The Digital Media Project  






Approved Document No. 3, WD 1.0 – Technical Specification of Registration Authorities


0323/Adastral Park




Approved Document No. 3, WD 1.0

Technical Specification of Registration Authorities







Use of the technologies described in this specification may infringe patents, copyrights or intellectual property rights of DMP Members or non-members.

This DMP Technical Specification is subject to change without notice.

Neither DMP nor any of its Members accept any responsibility whatsoever arising out of or in connection with the use of this Technical Specification and the information contained herein for damages or liability, direct or consequential.

Draft 1.0 of this Technical Specification supersedes all previous versions 

Copyright © 2005 – The Digital Media Project




The Digital Media Project

The Digital Media Project (DMP) is a non-profit Association registered in Geneva. Its mission is “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”.  

DMP Membership

Membership in DMP is open to any corporation and individual firm, partnership, governmental body or international organisation. DMP does not restrict Membership on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion or national origin. By joining DMP each Member agrees—both individually and collectively—to adhere to open competition in the development of digital audio-visual technologies, products or services.

DMP Members are not restricted in any way from designing, developing, marketing or procuring digital audio-visual technology, hardware, software, systems or services. Members are not bound to implement or use specific digital audio-visual standards, recommendations and DMP specifications by virtue of their participation in DMP.

DMP Approved Documents

The goals of DMP are realised by developing Technical Specifications and Recommended Practices enabling businesses that support new or improved end-user experiences, and Recommended Actions to appropriate entities to act on removal of barriers holding up exploitation of Digital Media. Technical Specifications, Recommended Practices and Recommended Actions are collectively called "DMP Approved Documents".

DMP contributes the results of its activities to appropriate formal standards bodies and other appropriate entities whenever this is instrumental to achieve the general DMP goals.

DMP Approved Documents are developed by participating DMP members on the basis of submissions from both members and non-members and/or in response to Calls for Proposals.

DMP Approved Documents are publicly available documents whose copyright is retained by DMP. Electronic copies of DMP Approved Documents can be obtained from the DMP web site ( or from the DMP Secretariat (

Intellectual Property Rights

DMP develops Approved Documents with the intention of making them available in a form such that users of the Approved Documents can implement them either freely, or on a royalty-free basis or on fair and reasonable terms and non discriminatory (RAND) conditions following the IEC/ISO/ITU policy on IPR in international standards. When issuing Calls for Proposals DMP explicitly advises Respondents to the Calls of this policy.

In case an external standard or specification is referenced in a DMP Approved Document, DMP assumes that the same IPR policy or a comparable one has been adopted by the entity that produced the standard or specification.

However, it must be noted that DMP is not in a position to make any expressed or implied guarantee that licensing of any of the technologies relevant to any or all of its Approved Documents can indeed by obtained freely or on a royalty-free basis or at RAND terms.

Table of Contents


The Digital Media Project..

DMP Membership

DMP Approved Documents.

Intellectual Property Rights

Table of Contents

1      Introduction.

1.1       Media and Digital Technologies..

1.2       DRM and the Interoperable DRM Platform..

1.3       The Toolkit Approach to IDP..

1.4       DRM goes beyond technology.

2      DMP Registration Authority.

2.1       Roles..

2.2       Qualification Requirement..

2.3       Procedure to select and appoint Registration Authority.

Appendix A: Application form..


1          Introduction

1.1        Media and Digital Technologies

Media contents have always played and important role in all societies and manifold technologies have been invented and deployed to provide means to store and distribute media contents. The complexity of technologies and the stimulus to provide ever-enhanced end-user experiences have created very complex media content value-chains populated by an increasing number of interacting intermediaries providing increasingly sophisticated services to the two extremes of the value-chains – creators and end users – and to other intermediaries. In DMP all players in the value chain – Creators, Intermediaries and End-Users – are generically called Value-Chain Users. Terms beginning with a capital letter are defined in the DMP Terminology

Technologies have been designed with two main purposes in mind: the first to provide or augment the end-user experience, and to augment the capability to distribute media content. The latest round of technologies are digital. They have augmented the end-user experience, e.g. by providing very high quality audio and video that does not deteriorate with different generations of copies and have dramatically increased the distribution potential of media content by combining with the development of digital networks.

The result today is that the traditional means to manage the value of media content along the value-chain is fast losing its meaning. This is the source of various difficulties and is the major cause of the poor exploitation of the potential of digital media technologies. Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been advocated by many as the set of technologies that can overcome these difficulties.

The Digital Media Project agrees that DRM has the potential to combine the benefit of digital technologies with the need for a virtuous circle that motivates creators to continue creating because means to be remunerated are provided by DRM technologies. However, DMP sees serious problems in the introduction of DRM technologies that are not interoperable.

1.2        DRM and the Interoperable DRM Platform

A DRM system can be described as a particular form of communication system designed to provide controlled communication between two or more entities. As such the implementation of a DRM system may requires a broad range of communication technologies. Unless these are designed in such a way as to enable communication between two different implementations, DRM becomes an obstacle to communication between Value-Chain Users. This has particularly serious consequences in the case of the End-User because then the lack of interoperability may seriously impede the take off of services based on Governed Content.

Standards can bring benefits to the very special type of communication systems called DRM. However, the application of standards obeys to different rules because DRM is tightly connected to business practices enabled by the introduction of digital technologies. As these are currently forcing changes of the way Value-Chain Users conduct their business, it is hard to define what kind of standards are required now as the only thing that is know id that the current shape of business is changing. At the same time it is also even more difficult to forecast what kind of standards will be needed in the future because it is unknown.

A way out is found by noting that Value-Chain Users do business between them by performing Functions. Typically these Functions are a combination of smaller Functions called “Primitive Functions”. While Functions are changing because of the evolution of media business in the Value-Chain, Primitive Functions are in general rather stable.

Therefore DRM standardisation can be achieved by standardising Primitive Functions.

1.3        The Toolkit Approach to IDP

The immediate consequence of the conclusion above is that it is very difficult to define a “DRM standard” that provides interoperability between different Users in arbitrary Value-Chains or across different Value-Chains. What can be done is to define a Value-Chain serving a specific goal and standardise the required DRM technologies. While this may provide a solution for the contingent needs of today, it flies in the face of advancing convergence.

DMP instead provides a DRM standard based on the following approach:


1.      DMP defines a set of basic DRM technologies called “tools” – those that are needed to implement “Primitive Functions”. The document specifying the tools is called Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP) and constitutes Approved Document No. 1. Those who wish to establish a Value-Chain serving a particular purpose can draw tools from the IDP toolkit. As these are standard they can be acquired from an ecosystem of competing suppliers.

2.      To aid in this process DMP also develops a number of Use Cases that are believed to have a special value. IDP Use Cases are contained in Approved Document No. 2. Use Cases may address a portion or even an entire Value-Chain.

3.      To achieve its goal of enabling the creation of multiple interoperable Value-Chains, DMP has identified the need for Registration Authorities. The rules of operation of such Registration Authorities are given in Approved Document No. 3.

4.      DMP has recognised that there are basic assumptions underlying the establishment of IDP-enabled Value-Chains. These are contained in Approved Document No. 4.

5.      DMP supports the development of a reference software implementation of its specifications. Approved Document No. 5 contains such reference software. To the extent possible DMP provides the reference software as Open Source with a license aligned to established practices.

6.      Value-Chains are the result of business agreements by Value-Chain Users that are supported by a set of technologies. As the IDP tools can be acquired from multiple sources, each party in the agreement must have the means to ascertain that the other parties employ conforming products. Approved Document No. 6 contains Recommended Practices for End-to-End Conformance so that Value-Chain Users can reference it in their business agreements.

1.4        DRM goes beyond technology

In spite of the value DMP recognizes to Interoperable DRM as the main digital media-enabling technology, DMP has noted that DRM has the potential to substantially alter the balance that has been in existence in the analogue world between different Users of Content, in particular when one of them is the End-User. If not appropriately remedied, this imbalance may lead to a significant reduction of the scope of Traditional Rights and Usages (TRU) of Users. A possible outcome is the outright rejection of the new technology on the part of some Users, in particular End-Users.

It should be noted that DMP is not claiming that an established TRU necessarily implies a right of a User to a particular Use of digital media but simply that, if Users have found a particular Use advantageous in the analogue domain they are probably interested to continue exercising that Use in the digital domain as well. Leveraging on this interest may provide opportunities for new “Digital Media Business Models” that are attractive to Users but are respectful of the rights of those who have created Works and invested in making Content.

Therefore DMP expects that, to make DRM-enabled digital media successful, individual jurisdictions will determine which TRUs shall mandatorily be supported by the Interoperable DRM Platforms operating under their jurisdiction and which TRUs can be left to private negotiations between Users. This is a challenging task because it requires blending legal and social knowledge with in-depth knowledge of the highly sophisticated and unusual DRM technologies.

Acknowledging this hurdle DMP will develop and publish Approved Document No. 7 “Recommended Action on Traditional Rights and Usages”.

Such a document has the purpose of facilitating the deployment and adoption of Interoperable DRM technologies based on DMP Specifications by providing a neutral description of the potential problems arising in their use and designing scenarios enabled by specific technical and legal choices.


2          DMP Registration Authority

To enable the establishment and functioning of Value-Chains based on the Interoperable DRM Platform (IDP), DMP will need to appoint a number of Registration Authorities. This document collects the rules of operation of DMP-appointed Registration Authorities.

DMP will require Registration Authorities when DMP needs to coordinate between VCPs to avoid unnecessary collision in implementing DMP specification regarding namespace issues and/or DMP needs to maintain continuously changeable parts of DMP specifications for their completeness. DMP Registration Authority is taken as a part of standardization process. Registration Authorities’ roles, qualification requirement and appointment procedure are addressed in this document.


2.1        Roles

The DMP Registration Authority is responsible for allocating namespaces in accordance with these rules and both the technical standard and its associated procedure.

It shall:

·        Receive applications from applicants for a subordinate namespace.

·        Review applications.

·        Assign subordinate namespaces when the relevant criteria are met.

·        Inform the applicant of the result.

·        Process updates of information associated with previously registered subordinate namespaces.

·        Inform requesting parties of the results of updates.

·        Maintain an accurate register.

·        Safeguard any confidential information.

·        Handle all aspects of the registration process in accordance with good business practice.

·        Adhere to the procedure for appeals.

·        Handle all business in English.

·        Produce practice and tutorial documents when applicable.

·        Provide syntax to guarantee that it follows URN characteristics defined by IETF RFC1737.

·        Set criteria for approval or rejection for an application for a subordinate namespace.


2.2        Qualification Requirement

To qualify for designation as a DMP Registration Authority an organization shall demonstrate that:


·        It is a legal entity.

·        It has been in existence for no less than five years.

·        It enjoys a sound financial structure.

·        It has employees who are technically competent in digital identification area.

·        It agrees to function in its capacity as a DMP Naming Authority for a minimum of ten years.

·        It has sufficient equipment resources (e.g., hardware, software) and communication facilities (e.g., postal street address, telephone, facsimile, e-mail)

·        If it operates with a fee structure, this structure shall be for the purpose of cost recovery, approved by DMP Board.

·        It shall require no financial contribution from DMP and its members.

·        It shall acquire and maintain an official URN namespace.

·        It shall be familiar with the field of which it is in charge.


2.3        Procedure to select and appoint Registration Authority

·        Call for Participation is issued if DMP finds a Registration Authority is necessary.

·        Candidates should submit an application document addressing that the requirement and CfP are fulfilled.

·         DMP members will assess the application documents and select one by voting process by DMP members if there are multiple applications. In the case of single application, only assessment is performed.

·        Upon the evaluation result, GA shall submit the nomination to the DMP Board for appointment by DMP.





Appendix A: Application form


A.     TO BE COMPLETED BY APPLICANT (Registration Agency)


Name of organisation (maximum 40 characters). Abbreviate where necessary.




Address (maximum 60 characters), starting street, city. Abbreviate where necessary.







Principal contact in organisation                                                                                                 Position











Telephone number

Fax number

Legal status of organisation

Anticipated date of first use of sub namespace




Expected number of identifiers maintained




Expected number of identifiers issued annually




List the countries in which you are represented



Address for correspondence/billing











(On separate sheet) Details of provisions made by the application to safeguard conformance with the DMP specification (required to ensure compliance with the registration agency responsibilities) 




We hereby apply for the assignment of an DMP subordinate namespace, and state that the use of the sub namespace will be in accordance with the DMP specification









Please return application to:       The Registration Authority


                                                Address here







Form received on




Subordinate namespace

issued on