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Re: Encrypted Media proposal: Summary of the discussion so far

From: Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2012 00:31:13 +0000
To: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
CC: Christian Kaiser <kaiserc@google.com>, "<public-html@w3.org>" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <383D9101-7A73-480F-951E-F09CB4156E8B@netflix.com>

On Mar 5, 2012, at 1:07 PM, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 12:22 PM, Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com> wrote:
>> On Mar 5, 2012, at 11:54 AM, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>>> On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 11:19 AM, Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com> wrote:
>>>> So, I think this would be a very bad thing, since these have been venues for innovation in the past and it would be detrimental to progress in general to remove such venues.
>>> 
>>> I don't believe that royalty-encumbered technology is required for
>>> innovation.
>> 
>> I agree. Did I say otherwise ?
> 
> Your argument is that it's important to let royalty-encumbered
> technologies work on the web, because of the innovation potential they
> bring.  I argued (somewhat tersely) that royalty-free technology
> innovates pretty well  by itself, such that the cost incurred by
> bringing royalty-encumbered stuff into the platform isn't worth the
> additional innovation benefit.

You have a great crystal-ball, then. Adjusting - again - to align with the proposal, which does not bring royalty-encumbered stuff into the platform any more than plugins do, that is still a tremendously sweeping statement about our industry.

You really think it would be wise, forever more, to restrict web innovation - even if you could - to only those things where the client can be 100% royalty-free ?

> 
> 
>>>>>>>> Are you saying copyright infringement doesn't matter, because you believe - wrongly - that it doesn't hurt one part of the industry ?
>>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> I'm saying it's irrelevant,  yes.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> So, this view is at odds with some pretty basic principles of intellectual property which underpin the industries we are talking about. Again this view is not supported in the W3C mission.
>>>>> 
>>>>> Bwuh?  You cut out the part of my quote where I explained *why* it's irrelevant.
>>>> 
>>>> Because the explanation was irrelevant. If you believe that the rights of authors can become irrelevant for any reason, then my comment above stands.
>>> 
>>> I'm not asserting any such thing.  I'm stating two facts:
>>> 
>>> 1. File-sharing, a large percentage of which is copyright infringment,
>>> has increased every year for the last decade.
>>> 2. The movie industry, which claims that copyright infringment is
>>> killing it, has had profits increasing faster than inflation for the
>>> past decade.  (The music industry, too.)
>>> 
>>> We can put those together to argue that copyright infringment is not a
>>> horrifying job-killer that must be dealt with RIGHT NOW.
>> 
>> Did anyone say it was ?
> 
> If copyright infringment is not something that desperately needs to be
> dealt with (clarification: dealt with on a technical level, rather
> than contractual/economic/legal level), why are we attempting to
> introduce DRM to the web platform?  DRM is solely a mechanism that
> attempts (unsuccessfully) to slow/stop copyright infringement.

I was objecting to the 'horrifying job-killer' part. A problem does not need to be 'desperate' to be worth working on.  

But again, this is a decision for the authors of the works, not for us.

> 
> 
>>>  Whether or
>>> not you think that sharing is morally right or wrong, it's clearly not
>>> an enormously important issue that would justify baking closed-source,
>>> royalty-encumbered technology into the web platform.
>> 
>> That's not what is proposed, any more than Flash or Silverlight is 'backed into the web platform'.
> 
> For most practical purposes, Flash *is* baked into the web platform.
> A few years ago, every browser was *required* by market forces to
> support Flash.  Thanks to the efforts started by iOS, the trend is
> reversing, but it's still something you probably need if you want a
> popular desktop browser today.

So, what does this say to you ? What are market forces other than the expression of the desires of consumers ? Doesn't this mean that consumers are demanding functionality that, for whatever reason, is not part of the web platform and therefore has to be provided in a plugin ?

> 
> Further, if a spec was proposed that required an unspecified external
> technology to plug into it, and it was clear that most actual users of
> the specified tech were going to use Flash or similar, that would be a
> significant drawback.  And Flash is much *less* objectionable than DRM
> blackboxes.

SilverLight at least *contains* a DRM black box. How can the whole be less objectionable than one of its parts ?

And I really don't understand the objection to APIs that access external technology. What about the Geolocation API, for example ? Many implementations of this will use proprietary technology, or even paid-for back-end services. Those that don't likely won't perform as well - won't support as many services.

> 
> 
>>> This whole tangent is irrelevant, though.  DRM does *not* stop
>>> copyright infringment (see list item 1, above); apparently, it doesn't
>>> even slow it down to any significant degree.  I don't think one can
>>> reasonably argue that adding DRM to the web platform will have
>>> materially different results.
>> 
>> Aside from that not being what is proposed (again - can we stop with repeating this one?)
> 
> It is being proposed, it's just not in the spec.  You personally
> stated that Netflix would be using a CDM that implements "real" DRM,
> not something like ClearKey.

I said that I doubted clearkey would meet the requirements of our contracts today. That's slightly different.

I just fail to see how it is different from proprietary plugins or codecs: these things are not defined in the specification. It's not required to implement them to be compliant to the 'web platform'. Yet the hooks to access them are.

I can't help it if 'market forces' make Flash or anything else de-facto mandatory - I seem to be lacking both the crystal ball and the omnipotent market influence that you expect.

> 
> 
>> , one can reasonably argue that the response to much of the above is up to the owner of the copyright. If they choose to license it a particular way, they're entitled to do it, whatever you think.
>> 
>> *Given that*, we have some choices about how to support services that use that content. Stay with plugins or adopt something along the lines we propose.
>> 
>>> Finally, authors' rights are a legal and contractual issue, not a
>>> technical one.  You can have both strong copyright *and* DRM-free
>>> distribution.
>> 
>> The author has a right to specify in their license properties that the technical means of distribution must have. So it is a question of author's rights.
> 
> Sure, and I have a right to require any browser I use to not
> interoperate with closed-source blackboxes that impair my computer's
> security.  So it's a question of user's rights.

I agree you have that right. This proposal would help you exercise it. Your browser could inform you about CDMs and you could turn them off. Unlike today, where you have to forgo Flash/Silverlight and all the non-DRM functionality they provide in order to exercise that right.

Both you and the content author can have their rights respected - it doesn't have to be a choice.

> 
> If we set aside the rhetoric, you're attempting to argue that we
> should honor the copyright owner's wishes at the expense of all the
> downsides that have been previously listed in these threads.

Yes, because I believe those downsides are either soluble or not so bad as to be worth hobbling HTML5 video by refusing to provide the hooks needed for most commercial video content.

...Mark 

> 
> ~TJ
> 
Received on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 00:31:44 GMT

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