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OASIS Rights Language TC: Call For Participation

Date:      Mon, 25 Mar 2002 08:24:32 -0500
From:      Karl F. Best <>
Subject:   OASIS TC Call For Participation: Rights Language TC

A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The OASIS Rights Language Technical Committee has been proposed by the following members of OASIS: Thomas DeMartini, ContentGuard; John Erickson, Hewlett Packard; Brad Gandee, ContentGuard; Thomas Hardjono, Verisign; M. Paramasivam, Microsoft; David Parrott, Reuters; and Hari Reddy, ContentGuard.

The proposal for a new TC meets the requirements of the OASIS TC Process (see, and is appended to this message. The proposal, which includes a statement of purpose, list of deliverables, and proposed schedule, will constitute the TC's charter. The TC Process allows these items to be clarified (revised) by the TC members; such clarifications (revisions), as well as submissions of technology for consideration by the TC and the beginning of technical discussions, may occur no sooner than the TC's first meeting.

To become a member of this new TC you must 1) be an employee of an OASIS member organization or an Individual member of OASIS; 2) notify the TC chair, Hari Reddy (, of your intent to participate at least 15 days prior to the first meeting; and 3) participate in the first meeting on 21 May 2002. You should also subscribe to the TC's discussion list. Note that membership in OASIS TCs is by individual, and not by organization. You must be eligible for participation at the time you time you notify the chair.

The private mail list is for committee discussions. TC members as well as any other interested OASIS members should subscribe to the list by going to the mail list web page at, or by sending a message to with the word "subscribe" as the body of the message. (Note that subscribing to the mail list does not make you a member of the TC; to become a member you must contact the TC chair as described in the preceeding paragraph.)

A public comment list will be available for the public to make comments on the work of this TC; the public may subscribe to this list by going to the mail list web page at, or by sending a message to with the word "subscribe" as the body of the message.

The archives of both of these mail lists are visible to the public at

Karl F. Best
OASIS - Director, Technical Operations
+1 978.667.5115 x206

Rights Language Technical Committee Proposal


The name of this technical committee shall be the OASIS Rights Language Technical Committee.

Technical Committee Purpose

The Internet has spawned a revolution in how content is distributed and services are accessed. This has fueled the development of technologies to manage, secure, control, and automate the flow of content and the access to services over the Internet, as well as other digital distribution techniques. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is the common term collectively associated with such technologies. If we consider the DRM lifecycle or workflow for digital content and services, we see that the exchange of rights and conditions information is required between the entities in the workflow or at each step of the lifecycle. We also realize that expressing rights can be simple or very complex depending upon the requirements of the entire workflow and business models.

Thus, a common standard rights language that can be shared among the participants in this digital workflow is required. This common rights language will facilitate the interoperability of the systems that manage the creation, distribution and consumption of these digital works and services. It will also be an integral tool in declaring and implementing trust and authentication mechanisms.

The need for a standard rights language has been recognized in a number of organizations that develop technical standards for different types of content in many different domains. For example:

  • Open eBook Forum -- eBooks
  • MPEG -- multimedia content
  • TV Anytime -- multimedia content in a specific domain
  • Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) -- multimedia content in a specific domain
  • PRISM -- periodical print publishing
  • Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers --- Digital Cinema
  • NewsML -- news agency content, print publishing

Additionally, fields such as healthcare (HIPPA compliance) and financial services (SEC regulations compliance) have now recognized the need for the ability to express usage and access rights for documents, records and services.

However, typically each is focused on a specific market or media type. None have addressed the need for interoperability of the components that manage the creation, distribution and consumption of this content from one system to a different system within and across these different domains. OASIS has the broad membership base, open development process and neutrality as to content type or format that make it the logical home for the development, maintenance and promotion of a broadly applicable standard rights language.


The purpose of this TC is to:

  1. Continue work previously done by ContentGuard, Inc. on XrML to define the industry standard for a rights language that supports a wide variety of business models and has an architecture that provides the flexibility to address the needs of the diverse communities that have recognized the need for a rights language. The language needs to continue to be:

    • Comprehensive: Capable of expressing simple and complex rights
    • Generic: Capable of describing rights for any type of digital content or service
    • Precise: Communicates precise meaning to all components of the system
    • Interoperable: Comprehends it is part of a tightly integrated system
    • Agnostic: To platform, media type or format

  2. Define a governance and language extension development process for the language that comprehends maintaining an evergreen language while minimizing the impact of change on all market participants.

  3. Define the relationship with other complementary standards efforts within OASIS (e.g. SAML). Liaison with standards bodies external to OASIS that are working on complementary technologies (security, PKI, web services)

  4. Define relationship and establish liaisons with standards bodies that have identified the need for a rights language. This activity will promote the maintenance of a Core architecture that provides the basis for interoperability across different content domains as well as broader applicability of the tools and applications that create and consume rights expressions.

ContentGuard will submit the eXtensible rights Markup Language™ (XrML™) Version 2.0 at the initial meeting of the TC. ContentGuard has copyrights to the XrML 2.0 specification and schema (including previous releases) along with a trademark on the name "XrML". ContentGuard also owns US Patents 5,638,443, 5,634,012, 5,715,403, and 5,629,980 which have claims that may necessarily be infringed by the use of the contribution. ContentGuard will grant OASIS permission to use the trademark "XrML" for the use of the TC and associated promotion and marketing. ContentGuard's contribution will be submitted with the following intellectual property rights statement: "ContentGuard agrees to offer a license, on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms, to use any patent claim of US Patents 5,638,443, 5,634,012, 5,715,403, and 5,629,980 and which is necessarily infringed by the use of the contribution."

Relationship to Existing OASIS TCs

We would anticipate developing relationships with the following OASIS TCs:

  • Security Services TC: XrML and SAML complement each other, in the sense that one can implement systems that interpret XrML expressions using the SAML framework.
  • Access Control Markup Language TC: While XrML and XACML are closely related in terms of controlling resource access and usage, the scope of their applicability is very different.
  • ebXML TCs: Given the potential applications for XrML in modeling contractual relationships, there are potential synergies between the ebXML and Rights Language TCs.

Proposed list of Deliverables

The primary deliverables of the Rights Language TC will be:

  1. To release the rights language Schema with supporting implementation information.
  2. To develop and execute governance process for managing the continuing improvements to the language.
  3. To provide liaisons to other complementary standards bodies.
  4. Policies defining the creation of extensions to the language
  5. Definition of a subset or mapping of the rights language for mobile consumer electronic devices.
  6. Definition of common methods for integration of the rights language with metadata standards, content/service identification standards, and content referencing standards.
  7. Definition of common methods for integration of the rights language with authentication, crypto and PKI standards for econtent distribution and for web services.

The deliverables will be accomplished in 3 Phases:

Phase 1: Requirements Gathering and TC Structure Development (3 months) Enhance language specification taking requirements from other standards initiatives and content/web service value chain participants such as content/web service owners, technology providers, and service providers. Develop Governance Process for management of the language.

Phase 2: Language Development and Initial Language Release (3 months) Develop use cases and scenarios. Develop integration models to other standards initiatives. Develop sample value chain models employing various features of the language. Develop/release working draft of the language for review. Release the language with supporting implementation information and guides based on feedback.

Phase 3: Evergreen Process - ongoing. Develop/execute process for continuous improvement of the language based upon guidelines developed in Phase 1. Continue to provide liaisons to complementary standards initiatives.

Based on the above tentative schedule, the goal is to release the rights language (Phase 2) 6 months from the start of the TC. During Phases 1-3, initiatives such as interoperability guides and test suites to assist in deployments will be developed/released.

Language in which the TC will conduct business


Date and time of first meeting

The initial face to face meeting is scheduled for May 21, 2002 in Bethesda, Maryland at the ContentGuard offices.

Meeting schedule

Meeting schedule for the first year following the formation of the TC: Bi-weekly conference calls; Quarterly face-to-face meetings.


Names, affiliation, and electronic mail addresses of persons eligible to participate in a TC and committed to the meeting schedule and purpose:


The TC chair will be Hari Reddy, ContentGuard.

Meeting Sponsors

Meeting sponsor is Hari Reddy, ContentGuard

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See (1) "XML and Digital Rights Management (DRM)"; (2) "Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML)."

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