The new version of Adobe's Flash media software includes DRM designed to force viewers to watch ads and limit video sharing, it was revealed today.

Thanks to video-sharing websites such as YouTube and Google Video , Adobe's Flash application is the biggest player in online video.

Now, the latest version of Flash , launched yesterday, includes DRM to allow copyright owners to force viewers to see adverts, as well as restrict copying. This should be good news to those companies who have filed lawsuits against YouTube et al over the use of copyrighted material.

"Adobe has created the first way for media companies to release video content, secure in the knowledge that advertising goes with it," James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, told BBC News .

The new Flash software also allows users to watch video offline on a PC or portable media player. It will be freely available in the same way as Acrobat Reader and Flash Player already are, and is compatible with both PC and Mac.