Contention on DRM Proposal for HTML5 Media by W3C

The recent W3C proposal on “Encrypted Media Extensions” for HTML5 supported by major players like Microsoft, Google and Netflix already causes controversy on the net.

It is the lack of media copy protection and encryption features in HTML5 why Flash is still used as the technology of choice on many commercial sites. Contrary to what the title of the proposal might suggest, the draft does not specify any copy-protection or encryption technology at all. Rather, it defines programming interfaces to be implemented by browsers which leave this task to external and/or third-party components implemented in software, firmware or even hardware.

This approach clears the way for a work-around for the impossibility of open-source browsers to implement such mechanisms internally by delegating the task to more “trusted” lower levels of the system. This is arouses a lot of criticism, for example Ian Hickson’s, editor at WHATWG, who even calls it “unethical”.

The proposal is still in an early stage and will very likely undergo significant changes during its evolvement.

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