Re: European Commission considers mandatory digital rights management

Dear Vincent and Renato, 

I appreciate your pushing for a DRM Activity in W3C. The reluctance was
until now mostly ressource constraints. Additionally it will not be easy
to find people with sufficient knowledge in both areas: Technology and

Now to the question on building consensus vs. rubber-stamping: 

1/ W3C does not accept any rubberstamping as you can see in XML
Protocol (SOAP) and in the Web Services area. Even if there is already
consensus, the technology has to pass the recommendation track.
Experience shows, that this is worthwhile to have the technology
commonly accepted. During review, those specifications are changed
considerably. So I don't see any rubber-stamping happening.

2/ The experience with P3P with it's very diverging opinions on
privacy all over the world has shown, that building consensus in an area
with very controversial opinions is lengthy and very resource -
consuming. I see some consensus among those proposing an activity within
W3C. But that's not all it takes. W3C requires public accountability and
I expect a large communication with the Public (Web community at large)
The Workshop gave a feeling of it, as there were people from the library
community. So what I mean here is, that building consensus in the DRM
might be possible, but it will be very very expensive. I expected DRM to
take as long as P3P.

E.g. such an activity would involve us into the discussion about the 
Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA), which
might get controversial. From P3P we know, that such an activity will be
used in the political debate, generating a lot of opinions and
criticisms thus obliging the WG to respond to all this...

It is obvious from the Workshop, that the discussion of the scope of
such an activity will already take time and a lot of discussion. A
narrow scope might be a way to avoid a lot of controversy. I'm unsure, 
whether this would still include the broad framework some suggested. 

But I suggest to you both to try to restart something on ac-forum to
perhaps get more feedback from other members. An activity on DRM would
need a shift in W3C's resources. Especially after the start of an OASIS
Working Group, we need additional feedback. Input to the COO for
discussion at AC might also help.



On Wed, Mar 27, 2002 at 09:21:19AM +0100, Vincent Buller wrote:
> My apologies to this list for this late response but I wanted to say I
> could not agree more with Renato's view. If W3C only wishes to move in
> areas where consensus is (supposedly) already reached it has indeed
> become a "stamping" organization. I sincerely hope (and expect) Rigo's
> note was not a W3C viewpoint, and possibly put out of context as well...
> I see DRM standards currently starting to move to the next level, from
> industry groups to cross-industry organizations, as indicated by the
> recent creation of the OASIS Rights Language Technical Committee. I
> would argue W3C should not be standing at the side-line. Acceptance and
> pick-up of DRM by W3C would also be one way of educating the public
> there are benefits to both consumers and producers of content.
> Cheers,
> Vincent Buller
> BackStream(r)
> BackStream: content management - multi-channel distribution
> --On 04/03/2002 18:10 +0100 Rigo Wenning wrote:
> > As long as we have so little consensus on what we want to achieve, I 
> > don't think, as a consensus based organization, we have a role in 
> > there. But this might change, if the game cool's down a bit.
> Rigo, I thought that the role of a "consensus based organization" was to
> _form_ consensus. Not say that "there is no consensus" therefore we
> cannot do anything. I think that you will also be surprised about how
> much consensus there actually is out there on dealing with DRM. W3C even
> had a brief glimpse of such consensus at our DRM Workshop in Jan 2001.
> As David Parrott says, DRM won't go away, so you either do nothing and
> have no say in the architecture of DRM or you do something and make sure
> it works.
> Cheers...Renato                       <>
> Chief Scientist, IPR Systems Pty Ltd  <>
> Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL)   <>

Received on Wednesday, 27 March 2002 08:47:45 UTC