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Boy howdy, this is one subject where I loathe saying "I told you so", but... I sure told you so.[1]

HTML DRM is antithetical to the Open Web itself. It was built on a sham of "plugin-free" media playback, but all we did was change Flash and Silverlight for a whole range of closed black boxes, which in turn are effectively all controlled by Big Media (to make it crystal clear: EME was built with third-party decryption modules in mind, and Big Media was obviously never going to support any sort of decryption modules that they couldn't control, so even if your custom browser supports EME it's completely useless without a Big Media-approved decryption module). And make no mistake: Requiring permission from Big Media to essentially build a fully-fledged browser is a 100% intended and expected outcome of HTML DRM as conceived. Big Media would love nothing more than to turn the entirety of the Open Web into Closed Web that they control, and with HTML DRM they've certainly achieved a great step toward doing so, to the detriment of public at wide. I'm sure they're positively salivating about the thought of eventually reaching The Right to Read![2]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7747142

[2] https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

The saddest part is it doesn't even seem to accomplish anything. What would-be pirates are actually being foiled by this? Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime use EME, but all their exclusive content is still readily available on torrent sites. Does it raise the difficulty bar? It's hard to imagine anyone who knows how to rip video from their browser doesn't know how to torrent something.

DRM technologies are often sold to the public & content providers as an anti-piracy measure but that has never been the intent.

It's _always_ been about control on the creation and manufacture of playback platforms and/or devices.

Yes! DRM is not about piracy, it is about CONTROLLING HOW YOU WATCH. Exclusive deals, upsells, ads and devices.

You don't need DRM for that. That is achieved by contracts.

Contracts can't be enforced just because you want to, DRM gives you the means to do it.

It almost seams entirely to please management. The local TV stations use eme and yet youtube-dl still works fine on them.

Can you provide examples? Some local stations in Australia have switched on DRM and I can't save anything. Over the air is still unencrypted though.

Iview is the one I'm talking about. YouTube DL basically downloads the unencrypted video direct from the server but the website doesn't work until you enable drm

Ah, whereas Seven, Nine and Ten are all encrypting (some) streams.

>exclusive content

content is no longer the only draw. the business goal is now monetizing the group experience. consider Fortnite. Companies won't care if a few people watch pirated content alone. They want to control the experience of group content consumption. This does require content, but managing the group experience is the new frontier. consider http://rabb.it Pirates can get ppl in groups to watch premium content, but at some size, authorities will show up to protect their property.

DRM can be successful even if piracy remains rampant.

What counts is whether adding DRM increases revenues enough to warrant the effort needed to add DRM.

It accomplished building a market around drm. Which the drm market is happy about.

To be fair, even if there wasn't a DRM-standard, he still wouldn't be able to build his application, because there would still be DRM.

Hear hear. The parent commenter's I-told-you-so attitude frustrates me because it completely misses the point: Google de-facto controls the web, and the W3C is essentially irrelevant. Trying to suggest that the W3C's opposition would have stopped any of this is completely naive, and only serves to shift the blame.


that's the important point. DRM is the price one must pay to consume BIG MEDIA content.

there's no getting around it. if you want it you have to play by their rules.

> DRM is the price one must pay to consume BIG MEDIA content.

It's just what big media has happened to get away with.

If they found themselves without a way for their paying customers to access their content via DRM, they'd drop the requirement on the spot, with little to no financial impact except for DRM scheme licensing fees.

They really wouldn't. They'd just move into proprietary hardware. Several of them already have.

Most studios really wouldn't find blocking all PC access to their content to materially affect them.

While that's true at the moment, I had hoped that the web being such a big market, it would entice content producers to deploy without DRM for fear of losing market share to other content providers who do.

But with the introduction of DRM into the standard, this is no longer possible.

There are still plenty of providers who don't use DRM.

You just want the DRM users content but you want it without DRM.

So what really happened is the content producers enticed the users into DRM with their content. It's the other way around, and the consumers voted with their wallet (and clicks)

How did it make it into the standard?

And why would anyone follow this standard?

The whole discussion revolves around video. You can't imagine a browser today that is "just a reader" (Mosaic? hahaha), no one would use a browser without video support.

I would. I love a browser that renders everything to plain text (go Lynx!).

Much less guff to download.

> The Right to Read

As interesting to read as the first twelve times.

Surprisingly to me the author of "down and out in the magic kingdom" and the maintainer of BOINGBOING supports web DRM and he's part of the W3C committee. he's a great author and a good person with an anti-authoritarian bent I don't understand his position on this.

That is exactly backwards. Doctorow was the EFF representative on the committee, and the EFF resigned from the W3C as a result of them approving DRM. https://www.zdnet.com/article/eff-resigns-from-w3c-in-wake-o...

That doesn't sound right to me. Do you have a link where he comes out as pro-DRM? That doesn't fit with my knowledge of Cory Doctorow's position.


Yeah, I believe Doctorow has multiple characters (from multiple books) say something along the lines of "no lock is there for your protection", and I'm certain I've read his opinions on DRM to be negative multiple times.

Hell, I'm fairly certain he had a deal with Barnes and Noble to publish his book without DRM which was nonstandard at the time.

That would greatly surprise me. He is very explicitly against DRM. https://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.html

That seems uncharacteristic of Doctorow.

He used(still does?) publish his books free of DRM and free to download under CC license.


It would be strange for an author of Printcrime (fantastic short read from 20 years ago) to support DRM.

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