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Re: Encrypted Media proposal (was RE: ISSUE-179: av_param - Chairs Solicit Alternate Proposals or Counter-Proposals)

From: Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2012 17:00:16 +0000
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
CC: "<public-html@w3.org>" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <6915DD07-14D8-416F-A0F0-748A7BBE892F@netflix.com>
Lachlan,

My point about innovation was a different one, orthogonal to your point below, although you examples support my point as well.

Some seemed to be suggesting that the W3C adopt a 'restrictive' goal of restricting the web to only those services where the client side can be implemented fully as free open source.

I believe our goal should be an 'expansive' one of widening the features of the W3C open web platform
to encompass as much of the web as possible. I think this aligns with what Charles said.

The two goals would lead to different actions. For example, in pursuit of the first goal we would probably remove <object> from the specification and mandate an RF video codec.

The restrictive goal is dangerous, in my view, because it aims to exclude from the web innovation outside the Royalty-Free Open Source space. You point to several examples of such innovation below.

The expansive goal should lead us to migrate as much functionality as possible into the open source part of the platform. That is the goal of our proposal in respect of commercial video services.

I'd note as well that we have a one-off opportunity to influence how these capabilities are integrated into the web - to ensure that indeed all the parts that _can_ be implemented in open source are moved out of the 'black box' realm and only those that must be left are left behind. That aligns with the expansive goal and is another goal of our proposal.

One further comment on a different issue inline.

...Mark




Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 6, 2012, at 6:38 AM, "Lachlan Hunt" <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au> wrote:

> On 2012-03-05 18:55, Mark Watson wrote:
>> If you propose to restrict the services which can be offered on the
>> web in any way, you restrict innovation. Just as evolution in
>> constrained environments produces dodos.
> 
> Let's just be very clear about where the true barriers to innovation in video lie, and it certainly doesn't lie with those opposed to restrictive DRM technologies.
> 
> There is absolutely no significant technological reason why video service providers can't start to offer streaming video to all HTML <video> implementations now and in the future.

That view simply isn't shared by the owners of the content. That they don't share this view is itself a significant barrier. Rational people change their views on such matters on the basis of evidence. Ten-thousand repetitions do not make one truth.

Anyone who truly believes your assertion has a fantastic business opportunity before them. With the money that you save on technology you can buy more and better content. You could safely and at no cost offer to fully indemnify the content owners for any loss of revenue from unauthorized use of content from your service. Users will apparently be much happier too. Why aren't there 100 startups doing this?
 
> 
> The real barrier to innovation is the content providers who are unwilling to adapt to the changing environment, and who are conveniently absent from this entire debate; instead leaving it up to middle-men like yourself (Netflix, Cox, etc.) to proxy their demands for a not-clearly-defined protection system with seemingly strict yet unspecified CDM requirements.
> 
> The real barriers to innovation occur when content providers try to use legal tools to stop countless companies from offering useful and innovative products and services to consumers, all because it chips away some of their control over the market (which, by the way, is the real reason they demand DRM).
> 
> It was the MPAA who stopped both Kaleidescape and RealDVD from offering a personal copying/backup solution for DVDs, despite maintaining the CSS encryption scheme, for ironically circumventing said DRM scheme in violation of the DMCA; (This, despite the fact that making a personal backup copy of unencrypted media is otherwise perfectly legal in the US).
> 
> It was the MPAA who stopped Time Warner Cable offering a network DVR service, tried (but failed) to stop Cablevision offering a slightly different network DVR service; and then sued Zediva for offering remote DVD rental/playing service.
> 
> It was Warner Bros. who relentlessly attacked RedBox, trying to prevent them from renting DVDs too cheaply, and ultimatley forcing them, along with Netflix and Blockbuster, to accept wholly unnecessary, and ultimately harmful to themselves, release windows.

Actually, noone is forced to accept DVD rental release windows in the US. The 'first sale' doctrine means any DVD available for purchase can be purchased and rented out. In the past we have bought DVDs from Walmart.

> 
> And the list goes on...  Any time someone does something remotely innovative without first seeking permission from the gatekeepers, you can be sure the MPAA (or RIAA in the case of music) and/or their member companies or international affiliates, are going to have something negative to say about it.  (Oh, and by the way, not a single one of those innovative products and services I listed could be considered to be promoting "piracy" - their usual bogus reason for insisting on DRM.)
> 
> So when discussing innovation, and restrictions thereof, please be sure to let the blame rest with the appropriate party.
> 
> -- 
> Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
> http://lachy.id.au/
> http://www.opera.com/
> 
Received on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 17:00:53 UTC

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