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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: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 01:25:40 +0000
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
CC: "<public-html@w3.org>" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8DC53EE0-D55D-42E5-8BEA-42F94AA902F3@netflix.com>

On Mar 6, 2012, at 4:42 PM, Lachlan Hunt wrote:

> On 2012-03-06 18:00, Mark Watson wrote:
>> 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
> 
> No. In pursuit of the first goal, we recognise that <object> has provided for a certain level of innovation by 3rd parties, with an understanding of the costs, limitations and the inherent problems that come with it. We then work to provide competitive alternatives that can work as good as or better than what the plugins provide, and which can be freely implemented by multiple vendors, ideally without inherently relying on different 3rd party binary blobs to provide the functionality we're trying to integrate.
> 
>> and mandate an RF video codec.
> 
> We certainly tried that. It's an ongoing problem that we haven't yet got a common baseline, but it is at least down to two main alternatives.
> 
>> 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.
> 
> Innovation can still occur outside of this space. But you have to understand that bringing such innovation into the traditionally royalty-free and openly implementable space of the W3C inherently requires exhausting all possible avenues for finding a royalty free and openly implementable solution first, before settling on a compromise that involves or ends up requiring due to market forces inherently closed source/non-RF components.

This is to say that we should work on finding an FOSS-compatible CDM. Fine. But that is going to take a while.

> 
> With this in mind, we need to know all known requirements that must be met by a CDM for it to be deemed acceptable by the major content providers.  Then we would at least have a chance of coming up with a spec that meets those requirements.
> 
> Ideally, we should also have the content providers themselves involved in these discussions and for them to be willing to reach a compromise on the level of protection they will accept.  If their only intent, in using you (Netflix, et al) as a proxy, is to dictate exactly what we must provide, then these negotiations are unlikely to go well.
> 
>> 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.
> 
>>> 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.
> 
> The content owner's limitations are not really technological. They're politically motivated.  By mandating DRM, they get to keep tight control over what innovation can take place, limiting what functionality user agents can provide for users, with the legalities of anti-circumvention laws to back them up, in spite of what fair use/fair dealing laws would otherwise allow.
> 
>> That they  don't share this view is itself a significant barrier.
> 
> It's a self-inflicted barrier by the content providers, not an inherent technological barrier.
> 
>> Rational people change their views on such matters on the basis of evidence.
> 
> Correct. But after years of paying attention to the utter nonsense spouted by the content industry executives, lobbyists, and the politicians they bribe on these issues, it's not clear that those people are rational.
> 
> There are some sensible people in the industry, however. Valve's Gabe Newell has clearly stated that piracy is a service problem and that restrictive DRM only encourages more piracy.  Yes, Steam does use DRM for some titles, but there are plenty of titles that don't, and there is no evidence that those titles available without DRM suffer from any more piracy than those with.
> 
>> 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.
> 
> There is no reliable way to calculate the amount of lost revenue, and the excessively inflated and highly questionable figures thrown about by the content industry lobbyists in support of whatever draconian copyright enforcement legislation or secret trade agreements they're trying to push through at any given moment around the world should clearly illustrate this.
> 
> Besides, I didn't say, nor even imply, that record profits would be made and be able to cover such indemnity.

Why would you need record profits to cover this indemnity if you believe, as you say below, that DRM-free content won't result in any significant losses ?

> That's just absurd.  My only point is that offering content DRM free, or at most with a thin layer of obfuscation to prevent casual copying, won't result in increased piracy or indeed any significant losses.  There is absolutely no evidence that it would have any negative effect at all.  (Content providers know this - DRM doesn't stop piracy - and as I've stated, "piracy" isn't their real motivation for pushing DRM anyway).
> 
> As to whether any given business will succeed or not depends almost entirely on their business model and the ability to provide a valuable and attractive service to consumers. As I'm sure you're aware, it would be naive to think that being DRM free is all that's needed to succeed.
> 
>> Users will apparently be  much happier too. Why aren't there 100
>> startups doing this?
> 
> There are hundreds of startups and independent content producers that offer DRM free content; just not from any of the major Hollywood studios.

Exactly my point.

> 
> Just like eMusic was successfully offering DRM free indie music well before the big-four record labels jumped on board.  Even during the time when the labels were still shouting about how DRM was essential to prevent piracy. In the end, the labels were undeniably proven wrong, just as the film and TV industry eventually will be.
> 
> The producers of Sanctuary (TV Series) started out by offering the episodes for sale on the web, DRM free, and did very well right up until the show was subsequently picked up by a TV network.
> 
> Another startup, started producing a series called Pioneer One, offered for DRM free torrent download or a streaming option, using crowd funding to pay for and produce the episodes and largely promoted through social media and word of mouth.
> 
> Louis CK grossed over a million dollars in just a few days when he recently offered his show for sale DRM free.
> 
> Also, Fandor have recently taken a small, but significant step toward offering DRM free streaming.
> http://cinespin.com/film-industry-news/fandor-offers-drm-free-movie-streaming/
> 
> I could go on, but I think I've made my point.
> 
>>> 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.
> 
> Yes, I know that. But that comes at an increased cost and didn't help much when even Walmart joined in the fight against RedBox, making it as difficult as possible for them to acquire the DVDs [1].  But whatever the reason in the end, RedBox eventually caved into Warner's demands, agreeing to a ridiculous 28 day release window, and there's now a push for extending that to 56.

How do you know it is ridiculous or stupid when you have no idea what they got in return ?

>  Such stupidity on behalf of the content providers will only push consumers to find alternative illegitimate means to obtain their content instead of waiting, and Warner is going to keep shouting about how "piracy" is killing their business.
> 
> [1] http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100204/1222178053.shtml
> 
> -- 
> Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
> http://lachy.id.au/
> http://www.opera.com/
> 
Received on Wednesday, 7 March 2012 01:26:10 GMT

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