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Created: October 17, 2003.
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ODRL International Workshop 2004 Call for Participation.

A call for participation has been issued in connection with the ODRL International Workshop 2004, featuring papers and demo presentations on standardized XML exchange formats for rights expressions. The workshop will be held April 21 - 23, 2004, hosted by the Department of Information Systems, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. The Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) initiative "was started in 2001 and is today an accepted technology in the field of rights expressions. ODRL has been formally approved by the Open Mobile Alliance (previously, the WAP Forum) as the Rights Language for mobile devices and has also been deployed in various projects (e.g., the COLIS project, and OpenIPMP) and in prototype implementations." The XML-based ODRL specification "supports an extensible language and vocabulary (data dictionary) for the expression of terms and conditions over any content including permissions, constraints, obligations, conditions, and offers and agreements with rights holders. The ODRL specification is freely available and has no licensing requirements. The ODRL International Workshop 2004 has the goal of bringing together people from research and industry to share experiences, and discuss the future develop the language to ensure its timeliness, usability, and future success." Submissions are invited for research and industry papers on experiences with ODRL and for demo presentations on ODRL implementations. The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2003.

Workshop Topics

ODRL International Workshop 2004 topics of interest include, but are not restricted to, the following aspects:

  • Implementations of ODRL or parts of ODRL
  • Processing of ODRL instances in applications
  • Language concepts and semantics of ODRL
  • Technical and Semantics Extensions to ODRL
  • Industry and Research Experiences with ODRL
  • Domain Specific Vocabularies and Profiles of ODRL
  • Deploying ODRL for Rights Expressions and Contract Modelling
  • Potential applications for the use of Rights Expression Languages

About ORDL

"The ODRL specification supports an extensible language and vocabulary (data dictionary) for the expression of terms and conditions over any content including permissions, constraints, obligations, conditions, and offers and agreements with rights holders. The ODRL specification is freely available and has no licensing requirements..."

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 re-used, 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.

It is envisaged that ODRL will plug into an open framework that enables peer-to-peer interoperability for DRM services. However, ODRL can also be used as an mechanism to express rights statements on its own and to plug into existing DRM architectures and frameworks.

DRM has traditionally been flavoured with security and encryption as a means to solve these issues, that is, Digital Rights Enforcement. This is the first-generation of DRM and represents a substantial narrowing of its real and broader capabilities. Second-generation DRM systems will provide these additional functions and support end-to-end supply chain services.

DRM systems should be based on and designed around open functional architectures and a robust and extensible information model. The layers and relationships of rights can also quickly become very complex and DRM systems must be designed to cater for this intricacy. DRM systemts must also address and be consistent with the non-technical issues, including legal, business and social aspects of rights management... [adapted from the Version 1.1 ODRL specification]

Recent ODRL Implementations and Adoptions

Example implementations of ODRL include Project RoMEO, Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), OpenIPMP, District Architecture for Networked Editions (DAFNE), the Contract Enabled Server (CES) Project, and others. Projects electing to use ODRL are typically looking for a complete but not overly-complex and bulky rights expression language (REL). ODRL also appeals to governments, educational institutions, other open source projects that cannot afford to support a patent- and license-encumbered rights expression language technology.

  • Project RoMEO (Rights Metadata for Open Archiving) has completed its first year of operation with funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and has published a rights solution report. A sixth interim Study and the Final Report describe an XML-based system for the expression of rights and permissions governing metadata and resources in institutional repositories. A principal goal of RoMEO, like that of the Creative Commons, is to neutralize the negative effects of (default) copyright law and controlling intermediaries in order to facilitate easy, open access to protected digital works. On this model, consumers do not need to ask permission for use of resources because permission in various forms has already been granted. The RoMEO Project team sought to develop an interoperable set of metadata elements and methods of incorporating the rights elements into document metadata processed by the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). The goal is to protect research papers and other digital resources in an open-access environment. The project team has developed an XML metadata notation using the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) and Creative Commons licenses for disclosure of the rights expressions under the OAI-PMH. The markup model covers both individual digital resources and collections of metadata records. A new 'OAI-RIGHTS' Technical Committee has been formed by members of the RoMEO and OAI project teams to further develop the proposals and to publish generic guidelines for disclosing rights expressions. See details in RoMEO and OAI-PMH Teams Develop Rights Solution Using ODRL and Creative Commons Licenses.

  • In August 2002 an announcement was issued for 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. See details in: (1) "Open Mobile Alliance Releases Draft Versions of OMA DRM Version 2.0"; (2) "Proposed Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Rights Expression Language Based Upon ODRL."

  • OpenIPMP is "open source DRM for MPEG-4 adhering to ISO/MPEG IPMP open standards (MPEG-4 IPMP 'Hooks'), ISMA streaming and OMA DRM specs... One of the primary goals of OpenIPMP was to deliver a robust content distribution platform that leveraged open standards. Open standards help to 'future proof' the framework, while allowing for interoperability on both the client and the server and allowing others to easily extend the platform to satisfy their needs. The OpenIPMP framework utilizes industry standard technologies to deliver an open framework that allows for the integration of and support for emerging technologies, such as mobile devices, digital cameras, digital television and set top boxes... OpenIPMP should be viewed as a content management and distribution framework for securing digital assets... It has a robust permission and constraint model that allows content owners the ability to issue rights that can be governed by constraints ranging from simple to complex. The system supports [ODRL as] a leading Rights Expression Language (REL) that has been proposed to MPEG-21 and that has also been selected by leading technology consortiums such as the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA)... The open source version of OpenIPMP is integrated into Cisco's open source MPEG-4 project, MPEG4IP, for encoding and decoding and uses other open source software for cryptography and deployment. The project implements a full PKI, utilizing the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) as the content identification scheme and the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) as the Rights Expression Language. The software adheres to the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) 1.0 specifications and supports encoding and protecting content in MPEG-4 files so that the same file can be used for local and streamed playback..." See the SourceForge OpenIPMP Project.

  • The goal of the Contract Enabled Server (CES) Project initiative "is to develop a software framework in the spirit of open source, that provides functionality for interpretation and processing of digital contract as well as for the exchange of digital goods on the basis of digital contracts.... Contract and rights management -- and thus property rights protection -- has gained increasing importance as a quality standard in brokerage and electronic commerce environments. Contract and rights management provides information on the legal relationships associated with digital assets, as well as intellectual property rights protection and the enforcement of rights. However, many brokerage and e-commerce platforms currently in operation were not originally designed to support contract and rights management. In this context, we identify open issues in digital contract and rights management and present a framework design to resolve these issues. This framework uses standardized XML-based rights expression languages, reuses an existing role-based access control component for rights enforcement, and is extensible with valueadded service components for rights management... The framework utilizes the rights expression language ODRL for contract description and a role-based access control (RBAC) mechanism for rights enforcement... The CES project uses ODRL as the standard rights expression language and the framework is coded in XOTcl. XOTcl is an object-oriented extension of Tcl that was derived from OTcl. In short, XOTcl tries to provide a highly flexible, reflective, component-based, and object-oriented environment. It integrates language support for high level concepts which are not found in other languages, with reasonable performance..." See the CES web site.

ODRL Initiative Support

The ODRL Initiative Supporters are focused on fostering and supporting open and free standards for the specification of media commerce rights languages. The ODRL Initiative is a forum used to propose, discuss, and gather consensus for a language that it will subsequently nurture via formal standards bodies. The ODRL Initiative will strive to openly participate in standards groups that allow for the adoption of royalty-free specifications.

The Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) Initiative seeks support for the progression of the specification to formal standards bodies and wide acceptance across the DRM communities. For example, ODRL has been submitted to a number of Standards groups, e.g., the OpenEBook Forum, IMS, IEEE. etc.

Supporters of ODRL are companies that believe in the philosophy of an open and free standard for Rights Languages such as ODRL and who intend to utilise ODRL in the course of systems or services offerings. Supporters' company logos and links will be prominently displayed on the ODRL web site. Please visit the site to see the current list of ODRL Supporters..." [excerpted]

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