back to article It's happening! It's happening! W3C erects DRM as web standard

The World Wide Web Consortium has formally put forward highly controversial digital rights management as a new web standard. Dubbed Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), this anti-piracy mechanism was crafted by engineers from Google, Microsoft, and Netflix, and has been in development for some time. The DRM is supposed to thwart …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want to help stop this you can contact w3c here

    https://www.w3.org/Consortium/contact

    1. Old Handle
      Pirate

      Nah, they've jumped the shark. Just ignore them.

    2. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Thats just a general place

      Looks like there is no specific point to push back... unless you are an 'organisation' with enough dollars to join and make a statement that will likely be overridden anyway

  2. DougS Silver badge

    Inclusion in free software

    So it means you'll have a binary blob you'll have to separately install to enable EME on Linux, right? That's not RMS free, but it is free enough for most.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DougS - Re: Inclusion in free software

      It's the exact part that will spy on you and steal your personal info but you'll never know it. What you can't see, can't possibly hurt you! But hey, it's free as in beer!

      As long as I can remove it, I'm fine with it.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: @DougS - Inclusion in free software

        Never know it? I guess you must be imagining some sort of binary that goes around reading all your files and sending them off over the network. Gee, how could I possibly detect something like that happening on an open source operating system? Pull the other one.

        You won't have to remove it, you'll have to take some sort of positive action to install it, just like Linux never shipped with Flash pre-installed, you'll have to install this yourself manually. Don't want, don't install it.

        1. Named coward

          Re: @DougS - Inclusion in free software

          want to watch video on your browser? you have to install this little plugin...

      2. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: @DougS - Inclusion in free software

        Problem is that what will happen is that every place you can download anything will sharp add an encryption and you will need the drm engine to get past it. You won't be able to do squat with the stream apart from watch it right when you are connected.

        So no more downloading a pile of stuff for my daughter to watch on the plane, back of car or anything else. That would be ok if that same stuff is available to BUY legit, but mostly it isnt

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Inclusion in free software

      Presumably this will immediately be reverse engineered and various ripping addins will also be available....

    3. Nick Gibbins

      Re: Inclusion in free software

      That's fine for *users* of free software/open source software, but not much of an option for developers of same.

      (this is why I raised a formal objection at an earlier stage of the process - given the provisions regarding reverse engineering in the DMCA, EME presents a risk to open source developers and security researchers)

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Inclusion in free software

      I think FLASH had/has DRM capability, right? obvious comparison obvious.

      [look forward to MORE OF THE SAME with respect to vulnerabilities, incompatibilities, browser crashes, etc.]

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "improve online privacy"

    Since when has DRM ever "improved" anything for the law-abiding end-user ? The list of DRM failures is longer than I care to mention, much less research.

    This whole article tells me one thing : Internet authorities have finally been bought out by RIAA/MPAA et co.

    Thank God for Open Source, it's all we have left.

    1. chris121254
      Coat

      Re: "improve online privacy"

      Open Source will win over DRM in the end hopefully

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        chris121254 - Re: "improve online privacy"

        You're delusional. Not only digital freedoms but all forms of freedom in general are steadily eroding because nobody bothers to fight for them. DRM is now moving to farm equipment and coffee makers and there's not one single instance (feel free to prove me wrong) where it has been pushed back.

        1. chris121254

          Re: chris121254 - "improve online privacy"

          many are fighting to make sure that are freedoms are not eroded, and has DRM moved to farm equipment and coffee makers? can anyone back that up? but there has been a huge push back against most forms of DRM.

          are digital freedoms and all forms of freedom are not being steadily erode because many are fighting to protect them and you can help by supporting the EFF and ACLU

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: chris121254 - "improve online privacy"

            Where is this huge pushback against DRM? Certainly not from the general public, who doesn't even know where they have DRM embedded in every TV sold for the past 15 years. Some might be vaguely conscious of the DRM in their DVDs.

            If you want to fight against DRM, why don't you start by refusing to buy or own any TVs, since every TV sold with an HDMI port (other than maybe the first few years) supports DRM in the form of HDCP. And in the US at least, almost all cable/satellite operators enforce it on at least some channels, and many enforce it on all HD channels. And the world still turns.

          2. Rosie Davies

            Re: chris121254 - "improve online privacy"

            I don't know about coffee makers but did spot this article about farm machinery a few days ago: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/farmers-using-hacked-firmware-to-bypass-john-deeres-software-stranglehold/. I'll be honest; I've not done any more research than read that article. It could be complete nonsense but is certainly in line with the 'design something that can only be removed with Ultra-Expensive Dealer-Only Doohickey Mk III' that already goes on.

            Rosie

            1. DropBear Silver badge

              Re: chris121254 - "improve online privacy"

              ...*sigh* Fine. For cave dwellers, on coffee DRM...

    2. goldcd

      Re: "improve online privacy"

      I'm assuming I wouldn't be listening to Spotify without it - unless you know of an alternate non-DRM service.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: "improve online privacy"

      "Thank God for Open Source, it's all we have left."

      not entirely. there's still "creative commons" and "fair use". For now.

      1. find users who cut cat tail

        Re: fair use

        With DRM, fair use is exactly what we do not have. More precisely, we may have it in theory, but they are trying hard to prevent us from exercising it -- both by technical and legal means.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will be boycotting / pirating any company that actually uses the plugin.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Ah, the principled stand via pirating approach.

      And how would you pirate it? By furtling some already-existing open source browser which runs the DRM plugin.

      So basically it's what would have happened anyway.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "And how would you pirate it? By furtling some already-existing open source browser which runs the DRM plugin."

        Well, to be honest, Internet Explorer wasn't standards compliant for years. So if someone wants to build an open source browser that's standards compliant for the things that matter, and ignore this DRM Standard, then the original poster can do whatever the feck he likes.

  5. jonnycando
    FAIL

    Ummm

    So this plugin was written by......people? Well, of course it will be broken by other people! What one may build another tears down. That's how all this works in the Interwebs!

  6. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    This is heavy

    1. Phil W

      Far out man

      1. tomban
        Joke

        There's that word again: "heavy." Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well you don't actually have to listen to anything W3C says

    They do not run the servers or host anything useful since they sold out so just ignore them

    As to the other bodies who thought this was a good idea, then remember you can also be ignored

    IMHO until the day when no one can buy exclusive content rights then DRM is there simply to support a state sponsered monopoly that puts consumers last.

    You would imagine that Netflix would know better, given their efforts in allowing VPN access to their services so as to allow their customers to bypass the same exclusive content restrictions that removes 70% of their content from their non-US customers

    Again IMHO If the distributers were removed and content was sold direct to the consumer then the artists and studios would still make their money and when the content is too cheap to bother ripping actually remove the whole "piracy" issue once and for all. Distributors create nothing and exist only to tax their consumers, you would imagine that they would dislike them too but there you go

    1. Bob Rocket

      Re: Well you don't actually have to listen to anything W3C says

      'Distributors create nothing and exist only to tax their consumers'

      The distributors act as a hedge for the creators, the creators get a guaranteed sum for their work and the distributor takes the risk that not enough buyers will be found for that content for them to make a profit.

      Increasingly I find most 'content' is designed to get me to watch adverts and is not worth the price.

      DRM is a good thing, it is like an adblocker on steroids.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Well you don't actually have to listen to anything W3C says

        Plus distributors normally have the most important thing a talent needs to make it in the business: connections.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well you don't actually have to listen to anything W3C says

          "the most important thing a talent needs " i.e. they have control of the market and outsiders must pay them to get any exposure.

          Remove the distrutors and everyone has fair access to your "most important thing" without any leeches in the middle

      2. Mark Eaton-Park

        Re: Well you don't actually have to listen to anything W3C says

        "as a hedge for the creators" i.e. they are the ones hyping the 90% crap that comes out so you have to watch it all to find the stuff worth watching.

        "Increasingly I find most 'content' is designed to get me to watch adverts and is not worth the price." who do you think is paying for and providing the adverts, it isnt the artists it is everyone between the artists and the consumer.

        I am all for the creators benefiting from their work but I would just like the option to by pass all the real "freeloaders" acting as middle men. If the artists do good work then then profit by it but the 90% crap that wastes my free time becomes non-profitable and so we end up with 100% good stuff for less then we pay now.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's one thing to define a standard...

    ...it's a whole different ballgame to get people to actually use it. I hope that this may give some people a better impression of the importance of open standards. And for the record:

    "That survey was sent out yesterday and member organizations, who pay an annual fee that varies from $2,250 for the smallest non-profits to $77,000 for larger corporations"

    I don't consider "pay to win" very much of a reliable standard to begin with. Sounds to me that the more money you contribute the more things you got to say. But how does that ensure quality standards to be uphold?

    Yet here also lies a bit of a concern. Google is one of those members and they got big pockets. Next you'll also have the Chrome browser which pretty much dominates the market. So, uhm, yeah, it's fun and all that Chrome is an open source browser but it's most definitely not much of an open and free standard. I'm pretty sure that when this vote gets accepted, and why shouldn't it considering the massive monetary interests, then it'll be a matter of time before Chrome and therefor a huge area of the Net has been switched to this new standard.

    Basically putting Google into the same position Microsoft once was when they dictated the market. Major difference being that this doesn't involve one proprietary product but a full blown allegedly shared environment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ShelLuser - Re: It's one thing to define a standard...

      You're absolutely right.

      Mozilla was reluctant to adopt it for a long time but they finally caved in. They had no choice because they would be crushed by the propaganda unleashed by Microsoft and Google. Look at the bad name BitTorrent protocol got by being associated with piracy. Imagine the two whispering left and right that Firefox browser is being used only by pirates that steal content and they have a duty to protect the public etc.

      I guess now Fedora and Debian must start working on another browser that excludes DRM because they can't publish the source code of Firefox, Chrome and others that will adhere to DME standard.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: @ShelLuser - It's one thing to define a standard...

        "I guess now Fedora and Debian must start working on another browser that excludes DRM"

        resurrect 'iceweasel' - that's what it was, a few years ago, before debian merged it back with firefox (for 'pure open source' reasons). So we've been there before.

  9. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    If you can see it or hear it

    You can copy it

    And there is nothing that can be done about it.

    DRM is pointless and just pisses off actual customers

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: If you can see it or hear it

      Indeed. If this extension is supported on Linux, and the Linux is using open source video and audio drivers, these can always be modified to allow copying.

      I'm not sure DRM is intended to piss off customers (though it is annoying that it curtails what used to be 'normal' activities, like lending a DVD to a mate), I think it's primarily intended to annoy pirates!

      1. John 110

        Re: If you can see it or hear it

        "I think it's primarily intended to annoy pirates!"

        It won't annoy organised pirates, because they can afford a solution to circumvent DRM in bulk, It won't annoy casual downloaders, because they get their DRM-free stuff from organised pirates.

        It will annoy folk who believe that if they've paid the manufacturer or creator for something, then they have the right to make backup copies to guard against the DRM server being turned off (Zune) or the book they have on their Kindle being withdrawn (1984).

        It's usually the little guy that gets screwed by this sort of thing.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: If you can see it or hear it

        "I think it's primarily intended to annoy pirates!"

        like 30 seconds of anti-piracy warnings with law enforcement symbols, filling my entire TV screen, at the begining of NEARLY! EVERY! DVD! I! OWN! (and I own quite a few)

        Notable exception, Excel Saga, which actually lampoons it.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: If you can see it or hear it

          like 30 seconds of anti-piracy warnings with law enforcement symbols, filling my entire TV screen, at the begining of NEARLY! EVERY! DVD! I! OWN! (and I own quite a few)

          You mean like... :

          http://joyreactor.com/post/899649

          (I had seen a better version (same graphic but higher quality) somewhere, can't find the link today)

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: If you can see it or hear it

      Quite. I'm pretty sure this won't impact users of Popcorn time too much ( see popcorntime.sh for details ) ...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting ...

    ..to see that Google are involved. If this actually works then, as existing videos are taken down, won't YouTube gradually lose most of its value?

  11. MNGrrrl
    Holmes

    Oh, please.

    First, the W3C shouldn't be doing this, but the W3C is also irrelevant. It hasn't been a forum for engineers and leading industry professionals for a long time, and that's why its initiatives have become bloated, unimplimented, and standards have become ad hoc or de facto instead of guided by a deliberate design process.

    That said, they (all the corporations) have been shoving DRM down people's throats and... other... orifices, for a long time now. It's inevitable it will eventually get into browsers, standards committee approved or not. And for people thinking boycotting websites or companies will somehow be effective, I've got some bad news: There's never been a successful boycott of a website or a large company that amounted to anything, because people aren't organized politically. Not just here in 'Murica, home of the yellow-haired angry groundhog, but anywhere. There is nowhere in Europe where there is a powerful organization with a strong membership base and enough influence that it could tell enough people to blacklist a website or corporation enough to matter.

    I'm ideologically opposed to DRM, but I'm also a realist. We lost this fight, a long time ago. At this point in the game, it would take substantial resources and an unprecidented groundswell of public support and political engagement to make a difference. My country can't even organize itself to make health care a basic government service, and this is something that is quite literally life or death. The idea of people organizing to fight back against DRM, or for their own privacy, is as fanciful as selling plane tickets to the moon.

    Which by the by, people thought would be a thing back in the 40s and 50s. We also thought we'd have the flying car, "learning caps" that would transmit knowledge, and a cure for cancer. None of those things happened, but the contemporaries of the era made the same mistake we did: They thought the trends in technology they were seeing at the time would continue, and that people would see good ideas and work to make them a reality.

    You know, like the internet... we thought it would spread democracy and knowledge throughout the world, uniting humanity in a way never before seen. What we got was porn, cat videos, and the cancer that is social media. If I'd been amongst the creators of the internet in the 70s and 80s and saw what my creation had become... I would be filled either with an insatiable murderous need to tear it all down, or liquor because of my newly-discovered drinking problem.

    That's where idealism in technology gets you if you aren't careful. Sad, but true. I'm not saying don't give up on idealism -- indeed, it's only people who have ever tried, that ever made a difference. What I am saying is don't hope that people will follow you. If you're in this field, do it for the love of the work not what you hope it'll be used for. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to be in the right place, at the right time, as the right person, to be the one who starts a paradigm shift towards something better. But for the most part, we can only look on our creations with the same loving eyes that a parent looks upon their child -- they will not turn out the way we expected, and often not even the way we wanted. If you became a parent to get those things, you did it for the wrong reason. All creative acts have this in common.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @MNGrrrl - Re: Oh, please.

      Very well said.

      I'm honored to present you the first up-vote.

      I'd also wish that the person who down-voted your post could come up and explain his position but only if he feels he has valid arguments for his/her position.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @MNGrrrl - Oh, please.

        he said that porn has ruin the internet! we all know for a fact that not true!

    2. MartinB105

      Re: Oh, please.

      The music industry went almost universally DRM free after an initial stint using DRM technology, so I don't see why it's impossible for the same thing to happen with the movie/TV industry as well.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Oh, please.

        The music industry went almost universally DRM free after an initial stint using DRM technology, so I don't see why it's impossible for the same thing to happen with the movie/TV industry as well.

        That's true, but the consequence is that a lot of artists are being paid almost nothing by the likes of Spotify. It used to be the case that even musicians with quite small followings could make a living selling LPs, but nowadays it's hopeless. Selling CDs whilst busking is probably the only way to get a decent return for recordings.

        The money now is in the concerts; you cannot digitise and stream the 'experience'.

    3. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Oh, please.

      @MNGrrrl,

      Sounds like you need to quit the USA, come to the UK, go down the pub, put your feet up in front of the fire, have a beer (a proper one, none of this larger nonsense) and chillax. We find this soothes almost all of the world's woes. Solving them becomes a problem for tomorrow, not this evening. Perhaps the day after that. Bringing ones chums is optional, though by definition everyone else in the pub is a mate.

      Have enough beer and even the price of beer stops being a problem.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Oh, please.

        @Bazza

        Keep you doped with religion, booze, sex and TV ...

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