"W3C rejects appeal, approves DRM standard, votes kept secret" by Bryan Lunduke! Everybody should watch this!


Interesting facts for a really important decision which affects the future web experience. I would definitely look deeper into this. If you find more relevant information please post them


Here is the Official Press Release by W3C

EDIT1: Useful article, found by @nikgnomic :

EDIT2: EFF resigns from W3C. Here's the open letter:

EDIT3: Reddit discussion:

EDIT4: Jesse Smith's opinion on distrowatch:


I don't have links since this is a thing that is going on for a long while, and as you know knowledge just accumulates over time and we tend to lose our sources. But will give my point of view and let others do their own searching and mulling.

Completely opposed to Lunduke, I am in favor of EME and am really glad it was approved. It gives me a sigh of relief because I can feel more confident it will now finally move further and hopefully all new web DRM technologies will be developed to make use of it.

The reason for this is not complicated. Whoever thinks that the defeat of EME would mean a DRM free web, hasn't been paying attention. Desktop apps and other software, as well as Flash, Silverlight and other plugins that could be developed in the future, all can introduce DRM tech in the browser in the blink of an eye. Just like that, as I snap my fingers. The absence of a web standard only means anyone can choose to do it their way. And in fact that's what they have been doing until now.

Streaming companies, in particular video streaming, cannot seem to be able or want to build a business model not relying on DRM, so they will do it with their own tech. Other business meanwhile are also waiting on the sidelines for anything they can hold on to to sprout their DRM content; book editors, certain educational institutions, etc...

EME at least has the advantage of creating a web standard that works in the context of a free web. It has provisions for sandboxing, for instance. Which offers a privacy and security level of confidence that no privately developed closed source DRM plugin could ever.

I don't remember anymore who said it. I know it wasn't Tim Berners Lee. maybe some W3C official, or just some journalist, but a few months ago I read that EME is in fact a victory of the free web over DRM, since for the first time it was possible for an open source standard to define the rules of their game.


I saw this earlier
is this possibly the other journalist bryan mentioned? not seen anything else about it


Well I believe too that W3C was not in favor of DRM but it was more likely like "if we can't avoid it, then at least let's standardize it and make it more secure for the users".

However, I'm not sure that the fight against DRM was over yet (I haven't decided myself, yet, if DRM is so bad or if it can be helpful for many people to protect their content without harming the openness of the Web). One thing is for sure. The Web experience in 5-10 years will be completely different than it is now. So, a decision which changes the whole Web so drastically, should have been more open. The W3C members votes should be published, the discussions in between should be published (so that we know the arguments in favor or against EME with specific details), information about which companies wanted this and if any money were given to W3C for this reason should be public knowledge too, etc...


Completely agree on both counts.

Given how much content is served over the web these days something is going to be developed to protect this content. Better that these DRM solutions are based on W3C standards rather than a mish mash of proprietary implementations... BUT... the cloak and dagger processes followed to reach this decision and the complete lack of transparency I find very troubling.

Generally secrets are kept for a reason and they are very rarely good reasons.


EFF resigned W3C. Here's the open letter:


Wow. just WOW !!!

Wow is right.

EFF basically believe this entire process was compromised at best but most likely corrupt, with EME being forced through by those in power.

W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate

In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium

The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members

This entire process just doesn't pass the smell test at all.


I think the reason they decided to move much of it into secrecy was for security reasons. It's a fact that we can hardly have open discussions on the internet between public figures about sensitive issues, without all sort of public hysteria taking place, including death threats.

Assuming all talks and actions respected the internal rules of the organization and the vote was entirely democratic -- which there is no reason to suspect it wasn't, considering the reputation of the people involved -- an open and public debate would only lead to the creation of a blame list with the usual consequences to the people involved. On the other hand, since the blacklash reactions upon the members of the W3C would be immediate over the last 5 years that these talks have been happening, more than likely this would have poisoned and conditioned the discussion and lead some members to fear for their safety, their personal or their professional reputation.

Some things, frankly are best made in a more private forum. Every open organization knows this. If Manjaro allowed for its users to define what direction the distro would take, there would be no Manjaro organization at all, just a dumb mass of people. And I say this knowingly, as a user that often criticizes Manjaro. And W3C, being an international standards organization is in an even better position to do this. It is under no obligation to bring standards debate to a public forum beyond that which is minimally required, where most likely no decision would ever been made and everyone would hate everyone else and treat them disrespectfully or threaten their lives or damage their reputations.


Mozilla offers a Firefox build without EME.
What's Manjaro's position on this?

Why should Manjaro have a position? There's no need for further polarization.
The Manjaro "position", like any other distro, will certainly be to offer two packages. That's freedom.


Was mentioned before about publishing industry wanting DRM
Can't find link to it, but sure I recall that W3C became owner of rights to ebook ePub format not too long ago

I have used W3C standards for html and css. Others have confirmed my experience that lack of standards compliance in web browsers creates a lot of extra work; and always name same company as worst offender

while the W3C insisted it couldn't reveal who voted for or against the proposal... it had no problem posting "testimonials" from the MPAA, the RIAA, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Microsoft and a few others talking about just how awesome DRM in HTML will be. Incredibly, Netflix even forgot the b*******t talking point that "EME is not DRM" and directly emphasized how "integration of DRM into web browsers delivers improved performance, battery life, reliability, security and privacy." Right, but during this debate we kept getting yelled at by people who said EME is not DRM. So nice of you to admit that was all a lie.

The claim of better security by allowing DRM seems contrary to refusal to agree to protect security researchers

Ars Technica
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) proposed a binding covenant for W3C members that would limit their ability to take legal action against those developing DRM bypasses. Under the terms of this covenant, members would promise to only use the legal system against those pirating media; those bypassing DRM to assert their fair use rights, or to assess the security of CDMs, would be protected from action. This covenant was rejected as was a weaker one that would have protected only security researchers.

1 Like

Not sure whether they're going to maintain three Firefoxes TBH.

Why shouldn't they?

Well, I didn't say that the meetings and discussions should be public in general. Usually organizations keep their meetings private by default. See for example Lunduke's comparison with how Opensuse meetings are done. They are private, but after the meetings they release as many information as possible like votes, timings, arguments in favor and against a decision, etc... We are talking about a huge issue here and the W3C leadership didn't even think about releasing any of this info neither they asked any of their members if they would like to do so. See Lunduke's questions confirming that and the reasoning behind EFF resigning..

They even didn't allow Lunduke to publish his recordings, claiming that other journalists may not want to share their questions publicly. However, Lunduke reveals that there was only 1 journalist and he didn't asked any questions, so they could just ask for permission, but they didn't. So, bottom line, they don't want to publish anything.

Security doesn't justify secrecy in Democracy. In almost every Parliament, the votes are open and public, because when someone votes he should be able to accept criticism and arguments against or in favor of doing so (when vote is secret this cannot be done). So W3C cannot be categorized as an Open Organization.

This is unfair. As soon as the standard was approved, it became a W3C standard and the organization must stand by it and support it in every way, publicizing it and making everything in its power to spread it. Of course W3C would not put there a testimonial from EFF! What standards body ever advertised a new standard with declarations of members who voted against it?

That Techdirt journalist is just desperately clutching for straws. And this is exactly the type of problem we have with the open internet. Imagine these type of hypocritical journalists covering the whole thing for the past 5 years and knowing who voted for and against!

Much of the voting process in modern democracies is secret. Not public. Our representatives vote much of the bills secretly in parliaments and similar democratic institutions around the globe.

1 Like

Not here. Parliament sessions are even broadcast on TV.
But maybe you mean the things that are done behind the curtains.

1 Like

I'm sorry for your representatives then. Who cannot vote in conscience but face political backlash from their party if they deviate from the vote indication.

Elsewhere we do have public voting sessions for sure. It's not everything that is voted secretly. But a good percentage of it is.

Only when it is justified with enough reasoning, like declaring a War, declaring Bankruptcy, selecting People for a specific chair (like votes for the Parliament members itselft) because you want to avoid apparent issues or bribes and favoritism. Here we have the opposite. W3C doesn't publish anything (apart form the votes percentages) and they don't justify it with any argument, they just say that there isn't any argument in favor of publishing anything ?!? That's how someone would expect Mircrosoft to function, not an Open Organization...

It's the opposite here: nearly everything is voted openly and publicly, with a few exceptions. Depends on the country I'd say.


Forum kindly sponsored by