Author-Level Digital Rights Management and the Common Point Authoring™ System: Protecting Information Exchange

In the livestock industry, readily available information about animal identity and history would improve the safety and quality of the nation’s meat supply. In the chemical industry, an efficient means of producing Material Safety Data Sheets would better protect workers and reduce costs for the manufacturers who author the documents. In government, the timely exchange of accurate information across multiple agencies would provide vital support for homeland security. In both the private and public sectors, the exchange of information across complex multi-organizational environments can bring enormous benefit – faster reactivity to information, new levels of safety and security, more efficient processes, lower costs, new partnership opportunities, and improved profitability. But two challenges stand in the way of information exchange in complex environments: • the need for an infrastructure capable of linking the thousands of organizations that produce information • the need to protect the interests of each of these individual information producers. Pardalis Software has effectively addressed these challenges for the first time with its new, patented Common Point Authoring™ System (CPA). The Common Point Authoring System is an information exchange framework and technology architecture that enables multiple information producers in complex private- or public-sector environments to control distribution of the information they produce, protect their interest in that information, and maximize returns on its value. A core system component is a new Author-Level Digital Rights Management (A-DRM) technology, designed specifically to protect the “ownership” rights of every information producer. This Pardalis white paper introduces these new technologies, first sketching the evolution of information security, culminating in A-DRM, then describing the Common Point Authoring System and the Information Marketplaces and Exchanges it makes possible.

Protecting Information Rights and Interests
Protecting information ownership and copyrights is a critical, though unacknowledged requirement for effective information exchange. In the private sector, this protection enables owners to control distribution and makes the information they produce a marketable commodity. In the public sector, protection of information interests allows government agencies to measure and validate the public services they perform. From Passwords to Standard DRM Since the early days of computing, the password has been the first means of protecting digital information. Organizations control information access by providing unique usernames and passwords to users they authorize.

Pardalis Patents The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Pardalis for Common Point Authoring, entitled Informational Object Authoring and Distribution System, on December 30, 2003. A continuation patent entitled Common Point Authoring System for Tracking and Authenticating Objects in a Distribution Chain was filed in October 2003.

More recently, the need to control broader usage has assumed greater importance as networks and the Internet have made the distribution of information much easier. Standard Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology answers this need for the specific type of information called digital content – information in finished, consumer-ready forms such as digital videos and music recordings.
Pardalis Software, Inc. – Author-Level Digital Rights Management and the Common Point Authoring™ System: Protecting Information Exchange 1

Standard DRM controls usage by encrypting content and providing licenses that grant permission to decrypt it in specific ways. With DRM, use of content can be limited to a single computer, to viewing one time only, to viewing for a set length of time after which licenses must renewed, to distribution without restriction, etc.

Figure 1. DRM controls usage of consumer-ready digital content However, standard DRM has limitations. Designed specifically to protect the end-product of an artistic process, it offers no adequate means of protecting business-to-business information produced by multiple authors in complex environments. Author-Level Digital Rights Management Today, with the first Author-Level Digital Rights Management technology, the Common Point Authoring System extends DRM to information produced in complex private- or public-sector environments. The key defining characteristic of this kind of information is that it has multiple authors, often numbering in the thousands. For example, many law enforcement agencies and divisions at the local, state, and federal levels are responsible for producing and sharing information about convicted and suspected criminals. In the healthcare industry, many providers produce portions of each patient’s total medical and insurance record. Each authoring organization in a complex environment produces what can be called an information element. The CPA System and its A-DRM technology uniquely recognize the value of these information elements and provide rights management at this elemental level specifically to protect the interests of the many authors that contribute to medical histories, law enforcement records, and other comprehensive business-to-business information products. As illustrated in Figure 2, the CPA System manages multi-author information in specific new ways. As an author produces a distinct information element, the CPA System maintains its integrity by “packaging” the element and assigning it a unique digital identifier.

Figure 2. The CPA System assigns a Unique Digital ID to each Information Element As Figure 3 illustrates, the CPA System’s uniquely identified, packaged information element gives authoring organizations a completely new level of protection, allowing them to control how their information is distributed and used. For the first time, multiple authors can grant a variety permissions to multiple users – or restrict usage.

Figure 3. The CPA System allows multiple authors to control information usage


Pardalis Software, Inc. – Author-Level Digital Rights Management and the Common Point Authoring™ System: Protecting Information Exchange

From Ownership to Exchange: The Common Point Authoring System
By protecting the information ownership of individual producer-authors, A-DRM technology provides a new basis for information exchange across complex environments. Because authors can now control distribution and usage, they are able to retain their interest in the information they produce while making it available to a vast network of recipients. Recognizing these broad implications of A-DRM, Pardalis inventors have designed the Common Point Authoring System as a complete technology architecture and information exchange framework. The CPA System provides a single location where information producers and users can come together to exchange information for mutual benefit. In the private sector, these exchange frameworks will take the form of Information Marketplaces where information will be bought and sold. In the public sector, they will take the form of Information Exchanges that facilitate the controlled sharing of information in the public interest. As depicted in Figure 4, each Common Point Authoring System, based on A-DRM and the information ownership it provides, will be offered with an industry module consisting of an interface and application functionality designed specifically for a single industry or public sector environment. Industry Module Technology Architecture / Exchange Framework Figure 4. Common Point Authoring and Information Exchange/Marketplace Exchange Framework For all Exchanges and Marketplaces it builds, Pardalis will maintain a centralized data repository where information will reside and where all transactions – share, trade, lend, buy, sell, etc. – will occur. Participants will access the repository via the Internet or Intranets, either through a user-friendly web front end or via web services. This framework will make Information Exchanges and Marketplaces available to all organizations in complex environments, regardless of size. Participation will require no expenditure for new hardware or software systems. Compatibility with Existing Systems Pardalis has designed the CPA System according to open standards. Servers will be compatible with existing information systems. Producer-authors will be able to import data to and export data from their CPA System via standard protocols. CPA will also add value to existing information systems by connecting them to the Exchanges and Marketplaces that serve complex environments. Standardization Through a Common Language In complex environments, there is inexorable pressure to standardize data formats and protocols to enable shared channels of communication. In response to this pressure, regulatory agencies and industry giants have commonly imposed standards on business-to-business information and required smaller producers to bear the cost of meeting those standards. Common Point Authoring enables no-cost standardization driven by participants. CPA uses common data categories, forms, and vocabulary. Data imported from proprietary systems will be automatically translated into these common terms. As participant usage evolves, so too will the common lexicon. Trustworthy, Traceable Information In the CPA System, information elements are permanent and unalterable. Once a producer-author registers information in the System, it can only be added to or commented on with another unique element. The combination of unique identifiers and unalterable information benefits both producer-authors and information users. Producer-authors will be able to trace the paths their information takes through Marketplaces and Exchanges, and users will be able to know the source of their information and trust that it is authoritative.
Pardalis Software, Inc. – Author-Level Digital Rights Management and the Common Point Authoring™ System: Protecting Information Exchange 3

Privacy and Security Enabled by A-DRM, information ownership and control over distribution guarantee the privacy and security of information. Producer-authors have complete freedom to offer their information for exchange or withhold it.

Conclusion: New Information Marketplaces and Exchanges
Pardalis’s first industry application of the Common Point Authoring system, expected in late 2004, will provide a New Information Marketplace for the Beef Industry. In the Marketplace, tens of thousands of cow-calf operators, sale barns, stockers, feedlots, and packing houses can buy and sell information regarding cattle ID, source, feeding, growth, immunization and health history, yield and quality grade, and more. Producers will be able to increase their income, achieve cattle health and quality goals, trust the accuracy of the information they receive, and establish an information community that promotes prosperity across the industry. Pardalis Information Exchanges will also be developed for application in the public sector. From the federal to local level, and even internationally, government agencies require better ways to manage and share the ever-increasing volumes of information they generate. At the same time, the thousands of departments, agencies, and offices that make up the government need ways to protect their control over and interest in the information they produce. Common Point Authoring and A-DRM provide the means to achieve these goals. The Common Point Authoring System, with its Author-Level Digital Rights Management technology, places an absolute premium on the ownership and owner-controlled distribution of information in complex private- and public-sector environments. The CPA System and A-DRM represent the foundation and framework for vibrant, inclusive Information Marketplaces and Exchanges, where organizations can exchange the information they produce, confident that they will always retain their ownership interest and control its distribution and use. By eliminating major obstacles to participation and open communication, these new Information Marketplaces and Exchanges will create win-win opportunities for individual information producers and the complex environments they are a part of. Complete, accurate, trustworthy information will flow throughout these environments, providing every information producer with an equal opportunity to benefit from their information products.

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© 2004 Pardalis Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Pardalis, the Pardalis logo, and Common Point Authoring are service marks or trademarks of Pardalis Software, Inc.

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