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Restricted Media Community Group

The Restricted Media CG will discuss and analyze methods of restricting access to or use of Web media, and their implementation on the open Web. This group will not publish specifications.

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Dan Gillmor: Rage against the monopolized machine: you should use products how you want

Rage against the monopolized machine: you should use products how you want

Phones we can’t unlock. Shows we can’t skip. And now coffee machines that won’t work with a competitor’s coffee? Don’t buy in, Thursday 6 March 2014 20.29 GMT

EME pushed forward

EME goes forward despite consensus have been not achieved. People in the group continue to say that the lack of consensus cannot stop the work. I’ve read the policies and it indeed say so:

“Dissenters cannot stop a group’s work simply by saying that they cannot live with a decision.”

Not that we haven’t put reasonable objections over the table. Quite the contrary. The reasons why EME is not acceptable have been explained lot of times by a wide spread of different people. Repeating them all here is out of the scope of this post.

If you keep reading the policies, there’s also this snippet:

“Groups should favor proposals that create the weakest objections. This is preferred over proposals that are supported by a large majority but that cause strong objections from a few people.”

It is clear that this is quite the case now. Although, the dissenters aren’t few. We are many, and we are not members from the same organization as some pretend to imply. As for myself, I don’t belong to any organization at all.

In conclussion, according to the policies of the W3C, EME standard should have been thrown away long ago. Under the current circumstances, the policies are being breached continuously for the shake of the content industry.

What I propose is:

If current <video> tag isn’t enough for the content owners, they should strive on server side software no matter how expensive is it. Why should PC owners pay for their shake? Have we to support and accept client software that is against our interests? You want to earn money from your content. It is OK to do so, but do so honestly and not luring your customers into accepting your handcuffs.

I think video streaming is enough to stop most users from stealing your content. Hackers will always be able to manage things as they please, so why keep trying? All you’re doing with that attitude is annoying the very people who wish to pay for it.


Tim Berners-Lee: On Encrypted Video and the Open Web

9 October 2013 by Tim Berners-Lee, On Encrypted Video and the Open Web.

Here are just selected parts:


“So we put the user first, but different users have different preferences. Putting the user first doesn’t help us to satisfy users’ possibly incompatible wants: some Web users like to watch big-budget movies at home, some Web users like to experiment with code. The best solution will be one that satisfies all of them, and we’re still looking for that. If we can’t find that, we’re looking for the solutions that do least harm to these and other expressed wants from users, authors, implementers, and others in the ecosystem.”


“Many of the arguments involve what different parties, the users, the browser makers, the media content distributors, and so on, would do under different new scenarios — things which we can opine on but in the end only guess. Many of these arguments involve comparing very different types of things — the smoothness of a user interface and the danger that programmers will be jailed. So there will not be an end to much of this argument for a long time. I would like to thank everyone who has weighed into the discussion thoughtfully and with consideration, and I hope you will continue to do so.”


“Some arguments for inclusion take this form: if content protection of some kind has to be used for videos, it is better for it to be discussed in the open at W3C, better for everyone to use an interoperable open standard as much as possible, and better for it to be framed in a browser which can be open source, and available on a general purpose computer rather than a special purpose box. Those are key arguments for the decision that this topic is in scope.”


Dear EFF: please don’t pick the wrong fight

In a 4 October article, Dear EFF: please don’t pick the wrong fight, Chris Adams replies to some of the points made by Danny O’Brien for the EFF and Cory Doctorow for Boing Boing. I thought I’d share it here, since both the EFF and Boing Boing were shared.

It is a bit long but it is worth reading.

Two parts I wanted to highlight:

“Misrepresenting the W3C’s Encrypted Media Extensions will not do anything useful but it will hold the web back and make the EFF less effective.”

“What the open web community should be doing now is working to ensure that EME is designed in a way which improves security and reduces the proprietary footprint.”

EFF: Lowering Your Standards: DRM and the Future of the W3C

October 2, 2013 | By Danny O’Brien

“On Monday, the W3C announced that its Director, Tim Berners-Lee, had determined that the “playback of protected content” was in scope for the W3C HTML Working Group’s new charter, overriding EFF’s formal objection against its inclusion. This means the controversial Encrypted Media Extension (EME) proposal will continue to be part of that group’s work product, and may be included in the W3C’s HTML5.1 standard. If EME goes through to become part of a W3C recommendation, you can expect to hear DRM vendors, DRM-locked content providers like Netflix, and browser makers like Microsoft, Opera, and Google stating that they can now offer W3C standards compliant “content protection” for Web video.”

Cory Doctorow: W3C green-lights adding DRM to the Web’s standards, says it’s OK for your browser to say “I can’t let you do that, Dave”

Cory Doctorow at 9:34 pm Wed, Oct 2, 2013

“Here’s the bad news: the World Wide Web Consortium is going ahead with its plan to add DRM to HTML5, setting the stage for browsers that are designed to disobey their owners and to keep secrets from them so they can’t be forced to do as they’re told. Here’s the (much) worse news: the decision to go forward with the project of standardizing DRM for the Web came from Tim Berners-Lee himself, who seems to have bought into the lie that Hollywood will abandon the Web and move somewhere else (AOL?) if they don’t get to redesign the open Internet to suit their latest profit-maximization scheme.”

The foreseen schism

In the past there was a browser, let’s name it AX, which was the most used browser of the world. It was powerfull and shiny by then. Some could have said it was there forever. However, today that has changed and most Internet users know they should not trust AX. It’s huge and full of vulnerabilities (the bigger it gets the more difficult to maintain). That’s public domain. It’s been years of fight, but that’s other story.

For some years the king browsers have had names like SF, CR and OR. These browsers are in good standing or, to word it differently, they are well considered; still. They may look like AX before: unsinkable. But see where AX is now. No one can tell what will happen in the future.

This year EME entered the scene and looks like it’s going forward. By december 2014 it will be into HTML5 standard. I know W3C standards are mostly recommendations. No one is forced to implement it. But given the situation, some of browsers above mentioned might have EME implemented even before december 2014. People like me (that are against EME or even conscious of EME existence and meaning) are scarce and powerless in front of the big companies involved. But we are (I am and others too) good analysers. We have critic minds and we can reverse the reality or (in this case) we’re able to foresee the future to some extent.

And what is going to happen? It’s not that difficult to guess, I think:

The ever growing free software community will react to EME in a way or other. And there is where the major schism of web history will arise. Some will decide to rip HTML5 standard. Some will just forget about the standard and will rip their chosen HTML render engine to develop their own “not EME” browsers. A plethora of browsers and schismatic new html standards will flourish. Users will learn sooner or later that EME is against their interests and they’ll start to migrate to more ethical browsers. CR, SF and OR will follow AX destiny. For some time, they’ll be marginally used… until they come to an end as abandonware (if they’re lucky enough).

Current HTML WG charter is calling people to work and cooperate against users interests. It is clear that the CDM, with the pretext of copy protection, can be used for user surveillace among other things. No one company nor central authority (not even governments) can be trusted to have that power. So I invite experts who may think alike to leave the group and join the FreedomHTML project, in an attempt to make the schism to come the less chaotic as posible for the users.

Thanks for reading and best regards,

Julio Serrano

P.S.: Other event to come, that I have omitted on purpose until now, is the hack that will render EME obsolete. Which will automatically kick EME 2.0 out of the standard. (Will EME endorsement companies be willing to wait until the slow standardization process reaches again to a new version?)

EME Draft analysed

I’ve had the time to have a look at current EME draft.

It’s completely ridiculous and contrary to the logic of the old web to create a way to bind privative (closed) binaries without any control by the W3C just for playing against the users interest.

Ideas are to flow free (as in free beer and free spech). The worldwide library shouldn’t lead to closed doors. Knowledge cannot be bound by greed. Is that what you wanna leave to your children?

Someone told me once ago that the web was made to share and not to sell. If you go ahead with EME you’re going to change that. Isn’t it? And you’re doing that to serve who? Dark companies, the ones gathered here to address this nonsense, who never have enough money, no matter how much they get. I do tell you now that THEY already earn plenty of money… more than they actually deserve for the ways they behave. All this is process is dirty and gruesome.

If you persist on this ominous way… you’d have stained the web forever to a unrecoverable state.

My advice is: let them prosecute their wicked goals by their own means. Let them pay for it with their own money. No matter wether they use the web in conjunction with their own tools (e.g, CDM) or a completely propietary solution. Their nasty smell must not be permitted in the very fabric of the web.

A final note: After all, who in his right mind would work against itself voluntering to implement this EME? (Volunteers payed by W3C members doesn’t count. LOL)

W3C mock’s users

When I read W3C arguments, I read everywhere “protected content”. What is this? Mockery? That is just propaganda to try to tip the scales towards the wishes of the industry. Why don’t they say “paid content”? Web content is there to be seen. Content needs not to be protected in any way.

To state it plainly open: the proposal’s goal has nothing to do with interoperability and the user needs. They want to save money hooking their DRM privative software to an html standard rather than keeping updating their current DRM costly platforms. This way, browser sellers will be forced to implement the damn hook. That’s is the whole thing.

So why all this futile chat? Most of the wrecked working group is filled with interested parts. The very group editors are people from Microsoft, Google, Apple and the lot. What’s this? A joke? LOL They’ve already decided it for all of us.

Ordinary people doesn’t understand what is actually happening here and they are busy sleeping their lives as ever. We should consider it done. Enough blabering.

Sorry for my rant 🙁

Best regards.

Julio Serrano