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Re: Formal Objection to Working Group Decision to publish Encrypted Media Extensions specification as a First Public Working Draft (FPWD)

From: Casey Callaghan <caseyc37@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 31 May 2013 15:55:59 +0200
Message-ID: <CAHoGenMYB8sY+3wL-EEH6449hKGtwPbLbY+zcwVw+DFB9A97gA@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Foliot <john@foliot.ca>
Cc: Andreas Kuckartz <A.Kuckartz@ping.de>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, timbl@w3.org, public-html-admin@w3.org, public-html-media@w3.org, jeff@w3.org, public-restrictedmedia@w3.org
Mr. Foliot

I believe that your earlier non-technical post has been incorrect on a
number of important points.

On 30/05/2013, John Foliot <john@foliot.ca> wrote:
> <non-technical post, with apologies>
> Andreas, GaŽl, Florian,
> Just so that I have a clear understanding of what you are suggesting here:
> You, and the EFF, under the banner of "Freedom" and "Openness" are in fact
> attempting to BLOCK, to STOP COLD, a number of software partners from
> working - in the Open and under public scrutiny - on a technical
> specification at the W3C that can be used on the Web Platform. Never mind
> that this effort is being contributed freely, and it's trajectory path for
> Final Recommendation includes milestones such as community input and
> comment
> on its *technical* merits, an accessibility review by the PFWG, and a
> published call for Patent claims prior to standardization.
> Your stated reasoning appears to be that if you are "successful" you will
> have somehow stopped Digital Rights Management from being used on the web,
> or being supported by commercial browsers developed by privately held
> commercial companies today. The Web "MUST REMAIN FREE!!!" you rally. As an
> analogy, I see this as akin to stating that you support freedom of religion
> as long as that religion is based upon a form of Christianity - anyone who
> deviates from that myopic perspective is "wrong", misguided, or simply
> "greedy".

The proposal to remove EME from the HTML standard does not prevent
DRM. Any browser that so wishes can still implement EME; EME can be a
standard on its own, separated from and not required for the
implementation of standards-compliant HTML.

As an analogy, putting EME into HTML is akin to insisting that every
place of worship should include a large and prominent crucifix.

> In *my* Open Web, any group that produces a specification and then releases
> it to be used by others without any patent encumbrance is contributing to
> the Open Web Stack. And funny enough, that seems to be how the web works
> today.

Surely that depends on the standard? If I write up a standard
insisting that all webpages should be displayed with, say, a
particularly nauseating puce background, bright purple text, and a
pattern of dancing cupcakes down the left side... then that would
hardly be an improvement, even if I were to release it without patent

To *improve* the Open Web, a standard surely needs to pass the fairly
minimal bar of being good for the users of the Open Web if

> My question to you then is this: what happens if you *are* successful in
> stopping this effort at the W3C? Do you think that those who require this
> technology will simply pack up their tents and go home, accepting "defeat"?

What I think will happen, is that they will implement this technology
in some other way. Quite probably, via proprietary browser plug-ins.

And that would be the right and appropriate place for such technology.
Those that wish to use it, can use it; and those that wish to avoid
it, can avoid it while remaining standards-compliant. This seems to me
the sensible solution.

On the other hand - what happens if the EME proposal is included in
the HTML standard? Then, there are a number of people who will
disapprove of it (starting with the EFF, to name one vocal group).
These people include sufficient competent programmers that there will
very likely soon be a browser that implements all elements of HTML5
except the EME. (Depending on the final form of the EME, it may even
be that all FOSS browsers are prevented from implementing it). This
leads to fragmentation of the standard; which is an outcome that I
feel should be avoided.

Received on Friday, 31 May 2013 14:35:01 UTC

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