Open Digital Rights Language

What Does Open Digital Rights Language Mean?

Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL) is a content rights metadata standards expression, which contains XML-based language and is a data model for digital rights. The specification language for ODRL is used within content distribution. This includes an agreement about conditions and content term expressions, which includes obligations, offers, permissions and agreements with the rights owners. ODRL is an open-source software containing standards lending precedence to rights expression over digital content. It was produced by the digital rights management (DRM) community.


This term is also known as ODRights Language.

Techopedia Explains Open Digital Rights Language

ODRL can plug into existing DRM architectures, or into open frameworks such as those offering peer-to-peer (P2P) DRM services. ODRL is considered a way to express DRM policies striving to be compatible with many other languages in the DRM community. ODRL has operated in conjunction with standards development by groups such as:

  • ONIX International
  • OpenEBook Forum
  • Association of American Publishers
  • International Federation of Library Associations
  • Electronic Book Exchange Working Group

ODRL does not include any form of licensing agreements, and therefore is considered open-source software.

There are plenty of vendors contending for the position of official standards software producers for technical rights in digital rights management. Included in the list is the Extensible Media Commerce Language (XMCL), which was initially proposed by RealNetworks. Endorsers of XMCL, for which ODRL is a subset, include Adobe, Sony and Sun. Standards for the digital entertainment industry have been established through these languages, which strive to manage digital content without DRM software, or other software such as e-commerce or codecs. XMCL has gained the largest support from media technology companies and open-source advocates.


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