Flash, the ubiquitous Web plug-in that has driven the success of YouTube and the vast majority of online video has one big limitation: its files are not protected from being saved, mashed or republished. 

Apple’s QuickTime and Microsoft’s Windows Media Player have robust security protocols.

Since Flash has been mostly streamed and not downloaded — you see it then it’s gone, the issue of digital rights management has not been an issue.

In a giant development in our industry, Adobe is introducing downloadable content with the new Adobe Media Player.  Set for launch next month, the new platform will allow users to download Flash files to the desktop.

Will this new devlopment best Apple and iTunes?  Not sure about that, particulary as downloadable Flash videos will only work on the computer and not on the iPod. 

But, surely rights management will be critical in getting premium content creators to use the Adobe Media Player.  Today, the company is expected to announce a major initiative. 

Other companies have DRM products for Flash, but this is the first time Adobe has unveiled its own solution.

To get the download on the new Adobe rights management system, I spoke with Laurel Reitman at Adobe in San Francisco earlier this month.

— Andy Plesser