The Sweet ‘Snell’ of Success: IP Protection and Licensing Done Right with Sentinel
The broadcast industry is rapidly changing. We need only look as far as over-the-top (OTT) services such as Hulu and Netflix to see that traditional billing models are in a state of disruption. Streaming video over the internet has become a popular alternative to traditional distribution channels, and the creation of that content requires a powerful set of software-based tools.
Snell, the world leader in broadcast and postproduction technology, is addressing these needs with Snell on Demand; a software framework that allows customers to run its image processing products on a per-use basis. I asked Jeremy Courtney, Business Leader at Snell, how the company went about licensing its new technology and protecting the valuable intellectual property contained in its source code.
JH: Snell is renowned for its high-quality media processing technology and has even won an Emmy award for its algorithms. At what point did the company realize it needed strong security to protect its intellectual property?
JC: Before we could offer our Quasar OD and Alchemist OD software commercially, we knew we had to protect our source code from reverse engineering and tampering. Our intellectual property is what differentiates our products, so it was critical that we have in place a licensing technology that offers maximum protection.
JH: How valuable is IP protection to Snell?
JC: It’s hard to quantify the ROI of implementing protection exactly, but if our IP was not protected and fell into the wrong hands, it could be financially devastating.
JH: Besides IP protection, what other requirements did Snell have when evaluating commercial software monetization solutions?
JC: We looked at various options for licensing and fulfilling software orders, and then managing them once in the field. It was important that our products could be ordered through the company’s online store and that the fulfilment and software activation process could be automated. It goes without saying that all licensing and enforcement operations had to be virtually invisible to the customer so as to ensure the best possible user experience. And because our increasingly digital-savvy customers want to consume media on different operating systems and devices, our ideal solution would also provide cross-platform support.
JH: Talk us through your choice of Gemalto Sentinel solutions.
JC: We needed to protect the intellectual property in our source code while offering and enforcing a variety of licensing models and packaging options for our products. Sentinel RMS did all that and more. It gave us the ability to easily enable or disable product features within our Snell on Demand software framework, saving us the added overhead of building custom hardware products.