Rights Management and
ture is ebXML (Electronic Business using XML),
a freely available format which sup-
ports the interoperable exchange of business information in a secure and consistent man-
ner.This specification is aimed specifically at small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
that have not yet implemented a data interchange standard such as Electronic Data
Organisations with existing experience using EDI are likely to find
ebXML less expensive and easier to implement than their current set-up was.
Trusted Systems & Business Rules
Trusted systems are based on the principle of confidence between participants in an
exchange, with the understanding that all parties concerned will adhere to certain rules.
These rules tend to be concerned primarily with usage rights, such as the formats and
the purposes for which the content may be used.
The rules should make explicit the costs that may be incurred on the part of the con-
sumer. Software which identifies and enforces these rules is becoming more common.
Recent upgrades of Microsoft's Windows Media Player
(and similar media access pro-
grams) carry this functionality as a standard feature.The concept of `trust' can even be
built into hardware, with printers `examining' the files sent to them to check that the
content owner is prepared to grant permission to the end-user to produce a hard copy
of their work.
Another XML-based standard, the Business Rules Markup Language (BRML),
ports the encoding, exchange, interpretation, and applications of business rules. Business
rules are formal statements of policy related to pricing, access, usage, delivery, service, and
decision-making guidelines. BRML was developed by IBM
for use with their
CommonRules framework. CommonRules provides a way to communicate `executable
business rules between enterprises using heterogeneous rule systems, and enables incre-
mental specification of executable business rules by non-programmer business domain
By codifying business rules, organisations are able to decentralise, and often
automate, business processes while maintaining core control.
Most orthodox rights management solutions are founded on frameworks for requesting
and granting of licences. Licences can be acquired in one of four ways silent (no user
interaction), non-silent (user is required to do something), predelivered (licence acquired at
time of purchase), and non-predelivered (licence acquired after purchase has been made)
with each approach having its strengths and weaknesses. Licences may be granted gratis or
they may attract a financial charge.They may be perpetual, allowing the user to access
the material for an unlimited period of time, or limited by specified timeframes. Licences
192 Cf. http://www.research.ibm.com/rules/commonrules-overview.html;
193 The variance between Standard and American English in the spelling of `license' can be problematic, particularly
when searching for Web resources.The Standard and American spellings (`licence' and `license' respectively)
are often used interchangeably and, to complicate matters further,`license' in Standard English is used as a verb.
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