[Paper Overview] [DRM-Workshop Homepage]

Position Paper

prepared by

Reed Elsevier, plc

for the

W3C Workshop on Digital Rights Management

22-23 January 2001, INRIA, Sophia Antipolis, France

Jeff Honious, Reed Elsevier
13 December 2000

Executive Summary

Reed Elsevier seeks DRM solutions that enable B2B models. Most of the effort to-date has gone into B2C models. B2B models support value-added delivery of content to professionals as individuals as well as through their organizations, enterprises and institutions. Not only must DRM technology support the content provider's need to enforce rights but it must also deliver value to the consumer. As a result, consumers must find it easy to consume the content on the device of their choice as well as at a location of their choosing (perhaps disconnected from any network). This necessitates the need for portable and transferable licenses.

Reed Elsevier endorses the development of standards that will increase interoperability among the technology solutions. Furthermore, these standards should build on others, such as RDF. For example, it should be possible to express rights on a resource using RDF syntax. Reed Elsevier will contribute its business requirements to the standards development process to insure emerging standards successfully meet business needs. In addition, we will our knowledge what is required for sustained operation and integration of DRM technology.


Reed Elsevier recognizes the significant advances in DRM technology over the last few years. However, it appears that much of the focus has been on B2C models. As a publisher in professional markets, we require robust B2B models for rights management. In the B2B setting, the buyer is an enterprise, organization, institution, or some other group of individuals. The consumer of the material is a set of individuals within this group represented by the buyer. Thus, we must be able to grant rights to this set of individuals as part of a single financial transaction with the buyer. In some instances, the individuals within the group will be specified at the time of the financial transaction. In other instances, an authority within the purchasing organization will have the right to specify grant rights within the limits of the purchase agreement to specific individuals after the financial transaction has completed. The required models may include, but not be limited to the following:

  1. Unlimited accesses (view, print or otherwise) to the content at a fixed price for a fixed period by any number of individuals within the purchasing entity.

  2. Same as (1), but with a specific number of individuals, to be determined by an authority within the purchasing entity at some time after the transaction completes and before the expiration of the period.

  3. A specified number of accesses to the content at a fixed price for a fixed or indefinite period by any number of individuals within the purchasing entity.

  4. Same as (3), but with a specific number of individuals determined after the purchase, as in (2).

In addition to these models, Reed Elsevier has the following business and technical requirements:

Metering requirements include the following:

Reed Elsevier is interested in DRM technology enabling many different modes of content access, including, but not limited to the following:

For a content provider, effective deployment of DRM technology requires integration in the infrastructure. It must be possible to efficiently produce and issue large volumes of secure containers, perform large numbers of rights-clearing transactions, and receive large volumes of usage information. These systems must integrate appropriately with billing, content management, and customer relationship management systems.


Reed Elsevier expects the Workshop to produce a foundation of requirements and technical approaches for the advancement of DRM standards. We expect to hear from the leading technology providers and representatives of potential standards. In addition, we expect to collaborate with other content providers to influence articulation of requirements that support the requisite business models. We support the development of standards for interoperability among the technologies. We hope that these standards will build on other standards, such as RDF. RDF syntax should be used to describe the rights of a resource.

Reed Elsevier also hopes to participate in debate on the value proposition of DRM technology to the consumer. Before content providers can adopt DRM technology widely, there must be a clear business case for doing so. This business case will be driven by how DRM technology will add value to the consumer, not simply how it will help content providers enforce rights.


Reed Elsevier's main contribution will be requirements from the perspective of a content provider in the professional markets. We will also supply our insight on the issues and integration requirements for successful deployment of DRM technology on a large scale. Effective, operations and management of the DRM infrastructure will be critical and we will contribute our experience in furtherance of workable standards.