Twelve months of Digital Media Project

Leonardo Chiariglione


1          Introduction

The Digital Media Manifesto (DMM), a grass-root movement kicked-off in July 2003, has identified interoperable Digital Rights Management (DRM) as the key technology to break the “digital media stalemate”. This is depriving right holders of a rightful remuneration of their efforts, end-users of great new experiences from the use of digital technologies, and a whole range of intermediaries of the opportunity to offer innovative new services. The DMM has proposed the development of Technical Specifications of Interoperable DRM Platform and Interoperable End-user Devices as the means to provide users of the value-chain with with the basic technological tools with which to conjugate technology innovation with respect of rights.

At the same time DMM has pointed out the fallacy of a pure technology-driven DRM solution, because DRM can substantially alter Traditional Rights and Usages (TRU). DMM realises that, unless Technical Specifications are accompanied by non-technical measures issued by appropriate authorities to accommodate the diverging forces of technology and user desires and habits, interoperable DRM solutions will miss the target. Recommended Actions are needed to guide those who will be in charge of devising the necessary legislative/regulatory measures in the technical intricacies of DRM.

The Digital Media Project (DMP), established as a not-for-profit organisation in December 2003, is the organisation whose establishment was advocated by DMM to develop the necessary Technical Specifications and Recommended Actions. DMP has accepted the DMM proposals, in particular the development of

  1.  Technical Specifications of Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP) and Interoperable End-user Devices (IED)

  2.  Recommended Practices for Traditional Rights and Usages

So far DMP has worked in two main directions and has developed

  1.  A comprehensive study of 88 TRUs that apply to different value-chain players, in particular end-users

  2. Requirements for Interoperable DRM Platform and Interoperable End-user Devices.

The 2nd direction has not achieved sufficient maturity because, as a result of a decision made at its 1st General Assembly in February 2004, DMP has decided to  focus on the fast-track development of a Portable Audio and Video (PAV) Devices Technical Specification. At its 3rd General Assembly in July 2004, DMP has issued a Call for Proposals for Portable Audio and Video Devices. Responses are due for the 4th General Assembly in October 2004 and the PAV Technical Specifications will be approved and publicly released at the 6th General Assembly in April 2005.

The focus given to PAV in the first few months, however, does not imply abandonment of IDP and IED Technical Specifications, and TRU Recommended Practices. Indeed at the same 3rd General Assembly DMP has confirmed its plan to adopt the set of document at the 8th DMP General Assembly in October 2005.

Purpose of this document is to illustrate the DMP program of work for the development of IDP and IED Technical Specifications and TRU Recommended Practices.


2          The TRU Call for Contributions

DMP believes that the PAV Technical Specification will be a major step forward in the gridlocked digital media space, However, DMP is mindful of the fallacy of technology-only solutions and, at the same 3rd General Assembly that issued the PAV Call for Proposals, DMP has decided to accelerate the development of a Recommended Action document on Traditional Rights and Usages.

DMP has an approved work plan, where the TRU work item is described as follows:

“The DMP Technical Specifications, namely Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP), Interoperable End-user Devices (IED) and possibly End-to-End Conformance (EEC)  are designed to be capable of supporting a variety of usages, some of which are a direct mapping of usages that have existed since possibly the beginning of the media industry and have achieved different status in different jurisdictions.

The TRU RA is developed with the purpose of facilitating the deployment of DMP IDPs and IEDs by providing a neutral description of the potential problems in their use.

The target audience of the TRU RA are specific legislative environments to help them produce the most appropriate regulations of DMP IDPs and IEDs.”

DMP intends to proceed along similar lines as for PAV Technical Specifications. It will issue a TRU Call for Contributions (CfC) at its 4th General Assembly in October 2004, will receive responses in January 2005 and will publish the TRU Recommended Action in October 2005 after a series of Working Drafts that will be made public on the DMP web site for comments.

In spite of the good work done so far on the 88 TRU Templates, much remains to be done before the TRU CfC can be published. Therefore DMP has set up an Ad hoc Group on “Traditional Rights and Usages (TRU) Call for Contributions”. The AHG has the following mandates:

  1. Produce a table of content of the TRU CfC

  2. Draw attention of potential contributors particularly from the non-technical side

  3. Produce a draft as input to GA04

  4. Provide a comprehensive description of the TRU Work Item

Participation in the ad hoc group is open to anybody. To subscribe go to

3          A proposed Table of Content

A possible ToC for the TRU CfC is the following:

1.      Introduction
A high-level summary of the CfC

2.      Purpose of this Call
To obtain responses from from interested parties on how to deal with TRUs in an interoperable DRM world.

3.      Background information on DMP
Standard material about DMP

4.      The issues

4.1.   Traditional Rights and Usages in an analogue world
A summary description of what Users have traditionally done in the analogue world

4.2.   Benefits and problems from digital media
The many advantages of digital media and a sample of the problems created

4.3.   Benefits and problems of interoperable DRM
DRM solves some problems but alters the traditional “balance of power” between sellers and buyers. Interoperable DRM mitigates some of these problems but shifts control entirely to the supply side

4.4.   Mapping TRUs to a digital world
Need for a legislative action (possibly different depending on the jurisdiction) to determine which TRUs are supported by legislation and which are to be left to negotiation

5.      TRUs identified by DMP
A few lines of text for each of the 88 TRUs identifying the conflicts between the means of control offered by DRM and the TRUs that need to be resolved

6.      Comments and proposal
A template to be followed by those responding with a couple of examples of how a respondent may want to make a Contribution

7.      How to respond
Logistic details similar to those of the PAV CfP

4          The IDP and IED Requirements

DMP has followed a rigorous process in the development of PAV requirements:

  1. It has developed a complete analysis of existing value-chains with a description of the roles of Value-Chain Players and of their interactions.

  2. It has extracted a number of Primitive Functions that are generic enough not to be in general dependent on specific Value-Chain Players.

  3. It has carried out a study of 42 Digital Enabled Usages, defined as usages either not possible or not considered in the analogue domain

  4. It has solicited the views of industry players on the requirements thay see apply to Interoperable End-user Devices.

This process has been successfully completed for Portable Audio and Video Devices. At its 3rd General Assembly DMP approved the following resolution:

  DMP requests its members and outside parties to make in-depth contributions on their requirements for Interoperable DRM Platform and Interoperable End-user Devices from their viewpoint in the value chain.

  This call is the equivalent of the call made by DMP in point 4. above and DMP has established an Ad hoc Group on “Requirements for Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP) and Interoperable End-user Devices (IED)”. Work is progressing based on two input documents: Primitive functions and AHG03 Framework.

Participation in the ad hoc group is open to anybody. To subscribe go to

5          Other DMP activities

DMP is also carrying out other activities that were envisaged by DMM, in particular

  1. Phasing out analogue legacies applied to Digital Media

  2. Deployment of broadband access

  3. Improving development of and access to standards

The day before the 3rd General Assembly DMP held a workshop related to the 3rd activity. Titled “Rebuilding bridges between standardisation and industry” the workshop has produced valuable material that will be used to develop a Recommended Action.

Similarly DMP is planning a Workshop on “Analogue legacies in the digital space” to be held the day before the 4th General Assembly. Also in this case the material will be used to develop a Recommended Action. Those interested should contact Marc Gauvin (