W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > January to March 2013

RE: HTML5 - DRM - accessibility

From: Foliot, John <john.foliot@chase.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 17:59:19 +0000
To: "accessys@smart.net" <accessys@smart.net>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
CC: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org list" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <D0DBF1AE71D5D1448811AC41795190740E9AC6F5@SCACMX021.exchad.jpmchase.net>
accessys@smart.net wrote:
> I have not been following the HTML5 discussions on the
> main W3C list and was alerted yesterday by someone that
> HTML5 is considering adding DRM (digital rights management)
> restrictions to the acceptable code.  much of DRM locks out
> access software as it sees this as an attempt to "pirate" 
> the locked software or application.
> If this is in fact accurate it should be addressed now before
> it is released.

Currently, there is work underway for an API that would allow for Encrypted Media (https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/html-media/raw-file/tip/encrypted-media/encrypted-media.html) that is already being implemented into browsers and devices (such as Chrome/ChromeBook) https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/chromebook-central/c4p5DdehuHs

To date, it appears that the EME does not have any UI interactions, and as such will likely have few if any issues with respect to "accessibility". (Note: requires further testing to confirm) I know that the media-subgroup of the HTML Task Force (of which I am a member) is watching this carefully, and will be vigilant that anything added to HTML5 does not introduce new accessibility barriers.

PLEASE NOTE however that the W3C is not developing a new DRM system, nor are they embracing DRM as an organization. At the same time, the W3C does acknowledge that some in industry demand content protection and that DRM use is currently widespread. (http://www.w3.org/QA/2013/03/drm_and_the_open_web.html) For anyone interested in this topic, there is also a Community Group established at the W3C here: http://www.w3.org/community/restrictedmedia/ 

In his question, Bob also speaks of "the acceptable code..."

Any code that works in a browser is "acceptable", including non-conformant and at times "harmful" code (i.e. harmful to accessibility) - it is neither the job nor the mandate of the W3C to act as the internet police. The advantage of having the work done around encrypted media happening at the W3C is two-fold: any 'solution' will be patent and royalty free, and "open" for any browser vendor to implement freely, plus, to become a full W3C Recommendation the Proposal will be given an "accessibility review" by the Protocols and Formats Working Group as part of the Recommendation track. 

The alternative of course is that interested parties could go off and develop something 'outside of the reach' of the W3C, get it implemented into one or more browsers, and "we" would be left standing on the sidelines watching; the W3C neither owns nor controls what is on the web today - at best it attempts to steer it towards its full potential, while  at the same time ensure that it can be accessible.


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Received on Friday, 29 March 2013 17:59:52 UTC

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