The Digital Media Project  






Approved Document No. 2, WD 1.0

Technical Specification of

Interoperable DRM Platform Use Cases, Phase I


0322/Adastral Park




Approved Document No. 2, WD 1.0

Technical Specification of

Interoperable DRM Platform Use Cases, Phase I






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      Use Case No. 1 – Open Release..

2.1       Rationale.

2.2       Walkthrough.

2.3       Primitive Functions

2.3.1        Identify Content.

2.3.2        Identify License.

2.3.3        Represent Content.

2.3.4        Represent Rights Expression..

2.3.5        Access License..

2.3.6        Package..

2.4       Issues arising from integration

3      Use Case No. 2 – Portable Audio and Video (PAV) Device

3.1       Rationale.

3.2       Walkthrough.

3.3       Primitive Functions

3.3.1        Identify Content.

3.3.2        Identify License.

3.3.3        Identify Device..

3.3.4        Identify Domain.

3.3.5        Represent Content.

3.3.6        Represent Rights Expression..

3.3.7        Authenticate Device

3.3.8        Manage Domain

3.3.9        Manage Key.

3.3.10      Access License..

3.3.11      Process – Decrypt.

3.3.12      Process – Store

3.3.13      Process – Move..

3.3.14      Process – Play.

3.3.15      Process – Render..

3.4       Issues arising from integration 


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          Use Case No. 1 – Open Release

2.1        Rationale

There are many cases where some Users (companies or even individuals) own Rights to a piece of Content, have an interest in Releasing it in such a way that other Users could freely Access it but do not want to make it public domain. In other words the piece of Content is Governed, even though in a “light-weight” form. Examples are publicity material and teasers. In this Use Case such a type of Release is called “Open Release”.

This form of Release is clearly contiguous to other forms of commercial Release. Therefore it would be advantageous if such other more sophisticated forms could build on top of this simple form, e.g. by simply adding more “heavy-weight” protection technologies.

2.2        Walkthrough

Leonardo has just finished preparing a PowerPoint presentation. The intention was to use that file at a conference that he can no longer attend. So he makes a video of himself while he makes the presentation and then he creates a piece of DMP Content composed of:


1.      An MPEG-4 part 2 Video

2.      An associated MP3 Audio

3.      A PowerPoint file


The intention is to send a properly Governed DCF to the conference organisers. So Leonardo creates


1.      Human-readable Creative Commons Licenses for a selected range of jurisdictions

2.      The corresponding machine-readable Licenses

3.      License identifier(s)


The DCF he will Release will then contain, in addition to the three elements above, also


1.      A pointer for Use of the Content and the Resources according to the jurisdiction of the User

2.      A pointer for a human-readable license according to the jurisdiction of the User


Leonardo selects to add pointers and not the Licenses themselves because he likes to know when Users Use his Content. So, when the conference organisers will Play his Content he will get notification that his video is being Played. The same will happen when other conference participants will Play his video.

Leonardo knows that in this form the DCF will not deter people from doing what he does not what them to do. However, if he or one of his robots will find Resources taken from the said piece of DMP Open Content on some web site he will have the option of suing the infringers.

2.3        Primitive Functions

To support this Use Case a set of Primitive Functions are needed.

2.3.1        Identify Content

2.3.2        Identify License

2.3.3        Represent Content

2.3.4        Represent Rights Expression

2.3.5        Access License

2.3.6        Package

2.4        Issues arising from integration

3          Use Case No. 2 – Portable Audio and Video (PAV) Device

3.1        Rationale

There is sufficient evidence of the interest of consumers to access content via new, non-physical distribution mechanisms (e.g. the Internet) and to use that content on a variety of devices, e.g. portable devices. Most rights holders would rather Release Governed Content avoids the risk of end-users getting copies of content for free.

3.2        Walkthrough

Martin wants to access a piece of Content from a Retailer. He uses his PC to download a piece of Governed Content containing


1.      Resources

2.      Metadata

3.      Pointer to get a License


Next Martin makes a transaction to Access a License of the type: “Play 10 times on Devices belonging to one PAV Domain”. He then Moves the piece of Content and the License from his PC to his PAV. He can do that because the PAV belongs to the same Domain as the PC.


When Martin is sitting comfortably on the train he wants to Play the piece of Content. Martin expects that when Playing Content he


1.      He will be shows what is in the DCF

2.      He will be shown the License terms

3.      He will be able to run previews

4.      He will be able to make selections and, obviously,

5.      He will be able to Play the resources

3.3        Primitive Functions

3.3.1        Identify Content

3.3.2        Identify License

3.3.3        Identify Device

3.3.4        Identify Domain

3.3.5        Represent Content

Need to Represent Metadata. Which?

3.3.6        Represent Rights Expression

3.3.7        Authenticate Device

3.3.8        Manage Domain

3.3.9        Manage Key

3.3.10    Access License

3.3.11    Process – Decrypt

3.3.12    Process – Store

3.3.13    Process – Move

3.3.14    Process – Play

3.3.15    Process – Render

3.4        Issues arising from integration