Save iTunes: how the W3C's argument for web-wide DRM would have killed iTunes

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Really? That’s all it would have taken to kill off itunes? I’m suddenly seeing a silver lining to DRM!


Except iTunes was fighting an effectively open and unrestricted audio format (Mp3 files) and DRM-restricted video is already here and the norm… Your choices are “How to get my DRM-restricted videos delivered” not “How do I get rid of DRM?”. Unless you’re going full Stallman, the DRM isn’t coming off of Netflix, HBO, and other sites. Do you prefer Flash and Silverlight or do you prefer the EME, pick one.


If i’ve bought it once, ever, i have the moral right to do with it anything i please for my own purposes, legal rights be damned.


Is it just me or are these w3c drm posts going further and further off the rails and away from the truth.

IF these standards had existed when Apple launched iTunes, then iTunes likely would have used them for their DRM. Since the W3C is making these an interoperable standard then we would actually see MORE devices and applications able to play your protected apple content and have more choices.

The whole entire point of the W3C including DRM in their spec is so that anyone can protect content and that protected content is interoperable with any device or app that implements these standards and authorizes against the soruce. We already have DRM, but each big company has created their own unique proprietary flavor with lots of unanticipated side effects, companies go out of business rendering the content unavailable, and wrecking havoc with users ability to transfer protected content across their own devices. I’m not personally for DRM, but I also know that it isn’t going away anytime soon. This move to an open DRM standard is a HUGE MOVE in the right direction and really improves and levels the playing field.

Pretty much the exact opposite of every WC3 DRM article posted lately.

Well, if you aren’t yelling, I guess no one is listening. I’ve showed them to coworkers who work on our browser and the response is usually along the lines of “For fuck’s sake!” followed by a list of all the ways the EME actually makes things better than they are now (which Doctorow never addresses since we live in a world of Flash 0days and the like).

Frankly, Cory’s credibility to me goes down with each of these posts. I was initially somewhat sympathetic but the distortion and game playing to skew the conversation with false analogies has gotten quite old quickly.

Of course, he returned to a paid position at the EFF in order to engage in this crusade so I can only expect one of these posts every week or so until the next windmill appears.

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I am usually against DRM and have issues with modern Intellectual Property rights concepts and how they are hurting innovation overall. I’m completely for the freedom of information in general.

IF people like me are saying WTF then you know things have gone off the deep end. These posts really discredit the movement and past articles and weaken the overall arguments. Facts are important, sensationalism will never win these arguments, and resorting to it discredits the movement. I’m kinda sad to see these sensation pieces that don’t really have much grounding in reality.

I understand that DRM isn’t going away anytime soon and would rather see a more open and interoperable standard then the alternatives proprietary nightmares we’ve been dealing with in the void of such solutions. I understand that in today’s ip heavy climate that companies such as netflix and hbo are just going to implement their own DRM if an open one isn’t available and that this will hurt all the small innovators and lock them out of the playing field. I really don’t know how he think that alienating the one group that is trying to make the best of the current mess is doing anyone any good. The only think I can think of is complete denial of our current situation.

I’ll probably stop clicking through to these pieces as I’ve noticed most other BB readers have done already. At the end of the day it just makes me sad.

This is different to the “save Netflix” one in that people like Netflix, whereas they might click on this link hoping to hear that iTunes is about to be destroyed somehow.

Though, thinking about it, wasn’t the other one “save Comcast”? I guess I don’t really get the overall angle here.


I, for one, welcome our new snack-pauser-app-subscription-service-provider overlords. Down with the evil nappy-change-pauser-app-subscription-service-providers!

As someone from W3C I feel that there is an unfortunate distortion in how Cory is representing the situation.

He writes: “I worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to propose a W3C policy that would have made its members promise not to use the DMCA to take down legal technologies, and the W3C’s director completely rejected that proposal.”

This is not the case. A series of proposals were made but the W3C Advisory Committee didn’t reach consensus on any of them. That Cory’s proposal was not accepted whole cloth does not mean the importance of the issue was rejected. This is how standards bodies work - proposals are made, they are discussed and sometimes consensus is reached and sometimes not. The W3C has many members and many voices are heard. However, that doesn’t mean the issue was deemed unimportant or rejected.

See the reiteration of the W3C’s support of security work and notice of the new Technology and Policy IG in the blog post from 5 April about allowing the EME WG to progress:
"The W3C is currently setting up a Technology and Policy Interest Group to keep looking at those issues and we intend to bring challenges related to these laws to this Group."


Thank you, Amy.

I’d like to address this in more detail, but I’ve been warned by the W3C that AC business is member confidential, so I’m afraid I can’t do that here.

Feel free to email me if you’d like to discuss it, though.



Hi Cory,

Thank you. I appreciate your response.

There have been a number of public posts which can be felt to distort these issues for dramatic effect. Going to email for further discussion leaves the public posts to stand on their own without having the other side in public as well.

If you don’t feel you can engage on the topic further, publicly, without breaking member confidentiality, I do understand and respect that. Thanks again.


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