NatWest is to introduce an e-commerce security and payment scheme to encourage more businesses to sell digital content such as books, music, games and business reports over the Internet.
Operational from October, NatWest's Magex system uses a 56-bit encrypted DigiBox container, which allows copyright owners to govern the price and usage of their downloadable content.
Companies will be able to package their digital products in the Magex DigiBox and attach conditions of usage, such as the amount of time a customer can view, play or listen to a report, game or song.
Consumers will need to agree to these conditions, and pay for the product using a Magex wallet, which can be downloaded and "filled" via a payment from their credit card.
The system's success will largely depend on whether enough companies can be persuaded to adopt the system to make it worthwhile for consumers to bother getting and using a wallet.
Participating companies will pay set-up and licence fees, as well as an annual maintenance charge and a percentage of transactions. NatWest would not say what the charges would be.
NatWest has already run trials of the system with business content providers including Reuters and Dun & Bradstreet.
Magex is based on MetaTrust technology developed by InterTrust Technologies, a US e-commerce developer with which NatWest formed an alliance last year.
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