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Subject: XACML & Digitial Rights

During the conference call last week there was some discussion of the
distinctions between what we are doing with XACML and digital rights.
Several folks see them as very distinct, others see them as quite similar.
It was agreed that we would have a focused discussion on this and perhaps
how we also relate to other policy expression, e.g. QOS, during a subsequent

Here are some comments to get discussion rolling. 

Consider the two expressions below:

1. If <conditions> then <grant rights>
2. If <exercise rights> then <do transaction>

It seems that 1 is squarely in the realm of XACML; whereas 2 might not be. I
also seems that both 1 and 2 are relevant to DRM.

A more general expression:

3. If <conditions> then <do action>

is probably required for QOS representation.

Note however, XACL (not a typo) provides for arbitrary transactions as a
side effect of evaluation or as a result of exercising a right.

It also seems that XACML may have extensive focus on conditions and
granularity; limited but perhaps extensible rights, e.g. read, write,
execute; a focus on digital works and services and perhaps even non-digital

Whereas, DRM seems to have a limited focus on conditions and granularity;
extensive focus on rights, e.g. read, write, play/render, transfer,
transport, modify rights; a primary focus on digital works; and rights
provision at time of creation or publication, i.e. more static than XACML.

All of the above being said, of course, without us actually deciding what
XACML is at this point.

Simon Y. Blackwell 
Psoom, Inc. 
Voice & Fax: 415-762-9787 

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