W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-comments@w3.org > June 2013

Re: Keep DRM out of Web standards -- Reject the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) proposal

From: Olivier El Mekki <olivier@el-mekki.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2013 08:50:47 +0200
To: Arthur Clifford <art@artspad.net>
Cc: "public-html-comments@w3.org" <public-html-comments@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20130611065047.GA4999@central.el-mekki.com>
W3c should certainly not get implied in corporate vs users, because
that's politic and w3c doesn't do politics - it does standards.

But this alone should be enough to not implement DRM in standards :

> One reason DRM is dangerous is that it can hide all manner of spyware
> and malware from users.

One idea the NSA story strengthened is that everything that is possible
will be done. What will we make possible ?

If DRM is not implemented, it will be made possible to massively
duplicate copyrighted materials and thus (arguably) hurt entertainment
industry.

If DRM is implemented, it will be made possible to implement spywares
on web pages.

That is the real choice.


On 19:02 Mon 10 Jun     , Arthur Clifford wrote:
> I don't know why but I feel compelled to be a devil's advocate.
> 
> 1) if the html specification supported DRM it would be, in order to maintain backward compatibility, an optional feature.
> 2) if drm tags were present in a given document and user agents did not honor the drm and there was no legal recourse for when violations occur there would be no point to having drm.
> 3) I create therfore its yours is not a de facto truth. By assuming you should have full rights to everything I create a) violates my soveriegnty as a creator to protect my work and my right to make a living through the work I produce. b) it limits the amount I'm willing to give because if there's something I'm willing to share in part but have no mechanism to do so, I'm not going to share at all. 
> 4) There is a legitimate argument to be made against encrypted media content, and a legitimate argument in favor of it. If you want data to be private passing it around in the clear is completely insecure. Data encrypted for transfer to/from a server is done for the protection of the end user. This could be abused if you do not know what is being sent to the server as a nefarious content provider may be encrypting other tracking info that you may or may not approve of. Many of the developer tools right now make things fairly transparent but if I could see my data unencrypted in a developer tool by visiting my bank's website I would not be very likely to continue banking with them. Having said that, if you want to argue that there are scenarios whereby a user with legitimate credentials should be able to see decrypted transactions I would agree that is worthy of discussion. I also wouldn't have a problem saying that encrypted media providers must support a service request that identifies properties stored in encrypted transactions to empower user agents (browsers) to validate actual data stored relative to data purported to be stored as a measure against fraud. 
> 5) Advocate rather than dictate. A world that shares ideas and resources is a beautiful one. But your decision to share freely your creations is your soverign right as a content provider. If you feel that is the way and the light, advocating that ideal is your right; more power to you. But do not in your zeal to separate wheat from chaff tread on my sovereign right over my creations and my freedoms. Your ideal does not work in all situations and I would argue that a market based on an html spec without DRM options cannot be a free one.
> 6) In academic circles (from which the internet sprung) even the notion of referring to another's work requires a citation. Failing to do so qualifies as plagiarism which can get one fired or expelled from an academic environment for ethics violations. Releasing a memo outside of a company is grounds for being fired. There have always been cases in pre-digital and digital environments where some degree of consequence existed for failing to recognize an author or an authority's rights. Advocating for safer ways of doing that is one thing, saying we shouldn't have any is quite another.
> 
> Seriously, the anti corporate rhetoric is a bit misplaced here. The w3c is standardizing what the corporate bogeymen and women figured out how to make/adapt and profit from and therefore fund so that the internet as it exists today could even exist at all. 
> 
> The real objective should be digital sovereignty, sustainability (which *may* include profitability), and the ability to facilitate an exchange of ideas and content in a way that is safe for both the end user and the content provider. Anything the HTML spec can do toward that end, should be explored.
> 
> 
> Art C.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Jun 9, 2013, at 11:58 PM, "Laurel L. Russwurm" <laurel.l@russwurm.org> wrote:
> 
> > Dear Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Consortium:
> > 
> > If the W3C allows the incursion of DRM into the HTML5 Web Standard, it will erode trust on a global scale.
> > 
> > As a middle aged mother, I've been learning (and sharing what I've learned) about net neutrality, the importance of free software, free culture,  and an open Internet, ever since I began hand coding my own HTML web pages [http://laurel.russwurm.org/] and participating on the Internet in 2009. As a creator from a creative family, as well as publishing my own content online, I run a blog for my eighty three year old father. [http://lynn.russwurm.org/blogs/] I have come to consider myself a netizen. [http://laurelrusswurm.tumblr.com/netizen]
> > 
> > One reason DRM is dangerous is that it can hide all manner of spyware and malware from users.  Another is that most people don't even know what it is, or if they do, how to recognize it. While governments have allowed large corporations and media conglomerates to cripple digital products with DRM, there is no requirement anywhere in the world to to inform customers or computer users of such application.
> > 
> > I have avoided DRM wherever possible, but even with the absurd extension of copyright law, I have been certain that free culture will win out eventually.  But that confidence presupposes a free market.
> > 
> > In Canada where I live, our new Copyright Act makes it illegal to circumvent DRM for any reason at all, even if the the circumvention is allowed under our "fair dealing" exemptions, or if the DRM is applied inappropriately.  I consider the application of DRM to freely licensed or public domain creative works to be inappropriate.
> > 
> > This is a huge concern for me, both as a cultural consumer and as a self publishing author.  Existing copyright law has prevented me from even seeing the finished production of one of my own works. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110724/11180115223/writer-explains-how-copyright-has-prevented-her-ever-seeing-tv-shows-she-wrote.shtml
> > 
> > Independent creators and Internet users are already at a huge disadvantage, because the large media special interests have the wherewithal to successfully lobby governments around the world into maximizing copyright laws and the attendant copyright monopoly, to their own great benefit, at our expense.
> > 
> > These large and powerful special interest groups have long had a seat at the W3C table.  But where is there representation for Internet users?
> > 
> > Most of the public does not even know W3C exists, let alone how to comment on an issue such as this.  Although I am passionately interested in the subject, until I read Harry Halpin's Guardian article last week, I had no idea there was any way for Internet users or creators to express our dismay beyond signing the Defective By Design's "Keep DRM out of Web standards -- Reject the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) proposal" Petition. But Mr. Halpin pretty much implies that petition wasn't enough.
> > 
> > Although Canada has been a world leader in Internet adoption, most Canadians are still not online.  For most of those who are, participation on Facebook signifies the height of technical prowess. Certainly most Canadians haven't even heard of the Guardian, and so will not have even read the article.
> > 
> > Mr. Halpin essentially gave me the weekend to get the word out.  This weekend Identi.ca, the social network of choice for a great many people who are aware of these issues, is undergoing a massive migration from a backend of StatusNet to pump.io software.  Many users like myself have been consumed in setting up our own federated status net instances.  As well, those of us with privacy concerns have been caught up in the NSA Prism news story.  For myself, I've had two major family happenings this weekend in addition to those pressing online issues.
> > [http://laurelrusswurm.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/tell-the-w3c-no-drm/]
> > 
> > Maybe a few people have read my blog post I wrote, but a weekend is not much time.  Especially considering that the special interests that want DRM written into the Web Standard have been at the table for so very much longer.
> > 
> > Until the W3C holds a widely publicized meaningful consultation process, that Free Software Petition must be given at least as much weight as the opinions of any other group of stakeholders.  Perhaps more, since the inclusion of DRM in the standard panders to the direct benefit of a specific special interest lobby group.  Internet Users are easily the largest group of stakeholders, and our exclusion from the process means that the W3C must look out for the public good.
> > 
> > Keeping even a whiff of DRM out of the Web Standard will not harm the corporate special interests who lobby so effectively for it.  They can just continue on as they have been, locking their own content behind DRM.  Allowing the DRM toehold EME provides will lead to DRM becoming the default.
> > 
> > DRM exists to break interoperability.  If DRM is allowed into the W3C Standard, it will become the W3C Standard.  If W3C supports this, it will sacrifice the free and open Internet, not just for us, but for generations to come.  Please don't do this.
> > 
> > Regards,
> > Laurel L. Russwurm
> > 
> > [note: this is my second attempt to post this letter to the W3C mailing list as the first does not seem to have succeeded.  If it turns out to be a duplication, please disregard....llr]
> > 
> > 
> 
> 


-- 
Olivier El Mekki.
Received on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 14:30:47 UTC

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