The Digital Media Manifesto



L. Chiariglione


Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP), Interoperable End-user Devices (IED) and short-term IED (IED-s)




1. Introduction

The DMP work plan approved at the Heidelberg meeting defined two development threads

  1. Technical Specifications (TS) for Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP) and Interoperable End-user Devices (IED). Requirements for IDP and IED should be developed through the TRU process

  2. TSs for short-term IED (IED-s). The nature of IED-s and their Requirements (RQ) are TBD.

Purpose of this contribution is to help to

  1. clarify the relationship between the mainstream TSs (1.) and the short-term TSs (2.)

  2. identify specific instances of IED-s

  3. assess the feasibility of IED-s TSs.

2. The relationship between IDP/IED TSs and IED-s TSs

Assuming that the value chain is a linear process (which it does not have to be), the DMP TSs for IDP and IED can be graphically represented as

Here it is assumed that DMP will develop TSs for the "Author" interface and the "End-user" interface and for some other interfaces in between. Note that the block "n" could well be the so-called "authorised domain".

The relationship between IDP/IED TSs and IED-s TSs are embodied in IE. IE for IDP/IED TSs is likely to be a very rich interface supporting the functionalities that TRUs demand. However, IE for IED-s TSs (let's call it IE') is going to be an interface with much reduced functionalities.

It only makes sense to develop IED-s TSs if IE' is a subset of IE.

3. Instances of IED-s

The motivation for developing IED-s TSs are:

  1. The DMP work plan calls for IDP and IED TSs to be approved in October 2005. The necessary EEC support will only become available in July 2006. In the fast-moving industry environment, this is way too far into the future.
  2. There are several proprietary deployments under way. Even though the jury is still out on the eventual market acceptance of these deployments, IED-s TSs would enable devices and services with similar functionalities but bases on DMP interoperability principles.
  3. Concentrating on end-user devices is a simplification of a complex problem. Still it should be possible to develop IED-s TSs that support a meaningful subset of features of the full IDP and IED TSs. This exercise should also provide a valuable sanity check on the full DMP process.

For GA01 three specific IED-s cases were proposed:

  1. portable music devices
  2. pay TV devices
  3. Internet TV devices.

For item 1. and 3. there are a number of deployments under way. For item 2. the deployment is ongoing since 10 years.

4. Feasibility of IED-s TSs

This paragraph attempts to answer the question: assuming that the proposed IED-s will be retained by GA02, is it reasonable to shoot for TSs in the planned time frame (April 2005)?

What follows intends to show that for each technology needed there is at least one solution that has been developed that makes the development of IED-s TSs feasible. It is not an indication that the technologies specifically mentioned here will be those actually employed in IED-s TSs.

4.1 Portable music devices

For portable music devices there is a need for a file format. MPEG has developed the MP4 File Format that is being largely used (e.g. by 3GPP).

To provide users with the ability to purchase protected music from any source, without the need to change the playback device, in such a way that content providers can retain the freedom to choose the security technology that suits them, there is the MPEG IPMP-X technology, that can be housed in the MP4 File Format.

The MPEG Rights Expression Language (REL) could be used to enable richer forms of content usage.

The MPEG-4 File Format is being extended to support carriage of MPEG-7 audio metadata (see committee draft of "Music Player Application Format", a new line of MPEG standards).

It is also conceivable that DMP Portable Music Device TSs can make use of some technologies standardised by Content Reference Forum.

4.2 Pay TV devices

For pay TV devices there is a need of a similar technology as for DMP Portable Music Devices. If subscribers to pay TV services want to have the ability to get pay TV programs from any source, without the need to change the set top box, in such a way that any content provider can retain the freedom to choose the security technology that suits them, they can use the MPEG IPMP-X technology.

It is also conceivable DMP Pay TV Devices TSs can make use of some technologies standardised by TV Anytime.

4.3 Internet TV devices

IED-s TSs for Internet TV devices can rely on ISMA specifications.

5. Conclusions

From the above it can be deduced that the development of IED-s TSs does not require the development of new technologies but the selection, adaptation and harmonisation of existing specifications.

The challenge for DMP is to re-use existing standards and develop IED-s TSs in such a way that IE in IED-s TSs do not become a collection of separate specifications.