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Tim_Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee agrees to kill the open web

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In an unfortunate move W3C has announced that the created of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has agreed to accept EME as a W3C standard.

Initially Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) was pushed by Hollywood to restrict download of their works when streamed over the web.

However, once such a system is in place it’s application can go beyond multi-media streaming. There are many players who want to use this technology to restrict access to their own content.

Danny O’Brien of EFF explains out how EME will leave us with a web:

… where you cannot cut and paste text; where your browser can’t “Save As…” an image; where the “allowed” uses of saved files are monitored beyond the browser; where JavaScript is sealed away in opaque tombs; and maybe even where we can no longer effectively “View Source” on some sites, is a very different Web from the one we have today. It’s a Web where user agents—browsers—must navigate a nest of enforced duties every time they visit a page.

Once it becomes a standard Microsoft and Google will rush to implement it in their browser as they race to get more content for their users. These companies are not going to challenge the system and take side of their users.

Only bodies like EFF and free software can challenge this lock-out. Free software browsers can choose to ignore the W3C standards and keep those schacles at the bay, but then their users won’t be able to access such content.

O’ Brien said, “EFF is still a W3C member, and we’ll do our best to work with other organizations within and without the consortium to help it fight off the worse consequences of accepting DRM. But it’s not easy to defend a king who has already invited its attackers across his moat.”

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DRM is always a lose-lose situation for users.

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

9 Comments

  1. The sad part is that the W3C missed the goal because they focused too much on the method. The objective was to convince the big companies that free sharing of files was something to be accepted as a natural state of things, by using the open web as a platform – not viceversa. And in order to convince the big companies to switch to the web, they caved in by closing it one step at the time. At least we have a “forked” standard, by the WHATWG standards group, which Firefox and derivatives can keep using as their base without compromising their status as free software.

  2. There’s only one way we can fight this and make these companies stop locking up the web. We need to reject all DRM-protected content. It may be a tough decision for many but in order to make the web open again we need to be able to make that sacrifice. If vendors will not be able to sell their content with DRM they will have no choice but to stop using it, we need to reject DRM on principle, cancelling your Netflix subscription is a good start.

  3. If this article is just a couple of steps too complicated, I suggest going to this site and watching the mockumentary: http://www.theinternetmustgo.com/

    It brings up a lot of the issues from this article in a more simplified way.

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