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 20:08:54 +0000
To: "accessys@smart.net" <accessys@smart.net>
CC: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <D0DBF1AE71D5D1448811AC41795190740E9AC772@SCACMX021.exchad.jpmchase.net>
accessys@smart.net wrote:
>
> but I am on an open source group similar to W3C for open
> source and I was asked the question to bring it here, it
> is apparently about HTML5. I am not following that and was
> hoping someone here was and could give me some straight facts,
> to hopefully clear up some confusion in their ranks.

Hopefully the link to the Restricted Media Community Group will be a useful starting place: http://www.w3.org/community/restrictedmedia/  

> I was pretty sure that the W3C itself cannot issue proprietary
> standards so this was a bit confusing to me..

Well, it is (apparently) quite confusing to a lot of people. The key is in understanding what work is happening inside of the W3C, which to date has been the EME. That work has sparked a lot of controversy, because some people instantly think it equals DRM. It doesn't (although it will facilitate a content protection/encryption scheme that can work directly within the browsers). My personal frustration stems from the fact that some people instantly think "DRM is Evil" and completely discount (and disregard) the real needs of the owners of this Premium Content, who are standing by watching it be stolen right from under them. If current DRM schemes are not working, then the engineers need to come up with something better, not shrug and state: "DRM is Evil anyway, the web should be free". There is this sense of entitlement that bothers me to no end in the root of comments like that. 

> the one issue that has been a problem pretty much accross platforms though 
> is certain voice to text (captioning) has not been working in some DRM 
> formats, or has been locked out. 

Hopefully with advances in the legal arena (for example CVAA), access to captioned materials will become significantly easier and more wide-spread.

> same with talking books, buying a book 
> in digital format often cannot be used in video to audio or text to speech 
> software. 

I am less sympathetic to the talking books issue. It is a specific format that the content owners do not want to have modified. Often times they have invested in "the voice talent" to read the books, and they expect a return on that investment.

You can purchase the book as text (so why convert it in the first place?), and providers such as Benetech are working with content owners (using the Chafee amendment) to provide text-to-audio books legally for those that require an alternative format due to a disability. The rights of all participants in what is essentially a commercial contract (one person is selling *something*, the other is purchasing) need to be respected and protected, and if even creaky DRM systems is all that content owners have (and are seemingly happy with) then we have no right to refuse them that sense of security, no matter how flawed or misplaced that might be.

> this I am aware of personally and the problem is not W3C but 
> the individual providers of the content refusing to open it so it will 
> work.

Correct. As I noted earlier, I am actually rather happy that the work around EME is happening at the W3C, as it is the best chance we have that efforts around content protection get a fair review, in terms of accessibility, openness and patent and royalty free technology. 

Cheers!

JF

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Received on Friday, 29 March 2013 20:09:30 UTC

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