The Digital Media Manifesto



L. Chiariglione


Draft of Digital Media Manifesto




Executive Summary

Digital Media are enabled by a collection of very powerful advanced technologies. By now they should have generated manifold creative, business and enjoyment opportunities. This has not yet happened.

The aim of the Digital Media Manifesto is to identify the hurdles to fuller use of Digital Media in order to benefit players on the value chain, including the end user. At the same time, it advocates the establishment of the Digital Media Project, a not-for-profit organisation, which has as its goal the removal of these hurdles.


After R&D investments made over several decades Digital Technologies (DT) have spawned a number of huge and profitable new industries such as Information Technology, Integrated Circuits and Digital Communication. DT have also been employed in the media industry with Compact Disc (CD) and Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) as examples of successful use. These have provided the content industry with new outlets for their content, and the manufacturing industry with new opportunities to sell devices. As a result, end users have enjoyed a better audio and visual experience.

Over the past few years a collection of DT has provided the opportunity to try new business models that have enticed end users to new experiences - the Digital Media (DM) experiences - but these have either been unprofitable or challenged in the courts. Unlike what has happened for other DT-driven industries, DM is in a phase of stagnation which abuses the rights of certain value chain players and deprives end users of enjoying potential benefits from technology.

The Digital Media Manifesto (DMM) is about finding the means to make the promising new DM experience legitimate and economically rewarding on a global scale. It projects a vision in which DM express their full potential to satisfy end users and to offer new opportunities to value chain players.

The DMM recognises that there are numerous hurdles that impede the achievement of this vision. If such hurdles as "blank recording media levies" are phased out, if the snail-like introduction of "digital two-way broadband access" is accelerated, and if "interoperable DRM platforms" are specified and deployed, it can be expected then that providers of content, services and devices will have an incentive to invest in DM.

Likewise, if "end-user rights" as they are traditionally enjoyed in analog media are mapped to the DM space to the satisfaction of all parties, if an ecosystem of "technically compatible offers" is created that can be enjoyed on "open DM consumption devices" equipped with "simple, effective and scalable interfaces", it can then be expected end users will have an incentive to adopt DM, once they are offered a legitimate and properly priced experience that is otherwise comparable to today's infringement-friendly experiences.

The Digital Media Manifesto provides a more detailed analysis of the hurdles that stand in the way of reaching the above objective. It recognises that the problem is of estraordinary difficulty because the entire value chain is involved. The DMM proposes to establish the Digital Media Project (DMP), a not-for-profit organisation, as the vehicle that will act to remove the hurdles and realise the vision.