INDICARE news
The second INDICARE workshop last month on "E-Payment and DRM for Digital Content", hosted by INDICARE partner SEARCH in Budapest, was a success in terms of quality of speakers and quality of participants adding to lively debate. It became clear that "paid content" and "protected content" require integration eventually because consumers want easy-to-use services.

The workshop report documenting the event was released this week and is available online (http://www.indicare.org/tiki-page.php?pageName=Events). At the same page you will also find the speakers' presentations. A brief summary of the Workshop, prepared by Kristóf Kerényi, is included in this INDICARE Monitor issue.

About this issue
The present issue containing the brief summary of the second INDICARE Workshop already mentioned above, also includes an in depth interview with Rüdiger Grimm, one of the speakers at the workshop. He highlights the need for integration of DRM systems and payment systems, and the role for payment service providers as intermediaries. He is sceptical about the role of PKI for DRM. In his view PKI and signatures are fine for B2B rights management but not for B2C e-Commerce as long as the infrastructure is not available for other purposes as well. He also warns that "there is a huge privacy bomb out there in DRM services". Both topics are relevant in other articles too, as we will see.

The debate about DRM patents was taken up already in the last issue with a review of the Berlecon Whitepaper, and an Interview with Larry Horn, Vice President of MPEG LA, by Thorsten Wichmann. One of the crucial questions is the patent claim of ContentGuard with respect to rights expression languages and the claim of MPEG LA with respect to essential OMA 1.0 patents. We are delighted that Susanne Guth and Renato Iannella respond to this challenge and present their open source advocates’ view. Both are heavily involved in the development of ODRL, which is used among others by the OMA consortium as rights expression language.

The EUCD is addressed in two articles: Dominik Knopf, who works at the "Institute of Information Law" in Karlsruhe, proposes a concept how to implement copyright exceptions in DRM systems. To achieve this, he argues, a paradigm shift: would be required from object-oriented DRMs to user-specific DRMs linking the content to the person, who has acquired the rights to use it. By this he contributes to an "emerging scholarship", as Stefan Bechtold has termed it (cf. INDICARE Monitor, Vol. 1, No 4, 24 September 2004) interested in a value-centred design of DRMs able to preserve important policy and legal values. As Grimm made clear in the interview, as long as the required infrastructure to hook up to is not in place, proposals like the one by Dominik Knopf – as the author himself admits – have to be taken as feasibility studies, not as something we will see soon.

Margreet Groenenboom, IViR, reviews a paper by Urs Gasser and Michael Girsberger on the transposition of the EUCD with respect to the legal protection of technical protection measures. One of the striking points is the spectrum of legitimate interpretations. When following a narrow interpretation, the EUCD only prohibits the circumvention of those TPMs that prevent or restrain uses that are relevant under copyright law. The broad interpretation regards any TPM protected which aims at preventing or restricting any act not authorized by the rightholder. This openness of interpretation consequently leads to a lower degree of harmonization among EU member states.

Olivier Bomsel and Anne-Gaëlle Geffroy, Ecole des Mines de Paris, provide a clear cut economic analysis of DRM systems. They start from two basic functions of DRM systems: content protection and versioning. Next they distinguish between two types of networks: "two-way communication networks" like the Internet, where everyone can technically broadcast contents, and "one-way networks" like broadcast networks. The economists hold that the "broadband Internet roll-out is largely subsidized by circumvented contents available through P2P applications". Circumvention would benefit the whole range of IT-industries, which could not be forced to accept DRMs on open networks. The situation seems to be rather different in one-way-networks where content owners "control the availability of contents and the indirect network effects". Here, equipment manufacturers have to accept protection standards demanded by the content industry. The analysis shows that in order to assess the future of DRMs deployment, it is most important to distinguish network types as they frame to a certain extent the chances of stakeholders to push through their respective interests.

Danny Vogeley, Berlecon Research, addresses a rather new topic. Only recently the computer game industry has started to use DRM-based usage control systems. A case in point is the most successful Half-Life 2, which sold more than 1.7 million copies between November 2004 and January 2005. What Vogeley observes is not merely an emerging application field for DRMs. He demonstrates that right from the beginning this technology is being used among others to violate consumer rights. Another interesting observation is how little consumers have reacted to this practice. In fact it has had no negative effect on sales. This shows how important it is to distinguish application areas and consumer groups when considering acceptance and acceptability of DRMs, What might provoke protests and refusal in one area might be acceptable without grumbling in another.

The last article of this issue is again a comment on the SOAR. Timo Ruikka, Nokia Corporation, suggests rethinking consumer expectations in a long-term perspective with respect to flexibility and transparency requirements. He also says that the INDICARE paper "has far too great emphasis on privacy aspects, as if DRM was a bigger threat to privacy than (for instance) eBay or electronic banking or credit card statements". This statement sounds quite different from what security expert Rüdiger Grimm had termed a "huge privacy bomb out there in DRM services".

Apparently there is still a need for discussion of DRM issues, and INDICARE is the dialogue platform for this purpose. Come and comment the articles on our website and write for the INDICARE Monitor.

Happy Easter!
Knud

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 24/03/05; licensed under Creative Commons
URL: http://www.indicare.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=91