A two-year project jointly funded by the European Union and media industry partners to enable and encourage greater legitimate use of all types of digital content is being launched.
The Rights Data Integration (RDI) project will implement work done by the Linked Content Coalition (LCC) that published a technical framework earlier in 2013 to help content owners and users to manage and trade rights for all types of usage of all types of content and copyrighted works in all types of media.
The project aims to bring the content industry a major step closer to meeting the challenge of how to assert ownership of content and communicate copyright terms and conditions in the digital environment in a way that both machines and people can understand.
According to the project, there is a huge and rapidly expanding amount of digital content available through the Internet, but this is making it increasingly difficult for many companies or individuals who want to trade in rights to find each other.
RDI Project Coordinator Andrew Farrow said: “We have to make it easier for everyone to discover who owns the rights to content and reduce barriers to entry, reduce cost in the supply chain, increase volume of use and encourage innovation.”
These are the challenges being addressed by the ‘Copyright Hub’ strategy being developed in the UK and now under consideration elsewhere in Europe and the US, for which RDI is an early pilot.
According to the RDI project, even the simplest rights transactions can be too people-heavy, expensive and inefficient; new business opportunities are deferred because of the cost of obtaining rights, particularly when different content types are involved; registries and exchanges exist in content silos and are unable to communicate effectively or automatically; RDI will show ways in which these issues can be addressed.
RDI relates directly to the overall objectives of the European Digital Agenda and will provide solutions to the Commission Communication on the Digital Single Market that tackles the unfulfilled potential of a digital single market.
Robert Madelin, Director General, DG Connect, European Commission, said: “We have called for stakeholders to develop automated and integrated standards-based rights management infrastructures and we are very excited to see what RDI can achieve.”
RDI will run for 27 months. While the project is a ‘prototype’ and will not be permanent in its current form, it is strongly commercial in its focus and it is expected that a number of permanent tools and business relationships will be among its results.
RDI will use a ‘hub and spoke’ architecture to allow rights users to discover and access information from rights-holders via a central transformation hub.
The content being used in RDI will come from a wide range of different media sectors (text publishing, musical works, sound recordings, news, still images and audiovisual). Some of the information being exchanged will come from the original creators of content, some from managers of the rights to that content, and some from organisations providing services to rights-holders.
RDI does not directly affect the content of rights laws and agreements – it only makes it possible to process the results of those agreements in more highly-automatable ways. Nor is RDI advocating a one size fits all approach. It suggests that complex, ‘professional’ rights transactions should be conducted in whatever manner best suits them, but lower value/higher volume transactions should be automated as much as possible.