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Created: August 12, 2002.
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Proposed Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Rights Expression Language Based Upon ODRL.

Update 2004-05-31: In early 2004, OMA published draft specifications for the OMA DRM 2.0 Enabler Release, announced in February 2004. OMA DRM 2.0 takes advantage of expanded device capabilities and offers improved support for audio/video rendering, streaming content, and access to protected content using multiple devices. OMA's DRM Rights Expression Language is a mobile profile of the royalty-free XML-based ODRL. See details in the news story "Open Mobile Alliance Releases Draft Versions of OMA DRM Version 2.0."

Update 2002-11-19: OMA released "OMA Digital Rights Management version 1.0" as part of the OMA Phase 1 Candidate Enabler Release. The ZIP archive contains (1) Rights Expression Language Version 1.0, which "defines mechanisms for delivering DRM content and rights objects to a consuming device," based upon ODRL; (2) Digital Rights Management Version 1.0, which "enables the controlled consumption of digital media objects"; (3) Enabler Release Definition for DRM Version 1.0, which "outlines the Enabler Release Definition for DRM and the respective conformance requirements for clients and servers"; (4) DRM Content Format Version 1.0, which "defines the DRM content format for the encrypted media object"

[August 12, 2002] A posting from Renato Iannella announces the public release of a draft Rights Expression Language Version 1.0 from the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA). The OMA was formed in June 2002 by the Open Mobile Architecture Initiative and the WAP Forum, together "with nearly 200 companies representing the world's leading mobile operators, device and network suppliers, information technology companies, and content providers; OMA has MOUs with the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF), SyncML, MMS Interoperability Group (MMS-IOP), and Wireless Village." The OMA REL document is one of several in the OMA Download specification suite. The rights expression language "describes the rights governing the usage of DRM content; it addresses requirements such as enabling preview, i.e., test-driving, of content, possibly prior to purchasing, expressing a range of different permissions and constraints, and optimisation of rights objects delivered over constrained bearers. It provides a concise mechanism for expressing rights over DRM content. It is independent of the content being distributed, the mechanism used for distributing the content, and the billing mechanism used to handle the payments." The OMA's REL document defines the syntax and semantics of rights governing the usage of DRM content based on the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) specification. The XML-based ODRL, recently released as version 1.1, provides the semantics for DRM expressions in open and trusted environments whilst being agnostic to mechanisms to achieve the secure architectures. Formal models for ODRL Expression Language and for the ODRL Data Dictionary are presented as XML schemas in normative appendices of the ODRL v1.1 specification.

OMA REL description from the 'Structure' section, OMA Rights Expression Language Version 1.0: "This section describes the structure of the rights expression language. The REL is defined as a mobile profile of ODRL. Rights are the collection of permissions and constraints defining under which circumstances access is granted to DRM content. The structure of the rights expression language enables the following functionality: (1) Metadata such as version and content ID, and (2) The actual rights specification consisting of linking to and providing protection information for the content, and specification of usage rights and constraints. Models are used to group rights elements according to their functionality, and thus enable concise definition of elements and their semantics. The following models are used throughout this specification: (1) Foundation model, (2) Agreement model, (3) Context model, (4) Permission model, (5) Constraint model, and (6) Security model. The rights expression language is defined as a mobile profile, i.e., a subset, of ODRL. Section 5.7 specifies how to handle ODRL models and elements that are not used in this specification..."

The OMA Rights Expression Language Version 1.0 is one of several documents of the OMA Download specification suite, which includes: (1) Download OTA [OTA]: The procedure for downloading content using a download descriptor, and the definition of the download descriptor; (2) Digital Rights Management [DRM]: An extension to the downloading procedure, downloading of protected media objects; (3) Rights Expression Language [DRMREL]: The DRM rights language used by OMA; (4) DRM Content Format [DRMCF]: Content formats for transporting protected media objects.

OMA specifications (see the copyright license):

  • OMA Rights Expression Language Version 1.0. Proposed Version 28-June-2002. Open Mobile Alliance. Reference: OMA-Download-DRMREL-v1_0-20020628-p. 29 pages. See excerpts above. Section 6 presents the syntax of the ODRL mobile profile using XML document type definition. Note also: "In addition to the textual XML representation, rights objects can be compacted using WBXML for transmission over constrained bearers, e.g., WAP Push over SMS. The DRM agent MUST support WBXML encoded rights objects..."

  • Digital Rights Management Version 1.0. Proposed Version 28-June-2002. Open Mobile Alliance. Reference: OMA-Download-DRM-v1_0-20020628-p. 20 pages. "The scope of OMA 'Digital Rights Management' is to enable the controlled consumption of digital media objects by allowing content providers to express usage rights, e.g., the ability to preview DRM content, to prevent downloaded DRM content from being illegally forwarded (copied) to other users, and to enable superdistribution of DRM content. The defined technology is an initial DRM system that can be extended into a more comprehensive and secure DRM system... There is a need for content providers and operators to control the usage of downloaded media objects. Download is the means by which a media object is delivered to the device. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is the means to control the usage of the media object once it has been downloaded... The OMA Digital Rights Management follows common DRM practices taking into account the special requirements and characteristics of the mobile domain in order to support basic functionality with some level of security. This specification defines also a 'forward-lock' special case of combined delivery where the DRM message does not contain a rights object. In that case a set of default rights apply for the media object..."

  • DRM Content Format Version 1.0. Proposed Version 08-July-2002. Open Mobile Alliance. Reference: OMA-Download-DRMCF-v1_0-20020708-p. 14 pages. "The scope for this specification is to define the content format for DRM protected encrypted media objects and associated metadata... This specification defines the DRM content format for the encrypted media object. In addition to encrypting the media object the DRM content format supports metadata such as: (1) Original content type of the media object; (2) Unique identifier for this DRM protected media object to associate it with rights; (3) Information about the encryption details; (4) Information about the rights issuing service for this DRM protected media object. The metadata can be easily extended by using a mechanism similar to HTTP and MIME headers. The DRM Content Format is closely related to the Rights Expression Language specification that defines the syntax and semantics for the rights objects..."

  • OMA Download Architecture Version 1.0. Proposed Version 10-June-2002. Open Mobile Alliance. Reference: OMA-Download-ARCH-v1_0-20020610-p. 24 pages. "OMA Download consists of two broad categories of functionality: (1) Download: to download media objects to a device; (2) Digital Rights Management (DRM): to control the usage of media objects on the device... The scope of OMA Download is procedures for making the downloading of media objects from the Web easy and reliable, and possible to charge for. Also in the scope of OMA Download is the ability to preview media objects and to prevent downloaded content from being forwarded (copied) to other users. Preview and copy protection are part of Digital Rights Management (DRM)..."

  • Generic Content Download Over The Air Specification Version 1.0. Proposed Version 20-June-2002. Open Mobile Alliance. Reference: OMA-Download-OTA-v1_0-20020620-p. 40 pages. "This specification defines application-level protocols and behaviours needed to provide both powerful as well as reliable content download functionality. It is anticipated that this will be an enabler for billing, and thus make premium priced content available to mobile users. The specification addresses requirements such as Content Discovery, Authentication, Delivery Negotiation, Content Delivery and Delivery Confirmation. It takes advantage of work that has been done in the above-mentioned areas in both the Open Mobile Alliance as well as in the Java Community Process..."

ODRL Version 1.1 bibliographic information: Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL). Version: 1.1. Date: 2002-08-08. 70 pages. Edited by Renato Iannella. Version URL: Also [to be?] published as a W3C NOTE:

From the ODRL Version 1.1 status statement: "The Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL ) is a proposed language for the Digital Rights Management (DRM) community for the standardisation of expressing rights information over content. The ODRL is intended to provide flexible and interoperable mechanisms to support transparent and innovative use of digital resources in publishing, distributing and consuming of electronic publications, digital images, audio and movies, learning objects, computer software, and other creations in digital form. The ODRL has been submitted to appropriate standards body for formal adoption and ratification. The ODRL has no license requirements and is available in the spirit of 'open source' software..."

ODRL description from the 'Overview':

Digital Rights Management (DRM) involves the description, layering, analysis, valuation, trading and monitoring of the rights over an enterprise's tangible and intangible assets. DRM covers the digital management of rights -- be they rights in a physical manifestation of a work (e.g., a book), or be they rights in a digital manifestation of a work (e.g., an ebook). Current methods of managing, trading and protecting such assets are inefficient, proprietary, or else often require the information to be wrapped or embedded in a physical format.

A key feature of digitally managing rights will be the substantial increase in re-use of digital material on the Internet as well as the increased efficiency for physical material. The pervasive Internet is changing the nature of distribution of digital media from a passive one way flow (from Publisher to the End User) to a much more interactive cycle where creations are reused, combined and extended ad infinitum. At all stages, the rights need to be managed and honoured with trusted services.

Current DRM technologies include languages for describing the terms and conditions, tracking asset usages by enforcing controlled environments or encoded asset manifestations, and closed architectures for the overall management of rights.

The Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) provides the semantics for DRM expressions in open and trusted environments whilst being agnostic to mechanisms to achieve the secure architectures.

ODRL v1.1 structure: Section 2 describes the model for the ODRL expression language. Section 3 describes the semantics of the ODRL data dictionary elements. Section 4 describes the XML syntax used to encode the ODRL expressions and elements. Section 5 describes how additional ODRL data dictionaries can be defined. The Expression Language and Data Dictionary elements are formally defined in two appendices: [1] Appendix A, ODRL Expression Language XML Schema (Normative); [2] Appendix B, ODRL Data Dictionary XML Schema (Normative).

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