The Digital Media Project  






Essentials of the Digital Media Project




Essentials of the Digital Media Project

 The Digital Media Project (DMP) is a not-for-profit organisation registered in Geneva with the mission to  “promote continuing successful development, deployment and use of Digital Media that respect the rights of creators and rights holders to exploit their works, the wish of end users to fully enjoy the benefits of Digital Media and the interests of various value-chain players to provide products and services, according to the principles laid down in the Digital Media Manifesto”. 

The main motivation for establishing the DMP has been the realisation that great many technologies exist that are either not used or used in a way that is detrimental to the rights of different players in the value-chain.  

The DMP goals are achieved by: the development of two types of documents. The first type are “Technical Specifications” and “Recommended Practices”, technical documents directed towards the actual providers and users of content, products, services and applications. The second type are “Recommended Actions”, policy documents directed towards different types of authorities. 

DMP places interoperability as the cornerstone of its Technical Specifications. DMP defines Interoperability as “the possibility for value-chain Users (including End-users) to technically execute value-chain Functions through Interfaces and Protocols of known specification”.  

DMP assumes that digital technologies can be used to create “value chains” or “value networks” linking those creating and those consuming digital content in innovative ways. In the following the term “value-chain” will be used to indicate both. 

This is the logical sequence of steps defining the DMP scope: 

  1. Users execute Functions to provide Services so that the Content created by Producers translates into Digital Media Experiences of value to End-Users.
    N.B. Producers and End-Users are also considered Users.
  2. Traditional Rights and Usages (TRU) are usages that have been traditionally made by Users in the analogue domain.
  3. Digital Enabled Usages (DEU) are new forms of uses made by Users that have become possible in the digital domain but were either not possible or not considered in the analogue domain.
  4. Digital Media Business Models (DMBM) are sets of Functions that can be suitably assembled by Users to create value for themselves when executing Functions.
  5. In general a Function required to make a TRU or a DEU is made up of a set of Primitive Functions (PF).
  6. In general Primitive Functions can be implemented by an assembly of Protocols communicating across Interfaces.

 DMP's goal to develop and publish Technical Specifications can be rephrased as the “development of Technical Specifications of interfaces and protocols that Users can assemble to provide Services to one another, and to Producers and End-Users, in an interoperable fashion, i.e. to implement DMBMs”.

 The typical way to develop Technical Specifications requires the identification of requirements against which Technical Specifications will be developed. Deriving IDP/IED requirements, however, is a challenging exercise because DMP Technical Specifications must also be applicable to a variety of completely new value-chains that may require new functionalities.

 Therefore DMP is developing a full set of IDP/IED requirements based on the following approach: 

  1. Make a comprehensive analysis of today’s Users and their Functions (see DMP0074).
  2. Identify and describe a large number of TRUs and DEUs using a common template (see DMP0046 and DMP0071, respectively).
  3. Create a categorised list of Primitive Functions (see DMP0088).
  4. Map TRUs and DEUs to the categorised Primitive Functions (see DMP0090).
  5. Map requirements proposed by different business players to the same categorised Primitive Functions
  6. Derive requirements applicable to Primitive Functions (see DMP0146).

 DRM is a technology that can solve many of the issues raised by the use of digital technologies applied to Content. DRM solutions are well advanced and there should be no major technical obstacles to their deployment once DMP Technical Specifications will be published. DRM solutions have the potential to alter the balance that existed in the analogue world between those who provide and those who consume content in a substantial fashion. DMP has in its statutes the task of clarifying to appropriate authorities the policy issues related to the use of DRM technologies.

 As most other standards bodies and industry fora DMP operates according to a workplan. In its current work plan DMP foresees the approval of Technical Specifications for an Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP) and Interoperable End-user Devices (IED) in October 2005. This technical work should be complemented by a “TRU Recommended Action” with the purpose to facilitate the adaptation of IDP and IED Technical Specifications to the specific legislative environments that will regulate their use. In other words the “TRU Recommended Action” will act as a bridge between the world of technology – proper of DMP – a and the world of regulation – proper of Public Authorities.

 However, in response to urgent needs from industries DMP has decided that it will first develop Technical Specifications for Interoperable End-user Devices, called Portable Audio and Video Devices (PAV),  that possess a subset of features of full-fledged Interoperable End-user Devices. The PAV Technical Specification will also include the means for determining conformance of content, products, services and applications to the PAV Technical Specification.  

 To develop its Technical Specifications DMP needs to become formally aware of solutions that satisfy the requirements identified. The mechanism adopted to achieve this goal is the so-called “Call for Proposals (CfP)” whereby those who possess or are aware of technical solutions satisfying the requirements expressed in the CfP have the opportunity to propose them for consideration by DMP.

 At its 3rd General Assembly (GA03) DMP has issued a PAV CfP. Responses are due by 20th October 2004. Technical Specifications are planned to be published in April 2005. The general IDP/IED CfP will be published in October 2004 and the corresponding Technical Specifications will be published one year later. A TRU Call for Contributions (CfC) will also be published in October 2004 and the TRU Recommended Actions will be published simultaneously with the IDP/IED Technical Specifications.

 A Call for Proposals on End-to-End Conformance (EEC) is planned for July 2005 and publication of the corresponding Recommended Practices is planned for July 2006. The purpose of EEC is to enable value-chain Users to make reference to appropriate EEC clauses in their business agreements.

 The DMP work plan has three more Recommended Actions planned: Phasing out Analogue Legacies, Deployment of Broadband Access and Development of and Access to Standards whose development and publication is planned within 2004/2005.