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Rights Management and
Payment Technologies
Automated Payment Systems: A Brief Introduction
The words `automated payment' may strike panic into the hearts of many readers. Despite
the rapid growth of online shopping many people fear that unauthorised withdrawals
will be made from their bank accounts if they divulge credit card numbers, even over
`secure' servers. `Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant
message conversation' is the message at the top of any MSN Messenger window, and
people understandably think that, if Bill Gates can't make the Internet safe, then who in
the world can?
However, automated payment systems can take many forms, and must always begin
with an explicit agreement preceding any transaction. Users should be assured of the fact
that payments will only ever be made with their prior consent, and that legal precautions
and other appropriate safety nets have been put in place to foil would-be fraudsters. A
generalised outline of the automated payment process can be found in the following
H o w t h e Te c h n o l o g i e s Wo r k
Digital Rights Management
The practice of rights management can be as simple as preventing users from altering,
adapting or reproducing content without permission. A format such as Adobe PDF
meets these needs while at the same time allowing unlimited distribution, duplication,
storage, and printing rights. Of course, there are more in-depth strategies that may be
pursued. Rights, permissions, obligations and constraints can be expressed through a
Rights Expression Language (REL).
RELs are themselves frequently expressed as XML-compatible specifications. The
Extensible Rights Management Language (XrML) is the best known of these specifica-
XrML enables companies to use an open standard of cross-platform specification
for the accurate description of content, simultaneously validating the conditions of use of
the digital product.The use of XrML defines a transparent, comprehensible and uniform
structure of the rights pertaining to the digital product, regardless of its format or
specifics.This facilitates interaction and ensures the compatibility of DRM systems across
different organisational structures and technical platforms.
The Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is an XML-based standard for `iden-
tifying and better communicating the complex financial information in corporate busi-
ness reports.'
The aim of XBRL is to make the analysis and exchange of corporate
financial information easier and more reliable.While XBRL may be more heavyweight
than most cultural heritage organisations require, its suitability as a way to represent,
exchange, and enable the integration and analysis of financial information makes it espe-
cially viable as a platform for organisations that need to make financial data accessible as
part of openness and financial accountability. Another XML-related exchange architec-
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