Anti-DRM demonstrators picket W3C meeting

The World Wide Web Consortium, the decades old champion of the open Web, let down many of its biggest supporters when it decided to cater to Hollywood by standardizing DRM as part of the spec for HTML5.

This week, the W3C is meeting in Cambridge, Mass, where my Electronic Frontier Foundation colleague Danny O'Brien has gone to agitate for a non-aggression covenant that would prohibit W3C members from using the DMCA to go after security researchers and implementers who break the DRM they're standardizing.

The Free Software Foundation rallied a group of Web users who protested the meeting, while the MIT Media Lab hosted a discussion of the W3C's actions with Joi Ito, Richard Stallman, Danny O'Brien and Harry Halpin.

The W3C's meeting continues today.

"I was just on the fourth floor of the building we were just in, where I was drinking nice glasses of red wine with the representatives of Comcast, MovieLabs, and Netflix," O'Brien said, speaking through a bullhorn. "And it was great to be able to stop the discussion we were having, and to say that I had to go talk to the dozens and dozens of people down there who disagree with everything they're saying."

As the protesters bear down on the Microsoft building, they launch into a chant that riffs on the UNIX command to delete a file: "RM DRM! RM DRM!"

Suddenly, Stallman strides to the front of the marching column to confer with Rogoff.

"Richard Stallman just pointed out that Windows users probably won't understand that chant," Rogoff says, his voice distorted by the the bullhorn.

Richard Stallman Braved a Winter Storm Last Night to March Against DRM
[Jon Christian/Motherboard]

Scenes From Anti-DRM Protest Outside W3C
[Parker Higgins/EFF]