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You are here: Home FSF News World Wide Web Consortium takes next step with controversial DRM proposal, Defective by Design condemns decision

World Wide Web Consortium takes next step with controversial DRM proposal, Defective by Design condemns decision

by libby Contributions Published on May 09, 2013 01:41 PM
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, May 9, 2013 -- The HTML Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today released a First Public Working Draft of the controversial Encrypted Media Extension (EME) specification, despite massive opposition from public interest organizations and members of the public.

W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe also released a statement justifying the Working Group's decision. The proposal, which is supported by the entertainment industry and giants like Netflix, Google, and Microsoft, would endorse and facilitate use of proprietary Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) in HTML, and would have a dramatic impact on streaming audio and video on the Web.

Defective by Design (a project of the Free Software Foundation devoted to fighting DRM) and a coalition of 26 other organizations publicly opposed the proposal in an April letter to the W3C. Last week, on International Day Against DRM, Defective by Design delivered tens of thousands of signatures opposing the proposal, and continues to collect petition signatures at

Free Software Foundation executive director John Sullivan made the following statement:

"We and the 26,000 concerned individuals who signed Defective by Design's petition so far are extremely disappointed in the W3C's statement today. The situation is actually worse than we thought, because the W3C now appears to be bizarrely insisting that Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is a necessary component of a free Web. We were under the impression that the standardized Web was meant to be a structure that mitigated against holders of particular proprietary technologies bullying Web users and developers, or extracting royalties from them as preconditions for participation. If companies want to do such bullying, they can do it on their own time and their own dime; the W3C should not help them or endorse them. In this statement, the W3C unfortunately hitches its wagon to the contentious and frankly irrelevant empirical claim that DRM is key to what Microsoft during the Vista launch referred to as a 'next generation content experience.' In adopting the doublespeak of the Hollyweb, the W3C is betraying the interests Web users have in experiencing the amazing universe of human culture enabled by the Internet. Instead, they are backing the desire of Netflix, Google, and Microsoft, to capture those users in media silos with walls enforced by proprietary software and criminal law like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (and similar laws around the world). Despite the W3C's claim to have listened, we do not feel heard. We will step up our efforts to stop them from committing this terrible error, including issuing a comprehensive refutation of this statement's reasoning."

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 and, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan
Executive Director
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

Libby Reinish
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942


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