The W3C has overruled members' objections and will publish its DRM for videos


Originally published at:


Christ, what a talented asshole.



[quote]The web will get standardized DRM for videos, and new startups who want to follow in Firefox’s footsteps or Netflix’s footsteps, or Comcast’s footsteps, or iTunes’s footsteps will be frozen out of the standardized web-video world.[/quote]It’s kind of hard to be sad about never again having to be beholden to someone’s buggy, bloated, insecure, closed-source third-party app or plugin.


After several large entertainment industry members signed on, the W3C took on a new kind of project…

This was the first mistake, and none of the subsequent DRM issues should be in any way surprising.


Sounds like someone’s check cleared…


Not exactly the most courageous decision.


Except that EME ONLY works if you hook it up to a CDM, like the one from Adobe, or the one from Microsoft, or the one from Google. These are all buggy, bloated, insecure, etc – Google’s was broken for six years and no one even noticed.


So to summarize…
The only people who will be able to use web video in ways not approved by the corporations are those with the means to illegally break the encryption.

The powers-that-be in the W3C aren’t interested in better security such as allowing people to report security issues but would instead rather have someone to blame for their shortcomings. (No doubt because publishing security issues is bad press, difficult to fix and demonstrates the lack of technical understanding on the part of decision makers and affects the bottom line.)

We will no longer be subject to horribly insecure things like Adobe Flash. Instead we’ll just have to worry about the horribly insecure browsers we use to watch those videos…

So… The bright side is maybe web video will be a bit more friendly to non-technical users? Hey, that seems totally worth setting up a completely one-sided, short-sighted system of DRM that won’t stop the illegal activity that the corporations seem oh so concerned about.


Oh pish. If you don’t like it, you can make your own WWW. Maybe you can use that infrastructure-free search engine you made on it.


I’m doubting it will make much difference to me as a linux user even with FF, all comercial media sights reject me up front. Right back at you.


I have a question. How does this play out in countries that don’t obey the DMCA, which is to say, almost all of them?


Well, the majority of the modern, over-arching framework for these kinds of “IP laws” is basically an attempt at securing and controlling the future by locking down what constitutes innovation, and who can do it.

This Is a great example: anyone who doesn’t conform gets frozen out; even if this is “the rest of the world”, most entertainment, and therefore ported culture, comes from W3C compliant countries.


It was a great internet while it lasted


And it still will be, if you’re rich.


So you’re saying it’s code.


The way Tim Berners-Lee has been portrayed in all those years as the glorious inventor of the WWW has always irritated me. Many years ago (2003, 2004), an assignment in one of my seminars was to give a short description of the IETF and the W3C and compare their structures and ways of creating standards. I was really amazed how many times “The Director” was mentioned in the W3C’s charter as final authority in most processes - and there was not a single word on how and why this Director came into existence, or how he could be replaced if needed. The W3C was completely built around TimBL as the one and only divine authority that is not to be questioned.


Writing from the W3C. Cory didn’t link to the W3C documents but so they’re available for counterpoints to the post:

The Disposition of Comments from W3C outlines how the objections were addressed:

The Backgrounder goes more deeply into the technology decisions and some of the policy:

Additionally Accessibility issues, were noted in the backgrounder and also carefully addressed in March


None of that responds meaningfully to the objections raised by RNIB, Vision Australia, Media Access Australia, and Benetech: namely, that adding assistive metadata to video at scale requires automated processing, which can only be accomplished by removing DRM.

It’s hard to characterize any of the responses you’ve linked to as “carefully addressing” these points when they fail to address them at all.


The internet is still great and wont change