Along the same line, a series of meetings of the U.N.’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is illuminating. The strong views on the part of some of the participants that “open standards” means that the standards must be freely available and there can be no royalties or other fees for patents is part of a broader view in many countries that the developing world should be given the intellectual property rights of more advanced countries without the need for compensation. There is even a proposal for disclosure of patents to a WIPO committee, with failure to disclose invalidating the patent. With regard to standards, the proponents of these views have not chosen to explain how the standards organizations will survive or why patent holders will be willing to give up their rights.
ISO and IEC Developing Privacy Standard
word from Steve
Broadband over Power Lines Update
Once inside the house the situation seems far less clear. There are numerous organizations that intend to use the power lines inside to move data of various sorts around to various devices that can use them. This could further aggravate the current uncertain state of home networking. In addition to the players that have been around in the BPL space (e.g., the HomePlug Powerline Alliance), we heard in this meeting about two brand-new organizations. The Universal Powerline Association (UPA) will “promote industry standards” and has among its members Ambient, Ascom, Schneider Electric, Sumimoto Electric Industries, and Toyocom. At virtually the same time Matsushita, Mitsubishi, and Sony have formed the CE-Powerline Communications Alliance (CEPCA) to “create broadband powerline specifications, allowing various powerline audio, video and home networking systems to connect without glitches.” In Europe, OPERA is a well-funded research program, and the European Commission has announced the Networked and Electronic Media Initiative (NEM) to form an integrated interoperable platform for the delivery of everything. (The commission intends to look at standards, identify overlapping, and “pick the best,” including Digital Rights Management.)
It’s beginning to look like there will be not only lots of different wires in the home, but lots of different protocols trying to coexist on the same set of wires. There was no indication of meaningful efforts to resolve this, and no indication among the attendees of concern about homeowners installing it all.
Forum and Consortium News
The Broadband Content Delivery Forum (BCDF) and the Service Creation Community (SCC) are merging effective Jan. 1, 2005. The new Broadband Services Forum (BSF) will provide tools and information to address service and technology issues.
The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) and the Object Management Group (OMG) have announced an alliance to help unify toolsets for users of DMTF’s CIM and OMG’s XMI/UML.
HP, IBM, Intel and Sun Microsystems have formed the Globus Consortium to develop and promote grid-computing software for businesses.
The Emergency Interoperability Consortium has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Homeland Security to promote the development and proliferation of data sharing standards for emergency response.
Sony, Matsushita (Pioneer), Samsung, and Philips have formed the Marlin Joint Development Association to develop specifications to build Digital Rights Management (DRM) functions into devices.
OASIS, which develops standards for e-business, has adopted a new intellectual property policy that allows new Technical Committees to establish themselves in either RAND mode (where there is an obligation to license on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms) or RF mode (adds the proviso that the license must be free of royalties or other fees). There are additional obligations on contributors and participants. The policy is available at www.oasisopen.org/who/intellectualproperty.php.
In the same time period,ANSI has approved 20 (revision) and 56.
This brings the total as of Feb. 14 to 144 approved SCTE standards, 140 of which have been approved as American National Standards by ANSI.
Standards Activities Elsewhere
CEA has initiated a new project, CEA 2027-A, A User Interface for Home Networks Using Web-based Protocol. The new work will enable user control of networked devices via another device’s web browser graphical user interface.
The TV-Anytime specification for program information data has been confirmed as an Internet standard. The content reference identifier has been accepted as a registered URL prefix; the “crid://” scheme can provide a unique name space for scheduled television programs similar to that used to identify web pages.
The IEEE has started a number of new projects for the 802 series of standards. 802.1ah facilitates the scaling of provider-bridged networks; 802.1aj specifies the function of a MAC relay with two MACs; 802.1ak improves VLAN and MAC topology convergence time; 802.3ar improves congestion management; 802.3as is for applications that require additional optional fields within Ethernet frames; 802.11u improves the ability to interface with external networks; 802.11v provides a standardized approach to manage stations; 802.16h improves coexistence for license-exempt operation; and 802.17b adds support for spatial reuse of other frame
NIST has released a new report on Voice over IP Security. Special Publication 800-58, Security Considerations for Voice Over IP Systems, is available at http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/index.html.
The Secretary of Commerce has approved the withdrawal of 17 Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS). They are 8-6, 9-1, 31, 48, 55-3, 66, 73, 83, 87, 92, 95-2, 102, 112, 127-2, 159, 171, and 173-1. The withdrawals are largely because the subject information is maintained by some other organization, and there is no value added by providing a FIPS. (For example, FIPS 127-2 is simply the adoption of ANSI X3.135-1992.)
ATSC Standard Adopted by FCC; Call for Patent Information
MPEG LA LLC has issued a call for patents that are essential to the ATSC digital television standard. The purpose of the call is to begin the process that can result in a joint patent portfolio license (patent pool) for access to the technology required by the standard. ATSC documents A/53C, A/65B, A/69, A/74, and A/54A
Believe It or Not
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) produces many standards—including cable-related standards from its Study Group 9 submitted by SCTE. Now ITU has been ranked as one of the world’s most enduring institutions by a panel of scholars set up by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. It joins the U.S. Constitution as the two government selections. Others chosen were GE and Sony (business), Dartmouth and Oxford (academia), and the Olympic Games and the Rolling Stones (entertainment).
P. Oksala, vice president, standards
Russell, director, standards
Fenton, manager, standards operations