W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > March 2012

Re: Encrypted Media proposal

From: Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2012 17:27:56 +0000
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: "<public-html@w3.org>" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <92033184-7DD7-44ED-9049-68D0640D7E65@netflix.com>

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 2, 2012, at 10:39 PM, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

> On Sat, 3 Mar 2012, Mark Watson wrote:
>> Again, authors have the right to license their works however they choose 
>> (within the law). Software authors and movie authors alike. You may not 
>> agree with all their choices but I hope you support their right to make 
>> those choices.
> I support people's rights to make whatever choices they want *up to the 
> point where it infringes on other people's rights*. Which is what DRM 
> does. So no, I certainly do not support their right to make the choice to 
> use DRM: it's unethical.

There's obviously no consensus that common content licenses infringe on other people's rights. I assume you think they do, so I would expect you to be against those license terms, not just against the technical mechanisms they require.

If that is so, this is very clearly a policy issue, not a technical one. If you think W3C should take a new policy position on this, you should propose it.

>> At Netflix we don't have customers telling us that we 'don't get it'. 
> I just did a Google search for [netflix drm]. On the first page of 
> results, I get the following results:
> * a bunch of links to forums talking about DRM errors preventing them 
>   from seeing NetFlix content.
> * A link to a blog post complaining about a problem that only happens 
>   because of DRM.
> * A news item about NetFlix's choice of DRM provider.
> * Another post about problems with DRM.
> * A page explaining how to remove NetFlix DRM.
> * A blog post from a content distributor who would like to publish their 
>   content on NetFlix without DRM, being told *by NetFlix* that they must 
>   have DRM (!!!) and cannot even tell people that the content is 
>   available elsewhere without DRM (!!!!!). (No lock-in indeed.)
> * A forum post about errors that only result from NetFlix using DRM.
> * Another blog post about a similar issue only resulting from DRM.
> * Yet another blog post on the same subject.
> * And another.
> The "searches related to netflix drm" feature, which lists query 
> suggestions that are based on queries made by other users and are 
> therefore representative of what people care about, contains two 
> suggestions regarding removing NetFlix DRM, and four suggestions regarding 
> errors caused by NetFlix DRM.
> So yeah. You have customers -- and content providers! -- telling you that 
> you don't get it. You might not be listening, but that's not the same.

Ian, we have well over 20 million customers streaming something like an hour a day each on average, so of course you will find evidence of technical problems related to this as to any other aspect of the service. I could find the fraction of playback failures related to DRM - I expect it is very small.

What I mean is that, aside from such issues, we don't see that the use of DRM impacts customers ability to get what they expect from the service. It's not cited as a common reason for cancellations and our market research doesn't flag it as an inhibitor to take-up of the service.

Of course there are a technically minded minority who would like to get more from the service than we promise, or who want to remove the DRM 'because it's there'.
>> It's often argued that all customers want is easy, convenient, 
>> reasonably-priced and legal access to content and they become frustrated 
>> with industries that refuse to offer them that. But that is exactly what 
>> we are offering and what we want to make possible with HTML5.
> It is often argued indeed. But it's not at all what you are offering. It's 
> not what your proposal enables -- HTML video can _already_ be used to 
> provide content easily, conveniently, at a reasonable price and legally.

Some content, yes, but not the vast majority of content on our service, because it doesn't support features required in the licenses for that.

You're arguing that W3C should take a biased position and say 'change your license terms or we won't let you on the web'. Again, that would be a policy, not a technical issue, even assuming that W3C is empowered to be such a gatekeeper.

> Your proposal is to add DRM to this, which *by design* does nothing but 
> reduce ease and convenience. It *by design* provides nothing but 
> roadblocks to customers. What customers are frustrated by is precisely 
> shenanigans like DRM (and what DRM enables, such as regional restrictions, 

I'm not sure DRM is necessary for regional restrictions. Our business wouldn't be viable at all without regional restrictions.

> device restrictions, non-skippable preroll warnings that use the FBI's 
> name to scare law-abiding customers, etc).
> -- 
> Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
> http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
> Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Saturday, 3 March 2012 17:28:26 UTC

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