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[liberationtech] WC3 and DRM

Danny O'Brien danny at
Wed Jul 17 22:32:25 PDT 2013

On Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 01:27:27AM -0400, Catherine Roy wrote:
> Hi Jonathan,
> On 2013-07-16 02:04, Jonathan Wilkes wrote:
> >Hi Catherine,
> >Thanks for the link!  I didn't know about that effort until now.
> >
> >It seems like there are two fronts-- one, which you address by
> >jettisoning EME in freedomhtml, and another which is to keep
> >member organizations from standardizing software/hardware on EME.
> >Is there any way for the current members of all the working groups
> >to put pressure on the WC3?  If they all banded together and
> >threatened to leave would that have any effect on the
> >administration?  It's only anecdotal evidence but I see a lot of
> >articulate arguments against EME in the archives I've looked over,
> >and no principled stances in favor.
> If I am not mistaken, W3C is a private consortium, their operations
> are mostly funded[1] by their member organisations via membership
> fees[2], a significant part of which comes from their corporate
> members[3]. It has been brought up more than once on the Restricted
> Media Community Group mailing list (a group btw, that has no power
> over the EME draft aside from discussing it and exploring
> alternatives) that W3C is technically only accountable to its
> members and this argument has not been disputed by W3C staff.
> As you know, Google, Microsoft and Netflix are the editors of the
> EME spec so I think that is pretty significant. Mr. Jaffe has argued
> for the need of "content protection" while basically denying[4] that
> W3C is working on DRM and while technically, that may be true[5],
> the fact remains that EME is being developed to interact with DRM
> components.  It has been argued that the only way to beat this is to
> join it or in other words, propose another technical solution that
> will satisfy "premium content" distributors. But if discussions on
> the restricted media list are any indication, this is unlikely to
> happen if that solution involves accomodating open source systems.
> At this point, I can not see anything that will change the situation
> despite overwhelming opposition. Personally, I doubt W3C will be
> deterred from "process" (because W3C is all about process) and we
> can probably expect more formal objections where process allows and
> meanwhile, EME is being implemented regardless that it is for the
> moment only a First Public Working Draft and a very controversial
> one at that.
> >Also, has the EFF's formal objection had any effect?
> To my knowledge, no information has yet been made public regarding
> the outcome of this formal objection. There has been a second formal
> objection filed that is also awaiting resolution [6].

FYI, we're still in the midst of talking to W3C about this. I'm pretty
much holding off on a public statement until it's clear what the final
results of those discussions are, though happy to walk anyone through
our thinking and experiences privately before then. 

(I think Catherine describes the current situation very accurately)


> >It's just all mind boggling to me because this draft is the only
> >thing I've ever seen from WC3 with the sole purpose of restricting
> >people's access to content.
> While that may be true, I would add that regarding HTML5
> accessibility for people with disabilities, it has been an uphill
> battle since the very start to ensure the inclusion of certain
> attributes and some losses have been incurred along the way. So I
> would say that in reality, this could well have the effect in terms
> of restricting access to content.
> Best regards,
> Catherine
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]
> [4]
> [5]
> [6]
> -- 
> Catherine Roy
> --
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