The W3C HTML working group is developing EME (Encrypted Media Extensions) that would bring in standardized DRM plugins for streamed media. It hasn’t been even a week yet since EFF joined W3C and it has already started working against the inclusion of DRM in HTML.
EFF has worked on European DVB DRM initiatives as well as was actively involved in the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group on the Broadcast Flag and has stated that controls in both of these initiatives have the same roots – Hollywood trying to suppress innovation and wishes of individual computer owners.
EFF through its full objection has pointed out that the creation of EME and the implementation of usage controls on the web platform do not fall under the purview of the HTML working group. Further, the existing web standards already support the use cases that are not related to usage control. EFF is of the opinion that usage control like the EME, which was declared ‘in-scope’ by W3C exec team in February, effectively point to options such as paywalls, subscription models, watermarked content, etc which are already supported by existing web standards.
EFF’s objection notes that the Working Group in charge of developing standards is quite modular enough indicating that standards can evolve outside of the group and as and when necessary they can be brought under working group’s remit. EFF’s suggestion would effectively allow supporters of EME to go ahead with implementation in their own products – Google for example has already got EME in Chrome OS as well as Chrome browser.
According to EFF, W3C should work towards developing a policy that not only covers how premium copyright content should be delivered but, also under what conditions and how much control would a user surrender to make use of the proposed delivery system.
The EFF also suggested that up until the legislative reforms being discussed in the US and Europe and legal uncertainties are resolved the W3C should postpone its work on EME.