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Last modified: September 21, 2002
OASIS Rights Language


Update: The OASIS Rights Language TC was closed (deactivated) on July 29, 2004.

[May 18, 2002]

Technical Committee Proposal. A Rights Language Technical Committee Proposal published on March 25, 2002 was made to OASIS on behalf of ContentGuard, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Reuters, and Verisign employees. Initially chaired by Hari Reddy of ContentGuard, the proposed TC will "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 flexibility to address the needs of the diverse communities." The TC will "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." It will also define relationships with complementary standards efforts within OASIS and establish liaisons with standards bodies. ContentGuard, which has copyrights to the XrML 2.0 specification and schema, will submit the Extensible Rights Markup Language™ (XrML™) Version 2.0 to the TC at the initial meeting, March 21, 2002.

Rationale. Rationale for the proposed "worldwide standard digital rights language" is given in the proposal by noting that this 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: (1) Open eBook Forum -- eBooks; (2) MPEG -- multimedia content; (3) TV Anytime -- multimedia content in a specific domain; (4) Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) -- multimedia content in a specific domain; (5) PRISM -- periodical print publishing; (6) Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers --- Digital Cinema; (7) 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."

TC Deliverables. According to the March 2002 proposal, 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.

XrML Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents. The XrML specification owned by ContentGuard is subject to legal encumbrance embodied in various IP claims, including trademarks (XrML™, eXtensible rights Markup Language™), copyrights, and patents. According to the proposal, "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.' ContentGuard has contributed/submitted the XrML specification to other standards organizations (e.g., to MPEG-21 and TV-Anytime) as well as to OASIS. According to industry analysts and (reported) statements from ContentGuard executives, ContentGuard is expected to "extract license fees from vendors implementing whatever rights language emerges from OASIS' standards process. The terms and conditions of the license will depend on the implementation, and ContentGuard has pledged that it will license XrML to other vendors under reasonable and nondiscriminatory [so-called 'RAND'] terms..."


  • Governance/Liaison. Chairs: Peter Shirling and Brad Gandee
  • Requirements. Chairs: Bob Glushko and Hari Reddy
  • Core and Standard Extension Specification. Chairs: Thomas DeMartini and John Erickson
  • Examples. Chairs: Bob DuCharme and TBD [2002-05-23]
  • Profiles. Chairs: Thomas DeMartini
  • Extensions Process and Models SC. Chairs: M. Paramasivam ("Parama")

TC Working Documents


Requirements: Requirements documents were submitted by various entities for evaluation by the RLTC Requirements subcommittee.

Analysis of submissions to the Rights Language Requirements Subcommittee. Most of the relevant documents are accessible via the mail archives. See from the 2002-08-27 posting of Hari Reddy to '':

Contributed requirements statements. See the mail archives or document repository for additional submissions.

TC Meetings

Second F2F Meeting. September 12, 2002. Milpitas, California.

First F2F TC meeting. ContentGuard Offices, 6500 Rock Spring Drive, Suite 110, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Announcements and News

Related topics and activities

Related Rights Languages

DRM Patents, Copyright, and IP Licensing

Digital Rights Activities/Products

Access Control, Security, and Encryption

Privacy and Personalization [TBD]

Articles, Papers, Trade Press

  • [August 30, 2002] "OASIS XACML TC and Rights Language TC." By Hal Lockhart (Entegrity). Among the presentations given at the Forum on Security Standards for Web Services, Boston, 26 August, 2002. XACML and RLTC 'Forty Thousand Foot View': Both deal with the problem of Authorization; Both draw requirements from many of the same application domains; Both share many of the same concepts, but in some cases use different terms; Both base specification on XML Schema; Each approaches the problem differently. Types of Authorization Information: [1] Attribute Assertion (Properties of a system entity, typically a person; Relatively abstract - business context; Same attribute used in multiple resource decisions; Examples: X.509 Attribute Certificate, SAML Attribute Statement, XrML PossessProperty); [2] Authorization Policy (Specifies all the conditions required for access; Specifies the detailed resources and actions/rights; Can apply to multiple subjects, resources, times...; Examples: XACML Policy, XrML License, X.509 Policy Certificate); [3] AuthZ Decision (Expresses the result of a policy decision; Specifies a particular access that is allowed; Intended for immediate use; Example: SAML AuthZ Decision Statement). Web Services Security: [1] SAML, XACML and RLTC Spec can all convey AuthZ Info, carry in SOAP header [2] Possible use in Policy Advertisement [3] Issues: Substantial overlap between SAML/XACML & XrML - not clear what is best for what use; Intellectual Property Issues; Controversies over DRM itself; XACML and XrML are complex, will take time to understand. [source .PPT]

  • TBD

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