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

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 09:20:17 +0200
Message-ID: <CAJQvAufXznO6RRB8WQ+bZTqKM3GtB5aQwBi1JyGBbgfPwX=xvg@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Simmons <johnsim@microsoft.com>
Cc: Mark Watson <watsonm@netflix.com>, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, Glenn Adams <glenn@skynav.com>, Silvia Pfeiffer <silviapfeiffer1@gmail.com>, "<public-html@w3.org>" <public-html@w3.org>
On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 6:05 PM, John Simmons <johnsim@microsoft.com> wrote:
> This is not a proposal to enable Netflix. This is a proposal to enable interoperable commercial video delivery, meeting the requirements of that industry, and that interoperability depends upon standards.

1) Commercial video is already possible with the current feature set
of HTML. It's possible to create a Web site that doesn't grant access
to a DRMless video until the client shows a cookie that the client can
get only by paying first. That is, Louis C.K.'s model is already
technically enabled by HTML even though his streaming option used
Flash. (Also, commercial text and commercial images have existed on
the Web for a long time without DRM. When browser vendors refused font
DRM, commercial fonts came to the Web anyway. First, commercial music
supposedly required DRM but then the music industry dropped DRM and
the sky didn't fall.)

2) It seem bogus to talk about enabling something "interoperable" when
crucial parts of the system have been left undefined.

3) In practice, this proposal is about changing the Web to meet
Hollywood's requirements, since Hollywood both insists on DRM and has
content that's in enough demand that everyone doesn't just laugh their
DRM demands off. Since Netflix has successfully licensed Hollywood
content for rental via an NPAPI plug-in, it seems highly relevant to
study Netflix. In particular, Netflix shows the requirement ceiling
(for the titles available on Netflix).

Now it would be useful to understand the short-term requirement floor
for Hollywood movies. (It seems that long-term, the requirement floor
is no DRM considering the precedent of music sales and the precedent
of Hollywood movies being available for digital broadcast in standard
definition without DRM.)

> The consequences of not supporting this type of proposal will not be that the commercial video industry abandons DRM or adopts clearkey. The consequence will be that they continue to use native applications and plug-ins to support the level of content and service protection that they require.

Hollywood content sticking to native apps until they give up on DRM
seems like a healthier option for the Web, since it wouldn't harm
competition between browsers on operating systems that allow the
installation of different browsers. For example, renting movies from
iTunes doesn't tilt the browser playing field in favor of Safari.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Wednesday, 7 March 2012 07:20:51 UTC

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