Wednesday March 22, 2017

Encrypted Media Extensions DRM Proposed to Become New Web Standard

Here is one that is certain to become controversial. W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium has formally put forward the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) as a proposed standard. The standard aims to help protect copyrighted streaming media content online, and by becoming a web standard, can likely achieve much broader adoption than current DRM techniques that don't work on all systems or devices. On the other hand critics are sure to point out the risk of further harming fair use, and limiting the playback capabilities on less common platforms, especially since an annual fee of $2,250 for smaller organizations, and $77,000 for larger corporations is proposed for those wanting to utilize the standard.

$77,000 per year is nothing for the Googles and the Apples of the world, for a little open source media center project which relies on volunteer programmers, $2,250 per year could be completely over the top prohibitive.

Member organizations will have until April 19th to register their opinions on the proposal. The W3C has received three formal objections to date:

  • It does not provide adequate protection for users

  • It will be hard to include in free software

  • It doesn't legally protect security researchers

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It has been a long and winding road getting to the point where the W3C has formally proposed a standard that allows controls to be placed on content آ– something that many internet engineers remain philosophically opposed to. But despite the lengthy efforts to address a plethora of concerns, the formal notice still goes out of its way to note that "publication as a Proposed Recommendation does not imply endorsement by the W3C membership."