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WTF is up with the W3C, DRM and security bods threatened – we explain

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Open the Door

Surely this is only the beginning of the end. This fairly benign DRM regime will expand to eventually block all manner of activity that rightsholders consider threatening.

I can easily see a day when visiting the Pirate Bay would be pointless because the underpinnings of the Web will make it impossible to download using a torrent, or at least a torrent without a corporate seal of approval.

I've no doubt that new ways will be found to circumvent new restrictions, but slowly but surely you'll see end users give up all control over what they view and read.

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Re: Open the Door

Well this is not the beginning of the end but more like the end of the beginning and many dont want to see DRM expand to cover everything, hopefully none of that happens and even if it did I can see it being hard to enforce. Most end uesrs dont want to give up control of what they do.

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Re: Open the Door

End users never have any meaningful say in what gets applied to them, full stop. Applicable to governance, business practices or the internet, take your pick.

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Bronze badge

DRM is not about preventing piracy. No pirated content is actually sourced from online streaming services - in fact its frequently available on various pirate sites long before it's even present on any official streaming service.

Instead DRM is about market control and consumer lock-in. This is clearly not something that should have a W3C standard specifically made for it.

DRM on online video needs to go the way of DRM on online music or CDs. I.e. away. The sooner the guilty parties realize this, the better. If they are still paranoid about piracy via this route they should just watermark the video server-side.

And no, I don't use Netflix. DRM being one of the reasons.

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Silver badge

>DRM is not about preventing piracy. DRM is about market control and consumer lock-in.

This.

There are valid concerns over piracy, but DRM on web streaming is not a fix for them. Cryptography is great for keeping things secret. If giving people access to things is your business, there's probably nothing you can do to squash piracy.

I find going to a DVD rental store more fun than downloading or streaming and it has far more selection than the legitimate online options. But the studios don't seem to support their retail rental outlets. I'll be playing more games and I think I'll take up the violin since both of our local shops have closed. I used to spend way more on DVD's than a netflix subscription would cost. My impression is that the studios thought getting rid of most physical media and streaming instead would be a great way to reduce piracy and increase revenue. I think they will find that they just lose mind-share - the halo effect around streaming is very small. I watch far fewer shows since I got mythtv running because I no longer have casual exposure to new stuff.

The internet was supposed to enable "the long tail," but apparently, it doesn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: >DRM is not about preventing piracy. DRM is about market control and consumer lock-in.

well I usually buy my DVDs and Blu rays off the internet, I dont have to fear my favourite retail shops being close and I dont need to use netflix, its a win win for me

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Black Helicopters

No pirated content is actually sourced from online streaming services

Lets be honest, it actually is, but that's why it shouldn't exist not why it should.

Problem is the stuff they're already using is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Open standards won't make that worse or better; DRM's sole purpose - and it has been this way since *at least* CSS - has been to screw people who buy stuff legally whilst having zero impediment to piracy and create an environment for users where if they want a better experience they should pirate. The "web" doesn't need a standard, open or otherwise, that contributes to this shitshow, get it out my browser.

This repeated failure to learn the lessons of history or listen to anybody outside the bubble (Trump could take note too) is really starting to get my goat. Anybody at the W3C involved in this should be ashamed of themselves, try telling truth to power and clearing the decks.

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This. W3C, Microsoft or Mr. Berners-Lee can take and shove their DRM in suitably dark places. No thanks. I'm no saint mind you, make no mistake. But if your content is only available through Silverlight or as WMV then I don't want it; the only reason I'm willing to pay for DVDs is that their DRM is known to be defeated, since I don't recognize anyone's authority to limit when and where I watch them once I bought them regardless of what is written where. I don't pay for "experiences", I pay for access to content. On my terms. MINE.

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Silver badge

Problem is, and I should have mentioned this in my post - there's no general purpose computing solution to the problem "people are copying my ip/data/movies/music/books". If there's no general purpose computing solution then either the entire platform has to change so we can't do whatever we want (i.e. we must all go out and buy apple tablets) or this stuff doesn't belong in a situation where w3c are wasting time (and I guess funding) trying to prove god doesn't exist. Tell them to piss off and move on.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: >DRM is not about preventing piracy. DRM is about market control and consumer lock-in.

How does DRM on a streaming video create lock-in?

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Anonymous Coward

Wait a second

I'm inclined to agree with you, but can you explain how DRM on streaming videos creating consumer lock-in or market control?

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Re: Wait a second

Same way it always does - by restricting on what devices and under what circumstances it can be viewed.

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Sure - people do occasionally rip streams for themselves and friends, but this is not where pirate torrents or bootleg DVDs or any of the other horsemen of the media apocalypse come from.

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Sure - people do occasionally rip streams for themselves and friends, but this is not where pirate torrents or bootleg DVDs or any of the other horsemen of the media apocalypse come from.

Sorry but most do honestly, iTunes, Amazon et al. There's enough HD network-exclusives out there to easily contend this is exactly what happens. Like I said it's not an argument *for* DRM, it's an argument against it, but it is the reality.

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Pirate

Disable it

Turn it off in Firefox under about:preferences#content

Chrome has just added a disable DRM flag under the hood, but hasn't exposed the UI setting yet. Follow that process here: Chromium 686430

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Bronze badge
Stop

DRM locks you into platforms and force you to keep upgrading.

Already have this issue with TalkTalk. Bought a film and cant move it away from TalkTalk.

They dont support the platform I want to use Linux, they dont even support Windows 7, it starts with Win 8.

In their contract they state they tell us all of this at the time of purchase, like hell do they!

Waste of money DRM, just stick to buying CD/DVD/BluRay if you want to watch or listen to anything.

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FAIL

Standardised DRM doesn't lock you into anything....

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Standardised DRM doesn't lock you into anything....

Depends on the Standard, SNMP MIB's are standard, however, they provide a standardised way for adding proprietary extensions...

The acid test for Standardised DRM is going to be whether Mozilla for example, can replace the proprietary DRM code in Firefox with oss code and still give users access to content encoded using the proprietary DRM scheme...

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Useful/Useless

I can see a lot of ways DRM would be useful within a business...

But the people actually directing the DRM efforts are trying to prevent piracy, which is a waste of time.

Example: My father once traveled to China (15+ years ago) on business, and while there he purchased a bunch of movies. One of the movies, was obviously a guy recording the movie from the audience (pirated). How do you DRM people's eyeballs, or a camcorder recording a movie? Obviously, there are more sophisticated ways to do the same thing at a higher Rez today.

DRM = Fail

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Full, legal, DRM

In my opinion, DRM should only be legal if there is a bullet-proof mechanism for ensuring that the film or audio you bought becomes freely available once the copyright period has expired. All current DRM mechanisms do not do this: once something is locked within existing DRM implementations, it doesn't come out.

Publicly putting keys into escrow via a trust or other legal mechanism designed to last the copyright period might work. Does anyone do this?

Films are advertised with the message "Own this movie today!", and there seems to be much, possibly deliberate, confusion over whether you licence or own the film or audio you pay for.

If there is no legal method for assuring access to content you have bought once its copyright period has expired, then the DRM implementation is flawed. I think that flaw should prevent its use.

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Re: Full, legal, DRM

In my opinion, DRM should only be legal if there is a bullet-proof mechanism for ensuring that the film or audio you bought becomes freely available once the copyright period has expired.

I thought copyright expiry wasn't really an issue in the way you describe, given the 70+ years duration of copyright rights. The real issue was and is DRM being tied to a specific platform, given that no IT platform has lasted more than a few decades. But then even physical formats (other than paper) suffer from the same issues.

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"The truth is that even the fiercest critics of DRM watch Netflix on their computers."

Speak for yourself, mate.

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Everyone ...

The Chattering Classes seem to be drawn to generalisations that purport to speak for all of us. I had a bit of a rant about it when someone said that everyone fileshares. Somewhat relevant to this discussion.

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Attempting to legally block people from investigating your system is moronic. Anyone who wants to study your system for illegal purposes won't give a carp about whether the study is legal or not, because they are going to break the law *anyway*. All you're doing is hampering the guys who are actually trying to make your system *better*.

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Re: Attempting to legally block people from investigating your system is moronic.

Even more moronic as given this will be a W3C standard and thus an open standard, the development of open source code such as DeCSS is wholly feasible and to be expected and for that software to be released under the common standard open source licences...

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Gold badge

Isn't it time to let users decide?

Surely, developing a plugin for the matrix of prevalent browsers and operating systems would be better?

Users who want to watch protected content install the plugin and watch, and the plugin has the routes to payment and play accreditation. Users who do not want that control on their computers (because it typically tries to go beyond scope when installed) simply do not install it, and watch what is free or provided by organisations who care more about availability or who use less intrusive ways to protect their material.

I can fully understand the desperation of wanting to protect IP on a network that seems to have developed getting things for free as a culture, but ramming uncontrolled DRM down everyone's throat is IMHO not exactly the right way to go about it - users MUST be given a choice.

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They want a contradiction

The big media companies want to make it impossible to steal their content - but still possible for them to steal content such as photographs from individuals.

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I am not a fierce critic of DRM, nor do I watch netflix.

The concerned raised by others here, i.e. geolocking, is of concern to me as a customer. That ruined DVDs for me and also brought a hard limit to the number of blu-ray titles I ended up buying. Too much of a hassle. (At one point I had to repurchase a license of AnyDVD HD to keep watching my collection since the original company was sueballed)

The flicks industry need to take a good long stare at e.g. Steam and watch how game enthusiasts bring their collections to an online library. Often buying games that they already own, but are too lazy to install from disc. Hint. Hint. Hint.

They have a product many people want to buy. Why make it difficult for people to become paying customers?

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Silver badge

At one point I had to repurchase a license of AnyDVD HD to keep watching my collection since the original company was sueballed

I reached a point where I needed to buy a new (set-top) Blu-ray player.

Not because the old one had died, but because _some_ of the distributors (*cough* Fox) had moved to a new and updated crypto scheme. Except the manufacturer of my player had ended support, so didn't (and when I spoke to them, wouldn't) provide a firmware update to handle the new scheme.

Which led to having to read the back of a disc's packaging very carefully trying to spot the name of the various distributors whose blu-ray's I could no longer play.

Ultimately, I entirely stopped buying Blu-Ray, as it just underlined the concerns I'd already had about it.

The truth is that even the fiercest critics of DRM watch Netflix on their computers

As others have said. Speak for yourself mate.

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Silver badge

"The flicks industry need to take a good long stare at e.g. Steam and watch how game enthusiasts bring their collections to an online library. Often buying games that they already own, but are too lazy to install from disc."

Hilarious that you should mention that, actually - it's something I really do from time to time, buying games I already own _again_ on GOG, just so I can have them freely downloaded on my hard disk, untethered to any cloud, including that shithole Steam.

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Facepalm

Hey guys, I've found a flaw in your DRM

Turns out it's still actually possible to see and/or hear the content.

Therefor it cant actually prevent people copying it.

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Not sure I get what the big deal is...

How does just having a *standard* affect who can be sued one way or the other? The decision to standardize DRM is a totally different issue than whether or not DRM itself is beneficial. From a technical standpoint, standardization is a *good* thing; why require plugins for functionality that is used so widely?

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