EFF files formal objection against DRM's inclusion in HTML5

Regular readers will know that there's a hard press to put DRM in the next version of HTML, which is being standardized at the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3), and that this has really grave potential consequences for the open Web that the WC3 has historically fought to build.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has joined the WC3 and filed a formal objection to this work item; EFF's Danny O'Brien has written an excellent explanation of what's at stake:

EFF is not the only group concerned here. When EME was finally ultimately declared in-scope for the HTML working group, the decision was made by W3C’s executive team, despite discontent among key standards developers and the subsequent protest of more than twenty thousand technologists and groups, including EFF. While disappointment at that decision outside the W3C has been widespread, the debate on the problems of DRM for that the web platform within the consortium has been muted. Its strategic advisory committee of W3C members has until now not spoken on the decision, despite many of that community having privately expressed concern.

EFF has a lot of experience working within these kinds of standards processes in an attempt to combat the effects of DRM. In 2002, we joined the activities of Broadcast Protection Discussion Group to highlight the dangers of its proposed digital TV DRM standard, which briefly became the government-mandated Broadcast Flag before being struck down in the courts. Subsequently we participated in Europe’s Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) project, as they considered implementing imposing similar controls on European consumers. This new W3C standard comes from exactly same roots: Hollywood's desire to supress innovation and quash othe wishes of individual computer owners.

The entertainment industry's threats to impose control remain the same: if you don’t do as we say, you won’t get our premium content, and your technology will be rendered irrelevant. As we’ve seen with both music, and digital TV, the threat is empty. Commercial content goes where the users are. And users go where their rights and desires are best respected. We think that the guardian of those rights on the Web should be the W3C, and we’re happy to be help it ensure that remains the case.


  1. if you don’t do as we say, you won’t get our premium content

    4,000 years of civilization at threat.  Hanging by a thread.

  2. Good on ’em, proud to be a member. Minor editorial note — “W3C”, not “WC3″.

    1. Way I see it, given their recent DRMophilia, they get called WC3 until they can prove themselves capable of producing an HTML standard worthy of being read outside of Outhouse 3.0.

  3. “And users go where their rights and desires are best respected”

    Danny, you couldn’t be more right… I’ve been a loyal TPB customer since all these jackass media companies started suing people. It’s not like I don’t have some money to spend (I’m a 2013 EFF member), it’s just that I don’t want my money being used by media companies to pay lawyers to break our freedoms and ruin the lives of individuals who aren’t savvy enough to pirate safely.

    You sue some poor person an unbelievable amount for pirating a handful of songs? You lose your right to have my money. I also frequently teach people how to use TPB and bit torrent.

    I *do* buy content as well, but I wait until it’s reasonably priced. If they can sell it for $20 retail, 6 months after its release at $50, then it clearly isn’t worth $50 and I will help myself until they price it reasonably.

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