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Dentsu, Inc. W3C DRM Working Group Position Paper

Submitted to the W3C Workshop on DRM by:
Nicholas R. Givotovsky: nrg@nrgsphere.com
Takahito Iida: d09753@dentsu.co.jp


Dentsu's interest in The World Wide Web Consortium's work in the area of digital rights management standardization stems from its overall interest in promoting global, interoperable rights management, without which the proper development of the world wide web as a suitable medium for communications and commerce will be inhibited.

Interoperablity and Innovation

As already well noted by other participants in the forum, solutions are needed that can provide a suitable level of consistency and interoperability among a great diversity of technologies, policies, media and markets. At the same time, technological innovation and competition must not be stifled by the imposition of any standard that could limit differentiation among technology and content providers on the basis of superior delivery mechanisms and/or more compelling user propositions.

Technology Is Not the Whole Problem, or the Whole Solution

Equipping content holders to express the conditions by which their contents/services may be acquired and providing users of those contents/services to enjoy their full right to such uses without unnecessary restriction or impediment presents significant obstacles, not all of which are technical. Differences in intellectual property policy across media and markets, along with the unprecedented multiplication of intersecting and competing digital media technologies, business models and standards, together account for a large part of the difficulty. The web itself, by providing a different kind of context for contracts of all kinds calls into question the extent to which existing rights-related structures, conventions and methods should carry over into what many argue is in some ways a new realm. Without clarification and unification of the necessary content identification, rights and usage rules description that must underlie any DRM solutions, any lasting form of interoperability will prove elusive. Long-term formalization of those elements will in turn depend on issues of public policy, including intellectual property, freedom of information and privacy rights, which transcend the work of individual technical standards groups.

First, Establish A Baseline

Even given these significant obstacles, we hold that a baseline set of functions that enables as simple, and as technology, media and market- independent expression and interpretation of rights and permissions information as possible could provide the necessary starting point from which the interests of both innovation and interoperability can be served. Such a baseline should be designed to accommodate ongoing development and re-evaluation, even re-invention, as it serves to accommodate emergent requirements. Pursuing such a baseline set of functions, and rigorously assessing its prospective ability to accommodate the dual ends of interoperability and innovation in a rapidly evolving global digital environment is an effort we enthusiastically support.

Memories & Melodies

Memories & Melodies, Dentsu's own approach to embodying the intentions of content owners in a form that can be acted upon by digital distributors and in turn conveyed to consumers is in an advanced stage of development, and provides the informational infrastructure for several existing and emergent forms of digital content distribution which depend on the uniform expression of content holders' rights. Through our participation in W3C we hope to extend Memories & Melodies potential for full interoperability with other systems, and to assist in the development of a sufficient level of standardization to fully serve the needs of all stake holders in the future of digital distribution.


Along with others participating, we recognize the value of other ongoing standardization work, including but not limited to MPEG-21, and trust that communication and cooperation with relevant efforts will be diligently maintained within the scope of this activity. Finally, we much appreciate the W3C's willingness to permit Dentsu to attend this event despite our late registration, and look forward to a productive and fascinating session.