Submission request to W3C (W3C Team Comment)

We, W3C member RealNetworks, Inc. hereby submit to the Consortium the following specification, comprising the following document(s) attached hereto:
  1. XMCL language specification

which collectively are referred to as "the submission". We request the submission be known as the XMCL submission.


Digital media in a rights management system flows through a number of steps on its journey to a consumer's eyes and ears. The steps are: create, package, publish, distribute, license, and consume. At least a subset of these abstract steps is implemented by all rights management systems today. The service or business owner that manages one or more of these steps varies widely depending on the relationships negotiated for a specific piece of content. However, there is a natural break between the back-end systems for publishing and licensing and the trusted system that packaged the content and enforces the business rules for the content. This division is between the systems that describe the business rules for the content and the specific implementation that enforces those rules. There exists an opportunity for a standard business rule definition language to bridge the back-end systems and the specific implementations.

Today, choosing a Digital Rights Management System (DRM) often locks you into a limited usage space for the content protected by the DRM due to limitations of the client software that plays back the content. To give customers what they want and allow broader usage, publishers and e-tailers have to offer the content in multiple formats, protected by multiple DRM systems. With the lack of a standard business rule definition language, these publishers or e-tailers have to specify the business rules separately for each DRM system they support.

A standard XML based business rule definition language would bring all of these DRM systems together on the back end and reduce the cost for the publisher/e- tailer. Most importantly, a standard business rule definition language would enable the e-tailer to become independent of the particular implementation choices of any single DRM vendor and any single back-end system. Interoperability at this exchange point between back-end systems and trusted delivery systems increases the ease of use of rights management systems for the back-end operator; reduces the risks of mistakes in the setting of the business rules that could violate the rights the publisher had acquired from the content creator; and will accelerate the growth of the digital media industry as a result.

Change control

Should any changes be required to the document, we would expect future versions to be produced by W3C process upon acceptance of this as a Recommendation-track task.

Intellectual property Rights


RealNetworks, Inc. hereby grants to the W3C, a perpetual, nonexclusive, royalty-free, world-wide right and license under any RealNetworks, Inc. copyrights in this contribution to copy, publish and distribute the contribution under the W3C document licenses W3C document licenses.

Additionally, should the submission be used as a contribution towards a W3C Activity, RealNetworks, Inc. grants a right and license of the same scope to any derivative works prepared by the W3C and based on, or incorporating all or part of, the contribution. RealNetworks, Inc. further agrees that any derivative works of this contribution prepared by the W3C shall be solely owned by the W3C.

Trade and Service Marks

The following are common or registered marks refered to in this request or the submission: none.

RealNetworks, Inc. agrees that the trade and service marks that are associated with and identify this specific submission (enumerate the marks) will be governed by the W3C Trademark and Servicemark License .


RealNetworks, Inc. agrees that, upon adoption of this contribution as a W3C Recommendation, any individual or legal entity will be able to obtain a license from RealNetworks, Inc. required to implement and use the contribution to the XMCL specification as part of implementing the entire XMCL specification on a royalty- free basis. A condition of this license shall be the party's agreement to not assert patent rights against RealNetworks, Inc. and other companies for their implementation of XMCL and future versions to be produced by W3C process. RealNetworks, Inc. expressly reserves all other rights it may have in the material and subject matter of this contribution. RealNetworks, Inc. expressly disclaims any and all warranties regarding this contribution including any warranty that this contribution does not violate the rights of others or is fit for a particular purpose.

Suggested action

We suggest that the Consortium start a working group to develop a W3C recommendation for XML based digital rights specification language.


To help with this work, we expect to be able to participate in the working group activities.


Inquiries from the public or press about this submission should be directed to the following:

Ji Shen, RealNetworks, Inc., jshen@real.com


this 2nd day of May, 2002,

Robert Lanphier, RealNetworks, Inc., robla@real.com