Brightcove Gets Patent for Distribution of "Digital Content Items"
Was it obvious back in 2005 that online video services would be the huge and growing industry that it is today? Well maybe not to the VHS/DVD rental companies. To some companies it was. Apple added video to iTunes in 2005.
Also back in 2005 a company called Brightcove applied for a set of patents for a digital media-delivery platform. Over the last six years they’ve been building the beast. On May 5, 2011, Brightcove announced the award of a shiny new US Patent on some of their core features. (U.S. Patent Number 7,925,973) They have more applications in the works.
Why should this be important to you?
Brightcove's patents directly relate to many of the hottest topics in online publishing and distribution of digital media, such as customizable players, rights management, affiliate syndication, advertising schemes and viewer analytics.
They will most certainly have some interesting implications in the digital media world.
No matter what opinions or objections you have regarding the technology patenting process, this is not a case of a patent troll. Founded in 2004, Brightcove is a well-respected industry innovator. It’s been a pioneer in digital media, most importantly in the online video space. In general terms, Brightcove provides a cloud-based online video delivery player/platform to publish and monetize video on the Web.
I contacted Brightcove about these awards and their PR firm sent me a brief section of the patent and politely told me on a follow-up conversation “no other comment".. The full patent document is 79 pages and it is a matter of public record. I offer it as a PDF download for those interested. The full version has several interesting flow chart diagrams like this one:
Brightcove also owns several other patent applications that are pending based on the technology disclosed in this patent.
But here’s the short version from their PR company (keep reading for the layman’s version) As you read this, note in particular - they don't even use the term "video":
“The claim was filed in August 2005 and expires in July 2029. The three primary claims are:
A method comprising: enabling offerors of digital content each to define, for each of at least one digital content item, a style in which the digital content item is to be presented to a user and an access condition under which the user may have the digital content item presented, storing the at least one digital content item in a content library, storing the styles and access conditions associated with the at least one digital content item in a server, and enabling each of the at least one digital content item to be presented to users within presentation contexts that are controlled by presentation context providers, the presentation of the at least one digital content item including obtaining the at least one digital content item from the library and controlling the presentation to occur under the conditions and in the styles defined by the offerors, wherein the conditions and the styles for the presentation are obtained from the server after the user initiates the presentation of the at least one digital content item.”Continued on the next page