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Standard-Setting and Related Organizations

A standard is any set of technical specifications that either provides or is intended to provide a common design for a product, process, service, or system. Standards are critical components of the modern economy. 20 From automobile ignition systems to computer modem communications protocols, detailed specifications are vital to industry and commerce, crucial to the health and safety of individuals, and basic to national and global economic performance.21 Within this broad framework, this section briefly introduces some of the standards, along with the organizations and methods (both formal and informal) used to assess conformity with those standards, for the development of technological protection systems, including standards to identify digital content, to specify rights and conditions for use of that content, and to conduct electronic commerce.22 All descriptions of the standard-setting and related organizations and their activities in this section, and the trade associations in the next section, are distilled from information that is made publicly available by the entities.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standardization system and the gateway to the international standards and conformity assessment arena. ANSI has been called upon to provide high-level consultation to both private-sector interests and the U.S. government on a wide range of issues in hundreds of industry sectors. Through ANSI’s committees and working groups, the Institute facilitates the development of American standards and formulates the U.S. positions on issues before the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). More information on ANSI is available at:

European Standards Committee

The European Standards Committee (CEN) is one of the three formally recognized European Standards Organizations. The Information Society Standardization (ISS) System is the department within CEN responsible for standards activity for information and communications activities. In October 2001, the CEN/ISS DRM Group was established to prepare a report on DRM standardization for the European Commission. A copy of the useful, draft report is available for public comment at:

European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to produce telecommunications standards for Europe and beyond. ETSI plays a major role in developing a wide range of standards and other technical documentation as Europe's contribution to worldwide standardization in telecommunications, broadcasting and information technology. Specifications for DRM systems developed by consortia of private companies are reviewed by ETSI for possible adoption as international standards (such as the recent proposal of the Digital Video Broadcasting proposal discussed above). More information on ETSI is available at:

Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML)

Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML) is a language to specify rights and conditions to control access to digital content and services. With origins in the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), XrML has evolved through industry review, comment and product implementation. In 1996, the Xerox Corporation introduced Digital Property Rights Language, a forerunner of XrML, and took the product to market through Xerox Rights Management, which later would become a separate company called ContentGuard, Inc. ContentGuard, as discussed more fully elsewhere in this report, has developed a number of tools to support XrML. The OASIS Rights Language Committee currently is considering the adoption of XrML as a worldwide standard for digital rights language standard. OASIS is discussed more fully below. XrML provides a universal method for specifying a right (for examp le, “play” or “copy”) or a condition (such as a time limit) that is associated with a particular work. XrML may be used by content owners to specify royalty arrangements, ownership, listening limitations, or context pricing (such as sale or rental). Encryption technology may be used for the authentication and protection of such expressions of rights and conditions. XrML has been designed to support a number of business models and to be interoperable within larger systems. XrML is based on open standards, with industries invited to collaborate and further develop the language. The language is said to be “extensible” because it is designed to incorporate new terms and business models as they develop. More information on XrML is available at: or

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a nonprofit technical professional society of 350,000 members with close ties to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), discussed below. In a variety of ways, the IEEE plays an important role in the development of technological protection systems. For example, IEEE 394/Fireware specifies the standard for Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) technology, which is used to protect compressed content from unauthorized access as it is travels over digital buses.
Another example is the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC), which develops technical standards, recommends practices and guides for software components, tools, technologies and design methods that facilitate the development of computer education and training components and systems. For example, LTSC developed the Learning Objects Metadata (LOM) scheme, which covers a broad range of educational materials from lecture notes to full courses. The LTSC recently authorized the formation of a study group on DRM technologies to gather requirements for a DRM standard for learning technology, to conduct research on existing standardization efforts, and to recommend projects. More information on IEEE LTSC is available at:

International DOI Foundation

The International DOI Foundation (IDF) is an open, international membership organization of commercial firms and non-profit entities interested in electronic publishing and its enabling technologies. In 2000, over 40 organizations were members of the Foundation, including publishers, technology companies, and information intermediaries (such as libraries and information aggregators). IDF manages the development and licensing of the Digital Object Identifier (DOI), a system for the persistent identification and interoperable exchange of intellectual property in the digital environment, including articles, books, images, bibliographies, videos, charts, tables, and audio and electronic files. The DOI syntax has been accepted as a standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and National Information Standards Organization (NISO), both of which are discussed elsewhere in this report. The eBook industry is considering using the DOI in a number of applications. In 2000, the American Association of Publishers (AAP) commissioned a study that recommended the use of the DOI system as the primary means of associating metadata with eBook content. IDF is currently working with the Corporation of National Research Initiatives (CNRI) (discussed above) to expand the functionality of the DOI system. More information on the International DOI Foundation is available at:

International Group for E-Commerce Standards for the Books and Serials Sectors (EDItEUR)

The International Group for E-Commerce Standards for the Books and Serials Sectors (EDItEUR) is an international group coordinating development of the standards infrastructure for electronic commerce in the book and serials industries. Originally set up by the European publishing, bookselling and library federations, EDItEUR today works with 90 members from 17 countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Israel and most of the EU countries. EDItEUR standards include the EPICS data dictionary and the ONIX International dictionary. In collaboration with the US Book Industry Study Group, BISG, EDItEUR also manages the EPICS/ONIX International standards for the communication of product information. More information on EDItEUR, including ONIX Release 2.0 and related guidelines, is available at:

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers developing standards and protocols for evolution and smooth operation of the Internet. Through various working groups, IETF addresses intellectual property practices (by documenting and publishing existing practices and identifying what practices need to be amended) and network and data flow security issues. The IETF also addresses problems related to the identification of content, including ongoing work on the Uniform Resource Name (URN) and persistent uniform resource locator (URL). More information on IETF is available at:

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130 countries. ISO is a nongovernmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. More information on ISO is available at:

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations, is the traditional body for the development and publication of international telecommunications standards, which involves national governments as members and strong private sector participation. Standardization of wireless Internet technologies on the cellular telephone model (third generation wireless, for example) has taken place under the auspices of the ITU. More information on ITU is available at:

National Information Standards Organization (NISO)

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) develops and promotes technical standards used in a wide variety of information services. NISO is a not-forprofit
association accredited as a standards developer by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is discussed above. NISO’s voting members and other supporters include a broad base of information producers and users including libraries, publishers, government agencies, and information-based businesses. More information on NISO is available at:

Online Information Exchange (ONIX)

The Online Information Exchange (ONIX) is the international standard for representing and communicating book industry product information in electronic form, incorporating the core content which has been specified in national initiatives such as BIC Basic and the AAP’s ONIX Version 1. ONIX is a standard for describing the attributes of physical books (although a related standard for electronic books is under development). The standard provides fields for cover images, number of pages and book size. On-line book retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble are using the ONIX standard. More information on ONIX available at:

Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL)

The Open Rights Language (ODRL) is a proposed DRM language and data dictionary pertaining to all forms of digital content. The ODRL is a vocabulary for the expression of terms related to digital content, including permissions, constraints, obligations, conditions, offers and agreements with rights holders. ODRL is designed to be extended by different industry sectors (such as eBooks, music, audio, and software). ODRL is freely available and has no licensing requirements. The ODRL initiative supporters are committed to fostering and supporting open and free standards for the specification of media commerce rights language. More information about ODRL is available at:

Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS)

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) is a not-for-profit international consortium that promotes the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards. OASIS produces worldwide standards for, among other things, security, web services, business transactions, electronic publishing, and interoperability within and between marketplaces. OASIS seeks to accelerate the adoption of product-independent formats based on public standards, including Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and other structured information processing standards. Founded in 1993 under the name SGML, OASIS began as a consortium of vendors interested in developing guidelines for interoperability among products that support SGML. In 1998, OASIS changed its name to reflect the expanded scope of its technical work. Today OASIS has more than 600 corporate and individual members in 100 countries around the world. OASIS Members set their technical agenda, using an open process designed to facilitate industry consensus. The goal of OASIS’s Rights Language Technical Committee is to define an industry standard for a rights language that supports a wide variety of business models and has an architecture that provides the flexibility to address the diverse needs. For example, in March 2002, ContentGuard, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Reuters, and Verisign employees submitted a proposal to the Technical Committee to consider the adoption of Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML) as worldwide standard digital rights language. More information on OASIS is available at:

Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM)

The Publishing Requirements for Ind ustry Standard Metadata (PRISM) is a metadata standard that facilitates the on-line operations of magazine publishers. PRISM facilitates the creation, use, syndication, aggregation and reuse of content from magazines, news, catalogs, and journals. PRISM provides a framework for the interchange and preservation of content and metadata, along with a set of controlled vocabularies to describe the content. More information on PRISM is available at:

Shared Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)

The Shared Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of specifications adapted from multiple sources to provide a comprehensive suite of e-learning capabilities that enable interoperability, accessibility and reusability of web-based learning content. The SCORM was developed by the Department of Defense’s Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) to incorporate many of the emerging standards and/or specifications into one common reference model. The Air National Guard’s advanced distance learning programs illustrate how such a reference model serves the needs of distance education. More information on the ADL and SCORM are available at:

Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI)

The Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) protocol is a cross-industry effort driven by major platform and software providers, as well as marketplace operators and e-business leaders within the OASIS standards consortium. The UDDI protocol creates a standard interoperable platform that enables companies and applications to quickly, easily, and dynamically find and use web services over the Internet. UDDI also allows operational registries to be maintained for different purposes in different contexts. The sponsoring organization,, intends to turn over the UDDI project to an independent standards organization in the near future. More information on the UDDI project is available at:

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. WIPO is responsible for the promotion of the protection and use of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among States, and for the administration of various multilateral treaties dealing with the legal and administrative aspects of intellectual property. The WIPO Digital Agenda, adopted by the General Assemblies of Member States in September-October 1999, includes as one of its aims the facilitation of “interoperability and interconnection of electronic copyright management systems and the metadata of such systems” (Digital Agenda, item 6). More information on WIPO is available at:

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Founded in 1994, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international industry consortium that develops interoperable technologies for the World Wide Web. Services provided by W3C include a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. In the intellectual property area, W3C’s goal is to make it easier for users to obey the law by combining payment and labeling technologies to clearly express the terms and conditions related to on-line materials and to make it easier to stop indiscriminate redistribution of protected material by establishing a labeling system for cataloging sites that are known to contain infringing materials. More information on W3C is available at: