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Tim Berners-Lee Approves Web DRM, But W3C Members Have Two Weeks To Appeal ( 137

Reader Atticus Rex writes: A high controversial Web standard has received a seal of approval from Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web and its chief technical decision-maker. Opponents like the Free Software Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation say that the standard, Encrypted Media Extensions, is a step backwards for freedom, privacy, and a host of other rights on the Web.

There's still a two-week window in which members of the W3C can appeal the decision, and the Free Software Foundation is asking people to email and encourage them to do so.
Update: The W3C has announced that it would publish its DRM standard with no protections and no compromises at all.
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Tim Berners-Lee Approves Web DRM, But W3C Members Have Two Weeks To Appeal

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  • two weeks wasted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @09:53PM (#54767541)
    done deal
    • Re: two weeks wasted (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This. The corporate takeover of the internet has been unavoidable from day one. I'm amazed it lasted so long. Future historians will wonder - if they will ever be allowed to do this kind of research - how a decentralized and essentially free tool of communication that put everyone on the same level ended up centralized, subverted and locked up with just negligible and ultimately ineffective opposition. There will never be another chance, corporations and governments will be on high alert to swoop down and n

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Ask all the people who signed up for Facebook. It appears to be what they wanted.

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @10:05PM (#54767575) Homepage

    Why is it just up to Tim Berners-Lee to decide yes or no on this?

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      You mean other than the fact that he's the founder and director of the W3C?

      • by mellon ( 7048 )

        No. Neither of those is a reason. I mean an actual reason. W3C is supposedly an open standards body. Why is one person making decisions? Or is that not actually what's going on, and this was (as often seems to be the case) badly summarized? :)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Take a look at the "members", the fees it takes to gain "membership" and the complete lack of input from the community. Only corporations get a seat at W3C. Those that aren't corps are funded by one of the existing members, so the distinction is meaningless. Standards bodies can be, and are, corrupted by the profit motive.

          This is the time to start pushing a better, more secure technology that corps cannot twist to squeeze money out of.

          Gopher is a legitimate contender, but lacks a security layer. If we put t

          • by Anonymous Coward

            $2,250 USD doesn't seem so bad for "Enterprises and non-profits with 10 or fewer employees, who are not also membership organizations, revenues less than 3,000,000 USD and have never been a W3C Member." It's only $953 USD for "all other organizations, including non-profit organizations and government agencies" from Haiti.

            Current members include corporations, small businesses, universities, non-profits, open source software foundations, etc. Interestingly enough, neither the FSF nor the EFF are members des

            • by Anonymous Coward

              So you're fine with forcing people to band together, form organizations, and pay a so-called standards body for a voice at the table?

              The only thing W3C is open for is business.

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @10:30PM (#54767671)

      Why is it just up to Tim Berners-Lee to decide yes or no on this?

      Who would you have decide this? A standards organization, and a standards committee, headed by a person who has the responsbility to announce the decision? With an appeals process?

      Ok. The W3C. The Advisory Committee on Encrypted Media Extensions. Tim Berners-Lee, the person who pretty much set up the the involved standards. With an appeals process and W3C member vote [].

      Not that you care about any of that. Any process that doesn't produce the outcome that you want is the product of death and appointment to Godhood, it appears.

      • by Dracos ( 107777 )

        The W3C is about as toothless an organization as can be found. All the respect I had for TBL evaporated when he acquiesced to WHATWG's HTML5 insanity. EME should not even be a thing.

        Yes, I would like a proper standards body (say... IEEE or ISO) to make these decisions rather than a weak consortium who only produces recommendations.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2017 @02:46AM (#54768151)

          ISO? you forgot how ISO ignored all of there own standards when approving the Microsoft Word data format as a standard without need for technical review and allowing thousands of Microsoft affiliated parties to become a temporary member and vote on a standard proposed by Microsoft. ISO will make any pile of shit an official ISO standard as long as someone is willing to pay for temporary memberships.

      • by mellon ( 7048 )

        No, I was literally asking why an individual gets to make the decision, because that's what the article says. If it's not the case that an individual gets to make the decision, then what is the actual process. I don't know, and the article doesn't say. The reporting on this has generally said that it was up to TBL. That doesn't make sense to me. Coming from the IETF, we do not believe in individuals making decisions, and we don't believe in voting either. We decide based on rough consensus, whic

        • by Desler ( 1608317 )

          He gets to make the decision because he's the director and that's the rules.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @01:50AM (#54768087) Homepage

      It's not. It's up to Google, Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla.
      If they are on board, it'll get implemented no matter how much opposed.
      If they aren't, the standard is dead on arrival.

      • Exactly this.

        The W3C is how these companies have chosen to organize it. Nothing more.

        The fact that Mozilla so rarely gets its way on the topic of DRM is of no surprise, because their position on DRM is wholly unreasonable.

        I actively seek out non-DRM'd content. What I dont do is actively meddle with other people on the justification that I dont like DRM. If you want DRM'd content I will not be the guy that stops you... but Mozilla wants to be that guy. Fuck Mozilla, pretending to support freedom but ac
        • Agree completely! I hate DRM and I don't touch it. Having a standard will just make it easier for my browser to refuse to display it, and to provide me with a useful error message.

          • Thats not good enough for Mozilla.

            Mozilla wants to be the guy that stops you. Its rooted in the same justification as any religion, such as Christians and Liberals. Its for your own good, our our own good, etc...
      • Of course those same orgnizations could fight it if they chose.

        Banning known members of the committe from their services could be quite painful and within their rights. Suddenly no support for their Apple devices includeing iPhones or iTunes. Google is blocked along with YouTube and gmail and docs. Websites may give "Service denied becuse your policies harmed us. We do not support you as a customer." Neflix and Hulu stop working if the companies don't want the extra CPU costs of encrypting all their cont

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2017 @10:09PM (#54767589)

    This will destroy the openness of the Web if allowed to stay. The last hope will be with browser makers: no standard gets supported if code isn't written. This is corporate capture of the Web. Personally, I'm done with the Web. The layers of JS, security vulnerabilities out the wazoo, malvertising, and endless seas of "you must register (so we can track you) to proceed" walls make the Web a joke.

    Smart people will move to other protocols that aren't so profit-driven or privacy-destroying.

    • Like IRC

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      The last hope will be with browser makers: no standard gets supported if code isn't written

      It is

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      EME already exists.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm going back to telnet, thank you very much. I can type in my HTTP and POP3 commands from memory.

      Bad joke aside, will a new protocol do for us? How do we get people to use an entirely new application stack? How do you prohibit companies from pulling the same stunt over again?

      You can't.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your concern is well-placed. The answer will depend on how much bullshit the public will take before leaving.

        To start with, you're thinking in terms of an application stack. The Web was meant to be a series of documents linking to each other. Everything else was tacked on by one half-asser or another; Brendan Eich's Javascript, Microsoft's XmlHttpRequest object, Mozilla's plugin system, and Adobe's Flash (which worked on said plugin system) all contributed to the mess that today's Web is.

        Cut away all that b

        • This is an interesting idea. Adoption will be an immense problem of course, but it is not as if HTTP/HTML is a required method of Internet communication. An alternate protocol set could be run over the net to provide the same - or better - functionality. Some major player deploying it would be needed it to prevent it from being DOA I expect.

          What is that saying about the Internet routing around damage? Perhaps it could route around damaged protocols.

          But the web with all of its investment is not going away. S

    • by alexo ( 9335 ) on Friday July 07, 2017 @11:40PM (#54767823) Journal

      The last hope will be with browser makers: no standard gets supported if code isn't written.

      What part of "EME is supported by [...] Google, Microsoft, and Apple" you did not understand?

    • by macraig ( 621737 )

      gopher: FTW!

    • We don't need to move to another protocol.

      Just use a deprecated older version. I.e. run NoScript and when pages won't work, you can either whitelist them or navigate away.

      Smart web developers won't want to lose eyes. Even Slashdot will load with javascript blocked (except mobile slashdot)

    • This will destroy the openness of the Web if allowed to stay. The last hope will be with browser makers: no standard gets supported if code isn't written.

      The code is written. The only difference is: Will the code be standard, or will the code be customised and defined by each individual media outlet pushing their own agenda.

      Notice how you can't get 4k Netflix on certain platforms? DRM baby!

      • ECE is not a standardized DRM system like CSS if that's what you think. It's essentially another plug-in architecture and has all the problems associated with plug-ins, including browser, CPU, and operating system dependence, a lack of mandated security, and so on.

        Indeed, this is the fundamental problem with the W3C - this is an organization that's supposed to be standardizing the web, and it's actually unstandardizing it with proposals like this one. This proposal will force a situation where webmasters

        • It's totally fucked up and the only reason it's going ahead is because three of four major browser makers own their own streaming media stores. Literally, that's the only reason.

          That's the only reason that you can imagine, but all that proves is that you're short on imagination. The reason it's going ahead is to prevent another Adobe Flash. If we don't include this functionality in the browser, then we will just get it shoehorned into the browser by some other means, and then it will be even less compatible and it will come with all kinds of other baggage as well. This system does not try to pretend that DRM does not exist, as you are doing, but it still avoids the maximum possible

          • The reason it's going ahead is to prevent another Adobe Flash.

            No, it doesn't. It replaces Flash with different-Flash.

            Again: ECE is NOT A DRM SCHEME. It is a standardized interface to a NON-STANDARD plug-in framework where the PLUG-INs implement DRM.

            Basically, after getting rid of Flash, we're now going back to a Flash equivalent - in some ways, worse, because Flash implemented video UIs slightly more efficiently than the half assed combination of HTML5 and PROPRIETARY PLATFORM AND BROWSER SPECIFIC pl

        • No that's not what I imagine. But what I imagine is an architecture that is standardised in a common way so we can eliminate the: "This content only works in Edge" direction we are moving in.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Well, you could move to apps, which do exactly that. I mean, you need to run the Netflix app to watch Netflix, or with this, you can use the web browser as another option, instead of having to have an app.

      It's curious, since people hate the proliferation and closing off of content using apps, wanting it to be on the web. Yet people also don't want these technologies on the web, wanting people that want those things to close it all off on apps, instead.

      Content's already spreading towards the app area, and if

    • Look it's going to be done by the corporate media companies.

      Are you going to help them make it more open or will they push Adobe and Silverlight plugins and proprietary codecs? The old 1980's phrase Money talks Shit walks is more truth than you can imagine. No one cares what a few hippies on a website think.

      Investors will pour money and demand DRM or will pull their cash. If you won't be part of the solution you are part of the problem and you can kiss the web goodbye and Linux goodbye as they push malware

    • This will destroy the openness of the Web if allowed to stay.

      Really? Then how come Flash didn't manage it?

    • All you have to do to protect the openness of the web is to frequent sites that are open.

      That's all.

      You don't need to be protected from people huddling in walled gardens. The existence of walled gardens is of minimal concern to those who choose to live outside of them. If you find yourself at a wall, simply turn around and go elsewhere, and stop trying to peak over and covet whatever polished plastic you see inside.

  • Thank you for being a friend
    Traveled down the road and back again
    Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

    And if you threw a party
    Invited everyone you knew
    You would see the biggest gift would be from me
    And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      oy vey, it's annuda "sexconker forgot the checkbox" shoah !

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just fork the web browsers and fork the specifications. If everyone ignores him they become the new web standards de facto

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good or bad, all DRM is still technically broken since you receive the encrypted data along with the decryption keys. Sending encrypted data to a browser without the keys is just as ridicules.
      The whole standard is based around the browser promising to the server that it will decrypt the data and show it to the user, without making the decrypted data or the (encrypted data with the keys) available to the user in any other way.
      - The browser is code that runs on the hardware owned by the user, and can't be tru

  • by Anonymous Coward
    fuck that, DRM is ere whether we like it or not. Far better to have it standards controlled so at least everything can implement equally rather than the current BS where various platforms are locked out.
  • You mean that thing the internet cracks within hours every time you release a new one? Yes, greedy ass media companies of the world... PLEASE waste more money on this :-)
  • Is it time for a new standards organization that listens to the people rather than the corporations?

    Why not have a true free web standards committee and browsers and various entities would try to comply with it rather than W3C.

    Remember, W3C is the place that gave us XML and XHTML (two rather hideous abortions) and they sat on their hands with HTML 5 until other groups ( in particular) came along and started to make progress. Then W3C jealously took it back over. Why? It baffled me at the ti

  • I recently moved to block all pictures from my favorite news site, as they started serving obnoxious ads (animated, blinking, flashing) from the same server so that ad-blocking became massively more difficult. Two weeks later, I find that I do not really miss the pictures. Bit of a surprise, really, but the site now loads very fast and has entirely stopped annoying me. This is the same: Use DRM, lose me as a viewer.

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @01:36PM (#54769895)

    If you've loved the last two decades of comically insecure Flash players and PDF readers your going to love the future where anyone's systems can now be owned by closed source adobe CDM modules.

  • There's already a preccedent for lawsuits about cutting out content [] A legitimate outfit that deletes x-rated content from DVD/BluRay videos *THAT YOU HAVE LEGITIMATELY PURCHASED* has been sued for merely deleting sex scenes, etc.

    This is an ugly precedent. If you circumvent DRM to block ads, that'll be yet another charge they can throw against you. This would probably include even something as simple as noscript or a hosts file.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.