About this issue
Licenses, laws, and policy making
The issue starts with a cautious reply by intellectual property attorney Mia Garlick, General Counsel of Creative Commons Corporation, to the polemic "Creative Humbug" by Peter Benjamin Tódt (Tódt 2005), legal counsel at the Hungarian musical collecting society ARTISJUS. Mia's rebuttal of Tódt's attacks is very detailed as she substantiates her arguments with the latest facts and figures about Creative Commons and examples where Creative Commons has already been beneficial. In spite of all differences, she underlines that both, Creative Commons and collecting societies like ARTISJUS, are "working towards the same goals and representing, potentially, the very same individuals". I hope that this peace offer is not the end of debate about CC. A question which puzzles me for instance is if there is a path from CC licenses over encoding these licenses in rights expression languages (cf. ODRL 2005; cf. Guth et al. in this issue) to the enforcement of theses licenses by technical measures.

Legal ICT consultant Martien Schaub provides a breakdown of consumer protection laws in the light of digital products (which may come with DRM protection). Her tour d'horizon though European law touches upon six directives: Directive 85/374/EEC (liability for defective products), Directive 93/13/EEC (unfair terms in consumer contracts), Directive 97/7/EC (protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts), Directive1999/44/EC (sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees), Directive 2000/31/EC (e-commerce directive), and Directive 2005/29/EC (unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices). The legal provisions turn out to be fuzzy because what is lawful depends to a large extent on assumed reasonable consumer expectations, and by nature these vary with technical changes, learning processes, and differ between application fields. For example, some DRM controlled music offers might be accepted in the mobile environment, but be rejected in a PC environment or home entertainment domain. The best instrument to protect the consumer, she concludes, "appears to be the information duties of the seller. In case of lacking, inadequate or false information about the product, a consumer may successfully base a claim on breach of contract or unfair practices".

Christine Hafskjold who works for the Norwegian Board of Technology (NBT) reports about the results of a project on DRM which was intended to inform the Norwegian Parliament and policy makers in the process of amending the Norwegian Copyright Act. Meanwhile the act has passed (June 4th). The final act is in line with the recommendations given by NBT. The amendment is considered consumer friendly, underlining the right to make private copies and even allowing to circumvent technical protection measures in order to copy music from CDs to MP3-players. In the INDICARE Monitor of last month Thomas Rieber-Mohn (2005), University of Oslo, wrote specifically about the implementation of the EUCD Article 6 in Norway. The two articles complement one another perfectly.

DRM in podcasting and eBooks
Nicole Dufft, from INDICARE partner Berlecon Research, draws attention to Podcasting, an amateur movement to use the expression of Dan Hunter , which is so successful that commercialization appears to be inevitable. Copyright and consequently DRM however is an issue. Nicole can imagine commercial, DRM-protected podcasts where DRM limits, for example, the number of plays and prevents the extraction of individual songs. The prime problem of such commercial offerings to be accepted by consumers will be the lacking interoperability of DRM solutions.

Philipp Bohn, Berlecon Research, takes a look at recent eBook developments, classifying first the devices able to run eBook software and to display eBook content, before he comes to widely diffused reader software, namely Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, eReader and Mobipocket. He is not convinced of the success of eBooks as long as interoperability matters are not solved, but he argues that in principle there are business models making DRM protected eBooks acceptable for consumers, e.g. he can imagine a demand in the educational environment for "term lease" or "course-packs" if they go together with price reductions. Who is likely to reads this article may also want to re-read Karen Coyle's (2005) article dealing with library lending of e-books in the USA.

Technical matters
The object of project TIRAMISU (The Innovative Rights and Access Management Inter-platform Solution) is, according to its website, "to unleash the full potential of digital media, addressing the complete consumption chain  media creation, delivery and consumption, while removing the Digital Rights Management (DRM) barriers. TIRAMISU is an FP6 project sponsored by the European Commission. Consortium partners are Optibase, ARTTIC, Imperial College of London, Orange, NagraVision, Industrial Technology Research Institute ITRI (Taiwan), University of Ljubljana, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications ENST, France Telecom, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

What makes TIRAMISU particularly interesting for INDICARE is its claim to render unobtrusive DRM components. So we asked the project team to explain their approach and to reflect about barriers to success. In a few words: they target the "home domain" (authorized domain), support super-distribution, try to achieve increased security by the application of smartcards, and base their developments on open standards such as MPEG-21.

Those who are less interested in technology are encouraged to read at least the final section headed "Is TIRAMISU the next hot technology?" in which success factors, i.e. conditions to be accepted as a worldwide open international standard, are discussed.

Finally INDICARE informs you about the ODRL Workshop which took place in Lisbon in July. More precisely, the three program chairs of the workshop, Susanne Guth, Renato Iannella, and Carlos Serrão, give you their briefing.

Although the event focused on ODRL developments, many relevant topics of the general DRM debate were addressed. The need for interoperability and standardization clearly stimulates convergence and co-operation. The use of rights expression languages for identity management links them to Trusted Computing as the specification profile of ODRL for CC indicates co-operation with the commons oriented movement. In between are attempts to make rights expression languages "bi-directional" or to otherwise attach negotiations of rights to the exchange of assets. Pushed by the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), convergence of DRM solutions from mobile over PCs to broadcast is on the agenda requiring co-operation to be successful.

Co-operation is without doubt on the agenda of the European Union striving to build ERA, the European Research Area. One instrument is the organisation of co-ordination meetings bringing together different 6th-Framework-Program (FP6) projects and activities. In the area of "Networked Audio Visual Systems and Home Platforms" (NAVSHP), four different co-ordination groups have been established, one of them, CG1, is dealing with Digital Rights Management. It brings together members of six FP6 projects (Medianet, Enthrone, Tiramisu, Danae, Avista, and Visnet), FP5 project ELIN and the European Broadcasting Union. Together they work, chaired by Leonardo Chiariglione, on a "DRM Requirements Report that expresses the common view of NAVSHP on DRM and the requirements for future DRM technologies, systems and toolkits in the European audio-visual sector". This work is highly interesting for INDICARE, and hopefully for you. It will also be of interest to compare these requirements with the work in progress of the Digital Media Project aiming at "Recommended Actions" to be presented to governments and regulators (cf. Jeges 2005).
Bottom line
As always the INDICARE Monitor aims to stimulate debate and provoke online-comments through the articles provided. By the way, for the first time the leading authors of these articles are in their majority women.


About the author: Knud Böhle is researcher at the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at Research Centre Karlsruhe since 1986. Between October 2000 and April 2002 he was visiting scientist at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in Seville (IPTS). He is specialised in Technology Assessment and Foresight of ICT and has led various projects. Currently he is the editor of the INDICARE Monitor. Contact: + 49 7247 822989, knud.boehle@itas.fzk.de

Status: first posted 01/08/05; included in INDICARE Monitor Vol. 2, No. 5, 29 July 2005; licensed under Creative Commons
URL: http://www.indicare.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=128