RE: European Commission considers mandatory digital rights management

Dear Rigo,

Thanks for elaborating a bit on this - I knew your opinions were more
subtle than those two lines made seem ;-)

I know that rubberstamping is the extreme - but I do believe that
sometimes taking an existing specification involves more risk than
starting all over again, because people may try to redefine (an in their
good right!) the requirements to something the original spec wasn't
intended to fix anyway. Which means, as always, that strict scoping and
requirements definition are key, and if we scope to an area where there
are at least no bloodwars going on we would be "safe". I don't believe
public issues should be avoided at all cost, since I believe the W3C of
all "standards" organizations has the most visibility to the public and
is one to (historically) also incorporate public interest (see:

I would like to hear other peoples opinion on what the W3C could do here
(I wasn't there at the 2001 workshop unfortunately). It doesn't
necessarily have to be developing the whole framework - as HTML as well
as XML protocol also heavily rely on IETF work such as HTTP. But -my
first suggestion- providing an integration of a digital rights
expression language and XML encryption and XML Protocol to pick a
triangle may prove valuable. Please shoot!


Vincent Buller
Technical Product Manager
BackStream: content management - multi-channel distribution

-----Original Message-----
From: Rigo Wenning [] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 2:42 PM
To: Vincent Buller
Cc: Renato Iannella;
Subject: Re: European Commission considers mandatory digital rights

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 10:37:57 UTC