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ContentGuard Position Paper for W3C DRM Workshop

Brad Gandee & Xin Wang


ContentGuard develops DRM technology and solutions and has a number of active customers that have implemented our technology and deployed our solutions as part of their digital content business initiative. ContentGuard has also developed and licenses, on a royalty-free basis, XrML, eXtensible rights Mark-up Language in order to enable the digital content marketplace.

Current DRM Landscape:

The Internet's ability to deliver information has sparked its incredible growth. Now, with e-commerce well established, the publication and distribution of digital content represents a natural next step in the evolution of the Internet. With the digital content industry already mapped out and under construction, rapid growth for e-commerce in digital goods will be inevitable as well.

Various approaches have been proposed to stimulate the digital marketplace. They are based on the simple ideas that digital works can be bought and sold among trusted systems, and rights and specifications can be associated to those works. Trusted systems themselves may demand different requirements depending on the level of security involved. All hardware and software on a platform may be certified to honor digital rights, or, secure envelopes or containers may be used to focus on transmission and storage. In any case, the program code must be unalterable and data files inaccessible by unauthorized parties. With open systems, an approach will be needed to manage risk for the many stakeholders. This will ultimately involve establishing both coordinated industry responses and insurance. Joint and open action by the major stakeholders will be a crucial part of the process in establishing and maintaining an approach that balances the interests of the stakeholder and serves the public well.

In addition to creating an environment within which the trusted systems can work together the industry requires systems that work for recombinant forms of digital content. Digital content will not be merely a digital re-creation of the content from the physical world. Ebooks, for example, will have multimedia content embedded and video will have the eBook attached. All of this dictates that interoperability is one of the key issues if we are going to enable this marketplace. The content owners and creators will not come to market if they have to package their content and repackage it and repackage it again each time they want to offer it through a different distribution chain or a different recombinant form. To accomplish this the digital content marketplace requires a standard language to define the rights, terms and conditions (business models to the content owners and distributors, and usage rights to the consumers) and an industry wide definition for Interoperability.

What would ContentGuard like to see come out of the DRM Workshop?