Request for Proposals on Lightweight Content Protection for EPUB

July 20, 2012

The IDPF on July 20, 2012 published a request for proposals for standardizing interoperable lightweight content protection technology for EPUB, available at: http://idpf.org/epub-content-protection-rfp. Interested parties are invited to submit proposals by August 31, 2012.  The updated RFP is a follow-up to the initial draft of use cases and requirements, published May 18, 2012 (with a request for comments). This RFP reflects comments we received on the draft, and is intended to solicit further information in order that IDPF management and its Board can better assess factors such as development cost and likely adoption to help us make an informed decision regarding next steps. In other words, as communicated in the request for comments, there is, as of yet, no decision or commitment by the IDPF to establish a solution in this area. Through our continued discovery process, it may become clear that no feasible standardized solution would be sufficiently useful or accepted, or that no solution is forthcoming that will sufficiently address critical requirements. 

 
More details on the background and motivation for potentially standardizing an interoperable content protection mechanism for EPUB can be found in the original announcement. It should be noted that many comments were received from members and other stakeholders “pro” or “con” the concept of standardizing any form of DRM technology for EPUB. As noted in the May announcement, IDPF presently takes no official position on the merits of content protection technologies. But regardless of the merits, if rights holders are going to continue to require content protection technology be utilized with digital publications, there is a strong argument to consider standardizing same in the interests of maximizing interoperability of EPUB for end users, and minimizing the need for content distributors (including publishers selling directly) to be dependent on specific proprietary reading system implementations. Nevertheless the IDPF recognizes that DRM is an inherently contentious and divisive issue and any decisions on proceeding will be made with appropriate consultation and communication with our membership. 

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