International Organization Licenses Microsoft's New Multicolor Bar Code Technology for Identifying Audiovisual Works

Consumers and businesses alike expected to benefit from information-bearing

capability of new bar code format.

Apr 16, 2007, 01:00 ET from Microsoft Corp.

    REDMOND, Wash. and GENEVA, April 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft
 Corp. (Nasdaq:   MSFT) and the International Standard Audiovisual Number
 International Agency (ISAN-IA) today announced an agreement whereby ISAN-IA
 has licensed Microsoft's new High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) technology
 developed by Microsoft Research to assist in the identification of
 commercial audiovisual works such as motion pictures, video games,
 broadcasts, digital video recordings and other media.
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     The ISAN-IA, which coordinates a globally recognized identification
 system for audiovisual works, will make the Microsoft(R)-developed bar code
 available to other organizations for use in tracking, helping protect and
 manage their audiovisual content. The new multicolor bar code is expected
 to start appearing on DVD media toward the end of 2007. ISAN-IA also said
 several of its registration agencies will use the innovative technology to
 help their customers derive more accountability and value from their media
 asset libraries.
     "The capability of these new bar codes to store more data in a smaller
 space should provide a rich resource for the industry and consumers alike,"
 said Gavin Jancke, director of engineering for Microsoft Research and
 inventor of the HCCB format. "The new code offers several advantages over
 existing black-and-white bar codes most people are accustomed to seeing on
 product packages, enabling new consumer experiences, more visual appeal
 where aesthetics are important and the ability to incorporate advanced
 security features."
     Current ISAN codes allow an audiovisual work to be uniquely
 distinguished from other works through a simple identification system, but
 they do not allow additional features or functions to be incorporated.
 Microsoft's new multicolor bar code will enable the inclusion of more data
 in the code itself, as well as the ability for consumers to interact with
 it by scanning the code with webcams and, eventually, cell phones with
 color cameras.
     For audiovisual publishers, identification and tracking technologies
 will provide detailed data that can aid in royalty payments,
 anti-counterfeiting efforts, market analysis and a host of other business
 functions. For consumers, the new bar codes can be combined with Web
 services to offer enhanced information such as product versioning, ratings
 identification, parental control, product availability, special releases,
 contests, pricing and promotions. Software to be made available from
 Microsoft and ISAN-IA will interpret the bar codes and will be integrated
 with Web services to enable these interactions.
     The services enabled by HCCB are expected to become more prevalent as
 lens quality advances in cell phones to capture these small bar codes. For
 existing cell phones to read a black-and-white bar code, a practice that is
 widespread in Japan, the code must be larger than 1.5 by 1.5 inches in
 size. The use of those codes is impractical in small spaces or where visual
 appeal is important. Eventually, consumers should be able to scan the new,
 smaller bar codes directly from television, phone or PC screens; movie
 posters; DVD and CD jewel cases; magazine ads; billboards; and a host of
 other platforms to retrieve additional information.
     New security features can also be incorporated into Microsoft's
 multicolor bar code. DatatraceDNA plans to provide technology for
 anti-counterfeiting security protection features through nanotechnology
 that is invisibly embedded within the material and ink of the Microsoft bar
 code and product packaging.
     This unique combination of technologies will allow ISAN-IA to offer
 media publishers the ability to connect to consumers using interactive
 services and provide counterfeit protection in a single package.
     "The capabilities enabled by this combination of bar code technology
 and supporting software are important for everyone," said Patrick Attallah,
 chief executive officer of ISAN-IA. "This includes content owners tracking
 the use of their work and media publishers seeking to connect to consumers
 using interactive services and provide a combination of DatatraceDNA
 counterfeit protection in a single package. This technology provides a way
 to identify commercial programming and improve the consumer's experience.
 Secure Path Technology LLC, our Hollywood-based ISAN registration agency,
 will be the first organization to implement the HCCB format to deliver
 content identification, management and distribution capabilities to its
 customers in the entertainment industry across a variety of media."
     Through this agreement, Microsoft continues to contribute to the
 innovation ecosystem by deploying new research technologies outside its
 products and services via its various licensing programs. More information
 about Microsoft intellectual property licensing programs is available at
     About ISAN International Agency
     The ISAN International Agency has the responsibility for the overall
 ISAN system maintenance and administration. As a service organization its
 mission is to implement ISAN, the ISO standard (15706-1 & 2), and ensure
 full compliance by itself and all Registration Agencies with the ISO norm.
 With thirteen international agencies and over 500,000 registered works,
 ISAN-IA is the world's leading registration system for commercial
 audiovisual works. More information is available at
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software,
 services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full
     Microsoft is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies.
     The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
 trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.