Microsoft, Google and Netflix are trying to bring DRM to HTML5

Did you ask for DRM “improvements” in HTML5, the seemingly all-capable “standard of the future” for everything is (cloud) computing, entertainment and networking? No? Well, you will get that, eventually: engineers from Microsoft, Google and Netflix have just proposed a new API extension for the aforementioned web standard, with the intent of fostering the rise of protected contents delivered via simple HTML code.

David Dorwin (Google), Adrian Bateman (Microsoft) and Mark Watson (Netflix) have submitted the Encrypted Media Extensions v0.1 draft proposal to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), seeking to “extend HTMLMediaElement to enable playback of protected content”.

The three engineers explain that the proposal isn’t a new “DRM scheme for HTML5” at all, just the base code for a generic contents decryption system that will work with additional “modules” to implement the proper decryption mechanisms.

The new draft supporters would like to gain interest within the W3C and make their project flourish, but the initial reactions from the people involved in web standard development are all but promising in that regard. “I believe this proposal is unethical and that we should not pursue it”, said Ian Hickson of Google, highlighting how the draft “does not provide robust content protection, so it would not address this use case even if it wasn’t unethical”.

Even among Google people, as it seems, a “DRM for the web” proposal made (among the others) by a Google engineer isn’t that popular. Criticism on the EME draft comes also from Mozilla’s Robert O’Callahan, who asked how such a “standard” copy protection system could be implemented effectively within an open source browser like Mozilla Firefox.

How do you guard against an open source web browser simply being patched to write the frames/samples to disk to enable (presumably illegal) redistribution of the protected content?”, O’Callahan asked. The answer came from Mark Watson (Netflix) and involved using hardware-based copy protection systems: in this way, maybe using some Palladium-baked obscure voodoo magic, even an open source browser could “benefit” from the new HTML5 copy protection scheme.

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believe this proposal is unethical and that we should not pursue it

And if this ignorance persists, we shall watch the death of HTML5 video.

DRM in itself is not 'evil', without it we would not have Netflix or Hulu or Cable TV or Satelitte TV or numerous other media that is 'delivered' over the internet and over older systems.

Sad.

thenetavenger said,

And if this ignorance persists, we shall watch the death of HTML5 video.

DRM in itself is not 'evil', without it we would not have Netflix or Hulu or Cable TV or Satelitte TV or numerous other media that is 'delivered' over the internet and over older systems.

Sad.

Its not unethical because its DRM, its unethical because its impossible for open source browsers such as Firefox to implement.

thenetavenger said,

And if this ignorance persists, we shall watch the death of HTML5 video.

DRM in itself is not 'evil', without it we would not have Netflix or Hulu or Cable TV or Satelitte TV or numerous other media that is 'delivered' over the internet and over older systems.

Sad.

No, what's really sad is that every effort that has gone to new protection methods for DRM has been broken in a relatively short time. So DRM is just a lost cause but you need DRM for the content you mentioned.

SOOPRcow said,

Its not unethical because its DRM, its unethical because its impossible for open source browsers such as Firefox to implement.

That is why they are submitting a standard so that FireFox, Chrome, IE, and Safari can do it. It is not unethical. People refusing to accept DRM is unetical. They think they have a right to steal the video.

libertas83 said,

That is why they are submitting a standard so that FireFox, Chrome, IE, and Safari can do it. It is not unethical. People refusing to accept DRM is unetical. They think they have a right to steal the video.

Allow me to quote what ichi quoted at 5 posts below..

ichi said,
"This does not solve the problems brought up last time against adding
DRM to <video>. In particular, a browser like Mozilla is *legally
prevented* from actually implementing DRM, because they have to reveal
all their code, including the decryption code that contains the
secrets you use to decrypt. We should not be attempting to put
anything in HTML which won't be implemented by one of the major
browsers.

This is ignoring the more general concerns with the concept of DRM,
namely that it's technically impossible and practically useless,
imposing unnecessary costs on legitimate users while doing nothing
whatsoever to actually stop copyright infringement. The entertainment
industries in general are moving away from DRM as an effective concept
- images have been DRM-free forever, the music industry is mostly
DRM-free now, and book sellers outside of Amazon and B&N (which have
an incentive to lock users to their devices) commonly use DRM-less
formats like ePub. Movies became realistically sharable on the
internet more recently than those other media types, so the industry
is later to the realization that sharing is fine and doesn't actually
hurt them, but they'll come around to in the reasonably near future,
just like every other industry did."

thenetavenger knows better. But he couldn't resist bashing Google, could he?

thenetavenger said,
DRM in itself is not 'evil', without it we would not have Netflix or Hulu or Cable TV or Satelitte TV or numerous other media that is 'delivered' over the internet and over older systems.

Any product that has DRM is defective by design. Not only does it stop people who have legitimate access to the media from performing completely legal actions (e.g. exercising their right under fair use or fair dealing) but it causes havoc for people just trying to consume the media in the way it was intended. $VENDOR's authentication server gone down? Oops, you can't acquire the license needed to play the video.

Not to mention that most DRM schemes are cracked within months if not weeks or days of them being released to the public.

tl;dr DRM sucks, it doesn't work for legitimate users, and it doesn't work to stop illegitimate use.

M2Ys4U said,
tl;dr DRM sucks, it doesn't work for legitimate users, and it doesn't work to stop illegitimate use.

QFT. I paid for a song I heard on a movie that I couldn't find anywhere other than on virgin's online music thing, the song itself got old quick, but a few months after I got an email from virgin saying they were pulling their media servers... So that file is actually now useless because I don't have the XP install that I bought it with.

n_K said,
.....

Big deal, you agreed to the terms when you bought the song.
DRM itself isn't bad, it's just that most implementations lack the sophistication to meet both the needs of the content owner, and the subscriber.

Here you.. those who remember my posts.. this is what I always said was going to happen to HTML5. Companies will start adding features and making stuff like HTML5+, HTML5++, HTML5 with dingleberries support only in Chrome, HTML5 features only in IE and it basically will boil down to fragmentation we had in 90s.

We've already seen this scenario play out people.

Boz said,
Here you.. those who remember my posts.. this is what I always said was going to happen to HTML5. Companies will start adding features and making stuff like HTML5+, HTML5++, HTML5 with dingleberries support only in Chrome, HTML5 features only in IE and it basically will boil down to fragmentation we had in 90s.

We've already seen this scenario play out people.


I hope not. Another "RealPlayer 10 is required to view this content" or "You need to download Windows Media Plug-in 8+" like internet again would be, well, annoying! Macromedia managed to narrow it down to flash like in ~2005. Now we're in the age of open standards which is bringing choice back.

My opinion on DRM is that it is not required. These broadcasters need to make it as easy as possible for us to watch their content (i.e. easier then acquiring a pirated version) on as many platforms as possible. They need to stop these silly country specific bans based on copyright (e.g. why can't i get a legitimate means of watching things like family guy online here in the UK - the iPlayer certainly doesn't allow it). The broadcasters can still get money via advertising as long as it isn't over the top or they offer an ad-free subscription instead. There should be a draft specification to disable ad-blocking within HTML5 video maybe? These broadcasters can still make a fortune without the need of DRM.

Once the story was that DRM was evil because "I bought the media, I should be able to make copies of it for personal use, and DRM limits that." And DRM was bad in that situation. Now the argument has changed to DRM is bad because we should be able to copy media that you did not purchase, or media that you have rented - a valid reason for adding DRM to HTML5 video.

I just don't get the point. This won't stop the people who upload illegal video content in any way, it won't even slow them down. It seems like just another way to **** off normal users into downloading the content illegally anyway. "Oh you don't have this brower/plugin/hardware, sorry you can't watch this."

Wanna bet?

How could this possibly be labeled as "unethical?" This is why I dislike Google so much. Many of the people there really, truly believe that it is their moral obligation to make any and all information "free" (or rather, free as long as you view Google's ads on your way to getting the information). It's like some kind of weird religion to them.

Regarding the criticism from Google members I find this mail from Tab Atkins far more significative than the one quoted in the article:

This does not solve the problems brought up last time against adding
DRM to <video>. In particular, a browser like Mozilla is *legally
prevented* from actually implementing DRM, because they have to reveal
all their code, including the decryption code that contains the
secrets you use to decrypt. We should not be attempting to put
anything in HTML which won't be implemented by one of the major
browsers.

This is ignoring the more general concerns with the concept of DRM,
namely that it's technically impossible and practically useless,
imposing unnecessary costs on legitimate users while doing nothing
whatsoever to actually stop copyright infringement. The entertainment
industries in general are moving away from DRM as an effective concept
- images have been DRM-free forever, the music industry is mostly
DRM-free now, and book sellers outside of Amazon and B&N (which have
an incentive to lock users to their devices) commonly use DRM-less
formats like ePub. Movies became realistically sharable on the
internet more recently than those other media types, so the industry
is later to the realization that sharing is fine and doesn't actually
hurt them, but they'll come around to in the reasonably near future,
just like every other industry did.

If the content industry wants people NOT to watch their content, why don't they just lock it in an underground bunker deep within a mountain guarded 24/7 with tanks? That way they can have 100% positive control of their content just like they want, without infringing the rights of the rest of us who want open-source to mean open-source.

Why should browser makers spend any time and money trying to protect businesses with an outdated business model?

Unwonted said,
If the content industry wants people NOT to watch their content, why don't they just lock it in an underground bunker deep within a mountain guarded 24/7 with tanks? That way they can have 100% positive control of their content just like they want, without infringing the rights of the rest of us who want open-source to mean open-source.

Why should browser makers spend any time and money trying to protect businesses with an outdated business model?

Because that's where they keep the stargate. Duhh. Now you'll have that content being torrented on other planets.

Silverlight - Fail.
Flash - needs to go and make way for

HTML 5 - but this was to be expected, a move like this so the movie industry and all others circumnavigating it will still not LOSE thier millions. Like all said above, if it keeps its 100% functionality with these '''''changes'''' then it should be ok.

I head it was mainly Google who wants to add DRM to HTML5 and not Microsoft. Also, Google wants you to force to enter your credit card and social security number everytime you load up a HTML5 page... It's true, Google is really evil

vacs said,
I head it was mainly Google who wants to add DRM to HTML5 and not Microsoft. Also, Google wants you to force to enter your credit card and social security number everytime you load up a HTML5 page... It's true, Google is really evil

Thanks for clearing that up. You should find your paycheck in your mailbox.

vacs said
...

Don't kid yourself. Microsoft want it just as much as their customers do.

As long as Microsoft deal with media creators, there will be a pressing demand from camp Redmond.

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