[Paper Overview] [DRM-Workshop Homepage]
Bruce D. Bridges, Vaughn Iverson
We believe that W3C's interest in DRM is timely and appropriate. W3C should focus first on the semantics and encoding of DRM languages for the description of rights associated with Web resources. However, W3C should collaborate with other initiatives with respect to protection, security, and enforcement issues.
W3C should organize its efforts around creating an interoperable DRM language that should support an open and horizontal framework. An open, horizontal framework for digitally distributed content should have the following properties:
The infrastructure should encourage competition and not limit innovation by imposing proprietary technologies.
The framework must make it possible (and, ideally, easy) to add support for next-generation technologies and emerging business models, as well as to modify existing solutions.
The framework should work across diverse platforms, operating systems, processors, playback devices and codecs. It should also be applicable to a variety of content formats.
With an open-policy architecture, the framework should allow content providers to associate rules with its use to allow a variety of new uses and new business models. This will facilitate innovation of content and services, flexibility to evolve new business models, and allow vendors to create and capture value and differentiate their offerings.
Should provide enough functionality to provide a foundation, or infrastructure for other technologies. Developers shouldn't assume they know what people will need, but should leave those technologies to evolve on their own. This implies a need to avoid binding assumptions on future usage or business models.
Note that this is very different from having a single comprehensive standard that defines how everything is supposed to work. Rather, this is simply a framework that allows individual vendors to plug in their technologies and innovate. It aims to accelerate the growth of digitally distributed content while promoting interoperability, protecting content and providing consumers with choice, convenience, ease of use and a diversity of experiences.
An open framework also differs from having numerous vertical solutions. In a young emerging market that lacks a standard infrastructure, proprietary vertical solutions can be the quickest way to develop and release products to gain valuable market experience. In the long term, however, these solutions start to lose their applicability. As the market begins to mature, vendors may want to better customize/extend their products and technologies for their customers. This means that they may want the ability to innovate the best component technologies for their products and services, and mix and match those components to best fit their customers' needs. Vertical solutions tend to offer limited flexibility because their components are often intertwined with each other. The situation becomes even more difficult if customers want to put together a solution using components from a variety of vendors.
Another issue is that the individual components of a vertical solution may get locked into a particular usage model or architecture early in market development. As the market matures and vendors learn more about what they need to provide, they may find it difficult to modify and add features to those components. Consequently, this lack of flexibility may hinder the evolution of the digitally distributed content business by denying vendors the ability to experiment with different business and usage models and to quickly adapt to the demands of the market.
In addition to this, the framework should not inappropriately restrict fair use, fair dealing, or privacy rights expressed in national and international laws.
We look forward to participating in this workshop and appreciate the efforts of W3C in providing a venue to address these important issues.