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Created: June 29, 2001.
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Updated Specification for the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL).

A posting from Renato Iannella (Chief Scientist, IPR Systems Pty Ltd) announces the publication of an updated 'work-in-progress' specification for the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL). ODRL defines a set of semantics "for rights management expressions pertaining to digital assets. The ODRL complements existing analogue rights management standards by providing digital equivalents, and supports an expandable range of new services that can be afforded by the digital nature of the assets in the Web environment. The ODRL is a standard vocabulary for the expression of terms and conditions over assets. The ODRL covers a core set of semantics for these purposes including the rights holders and the expression of permissible usages for asset manifestations. ODRL specifies an XML binding and is expected to be utilised within open and trusted environments. The XML syntax is supported by the XML Schema language. The ODRL will be standardized via an appropriate, open, and non-competitive organisation with an public process for the future maintenance of the standard." The new version 0.9 specification supersedes the previous draft of 2000-11-21. Version 0.9 of ODRL now includes the following new features: (1) Agreement expressions [between parties]; (2) Requirements, e.g., payments for permissions; (3) Separation of the Expression Language from the Data Dictionary elements, as specified by the MPEG-21 Requirements; (4) Additional Permissions and Constraints; (5) Container mechanisms; (6) Additional Examples; (7) Full W3C XML Schema definitions and documentation.

From the ODRL scope statement: "ODRL is focused on the semantics of expressing rights languages and definitions of elements in the data dictionary. ODRL can be used within trusted or untrusted systems for both digital and physical assets. However, ODRL does not determine the capabilities nor requirements of any trusted services (eg for content protection, digital/physical delivery, and payment negotiation) that utilises its language. Clearly, however, ODRL will benefit transactions over digital assets as these can be captured and managed as a single rights transaction. In the physical world, ODRL expressions would need an accompanying system with the distribution of the physical asset. ODRL defines a core set of semantics. Additional semantics can be layered on top of ODRL for third-party value added services. ODRL does not enforce or mandate any policies for DRM, but provides the mechanisms to express such policies. Communities or organisations, that establish such policies based on ODRL, do so based on their specific business or public access requirements. ODRL depends on the use of unique identification of assets. This is a very difficult problem to address and to have agreement across many sectors and is why identification mechanisms and policies of the assets is outside the scope of ODRL. Sector-specific versions of ODRL may address the need to infer information about the asset manifestation from its unique identifier."

Specification overview: "The ODRL specification contains three main sections: (1) Section 2 describes the model for the ODRL expression language. (2) Section 3 describes the semantics of the ODRL data dictionary elements. (3) Section 4 describes the XML syntax used to encode the ODRL expressions and elements. The formal Expression Language and Data Dictionary elements are defined in Appendix A: ODRL Expression Language XML Schema (Normative) and in Appendix B: ODRL Data Dictionary XML Schema (Normative). The next release will include further details on: Extending ODRL (Section 5 'ODRL Extensibility') Signing ODRL expressions (Section 6 'Signing ODRL Expressions') Transporting ODRL expressions (Section 7 'Transporting ODRL Expressions').

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