INDICARE news
The 3rd INDICARE Workshop which was on "Fair DRM Use" was organized by the Institute for Information Law (IViR) and took place in Amsterdam, 28 May 2005. Since then Mara Rossini and Natali Helberger, both from IViR, have produced a concise and well written workshop report (Rossini and Helberger 2005), which is available online. It summarizes and synthesises presentations and debates. While the first part of this 18-pager deals with consumer expectations and consumers' legitimate interests, the second part is about political and regulatory options for consumer protection.

The 5th INDICARE Workshop, on "Human Factors of DRM", scheduled for the 19th of January 2006 in Budapest is being organized by INDICARE partner SEARCH. The aim of the workshop is to put the consumer and his needs in focus analysing DRM-protected offerings and devices from a human factors point of view. Special attention will be given to the access problems of potential users living in less developed countries and groups with special needs like disabled persons. Don't hesitate to contact the organisers if you would like to present at the workshop or to participate. To learn more about the workshop, please have a look at the "Call for presentation" on our website (cf. sources).

Towards the end of the year, when wishes are more likely to come true, I would like to express our INDICARE Monitor wish for the next year: users and consumers of DRM systems from Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe contribute to the INDICARE Monitor! It is meant to be a truly European online journal covering experiences and opinions from all over Europe. Help us to better achieve this goal!

About this issue
BEUC's criticism of European policy
BEUC, the European Consumers’ Organisation, and other consumer organizations have been deploring for a long time shrinking consumer rights in the digital environment the Sony BMG scandal being just the tip of an iceberg. What bothers BEUC most as a European high-level interest group is apparently the feeling that their arguments remain so far unheard by European policy makers. Consequently they have started a Campaign on Consumers' Digital Rights. The article by Cornelia Kutterer is however much more than a description of this campaign. It is also a serious attempt to investigate cases of ongoing policy making showing how the interests of consumers are being ignored or weakened in these processes. An essential weakness of European policy is seen in the conflation of commercial infringement of copyright (piracy) and non-commercial copyright infringement, ending up with a notion of piracy as first and foremost non commercial infringement.

Intertek's interoperability study
Kristof Kerenyi, SEARCH, contributes a knowledgeable review of an interoperability study performed by Intertek Research and Performance Testing on behalf of BEUC. UK-based music services and widely available digital music players were compared and tested with a focus on interoperability of file formats and DRM formats. The main results are presented in the review. The review highlights the value of the study as easy to read "educational material" for the public making aware of DRM systems' limitations today including hints how to achieve interoperability nonetheless.

DVB's Content Protection & Copy Management specifications
Chris Hibbert, Vice President Media Technologies & Standards with Walt Disney Television International, gives an excellent introduction to the Content Protection & Copy Management (DVB-CPCM) system developed by the Digital Video Broadcasting Project and published in November 2005. More precisely the first three elements of this specification have been published. DVB, established in 1993, is today a consortium of c. 300 companies from more than 35 countries committed to developing pan-European open standards for digital broadcasting.

The article does not go into technical details, but gives a high-level overview of the main features of the DVB-CPCM specifications and the work still ahead. Apart from the clear presentation of a rather complicated subject, I do appreciate that Hibbert also explains the context of this standardisation effort: the changing scope of DVB activities, the motivations behind DVB-CPCM, and even lines of conflict.

Conference reports
Rei Safavi-Naini, Wanqing Li and Nicholas Sheppard, all of whom were involved in the organisation of DRMTICS 2005, provide you with a comprehensive conference report. DRMTICS, Digital Rights Management: Technology, Issues, Challenges and Systems, took place in Sydney from October 31 to November 2. The interdisciplinary character of the conference is worth highlighting. As the full proceedings of the conference will be available in Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science later in 2006, this report is a good opportunity to get first hand impressions and an overview of the event.

Gergely Tóth, SEARCH, reports about Axmedis 2005, the 1st International Conference on Automated Production of Cross Media Content for Multi-channel Distribution which took place in Florence, November 30 to December 2. Although Axmedis is mainly a large European R&D project (FP6 Integrated Project) addressing cross-media production and distribution, the conference was interdisciplinary in nature. This was achieved by organising additional panels and sessions devoted to user and consumer aspects of digital media and DRM. For instance a panel was organized on collecting societies, the EUAIN, the European Accessible Information Network, organized a panel, and in particular the "digital goods workshop" (the third in a series), which addressed user and consumer aspects in digital goods markets, was incorporated in the conference framework. As the conference proceeded in parallel sessions, the present report can of course not cover all. The good quality of the conference makes me therefore recommend the two printed volumes of the proceedings, which are already available.

As you will have noticed, this INDICARE Monitor is not being published on the last Friday of a month as usual, but the last but one due to Christmas time. We wish you the very best for the holidays to come and the next year

the INDICARE team

Sources

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 23/12/05; licensed under Creative Commons
URL: http://www.indicare.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=164