Legal sharing of digital media content made easier

IEC and ITU cooperate to develop cross-platform IPTV standard

By Janice Blondeau

As consumers become increasingly mobile, digital media solutions need to deliver flexibility across technology platforms and devices, while protecting content producers rights. Combining digital rights management (DRM) technology and interoperability has been a priority of the digital media industry for several years.

Digital media solutions need to deliver flexibility, while protecting content producers rights

New standard enables multimedia interoperability

Cooperation between the IEC, the world’s leading standards body in electrotechnology, and ITU (International Telecom Union) has produced a new standard that allows multimedia content to be legally used across different platforms.

The new standard IEC 62698, Multimedia home server systems - Rights information interoperability for IPTV provides a standardized framework, such as that for material under copyright, to ensure that multimedia content can be shared legally across different systems.
 Recommendation ITU-T H.751 “Metadata for rights information interoperability in IPTV services” is technically aligned with IEC 62698.

First fruits of inter-agency cooperation

The parallel texts are the first product of an inter-agency cooperation initiated in 2008 in São Paulo, Brazil, at a high level meeting between experts from IEC TC (Technical Committee) 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment and ITU-T Study Group 16: Multimedia coding, systems and applications.

International Standard IEC 62698 was prepared by IEC TC 100/TA (Technical Area) 8: Multimedia home server systems, with parts of the text developed in collaboration with ITU-T Study Group 16.

“Better access to digital content improves the consumer experience”, said David Felland, Chairman of IEC TC 100. “In a first for IEC TC 100 and ITU-T Study Group 16, members of these two groups have joined their knowledge and expertise to develop an international solution that directly addresses the issue of interoperability of digital rights information,” Felland added.

Common interpretation, terms and specifications

ITU-T H.751 | IEC 62698 provides clear mechanisms for flexible digital distribution, allowing for simple exchanges of content. This enables service providers to implement common interpretation and integration of rights information.

“The standard targets interoperability to ensure that service providers and device manufacturers can easily exchange rights information across their current content management systems.
 It provides a high-level specification of the metadata for rights information interoperability, with common semantics and core elements,” said Nobuyuki Kinoshita, Project Leader of IEC 62698 and media supervisor in Development Department of  Dentsu Inc's Platform Business Division.

In other words, the standard finds the greatest common denominators in rights expressions (syntactic embodiments of rights) to encourage the mutual use of rights information.

Rights information interoperability defined

Defined in this standard are common terms and core elements on rights information interoperability for IPTV systems, including content identity, permission issuer identity and permission receiver identity used to bridge between rights-related metadata.

To date, a lack of rules for flexible, legal digital distribution has meant that consumers can be locked into solutions offered by a single IPTV service provider. For example, consumers can not necessarily access the same multimedia content if they change their IPTV service provider when they move from one home to another.

More about IPTV

IPTV (Internet Protocol television) is the delivery of television services to subscribers via a packet switched network that employs the IP protocol, rather than being delivered through traditional land, satellite or cable television formats.

Metadata refers to data describing aspects of data, or information about information presented in the form of “structured, encoded data that describe characteristics of information-bearing entities to aid in the identification, discovery, assessment and management of the described entities”.

IPTV metadata is information on multimedia services and content which provides a descriptive and structural framework for managing IPTV services spanning television, audio, video, text, graphics and data.

Rights information metadata in particular refers to information on the rights granted to end-users of multimedia content, stipulating pre-defined ‘utilization functions’ including permissions to view/hear, copy, modify, record, excerpt, sample, store or distribute content; restrictions on times or hours content can be played, viewed or heard; and obligations such as payment.

Depositphotos_8311210_original Digital media solutions need to deliver flexibility, while protecting content producers rights
9402786_m The new standard is the first product of an inter-agency cooperation between experts from IEC TC 100 and ITU-T SG 16
tc-3_iptv_stb_lrg Better access to digital content improves the consumer experience (Photo: Comtrend)