Web DRM standard moves to next phase of development, FSF's Defective by Design campaign to continue opposition
EME (full text) is a proposed technological standard for Web-based Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), digital handcuffs that video-streaming services use to micromanage users' access to legitimately obtained media. As Web users asserted while protesting the W3C's meeting this March, DRM is coercive, disempowering and insulting to users. It also causes broad collateral damage to the health of our digital society. DRM's dark history — from the Sony rootkit malware to draconian anti-circumvention laws — demonstrates that integrating it into Web standards would be nothing but bad for the Web's users. It is predicted to stymie security research, curtail privacy, freedom, and accessibility, and set back the interoperability that is necessary for innovation on the Web. There is considerable dissent about EME within the W3C — staff member Harry Halpin has pledged to resign if it becomes an official standard.
Defective by Design is the FSF's campaign against DRM in all its forms and the aegis for its work against EME. Campaigns manager Zak Rogoff made this statement:
"The W3C and its director, Tim Berners-Lee, are abdicating their responsibility — as stated in their official design principles — to put users first in the design of the Web. We had hoped that Berners-Lee would uphold the vision of inclusion and empowerment that he articulated in his famous Tweet about the Web: 'This is for everyone.' But by allowing EME to continue, he has given license to Netflix, Google and media owners to warp the Web so that it works firstly for them.
We are inspired by the worldwide network of activists who have joined us in our struggle for the freedom-respecting Web we deserve. Defective by Design will continue to escalate our campaign, deploying new and creative forms of resistance until EME is stopped."
The EME standardization effort, sponsored by streaming giants like Google and Netflix, aims to take advantage of the W3C's influence over Web technology to make it cheaper and more efficient to impose DRM systems. As of yesterday, the EME proposal is now upgraded from Working Draft to Candidate Recommendation within the W3C's process. Under the W3C's rules there are at least three more chances to pull the plug on EME before it becomes a ratified standard, also known as a W3C Recommendation.
W3C member organizations wishing to join the campaign against EME are invited to contact Defective by Design at firstname.lastname@example.org. Concerned individuals can start by signing Defective by Design's petition or adding a protest selfie to the growing gallery.
About Defective By Design
Defective by Design is the Free Software Foundation's campaign against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). DRM is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media, creating a good that is defective by design. DRM requires the use of proprietary software and is a major threat to computer user freedom. It often spies on users as well. The campaign, based at defectivebydesign.org, organizes anti-DRM activists for in-person and online actions, and challenges powerful media and technology interests promoting DRM. Supporters can donate to the campaign at https://www.defectivebydesign.org/donate.
About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.
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