The Digital Media Project



Martin Springer


TRU #57 to choose the service





Martin Springer

Affiliation/additional information:

Active Contributor, Luebeck, Germany

Date submitted:







Name of TRU

TRU to choose the service


Summary description of TRU

To use services independently of the service provider [1]


Use records of TRU

Throughout history people could (more or less) choose the services they use, for example:

  • News:
    In a free society, users (news consumers) can choose from different news sources:

    • Newspaper (national, international)
    • Radio station
    • Television programme
    • Internet Newgroups

    "News programmes should offer viewers and listeners an intelligent and informed account of issues that enables them to form their own views" [2].
    This principle implies that users (news creators) shall be impartial and independent of:

    • Political activities
    • Commercial business and financial interest
    • Personal benefits
    • Technological barriers
  • Communication:
    Before the deregulation of the communication industry, telcos had monopolies on the telephony service. They owned the phones and networks and controlled the underlying technology [3].
    Some results of deregulation:

    • to choose mobile phone provider by exchanging SIM card or by "roaming"
    • to keep a phone number when changing to another phone service provider
    • to use other services (e.g. e-mail, internet) on phones
    • to buy end-user devices on the free market
  • Entertainment:
    Cable television providers bundle devices and services (e.g. digital television set-top boxes with pay-tv encryption).
    Some results of these dependencies:

    • Electronic programme guides controlled by the cable television providers (walled garden scenarios)
    • Set-Top boxes controlled by the cable television providers (creation of user profiles, data mining, ad insertion)
    • Television stations have limited access to the "cable networks"
    • Technological barriers for television broadcasters (cable television providers control of subscriber management system and content encryption)


Nature of TRU

Both customary and legally supported (competition law, media law).


Benefits of TRU

The benefit for users is obvious: the ability to choose from a range of services is a pre-condition for the free flow of information, freedom of choice for consumers, media pluralism and cultural diversity. The user's independence of the technology for content distribution accounts for competition and economical growth of the media industry.
The freedom to choose the service would likely also have benefits to Right-holders and Middlemen offering content for financial gain or the accomplishment of worthy projects.


Possible digital support

  • open application programming interface in accordance with the minimum requirements of the relevant standards or specifications



  • The user shall be able to use a single device for services offered by different service providers
  • The user shall be able to transfer security relevant information (e.g. cryptographic keys needed for user identification, the usage of applications and services) from one device to another (also in case of a defective device)
  • The user shall be able to transfer acquired application software from one device to another
  • The user shall be able to transfer data which are not governed by restrictive copyright protections to a system that does not implement DRM functionality
  • specifications shall not create market entry barriers for service providers or industry sectors
  • specifications shall be independent of the requirements of a particular hardware or software and shall not be used to exclude certain platforms or solutions.
  • DRM solutions shall be system-open so that the effort for implementation on different hardware platforms is comparable
  • The patent policy shall not be used to exclude competitors (e.g. by unreasonable license fees).
  • The patent policy should find arrangements for Open Source projects (e.g. exemption from patent license fees for non commercial Open Source projects)



[1] - Definition of terms for DMP specifications
[2] - BBC Producers' Guidelines - Values, standards and principles
[3] - Riding the Media Bits - Telecom Bits and Computer Bits