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DRM Electronic Frontier Foundation Encryption GNU is Not Unix

RMS Urges W3C To Reject On Principle DRM In HTML5 320

gnujoshua writes "In a new article, GNU Project founder Richard M. Stallman speaks out against the proposal to include hooks for DRM in HTML5. While others have been making similar arguments, RMS strikes home the point that while companies can still push Web DRM themselves, the stance taken by the W3C is still — both practically and politically — vitally important: '[...] the W3C cannot prevent companies from grafting DRM onto HTML. They do this through nonfree plug-ins such as Flash, and with nonfree Javascript code, thus showing that we need control over the Javascript code we run and over the C code we run. However, where the W3C stands is tremendously important for the battle to eliminate DRM. On a practical level, standardizing DRM would make it more convenient, in a very shallow sense. This could influence people who think only of short-term convenience to think of DRM as acceptable, which could in turn encourage more sites to use DRM. On the political level, making room for DRM in the specifications of the World Wide Web would constitute an endorsement in principle of DRM by the W3C. Standardization by the W3C could facilitate DRM that is harder for users to break than DRM implemented in Javascript code. If the DRM is implemented in the operating system, this could result in distribution of works that can't be played at all on a free operating system such as GNU/Linux.'"
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RMS Urges W3C To Reject On Principle DRM In HTML5

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  • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:07PM (#43612761) Homepage Journal

    OTOH the choice becomes: stay free and HTML5 compliant or (try to) restrict viewers relying on 3rd party technology which won't work well and forever on millions to billions of devices.

    DRM on HTML is the best way to make all HTML an ex-standard.

  • by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:08PM (#43612781)

    I'd be quite happy if they'd standardize the DRM in HTML5. That way there would be one common DRM to crack instead of everyone having their own peculiar variant.

  • by rhysweatherley ( 193588 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:28PM (#43612965)
    Oh shut up - taking a pass on DRM is not "pick your battles carefully". Flash and Silverlight are dying on their own because they don't run, or run barely, on the current generation of smart phones, tablets, and ... wait for it ... smart TV's. The content distributors desperately need standardisation because supporting hundreds of device types and dozens of plug-in technologies is a pain in the neck. The problem is they've chosen to outsource the problem by making browser vendors write the proprietary DRM plug-ins for them. Instead of simply adopting the existing specifications for Internet video formats and protocols. Everything they want to do can already be done with AVI/MP4/etc together with HTTP/RTP and a "video" tag in HTML. Everything that is except spy on users and take away people's ability to enjoy the content on a whim. If we resist DRM, they'll either have to adopt open standards or they'll have no business model at all.
  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:37PM (#43613071)
    I usually find his views a bit extreme but in this case I believe that DRM will be the thin edge of the wedge. Suddenly a huge amount of perfectly open content (say government data) will be DRM'd as a reflex. Plus the DRM will come out on Monday and be cracked on Tuesday resulting in just having a new buggy and useless layer to deal with. So now you will invite a whole new audience to the cracking party. So people will all start downloading FirefoxK'd.
  • by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:44PM (#43613203)
    Not just that, as more GNU utilities, such as bash, gcc and so on have gone GPL3, they are like an albatross around Linux' neck, since a lot of companies don't want to touch that w/ a bargepole. Just as FBSD and others have gone to LLVM/Clang, don't be surprised as even Linux starts coming out w/ non GPL components in its userland, just like the recent ZFS-on-Linux. Ultimately, one will see a complete non-GPL non-GNU userland come up for Linux in order to make it yet usable. Even things like BTRFS are neither GPL3 nor CDDL - they are GPL2.
  • Re:Fascinating ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:53PM (#43613329) Journal

    Why do we bother posting reporting on RMS.

    While I think he's a smelly hippie with no appreciation of reality, he's still an interesting smelly hippie, because he provides a clearly reasoned argument for his (predictable) position for a given issue.

  • Re:Fascinating ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:09PM (#43613617)

    You're going to get modded down into oblivion for saying it. But it's true. No DRM means no content. So whether it's in the standard or not, it's coming.

    Yes DRM is coming on the web. Oh wait, DRM has been with us since the first days of Flash player, Shockwave player and Real player, Silverlight Player. RMS is against DRM in the standard. The companies can do whatever the hell they want, but the W3C must not endorse DRM in the standard. It's not only a symbolical stance it's a political stance as well.
    And a good one at that.
    Those that want DRM develop their own solutions. But the W3C should not endorse in any way such developments.

  • by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:18PM (#43613763)

    How is adding a DRM interface to the spec and different than what you already have?

    Because ease-of-use and widespread standardization aids adoption of technologies? It's unfortunate enough that people tie themselves to third-party solutions with DRM; integrating this functionality more closely into core standards will make it just that much more appealing for someone with a borderline interest in using DRM to deploy it (instead of deciding it's not worth the extra hassle of working outside everyone's-browser-can-view-it standards). DRM is used on flash videos today; but do you want to end up where the entire plain text content of webpages is DRM'd by default (because it's easy, and some retarded control freak at corporate HQ decided he liked it)?

  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @05:28PM (#43614653) Homepage

    No dichotomy when the aim is 100% free systems, not 100% free infrastructure built to accommodate non-free plugins which makes the result non free.

    Unless you live in something called "reality," in which case we're looking at a case where the two are clearly in conflict: either accept DRM into an open spec, or accept the fact that closed plugins will continue to be a major part of the web ecosystem.

    Pretending their is a third alternative for the sake of argument is bullshit.

  • Re:Fascinating ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WaywardGeek ( 1480513 ) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @08:58PM (#43616331) Journal

    My own personal battle against DRM is driven by my anger over not being able to read ebooks visually. Instead, I translate ebooks to audio files using text-to-speech tools. The entire audio path I use, even the TTS engine, is FOSS software, and some of it (the speed-up code) I had to invent and write myself. You wont hear people like me complaining, "Why don't you guys work harder to make our lives better." I'll change the world to conform to my own needs, thank you very much, at least until DRM arrived. DRM destroys my ability to help myself, and I can't even begin to tell you how much that pisses me off.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.