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Rights Management and
Payment Technologies
major advantage that the issues concerning rights management are well understood
among the broadcasting community, since the processes of selling and granting rights is
an everyday activity. Broadcasters are already embedded into the network of producers,
artists, freelancers, news and advertising agencies, and there is a proven track record for
content licensing and the granting of bilateral and multilateral licences. Clauses defining
the rules for content exchange during the project's lifetime were included in the
Consortium Agreement. In most cases the broadcasters involved in the project are them-
selves content creators, users, and suppliers.The participants struck a middle ground
between the needs and concerns of all parties. In general, the negotiations over rights
clearance were carried out via fax and phone.
Project management and technology choices were strongly user-driven, and oriented
towards commonly accepted standards.The user partners investigated their needs and set
out the initial requirements for the DRM system, and then the technology partners
suggested a technological solution to fulfil as many of these requirements as possible. In
the course of this work the content owning and using partners analysed their workflow
and considered how the new digital, DRM-assisted workflow could streamline it. ORF
reviewed the DRM systems that have been developed in other European-funded projects
(and elsewhere), and undertook a market analysis of commercially available DRM soft-
ware and systems.
Candidate technologies were assessed with regard to currently existing standards, as
well as on the grounds of user-friendliness and ease of operation.
After discussion, the broadcasters found that all of their current usage rights were (or
could be) ruled by contracts, therefore the consortium agreed to develop a DRM system
based on inter-party contracts. As the contracts are composed of exclusively textual data,
the technology partners adopted XML to encode their textual data.
That XML standards
for rights management already exist, such as XrML and the Open Digital Rights Language
), and that XML-coded text can be displayed using a standard Web browser
were two major advantages of this solution. Once the mechanism for representing the
contracts had been defined, the project needed to find a way to store them.They opted
for a content management system based around a relational database, a full-text search
engine, and a Web-based search interface.The application supported annotation of meta-
data at segment level, i.e. down to the level of single frames of the video content.
Contracts could be linked to an item of content (e.g. a film of a sports event) or seg-
ments of an item (e.g. a single javelin throw). Another requirement was the need for
multilingual access, and a multilingual thesaurus was implemented to interpret the rights
contracts in the respective languages of the user partners.These constraints allowed the
contract-based DRM system to be part of a multilingual, distributed rights management
system that was both granular and flexible.
215 There remain certain obstacles to frictionless electronic transactions between businesses. See the European
Commission's Open Consultation report on "Trust barriers for B2B e-marketplaces" at for a
dedicated analysis of these problems.
216 At the Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung's International Symposium in Vienna on 7 December
2001 ("Access to and Ownership of Public Sector Information"), ORF's Peter Dusek and Martin Szerencsi
gave a talk with the title "Digitisation and digital rights management: experiences at ORF". Slides from the
presentation can be found at
217 The strengths of XML are outlined in the section of this report on this topic.
218 ODRL is an open and freely available specification `for the expression of terms and
conditions over any content including permissions, constraints, obligations, conditions, and offers and
agreements with rights holders'.
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