The Digital Media Manifesto



Wo Chang


Comments on "Complete draft of Digital Media Manifesto"




Section 1: Introduction

3rd para:

"The Digital Media (DM) experience...than CD and DVD"

If "Digital Media" were in lower case, then I don't agree with the statement since CD and DVD are digital media themselves. But, since "Digital Media" is in upper case, then it is referring to specific project or infrastructure, but then you continue saying "most business models.....", which again making "Digital Media" a common thing and no longer a specific project or infrastructure. So we may need to think more about this sentence.

If I understand the DMM motivation behind it is: to build an digital media infrastructure which allows end users easy access to both public and commercial/private digital media/contents over the network, this is what you referred to as "full Digital Media experience" or "fuller realisation of Digital Media" and do provide better offering then CD and DVD, right?

However, if I may, the concept of DMM is very similar to what Al Gore's Information Superhighway back in 1994 (to be exact, Sep. 19, 1994), which deals with information superhighway where as we're dealing with digital media superhighway. What Al Gore tried to do was: build a nationwide network of information superhighways by the private sectors where the government is to work and establishing standards, protocol, connectivity, and regulations.

But, for DMM, we need to do the similar things from the technologies side and NOT too much on the regulation or policy side (we leave these to each business models and their lawyers).

Regulation and policy will only scare end users away (this is only Wo Chang speaking and not from NIST), but doesn't mean we have no regulation nor policy, yes, we do, and we do it by implementing technology enabler like DRM or IPMP.

My point is, we should concentrate 90 - 95% of efforts how to enable end users  getting on to this DRM-based digital media superhighway. Once the momentum is there, I'm sure vendors are smart enough to know how to get their money from it. In addition, by that time, not only the commercial content providers ask for DRM, the end users will ask the very same thing to protect their private contents which they'd like to share among their friends but not the whole world.

I'm always amazed how the "commodity" of things work: roads, electricity, radio and television, telephone, etc. Each one of them has its own rights to be built for private use, but as we know, they are all open to everybody except there are the pay-based services such as tolls, XM radio, HBO channels, etc. But, all these only happen when there are mass of end users in place and the "extra" what people willing to pay for. I think DMM should be part of this commodity.

I also found it amazed how the Web got evolved. if Tim Berners-Lee when he invented the Web only thinks about how to protect the information content and build all sorts of content protection mechanisms and worry about the regulation and policy, I truly don't think Web can take off as today. People/companies have (or learning the web wave) information to post, but then and only then, when the momentum is in place, the same set of people or companies realize they need more than public web, so cookies, SSL were developed and they got adopted quick for financial transactions, online orders, etc. For now, as we all know the Web gets expanded into XML which deals with markup, contents, protocols, etc.

My feeling is, in order to make DMM a success, companies should focus on how to enable end users using the platform independent, pluggable DRM, accept whatever media format of the digital media superhighway like the early browser does -- FREE, then build the pay-based features at a later time. I truly believe users helping users is the most effective means of accelerate any technologies, like HTML, JavaScript, and even more supplicated like Flash, etc.

I fully don't agree with the abuse of content rights from Napster (in the past) or the current Kazaa, but the concept of easy sharing via P2P is so powerful and the users are the ones pushing the technology, not the content creator. Imagine, using the same concept but with built-in pluggable DRM, it will be a great platform to push the digital media superhighway. By that time, all sorts of things can happen: broadband access is a min. to have just like the telephones, physical media both in quality (accelerate the blue lasers CD with 30GB and higher) and quantity will increase for local any local archives, mobility in wireless environment, home entertainment, and many more beyond our imagination. I'm sure policy makers would happily want to setup regulations then.

This is the kind of testbed that I want to build within NIST and that's why I'm interested in MPEG-21 with IPMP. My job is to convince my management to do such thing.FYI: there is a web site from US Patent and Trade agency ( talks about the Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure if you're interested.

Sorry for being mumbling, so back to the original comment: should we just call it "Digital Media (DM)" or something like "Digital Media Superhighway" just for lacking a better word.

Vision Statement:

with the above in mind, vision statement can be something like:

The Digital Media Manifesto enable end users to access any public and private digital media and contents.

Of course I have omitted other key concepts/concerns that you have but the rest of your Section 1 do fit with the things I mention above.