W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-admin@w3.org > January 2013

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

From: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2013 18:37:10 -0800
To: "'Tab Atkins Jr.'" <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Cc: "'John C. Vernaleo'" <john@netpurgatory.com>, "'Mark Watson'" <watsonm@netflix.com>, "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'David Singer'" <singer@apple.com>, <public-html-admin@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00ef01cdfb6e$0cf26940$26d73bc0$@ca>
Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> Your belief is impossible.  There is no such thing as not taking a
> political stance.  Inaction is merely a type of action.

And here you are, again mistaken. I *am* taking a political stance: my position and repeated assertion is that we should be discussing the technical aspects of a specification that has already been written. The horse has left the barn Tab, and whether or not you agree that the horse should even be running should not be discussed on this technical list. 

To say that I am remaining inactive is simply false as well: for one, I continue to allow myself to get dragged into this philosophical back-and-forth with you (while at the same time asking that we stop doing this on this list. Note to self: this is my last posting on this topic.)

We have some choices here: we can work with those stake-holders who are writing this specification (including Microsoft and Google, BTW) to ensure that it is a good specification, or we at the W3C can tell them to go do-it-up-a-rope, at which point they will leave, go do exactly that, and we will have had no input on the outcome. My instincts are to say, ya, hey, thanks for checking in, and here is some other view-points (and hopefully some good technical feedback) to make what you want to do work better. 

Neither you, nor any single organization, can stop them from writing their specs (see: Ultra Violet, SMPTE-TT and a whole host of others); we can watch or we can participate. I choose the latter, and really hope that this Working Group agrees with that position.

> Worse, though, it's incorrect.

No, simply your assumptions of my goals and intent are incorrect. 

> Literally everything in this paragraph is incorrect, and most parts
> are based on numbers from debunked studies that were funded by the
> MPAA and related organizations.  Ten years ago it would have been
> defensible.  It would have been obviously wrong to anyone
> forward-looking, but it would be defensible.  Since then, history has
> shown over and over and over and over again that the arguments in
> favor of DRM are incorrect and wrong-headed, the use of DRM and
> enforcement of copyright costs far more than the additional revenue it
> brings, and the use of DRM punishes paying customers while doing
> nothing to "pirates" who receive a strictly better product for free.

What the facts tell me is this:

* In May 2012, as part of Google's newly inaugurated "Transparency Report", the company reported over 6,000 formal requests to remove Pirate Bay links from the Google Search index; those requests covered over 80,500 URLs. Media Piracy is real. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pirate_Bay)

* Musician David Lowery (of Cracker fame) is an independent musician, who currently is not signed to a Major record label. He is quoted as saying, 
	"By allowing the artist to treat his/her work as actual property, the artist can decide how to monetize his or her work. This system has worked very well for fans and artists. Now we are being asked to undo this not because we think this is a bad or unfair way to compensate artists but simply because it is technologically possible for corporations or individuals to exploit artists work without their permission." (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/06/19/1821240/david-lowery-on-the-ethics-of-music-piracy) 

Mr. Lowery has a lot more to say about your arguments Tab, and a few choice responses from his blog follow:

Comment: "Music should be free it belongs to the universe."

Response: Okay then come to my house and do YOUR job for free. My car needs it’s oil changed and someone needs to pick up the dogsh*t in the backyard. There is a signup list on our website. Last i checked my car and the dogsh*t also “belonged to the universe”.

Comment: "The Record labels and Musicians failed to adapt to the new hi tech reality. So it’s okay to steal music by Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven."

Response: So it’s okay to steal handmade boots, organically grown farm produce from family farms, and custom motorcycles? You’re right I’ve been stealing custom choppers for years. How stupid of me. You win.

Comment. “It’s okay to steal from musicians cause they are all rich”

Response: Although I am dictating this into my solid gold jewel encrusted dictaphone from horseback I’m not rich. Now Steve Jobs, he was rich...


Tab, if you want to give your intellectual property away for free, feel free to do so. Expecting every other artist or creative person on the planet to subscribe to your philosophy is naïve. (And FWIW, David Lowery gives away a lot of free MP3s on his site, so he is not opposed to being generous with his talent. He simply wants to be able to own and control how his I.P. is distributed and sold.)

> I believe that the adoption of DRM modules will produce strictly worse
> interop on the web, and harm people and our current and future culture
> for hypothetical and very questionable benefits to a small number of
> media distributors

It is very easy and simplistic to paint this as "The big greedy media distributors" versus the Web's Freedom Fighters, but it is neither that simple nor black and white, as David Lowery and countless other musicians and other content creators will attest.

I will once again, and for the very last time (since Maciej is apparently tapping his foot over there in the corner, ready to censure me and toss me from the list) repeat my basic assertion: 

If you are unhappy with the current proposal, then go off and create an alternative Extension Spec proposal that addresses the business needs and legitimate use-cases that have been brought forward, not only of "The big greedy media distributors", but also the David Lowerys of the world, and stop telling both of them that they must simply accept that what they create they should give away or tolerate being stolen. 

Give us a technical solution, not a morals diatribe.

I'm done.

Received on Saturday, 26 January 2013 02:38:06 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 19:57:21 UTC