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

From: Kornel Lesiński <kornel@geekhood.net>
Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2012 18:31:00 -0000
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.warhpyrjte2ec8@aimac.local>
On Tue, 06 Mar 2012 17:43:46 -0000, Christian Kaiser <kaiserc@google.com>  
wrote:

> As previously mentioned, the proposal enables innovation through
> competition *between content distributors*, which in turn is enabled by
> lowering the barriers to entry.
> Content distributors' interests are closely aligned with users' interests
> since more convenient and full-featured distribution services will win  
> in a competitive landscape. (Of course, this only holds water if you  
> think that users should be able to choose for themselves.)
> In addition to that, content distributors are motivated to keep the cost  
> of content protection low (since they're probably carrying some of their
> costs), and are therefore seeking simple, cheap and standardized  
> solutions.
> The concepts of "open source" and "royalty free" are compatible with  
> these motivations.

That sounds very reasonable, however in practice it may not turn out so  
well:

- If closed CDMs become a de-facto requirement for web-compat, then  
open-endness and royalty-free status of the spec won't mean anything, as  
real-world use will require FOSS-incompatible components.

- Content owners could dictate certain limited set of CDMs to all  
distributors, and that would make differentiation in this area impossible.  
Currently e-book distributors have this problem: Adobe DRM is the only  
available option for newcomers, and it makes certain business models and  
innovations impossible (such as browser-based readers).

> In the browser market, I'd argue that barriers to entry would stay the  
> same
> as they are today if one assumes that the proposal would result in a CDM
> plug-in model. The hurdles to pass to allow plugging in CDMs seem pretty
> similar to the hurdles to pass to allow plugging in Flash or Silverlight.

Not quite, since CDMs add DMCA to the mix. Reliance on certain closed  
plug-ins has proven to be problematic (despite spec itself being free and  
open), so I think new specs should move away from this model, rather than  
repeat it.

> I disagree with this statement. The proposal at hand enables (but does  
> not require!) the use of proprietary and/or royalty-encumbered standard  
> CDMs.
> It also enables innovation to allow e.g. non-proprietary, non-encumbered
> CDMs to potentially emerge.

When important content on the web is going to use closed CDMs, than  
web-compatibility will require those CDMs, even if the spec doesn't say it  
explicitly. Theoretical spec-compliance isn't worth much.

There are fundamental limits to effectiveness of a FOSS-compatible CDM, so  
we can already predict where that innovation will hit a wall.

> I don't think that the proposal at hand doesn't allow video decoder  
> output to be available. You're making an assumption here.

However, it does allow it to be out of reach of the browser.

If the spec limited what CDMs can do, it would be much more acceptable  
 from perspective of security and implementability, but I think it's safe  
to assume that content owners will want to have option of using a  
full-stack DRM.

-- 
regards, Kornel Lesiński
Received on Tuesday, 6 March 2012 18:31:34 UTC

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