Navigating the Digital Media Project
Leonardo Chiariglione

Introduction

Launched in July 2003 as Digital Media Manifesto (DMM), the Digital Media Project (DMP) has grown to become a rather complex organisation. As it often happens, those who are “in” know how to navigate the organisation, while those who are “out” have a hard time to understand why certain things are there and if they understand why they are as they are. This becomes a barrier to those who may like what they know of the organisation and wish to understand more, join and contribute.

This paper has been written with the intention to serve as a guide to newcomers to understand the goals and structure of DMP and how they can join or contribute to the organisation.


Table of content

The Digital Media Manifesto

The Digital Media Project is established

The Digital Media Project starts work

The current state of DMP work

The development process of Technical Specifications

The short term needs

Playing by the rules

Policy issues

The DMP time line

Conclusions

Acronyms


The Digital Media Manifesto

The DMM was motivated by the realisation that digital technologies have great potential to provide new media experiences, however, they are most often not used for what they can do, or even misused. Because of the importance of media this has serious consequences of a social and economic nature.

Starting from the first days of July 2003, a grass root movement spontaneously assembled around the DMM email reflector. In 3 months the Manifesto was drafted using the contributions posted by members and published on the 30th of September. To subscribe to the DMM reflector send an email.

The DMM sees a pervasive “Digital Media stalemate” as the cause of an unsustainable present and the obstacle to move to a better future. To counter its effects ("breaking the stalemate") the DMM recommends the establishment of the Digital Media Project to address the following seven “major actions”:

Policy actions

Traditional Rights and Usages of media users

TRU

Phasing out analogue legacies

PAL

Deployment of broadband access

DBA

Development of and access to standards

DAS

Technical actions

Interoperable DRM Platforms

IDP

Interoperable End-user Devices

IED

End-to-End Conformance

EEC

A summary description of the major actions will be given below.

DMP is established

On the 1st of October a new email reflector was set up to look after the implementation of the DMM recommendations. Many DMM subscribers have become DMP email reflector subscribers while a number of new members joined - and keep on joining - as well. To subscribe to the DMP email reflector send an email.

A very active discussion continued on the DMP email reflector that produced, among others, the statutes of the Digital Media Project signed by representatives of 12 companies who attended the DMP founding ceremony on the 1st of December in Geneva when the Digital Media Project became a not-for-profit organisation under Swiss law 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”

In Geneva the DMP founding members appointed a Board of Directors. In January 2004 the Board selected Eurescom as DMP secretariat and digital-media-project.org (alternatively dmpf.org) as its Internet domain. To join DMP companies should send an email to the secretariat following the instructions.

DMP starts work

The DMP statutes declare the intention to retain a working relationship with the DMP grass root movement and in the first months the DMP reflector was used by participants to post a large number of contributions to advance the work.

At the beginning of January 2004 the reflector began work on TRUs (major action 1). TRUs are usages of media that have been  traditionally exercised by users. Note that "user" is not restricted to "end-user", as the word applies to any Value-Chain Player (VCP). So far an extensive TRU list has been created and most of the TRUs have been documented using a common template.

DMP held its first General Assembly (GA01) at Eurescom premises on 18-20 February. The meeting reviewed the work done by the “public” DMP reflector (different from the DMP member-only reflector) and derived a first set of general DMP requirements. This and a subset of other internal DMP documents are posted on an openly accessible site.

The meeting also defined the first elements of the process to develop the DMP Technical Specifications (TS), i.e. IDP (major action 6) and IED (major action 7). This will make use of TRUs and two more elements Digital Enabled Usages (DEU) and Digital Media Business Models (DMBM) as sources of requirements to be used in the development of TSs. TRU, DEU and DMBM are defined as follows

Traditional Rights and Usages TRU Usages of media that have been traditionally exercised by users

Digital Enabled Usages

DEU

Usages of media either not possible or not considered in the analogue domain

Digital Media Business Models

DMBM

Sets of TRUs and DEUs assembled to achieve a goal (e.g. set up a value-chain)

The public DMP reflector developed a DEU template and a DMBM template with corresponding DEU list and DMBM list.

GA01 also set out some general guidelines regarding the scope of DMP TSs. In particular DMP TSs will

The current state of DMP work

GA02, held in Los Angeles on 28-30 April, has become a major DMP milestone.

  1. GA02 reviewed the TRU list and templates, and extended the DEU list and templates and DMBM list and templates.

  2. GA02 defined the scope of the IDP and IED TSs as follows: 

Interoperable DRM Platform

IDP

A platform that exposes interfaces with known specifications (protocols) so that a Value-Chain Player (VCP) can technically access/use the IDP

Interoperable End-user Device

IED

A device that exposes interfaces with known specifications (protocols) so that an end-user can connect it to the IDP

The figure below gives an example of the relationship that may exist between 5 VCPs. Note that “value-chain” does not adequately represent the far-from-sequential common situation in the digital media world. Nevertheless this paper will continue using this term instead of the more accurate “value-network” term.

Fig. 1 - An example of value-chain (VCP= Value Chain Player)

  1. This prompted the need to give a description of value-chain players as they exist today, including an outline of the type of relationships that exist between value-chain players. From this a list of primitive value-chain functions, capable of satisfying all relationships between different value-chain players was also derived.  This is represented in the figure below.

Fig. 2 - Value-Chain Players (VCP), Primitive Functions (PF) and Protocols

In the figure the interaction between VCPs are implemented using a set of protocols (P1...Pn). The interaction between Va and Vb utilises P1, P2, P7 and P8, while the interaction between Vc and Vd uses P1, P5, P7 and P9. In the example P1 and P7 can be "re-used".

  1. GA02 decided to initiate a liaison relationship with a number of standards organisations and industry fora that were considered relevant to the current phase of work

  2. GA02  established an "Ad hog group on requirements" with the mandate to continue the work. To join the ad hoc group see the instructions.

The development process of DMP TSs

The figure below can be used to represent the process to develop the IDP and IED TS: 

Legend:

CfP

Call for Proposals

 

DEU

Digital Enabled Usage

 

DMBM

Digital Media Business Model

 

IDP

Interoperable DRM Platform

 

IED

Interoperable End-user Device

 

P1…Pn

Proposals (in response to CfP)

 

PF

Primitive Function

 

RQ

Requirement

 

TRU

Traditional Right and Usage (of media users)

 

TS

Technical Specification

 

VCP

Value-chain player

 Fig. 3 – The development process of IDP and IED TSs

 The process will run as follows

  1. the list of Value-Chain Players (VCP) is derived by analysing existing value-chains

  2. the list of Primitive Functions (PF) is derived from the VCP list

  3. the PF list is augmented using TRUs and DEUs

  4. the list of TRUs, DEUs and DMBMs is used to derive Requirements (RQ)

  5. the Call for Proposals (CfP) requests solutions supporting PFs with the given RQs

  6. the Proposals received (P1…Pn) will be used to compile a series of Working Drafts (WD) that will eventually become the DMP-approved IDP and IED TSs.

The short term needs

Even though the time line for the development of IDP and IED TSs is very aggressive (CfP in October 2004 and specifications one year later) GA02 has agreed that there is an urgent market need for short-term IED TSs and decided that a “Portable Audio and Video Device” (PAV) TS should and can be developed on a fast track.

The figure below depicts the PAV TS development process up to CfP stage: 

 

 Fig. 4 – The development of PAV TS (up to CfP stage)

It can be seen that the PAV TS development process differs from the general process because it requires the derivation of a list of PAV-specific PFs from the full list of PFs. While the derivation requires an extra effort, this is compensated by the fact that the addition of TRUs and DEUs to the PF list and the derivation of PAV requirements is a considerably simpler task that can be expected to be completed at GA03 (July 2004) along with the compilation of the CfP. Note that GA02 has already developed a first draft of PAV requirements.

GA02 has imposed the obvious requirement that the PAV TS be a subset of the IED TS. While this entails an additional effort, the requirement can be met because the PAV and IED TS development work will be carried out in time-shifted tracks. As the IED track will lag the PAV track by 3 months, it will be possible to apply any correction to the PAV TS that may be required before its final approval in April 2005, i.e. during 3 meetings.

Playing by the rules

In the analogue world if VCPs want to implement a Media Business Model, i.e. to set up a value chain, they typically regulate their relationships with business agreements that may make reference to some technical document specifying how conformity of equipment is tested. Similarly in the digital domain there will be a need to make reference to documents that allow conformance testing of technical elements (e.g. IED security level, watermarking robustness etc.).

Therefore DMP will develop Recommended Practices (RP) for End-to-End Conformance (EEC) of DMP IDP and IED TSs (major action #7), so that value-chain players will be able to make reference to appropriate EEC RP clauses in their business agreements.

Policy issues

DMP has confirmed the need to make actions in the policy areas identified by DMM and will develop four documents called Recommended Actions (RA):

  1. Traditional Rights and Usages (major action #1) will facilitate the adaptation of IDP and IED to the specific legislative environments that will regulate their use, i.e. it will act as a bridge between the world of technology and legislation.

  2.  Phasing out Analogue Legacies (major action #2) will help legislative environments to plan a phasing-out policy by highlighting the IDP and IED features that justify an eventual abolishment of unjustified analogue legacies.

  3. Deployment of Broadband Access (major action #3) will identify the principal obstacles that prevent an accelerated deployment of broadband access with features (e.g. bandwidth) capable of supporting rich digital media.

  4. Development of and Access to Standards (major action #4) will survey the most serious obstacles and make proposals that can improve the way standards are developed and accessed by industry users.

The DMP time line

GA02 has approved its work plan with 8 Work Items (WI) for which the following time line applies: 

 

GA#

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

  WI

date (yy/mm)

04/07

04/10

05/01

05/04

05/07

05/10

06/01

06/04

06/07

1

TRU

 

CfP

WD1

WD2

WD3

RA

     

2

PAL

 

CfP

WD1

WD2

RA

       

3

DBA

 

CfP

WD1

WD2

RA

       

4

DAS

 

CfP

WD1

WD2

RA

       

5

IDP

 

CfP

WD1

WD2

WD3

TS

     

6

PAV

CfP

WD1

WD2

TS

         

7

IED

 

CfP

WD1

WD2

WD3

TS

     

8

EEC

       

CfP

WD1

WD2

WD3

RP

GA03 will be held in Osaka on 13-15 July and will be preceded by a one-day workshop on Development of and Access to Standards (a similar workshop - on TRUs - was held just before GA02). GA04 will be held in Barcelona on 25-27 October.

The Requirements ad hoc group meeting established by GA02 is likely to hold a meeting in Europe around mid June 2004 to progress the definition of PAV Requirements.

Conclusions

The Digital Media Project addresses one of the most serious issues facing society and business today. Even though there are not few initiatives that have "DRM" as distinguishing feature, DMP stands out because of the following factors

  1. DMP proposes a vision that is respectful of the needs of society and business.

  2. DMP is the only initiative placing "interoperability" as the center piece of its effort.

  3. DMP commits to release practical results in a very short period of time, considering the complexity of the issues involved:

  4. DMP is aware of the complexity of the area it addresses and intends to accompany its technical specifications with Recommended Actions that will facilitate adoption, deployment and use of this complex new set of technologies.

Participation in the DMP effort is possible both at the individual and corporate level, the former by joining email reflectors and the latter by becoming DMP member.

Acronyms

Acronym Meaning

CfP

Call for Proposals

DAS

Development of and Access to Standards

DBA

Deployment of Broadband Access

DEU Digital Enabled Usages
DMBM Digital Media Business Models
DMM Digital Media Manifesto
DMP Digital Media Project
EEC End-to-End Conformance

IDP

Interoperable DRM Platforms

IED

Interoperable End-user Devices

GA General Assembly
PAL Phasing out Analogue Legacies
PAV Portable Audio and Video (Device)
RA Recommended Action

PF

Primitive Function

RP Recommended Practices

RQ

Requirement

TRU Traditional Rights and Usages of media users

TS

Technical Specification

VCP Value Chain Player
WI Work Item
WD Working Draft