The Digital Media Project



P. Merrill, C. Schultz


Proposed Requirements for Interoperable DRM Platforms




Proposed Requirements for Interoperable DRM Platforms
including nicknames and illustrative examples


The following are proposed requirements for interoperable DRM platforms submitted to the first General Assembly of the Digital Media Project for consideration. Nicknames are provided for ease of reference to each requirement. Illustrative examples are to aid comprehension and are not meant to be limiting. Several exemplary use cases provided after the requirements are intended merely to illustrate how the DMP platform could eventually perform. 


1. "provider independence"

DMP DRM shall technically enable interoperable end-user devices (IEDs) to receive and provide access to content from multiple sources and services.

Example An end-user receives a governed terrestrial broadcast and a subscription service from a cable provider using the same receiver.  

2. "transmission agnostic"

A DMP compliant bitstream/file shall be transmission-agnostic, able to exist as a file or be transmitted by wire or wireless, and it shall by packetisable over TCP/IP and other packet-based transport protocols, e.g. MPEG-2 TS.

Example Users of fully DMP DRM-governed home networks are able to e-mail each other DMP DRM-governed files as attachments to their e-mail, although FTP is an effective alternative for larger files.  

3. "persistent association"

DMP DRM shall support the persistent association of rights expressions and conditions to DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files.

Example REL data remain the same as multiple users exchange ownership of an item of digital media.  

4. "unique ID"

DMP DRM shall support the persistent and unique identification of DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files and their derivatives.

Example Twenty years after the death of a famous composer, his analogue and digital belongings are given to a library. It is possible to readily identify which digital items are DMP DRM encoded. It should also be possible to readily use these files, and details for such use remain part of each file's digital structure.  

5. "TRU extensibility"

DMP DRM shall support extensibility of rights expressions and conditions for DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files such that new, trusted and duly authorized semantics and syntax can be introduced periodically over time.

Example A collaborative agreement between two entities requires digital media to be shared, edited and viewed in previously unanticipated ways that are at first not supported by the DMP DRM platform but rules and definitions supporting new ways of exchanging digital media are developed to permit this and then added to the range of digitally enabled operations supported by the DMP DRM platform. 

6. "DEO options"

DMP DRM shall provide specifications for DMP DRM compliant implementations supporting the following digitally enabled operations (DEOs) as determined by rights expressions and conditions associated with a given DMP DRM compliant bitstream/file.  

6.1. "trust relationship DEO"

DMP DRM shall support trust relationships to be determined as existing between DMP DRM compliant devices, applications, services, and DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files.

Example An already purchased good may be downloaded from a website because a trust relationship permits the data access and transfer.  

6.2. "protected cleartext DEO"

DMP DRM shall support the secure transfer of governed DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files in cleartext over unsecure channels.

Example Governed content is stored on a secure home server in the clear and then transmitted over wireless using DTCP to the family entertainment system. It is stored and transmitted as cleartext but the unsecure channel that it is transmitted across is made secure.  

6.3. "scope of governance DEO"

DMP DRM shall support a DMP bitstream/file to exist in a DRM governed state unless stored in or accessed from a DMP DRM compliant device or virtual environment.

Example A DMP DRM-governed video file has been burned onto a DVD-R. It can be accessed and used in a home network.  

6.4. "ID persistence DEO"

DMP DRM shall support the persistent binding or association of an individual person, user or other entity with DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files

Example Functional support for an artist who creates a commissioned work and immediately gives it to his patron on completion with the stipulation that all successive enjoyers of rights shall be informed of this previous chain of ownership. Also see death of a famous composer example above (at 4. unique ID).  

6.5. "inter-implementation transfer DEO"

DMP DRM shall support the transfer and use of DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files between one given DMP DRM compliant DRM implementation and another DMP DRM compliant DRM implementation.

Example Two musicians in the Gobi desert have audio-equipped tablet devices and are taking turns composing tracks for a song file. Whether through cords or wirelessly, they are able to exchange updated versions of the song file.  

6.6. "transfer to non-DMP DEO"

DMP DRM shall support the storage, transfer and use of DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files on non-DMP DRM compliant devices.

Example A CD-ROM drive manufactured before the DMP DRM specifications were available could still be used within a DMP DRM application through the use of DMP DRM compliant coding on the optical disc or a DMP DRM compliant "burning" application.  

7. "configurable TRUs"

DMP DRM shall technically support the configurable implementation of the following traditional rights and usages in a manner that is extensible for additional rights and is configurable to support requirements imposed by the laws of regional jurisdictions or by the terms and conditions of legally acceptable binding agreements.  

7.1. "quote+ TRU"

DMP DRM shall technically support the implementation of the use of DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files for review, editorial or other critical works including the "right to quote".

Example In a wide variety of DMP DRM governed media that includes text, when accessed on common consumer computing devices, it is always possible to copy at least two sentences of text to the Clipboard application, in the clear.  

7.2. "pass-around TRU"

DMP DRM shall support the transfer of DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files from one DMP DRM compliant device to another with the secure removal from the first device.

Example The musicians in the Gobi example (at 6.5. inter-implementation transfer DEO) however all access rights to the song's content are transferred during each file exchange preventing simultaneous access to any of the content (with the possible exception of descriptive metadata such as "title" or names assigned to individual tracks). 

7.3. "transferability TRU"

DMP DRM shall technically support the implementation of the loan, transfer by intent (including but not limited to by inheritance or last will and testament), or deletion of DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files.

Example Private "estate sale" of used digital goods in order to raise money for the outstanding debts of the deceased.  

7.4 "continued access TRU"

DMP DRM shall support the guarantee of continued access to one's DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files.

Example After a catastrophic loss, such as fire or flood, a digital library can be reassembled because persistent rights and usage information exists outside the scope of data eliminated by the catastrophe.  

7.5. "device-choice TRU"

DMP DRM shall support the ability to choose playback device.

Example A guest brings a CD-R with a DMP DRM-governed file on it to a host's house, hoping the host will listen to it. The host puts the CD-R in a drive connected to the home network and is able to offer his guest a choice of hearing it through the stereo, the PC or the television.  

7.6. "anonymity TRU"

DMP DRM shall support the acquisition and use of DMP DRM compliant bitstreams/files anonymously.

Example A rebel dissident is able to gather useful information about freedoms and different forms of government without his own government immediately finding out and arresting him.  

7.7. "public domain access TRU"

DMP DRM shall support the ability to access works whose copyright has expired.

Example Time sensitivity and regional law configurations will allow cleartext access eventually, because DMP DRM can be capable of expiring according to a copyright protection schedule (ref. Henry Ryan research on regulatory ontology) and note regional law configuration granularity.  

Additional Illustrative examples

The following exemplary use cases were developed based on DMP reflector discussions and first proposed 12 November, 2003. These are submitted for illustration only. "UC" is an abbreviation of "Use Case" and "DCBM" is an abbreviation of "Digital Content Business Model" 

Author User (Author UC)

Vincent finishes his version of the great American novel and puts it online or rather in this case on the Digital Media Project interoperable global network with a price of $100. Some regions require a human being to check it for subversive or criminal content before it may be made available within that region.  

Protected Gobi (DCBM UC)

Two individuals Henry and Helen sit in the Gobi desert each with a single interoperable device (ID) able to connect to the other's wirelessly. They only have one copy of the recent bestseller "600 Silly Things To Annotate" and they pass it back and forth over their IDs while adding their own annotations. Henry pulls a two sentence quote out of the book, along with some of his and Helen's annotations and e-mails it to Louise. Depending on whether Henry has Internet access at the moment, the e-mail will either be sent immediately or queued for later delivery. As Henry and Helen pass the annotated bestseller back-and-forth, the single-copy-only file self-deletes off each other's IDs.  

File Transfer (DCBM UC)

Unlike average computer files, the DMP traveling bitstream has many more special qualities, especially a multitechnological ability to be sent from person to person over a variety of transmission platforms including standard computer memory, programmable chips, Flash, optical media, TCP/IP, MPEG-2 TS, and many more underlying physical data embodiments. For example if Vincent the author e-mailed a single-copy-only of an urgent chain-letter to a friend, including himself as a recipient of digital "carbon copy" cc's. Vincent could author a DMP file and send it to friend #1 via e-mail. Friend #1 impulsively puts it on a P2P network in order to reach a semi-mysterious friend he frequently file-shares with, including the instruction to return it when done, which Friend #1's online buddy accordingly does after reading Vincent's plan for a sequel to his great American novel. Friend #1 burns the traveling DMP file onto a DVD and puts it in the postal mail to Friend #2. Friend #2 receives the DVD a week later while running to the airport and takes it with him. At the airport terminal, Friend #2 puts the DVD in a DMP kiosk's DVD drive (which can eat the disc), likes it, rips it and transfers it by FTP to DMP-enabled "media-less" online storage hosting he maintains. The kiosk eats his disc. Once Friend #2 lands at his destination and checks into his hotel, he downloads a copy of the file and so the hosted version self-deletes off his DMP-enabled server. After annotating the file with the words "Go Vincent!" he sends it back to the trusted loading queue for Vincent's primary ID.  

Political Outcry (End-User UC)

Dora is very upset that a local politician repeatedly denies having made statements a day or two after he has made them and so she publicly identifies the discrepancy, thereby causing persistent copies to be kept of the politician's statements. Until Dora initiated this procedure, the politician had been abusing DMP's DRM features by causing his copyright-protected statements to self-delete with a time-out command so all copies kept vanishing, but now no more. Regional authorities were thereby able to consider whether the discrepancies claimed by Dora warranted investigation.  

Regional Granularity (Regulation UC)

Vincent and Dora coincidentally live next to each other on either side of a national border and so cannot receive the same DMP DRM-managed material because of national distribution restrictions.  

Trusted Campus Network (DCBM UC)

A dozen college friends like to share files, videoconference and arrange get-togethers. Their combined data includes a wide variety of Digital Content Business Models (DCBM) and user permission sets. When they are together in a restaurant, some of their combined data can be played in the table's DMP player and some can't, depending on whether the content's authors allow that or not. The friends also have various means to share files all day, for example over sophisticated data phones they carry around including to class. Some files can travel everywhere the friends do single-copy-only, some files allow multiple copies, some annoying files have bad restrictions on them but are kept by the college students anyway. Much of their data can be stored in a DMP DRM-managed area on the campus computer network.