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Re: Oppose DRM ! Re: CfC: to publish Encrypted Media Extensions specification as a First Public Working Draft (FPWD)

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 13:27:34 -0800
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDB2crtjjWZRBXDyTkPb6+UG1h_cav3VjUaTj7dR=SnJCQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Cc: Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, David Singer <singer@apple.com>, "public-html-admin@w3.org" <public-html-admin@w3.org>
On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 12:32 PM, John Foliot <john@foliot.ca> wrote:
> The gist of many of the objections to date have been based on political and philosophical differences around how the web should be used. If you truly ascribe to the notion that the Web Platform be open to all, irrespective of their philosophical position on *any* topic, then the objections around "incompatibility with FOSS" to date should be rejected out of hand. Insisting that it *only* be used in one way - *your way* - as many appear to be suggesting, isn't open, it's dictated.

The evolution of the web is an important topic for many people.
Please don't pretend that it's an unimportant or irrelevant issue, or
that your desired outcome is "politics free".

Also, please don't try and dishonestly twist the concepts around.
"Tolerance" does not mean being tolerant to intolerance; doing so can
easily reduce the net tolerance of a society, which defeats the
purpose.  Similarly, having the "choice" for a media distributor to
require you to use an OS/browser that ships a particular DRM module
(that perhaps limits you even further, such as refusing to install if
it detects, say, a debugging tool on your computer), will likely
result in less choice overall, as the user can't switch to a new
browser that doesn't support that module, or a new OS that the DRM
vendor doesn't support.

> As I previously noted, there is a significant number of W3C stakeholders who desire to use this open platform to interact with their constituents - people who, on both sides of the transaction, agree to enter into a contract. As part of that contract, there is a need for a means to secure the intellectual property that is being exchanged, so that the intellectual property remains marketable to those who initially invested in the creation of that content. To suggest that they not be entitled to that right is astoundingly naive and offensive to me.
> If *you* choose not to engage in that contract then that is your right; to insist that nobody else can make that choice because you are opposed to it on philosophical grounds over-steps your, and the W3C's, mandate. (As a side-note, even if the W3C standardizes a specification, there is absolutely no mandate for any W3C member - including browser vendors - to adopt that specification into their software. Those BUSINESSES will make their own business decisions, based upon their own business requirements.)

Please stop suggesting that this is about giving users freedom.  It is
not customers who are being given choices here, it is media
distributors, and all of the choices this specification offers are
either (a) already present, as you can ship DRMed video with Flash or
similar existing plugins, or (b) strictly worse for consumers, as the
introduction of new closed source plugins results in more interop
failures, and the potential to bring in some *very* unfriendly
concepts like Trusted Computing.  (Mark mentioned this very thing, so
it's not a boogeyman - nobody likes the "No User-Serviceable Parts
Inside" concept unless they stand to make money from it.)

(We do, in fact, limit what you are allowed to give away with
contracts.  In the US it is illegal to contract yourself into slavery,
for example.  It is sometimes possible to increase a person's de facto
freedom by restricting their freedom in what they can give away, as it
prevents such a loss from ever being a bargaining chip.)

> Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>> I disagree with you on moral grounds, but that's neither here nor
>> there.  I'm talking *technically* incompatible.
> No Tab, *Technically* it can be done (was it Jonas Siking who stated "this is software, we can do anything"?) but *Philosophically* it contravenes other software licenses in use in any given stack. None of those other licenses place technical barriers in the way, only philosophical ones. (Using FFMPEG I can both encode and decode H.264/.mp4 files on Linux, even though there is a contradiction in licensing philosophy there as well.)

It is illegal to circumvent DRM in the US and many other countries.
That is not a mere "philosophical" disagreement.  There are many
DRM-decoding programs in existence that are illegal but not
prosecuted, as the relevant companies either don't care or realize
that they profit from wider decodability.

Please stop attempting to cast this as a battle between naive web
folks and friendly businesses who just want to serve customers.

Received on Friday, 25 January 2013 21:28:22 UTC

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