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DRM The Internet

HTML5 DRM Standard Is a Go (arstechnica.com) 154

Artem Tashkinov writes: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C's members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining. EME provides a standard interface for DRM protection of media delivered through the browser. EME is not itself a DRM scheme; rather, it defines how Web content can work with third-party Content Decryption Modules (CDMs) that handle the proprietary decryption and rights-management portion. The principal groups favoring the development of EME have been streaming media companies such as Netflix and Microsoft, Google, and Apple, companies that both develop browsers and operate streaming media services. Following the announcement, EFF wrote a letter to W3C director, chief executive officer and team, in which it expressed its disappointment and said it was resignation from the W3C.
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HTML5 DRM Standard Is a Go

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  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:20PM (#55221041) Homepage Journal

    Every time EME comes up, a sizable number of Slashdotters announce they support it because "it's a DRM standard" and it means the end of plug-ins like Flash.

    It is not a DRM standard. It's a standard for communication with plug-ins, known in this standard as CDMs.

    And those plug-ins aren't like the old Netscape plug-ins, that worked (at the time) with every browser (except IE), with different versions only required for each CPU architecture and operating system combination. You won't be able to use your "Adobe DRM" plug-in for Edge under Firefox. In fact, every single browser, CPU, and operating system combination will require its own plug-in. Don't have one for your favorite browser? You're out of luck.

    This isn't a standard, it's a non-standard. It's actually worse than Flash.

    Shame on the W3C for adopting it.

    • I hope you are right, because if you are, then there will never be a DRM plugin that becomes popular. The market will be fragmented and not work very well, which is exactly what we want.
      • What I want is for people to stop bending over when a company demands that you use DRM to view content. Users are real bootlickers when it comes to this. Just talk to anyone under 25, and they'll actually defend DRM or even claim their preferred system of DRM is not, in fact, DRM.
        • Honestly, it's for streaming content, not content you're supposed to retain in the first place.

          Those DVDs you theoretically shouldn't be able to copy to Blu-Ray now that DVD players have gone the way of VHS? That's a problem. DRM is the devil.

          That NetFlix stream, Spotify music channel, etc. that you were never supposed to record a copy of in the first place? DRM doesn't matter, aside from the tech sometimes not working for someone and thus being in the way while not actually providing any real securit

          • by Squiddie ( 1942230 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @04:33PM (#55221615)
            The idea that you shouldn't be able to record a copy of anything that plays on your machine is ridiculous. I listen to internet radio, but if I wanted to record it, I could. Nobody else should be dictating what my machine does or does not do, except for me. I don't care if it's copyright infringement. This is a bigger tragedy than some studio "losing out on profit" because some teen recorded video or music. The idea that you were or were not supposed to do x with something on your machine is already an admission of defeat.
            • by TiggertheMad ( 556308 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @07:17PM (#55222493) Homepage Journal
              The idea that you shouldn't be able to record a copy of anything that plays on your machine is ridiculous.

              Amen! As a consumer, it is not my problem if your business model isn't robust enough to survive people copying data that you sold them access to. Keep your goddamed failed encryption strategies out of my browser.
            • I concur and I encourage you all to keep this in mind anytime anyone proposes using proprietary software because that's one of the effects of what they're encouraging you to adopt—less control over your computer and the data that it handles.
            • by Altrag ( 195300 )

              I don't care if it's copyright infringement

              You might not, but they do.

              is already an admission of defeat.

              This announcement shows that they absolutely have not admitted defeat.

              If you don't like their DRM, you always have the option of not reading/listening to/viewing their content. You may own the machine its playing on, but you don't own the copyright to their works and whether you like it or not, intellectual property is legally protected (DRM or not.)

              But really, DRM isn't the problem. When done properly, DRM is perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with say, Netflix' implementa

              • DRM is neveer fine, even if it's the least intrusive form of it. As for me not viewing "their" content, this does not make any sense. They do not own that content in any sense of the word.
                • by Altrag ( 195300 )

                  Except the legal sense. Which is what the whole discussion is about. If there was no copyright law, the point would be moot. And you could argue a world without copyright may be better, but its not the world we live in.

                  • Copyright != ownership. People need to get this through their heads. I own the computer, and as such, I get to dictate what that device does, not some copyright holder, that owns nothing involved.
                    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

                      And they own the copy_right_. They get to dictate how you use that copy, not some guy who happens to have a device it can be played on.

                      The fact that its difficult-to-impossible to prevent you from infringing their copyright, doesn't change the fact that doing so is illegal no matter how much you think you control your device, or how much you want to believe copyright shouldn't exist.

                    • No, they don't own anything. They have the right to copy things, legally, and I do not, but simply because murder or slavery are illegal, it doesn't meant that we suddenly make whips and guns illegal as well, or that we have someone breathing down our necks to stop us from doing this. It's illegal for me to give a minor alcohol, but a bottle of whiskey doesn't come with an ID check once I've bought it. I get that you like bending over for corporations and copyright holders, but I don't and the vast majority
            • Intellectual property is a result of something requiring thousands or millions of hours of human labor to create in the first place, but fractions of a second of human labor to reproduce: there's literally no way to recover the costs of making it.

              • Intellectual property doesn't and shouldn't exist. As for recovering the costs, maybe it's time to pay upfront to developers instead of middle-men like the media companies.
                • You misunderstand: Hollywood pays up-front for actors, film writers, directors, and so forth. An organization of marketers and managers works out how to get a film built, hires the engineers to do it, and does it, outlaying millions of dollars.

                  Then: sufficient bandwidth to copy a blu-ray costs about 0.4 cents.

                  How does the industry get the money from consumers to pay all the actors if there is no IP law, and thus any yank can torrent a Blu-Ray, burn it to a disk, print a pretty label, and have a $1 sp

                  • Well, obviously the solution is to eliminate "the industry" and simply fund films directly. We do not need the Hollywood companies, and DRM will never fix the problem of their business model being fundamentally broken. As it is, it's not my problem. It's their problem. It becomes my problem when they want to control me so they can keep themselves convinced that they are making all the money they can make.
                    • Who is going to fund films directly?

                      What you're saying doesn't even make sense. "Directly funding a film" means funding the organization of people handling all the logistics of getting the actors, directors, editors, and story writers together to make the film--you know, exactly what Hollywood industry is--so they can have a film made. It means buying the film before the film even exists.

                      I assume it's not your problem because you'd be just as happy if TV shows, movies, and books didn't exist.

                    • Are you implying that movies and music would not get made without Hollywood big wigs? That's patently ridiculous. We already have examples of people crowd-funding things. It is not beyond the realm of possibility to do this. You simply refuse to see. We don't need Hollywood, and I'd probably be happier if more movies got made that weren't shackled to the bottom line of some big Hollywood studio that is in it for the money and not the art.
            • i don't really see the point in encrypted streams anyway since they get decoded on the client side, whatever goes to your speakers or screen+speakers can be intercepted. I think torrentfreak just had an article on how streamripping is the new meth to the MafiAA ... i think this digital tv here (which i never turn on , is encrypted too, but the moment it gets to the end of the cable i plug into the tv then it should be fairly simple to just record it on anything that has the same socket and necessary hardwar
          • That's all well and good -- but now that it's a standard, it will be abused for things other than media streaming.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @04:55PM (#55221753) Homepage

          It's the "shelfless" generation... we had bookshelfs, LP shelfs, CD shelfs, DVD shelfs and having it has a physical object mattered. Then it was digital pack rats with MP3s and DivX ;-) movies. The current generation don't care as long as it plays right now on Spotify, Netflix and Steam. I'm not sure if they're right and we're wrong though, it's entertainment and it's not the size of your collection that matters. And they don't need us as a cultural archive, you might tell yourself that but almost anything of significance since the missing Doctor Who episodes is preserved. Remember that store that had rare, out of print stuff... yeah, that's not really how it works anymore unless it's an antique or artificially limited numbered edition.

          I still think copyright is way too long, but I think I've become more nuanced on the "universe" and characters in it. Like if you make a movie it should go into the national archives and 20-30 years later that particular instance should be made free. But if George Lucas wants to make new Star Wars prequel/sequels then maybe he should have the exclusive right to that. What I don't like is when they try to use DRM to push some totalitarian agenda, but they haven't really tried lately. Haven't heard of any mass lawsuits, no saber rattling to outlaw torrents or private communication or three/six strike Internet death penalties without a trial lately. They're still taking down a few torrent sites but that's mostly for show, The Pirate Bay is still ranked at #87 on Alexa.

          Oh and even UHD BluRays are getting hacked, Netflix 4K series/movies are also getting ripped. Pretty much everything is available if you got MadVR and don't want to play the DRM game. I doubt they really believe it themselves anymore, but admitting it's not going to work is admitting the emperor is naked. Not that the music industry collapsed after they started selling unencumbered MP3s, it's mostly a pet rock that keeps tigers away.

          • almost anything of significance since the missing Doctor Who episodes is preserved.

            Perhaps that's true with video, but it's certainly not true with music.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            The current generation don't care as long as it plays right now on Spotify, Netflix and Steam. I'm not sure if they're right and we're wrong though, it's entertainment and it's not the size of your collection that matters.

            It never was about the size of the collection. It's about convenience and about knowing that the content you purchased is never going to suddenly disappear on you.

            Streaming services all suck because that content can disappear at any moment. It does all the time. Streaming contracts are always expiring on Netflix, for example. This sucks so bad, it's unbelievable people put up with it.

            You buy something on Blu-Ray or (eesh) DVD, and you own it. Forever. It won't disappear from your collection. (Make back

          • by Altrag ( 195300 )

            They're still taking down a few torrent sites but that's mostly for show

            They've actually taken down quite a few. I mean its a game of whack-a-mole since torrent sites are far from difficult to set up, and they're not nearly as restricted by international borders as the laws they're trying to skirt.

            But really.. this is exactly the right thing for them to do. I know there's the argument that torrent sites aren't technically hosting the content they're providing access to and the possible slippery slope toward wider link-banning laws, but the media companies obviously won't (and

        • by dissy ( 172727 )

          What I want is for people to stop bending over when a company demands that you use DRM to view content. Users are real bootlickers when it comes to this.

          OK, so what do you propose?

          Not purchasing DRM content (aka voting with your wallet) is already the preferred option, yet clearly does nothing to stop the content providers from doing it.

          Asking or even demanding change from the content providers has done nothing to change their minds, and realistically there isn't a single reason to expect otherwise.

          You may argue this is due to the majority of people accepting DRM (you certainly imply that) however even that is suspect.
          Getting most, let alone all, of any giv

        • What I want is for people to stop bending over when a company demands that you use DRM to view content.

          This, exactly. Although I'm disappointed in W3C's decision, it has no practical effect on me. I simply don't cave in to Digital Restrictions Management - either I bypass it, or I entirely forego the content that sits behind it and consider it the provider's loss, not mine.

          My greatest concern is that if the only browser I consider worth using doesn't support the standard adequately, it may be abandoned by enough of the 'bootlickers' that its continued existence is threatened.

      • by jmccue ( 834797 )

        To me what it means "unless you pay for a OS subscription from Microsoft/Apple, forget about ever using video streams on a PC (maybe audio too??)". Thus Microsoft, Apple, and the various Cell Phone providers will be allowed to see exactly what/when/probably where any content you view/listen to.

        • by Altrag ( 195300 )

          So.. pretty much exactly like now? Or at least a couple of years ago (maybe more video providers have ported their DRM modules to Linux by now? I haven't heard or checked in a while..)

          This won't stop you from playing non-DRM video. All it does is give DRM providers a standardized API to implement (or not) their individual DRM schemes.

          It does mean one less option (or at least a more difficult option) for hackers to try to grab the decrypted stream perhaps, since the browser itself will be in control rathe

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2017 @04:08PM (#55221451)

      My opinion is that Mozilla is to blame for this happening.

      It wasn't long ago that Firefox had 35% or more of the browser market, and this allowed Mozilla to exert a lot of influence over how the web developed. They could take a given web standard and say, "No, we don't like this. Either change it or we won't implement it." Since their browser was being used by 1 in 3 web users, them deciding not to support a standard could basically render that standard irrelevant.

      But that's no longer the case. Now Firefox has only about 5% of the browser market [caniuse.com], and even that may be a generous figure. Firefox has only 0.04% of the mobile market. Yes, you read that right! 0.04%! Not even half of a tenth of one percent!

      Its 5% market share puts Firefox well, well, well behind Chrome. It puts Firefox well behind Safari. It puts Firefox well behind UC Browser for Android.

      With its 5% of the market, Firefox is now down in the region of browsers like Opera Mini and Samsung Internet. It's getting to the point where even web developers don't care enough to test with Firefox, because it just isn't worth it.

      Keep in mind that this is before Firefox 57 is released. Firefox 57 has been touted as only supporting WebExtensions extensions, which could very well break a lot of existing extensions. I could see this sort of breakage being the final straw for many of the few remaining Firefox users, who will likely move to Chrome, Safari or Edge, thus sending Firefox's market share even lower than it already is.

      Nobody cares what the developers of a browser with 5% or less of the market think. Such a browser is seen as irrelevant, its users wishes are seen as irrelevant, and its developers' desires are seen as irrelevant. None of its competitors have to give a damn what Mozilla thinks these days. This means that Mozilla has limited influence over the future of the web.

      It didn't need to be this way. Firefox was doing so well until Mozilla started making change after change that Firefox users did not want. I know a lot of people will claim, "But Google advertised Chrome!". But that's just an irrelevant excuse. People continued to use Chrome instead of Firefox because Chrome gave a much better experience. It became even sillier to use Firefox after Firefox started imitating Chrome's appearance and behavior more and more, but not Chrome's superior performance and small memory usage.

      If Mozilla had only listened to its users, and not made unwanted changes to Firefox, then Firefox would likely still have 30% or more of the browser market. If they had gotten the performance of Firefox fixed up, Firefox could probably have even had over 50% of the market. But now it's at 5%, and this number is decreasing.

      Mozilla could have influenced the future of the web. But now that Firefox has lost so much market share those driving the development of the web (Google, Apple and Microsoft) no longer have to care what Mozilla thinks or wants!

      • Few people care what the developers of a browser with 5% or less of the market think.

        FTFY

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        Perhaps you should list some examples of things Firefox users "didn't want"? Cause I'm pretty sure most people just want their browser to work with the websites they visit, and really don't care about much beyond that.

        It became even sillier to use Firefox after Firefox started imitating Chrome's appearance and behavior more and more

        I agree with this one, though I think you have cause and effect reversed: Mimicking Chrome I'm pretty sure was an attempt to draw users back who had already switched. Still silly to be sure, but I view it more as an after-the-fact panic move than a reason for their decline.

        Chrome won becaus

    • Every time EME comes up, a sizable number of Slashdotters announce they support it

      Do they?

  • That this was entirely expected makes it no less sad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:26PM (#55221095)

    When this protocol is used to disable adblock and any other previously free function of the web in the name of "muh intellectual property", don't cry about it.

    This is the future you chose.......

    • Well, there's a pretty easy way of avoiding it -- disable EME in your browser. That's what I do.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:47PM (#55221293)

        That'll work fine... up until nearly all content requires it. It WILL be extended beyond simple multimedia. There is already talk about using it to prevent adblockers and end-user avoidance of online tracking. That will not happen right away, because it has to be normalized first. But it will happen.

        This will eat the internet, in time. Wait, and watch. You'll see.

        • True, but all that would mean to me is that much of the web would become effectively dead. Which is why I said in an earlier comment that the adoption of EME is a sad thing.

          Fortunately, much of the most valuable (to me) parts of the web are not the sorts of sites that would use the EME for any purpose at all, so will remain unaffected. And it still leaves the rest of the internet intact.

        • I remember a time when exclusive web content was locked behind walled gardens from AOL and MSN. I remember a time when most popular websites only worked with Internet Explorer and it's non-standard HTML extensions. I remember a time when most popular websites used shitty Adobe Flash widgets. Those things all went away because people won't stand for it (at least not once they have an alternative). The internet is a big place and if your website punishes users with unfriendly tech, there are a hundred oth
          • Users will stand for it just fine; it's the content providers who have a bigger market on the Internet than on AOL alone, especially since people on AOL can get to the Internet at large.

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          That'll work fine... up until nearly all content requires it. It WILL be extended beyond simple multimedia. There is already talk about using it to prevent adblockers and end-user avoidance of online tracking. That will not happen right away, because it has to be normalized first. But it will happen.

          This will eat the internet, in time. Wait, and watch. You'll see.

          So in other words, nothing visibly changes for Joe Sixpack.

      • This is brilliant. You'd only have to unblock EME to watch a particular streaming service, and so could blanket-block ads!

        • Personally, I just won't watch any streaming media that requires EME to be enabled. That's even simpler!

          • by Altrag ( 195300 )

            You do know that essentially all (major) streaming media sites are already DRM-protected right? This just standardizes it a bit.

            • Yes, of course I do, but that's not very relevant to the issue of whether or not EME should be a part of the HTML spec.

  • So what?
    I don't mean I don't care about the issue, I mean that this decission was never in the hands of W3C in the first place.
    It is, has been and will always be in the hands of the browser developers.
    Google, Microsoft and Netflix are behind this (among others) so if W3C would not have approved, it would have happened anyway.

    • So what?
      I don't mean I don't care about the issue, I mean that this decission was never in the hands of W3C in the first place.
      It is, has been and will always be in the hands of the browser developers.
      Google, Microsoft and Netflix are behind this (among others) so if W3C would not have approved, it would have happened anyway.

      Behind nonsense about voluntary open standards and assertions that standards documents are nothing more suggestions reality is every player in the market uses existence of these "standards" documents... vendors, management and customers alike as excuses to argue and lobby for x, y and z to be supported - sometimes above and beyond what would otherwise be rationally justifiable.

      For example MS using standards as an excuse to destroy what's left of POSIX compatibility in their C compilers even though there is

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Following the announcement, EFF wrote a letter to W3C director, chief executive officer and team, in which it expressed its disappointment and said it was resignation from the W3C.

    Do you see nothing wrong with that sentence? Is English not your primary language and not the language you are supposed to be editing? What's wrong with you?

  • 20 silver (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sinij ( 911942 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:47PM (#55221289)
    I hope they enjoy their 20 silver. Assholes.
  • Wasn't it research?

  • Effective today, EFF is resigning from the W3C.

    I find that very sad. IMO EFF should be sticking around to continue fighting on other legal and freedom issues that are likely to pass through the W3C. Resigning after losing the EME fight stinks of the spoilt little child taking his bat and ball and storming off home in a huff after losing a game with the neighborhood kids. I thought the EFF was better than that.

    • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @07:10PM (#55222449)

      It is sad, but it's also understandable.

      Resigning after losing the EME fight stinks of the spoilt little child taking his bat and ball and storming off home in a huff after losing a game with the neighborhood kids.

      That's not how I see it at all. They aren't leaving because of this one issue. The corporate takeover of the W3C had been causing increasing problems for a long time. I think this is more like the straw that broke the camel's back.

      From my point of view, their leaving is makes sense -- their presence adds some validity to the committee that it doesn't deserve. If they can't actually accomplish any good by being on it (and it looks like they can't), then their remaining on it is actively harmful.

    • by lusid1 ( 759898 )

      They just realized that sticking around is pointless because its clearly become more about payola than rationale, and they don't have the funding to influence the W3C even if they did want to pay that game.
       

  • The whole appeal of the web to me as as an information source, not a bunch of assholes begging me to run their crappy code or carry around their tracking devices (cookies et al). I could personally care less about CSS, Javascript, etc.. I ain't the one, guys. Run your malware ad-code and CSS dancing reindeer on *your* browser. Mine says no-habla. If that means I can't watch Netflix on my *nix boxes, oh well. I can do that on my 3DS or Playstation. This DRM "standard" will just become another attack surface
  • "Following the announcement, EFF wrote a letter to W3C director, chief executive officer and team, in which it expressed its disappointment and said it was resignation [sic] from the W3C."

    Way to bury the lede, editors.

  • There are two ways of distributing protected content; through an app or through a browser --- and the dominance of the app diminishes the significance and utility of the browser.

    Which has never been any great joy to use on any other mobile device than a full size laptop.

    The geek doesn't like paying for content. I get that. But that is no longer a problem for anyone else. You want to keep the browser relevant? Then you have give it access to protected content.

    • Re:Tme to move on. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @07:15PM (#55222477)

      The geek doesn't like paying for content. I get that.

      If that's what you think the issue is about, then you don't get it at all.

      Then you have give it access to protected content.

      It always had access to protected content. That also isn't the issue.

      The issue is that the EME doesn't belong in the HTML standard in the first place. But, since it's going to be forced in no matter what, the secondary issue is that the EME mechanism doesn't actually achieve any of the things were being touted as the reason it should be in the standard.

      It's a con job.

  • DRM blocks will now cause.
    - media blocks by region to become much more common. ( ala youtube video not available in your region )
    - Sharing media links resulting in blocked content.
    - DRM collection of PII data becomes norm. Creating rich honey pots of data for hackers.
     

  • of when the web was free and open to all. Then big media and their puppets in government got involved and ruined it for everybody. My grandkids may not believe me, but it will be the truth.
  • It seems that every time big business gets involved in something open on the internet, that project forks to keep a branch open. With the withdrawal of the EFF from W3C, did standards just fork? Will there now be two internet standards committees in the future? One for big business, one for everyone else?

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