OnDisC Alliance/Sheridan College
Don Berkowitz [email protected]
Paul Hoffert [email protected]
1.1 Terms of
BELLE/Netera is one of a number of provincially
focused initiatives to create repositories
of digital educational multi-media learning
objects that can be used and re-used in the
creation of course materials. The technical
and systemic work has been progressing nicely,
but the question of digital rights management
has thus far remained an unanswered question
in this arena.
Stakeholder groups include instructors, students,
educational institutions, librarians as well
as commercial suppliers of course frameworks
such as WebCT, and owners of intellectual
property formerly delivered as books, journals,
videos, CDs, and the like.
The business models for distributing online
educational content are outside the scope
of this needs assessment (see OnDisC reports
"Environmental Scan of Pricing Models
for Online Content" parts I and II).
The authors concentrated on interviewing stakeholders
and analyzing what their needs are with respect
to digital rights management. These are quite
different today than they were just a few
One of the key changes has been driven by
the symmetrical nature of digital networks,
which enables a content client to become a
content supplier. Thus, institutions, libraries
and instructors that traditionally bought
books and journals (clients) now find that
they have a capability and interest in producing
and making available text, images, video,
animations, music, voice, annotations, metadata
tags, and other content for use not only on
their own campuses but at other educational
sites as well.
The groups that used to be just "users"
and are now also suppliers of content have
more in common with commercial content providers
today than they did before.
wish to know:
� where their content
� by which groups
they are used;
� in which contexts
they are used;
� how frequently
they are used;
� if they are copied
to fixed media (paper, CDs, etc.);
� if they are modified
(edited, excerpted, incorporated into new
questions can only be answered by adding digital
rights management - DRM - tags to the content
objects and appropriate software and/or hardware
to the distribution system. To date, most
learning object repositories have not taken
this step. The result has been a conspicuous
lack of content deposited in them and hence
not much to offer users.
Consequently, most leaning content repositories
are now committed to using DRM. They now ask
what flavours of DRM are appropriate for their
repositories. They wish to find out how much
DRM management will be deemed sufficient by
content owners and at what point will users
will view the tools as too onerous, too inefficient,
and too intrusive for everyday use?
A companion project - DRM Extensions to the
CANCORE Protocol for Object Repositories -
is developing technology that will enable
properly registered (tagged) content objects
to have their use tracked, metered, and/or
disabled depending on the use environment
and users' authorization. This report will
serve as a guide for that project's implementation.
One of the authors traveled across Canada
and met with stakeholders in all groups to
get a sense of what they believe the requirements
for DRM should be in learning object repositories.
Their input informs the report.
This report provides direction to the repository
developers to assist them in the process of
securing content. It identifies key stakeholders, determines the needs of and
assurances required by those who own or control
content, and points out important structural,
operational, and technological issues that
may affect success.
The authors were struck by the lack of understanding
within the user stakeholder group of the terminology
and utility of rights management. Terms such
as copyright and "rights management"
were used interchangeably and, most frequently,
with incorrect meaning. The users did acknowledge
the importance of rights management and their
need to conform to legal and institutional
regulations.The authors believe that users
need to be:
1) educated about the nature of content rights
online and the various types of permissions
2) convinced of the benefits of taking the
time to mark up their own content with appropriate
permissions for use as well as other meta-data;
3) supportive of using access technologies
that allow for authentication, metering, and
other rights management.
This group of content providers needs to ensure
that the protocols used in an object repository
system include rights management hooks so
that the uses they wish to allow and meter
may be verified. For example, the Cancore
protocol would need to be extended to include
meta-data relating to the rights to PLAY,
COPY; and/or MODIFY the content object, in
all the complex variations of those permissions
as they relate to different media.