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Over many objections, W3C approves DRM for HTML5

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Over many objections, W3C approves DRM for HTML5

Postby MrFredPFL » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:04 pm

Story :

In 2013, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees the development of Web standards, took the controversial decision to develop a system for integrating DRM into browsers. The Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) would offer a way for content producers to encrypt and protect audio and video content from within their plugin-free HTML-and-JavaScript applications.

EME is not itself a DRM system. Rather, it is a specification that allows JavaScript applications to interact with DRM modules to handle things like encryption keys and decrypting the protected data. Microsoft, Google, and Adobe all have DRM modules that comply with the spec.

The decision to bless the EME specification as a W3C standard was made last week in spite of substantial opposition from organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Many opponents of this regard any attempt to impose such technical restrictions as an affront to the open Web. But HTML's inventor and W3C's director, Tim Berners-Lee, decided that the objections to EME were not sufficient to justify blocking the spec, giving it his, and hence the organization's, approval.

When W3C's 2013 decision was announced, the battle lines were immediately drawn. On the one hand were organizations like the MPAA and Netflix, with business models that depend, in whole or in part, on the ability to protect content from being trivially copied. On the other were groups opposed to DRM on principle. Those groups either reject the notion of restricted distribution at all or reject the way that DRM does an end-run around the "fair use" provisions of copyright law, preventing people from using protected media in ways that are legally protected and do not require the consent of the rights holder.

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