Media Value Chain Ontology

Introduction to the Media Value Chain Ontology - 17th May 2010

Latest version:
Last update:
$Date: 2010/05/07 $
Revision: 1.0
Editor of this document:
Víctor Rodríguez
MVCO editors:
Marc Gauvin - SDAE
Jaime Delgado - DMAG Group
Víctor Rodríguez Doncel - DMAG Group
Miran Choi - ETRI


The Media Value Chain Ontology (MVCO) is an ontology for formalizing the representation of the Media Value Chain. It couples naturally with the MPEG-21 multimedia framework, and its standardization as Part 19 of this ISO/IEC standard is underway (at the editing time of this document).
Although hooked on the broader framework of the MPEG-21 standard, the MVCO ontology is complete and useful on its way. The MVCO is quite a relative small ontology, (less than 60 classes and 20 properties), simple to understand and accompanied by a forthcoming Java API. It has been coded as an OWL Ontology.


Status of this Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document.

This document is a non normative document, describing the MVCO Ontology. This document cannot be considered a closed version.

1 Introduction to MVCO

The MVCO represents the Intellectual Property (IP) along the Value Chain. There are different kinds of objects of the Intellectual Property (we call them IP Entities) and different actions that are performed on them, what defines the different roles that users can play regarding these IP Entities. These elements, along the permissions to execute the actions, constitute the essence of the MVCO. The most important IP Entities, Actions and User roles are introduced here (the list is not exhaustive):

IP Entities: Work, Adaptation, Manifestation, Instance, Copy, Product
User roles: Creator, Adaptor, Instantiator, Producer, Distributor, EndUser
Actions: CreateWork, MakeAdaptation, MakeManifestation, MakeInstance, MakeCopy, Produce, Distribute, EndUserAction

The origin of any IP Value Chain necessarily consists of the creation and subsequent manifestation of the original IP Entity referred to as Work, the rights over which are exclusively of the Work's author. This original IP Entity is subject to be used to create new dependent IP Entities leading to what is referred to as a value chain. Rights for the exploitation of IP Entities can be transferred along this value chain. Examples:

Music domainStill image domainVideo Domain
WorkA songA photoA video
ManifestationThe scoreA JPEG fileAn AVI file
InstanceFirst Fixation (e.g. studio record)The JPEG, possibly at a different resolution, size etc.The video file, possibly in other format, resolution etc.
ProductA marketable CDThe photo in a catalogue to be soldDistributable video

Users, IP Entities and Actions are related as follows:

2 IP Entities

All entities subject to Intellectual Property are said to be IP Entities. The origin of an IP based value chain is the IP Entity "Work" and the end of the chain is the Product, these having as intermediate IP Entities Adaptation, Manifestation, Instance and corresponding Copies, as can be seen in Figure 1. They are defined as follows: Further specialization is given so each term can be more refined: For example, "Manifestation" can be either of an Adaptation or of a Work thus giving rise to the concepts "Adaptation-Manifestation" or "Work-Manifestation"

3 Users and Roles

The concept of User, sometimes referred as Agent, includes individuals, consumers, communities, organisations, corporations, consortia, governments or any other agent acting in the Value Chain.
The relationship between a User and a particular IP Entity type is specified through the concept of Role. The actions that a User takes on a given IP Entity determine the Role of that User with respect to the IP Entity in question. Thus, any given User may take on any number of Roles within a given Value Chain.
This set of core Roles can be extended to include further specialisations. For example, from Distributor, two specialized Roles could be distinguished: ContentAggregator who may operate in a B2B oriented model, and ContentProviders operating in a B2C oriented model. Both roles would be specializations of the generic Distributor Role and their definition would be wholly consistent with the MVCO Core model.

4 Actions

Actions are the process of doing something over IP Entities. Actions can be applied over the IP Entities themselves or over their representations including both analogue and digital. The result of some Actions may imply the creation of another IP Entity (for example, a MakeAdaptation Action generates a new IP Entity of the kind Adaptation) while others do not as in the case of Render. Each action can be exercised over only one kind of IP Entity, and it can only be performed by one Role. The User who performs an Action has to be the rights owner of the IP Entity. Further Permissions may be required by virtue of the Creator's moral rights. The main actions are listed below:

5 Permissions

Transfers of Rights are represented in Permissions. A Permission relates an IP Entity with the transmitted right, the original rights owner and the new rights owner. A Permission may require the prior satisfaction of the conditions. Requirements in Permissions are expressed as Facts, which are simply defined as positive propositions with a binary truth value. A prohibition is thus expressed as the negation of a particular Fact.

Copyright exceptions. Some rights can be invoked if certain conditions are met. For example, complete quotes are allowed for scientific purposes. The MVCO Ontology provides mechanisms for specifying such copyright exceptions, although the exceptions themselves are not specified. Permissions from one User to another are not needed to invoke a CopyrightException, CopyrightExceptions are given based on the existence of the corresponding CopyrightExceptionFact.

6 MVCO at a Glance

owl:versionInfo : 0.2
rdfs:comment : MVCO. Media Value Chain Ontology, part of ISO/IEC 21000-19, issued in the 86th MPEG Meeting
Total Number of Classes: 55 (Defined: 55, Imported: 0)
Total Number of Datatype Properties: 5 (Defined: 5, Imported: 0)
Total Number of Object Properties: 15 (Defined: 15, Imported: 0)
Total Number of Annotation Properties: 2 (Defined: 2, Imported: 0)
Ontology classification: OWL DL (expressivity SIF(D))



An index of MVCO terms, by class (categories or types), by property and by individuals. All the terms are hyperlinked to their detailed description for quick reference.

Main Classes: | IPEntity | User | Action | Permission |

Main IPEntity Classes: | Work | Adaptation | Manifestation | Instance | Copy | Product |

User Classes: | Creator | Adaptor | Instantiator | Producer | Distributor | End User |

Main Action Classes: | CreateWork | MakeAdaptation | MakeManifestation | MakeInstance | ModifyCopy | Produce | Distribute | EndUserAction | Synchronization | Public Communication

Main Properties: | actedBy | actedOver | acts | hasRightsOwner | isRightsOwnerOf | issuedBy | permitsAction | resultedFrom | resultsIn | rightsGivenBy

8 Practical use of the ontology

The MVCO Ontology is flexible can be used in many different ways.
The main practical feature of the ontology is its ability to manage a set of individuals representing a real scenario. For example, for an individual called Bob to Create a Work (MyWork), three individuals are created in the ontology: one for Bob, one for MyWork and one for the mere Action.
Note that the storage for the Action includes two "variables", of the Work another two "variables" and none is necessary for Bob. For Alice to create an adaptation from it, three new individuals will be required (one for Alice, one for the MyAdapt Adaptation and one for the mere fact:
However this Action will not be a legal one, unless a Permission has been created by Bob:
The Permission (an individual of the Permission class) will relate to an individual of the Action class (it is in fact a virtual Action because it has not been actually executed).

9 Matchings

The Semantic Web foresees and encourages interoperation between different semantic models.
The MVCO Ontology can be extended as any other ontology by adding new derived terms, by adding new relations, etc. The MVCO can also be used in conjunction with other ontologies, provided that a matching of some key terms is adequate. In this section some examples follow showing these possible alignments.

Alignment with MPEG-21 REL Rights

MPEG-21 REL defines 14 rights in its Multimedia Extension (whose namespace prefix is usually denoted mx). An alignment of terms could be done as follows:

Alignment with Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides a RDF representation of the well known CreativeCommons licenses. This description includes 16 classes and 10 properties, and for each of them, according to their definition a possible mapping is given here.

Alignment with the Music Ontology

The Music Ontology (MO) is an attempt to link all the information about musical artists, albums and tracks in the Music world. From its revision 1.11 in March 2007, the MO includes the music creation workflow. The next tables show the possible equivalences regarding Users:

While the next table shows the relations about IPEntities.
Some actions can also be mapped: