Natwest bank has rolled out Magex, a complete digital service that it claims will finally unlock the true potential of Internet commerce for content providers and create a low cost delivery channel.
The service is the result of a strategic alliance between Natwest and US company Intertrust Technologies, which was established last September to develop electronic commerce and digital information security for the Internet.
Magex will enable companies to sell information over the Internet and receive payment for data accessed, whilst setting up variables such as read only, print only and save from the Internet. It will also be able to manage the flow of money from consumer to content provider.
"Companies offering music, software, publishing, voice and video can place their work on the Internet with far greater protection against piracy or illegal use," explained a spokesperson for Natwest.
A variety of digital content can be sold using the Magex system, which wraps the content in a "Digibox" for protection, enabling customers to examine it but not take it without paying.
NatWest is believed to be talks with several business information, music and software publishers, who will take Magex onboard this summer.
Magex uses Natwest's own micropayment system, with customers paying for content in US dollars.
Natwest is hoping Magex will compliment its payment card business. To use it, customers must register and download the necessary software. To refill the PC-based 'Wallet', customers can use Visa or Mastercard to bring their account to at least a minimum level before making purchases.
The total value of inter-company goods and services traded over the Internet is expected to grow from $8 billion in 1997 to $327 billion in the US alone, according to Forrester Research.
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