The Digital Media Manifesto



L. Chiariglione


Response to "Comments on Final draft of Digital Media Manifesto"




Commented text in italic

1. Introduction
End user "rights" is in quotes while "end-to-end conformance of participants" is not.
Please remove quotes from "rights".
Rationale: end users, because of their capability for transformative and creative use of media, must get equal treatment to other participants.

It is two different things. "Rights" was introduced to avoid an immediate reaction that not all of them are rights in the leagl sense. The second is not that.

2. under "The DRM technology solution, so far"
Replace: "The technology front has not been idle and has been actively advocating DRM as the solution to a number of concerns surrounding the use of Digital Media."
with "The technology front has not been idle and some companies and organizations have advocated DRM as the solution to a number of concerns surrounding the use of Digital Media."
Rationale: The "technology front" is too diverse to generalize about in areas such as advocating DRM. Many who could be called part of the "technology front" are skeptical of or hostile to DRM. 


3. under "Major actions"
replace: "P1 is part of the design of the interoperable DRM platform, in the sense that the platform must technically support those traditional end-user rights, to the extent that the purpose of DRM is not put in jeopardy."
with: "P1 is essential to the design of the interoperable DRM platform, because the platform must support traditional end-user rights, or fail to achieve acceptance with end-users and their representatives in legislative bodies."
Rationale: same as section 1 -- end user rights cannot be the only objective that is allowed to be abandoned because of technical difficulties. End users must be satisfied that their traditional rights are supported in order to get their long-term support for a system. 

I am not against what you say, but not at a point of a very concise summary. Propose text in the body of P1

under "Right to choose playback device"
replace: "This was a reasonable practice as long as content was unprotected. But with protected content this may no longer be possible in general, because the playback device must satisfy certain minimum and probably restrictive criteria, if it is not going to become a hole through which valuable content flows away."
with: "This remains an important consideration even for content to which DRM has been applied. Much content exists in formats that no longer have sufficient market share to support the manufacture of mass-market playback devices, while the content retains historical, political, or artistic value."
Rationale: Content has historical, political, and artistic value, not just economic. When content can be made inaccessible by market failure of a format coupled with legal restrictions on constructing a playback device, people will not take digital media seriously, because digital works will be "deniable" and "disposable". 

Mostly OK, see new text

After: "This process has proven highly successful in the past, see for example the deployment of set-top boxes, VCRs, CD players, etc."
Add: "The current definition of RAND, however, allows for mandatory minimum licensing payments that can be prohibitive for small enterprises."
Rationale: Participation by small entities will increase the possibility for market success of new digital media formats. 

I do not know of any definition of RAND.

After: "From this perspective easier access to technology for research purposes would benefit continuing use of established standards and would promote innovation."
Add: "For example, a license that clearly allowed an open, collaborative software project to implement a patented technology, and only required licensing from vendors of end-user devices, would enable more companies and institutions to participate in digital media R&D."
Rationale: Loosely coupled development organizations are important to the Web, Internet radio, and other media. In order for these organizations to function, they need to be able to transfer code across organizational boundaries.

I am not against what you say, but why do you say it? I do not think it is excluded by the sentence and I do not have the time to study the ramifications.

Delete: "Moreover it has the side effect of depriving industry of possibly important patents."
Rationale: Unpatented technology is more valuable to industry as a whole than is patented technology, because of lower transaction costs. A higher threshold on patents would result in more unpatented technical content, which could be of very high value.


To list of "value chain function stakeholders" add
Future historians
Rationale: Digital media systems that do not consider the future will not attract content for which the author desires future relevance.

Done for the first two, but the third is a user. This does not mean I do not consider the importance of history. If there is a discipline I value that is history. It is the ability to retain history that distinguish humans from animals. When a nation wanted to annihilate another, without physically killing the people, it subtracted their history from them. But an historian is a user, a user with special rights, but still a user.

4. under "Rights Holders"
Replace: "Security technologies promise rights holders that they will retain control of their assets when they distribute content."
With: "DRM technologies promise rights holders that content will be less suceptible to infringement."
Rationale: Calling DRM "security" is an overgeneralization. And a reasonable DRM system does not promise "control" over certain end-user actions.