from the that's-not-going-to-end-well dept
The W3C has been at the forefront of open standards and an open internet for many years, obviously. So it’s somewhat distressing to see it announced this morning that the MPAA has now joined the group. After all, it was not that long ago that the MPAA flat out tried to break the open internet by imposing rules, via SOPA, that would have effectively harmed security protocols and basic DNS concepts. All because it refuses to update its business model at the pace of technology. The MPAA has never been about supporting open standards or an open and free internet. The W3C states that its “principles” are “web for all, web for everything” and that its vision is “web of consumers and authors, data and services, trust.” The MPAA has basically been opposed to… well…. all of that. It has tried to take a consumer web of authors and turn it into a broadcast medium for major producers. It’s tried to destroy trust, and put in place locks and keys.
In short, the MPAA has no place at all in the W3C. If there had been any indication that this was a shift in the MPAA’s thinking, that actually would be interesting. If the MPAA had shown even the slightest indication that it was finally willing to embrace real internet principles and standards, and move Hollywood into the 21st century, that would be a good thing, and they should participate. But that’s not what this is about, at all.
Instead, I fear that this is because of the stupid fight, which the W3C supports, to put DRM in HTML5. Tim Berners-Lee, who created the web and heads the W3C, has (for reasons that still don’t make any sense) supported this dangerous proposal. Despite detailed explanations for why this is a bad idea, he has continued to defend the idea, which appears to go against nearly everything he’s said in the past. Having the MPAA join the W3C is not encouraging at all.
Berners-Lee’s support of DRM in HTML5 seems to be based on the short-sighted (and simply wrong) idea that the web needs the legacy entertainment industry more than the legacy entertainment industry needs the web. Building truly open standards that the world adopts will get the MPAA and others to come along eventually, because they’ll realize they need to go where the people are, even if it isn’t crippled with restrictions and locks. Bringing the MPAA into the process only continues to perpetuate this idea that we should be building a broadcast platform for the entertainment industry to push a message at consumers, rather than building a platform for creators of all kinds to communicate and share.