The Digital Media Project

 

The Digital Media Manifesto

(2003/09/30)

 

Executive summary

Today Digital Media has been enabled by remarkably sophisticated technologies with potential opportunities today for creativity, business, culture and enjoyment, as well as benefits for players all along the value chain.

However, the achievement of a full Digital Media Experience is stuck in a stalemate. There is too much at stake to simply bow to this stalemate as an inevitable presence to live with in the next few years to come, hoping wistfully that the mess will be sorted out some day soon.

The Digital Media Manifesto identifies the need for coordinated policy and technical actions needed to achieve this fuller realisation of Digital Media. The policy actions include reviewing the Digital Media standardisation process. The technical actions require, as explicit critical success factors, the development of specifications for interoperable Digital Rights Management (DRM) platforms technically open to value-chain players and for interoperable end-user devices, and the development of recommended practices for end-to-end conformance assessment.

Executing these actions is the mission of the Digital Media Project, a not-for-profit organisation whose establishment is proposed to create the policy and technical conditions for a sustainable Digital Media economy.

Table of contents

1.

Introduction

2.

Breaking the Digital Media stalemate

3.

Major actions

P1.

Mapping of rights and usages traditionally enjoyed by users to the Digital Media space

P2.

Phasing out analogue legacies applied to Digital Media

P3.

Deployment of broadband access

P4.

Improving development of and access to standards

T1.

Interoperable DRM platforms

T2.

Interoperable end-user devices

T3.

End-to-end conformance assessment

4.

The Digital Media Project

5. Conclusions
6. References

A.

Organisation and work plan of the Digital Media Project

B.

Acronyms

1. Introduction

After decades of investment in R&D, Digital Technologies have spawned huge and profitable industries including Information Technology, Micro-electronics and Digital Communication.

Digital Technologies have also been employed in the media industry, for example Compact Disc and Digital Versatile Disc where players all along the value chain that connects creator with end-user have received benefits. These new distribution media have meant new content sales for the content industry, new device sales for the consumer electronics industry and improved audio and visual experience for the end-users.

The Digital Media Experience, enabled by the latest Information and Communication Technologies, has given people new ways to create, package, distribute, re-purpose, share, personalise and otherwise use Digital Media contents. Over the past few years different value-chain players have enticed end-users with many more offerings than CD and DVD. However, the sad fact is most business models for innovative Digital Media have been unprofitable or are being challenged in the courts. The success stories of other digital technology-driven industries dwarf most Digital Media businesses, remarkably few of which are so far are profitable, legitimate and with a good user experience.

This can and must be changed. It is expected end-users will financially support a fuller Digital Media experience if it is properly priced in all its components, legitimate and comparable to the convenience of Digital Media that is widely used today. This is the root of the new vision.

Vision

The Digital Media Manifesto proposes to make an improved Digital Media Experience economically rewarding on a global scale, legitimate for the multiplicity of players on the value chain and satisfactory for end-users, with the ultimate goal of realising a fuller Digital Media Experience.

 

If the hurdles to a fuller Digital Media experience are removed, and if technology for open Digital Media access devices equipped with simple and enjoyable interfaces for end-users is standardised then one can expect providers of content, services and devices will have much greater incentives to exploit Digital Media. This is expected to be achieved by accomplishing the following steps:

The Digital Media Manifesto proposes specific action plans to accomplish these steps, recognising the interrelated complexities to be overcome and the urgent need for simultaneous progress on technical and policy issues. Executing these actions is the mission of the Digital Media Project, a not-for-profit organisation whose establishment is proposed.

2. Breaking the Digital Media stalemate

The creation and distribution of media content, together with associated manufacturing and replication, are major global economic activities i.e. the cumulative worldwide turnover is huge amounting to several hundred billion $/€ per year. The impact of media on society, business and the personal lives of billions of people can hardly be overstated.

Analogue Media

Although content can be packaged in different ways, they each share the common feature that the actual media content is intangible. Whereas physical devices are required to create, move, store and use (CMSU) content, it exists on a fundamentally separate level from its physical carriers. The older technologies for these carriers - now referred to as "analogue" - were employed throughout history to CMSU all content media until about 20 years ago. Traditionally, the tight connection of content media with the CMSU technology employed was a major feature. Examples include vinyl discs, VHS tapes, radio and TV broadcasting and cable TV distribution In each case the technology used materially affected the content; blurring the distinction between the medium and the message.

The physical nature of analogue CMSU technologies played a major role in shaping media businesses, imposing specific and various limitations on cost, delivery, consumption, etc. This union between the technology and its intangible content also shaped public policy and legislation, for example laws concerning intellectual property and usage rights such as "fair use".

Digitised Media

Starting about 20 years ago and accelerating through the last decade, digital technologies have been employed for media "digitisation". The digital technologies offer radically different and easier ways to CMSU media. Their most noteworthy features are the ability to replicate media perfectly an unlimited number of times and the ability to detach media from its tight union with physical carriers. These features can exercise a substantial positive impact on the way media business is conducted. At the same time, they also "disable" some of the historically effective ways to exploit media economically.

In the early years the negative impact on business of the compact disc (CD) - the first example of digitised consumer media - was minimal because duplication was extremely difficult and costly, although it was always technically possible. The same has happened with DVD, another more recent and successful example of digitised media. Progress of technology, however, has gradually made copying of these digitised media formats easy and relatively inexpensive.

As a consequence, various instances of legislation have been widely adopted in different countries to achieve such goals as setting a limit to the number of copies permitted from a digital original and imposing a levy on blank recording media and devices to compensate for the economic damage suffered by rights holders from private copies (the latter was already enacted on analogue media). Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies that give rights holders the technical means to control access to media have also been regulated.

Digital Media

Over the past few years a range of digital technologies such as compression (e.g. MP3), network file sharing (e.g. P2P) and digital recording (e.g. PVR) have been embraced by millions of users because of the radically new experiences - which we call here the Digital Media Experience - that these technologies offer. Although these do not all rely on computers, they often leverage the increased power of new generations of PC with the increased speed of broadband connections. Whereas the successful examples of digitised media such as CD and DVD generally only provided "enhancements" of functionalities already available with analogue technologies, these more recent Digital Media capabilities have begun to offer a wider set of functionalities only made possible by digital technologies.

Instances of Digital Media embraced by large numbers of users have shown that digital technologies have the potential to alter most of the premises on which the traditional media business was founded. Causes of concern for existing value chain players include the magnitude of the changes required by the adoption of digital technologies and doubts about the existence of sustainable business models. Some new players on the value chain have seized these opportunities but usually discover that the conditions in which they operate are complicated and disrupted by ambiguous legal settings. The perceived difficulty is that in the short term end-users get a great new Digital Media Experience, but that viability depends on the existence of producers who in practice cannot plough sufficient revenues back into new productions. The producers will therefore eventually cease to produce, and there will be nothing new left or created to experience. On the other hand, DRM technologies may also abuse end-users rights.

Legal solutions, so far

Established media companies have responded by legal actions on two fronts, law suits against those whom they see as infringing on their rights, such as P2P networks and users, and legislative lobbying to secure limitations on the scope of fair use and privacy such as mandating ad-hoc blocking technologies in end-user devices, ending of fair use for on-demand services, mandating ISPs to deliver IP addresses of file-sharers, making the circumvention of blocking technologies unlawful etc.

Many believe such legal approaches cannot provide sufficient long-run solutions. The flexibility of digital technologies is such that there will always be people who will succeed in going around whatever legal ruling is issued. Also, Digital Media is a total paradigm shift so it is an illusion to attempt to counter its effects with ad-hoc technology stop gaps mandated by law. Primarily because governmentally sanctioned enforcement and punishment is only a deterrent, legal solutions play an important role in coping with an emergency yet are inherently inadequate by themselves in the long run.

The DRM technology solution, so far

The technology front has not been idle and some companies and organisations have advocated DRM as the solution to a number of concerns surrounding the use of Digital Media. However, there are concerns from old and new value-chain players and especially end-users that explain why the use of DRM is not advancing.

Existing value-chain business players are unconvinced that it is a solution because DRM does not control the capability of unintended re-use of content already released (e.g. CDs), must be applied to all new content to be effective, possibly needs radically new distribution mechanisms and requires the deployment of radically new end-user devices.

New value chain players, on the other hand, fear being disenfranchised because the selected DRM possibly contains some disabling features.

Lastly, end-users who of course are also members of the value chain, are opposed because they can no longer do things they assumed it was their right to do, fear a loss of their privacy, find DRM cumbersome and unpredictable to use and must often switch to different devices for similar services.

One stalemate, two sets of consequences

The economic and social potential of a dynamic Digital Media future is vast. The worldwide 2001 market was estimated (PwC, 2002) at over $178B and is not expected to reach a high growth phase globally until at least 2005/2006 [10]. On a broader front the global entertainment and media spend is forecasted to exceed 1.5 trillion € in the same timeframe [11]. It is clear that the absence of implemented practical solutions leaves everybody in a damaging stalemate.

The Economic Damage: because we are deprived of a fuller Digital Media Experience, economic development in a multitude of industrial domains - e.g. networks, devices and software - goes forward without a major driver for growth.

The Social Damage: because we are deprived of a fuller Digital Media Experience, this next quantum leap in the ability of humans to communicate - able to benefit society, business and individuals - is missing with crippling effect when global harmonisation is most needed and historic choices are considered separately in each of the world's nations.

Allowing the stalemate to persist has other continuing direct negative consequences. One such negative consequence of inaction is letting the concept of "content is there for people to grab" take further root. Another negative consequence is the increasing drive for radical and yet unrealistic legal approaches. Still another is the continued support and possible growth of seemingly unjust taxes because they materially affect many categories of users, producing a false complacency that hinders efforts required for better solutions with possibly profound negative impacts on the future of IT.

Digital Media is a vehicle that can promote the creation of new forms of Intellectual Property by multiplying the opportunities to profitably extend one of the noblest and most valued human activities - creation of works of art, music and literature. There is too much at stake to simply bow to the Digital Media stalemate as an inevitable component of the next few years to come, hoping wistfully that the mess will be sorted out some day in a vague and not too-distant future.

Acting on two fronts to break through

So far, efforts to break the Digital Media stalemate have failed because of fragmented efforts stemming from beliefs that law alone or technology alone could do the job, leaving the business players to sort out the mess. The entanglement is such that the underlying problems are not going to be resolved separately anytime soon. What is needed is synergistic actions on both the legislative and technological fronts.

On the policy and legal side, new policies should be determined and legacy policies revised, such as:

On the technical side, any DRM platform accepted for wide usage and adoption should provide the following main features:

 

Some potential benefits of a fuller Digital Media Experience

The expected major beneficiaries from implementing these policy and technical actions will be:

 

The Digital Media Project

The Digital Media Manifesto proposes the establishment (see below) of the Digital Media Project, a not-for-profit organisation, as the vehicle developing the proposed technical and legal actions. The technical actions will be directly carried out by the Project. The policy and legislation actions will be studied by the Project and recommended actions issued to appropriate entities capable of executing them. In addition the Digital Media Project will further analyse and propose steps to remove whatever other significant barriers stand in the way of reaching the objective to set in motion all facets of the Digital Media industry, to the benefit of society, business players and users.

3. Major actions

The Digital Media Manifesto identifies seven major areas for action. They are grouped according to their nature: policy and technical, and are:

Policy actions

P1

Mapping of rights and usages traditionally enjoyed by users to the Digital Media space

P2

Phasing out analogue legacies applied to Digital Media

P3

Deployment of broadband access

P4

Improving development of and access to standards

Technical actions

T1

Interoperable DRM platforms

T2

Interoperable end-user devices

T3

End-to-end conformance assessment

P1 is part of the design of the interoperable DRM platform, in the sense that the DRM platform must both carry out its intended purpose and technically support traditional end-user rights in order to achieve end user acceptance. On the other hand individual legislations will mandate which of those technically supported rights are legally required in a given jurisdiction.

P2 and P3 are actions that have to be executed at the policy level to provide motivations for value-chain players to undertake the transformation of the value chain to support Digital Media.

P4 is a policy action designed to create a virtuous circle whereby innovation is continuously generated because there are certain means to remunerate it. The primary target is the revision of standardisation and ensuing licensing processes.

T1 and T2 are technical actions designed to develop interface standards ensuring access to and interoperability of DRM solutions across the value chain. In particular T2 addresses the specific issue of interoperability of end-user devices, the last element of the value chain.

T3 is a technical action designed to develop recommended practices for technical, business and legal conformance assessment in support of value chain players.

P1. Mapping rights and usages traditionally enjoyed by users to the Digital Media space

Legislation concerning the rights acquired by end-users along with content is the result of decades of interventions mostly concerned with analogue media or specific aspects of Digital Media capabilities. Legislative consistency is also far from uniform across countries. Part of this body of legislation concerns basic user rights that date back to the Berne Convention (1886), specifically issues concerned with Fair use such as the possibility to quote somebody, or the right to copy parts of publications, as well as the extended rights specified in the more recent Berne Convention resulting from the Revision Conference held at Stockholm in 1967. There is also a set of other abilities, again widely varying from country to country, that end-users have come enjoy, such as end-user exceptions to rights holders' rights. The ensemble of these possibilities will be called here "rights traditionally enjoyed by end-users", even though, strictly speaking, they are not all "rights". Additionally there have been actions triggered by the need to limit the effect of some new features that were enabled by new media technologies and that were considered too damaging to rights holders.

The result is that there are non uniform and non consistent bodies of beliefs in value-chain players and end-users underpinning the complex relationship between media and end-users, that are sometimes substantiated by the law and sometimes the result of customs and practices.

Digital Media technologies allow a vast number of new possibilities, some of which had an equivalent in the analogue world. In general, however, it is not straightforward to see how basic user rights and usages of the analogue age can be carried over to the Digital Media space. One of the obstacles to adoption of Digital Media is the decision of some service providers to prevent the ability to make personal copies, thereby removing what users have come to consider a basic right, regardless of its formal legal status. While this may be dictated by understandable practical reasons - often because a blanket support of such rights would deprive primitive DRM solutions of their raison d'être - unilaterally introduced restrictions are often neither understood by users or disclosed with proper notice, and are opposed by many worthy organisations.

In the following, four examples are considered: right to quote, right to make personal copy, right to choose playback device and right to privacy.

Right to quote

It is reasonably easy to exercise the "right to quote" using extracts from analogue media. However, in a scenario of protected digital media, if support for this feature has not been designed from the beginning, a right traditionally enjoyed in the analogue age is lost. It is probably not too difficult to devise technical solutions to this problem, but rights holders releasing content have no incentive to do so. The result is one more reason for civil right organisations to oppose the use of protection solutions on content.

Right to make personal copy

It is a sensible thing to let end-users make a backup copy of analogue media they buy. For example, a user buying a compact cassette may lose or wear out the original, but he should still be able to listen to the content should mishaps occur. In the digital case, however, this may not necessarily be a requirement because a user may decide to acquire a license and get the digital content via the network any time he wants.

Right to choose playback device

Users have traditionally had the right to buy the playback device from the manufacturer of their choice or even assemble the device themselves. This was a reasonable practice as long as content was unprotected. But with protected content this may no longer be possible in general, because the playback device must satisfy certain minimum and probably restrictive criteria, if it is not going to become a hole through which valuable content flows away. However, this right remains important, even for content to which DRM has been applied, in case of content in a format that no longer have sufficient market share to support the manufacture of mass-market playback devices, while the content retains historical, political, or artistic value.

Right to privacy

Traditionally for the majority of readily available content, users can preserve anonymity and shield their private choices from those from whom they buy. With the combination of networks and DRM it becomes very easy for service providers to track user behaviour accurately. Users demand that there should be the possibility of opting out from this potentially unwelcome scrutiny.

Right to access works whose copyright has expired

It used to be always possible to access works whose copyright had expired because of the rather primitive technologies used for analogue media. The sophisticated technologies used by Digital Media, particularly when DRM technologies are applied, may invalidate this right and make access to our heritage virtually impossible.

So far the relationship between the media business, value-chain players (particularly device manufacturers) and end-users has been largely adversarial. We are seeing user associations working on "Bills of Rights" (e.g. [1]) that show what functionality is desired and what levels of restrictions are acceptable to users of Digital Media systems, but are difficult or next to impossible to implement in a DRM system. We are also seeing media businesses working in isolation from the users and frequently independently of one another, providing solutions that reduce the scope of traditional rights, even when there could have been ways to preserve at least some of them. There should be no surprise if certain industry forums have been working on concepts such as "Authorised Domain" for years without result: it is hard to agree on technical solutions without user requirements, particularly so when the technologies considered are too poor to express the complexity of the home environment.

The Digital Media Project should provide a neutral place where a dialectic collaboration between the three communities can take place. While it is too early to commit now, this process may include the examination of concepts underlying those rights, and consideration of the most appropriate language for expressing those concepts and rights in the Digital Media space, followed by two parallel approaches, one working upstream-downstream and the other downstream-upstream:

Step

Upstream-downstream

Downstream-upstream

Identify

exclusive economic and moral rights traditionally enjoyed by rights holders

rights traditionally enjoyed by end-users

Convert

rights holder rights not infringing end-users' rights into technical requirements

end-user rights not infringing rights holders' rights into technical requirements

Design

DRM platforms and particularly end-user device using these requirements

DRM platforms and particularly end-user device using these requirements

Specify

DRM platforms and end-user devices in such a way that those rights holder rights are technically supported

DRM platforms and end-user devices in such a way that those end-user rights are technically supported

Decide

at the level of individual legislations which, if any, technical features to mandate

at the level of individual legislations which, if any, technical features to mandate

P2. Phasing out analogue legacies applied to Digital Media

Even before the introduction of copyright law (UK, 1710), the management of intellectual property has always been a challenge. That challenge was intensified with the introduction of mass reproduction technology, such as recorded music. However, it was the mass sale of consumer recording devices, such as the reel-to-reel tape recorder, in the early 1950's, which created a significant difficulty.

In Germany, where the issue first came to court, a judge decided that the privacy of the citizen took precedence over the rights of content owners. However, it was also decided that it would be unfair to deprive rights holders of income lost through acts of private copying. Therefore it was decided to place a levy on equipment that could be used by citizens to make copies of copyright-protected material in the privacy of their own home for their own personal use. Levies, once instituted, were seen by rights holders as a useful way to gain some compensation. The levy rates were set by governments or by mutual agreement between parties, and the management of the levies and distribution of resulting revenues were taken over by Collecting Societies.

Since the raising of the first levy in Germany, levies have been instituted in many European countries and in some countries in other continents, such as Canada. Until the coming of digital, levies were mostly raised on media such as blank tape (audio and video) and on some equipment.

Digital technology has placed the ability to make perfect copies in the hands of anyone possessing a computer and the Internet has enabled copied material to be freely exchanged, regardless of what the law says. As a result, Collecting Societies in many European countries have pressed their governments to impose levies on digital media and equipment. In some regions, legislation to somehow restrict or impose levies on Internet use is under consideration or is already in practice.

The situation today [2] is that levies are either already imposed or are claimed on digital media and equipment in a number of European and other countries. Additional countries may yet decide to impose levies. In terms of equipment, levies are imposed or claimed on PCs, multifunctional devices, mobile phones with MP3 functions, some types of set top box with integrated recording capacity and scanners. In terms of blank media, levies are imposed or claimed on CD recordable, DVD recordable and various types of solid state memory. In terms of the Internet, in some countries maximum upload caps have been put in place with excessive levies for exceeding restricted levels.

The concerns about the levy applied to Digital Media are:

Another legacy of the analogue age is the network of legal country-based restrictions. In Europe for the last 50 years there have been efforts at creating a single market for physical goods and services but little if anything has changed for such intangible goods as media content. Today a resident in France may not subscribe to a pay TV service from nearby countries, in spite of the fact that the signal arrives at his roof-top antenna.

This did not have major practical effects as long as content was tightly bound to physical carriers such as tape, or broadcasting was limited by VHF/UHF propagation.Today, however, any justifications for such legally-enforced country-based market segmentation are outweighed by the potential economic and social gains made possible by Digital Media.

Yet another legacy is the lack of taxation uniformity across different countries. This was a tolerable situation for media distributed on physical carriers that were largely intended for a single uniform market, but is no longer acceptable already today when people can easily acquire content from countries with very different taxation regimes and the language barrier is constantly reducing.

There is a need to develop a road map where the phasing out of the levy is balanced by the progressive introduction of the solution advocated by the Digital Media Manifesto. The following process is suggested:

P3. Deployment of broadband access

As with early content delivery technologies, e.g. low speed data, ISDN and mobile radio systems, the issues with the provision of ubiquitous broadband vary from country to country. In general the challenges are not just technology but also a combination of commercial, legal and political factors. This section will consider the interrelation of technology, user demand, service provisioning, economics, legislation and politics, to generate a vision for improved broadband access that is synergistic with the state goal of "making an improved Digital Media Experience economically rewarding on a global scale, legitimate for the multiplicity of players on the value chain and satisfactory for end-users".

Technologies

Digital point-to-multipoint delivery, i.e. digital broadcasting, is generally available and in some countries it is already reaching a high proportion of the population. Clearly such infrastructures can provide significant opportunities for delivery of important classes of Digital Media to end-users. Other needs, however, can only be served by broadband two-way delivery. In general the challenges for the latter are not linked to long-distance or main network broadband capacity. It is in the ‘thin’ last-mile periphery of networks where it is difficult to employ economies of scale.

The table below provides an overview of the different possibilities users have today to connect to digital sources.

Technology

Access type

Downstream

Upstream

Comments

ADSL

Point-to-point

~1 Mbit/s

~100 kbit/s

Optimally within ~4km of a telephone exchange

VDSL Point-to-point ~10 Mbit/s ~1 Mbit/s Optimally within a few 100s of m. Bitrate depends on distance

Cable modem

Internet access

10 Mbit/s

10 Mbit/s

Shared across local area users
Attractive in highly-populated areas

CATV

Broadcast

Few Gbit/s

-


Satellite

Broadcast

Few Gbit/s

-


VSAT

Internet access

2 Mbit/s

Satellite or PSTN

Good for downloading data and browsing
Difficult for streamed audio and video

BFWA

Point-to-point

Few 100 Mbit/s

7 Mbit/s

Regulated spectrum (3.6 and 4.2GHz, 10 km; 20-30GHz, 100s of m)

W-LAN

Internet access

11/50 Mbit/s

11/50 Mbit/s

Unregulated spectrum (2.4Ghz, few 10s of m; 5Ghz lesser coverage)

GPRS

Internet access

Few 10s of kbit/s

Few 10s of kbit/s

Shared with other users in the cell

3G

Internet access

Up to 2 Mbit/s

Up to 2 Mbit/s

2 Mbit/s is the bandwidth of one cell

CD

Storage

~1.5 Mbit/s


Used for music, Video CD and other data (CD-ROM).
Capacity 650 Mbyte

DVD

Storage

~10 Mbit/s


Used for music, DVD Video and other data (DVD-ROM).
Capacity 4.7 Gbyte
Hard Disk Storage ~200 Mbit/s General use, but also specific (e.g. PVR)
Capacity 100 Gbyte ang growing

Demand and services

It can be argued that today’s digital point-to-multipoint systems - terrestrial, satellite and cable TV - are essentially extending existing analogue broadcast to digital. Digital technology is providing significantly more channels, improved technical quality and enhanced services, such as multimedia teletext, and increased viewer involvement via simple live feedback mechanisms and access to multiple sources or views.

The commercial viability of such systems is open to question. In some situations, national spectrum release strategies are subsidising Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT). Digital satellite and cable seem to be commercially viable only where there are legislated or commercial monopolies created such that some content is exclusively available. Digital cable also appears viable in some countries where there are no common carrier obligations on network providers.

Essentially, point-to-multipoint systems can be regarded as content-specific. The true potential of Digital Media will be realised when content agnostic systems prevail. This is a typical common factor with two-way systems. Attempts made by the telcos in the last decade to stimulate broadband provision via new Digital Media service offerings, e.g. broadband video-phones or video/movies-on-demand, have generally failed. The following causes deserve mention:

Two-way broadband access to the home or small business features in the plans of all the world’s telecommunications network providers and is also stimulating many independent approaches that bypass telco local loop networks, e.g. using Wi-Fi. There is evidence of growing demand for such provision, led by the most active Internet users. Broadband access for large and medium size companies is generally present already, provided by dedicated cables or fixed radio, where business-critical usage justifies the significant deployment costs.

Evidence of domestic broadband demand today suggests that it is not 'new services' as such that are currently causing people to buy, or indeed demand that two-way broadband be available. It is more increasing reliance on the internet for business, shopping, downloads, remote employment, the attraction of an always-on capability, the need to keep basic PC operating system software up to date and the need to let several people in a household access the internet at the same time. On the other hand when telcos decide to equip local line plants and exchanges such that ADSL can be provided to subscribers in a given area, the take-up among intensive Internet users is generally less than market surveys predict.

This timid incremental need for broadband access is not surprising. Digital Media offerings are scarce today on the web and what exists is often of dubious legitimacy. Further there are few "consumer-grade" devices that one can connect to the Internet. The PC remains the main device to consume content, be it music, video clips or movies compressed from DVD. The PC is evolving towards a domestic appliance but as such it remains a device unattractive to the majority.

With video-phones, there appears to be little evidence that people are generally eager to communicate using face-to-face images. It could be that people like to be ‘in-control’ when they communicate. When we talk on the telephone, we know what the other hears. When we mail or send text, we know what they read. When we communicate with live pictures, we do not generally know what the other sees, nor do we see a great deal of value in seeing them. There are, however, a number of video-based applications that many think will become the driver for a sizeable deployment of personal video communication. On the other hand video messaging and live image transmission on 3G mobile systems may have inherent appeal to the youth market. This could prove as surprising in the first decade of the new millennium as mobile text messaging was in the last decade of the past millennium.

Economics, Legislation and Politics

In many countries, economic issues are made more complex through state intervention, by regulation, licensing and competition policy. Political needs also surface where governments see ubiquitous broadband access as an economic necessity for national competitiveness.

Many of the business issues are not new, e.g. the effect on existing revenue streams in incumbent telcos, and investment returns - particularly post dot-com bubble - in new ones. Protection of 'legacy' revenue streams remains an issue with incumbent telcos although there are signs that this seems to be far less so now than in the 90's.

Incumbent network owners also have to address completely new issues as a result of national and international anti-competitive and market-opening initiatives. For example, so called ‘local-loop unbundling’ is a regulatory requirement in some countries, meaning existing telephony network owners are forced to make their cables between local switch sites and customers available for third-parties to offer broadband services. Such approaches create completely new business scenarios for all players. There are signs however that the business models are now becoming understood, at least for the deployment of infrastructure.

What of the ambition for broadband access?

Left to itself broadband access is going to proceed along the current trends where home users take up existing offers, such as ADSL at a few 100 Kbit/s and Cable Modems (10 million users for the former and 30 million users for the latter in the USA alone). These constitute significant advances compared to the dial-up modems of a few years ago, but they should not be considered adequate enablers of the vision advocated by the Digital Media Manifesto with its scenarios of virtually unlimited number of broadband Digital Media sources, such as in distance learning, access to content repositories, personalised advertisement or, more generally, when there is a number of content sources comparable to the number of content consumers.

Evidence of the success of mobility suggests that a further ambition should be equally rich access independent of location and whilst on the move. In this case there are also challenging issues with the user interface technology, particularly when balancing size, weight, screen size and viewing ability in all environments.

There are various obstacles to these ambitions for broadband access. Those explored above include:

To realise the vision of the Digital Media Manifesto the challenge is to solve these large issues and remove the obstacles impeding the creation of a virtuous circle for all: technology suppliers, content creators, content-oriented service providers, connectivity providers, and the end-user.

P4. Improving development of and access to standards

As a form of communication between humans - the most advanced form of communication ever invented - Digital Media requires some sort of standardisation to succeed. The means to achieve this are manifold and examples range from the "Red Book" standardisation of the CD format, the 80X86-MSDOS standardisation of IBM-compatible PCs, MPEG’s standardisation of audio and video coding technologies forming the underlying basis of MPEG-2 digital video and MP3 audio files, and the DVD Forum’s standardisation of interactive audio and video DVDs.

Although every case is somewhat different, technology standards can usually be categorised as having been developed by means of one of three ways:

The development approach usually has a great impact on how (and at what cost) the technology is made available to the marketplace and also on its eventual market success. Only the first approach, however, will be considered here as the second is within the sphere of freedom of individual companies and the third is gradually becoming less important for the Digital Media future.

The first approach has often provided the highest quality technology solutions which, if not dragged down by other problems (e.g., bureaucratic delays or squabbling, market lock-in to technologies delivered earlier), is the best route to market success. The challenge becomes finding a process by which the standardisation bodies can carry out the standards development that makes steady forward progress. We have recently seen both examples of highly successful standard implementation (e.g., the development of MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding [3] in which a superior technology for encoding general audio signals was created by pulling together the best technology alternatives for each of the main building blocks of the full coder’s "reference model") and of unsuccessful standardisation initiatives failing to create a standard (e.g., the recent SDMI which was suspended due to immaturity of the technology required for the standard).

Typically, the implementation of a Digital Media standard requires access to IP owned by third parties. The standards bodies require that such IP be accessible on RAND terms, even though, in general, the specific licensing terms are not given in the standard. This process has proven highly successful in the past. See for example the deployment of set-top boxes, VCRs, CD players, etc.

The MPEG-2 standard [4] successfully improved the handling of the relationship between the definition of the technical specifications and their related IPR. For the first time, it was recognised at the standards level that the new defined technology could be used in a range of radically different products and that its success depended on the coordination of the IPR owned by many different parties. Initially, the efforts of an ad-hoc group defined in the standards body and then of a private company successfully addressed IPR as well as competition issues. A "pool" of the IPR holders was formed in order to provide users of the technology with non-discriminatory access to as much IP incorporated in the standards specification as possible in one single step. The idea behind this concept was that by "buying in bulk" the technology users would save time and money. The innovative MPEG-2 technology which responded to the needs of new emerging industries was easily accessible both in terms of its specifications and IPR. This ultimately enabled its success in the marketplace.

The MPEG-2 success was due in part to the fact that the licensing terms were based on traditionally simple, well-understood models of deployment of the technology. For example, the IPR for MPEG-2 Video decoders are licensed in the same manner whether they apply to a DVD hardware decoder (CE industry) or software decoder (computer industry) [5].

New Digital Media deployment models barely fit old ones and in many cases seem to clash with models of products and services that have traditionally been deployed in the IT field. Standards-based technology licensing is becoming increasingly challenging since the same technology is often deployed across different industries where separate business models are typically applied (even as competitive lines dividing those industries may also be blurring). The existence of a single standard does not necessarily imply that one single licensing model is relevant across industries. This aspect can be currently observed even for "traditional" standards components such as audio and video coding where different players in different industries are currently deploying products and services in very different fashions. One can also argue that this is just the beginning, where more complex situations will stem from more complex standards such as metadata and DRM standards, especially when combined with other multimedia standards. Other traditional limitations on the use of technology also clash with the high innovation rate of Digital Media technologies. From this perspective easier access to technology for research purposes would benefit continuing use of established standards and would promote innovation.

The questions that perhaps we need to address are:


"Are the formal standards setting bodies capable of not only defining rapidly changing technology but also to making it widely accessible and deployable?"

and



"Are the traditional hardware-based standardisation and licensing processes adequate to support Digital Media technologies when applications range across widely diverse platforms?"

As a means to answer these questions it would be useful to review the workflow from the moment when the need and requirements for a standard are identified until the moment when the license for the underlying IPR is finalised. In this review it might be useful to consider how the workflow could be redesigned so specific products/services that the standard will support in different industries are analysed early in the process rather than expecting the licensing terms to resolve any conflict once the standard is finalised. Part of this process would be the assumption that multiple IP owners would be willing to provide access to the underlying technologies through adequate business models. A recent report prepared for the European Commission identifies the main standards problem of the future as being centred on major unsolved challenges of competition policy. It recommends the creation of a policy environment and incentives that would allow for the development of institutions to facilitate the rational design of new product standards, based upon a large number of independently held patents, taking into account not only technological features of the patents, but their costs as well. One of the conclusions presented is that competition authorities are going to need to be very flexible and encourage innovative solutions, particularly in the area of standard setting and the design of standards and patent pools that support them [6]. While keeping the validity of the concept of "buying in bulk" - in other words, setting up a patent pool for the standard IPR - the legal and financial aspects of setting up such a pool can now become very focused and the overall time-to-market can be considerably reduced.

A related issue that constitutes a significant impediment to the practical utilisation of Digital Media is the recognition made by technology developers of the relative disproportion between cost and potential benefit to filing patents. This has generated a dramatic increase in the total number of patent filings. Couple this with the low level of "filtering" applied by patent offices, because they no longer have the resources, time or expertise to effectively filter through all of the filings and ensure good claims the result is a comparatively high number of patent protections automatically granted that do not appear to satisfy accepted innovation level criteria.

Recommendations could be raising the threshold (i.e. making it more costly to file for a patent) or increasing patent office staff. The former is effective but might discriminate against small firms or individual inventors. The second is more fool-proof but its costs are borne by society.

Innovation rate of digital technologies remains very high and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. Digital Media is a good user of those technologies because they enable Digital Media to continuously evolve to improve efficiency and retain end-user affection. Today access to those technologies encounters several difficulties. Therefore there is a strong need to create the conditions for an improved transfer of innovation to Digital Media.

T1. Interoperable DRM platforms

One way to look at Digital Media technologies is to see them as offering "improved" ways to perform Create, Move, Store and Use (CMSU) functions on content media. Content captured with digital video cameras can be stored on hard disks in the studio more conveniently because IT-based content management techniques can be used. Geographically-distributed production centres can exchange Digital Media using digital networks without quality degradation. Distribution of content to end-users can be achieved easily and less expensively using digital networks. End-users can enjoy the content so acquired in a variety of new fashions. All this can be done because digital technologies are so efficient and flexible that they can certainly be combined to do the same things as done in the past, and can also do things in a myriad of new ways.

The other practical way to look at Digital Media is a consequence of this flexibility. The way media business was carried out in the "analogue age" was based on the existence of certain technology gateways. But, if digital technologies allow value chain players to go around even one of those technology gateways, some of the foundations of the old ways of doing business with media may disappear. The most critical gateway - the difficulty of making copies - has been crumbling for decades, and has been completely shattered by digital technologies. Indeed it is now possible to automatically make a large number of copies of a large number of pieces of content and distribute them to a large number of people connected to the Internet.

The debate on whether meaningful business models exist that are not digital conversions of those employed in the analogue world has been raging for years. It is true that there is anecdotal evidence that innovative business models exist for digital content that can be freely copied. However, these models seem to work only when content comes from little known artists or is used by small communities. Today there is no convincing evidence that these models can be applied to all types of content, certainly not valuable pieces of content that are currently purchased by millions of people. They also seem not to apply to new forms of content such as e-learning, or new forms of services such as Digital Libraries, that are enabled by digital technologies.

While it cannot be excluded that such new models may eventually emerge, flourish and even become mainstream, the process may take years. In the meantime the Digital Media stalemate in which the media industry and society are struggling degenerates by the day and it is not acceptable to just keep waiting for Digital Media salvation to appear miraculously. The only valid alternative that remains on the table is the use of content protection technologies or Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies to remove the major disabling factor of Digital Media business.

While there is currently no commonly agreed definition of DRM, the one adopted by National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) in the USA can serve the purpose of the Digital Media Manifesto: "DRM is a system of IT components and services along with corresponding law, policies and business models which strive to distribute and control IP and its rights". With this definition the analogue pay TV service that was started in the 1980s in Europe already used a form of DRM, but the use of DRM technologies can be seen more clearly in the digital pay TV services that many operators in many countries offer via satellite and cable, or those offered by the now-failed OnDigital in the UK. Also portable devices developed by some manufacturers according to the SDMI specification made use of DRM technologies.

The value chain is typically made up of a number of independent business players, each with their own business models dictating how IT components and services should be used to achieve distribution and control of their IP. Therefore it is natural that each player wishes to retain the freedom of choosing the DRM solution that best fits his needs. The result will then be multiple DRM solutions implemented on different portions of different instances of the value chain.

This assembly of loosely interoperable solutions is the traditional way of managing content on the value chain and, no matter how inefficient it is, it has done the job that was expected of it. DRM, however, is not a technology that can be introduced arbitrarily at any point of the value chain, because its introduction at one point influences the rest of the value chain in a substantial way. Therefore, while it is conceivable to have multiple DRMs handled by different value chain players, the coexistence of different DRMs with a level of trust adequate for normal business relations is a major challenge that in some cases (e.g. conversion between different Rights Expression Languages) may still require advances at the scientific level. The obvious consequence of this unrestricted "freedom of choice" of DRM solutions is that DRM cannot become the tool enabling meaningful businesses solutions in any immediate length of time

In the short-to-medium term the only feasible solution is the deployment of DRM solutions that are based on technologies designed to interoperate. This does not mean that there should be a single DRM specification holding across the value chain and that only the prescribed technologies should be used everywhere. There should be different solutions, offered by different vendors, that are capable of interoperating with one another, e.g. via negotiation protocols. An example is provided by MPEG IPMP-X, that provides an architecture supporting end-user devices to download or receive, within the content, the tools that are required by a specific content protection system [7]. These interoperable DRM platforms should be specified in a such a way that the needs of different value chain players are satisfied and that access to needed DRM features is technically enabled. It should be noted however that although MPEG IPMP-X is used as an example, there are still interface issues that need to be identified and solved before it can provide its full capability towards the advancement of Digital Media.

A preliminary list of value chain function stakeholders for which interfaces may be considered is

A number of standards initiatives already exist that are developing basic technologies that can become the foundation of interoperable DRM platforms, including:

Because of the already large number of initiatives it is likely that little further action is required at the level of enabling technology specification. On the other hand, action is required to develop appropriate interfaces enabling access to the different value chain players. It is understood that dealing with industry-specific interfaces should be left to appropriate industry groups.

To conclude the discussion of interoperable DRM platforms and limitations imposed by the lack of DRM interoperability, it has already been seen in the real world marketplace that although a given deployed application may achieve initial success, it is not possible without a widely accepted and adopted DRM platform to collect a large enough business user base to make the attempted Digital Media ventures succeed. Additionally, without a sufficiently large potential business user base, rights holders see little incentive to risk something new when the current user base that exists without the use of Digital Media is already sufficiently large enough to sustain operation.

T2. Interoperable end-user devices

A necessary condition for a successful interoperable DRM platform is the existence of interoperable end-user devices. These are technically a part of the DRM platform but it is convenient to treat them separately because devices include several other issues, such as the fact that they will possibly have to be operated by technically unsophisticated end-users.

Traditionally end-user devices have been both media and delivery specific. Different devices are needed to view a TV program coming via over-the-air broadcast or via a VHS cassette recorder, even if it is the same TV signal that the device has to deal with. On the other hand the same device might be used to watch or listen to programs from different sources, i.e. the receiving device is not content or service provider specific. This was true even at the time there were two video cassette recording standards (VHS and Betamax), because content, e.g. a movie, was typically available on both formats.

The only major exception, since the early 1950s, was set top boxes (STB) for CATV. However, these were more in the form of "adaptors" to convert the TV signal picked up from the cable to a form that could be used to feed the same TV set that was used to view over-the-air broadcast. A second exception materialised in the 1980s as the analogue pay TV decoder, where the "adaptor" also had the function of descrambling the signal. A common feature of these devices was their technical simplicity and hence reduced cost.

The first example of Digital Media - the CD - followed the same paradigm as analogue end-user devices. The same was true for the Digital Audio Tape, however, US legislation forced manufacturers to introduce a so-called "first generation" DRM system in the form of the "copy generation management system".

Subsequently there have been other significant departures. While the CATV industry simply continued their practice of providing special (digital, this time) STBs to their subscribers, Service Providers of satellite pay TV services required that their subscribers use special STBs capable of decrypting content that are commonly rented rather than purchased or otherwise provided. This made use of so-called "second generation" DRM systems in the form of "conditional access". Newer services, such as Personal Video Recorders, also require that the user acquires special devices to enjoy the service.

In a sense Digital Media has brought no major conceptual difference to the practices of the analogue age. Any DVD player can play any content like the CD, with the restriction that it may have to obey certain rules (region code) that have been set by the rights holder. The DVD makes use of so-called "third generation" DRM systems and the DVD player can be defined as the end-user device of a platform for distribution of encrypted digital video content on package media. Because DVD encryption is standardised end-users are even unaware that bits on the DVD are encrypted.

A major practical difference exists between devices for the mass market and devices for nascent fragmented Digital Media markets. Prices of the former are brought down by broad competition (e.g. very few tens of $/€ for a low-end CD or DVD player), while prices of the latter, however, remain high (e.g. a digital pay TV STB costs roughly one order of magnitude more than their analogue equivalent).

To be in some Digital Media businesses is therefore a much more costly adventure but with the upside that it is easier to make one's subscribers more impervious to competing offers, because of the sheer size of investments required. However, this model still has to prove that it is economically viable. Indeed at this time only pay TV Service Providers operating in monopolistic conditions are in the black. In Italy and Spain two competing operators, after having been in the red for years, have decided to merge, thus creating a monopoly of pay TV in the respective countries. On the other hand the UK government assigned two DTT licenses to two competing operators who subsequently merged and eventually the merged company - OnDigital – still went bankrupt. Other countries are in similar situations.

One of the additional features of digital end-user devices is their much faster device obsolescence rate. This phenomenon is bound to increase the more such technologies for deploying advanced Digital Media are introduced. In these conditions it becomes very hard even for a major Service Provider to plan centrally for updates of end-user devices, because users have different replacement requirements. This is similar to the case of the PC market where the device obsolescence rate is very high, and still different users have different behaviours. Business users feel reluctant and forced to change because the benefit to change is not felt to be significant whereas some end-users are many times demanding and eagerly awaiting improvements and advances in devices due to rapidly improving content and applications.

There have been several attempts to steer away from the proprietary end-user device model, one of them being the DVB Common Interface. An STB equipped with a Common Interface is generic and can be purchased in the shops. The service provider-specific portion is reduced to a card to be inserted in the Common Interface. Another example is the agreement reached by the US CATV industry at the beginning of 2003 with a comparable result. The recent successful development of UK DTT using openly available STBs is a confirmation, even though it is not for protected content. The approach taken by the Open Mobile Alliance goes in the same direction, even though it is a different business environment (mobile telephony).

Setting aside adventurous speculations, by now there is enough evidence that only a competitive market of end-user devices from different manufacturers, capable of consuming protected content which end-users can buy in the shops, can provide opportunities for sustainable Digital Media business that is respectful of rights holders and satisfactory to end-users.

Such an open end-user device market can kick off a phenomenon of a size comparable to the IBM PC where device innovation offers end-users a continuously improving experience or to the mobile market, where the existence of standards and continuing innovation keeps the market moving. The reasons why this has not happened yet for Digital Media are manifold, one of them being the absence of interoperable DRM platforms. Even in the digital pay TV case, where the number of end-user devices is already quite high, this does not happen because the segmentation of the digital TV STB market has reduced the market for such devices to high-volume, low-return Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) markets tightly controlled by Service Providers. The interoperable end-user devices for horizontal markets advocated by the Digital Media Manifesto have all the credentials to qualify for a role comparable with if not superior to the PC, where hardware will enjoy ever-increasing performance and with a rich market of applications provided by a host of application developers.

Interoperable end-user devices will allow device design to address human interface with radically greater efficiency, as is already happening for the mobile market. Indeed Digital Media can arrive from many sources and storage media can become apparently nothing more than a screen on the user's display, letting them know networked storage is available - a type of storage now called "media-less" by some. Or, even better, removing the need for any knowledge of or interaction with storage media other than when a given Digital Media title needs to physically move from one place to another such as taking a list of songs from the home audio system to the family car. The deciding design factor for interoperable user-devices will be the human experience it is designed for. Success in meeting this need will increase demand.

We are undoubtedly unable to imagine the different types of device that will be invented and become conventional even in the not too distant future. This must and will be borne in mind when establishing any criteria and specifications.

T3. End-to-end conformance assessment

A content value chain is a complex system where different players, bound by legal/business agreements and with the support of different technological solutions, operate so as to achieve the goals of the value chain. The practices of existing value chains were created over long periods of time as the business matured. Many components of the relationships between business players were based on practices that had embedded means to check for conformance of business players to the rules.

Use of DRM implies the redesign of Business-to-Business (B2B) relationships at least in certain portions of the value chain that must take into account the fact that IT is the underlying enabling technology. To accept the change, value chain players must be provided with the means to verify that each player operates according to the agreed upon rules, e.g. by certifying that the different parties involved (manufacturers, software vendors, service providers, etc.) guarantee the level of quality and adherence to the rules that has been agreed. The traditional self-certification approach is no longer enough with the commercial interests around content. There must be "conformance assessment" rules that operate at three levels: legal (e.g. by checking that content offerings satisfy local laws or regulations), business (e.g. by checking adherence with business rules attached to content) and technical (e.g. by checking that a playback device has the required security).

Methodologies for manually assessing compliance are impractical in the Digital Media age. The only realistic solution is a semantically rich set of applications embedded in a trusted framework whereby DRM rules are understood and the Digital Media Experience is mediated through or monitored by the interoperable systems. This is expected to be a significant area of work and impact. Because strict adherence to interoperability requirements through an effective conformance regime results in true ease-of-use for end-users, this area is also expected to greatly aid market adoption and hence ROI for all members of the value chain.

The output of this work is expected to be a set of recommended practices for legal, business and technical conformance across the value chain in the sense that the means to check conformance should be provided. It will be up to legal contracts and possibly legislation to make parts or all of these recommended practices legally enforceable.

4. The Digital Media Project

The vision and the various actions put forward by the Digital Media Manifesto requires a coordinated effort to execute the various actions identified and thereby produce the expected outputs, namely technical specifications, recommended practices and recommended actions. The environment where these would be produced is here called the Digital Media Project (DMP). Even though the precise nature of the organisation is not fully defined yet, this section illustrates how the objectives of the Digital Media Manifesto could be concretely achieved. Appendix A. provides more material about the organisation and work plan of the Digital Media Project.

The DMP should be a not-for-profit organisation based on open international collaboration of all interested parties: corporations and individual firms, partnerships, governmental bodies or international organisations, supporting the DMP goals and the means to achieve them. To sustain its activities the DMP will assess a yearly fee from its members. This should be set every year to a level adequate to reach the goals of that year.

The mission of the DMP can be defined as "to promote continuing successful development, deployment and use of Digital Media that respect the right of creators and business players to exploit their works, the wish of end-users to fully enjoy the benefits of Digital Media technologies and the interest of various value-chain players to provide products and services". Digital Media includes new emerging experiences made possible by Information and Communication Technologies along with mainstream media experiences such as Compact Disc, Digital Versatile Disc, Digital Audio Broadcasting and Digital Television.

The development of specifications enabling businesses, both new and old, to support new user experiences, and of recommendations to appropriate entities to act on removal of barriers holding up exploitation of Digital Media is the selected means to realise the objective of the DMP. These deliverables could be contributed to appropriate formal standards bodies and other entities whenever this is instrumental in achieving the general DMP goals. On the other hand DMP members should not be not bound to implement or use specific technology standards, or recommendations because of their participation in DMP.

The DMP promises to break the Digital Media stalemate and bring positive effects to creators, value chain players, and end-users as described below.

Rights holders

DRM technologies promise rights holders that content will be less susceptible to infringement. Copyright holders will benefit from a reliable method for detecting copyright infringements. Individual creators will be enabled to track the spread of their IP, and to protect themselves from plagiarism.

The DMP will offer solutions to a number of problems with a specification of interfaces for interoperable DRM systems, including end-user devices. In doing this it will strike a balance between the rights that end-users have traditionally enjoyed, and rights holders' rights in such a way that the essence of content protection is not put at risk. This will include solving the maze of home user rights.

IT and security solution providers

Today the security market for digital content is a niche market. Far from commoditisation of security products, the results of the Digital Media Project will create a rich competitive environment because the DMP Interoperable DRM platform specifications will largely concern interfaces between systems. This will allow ample room for competition between vendors as they will retain the possibility to let their systems evolve and add new functionality.

With the business of Digital Media becoming commonplace in the form of protected content, there will be broad opportunities for IT vendors to deploy their solutions with old and new players on the value chain.

End-user device market

Thanks to the Digital Media Project specification, the end-user device market will become a worldwide market much in the same way as occurred for traditional CE devices, but with the vibrant innovation capability of the PC. The market will develop autonomously, pulled by a strong end-user demand with very fast internal dynamics, both in terms of technologies and user-perceived features.

This will happen because end-users will have the possibility to access both free or pay content using the same device. The near-necessity of this for market acceptance is a bitter pill to swallow for rights holders, but by providing paid services with devices better suited for competition, the creativity and high-quality of legitimate offerings should help produce steady gains, improving the opportunities of large-scale success for protected Digital Media services.

Digital Terrestrial Television

In spite of having been a major driver for digital TV, so far DTT has had little success to boast of. It has been tried in several countries with different business models: using proprietary STBs (UK and ES), broadcasting "ïn clear" of HDTV pictures (US) and broadcasting "ïn clear" of TV pictures (UK). The first model has failed, the second is stalling and the third seems to be working (in part because it can use previously deployed STBs).

Availability of the Interoperable DRM specification will let broadcasters avoid the problem of deploying STBs - because these are freely available on the market - and solve the concerns of rights holders related to the use of broadcast programs, e.g. what happens to content within the house and beyond. An added important feature will be the possibility of using a wider variety of business models.

Digital Libraries

Digital Libraries are a paradigmatic example of a service - whether provided by public authorities or by educational institutions - for which the technology is largely available but has not happened because the model that used to work reasonably well in the physical analogue space no longer works in the digital space.

Indeed, if the copyright of a particular piece of content has expired, there is normally no problem in making it available to the community served by a Digital Library. However, if that is not yet the case, rights holders are generally opposed to making content openly available. As the proportion of copyrighted versus non-copyrighted works is usually overwhelming, there is no interest in creating a Digital Library and offering its services to large communities unless for research purposes.

The DMP interoperable DRM platform specification will enable Digital Library Services because rights holders can negotiate conditions with Digital Libraries for making their copyrighted works available to end-users and Digital Libraries will be freed from the concern of end-user devices because end-users will be able to easily purchase devices through retail. It will also be possible to offer end-users access to out-of-copyright protected content.

An important feature is the fact that, because of the type of actions (search, editing, etc.) that users may need to perform on content, Digital Libraries can become the triggers of major technology advances whose benefits will be felt by the general market.

Small to medium size content producers

The past few years have shown that even large-scale content and service providers have been unable to start profitable Digital Media businesses because of the unsustainable costs of end-user devices. This is even truer of smaller-size content and service providers.

With interoperable DRM platforms, and particularly openly available end-user devices, any content and service provider will be in a position to start a Digital Media business or to move an existing analogue media business to digital.

Connectivity and network service providers

After the wild dreams of the mid-1990s, telcos have been reluctant to enter the business of offering Digital Media on the networks. One of the reasons of their reluctance is their inability to add end-user devices to the list of concerns related to the substantial upgrades that their infrastructure will in any case require.

Open availability of end-user devices will remove this big concern for telcos and let them concentrate on what they know best, i.e. providing network access, building other services on top of that, offering hosting services to content and service providers, etc.

Public authorities

Even though the times of central planning and dirigisme are over, the duty of public authorities to promote the well being of citizens remains. In spite of relevant technology being largely mature, the well proven benefits of Digital Media are not being sufficiently enjoyed by citizens. Opportunities to create new markets of devices and software are being thrown away. The possibility of enabling citizens to become creators themselves is being neglected. Also the very engine of exploitation of innovation is stalled.

The Digital Media Project will let public authorities open the gateway to a Digital Media world the Digital Media Manifesto claims can be caused to exist with relative ease and with compelling benefits for a wide range of public policies, including heightened perception of the good faith labours devoted by public servants on behalf of their constituencies.

5. Conclusions

Just as Digital Technologies have spawned huge, profitable and continuously thriving industries for Information Technology, Micro-electronics and Digital Communication, so can these technologies enable a Digital Media industry worldwide with similar positive features. The stalemate that now holds back Digital Media can and must be changed.

If the hurdles to a fuller Digital Media Experience are removed, and if technology for open Digital Media access devices equipped with simple and enjoyable interfaces for end-users is standardised then providers of content, services and devices will have greater incentives to exploit Digital Media.

The Digital Media Manifesto proposal for specific actions recognises the interrelated complexities to be overcome and the urgent need for simultaneous progress on technical and policy issues. Aiding the mission of the Digital Media Project is a meaningful way many participants in today's world can help tomorrow's world be richer in content and economically enhanced by a thriving Digital Media industry.

The Digital Media Manifesto is the product of a grass roots movement developed in the months July to September 2003 using exclusively email and the world wide web.

6. References

[1] Bill of rights
[2] Economic impact study: Private copying in levies on Digital Equipment and Media in Europe
[3] M. Bosi et al., "ISO/IEC MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding", JAES, 51, 780 - 792, October 1997
[4] J. L. Mitchell et al., "MPEG Video Compression Standards", Chapman and Hall, New York 1997
[5] MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License
[6] Charles River Associates, Report on Multiparty Licensing
[7] ISO/IEC 14496, Information Technology, "Intellectual Property Management and Protection Extensions", Geneva 2003
[8] The Future of Levies in a Digital Environment
[9] R. Kreile,  Revenue from and distribution of the statutory levy on hardware and blank tapes used for private copying in Germany: a system proves its worth
[10] A strategy for the digital content industry in Ireland
[11] Global Entertainment And Media Industry Will Reach $1.4 Trillion In 2007 Despite Weak Economy, Defense Spending Increases

A. Organisation and work plan of the Digital Media Project

The purpose of this appendix is to provide more material about the Digital Media Project. The material presented here is at the draft level and will be finalised in the months October to December 2003, with the intention of having a fully-operational organisation on 2004/01/01.

The following organisational structure, adopted by other forums, is proposed for the DMP:

A proposal of Digital Media Project Statutes is provided.

DCs are groups carrying out the work leading to specifications and recommendations. Their number and mandate depend on the specific goals DMP will give to itself from time to time to achieve its mission.

In the DMP initial phase the following four areas of work, assigned to 4 DCs, are identified: (MA = Major Action. Other acronyms are given below)

DC

Title

MA

Mandate

Output

DC1

End-to-end conformance

P1

Develop RQ for DC2

RQ

T3

Develop RP for legal, business and technical conformance across the value chain

RP

DC2

Interoperable DRM platforms

T1

Develop TS of interfaces between DRM components, including end-user devices

TS

T2

Develop RP for end-user device human-machine interfaces

RP

DC3

Digital Media policies

P2

Develop RA on how phasing out of levy could/should be linked to deployment of DRM (as per DC1 and DC2 output)

RA

P3

Develop RA based on scenarios analysis of broadband access deployment dependence on legislation, and type and importance of Digital Media services (as per DC1 and DC2 output)

RA

DC4

Sustainable innovation

P4

Develop RA on how innovation can sustain itself, specifically
- improvement of workflow of standards development and utilisation

RA

Note: DC2 is likely to be a large DC because of the number of issues to be addressed and may need to be split in two.

Acronym

Meaning

Output to

RA

Recommended Actions

Appropriate external entities

RQ

Requirements

Groups inside DMP

RP

Recommended Practices

Industry (operations)

TS

Technical Specifications

Industry (manufacturing)

The following workplan assumes that DMP will become operational on 2004/01/01.

Year

Quarter

Milestone

2004

1Q

  • Organisation is in place
  • 2004 work plan agreed
  • DCs established

2Q

  • First draft DRM requirements produced
  • Calls for Contributions issued on
    • Rights traditionally enjoyed by end-users
    • Levies
    • Broadband access
    • Standards development workflow
    • End-to-end conformance
  • DC1, DC3 and DC4 work begins

3Q

  • DC2 work begins

4Q

  • Draft DRM requirements
  • Draft reports on
    • Blank media levy phase out
    • Broadband access
    • Sustainable innovation
  • Call for Proposal on DRM technologies
  • 2005 work plan agreed

2005

1Q

2Q

  • Final DRM requirements

3Q

4Q

  • Final "Specifications for interoperable DRM"
  • Final "Recommended Practices for end-to-end conformance"
  • Final "Recommended Practices for end-user device human-machine interfaces"
  • Final "Recommended Actions on blank media levy phase out"
  • Final "Recommended Actions on broadband access"
  • Final "Recommended Actions on sustainable innovation"
  • 2006 work plan agreed

B. Acronyms

Acronym

Meaning

ADSL

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line

BWFA

Broadband Wireless Fixed Access

CATV

Community Antenna Television

CD

Compact Disc

CE

Consumer Electronics

CMSU

Create, Move, Store and Use

DMP Digital Media Project

DRM

Digital Rights Management

DTT

Digital Terrestrial Television

DVD

Digital Versatile Disc

GPRS

General Packet Radio Services

IP

Intellectual Property

IPMP

Intellectual Property Management and Protection

IPMP-X

IPMP-Extension

IPR

Intellectual Property Right

ISP

Internet Service Provider

IT

Information Technology

MPEG

Moving Picture Experts Group

MP3

MPEG-1 Audio Layer III

P2P

Peer-to-Peer

PC

Personal Computer

PVR

Personal Video Recorder

STB

Set Top Box

VHS

Vertical Helix Scan

VDSL Very high-speed Digital Subscriber Line

VSAT

Very Small Aperture Terminal

W-LAN

Wireless Local Area Network