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Describes a novel framework, which supports scalable and efficient multicast transmission for distributed multimedia applications, referred to as SEMA. SEMA has two key features: scalable and efficient multicasting, and information classification. In the proposed SEMA, the scalable and efficient multicast mechanism takes time constraints of multimedia transmission into account. Hence, it is suitable for multimedia transmission having the real-time properties. Simulations are performed to justify the scalability and efficiency features. Additionally, information classification can encourage multimedia servers to decompose original multimedia streams into several layered sub-streams such that each sub-stream has part of the presentation capability and can be transmitted to media clients on a chosen multicast group. Media clients then can choose what sub-streams to receive according to their playback capability.