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 A stew of DRM standards

By Susan Marks
Network World

Vendors have not yet come to terms with technical standards for digital rights management. Among those vying for acceptance are:

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI). Developed by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives and handed off to the International DOI Foundation to manage, DOI would give a piece of content a unique identifier for use over its lifetime (like a bar code). This standard would facilitate interoperability between DRM and non-DRM systems such as content management and e-commerce systems.

Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML). Developed by Content Guard, a subsidiary of Xerox, and supported by Microsoft, XrML would provide a universal method for specifying rights and issuing conditions associated with the use and protection of content. Other backers are Adobe,, Hewlett-Packard, OverDrive, Portal Software and Xerox.

Extensible Media Commerce Language (XMCL). Proposed by RealNetworks and endorsed by 25 technology, systems integrator and media companies, including Adobe, InterTrust Technologies, Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment and Sun, XMCL is designed to establish industrywide standards for Internet media commerce and to enable content to be managed independent of codecs, DRM software and e-commerce software. This among DRM-related standards appears to have the most support, says Joshua Duhl, analyst with IDC.

Electronic Book Exchange (EBX) and Open eBook Forum (OeBF). The EBX Working Group of companies, organizations and individuals is developing a standard for protecting copyright in and distributing electronic books. Members include the American Library Association, Content Guard, Digital Owl, InterTrust and Nokia.

Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). MPEG is an International Standards Organization/International Electrotechnical Commission working group in charge of the development of standards for coded representation of digital audio and video. In addition to standards strictly related to bit-efficient representation of audio-visual content, MPEG produces other standards relating to the practical use of those standards; included are DRM issues. The MPEG-specific term for DRM is Intellectual Property Management and Protection.

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML). SAML, for authentication and authorization, and XACML, for policies on information access, are complementary standards from the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.



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