W3C Chief: To Prevent Parts Of The Web From Being Walled Off, We Need To Wall It Off Ourselves

from the wtf? dept

We’ve been concerned about the ridiculous attempt to add DRM to HTML 5 for some time, and doubly concerned about the W3C’s support for the idea. That’s been taken up a notch as the CEO of W3C, Jeff Jaffe, has been further defending the program with a very bizarre claim:

“The concern that we have is the premium content that owners are protecting using DRM will end up being forever severed from the web,” Jaffe told ZDNet at the Cloud World Forum in London.

“We would like the web platform to be a universal platform. We don’t think it’s good when content finds its way into walled gardens or into closed apps.

But here’s the problem: DRM itself is what allows “walled gardens” and “closed apps.” So, if they truly believe that’s not good, they should be against adding DRM to HTML 5. The argument made here is truly bizarre. It also presupposes that the web needs content companies more than the content companies need the web. That’s almost certainly incorrect. Whenever the content companies have chosen to go in the other direction and to wall off things and lock them up, that’s when you see the content flow through to the open web in an unauthorized manner. The way to stop that is for content companies to learn to embrace the web and to recognize, as many in the music world finally did, that DRM is a waste of time. It doesn’t stop or even slow down copyright infringement. It just acts as a huge pain in the ass for those who acquired the works in a legitimate and authorized manner.

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Comments on “W3C Chief: To Prevent Parts Of The Web From Being Walled Off, We Need To Wall It Off Ourselves”

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45 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

DRM “just acts as a huge pain in the ass for those who acquired the works in a legitimate and authorized manner.” — But if piratey notions spread and are generally accepted as “okay”, then the numbers of pirates/paying will at least reverse, likely below sustaining levels for many works. You can’t compete with free. There’s strong impetus for this…

NOT that I’m for any DRM in HTML5, but obviously Mike doesn’t grasp that DRM plus new ways to annoy with inescapable advertising is MOST of the purpose for the version 5. The happy days of a free and open web are over now that it’s being “monetized”. It’s silly “libertarian” idealism to suppose that giant corporations left unregulated will be reasonable and act in general interests instead of “innovate” to squeeze out every cent from the captive public.

So, two wrong premises mingled here: that people will pay for content if not forced to, and that “new” version 5 has any other purpose than grabbing money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

It’s because piracy is small issue that has been blown into a huge ‘problem’. If you were in any industry that had to deal with it you would understand this.

Piracy is more about companies not reaching customers more than it is people wanting free shit.

Plum says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

No, there’s DRM on everything. Steam has to be running (and connected, or in “offline mode”) to play a Steam game. Valve themselves have put rather restrictive DRM on their latest games – I can’t seem to make Portal 2 run in Wine, for example, thanks to the DRM that scrambles the client.dll.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

Piracy is more about companies not reaching customers more than it is people wanting free shit

Yes, that’s why people steal music when they could just as easily buy it.
Uh huh.

Nobody believes your dumb fucking bullshit. When will you finally wake up and see that?

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

easily buy it
To purchase a track/movie. A subscription. An account. Cough up your credit card info. Expendable cash. Availability on the service you use (if I want everything I’ll be signed up to a lot of services). Get some half crippled file that may or may not port to another device (you have to pay again for that). Spam from services. Ads from services.

Alternative
Search for torrent. Download. Scan. It’s yours.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

If ‘pirates’ buy the most music even though they obviously know they could just as easily download a copy then there must be some reason people download other than ‘I want everything for free.’ Yet you repeat this same nonsense over and over.

Jason says:

Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

“So, two wrong premises mingled here: that people will pay for content if not forced to, and that “new” version 5 has any other purpose than grabbing money.”

Well you’re wrong about the first one. Nobody assumes people pay for content anymore, because like it or not, content is free. People never really did pay for content. You just thought they did.

They paid for services, for the delivery of the content and the mode of delivery. Even now that content has become more obviously free, yes people still pay for the services.

You should learn about the “internet.”

(nice use of quotes, btw)

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

Another “Fire! Ready! Aim!” from OOB. It doesn’t matter one iota how many people “pirate”, DRM doesn’t have any effect on it whatsoever. DRM has not stopped nor slowed infringement. It doesn’t make anybody support copyright. It certainly holds no value for the paying customers. Adding DRM to content is like adding excrement to cake. The “pirates” know how to remove the feces so they don’t have to eat it, but the paying customers get stuck with eating it instead. I don’t know about you, but I like my cake feces-free.

If your goal is to stop the sharing culture from spreading, DRM will not achieve that end. It actually accelerates it. In the end, fighting sharing is a hopeless battle that doesn’t even have to be fought. If you actually shift your revenue streams away from content as a product to content as a service, you won’t have to worry about “pirates” that “steal” your “IP”.

RD says:

Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

“You can’t compete with free. “

Yes you can. This has been proven over and over. iTunes. Netflix. Hulu. Movies themselves.

YOU are the one who can’t. Thats because you are a failed creator who has decided to give up because you couldn’t hack it, and instead you go on these spiteful attack-rants on those who are actually doing something with their lives.

I’m sorry you are a loser, but the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for your lack of talent and success.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

Compete with free via service.

We’ve told Blue this over and over again but the crazy copyright lady won’t accept even the slightest possibility that we’re right because it contradicts her cherished opinion. As I’ve already pointed out, being overly opinionated stops you from learning. You can’t take in information, even to evaluate it, if you’re dismissing it out of hand because it contradicts what you believe.

I’ve seen this over and over again with FAILED content creators, rarely with successful ones.

The successful ones who rail about piracy are going along with the publishers and distributors ? the middlemen who lose out when we make our own copies. IPR has NEVER been about the creators, it’s always been about the middlemen.

Anonymoose Custard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

Well, not always.

There was a time before middlemen. In those days, in the age of monarchies, IPR benefited the monarchies, by giving the monarchy or aristocracy authority over who was permitted to be published, by their whims.

So really, it’a always been about the control over culture.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

“You’re presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.”

Do you simply read Tom Hayden over and over again and then spit it back out here? Your constant rants against corporations and anything that is commercial and of scale reads like an inarticulate version of The American Future, except even more daft….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

People can, do, and will continue to pay for things they aren’t forced to.

Walking Dead, episode 1 was online for free. I kept watching the rest of the season without cable. Without any coercion, I’ve bought the first 10 comics and all of the available DVDs.

Its so easy to make a liar out of you!

silverscarcat (profile) says:

Re: You're presupposing, as usual, that piracy is small.

You can’t compete with free.

So, wrong premise here: that people will pay for content if not forced to

Ahem

Bull, ootb. You can’t compete with free? Obviously you don’t pay attention to your history, at all.

Free networks complained they couldn’t compete with cable, which was a PAID subscription back in the day.

Certainly flies in the face of every “can’t compete with free” argument ever. Not to mention the whole fact that Coke makes most of their money by selling bottled water.

And it’s obvious from your comments that you don’t look at much porn. Everyone knows that you have to pay for the good stuff.

and people DO pay for content even if they’re not forced to. Just the other day I bought a PS Plus membership. Didn’t have to, but I got it because it has such good deals, like free games for my PS3 and Vita.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Just the latest

This is just the latest of a series of nonsensical reasons for the push for inclusion on DRM in the standard.

I can’t decide which is more plainly bullshit: this one, or the nonsense that this is about eliminating the need for proprietary plugins to accomplish DRM.

HTML 5 has so much bad stuff in it outside of this issue that I’m hoping that most sites won’t code to the standard at all.

HowDidItGetThisBad (profile) says:

Can't we just ditch W3C?

Is HTML 5 an “open” standard? If it is then would it not be possible for another organisation, say the mozilla foundation, to create a completely DRM free version?
If that could happen I would happily support a DRM free browser.

If they are scared of Hollywood walling things off with their own DRM, they would shit themselves if enough people support fragmenting the “open” standard.

Lawrence D'Oliveiro says:

It's The Connectivity, Stupid!

What drives the Internet is not content, but connectivity. There were other online networks before the Internet–anybody remember Compuserve, Prodigy, the original AOL? Their selling point was their exclusive content, which you couldn’t get on the Internet. Yet they were all swept aside, simply because the Internet offered better connectivity between people.

The Internet doesn’t need content providers. It is content providers that need the Internet.

Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

I’m with firm belief the W3C lost its credibility years ago, when it’s taken this long to implement HTML 5, let alone any other standards. This notion of “everyone at the table”, then only siding with those at the head has played itself too long.

Browser developers have already indicated they’re going separate ways, so for us web developers, it’s going to be a nightmare and we’ll have to start using conditional statements in our code again, or worse, have three sections dedicated for the browser using the page.

I always said it wouldn’t take long before business screws it up for everyone, and it only took about 20 years to see it happen.

TheLastCzarnian (profile) says:

Who wants DRM?

The question you need to ask is, “Who actually wants DRM?” The answer is: the declining tech companies. Those would include, but not be limited to, IBM, Microsoft, and Apple. They can all use DRM to leverage users and other companies to prop them up. Oh, you want to keep the movies you think you bought? Well, that means you have to buy our software and use it on our hardware. No transfers, or our legal department chews you up and spits you out.
See? DRM is a lovely tool for vendor lock-in, and not much else.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The web (and the internet itself) thrived and grew into massive popularity well before there was any real “professional” content on it at all. It’s the mainstream media companies who wanted in on the deal, not the other way around.

So, yes, content companies absolutely need the internet. However, if they weren’t on it, the internet would not be harmed at all.

Digger says:

Let them pull their content...

What will happen is that people will crowd-fund buying a copy of whichever item is popular, ripping it, putting it out on the internet for free.

They’ll call it pirating, we’ll call it privateering. Since they pulled their product from the distribution channels, we replaced the source streams.

Now, take it a step further, crowd fund the purchases, then make the content available for say a buck.

Take that buck and use it to pay the background people, not the studios, not the mpaa/riaa or their counterparts elsewhere. Send it to the mixers, the non-big-name actors, the backup band members, etc…

Then when the big companies complain “Think of the little guys” – they’ll stand up for us showing that we’ve given them more than the big studios ever did.

This is just one possible idea. It rips the profits from the war-mongering assholes, and pays the little people…

Sorta like the common man’s Robin Hood.

Donglebert the Needlessly Obtuse says:

I don't really see what the problem is here

I understand the argument and largely agree with it, but I don’t really understand why is raising hackles so much.

One of the big things for HTML5 is that it’s the new, post flash, web. Flash had DRM, and media companies are asking for HTML5 to therefore have DRM. AS such, we don’t lose anything.

Also, in that it’s recognised that there’s pretty much always a way to bypass DRM, then we should be saying is “Fine, have DRM if you want it, because it doesn’t do anything”. What we actually seem to be saying is “look, DRM can be a headache so we don’t want you to use it”.

If we vote with our wallets, than DRM will fade out over time as companies focus on added services. As it is, I don’t have an issue with them adding DRM if they want to, I just won’t use it.

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