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What's Actually Wrong With DRM In HTML5? 447

kxra writes "The Free Culture Foundation has posted a thorough response to the most common and misinformed defenses of the W3C's Extended Media Extensions (EME) proposal to inject DRM into HTML5. They join the EFF and FSF in a call to send a strong message to the W3C that DRM in HTML5 undermines the W3C's self-stated mission to make the benefits of the Web 'available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.' The FCF counters the three most common myths by unpacking some quotes which explain that 1.) DRM is not about protecting copyright. That is a straw man. DRM is about limiting the functionality of devices and selling features back in the form of services. 2.) DRM in HTML5 doesn't obsolete proprietary, platform-specific browser plug-ins; it encourages them. 3.) the Web doesn't need big media; big media needs the Web." Also: the FSF has announced that a coalition of 27 web freedom organizations have sent a joint letter to the W3C opposing DRM support in HTML5.
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What's Actually Wrong With DRM In HTML5?

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  • by Dputiger ( 561114 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @04:42PM (#43540253)

    The top 1% of the US captured 121% of the wealth generated during the "recovery." The bottom 99% actually got poorer. []

    That's why, despite record stock gains, real wage growth is flat. Improvements in the unemployment rate overall are much smaller once you count the number of discouraged workers or consider the underemployed. The jobs being generated don't pay as well as the ones people lost, and they don't include the same level of benefits.

    Facts. They kick ass.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @04:42PM (#43540259) Journal

    I've always assumed the name "Silverlight" was chosen precisely because it was a platform designed primarily to allow you to watch movies.

    DRM means I get to watch Netflix, so I'm all for DRM in HTML5.

    Have you read the proposed standard? All it provides for are some javascript bits and pieces for interacting with the 'CDM', a totally unspecified piece of software and/or hardware that handles decryption and optionally on-screen rendering.

    They don't call it this, of course; but it's a plugin, albeit one that is invoked in the 'video' tag rather than the 'object' tag.

    No CDM for your platform? No playback. That's the thing, this isn't even some 'well, pragmatic compromise to gain greater functionality' thing: it constitutes absolutely no improvement over the current 'proprietary plugin required to playback DRMed movies' situation, it just changes 'plugin' to 'Content Decryption Module' and slightly changes the mechanism for talking to it.

    Platform independent? Absolutely nothing in the spec about that(indeed, 'CDM may use or defer to platform capabilities', so it's explicitly OK for CDMs to have design features that require certain platform specific features).

    An improvement in the integration of video into the page, DOM access, etc? Well, requesting the encrypted video is handled in javascript and HTML; but the CDM blackboxes everything from decryption to (optionally, probably mandatory if anybody is worried about the browser just grabbing decrypted frames) painting onscreen. Totally opaque blob embedded in the page, just like a plugin.

    Other than giving the "HTML5!" stamp of approval to absolutely whatever CDMs people wish to use, the proposal really isn't "in" HTML5 at all. The CDM, the only important part of the game, is 'HTML5' in the sense that Java Applets, or flash objects, or ActiveX controls, are HTML: they can be embedded in web pages using HTML tags. That's it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:01PM (#43540477)

    Funny that you don't mention the bush tax cuts that keep getting extended. Or bills intended to raise the minimum wage that also keep getting shot down. Facts... Maybe you should look at _all_ of them?

    A president can only be as successful as his congress, which has been utter rubbish the past few years, and has singlehandedy been the source of much of the anti-prosperity we've been dealing with... Because they can't do their jobs.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK ( 692722 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:35PM (#43540777)

    While we're at it, lets also ignore the fact that raising the minimum wage also raises unemployment while doing nothing to increase long term purchasing power.

    You can't, for example, have all grocery store workers making $20 an hour, and then expect to be able to buy cheap groceries. If you increase everybody's wages, you increase everybody's costs. What good does it do to earn more if everything costs more?

    Meanwhile, you do actually have a very high impact on the number of people who can actually be employed. You're basically telling unskilled workers: "Hey, either make at least this much, or make nothing at all." The demand for low skilled labor is very elastic, meaning the demand for it is highly influenced by its price.

  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:40PM (#43540825)

    How do you capture 121% of the wealth? Did they take 100%, then give 21% back and then steal it again or something?

    Whatever the increase in total wealth was, the top 1 percent got 121 percent of that number. This means the other 99 percent lost 21 percent of that number. So if there was 1 trillion dollars in new wealth, the one percent got $1.21T richer and the 99 percent got 210B poorer. In otherwords the 1 percent had structured their investments/the rules/whatever such that they tend to accumulate wealth at the expense of everyone else, and on average all new wealth goes to them. Hope that clears it up a little.

  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @05:46PM (#43540861)

    There is no "movies without DRM" option available to the standards committee, sorry.

    Actually, the video tag works just fine without DRM - go watch YouTube with HTML 5 and no DRM. The reality may be that there is no netflix in HTML 5 without DRM, but there will certainly be a netflix plugin or standalone app with DRM if it's not in HTML5. There really is no purpose for it in the standard - it's just a standard way to embed non-standard stuff in the web, and that's not good for anyone.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @06:12PM (#43541113)

    Doesn't change the truth of it.

    That's not the truth. The truth is that a banal bunch in Hollywood think DRM is actually useful, and are trying to force their twisted view of reality on everyone else.

  • by coliverhb ( 886806 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:28PM (#43543025)

    This is one reason I think HTML5 is just a joke. HTML used to be about presenting information, but in HTM5 it's being turned into an application platform. Sort of like the difference between a Postscript viewer and the latest Adobe Reader.

    As someone who works with HTML5, I have no idea what you are talking about. Most of the things you may consider HTML5 are actually javascript + html5 + css HTML5 is litteraly about structure, with sane defaults, that's it. Javascript handles the client side decision making, animations, etc., css handles the styling and some animations (It's just beginning to delve into that). HTML5 is absolutely about presenting information in a simple, standardized way - you're bemoaning the marketing dept. of most web solutions companies, which are taking a leaf out of the 'Cloud' and 'Green' marketing handbook.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.