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By Mrs. Tarja Koskinen-Olsson

Chief Executive Officer, KOPIOSTO, Helsinki

1. INDECS Project & Participants

In November 1998, a European Union funded project called INDECS (Interoperability of Data in E-Commerce Systems) started. INDECS concerns interoperability of digital content identification systems and rights metadata within multimedia e-commerce.

At the beginning of the project the specific problem was described as follows:

  • where an item of intellectual property is already identified by its creator or owner,
  • what steps are necessary to ensure that identifiers can be properly interpreted within the e-commerce environment, and
  • for the purposes of searching, licensing, financial transactions and protection.
  • The outstanding questions to be studied were in general terms:

How can rights owners (people and companies-"participants") be uniquely identified when names are far from unique and the same participant is identified in different ways in different sectors?

How can systems automatically recognize different kinds of identifiers and find further information about the objects which have been identified?

Where in digital objects will rights owners place their identifiers, and with what accompanying information (metadata formats)?

The aim was not to create another identifier, because several different identification codes were already in use or under preparation. These included old identifiers, like ISBN- and ISSN-numbers for books and journals, and new initiatives, like DOI (digital object identifier). Most of the existing identifiers were sector-specific, the DOI, however, is meant for all creation types.

The aim of INDECS was to study and make proposals on interoperability between different schemes and provide for a basic rights metadata model.

The INDECS participants include four copyright management organizations:

ALCS (UK, literary works, Authors society)

  • MCOS on behalf of MCPS/PRS (UK, musical works, Composer/music publisher Societies)
  • BILD-KUNST (Germany, visual arts, Creators society)
  • SACD (France, audiovisual and visual arts, Creators society)

Three organizations represent multimedia and reprographic rights:

  • KOPIOSTO (Finland - Co-ordinating partner)
  • CEDAR (the Netherlands)
  • CAL (Australia)

Two organizations represent producers in different sectors:

  • IFPI (International, sound recordings, trade association)
  • EDItEUR (European, book/serial/electronic publishers/libraries)
  • MUSE UK (a database compiler/provider) participants moreover in the project. It is a UK subsidiary with US parent.

Representatives of most creative industries are represented in the project through affiliation. The INDECS Affiliates include the following organizations:

  • ALPSP 8Association of Learned & professional Society Publishers)
  • BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
  • CIEPS (ISSN Center)
  • CISAC (International Confederation of Authors and Composers' Societies)
  • FEP (Federation of European Publishers)
  • STM (International Associations of Scientific, technical and Medical Publishers)
  • IDF (International DOI Foundation)
  • IFLA UBCIM (UBC/IM of the International Federation of Library Associations)
  • IFRRO (International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations)
  • IPA (International Publishers Associations)
  • ISBN (International ISBN Agency)
  • RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)
  • U.S. Copyright Office

2. Current Status & Evaluation

During the first period of the project some common tools and standards have been developed.

These include:

  • The IP commerce data dictionary/namespace;
  • The IP legal data dictionary/namespace;
  • The directory of persons;
  • Metadata standards for IP declarations and transactions;
  • Common XML/RDF metadata structures/metadata registries.

Detailed working papers exist from issues listed under a - c. The two last mentioned are still subject to consideration, taking into account resources available.

The first Evaluation Conference was held in July, with more than 80 participants representing all interested parties. This evaluation meeting was technical of its nature, with the presentation of all deliverables.

The conference showed that people in many sectors recognized the value of the developments proposed by INDECS. There was a clear request for active participation in the further proceedings of the project. A promise was made that during the forthcoming Affiliates meeting (September 29, 1999) a proposal for the governance and further development of the INDECS deliverables will be made.

This proposal has been discussed among the Partners, but has not been submitted to the Affiliates yet. Due to this, the following information is given on a confidential basis.

3. Governance and Running of the INDECS Tools

The heart of INDECS activity is about the links between identifiers and metadata, and the links between identifiers. Therefore those organizations which are responsible for the administration of already approved content identifiers are the most immediate interested parties. These identifiers are as follows:


    Content Type

    Standards Body

    BICI Book Item and Component Identifier

    Book content


    DOI Digital Object Identifier

    Any creation


    ISAN Int. Standard Audiovisual Number

    Audiovisual programs

    ISO (TC46)

    ISBN Int. Standard Book Number


    ISO (TC46)

    ISMN Int. Standard Music Number

    Printed music

    ISO (TC46)

    ISRC Int. Standard Recording Code

    Sound Recordings

    ISO (TC46)

    ISSN Int. Standard Serial Number


    ISO (TC46)

    ISWC Int. Standard Musical Works Number

    Musical works

    ISO (TC46)

    SICI Serial Item and Contribution Identifier

    Serial content


    UMID Unique Material Identifier

    Audiovisual content


A discussion will be initiated between the representatives of the above standards on the future governance of the INDECS tools. This will be in response to the clear call by the INDECS Affiliates and other interested parties at the July Evaluation Conference. A proposal for a continuing framework which would allow for the development and running of the various tools and standards identified by the project was promised in July.

The proposal recognizes that creation identifiers such as ISBN, ISSN, ISRC, ISWC, DOI, ISAN, and UMIC logically form the core of the developing multimedia intellectual property metadata "network." It will be relationships between these identifiers which will provide the critical links between different element of multimedia content; between "old" and "new" forms of exploitation of intellectual property, and between descriptive and rights metadata. These links must be secured to enable effective e-commerce in intellectual property.

The tentative proposal is to form a Consortium comprised of organizations which are responsible for the administration of internationally recognized identifiers of creations. The purpose of this Consortium will be to promote interoperability between identifiers and metadata to support multimedia commerce in intellectual property.

It is proposed that discussions will be initiated between the INDECS Project and WIPO to find out what interest, if any, there might be within WIPO to take part in the development of the tools and standards discussed under point 2. WIPO has the best expertise for legal definitions and their meanings, and would therefore be an optimal candidate for developing and maintaining the IP legal data dictionary/namespace.

Taking into account the requests put forward during the first Advisory Committee on the Exercise and Management of Copyrights and Related Rights, December 1998, an active monitoring of the developments, and participation in the further planning, when appropriate, would benefit the parties concerned.

[End of document]

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