DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES
In providing access to digital objects, copyright
owners and content providers need to manage copyright and
permissions status and implement protection mechanisms as
appropriate. In this document, you will find a brief description
of digital rights management (DRM), as well as links to
websites that introduce DRM concepts, offer suggested guidelines,
and track current professional issues and activities.
What Is Digital Rights Management?
The term “digital rights management” refers
to procedures and systems that individuals or organizations
use to track copyright permission status, access parameters,
and other qualities of a digital object that govern its
access or use. In their white paper “A Digital Rights
Management Ecosystem Model for the Education Community,”
the authors organize digital rights management into four
areas: 1) defining rights; 2) distributing or acquiring
rights; 3) enforcing rights; and 4) tracking usage.
Digital Rights Management Evolving
In its simplest form, a tracking mechanism for digital rights
may consist of a table where the content provider collects
basic data for each object such as copyright holder, contact
information, license or permission status, date range of
status, and notes. PFA has developed such a DRM table,
for use in clearing permissions for its CineFiles project.
More sophisticated systems might track dates when an object
comes into the public domain; trigger removal of an object
when the permissions end date is reached; embed metadata
(such as a watermark) in an object that appears when it
is downloaded to restrict types of unauthorized uses; define
attributes (such as particular IP addresses) of users with
permission to view certain objects; and so on.
As the field of digital imaging matures,
many complex standards and rights expression languages are
being developed to help copyright owners, licensors, libraries,
and other content providers manage electronic resources.
The METS (Metadata Encoding and Transport Standard) (http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/)
schema is a comprehensive “standard for encoding descriptive,
administrative, and structural metadata regarding objects
within a digital library” that incorporates a simple
rights schema. In her article “An
Introduction to DRM: Part 1,” Grace Agnew characterizes
the METS rights schema as an example of a “passive”
DRM implementation. “Active” DRM implementations
include the two rights expression languages, MPEG21-REL,
developed by the International Organization for Standardization’s
(available through http://www.iso.org)
and the Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) (http://odrl.net).
In addition, the Digital Library Federation’s Electronic
Resources Management Initiative (ERMI) has created a detailed
framework with which to address asset management. Organizations
including the National Information Standards Organization
(NISO), the Digital Library Federation (DLF), the American
Library Association (ALA), and many others are also actively
designing and debating the future of digital rights management.
In May 2005, NISO held a prestandards workshop on Digital
Rights Expression; and the second international ODRL workshop
was held in Portugal in July 2005; links to their activities
are listed below.
Digital Rights Management and Fair
Although copyright holders legitimately need to protect
their assets, there is concern that some rights management
activities may compromise uses currently allowed under the
Fair Use clause of the Copyright Act. For example, efforts
to embed rights management software that prohibits copying
could prevent libraries from making preservation copies
or researchers from legitimately excerpting quotes from
electronic resources. The American Library Association advocates
on behalf of fair use and fair application of rights management
in such issues.
Further Online Information
The following URLs link to sites and articles describing
some of the basic issues, standards, resources, and professional
activites related to digital rights management.
Agnew, Grace. "An Introduction to DRM: Part
1." Online Community Library Center. 2005.
This concise but informative online report and website provides
an overview of digital rights management, including Metadata
Encoding and Transport Standard (METS), maintained by the
Library of Congress; Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL),
an open-source standard; and Extensible Rights Markup Language
(XrML), a standard maintained by ContentGuard.
Agnew, Grace. "An Introduction to DRM: Part
2." Online Community Library Center. 2005.
This continued exploration of basic DRM issues specifically
addresses how DRM affects libraries. The distinct concepts
of privacy and confidentiality are defined: privacy refers
to safeguarding the identity of information users, while
confidentiality means users' ability to access information
without having the information observed or recorded. DRM
systems can record and monitor identity and information
use. In the library context, where libraries are often part
of larger government or institutional entities, DRM applications
may be employed in an administrative capacity by parent
institutions whose policies conflict with library software
and policies, as well as the greater library mission.
American Library Association. 2005.
The American Library Association is the largest national
association supporting the library profession and providing
essential information on libraries, information systems,
and public access to information. Their extensive website
includes a search feature, a list of frequently asked questions,
political and advocacy updates, and a continuing education
clearinghouse database. The Professional Tools page includes
sections on administration management, collection services,
and standards and guidelines, as well as links to numerous
electronic discussion lists.
American Library Association, Digital Rights Management
and Libraries. 2005.
(Accessed 8/4/05) The Digital Rights Management and Libraries
page provides an overview of digital rights management
for library professionals, including "DRM: Statement of
Library and Higher Education Concerns," with specific
sections on legislation, public advocacy groups, and DRM
as it relates to the entertainment industry, Collier,
Geoff, Harry Piccariello, and Robby Robson. “A Digital
Rights Management Ecosystem Model for the Education Community.”
This white paper examines specific case study issues such
as commercial content, community college video use, faculty-developed
test banks, and rights management for catalog records, as
well as the ecosystem model for content life cycle. The
use of "course packs" for sale as supplementary material
to college text books is also examined as a case study.
Case study considerations include market models, legal and
policy context, important actors/agents/organizations, expectations
of management of rights, acquisition and distribution of
rights, enforcement, usage tracking, services required,
services provided by existing technology, and future technology
possibilities. The paper also summarizes basic terms and
concepts relevant to DRM.
Coyle, Karen, "Rights Expression Languages:
A Report for the Library of Congress." 2004.
This PDF document available on the Library of Congress website
is a government-commissioned report entitled "Rights Expression
Languages: A Report for the Library of Congress," by consultant
Karen Coyle, dated February 2004. The 53-page report documents
issues related to rights expression languages, including
copyright integrity, data elements, and business models.
The purposes of the RELs documented in the report include
expression of copyright, expression of contract or license
agreements, and control over access and/or use. The author
develops various categories to analyze a language, including
its purpose, machine-actionability, and its data element
content. The report discusses four leading REL initiatives:
CreativeCommons, METSRights, Open Digital Rights Language
(ODRL), and MPEG-21, Part 5 (MPEG-21/5).
Digital Library Federation, Electronic Resource Management
Report of the DLF ERM Initiative. 2004.
ERMI is a collaborative undertaking among the members and
allied organizations of the Digital Library Foundation.
The project addresses the many institutional issues around
acquiring and making use of licensed electronic resources,
and is relevant to libraries, systems providers, and standards
organizations. ERMI may become the licensing standard for
the developers of ONIX, the primary metadata scheme used
by academic and trade publishers in the U.S.
International Organization for Standardization.
The International Organization for Standardization has an
extensive website. An Information Centre is jointly managed
by ISO and IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission.
The Information Centre provides access to the World Standards
Services Network (WSSN), information about standards issues
regarding world trade and international standards bodies.
Available for sale are hundreds of publications related
to standards issues in a vast array of professional fields.
Databases available for online use archive international
graphical symbol standards and country codes.
National Information Standards Organization.
The National Information Standards Organization
is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American National
Standards Institute. Essential standards references overseen
by ANSI are available for download, as PDFs or as hard copies
that can be ordered. NISO oversees a standards development
pipeline that disseminates standards information to professional
communities, including libraries, archives, information
systems managers, and many others.
This site features detailed information and monographs on
evolving digital image metadata standards and issues. Standards
are available in development, and for comment and approval.
A free monthly newsletter on digital standards issues is
available by subscription, and an archive of past newsletters
is available on the site.
NISO Initiative on Digital Rights Expression. 2005.
In May 2005, NISO held an invitational
meeting on digital rights expression to explore standards
needed to support digital rights expression and management
for scholarly and educational information. The workshop
report is available online. According to the website,
"Key outcomes included recommendations to:
- Extend the Electronic Resources Management Initiative
(ERMI) model to include nonlicensed objects and communities
in addition to libraries.
- Create a standardized collection of rights "bundles"
similar to the Creative Commons licenses.
- Identify a core set of requirements for rights expression
relevant to the NISO community.
- Build a reference model for content providers, libraries,
and museums that includes a glossary of standardized
terms for rights expression.
- Launch a campaign to educate both users and practitioners
about rights and permissions. A short-term goal will
be to produce a freely available, basic reference document
similar to NISO's "Understanding Metadata."
Open Digital Rights Language Initiative,
2nd International ODRL Workshop 2005. 2005.
The Open Digital Rights Language Initiative second annual
seminar in Lisbon, Portugal, which took place in July 2005,
featured papers on international standards issues. The Initiative
is an international organization dedicated to developing
and promoting an international standard for the Digital
Rights Management expression language. All papers presented
at the conference are available in PDF and slide format.