Microsoft under your existing WMDRM IPA)
  • Allows licensees to maintain possession of existing WMDRM porting kits (note that no new deliverables can be licensed under this agreement)
  • Permits licensees to distribute Developed Technology in object code form to other WMDRM IPA, WMDRM FPA, WMDRM IPL and WMDRM FPL licensees.
  • Permits licenses to distribute Developed Technology in source code form to WMDRM IPA and WMDRM IPL licensees only.
  • Important note: Any development or distribution of Interim/Intermediate Products after the 3-year agreement term must be on the PlayReady code base under a separate PlayReady agreement

For Final Products Based On The WMDRM Code Base: To maintain distribution rights, Legacy Agreement licensees of the WMDRM 10 For Devices Final Product Distribution Agreement (WMDRM FPA) will need to replace this agreement with the new PlayReady agreement titled WMDRM Device Final Product Distribution License (WMDRM FPL), upon expiration of the WMDRM FPA.

The WMDRM FPL agreement:

  • Has terms and conditions that are very similar to the WMDRM FPA that it supersedes
  • Allows licensees to continue distributing Final Products (including new products) on the WMDRM code base for the full 3-year term of the license
  • Has an Effective Date that immediately succeeds the expiration of the WMDRM FPA agreement it replaces
  • Does not require any advanced payment of royalties
  • Outlines product royalties that are based on different volume tiers for devices categorized as Mobile Devices and/or Consumer Products
  • Requires royalty reporting and payments to be performed quarterly instead of annually
  • Permits licensees to distribute Developed Technology in object code form to other WMDRM IPA, WMDRM FPA, WMDRM IPL and WMDRM FPL licensees
  • Important note: Any development or distribution of Final Products after the 3-year agreement term must be on the PlayReady code base under a separate PlayReady agreement

Regardless of whether you transition to a WMDRM IPL or a WMDRM FPL agreement, you will also need to execute a PlayReady Master Agreement, an agreement that is required for all PlayReady server and device agreements. The PlayReady Master Agreement is an umbrella agreement that contains most of the common terms and conditions necessary to license PlayReady and WMDRM for Devices technology, regardless of the code base.

For questions about the Transition Program, click here for the Frequently Asked Questions or contact WMDRMTP@microsoft.com.

Recommended Next Steps for WMDRM for Devices Licensees

Once you know which PlayReady agreement (i.e. WMDRM IPL or WMDRM FPL) you need to execute, we recommend you complete the following steps to ensure a smooth licensing transition:

  1. Identify the Effective Date of your current Legacy Agreement(s).
    • The term length of the Legacy Agreements is five years from the Effective Date of your agreement.
    • If you do not know the Effective Date of your Legacy Agreement, you can contact WMLA@microsoft.com to receive that information.
  2. Apply for and execute the appropriate PlayReady agreements
    • Apply for the WMDRM IPL or WMDRM FPL agreement(s) at least sixty (60) days prior to the end date of your Legacy Agreement(s) to ensure a smooth transition. Please click here to begin the process.
  3. Execute your agreement
    • Allow at least thirty (30) days to execute your agreement with Microsoft
  4. Communicate with your suppliers and/or customers
    • Very Important: Licensees on the Legacy Agreements do not have the right to distribute Developed Technology to WMDRM IPL or WMDRM PFL licensees. Please reach out to your suppliers and customers to ensure that they execute a WMDRM IPL or WMDRM FPL to obtain this distribution right. If they have any questions, please have them contact WMDRMTP@microsoft.com.

Frequently Asked Questions for the WMDRM Device Transition Program

For questions about the Transition Program, click here for the Frequently Asked Questions or contact WMDRMTP@microsoft.com.