The World Wide Web Consortium spent more than 20 years making standards that remove barriers to developers who want to make Web technology; now, for the first time, they're creating a standard that makes it a crime to make Web technology without permission from the entertainment industry.
They're standardizing a DRM system called EME, and thanks to laws like the US DMCA (and its global equivalents), you can only make a browser that can receive videos restricted with EME if you get permission from the entertainment companies that are pushing the standard at the consortium.
Joi Ito, who runs the MIT Media Lab and sits on Sony's board; Richard Stallman, who founded the Free Software Foundation; Harry Halpin from the W3C; and Danny O'Brien from the World Wide Web Consortium did a panel at the Media Lab during the W3C's last face-to-face meeting.
At EFF, we asked the W3C to adopt a "covenant" — a legally binding agreement among the members — not to use the DMCA to persecute security researchers nor to go after organizations or people who implement the technology without permission.
Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the W3C and inventor of the Web, decided to allow the continued work on DRM without even this minimal protection for the open Web.