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Re: Encrypted Media proposal (was RE: ISSUE-179: av_param - Chairs Solicit Alternate Proposals or Counter-Proposals)

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2012 10:55:23 -0500
Message-ID: <4F50ED6B.9030702@mit.edu>
To: public-html@w3.org
On 3/2/12 6:07 AM, Silvia Pfeiffer wrote:
> I'm confused. I thought the whole idea of the proposal was to just
> provide an API for adding CDMs into browsers such that when you have
> the library installed on your computer, any browser is able to make
> use of it

One note: the trend in the market seems to be toward not being able to 
actually install browsers on your "computer" so much (e.g. see iOS). 
And in general, there are lots of web-capable devices that want to 
browse the web that are not "computers" in the sense people think of 
those, and more to come.

In practice, what this means is that going forward bringing up a "new 
browser" will more often than not happen in the context of an entire new 
device (which may or may not entail a new OS and so forth).

Of course introducing a requirement that watching web video requires a 
device to use one of a small set of OSes that are blessed with CDMs 
would likely change the situation.  It seems to be like it would change 
it for the worse.  Well, except maybe from the perspectives of the 
vendors of the relevant OSes.

> no matter if it's Google's Widevine library or Microsoft's
> PlayReady - e.g. Firefox would be able to make use of these and any
> other CDM library.

http://www.microsoft.com/PlayReady/Licensing/request.mspx suggests that 
using PlayReady would not be a trivial endeavor.  It's not clear, for 
example, whether code that uses it could actually ship in Firefox 
proper.  The license involved, I would bet, would not cover 
redistributions or forks and so forth.

I can't tell much about Widevine without mailing sales@widevine.com, 
unfortunately.  It too has some sort of licensing regime.  It advertises 
no fees, but then it's not clear what's involved in the licensing.  It's 
also not clear what happens if you want to ship support for Widevine on 
a platform Google doesn't support right now.

> There would be no need to implement something
> additional into browsers.

You'd have to implement the actual API talking to the CDM into the 
browser, no?

> somebody better clarify how else it is supposed to work.

That would be nice, yes.  ;)


P.S.  Yes, I know we have some of these problems of platform lock-in 
with Flash already. But that seems like damage to route around and a 
problem to solve, not a state of being to enshrine in a web standard.
Received on Friday, 2 March 2012 15:55:59 UTC

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