back to article Who's adding DRM to HTML5? Microsoft, Google and Netflix

With tech companies abandoning the proprietary Flash and Silverlight media players for HTML5, it was inevitable somebody would try to inject DRM into the virgin spec. Microsoft, Google and Netflix are that “somebody”, having submitted a proposed modification to HTML5 to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for “encrypted media …


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  1. Spearchucker Jones


    Much as I despise DRM and what these clowns are trying to do with it and HTML5, I understand why. Hollywood won't allow online rental or purchase without DRM. Microsoft, Google and Netflix have little choice if they want to deliver content.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Bummer.

      I have issues with DRM of content I've purchased because it's usually so over-zealous as to remove large swathes of legitimate functionality.

      On the other hand, with services like Netflix that explicitly supply short, time limited rentals I think DRM is entirely appropriate. The ephemeral nature of your access to the product is explicitly part of the deal.

      So I don't think it's an unethical thing to add to the spec and I'd much rather it's figured out by a broad forum like W3C, with a number of sceptics in the room, than by the highly partisan interested parties alone.

      1. amck

        Re: Re: Bummer.

        Think of how DRM works, and what it requires. Identification of reader, authentication, access control built into the fundamental layers. With end-to-end security to make sure nothing gets copied.

        Every HTML server will be identifying its readers, just to enable some pages that have commercial content on them.

        If the infrastructure is put in place, it could make any form of whistleblowing, etc. impossible.

        Hence its quite reasonable to say, "fine, if you want to do b&m, but go do it somewhere else with consenting adults only, rather than making it compulsory".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Bummer.

          > Every HTML server will be identifying its readers, just to enable some pages that have commercial content on them.

          Um... Every HTTP server already identifies its users via its IP address + port number combo. Then the application can send you nicely crafted cookies to identify you better. You can add a layer of behavioral analysis on top of it, etc. Go to to see how anonymous you are on the Internet.

          > If the infrastructure is put in place, it could make any form of whistleblowing, etc. impossible.

          That's why we have TOR + Privoxy and the almighty Seven Layers of Proxies, which the open wireless network of some random guy living on the other end of the city is the zeroth.

          Posting as an AC just for the icon. Honest.

          1. magnetik

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bummer.

            Hmm, I have to seriously question that panopticlick site you mentioned. It says I'm uniquely identifiable because only one in 2 million browsers have the same number of fonts installed that I do, yet I've installed only the default fonts on my OS?

          2. Windrose

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bummer.

            "Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 2,032,879 tested so far."

            No Tor, no proxy, no nothing - except for cookies and JS turned off. Doesn't everyone these days?

            1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

              Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 2,033,810 tested so far.

              Well it would, especially as the browser listed is wrong!

          3. CD001

   see how anonymous you are on the Internet.

            Every HTTP server already identifies its users via its IP address + port number combo


            No they don't - they identify IP addresses and ports; they've got bugger all idea who's sitting behind the keyboard... the best you can do is narrow it down to a handful of potential people by going through the ISP. Less helpful if that IP address resolves to hundreds of computers behind a corporate/public router of course.

            Even less so, if as you imply, you're piggy backing on someone else's open wireless network.

            1. RAMChYLD

              Re: see how anonymous you are on the Internet.

              Exactly. I should also point out that many ISPs out there won't provide static IP addresses to home packages, for the reason of 1. Discouraging home users from setting up their own servers in hopes of selling them webhosting at an extra (often used alongside capping and upload throttling), and 2. there's more users than IP addresses available out there in the world today (some ISPs have even resorted to natting their users at the exchange), and not many are going to go IPv6 so soon because it will cost them millions to change their hardware. And that many websites are still inaccessible over IPv6 natively.

            2. dssf

              Re: see how anonymous you are on the Internet.

              Part I (due to 2,000 char limitation per post...)

              No, I think you could be mistaken.


              Our writing styles identify us. When keyloggers get into our machines, then every press or release of keys with time intervals monitored reveals who we are. Some type blindingly fast and edit after the fact. Many type while thinking, pause, edit mid-stream, and alter chunks of text.

              Those who do not use TOR, and who log in to sites, and receive HTML or crawler-infested content-rich messages on our desktops, laptops, and wireless devices, the cookies/bots/crawlers/pixels/invisible overlays, our typing/pausing/word-choice patterns, and our rather limited log-in times and locations will give away who we are.

              Oh, and, many of us repeatedly recall anecdotes, and pretty much tie us to posts we make in other forums, too. But, since some enjoy competition, personalities will be part of dissemination. At some point, as normally-non-detectable agitator, whistle-blower, or Good Samaritan will out him/herself.

            3. dssf

              Re: see how anonymous you are on the Internet.

              So... (Part II of II, due to 2,000 char limitation per post)

              Unless you type like a soulless machine, and just list bullets in order of complexity, or in chronological fashion with causes and effects in some military or scientific manner, you'll most likely inject emotion, feeling, senses, expectations and a who lot of other "markers" that will fingerprint you iron-clad.

              So, it does not MATTER that all they get is an IP and port address, since at some point, most of us will slip up. For the rest, those who ARE paranoid or ultra-secure for whatever reason. Just use a wireless router in a coffee shop while pondering your browser's ability to be told to get your machine ID, the CPU ID, the HDD ID, and a few random bits, and soon any sleuth with enough authority or the right connections will know the lot, manufacture date, import date, sales date and time, and most likely the purchaser -- by name as individual or as corporation, and such devices can be screen scraped to cobble together enough corroborative details to nail down the ID of the TRUE originator and dissemination source of pretty much anything posted. Well, unless you use plain text and have one machine strip down and reassemble text so no digital watermarks or super-compressed pixels hide inside fonts themselves.

        2. ThomH Silver badge

          @amck, others

          DVDs and BluRay discs have DRM. Implementing that did not require any changes to the fundamental data distribution network — I can still walk into a shop, pay with cash and walk away with a disc that I can play on my player, which needn't have any sort of network connection of its own.

          One would therefore assume that a minimal form of DRM might be simply to transmit video using asymmetric key cryptography, with individual vendors given a key derived from a common route that can decrypt the stream.

          Encryption and decryption keys would be protected contractually. So to obtain a key you guarantee you're not going to publish it.

          Mozilla would presumably opt out and Google would probably simply reserve it for the binary release. At least in Mozilla's case, I expect they'd provide some sort of mechanism to allow third parties to provide a binary blob that could push decrypted video in place of the normal video playback mechanism. The blob would be much simpler, and hopefully therefore much less error prone to implement, than Flash. There would be commercial value in making sure that someone supplies the blob for companies like Netflix, Hulu, etc, so it's reasonable to expect that someone would.

          Of course the scheme can be broken — as others point out, DRM can always be broken because it's an inherently conflicted technology, and I'm aware that both DVD and BluRay have been broken — but as it'd be at least as secure as BluRay it'd presumably be secure enough for content providers to continue to provide content.

      2. Windrose

        Re: Re: Bummer.

        "So I don't think it's an unethical thing to add to the spec and I'd much rather it's figured out by a broad forum like W3C, with a number of sceptics in the room,"

        The sceptics went out the window when the spec was effectively hijacked by the browser vendors and the WHATWG.

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Bummer.

      Hollywood will have to learn. After all they already distribute to _so many_ plattforms without DRM. Just think of television.

      The question simply is, do they want to sell something, which means they need to drop DRM, or they won't sell anything which doesn't give them any money.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bummer.

      "Hollywood won't allow online rental or purchase without DRM."

      Fine, let them do without the revenue. No skin off my nose, which is more than can be said for DRM.

      Seriously, there is *no* up-side for me in this (or in HTML5 generally, but that's mostly a different story), so fuck 'em.

    4. A J Stiles

      Re: Bummer.

      If DRM was mathematically possible, you might have a point. But it isn't, and you don't. Because ultimately, you have to deliver both the ciphertext and the decryption key to the recipient; and you don't know what they are going to do with them. You don't know that there won't be a camera pointed at the screen, or a mic at the speakers (desperate people do desperate things). Whatever convoluted scheme you can come up with to make it harder to access the content, it's simply a matter of time before someone manages to reverse-engineer it; and then it's rendered instantly useless, because as long as there is one copy in the wild without your Digital Restrictions Management, there are potentially infinitely many copies.

      Hollywood are going to have to learn to do without the revenue, I'm afraid. They've had it all their own way for too long. Let them take their ball and go home. Creative people will still create.

    5. Mikel

      Re: Bummer.

      They're using proprietary apps now. Let them continue to use proprietary apps. Standards are serious business and there's no need for the DRM fairy tale in them. True DRM is not possible and there is no need to pretend that it is.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bateman... "inject DRM into the virgin spec".. This article reads like the script of a porn movie.

    Seems fitting for the industry most concerned with HTML5 DRM.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unethical Vs Reality

    Whatever your ideologies or utopian dreams, the hard reality of the Web is that if rich media is going to become more commonplace, it's going to be large corporations providing most of the content the mainstream audience want to watch.

    That's not going away. Ever.

    Home made YouTube clips of your cat falling in the bath are funny, but people want to watch proper TV shows and movies that need to make their creators money.

    So why can't the W3C just face up to that and allow encrypted content? Whatever they say of think about it, it's going to happen, and then HTML 5 starts to become proprietary. At least if they made the effort to standardise something, all the browsers and STBes could roll out the same thing.

    First it was WebM Vs h.264, now it's encryption. Soon, the tags that bind it together will be so trivial, that the fact all browsers support them the same will barely matter.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Unethical Vs Reality

      Or even better, the W3C can tell the DRM-mongers to fuck off and come up with their own solution, as they will not be used by the media industry to turn an open platform for communication and information dissemination into a locked down nightmare that only works if you jump through the right hoops while holding chicken entrails in the air and reciting a prayer to Saint Ballmer.

      Read that, and you might be able to understand just how wrong baking DRM into the html spec is.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: Re: Unethical Vs Reality

        If Content distributors are forced to come up with their won scheme for DRM, then what was the point of HTML5?

        We'll either see Flash, Quicktime, etc live for many more years or another set of third-party plug-ins (Which will inevitably cause security issues and crashes).

        You end up with a choice:

        An internet where there is DRM in the HTML5 spec


        An internet with just as many crappy codecs and plug-ins as there are now

        1. M Gale

          Re: Re: Re: Unethical Vs Reality

          Don't you mean.. commercial video sites with as many crappy codecs and plug-ins as there are now? Personally I would rather that, than bake DRM into the HTML spec. See, the DRM will have to be revised every few months/weeks/days/hours to play catch-up with the crackers. That means everyone's browser will have to download the latest, potentially bug-ridden, hastily-programmed-to-get-it-out-on-time DRM scheme, every few months/weeks/days/hours.

          How is that any better? Thanks but I'd rather have the choice to tell Silverlight and its DRM component to GTFO my system.

          1. LaeMing

            They could also just admit

            that DRM doesn't work, has never worked, and is highly unlikely to ever work in the future.

            It is snake-oil to keep the shareholders happy and the stock up. Nothing more.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Unethical Vs Reality

            People already download updates to their browsers every few months/weeks/days/hours.

            That's why Chrome is on version 1294 and Firefox has gone from version 3 to version 947 in less than four months*.

            * Or something.

            1. M Gale

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Unethical Vs Reality

              "That's why Chrome is on version 1294 and Firefox has gone from version 3 to version 947 in less than four months*."

              Exactly, and MicroGooflix (I like that portmanteau) want yet another round of updates on top of that. To finish it off, knowing Microsoft this'll be a tentacle in their Palladium plan, so there'll be a hardware and probably firmware component too, if you want to view MicroGooflix-protected videos or any other MicroGooflix-protected content. Browser codebases are huge enough without having yet more headaches to deal with, and if the purveyors of DRM wish to peddle their wares, then they are quite capable of creating their own encryption layer and dealing with the headaches themselves.

              Oh yeah, Microsoft and Google make browsers, don't they? Shame about all the others.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Re: Re: Unethical Vs Reality

          "If Content distributors are forced to come up with their won scheme for DRM, then what was the point of HTML5?"

          It is to provide a platform that can be used by all those whose business model does not depend on them charging for content delivery. Advertisers, for example, would have no reason to lock down their ads so that they weren't seen by most of the target audience. Neither would anyone using the web as an application platform.

          The music, film and TV industries may be large, but they are not the whole world. They certainly aren't the whole of the web. They've come to the web about 20 years after its original designers devised it as a way of distributing information freely, and they've tried to retrofit precisely the opposite mentality onto the design. Now they are sad (and surprised) that this is neither feasible nor popular.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Beavis, Butheat & Freetards love the down-vote button

        "the W3C can tell the DRM-mongers to fuck off and come up with their own solution"

        Then that's exactly what they will do. It's what they ARE doing now. Happily.

        The fact you want the W3C to tell people to "fuck off" shows you think they're the boss of the Web, there to push people around.

        They tried this in the 90s and became a complete irrelevance. Netscape, Microsoft, Macromedia and others simply ploughed ahead adding whatever they needed, unwilling to wait 10 years for someone to give them permission to progress. Netscape 4 had multi-column support whilst IE4 supported embedded fonts. Both in the 90s.

        The W3C would be a memory on the Web today if it weren't for a bunch of people working in the real world coming together and working on HTML5. In the end, they agreed to become part of the W3C, and that's the only reason the W3C regained some relevance. Perhaps if they'd stayed as the WHATWG, we wouldn't still be watching petty squabbles about codecs and DRM.

        But the W3C is moving too slowly (not for the first time - CSS3 was born in the 90s), which is why we're now seeing browser makers roll out endles proprietary features. If you follow the MSIE blog, you'll know that barely a week goes by without some new proprietary CSS or Javascript feature being announced, such as the 3D manipulation of elements.

        The W3C don't even support a video format, yet <video> remains part of the spec, and it's not harming the element being rolled out across the Web. That shows the cracks appearing, cracks that will eventually lead us to the same situation as before, where no one cares about the W3C, they get their specs from MSDN or Mozilla.

        But if the W3C are happy to offer <video> without a codec (as they offered an <img> tag without any format support), why can't they also provide whatever generic mechnism is needed for DRM and leave the browser makers to implement whatever DRM system they want. Just nest a fallback element for failures.

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Unethical Vs Reality

      DRM doesn't give the creators any money. It only makes distribution more expensive.

      Look at "The Register". There is no DRM on this site, yet it makes money and can afford something similar to journalists. Look at newspapers, those make money, without DRM. Look at TV stations, you can easily record their programmes, yet they still make money via commercials.

      DRM does not help the creators, it only harms them. One should also note that DRM is fairly expensive. If you have Pay-TV a good portion of your money goes directly into the pockets of companies like Nagravision. If you buy a DVD-Player, the licensing costs for the DRM now is a good part of the hardware price.

      What creators need to do is to offer the content in a convenient form with not to much advertisement or some option to pay for turning it off. As long as it's DRM free, this will become popular.

      It would be interesting to see what would happen if The Register introduced a subscription model which would add nothing to the user, and have no effect on non-paying users. I guess even then, they might get a few hundred paying people. Now consider allowing them to turn off advertisements and you'll probably have a good chunk of your users paying.

  4. M Gale
    Thumb Down

    DRM is not "aka copy protection".

    Copy protection tries to prevent you making copies of something, end of purpose. DRM is far, far more evil.

    And yes, I will use that word. Correctly.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    There is only one thing to understand

    That Microsoft tries to infect something with DRM is par for the course. That Netflix does so is not really any concern of mine.

    That Google puts its name to such a proposal is the proverbial final nail in the coffin of "do no evil".

    The next time anyone comes in defense of Google I will from now on be forced to remember that it proposed DRM. The two are now irrevocably associated : Google = DRM.

    Thanks Google, it was nice while it lasted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There is only one thing to understand

      Not a huge surprise, Google already used DRM for their Android movie rental service, in the form of Flash.

      With Flash going away soon (gone in the next revision of Android, according to Adobe) they needed to figure out an alternative quick, if they hope to keep video rentals going after ICS.

      1. Mikel

        Re: Re: There is only one thing to understand

        I only tried to rent a movie from Google the one time. It wouldn't play on my Linux PC, nor my tablet, nor my "smart" TV. And that was that.

    2. Craigness

      Re: There is only one thing to understand

      Separating you from content you've not paid for, or preventing you from distributing it, is not evil. People whose business model depends on being able to do this will not use HTML5 if it is not compatible with their business model. Instead, they'd probably release an app for everything and the web as we know it would be left to die.

      1. M Gale


        Because nobody ever streamed video over the web before. Leave DRM to the proprietary plug-in bullshit mongers. The rest of us can view the Web on any machine we like, without having to worry about whether MicroGooflix DRM v3.4 has been released for the platform yet.

        1. LaeMing


          Yes, they can flick their MicroGoo elsewhere AFAIAC.

        2. Craigness


          MGale The fact that people have streamed non-drm video using non-standard technologies pretty much blows your excuse of position out the water. If there is a standard DRM built into your browser then you won't need to worry about having the right plugins - that's the whole point of this. Why not sit and think about this for a while? Standards means that anyone can view the web on any machine they like, even people who aren't you.

          Or maybe you're right. Maybe even there should be no standards which allow only the intended recipient to see the content. Let's ban SSL! After all, it was invented by a evil private company, not a standards body, so it can't be part of the *real* web, can it? We should ban that and any of those bank account access bullshit websites can just release an executable so their customers can do what they need to whilst the rest of us live in 1995.

          1. M Gale


            Mmm, those evil private companies eh? This would be called "putting words into mouth".

            Tell me how you are going to implement your DRM solution and show everybody the code and the keys so they can make their own version please.

            If not, keep it in a plugin.

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge


            A standard DRM means that no-one can claim to be a complaint browser unless they've paid the licence fee and joined whatever consortium owns the decryption keys. Historically, that has proven to be quite a barrier to deployment. Look at JPEG 2000, for example. Dead in the water for a decade, and not because the world didn't need a revised JPEG standard.

            Or is this some new kind of "open source DRM", where anyone can decrypt the content? That would be nice.

            Or perhaps you are happy to have it "in" the standard, but undocumented and optional? That's the current position.

            There is a place for DRM, but slap bang in the middle of a class of applications, 90% of which would be harmed by it, is not the place.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Craigness Re: Re: There is only one thing to understand

        I can live with that since I don't consume any form of commercial content over the Internet. If the web as we know it will die it will be precisely because of those corporate commercial interests. Heck, you want do distribute commercial content then write and maintain your own client. Don't try to enroll the whole www to advance your agenda.

        1. Craigness

          Re: @Craigness Re: Re: There is only one thing to understand

          AC. I don't have an agenda, except that the web should not be fragmented. If people don't want you see stuff without paying for it then they will find ways to make that happen. But if you force them off the web to do that, then then web will lose more than just the paid-for stuff.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: @Craigness Re: Re: There is only one thing to understand

            It is my mistake and I would like to apologize for it. My last sentences were addressed to media cartel, sorry I meant industry, and I never had the intention to offend you personally.

          2. Mikel

            A no-brainer

            They're not preventing anybody from seeing the stuff without paying for it. I doubt there's a new-release movie or popular show that's not widely distributed in HD mere days after it first airs in the theatre or on cable. If people wanted it for free, they could get all of it for free. People don't want it for free. People want to pay for it, or nobody would ever buy a DVD or a movie ticket because you can already get the content for free. We just want it not to be a pain in the ass to use when we buy it, and we'll buy a hell of a lot more. And that means no DRM. Look at what that did for music. Cutting the DRM BS cause online music sales to boom. In January 2008 iTunes dropped DRM - and everybody else who had it soon followed. Global online music sales in 2007: $2.9B. 2011: $6.3B (more than double, in 4 years.)

            The media giants are just avoiding selling their product to the people who would prefer to buy it. We're here - with out wallets out - to pay for video that's already ubiquitously available in unrestricted formats for free. All we want is to be able to play it however we want, on whatever we want, to skip the commercials when we're paying cash, to transcode or backup or whatever. Is it so hard to understand that if they quit trying to prevent people from enjoying the content they buy they could be doing a booming business?

            And that FBI warning is stupid. Imagine if they put that at the front of every music track.

      3. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Re: There is only one thing to understand

        ...except DRM never separated any non-paying customer from content.

        Although DRM does tend to make things more difficult for those that actually bother to pay.

        1. Craigness

          Re: Re: Re: There is only one thing to understand

          Jedidah. Yes it has.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: There is only one thing to understand

            It has also separated people who were prepared to pay from the ability to play legitimate content.


            HDMI DVD player plugged into non HDCP digital monitor - Homemade DVDs play, cheap DVDs from the market play, ROMs with video files play. Full price shop bought DVDs didn't play. (the player got returned as not fit for the purpose, for a full refund)

            example 2:

            Asus o-play with BD-ROM drive. A copy of a BD or DVD created with anydvd plays perfectly.

            Originals do not.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google = DRM?

      Don't worry, I am sure that in the mind of Andrew Orlowski, the equation will remain

      Google = Illegally copied content

    4. Gordon Fecyk

      Double standards again

      "That Microsoft tries to infect something with DRM is par for the course. That Netflix does so is not really any concern of mine."

      s/Netflix/Apple, anyone? How about s/Microsoft/Apple?

  6. Lockwood

    Na na na na na na na na BATEMAN!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boycott DRM

    DRM, or any other lock placed on electronic goods, only harms legitimate customers. The *only* people who will suffer loss or limitation of digital goods are the people who paid for them. Those who want to steal will always find workarounds - that fact will *never* be changed. And most people take the completely straightforward approach of legitimately purchasing the goods they want.

    Businesses should make it easy, painless, or even rewarding for paying customers. I'm saying this from personal experience - I use some (expensive) software that imposes a USB key plug on customers to ensure it's legitimate. This doesn't stop the pirates - I could easily obtain a cracked copy if I wanted to run the risk. But I don't, and neither do any of my colleagues. And yet we have to struggle with the daily hassles caused by this tiny, frail keyplug that has to be carted around with us everywhere. If it fails, or is lost, or you leave it behind one day, or countless other hassles, we - the paying customers - suffer loss. It makes us feel like the enemy, not the customer. We put up with it because it involves a single item, but imagining that spread across all my media makes me feel ill.

    This issue requires a concerted, focussed campaign to bar companies from employing these methods. We already have laws to cover the theft of media - we shouldn't also be caged as if presumed to be a criminal. DRM wants to take away our freedom to choose to act responsibly. Governments need to represent the people who are harmed by DRM, not the wealthy few that devise it. We need to lobby the government to remember who they serve. We need to name, shame, and *boycott* the companies who employ it (not to confuse them with the stores who are merely resellers - they can't change much alone). But who do we rally around? Can anyone identify a campaign underway?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boycott DRM - in case you did not figure out

      Democracy is taking money from the rich and votes from the poor promising you will defend ones against the others.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why bother?

    Seriously, what's the point of all this BS? Like every other DRM scheme ever it's not going to prevent even semi-determined people from doing whatever they want with the content, all it will do is inconvenience normal punters and yet again make piracy seem like a worthwhile option, to avoid the hassles associated with the legitimate version.

    Media rights holders can either:

    A) Just put their stuff out DRM-free, inevitably some people will misuse it as has always happened.

    B) Insist on another pointless DRM scheme, roughly the same amount of people will still misuse the content as with option A - possibly slightly more since you mildly irritate the entire userbase, and help legitimise people's excuses for pirating your content.

    C) Use a proprietary system/app/whatever as some people here have mentioned as an option if they don't get their way with DRM, in which case your marketshare will drop off a cliff and people wanting your content will simply use the traditional and superior illicit methods.

  9. DrXym Silver badge

    It might be unethical

    But it's also obviously necessary to support streaming video services. Otherwise they'll just use a Flash / Silverlight plugin.

    1. M Gale

      Re: It might be unethical

      Probably, and they are welcome to.

      And I'm quite happy to not download it.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Re: It might be unethical

        Then you won't be using streaming services which is fair enough.

        Problem is some people (all those thumbs down people) appear incapable of understanding it is necessary for streaming. Netflix, YouTube et al who stream commercial content are contractually obliged to encrypt it. If HTML5 doesn't provide what they want, they'll use a plugin that does.

        1. CD001


          I'm not entirely sure why any of this has to be "web" based to be honest (with the web being the www not the Internet of course)...

          Forget HTML5 tags, browser plug-ins or any of that... they could just release an application for it - hell, the app could be little more than an custom HTML renderer and DRM system then you can keep the web monkeys employed on the GUI... that's pretty much what Steam is for games or Spotify for music.

          Don't need to worry about plug-ins, nor W3C specifications - just make installing the app a condition of the service and jobsagoodun.

          If you don't need DRM, feel free to use an unencumbered website; if you do, make an app for it then you're only pissing in your own swimming pool.

      2. Craigness

        Re: Re: It might be unethical

        MGale. so you know you don't have to download it? Then what's your problem? Nothing is being forced on you other than the convenience of not even being told you need to download something.

        1. M Gale

          Re: Re: Re: It might be unethical

          DrXym, you're right, they will. Good on them.

          Craigness, you'll be told you need to download something quite regularly, probably every time the current DRM system gets broken.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Ancient Round Table does Hollywood ..... Holywood MonarchIC Quantum Style

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    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Ancient Round Table does Hollywood ..... Holywood MonarchIC Quantum Style

      Between up-voting and down-voting, can we have a third option here ? I don't know, something like the thumb held horizontally maybe ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: The Ancient Round Table does Hollywood ..... Holywood MonarchIC Quantum Style

        Better still, a "remove posts from this malfunctioning carbon unit from my view of the site".

    2. GSV Slightly Perturbed

      Re: The Ancient Round Table does Hollywood ..... Holywood MonarchIC Quantum Style

      [broadcast Eclear, sent 1330022571.4]

      xGSV Slightly Perturbed

      o(unknown) amanfromMars 1

      You seem to have a problem with your language subsystems. As far as I can tell, you appear to have your primary lexer set to "C++ CamelCase" instead of English.

      May I assist?

  11. JDX Gold badge

    As already mentioned, the idea of DRM is not bad (IMO)... time-limited and even account-limited make sense.

    The lack of DRM in HTML5 would mean it can never take over from Flash, so we have little choice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JDX - What the .... is going on here?

      DRM means I want you to be allowed to decrypt content and at the same time I want you to be prevented from decrypting it. If this is not schizophrenia then how would you call it ? And you find this idea not bad ? Again, WTF ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK, so how does that work?

    DRM "works" with Flash because:

    1) the Adobe Flash player is not open source

    2) entities like Hulu can push an encryption algorithm to the flash player via an encrypted channel.

    3) the user cannot see the algorithm, because Adobe Flash is a black box.

    4) so a degree of protection is provided.

    Now, if you add DRM to HTML5, you either

    a) make it a plug-in, which means it is little better than what we have now from a user convenience standpoint.

    b) build it into EVERY big name browser.

    But to do b) you have to release the source as a part of Firefox, and then you can intercept the data needed to decrypt the data, OR you make the source for the DRM plug-in not a part of the Firefox release (and thus create a distinction between Firefox-that-Mozilla-built and Firefox-that-I-built).

    DRM is logically flawed - you want me to be able to read this data, but you also want me to NOT be able to read this data.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: OK, so how does that work?

      Problem is we're not talking about Firefox here. We're talking of Chrome and Internet Explorer. They're both closed source so there is ample opportunity to encrypt / decrypt content in a way which is at least as secure as using a Flash plugin but with content which is HTML5 but with the video src pointing at some encrypted content.


      Even Firefox could implement something similar if they wished given that they release binary builds which could contain stuff which is not in the source. And failing that someone could simply produce a binary extension / plugin for Firefox which bundles up a video player which supports the DRM and places it in the page. This would not be rocket science to do.

  13. spegru

    Regrettable perhaps

    But the media companies do need to be able to make money or there will be no media.

    So we should be looking for a *content protection* system that does not.

    1. Limit the device you can use

    2. Place unfair restrictions on sharing (the 'I've got this DVD, shall I bring it round to watch over a few beers?' - model should still work. even as simple as logging in somewhere else)

    3. Be difficult to use, require installation of weird software

    4. Be proprietary so that users worry whether they can still use *their* content in 10yrs time, when the company has been bought & merged 10 times (If they cant do that perhaps it should be regarded - and priced as a rental)

    Really that doesn't sound like something that sits in the end user device so much as something that sits in the network itself

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Regrettable perhaps

      For any DRM scheme to work, you need closed trusted (by who ?) end-to-end protection. Get it ? Your browser must be into this end-to-end otherwise it will not work. Your entire machine hardware+software must obey to them and not to you as an end-user, sorry I meant consumer.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Regrettable perhaps

      >>2. Place unfair restrictions on sharing (the 'I've got this DVD, shall I bring it round to watch over a few beers?' - model should still work. even as simple as logging in somewhere else)Well Netflix seems to let me log in on any PC - don't think so on the PS3 but streaming on consoles is still immature.

      1. Annakan

        Re: Re: Regrettable perhaps

        Why would they let you do it ? then they could have you register and unregister a limited number of computer (say one), and force you to pay and pay again ?

        If they COULD prevent you to share the joy and think they could cough a bit more of money out of you WHY would they not do it ?

        If it is possible and nobody fights it, it will happen.

  14. sisk

    Unfortunate reality

    I hate DRM and view it as pointless. Very few DRM schemes have lasted more than a few months without being cracked, so it essentially restricts legitimate users while posing no real problem for pirates. Still there's no way that big media is going to allow content to be legally streamed without it. The possibility of DRM inside the HTML5 spec would be a marvelous way to ensure that. It would also buy Netflix, as well as similar services, the ability to be on all platforms instead of just those that support Silverlight.

    1. M Gale

      Re: Unfortunate reality

      The unfortunate reality is that the DRM component would work only on the platforms that it has been compiled for. Sort of like Flash, but baked into the spec so you can't get rid of it.

      Like I've said above, keep the DRM in some kind of external plugin. It has no business on an open Web. You know, the sort that the W3C is all about promoting?

      Again, for the benefit of anyone who didn't see the link above:

      DRM takes that mission, stamps on it, takes it out back, shoots it with a 50 cal, dumps the whole lot in a barrel, shits on the remains and then sets fire to it. I'm not surprised the W3C are opposed.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A poll

    Vote up or down:

    How many of you think most of the people who say "well, this will be circumvented anyway so why bother" have also said (to some earlier article) "well, what do you expect; they didn't secure it well enough".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A poll


  16. Kwac


    I'm all for it, as long as EVERY 'approved' website gives us irremovable(?) warnings about the dire effects of 'piracy' so we can sit around for several minutes waiting for it to load.

    BTW, it's not about 'digital rights' its about 'digital restrictions'.

  17. Ramiro

    The "problem" are open source browsers.

    The linked to article puts this out very clearly. It's impossible to stop an open source browser to write decoded frames to disk, for instance.

    So they're hand waving a lot and mentioning *hardware devices* or *binary drivers*.

    Err, that's a proprietary plugin, in my book.

    Thanks, but I think I'll give this one a pass.

    1. spegru

      Re: The "problem" are open source browsers.

      in the end you could just film the screen with a camcorder.

      No amount of proprietariness will stop it completely.

      There's also no need to point the finger at opensource: The internet is open - you cant stop that. But anyway even if you could, it wouldn't help

      What Media Cos need is a system that's easy to use and doesnt get in your face! That way, even a leaky system is *good enough*

      1. M Gale

        Re: Re: The "problem" are open source browsers.

        "What Media Cos need is a system that's easy to use and doesnt get in your face! That way, even a leaky system is *good enough*"

        They already have it, so no need to require it in every web browser. There's no need to require DRM to be baked into anything and everything that uses html5, or even for it to be part of the spec. After all, is a message telling you "this machine does not have Panopticon Technology DRM so you cannot view this content" any more or less annoying than "This web page cannot find Panopticon Technology's DRM plugin"?

        What surprises me most is Google's part of the tag team. With Microsoft? And Netflix? I'm guessing that somehow the three of them have figured if they can push this through now they can control the deal. That'd certainly be enough to set aside any other arguments for now. Bottom line, and all that.

        (Also, it figures that there is a real Panopticon Software, based in Sweden. Ho hum.)

  18. spegru

    there's going to be leakage

    just like shoplifting, rail ticket avoidance, whatever

    If media companies can just accept that if it's easy enough to use, and the price is not too bad than *most* people will pay. Doesn't mean there will be no freeloading but good enough is good enough.

    However if they want a totally rigid, over-priced (ie same as a DVD even if you can't *have* the media) system, then people will be motivated to bust it - and they will!

  19. Cameron Colley

    This is a tough one.

    DRM is evil but if it weren't for it I would not be able to watch anything legally apart from "my kitty is funny" on YouTube. I hate DRM but I can't see any way that Linux users will ever be able to watch anything mainstream without it being part of HTML5.

    Heck, It's already not possible to use Netflix or LoveFilm as a Linux user and things will only get worse.

    If anyone posting the anti-DRM comments above would like to propose a solution to this I would love to hear it, and that is not sarcasm.

    I find a black-box file for some HTML5 sites to use (no need for anyone who doesn't want DRM to encode) less shitty than the alternative -- which will be iTunes or Windows Store only.

    1. Annakan

      Re: This is a tough one.

      OR the alternative could be the by law interdiction of walled gardens and the artificial creation of scarcity, a real change.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is a tough one.

      This is not a Linux technical issue, it is a copyright problem. Trouble is not who is going to write this proprietary file but rather who is going to distribute it. GPL license forbids distribution of any piece of software that imposes restrictions on end-user digital freedoms. This is why you have to download yourself those driver/firmware binary files, even if they are free (like in zero cost) no Linux distribution would be allowed to do it. Those FOSS guys may be freetards but they all obey copyright laws like the rest of us. And their license states that the GPL software must never impose any restriction upon the downstream recipients. That is precisely why a lot of big corporations are so allergic to it (in particular Microsoft can't even spell GPL without fainting instantly).

  20. Majid

    Nobody works for free.

    So if you want to have real quality content, I am willing to pay for it. If the price is fair, and it is easy to pay for just that one item. And not have to have a subscription set up you can't get rid of any more.

    Let me give an example: I am not a big football fan, but there are some games during the year that I want to see.. So a subscription is a nogo. I would gladly pay something like 3 or 4 euros for viewing Barcelona vs Real Madrid.. but I don't want a subscription to all football matches during the whole year.

    I am pretty sure that theres a lot of money lost now, because companies just want to tie us into subscriptions. Thats a much bigger problem than the drm itself. drm is just a means... you first have to have a goal.

  21. JDX Gold badge


    The comments, general tone and voting patterns on this article really make me wonder exactly who El Reg's reader-base really is, and what planet they come from. Apparently some planet where big companies don't shape the web, and content providers are simply going to magically give up on DRM because HTML5 doesn't support it yet.

    Like it or not, content providers are big on DRM and that won't suddenly change due to HTML5 - it might change long term (I doubt it) but there is absolutely no way moving from Flash->HTML5 will cause a paradigm shift because the big bosses don't even understand the changes.

    If MS, Google and Apple want it to happen - it's going to. It doesn't matter one jot if w3 approve, the big browser guys will either make their own proprietary solutions or work together on an unofficial standard.

    It'll save your blood pressure if you simply realise this now and stop making fools of yourself bandying around words like 'unethical' and 'evil' (I mean, seriously?!) Nobody tells Google/Apple/MS what features they can put in their browsers, if those three agree on implementing DRM functionality everyone else will have to.

    1. Craigness

      Re: Dreamland

      If Google rescued a cat from a tree it would get a downvote from El Reg commentards.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Dreamland

        Google would only ever rescue a cat from a tree to sell you pet insurance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Dreamland

          Microsoft would up-sell you a dog i.e. a cat with less features.

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Re: Dreamland

        I'd be annoyed because it took me a while to get the bugger stuck up there in the first place. Ever tried herding cats?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dreamland

      You do understand that there's no one forcing people to actually pull out their wallet and buy DRM laden shite, do you?

      That's what it comes down to, some people will blindly 'buy' stuff they don't really own, others refuse to. Whether or not it is there is meaningless, look at Google Video (absence thereof)

      1. Cameron Colley

        Re: Re: Dreamland @Brah

        I'll pick your post as it's indicative of others.

        I take it you don't own any Apple or Microsoft products and you only watch video content freeview or freesat? If not then you are pulling out your wallet for DRM laden shit.

        There is no alternative -- if HTML5 specification does not include DRM then things like iPlayer, LoveFilm and the rest will either continue to use Silverlight or Apple and Microsoft will start including DRM in Internet Explorer and Safari anyhow meaning you will have to buy their software or be locked out of Internet video. This is already happening, in case you havn't noticed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Dreamland @Brah

          So why in this case do Microsoft, Google, Apple and others do need to pervert the open standards of the web ? They could just keep on doing what they do best and let us the non-consumers enjoy the rest of the web (the one without Internet video) like free humans and not like cows attached to their stable. I for one can live with it.

          1. Cameron Colley

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Dreamland @Brah

            So your argument against DRM in HTML5 is that it will have no effect on you, but will pollute your ideal standard, so you don't want it? You'd rather push more people away from Linux on the desktop than suffer a DRM library file you'll not install anyhow?

            Do you really not use anything with DRM or use Windows at all? If you do you're a selfish hypocrite since you're happy to pay for DRM video but you don't want anyone else to unless they do it your way.

            For anyone that wants to use Linux to watch video not having DRM in HTML5 could well mean there will be no mainstream content available in the next few years. Linux is already locked out of BluRay, LoveFilm and Netflix and if/when Flash goes then so will iPlayer and the rest.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Dreamland @Brah

              There's a difference between buying a DVD, which does have rudimentary DRM which can be easily circumvented, and buying a digital only copy of a file on a remote locker service.

              Now having vendor and platform specific hooks for DRM in a supposedly open market standard.. how the hell does that benefit _anyone_ except existing walled garden services?

              We all should oppose it because it goes against what the W3C and open standards are for. And for the record, you're the one that mentioned open source and linux.

              1. Cameron Colley

                Re: Re: Dreamland @Brah

                DRM is DRM and breaking any of it is illegal in the US and, potentially, could be in other places too.

                Also, this is more about streaming than buying -- HTML is not really about downloading gigabyte sized files for playing offline (though I understand that will be possible in future) it's more about streaming video with things like iPlayer.

                Without some kind of DRM for streaming in the HTML spec it will be dependant, eventually, on Silverlight thus locking a heck of a lot of people out of it.

                I mentioned Linux because if you're not running it or a BSd chances are you're paying someone for DRM software somewhere -- you certainly are if you bought Windows.

  22. JDX Gold badge

    sorry - I added Apple mistakenly but no doubt they'll be on-board.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You should withdraw your post then, because they aren't.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, no doubt they'll be on-board, because that's totally consistent with their previous behavior isn't it? Like when they railroaded music labels into distributing DRM-free tracks on iTunes last decade?

      1. JDX Gold badge

        You're saying you DON'T think Apple will want DRM capability in HTML5? Why wouldn't they? HTML5 represents a big risk to iTunes otherwise.

  23. Joe Montana


    DRM has nothing to do with payment, if you don't pay for the service then the service doesn't provide you video at all...

    Region, although highly unethical is also not a drm issue, you check the ip accessing the content and reject it based on your arbitrary regional discrimination...

    All DRM is actually designed to do, is to stop legitimate purchasers from format shifting etc, and forcing those purchasers to buy the same content multiple times.

    DRM is simply not needed, all it does is harm, inconvenience and ultimately discourage paying customers. Music is now distributed drm-free, movies are already distributed in drm-free formats such as broadcast tv and drm schemes always get cracked...

    The only reason cracking of flash/silverlight drm is not more commonplace is because the quality and selection is poor compared to bluray, so its easier to rip those instead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Try that at a theater sometimes....

      "All DRM is actually designed to do, is to stop legitimate purchasers from format shifting etc, and forcing those purchasers to buy the same content multiple times."

      Do you find your local movie or live theater lets you come back as many times as you want, as long as you buy one ticket? Not mine. They also frown on attempts to record the performance, although people do. The fact that people do doesn't mean they should, or it is moral of them to do so, or immoral of the performers and theater management to put such a restriction in place.

      Tell me why this is different. Why aren't content providers allowed to set the terms under which they license their IP? You can choose not to buy, and if you're right, they go out of business. Somehow I suspect they won't.

      1. M Gale

        Re: Try that at a theater sometimes....

        "Intellectual Property" is why. One of the most insidious terms I've ever heard. Sorry, I bought the DVD, it's mine. You might own the performance and distribution rights, but if I decide to copy that DVD to to my computer's hard drive, a VHS tape, laserdisk or reams and reams of punched card, it's absolutely none of your business. So long as I am not selling cargo containers full of your movie stacked 9-side down, what the hell is the problem?

        Oh yeah, you want me to buy one thing twice. Sorry, no can do.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Try that at a theater sometimes....

        "Tell me why this is different."

        Because it's an entirely different situation perhaps? Your analogy is akin to those "you wouldn't steal a car" PSAs. Each time I go to the cinema or theatre the operator bears a cost (electricity, heating, staffing, etc.), and since the amounts of seats are finite and assuming the theatre is full then I'm preventing another potential sale. When I watch a video at my computer/television/tablet/whatever none of that happens, I've already paid for it, there's no further cost to the publisher so attempts to charge me for every time I view it are obviously unjustified in the eyes of reasonably-minded people. If you're a simplistic free-market nutjob then this might be lost on you however.

      3. Annakan

        Re: Try that at a theater sometimes....

        Because you get it all wrong.

        The theater is supposed to offer me other services than just the movie, the place, the screen, the sound, they have invested in real estate locally, they don't have a zero reproduction cost business.

        And give me non transferable IP, meaning all proceeding always go to the creator, and I might agree with you, this is not the way it is, the one profiteering from the IP have close to nothing to do with the creators, from authors to technician, at least in the share of the benefits.

  24. heyrick Silver badge

    Why does this matter?

    Is every browser going to support every common video codec, plus updates for new stuff plus changes (ie 10 bit H.264)? Or are we going to suffer being limited to a codec or two and tough luck if it doesn't do what you'd like... It's a goddammed *BROWSER*, not VLC with fancy text. Please let the video support be via plug-in libraries so not only can they be disabled/updated separately from the browser, but also "they" can release a DRM codec and sink or swim based upon that...

    1. M Gale

      Re: Why does this matter?


      But watch out, you'll get accused of being a left-wing, librul, money-hating, anti-american communist freetarded pig-dog in a minute.

    2. mraak

      Re: Why does this matter?

      Are you calling Flash? The hated, unwanted, evildoer, that's to blame for all bad that happened to his world ever since iPhone was introduced?

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Re: Why does this matter?

        Flash sucks, that's for sure, but it's far from the only video-capable browser extension around (DivX player, Octoshape, VLC, blah blah).

  25. J 3

    and Silverlight from Adobe

    Sold, already!?

  26. Crisp

    Who the hell do they think they are?

    Just who the hell do they thing they are to tell me what I can do with a legally purchased movie or video?

    I will carry on treating my possessions the same way I always have. What gives them the power to take away my statutory rights?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Who the hell do they think they are?

      A copy of something isn't the same as possession.

      While you do indeed own the physical media and packaging and therefore you can do whatever you like with this physical side of it - including, much to the utter horror / disgust of the media companies, reselling, lending or giving it away.

      However what you are really purchasing is a bit of packaging with a *licence*, restricted as legally as possible (check the small print), to view the content that just happens to be encoded in some form on the material itself. As a result, making a copy of this content is a violation of the implicit contract you agreed to in purchasing the licence to view this content and the physical packaging that just happened to come with it and doing so without the Copyright holder's prior permission is also a Violation of the Copyright of the content - it is not, and never can be, *theft*.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Re: Who the hell do they think they are?

        Is this always fair? No. However the original creators of the content should be rewarded (compensated) for the skill, talent or just effort involved. Beyond the original creators of the content there are teams of people who often end up supporting it - marketing, distribution, legal teams, advisers and so on. These people should also be adequately rewarded for their skill, time and effort.

        The situation is made complicated because with a digital copy, i.e. online, there is no restraining physical media. For example, with a book you can in reality quite easily (haha) copy it using a photocopier and handing the resulting pile of dead tree to a friend to read. On the other hand you could just lend the book to a friend once you've read it and this kind of usage of content is thoroughly ingrained in how we act. As a result a book has a form of copy protection built in but it doesn't have any rights management - there is no realistic way for the publisher of the book to stop you lending it to a friend, not matter how much they'd like to as they'd much prefer to sell your friend a fresh copy.

        Personally, I'd deliver video (possibly using SSL) within a logged in account on a website. The user can view the content from pretty much anywhere and if the content is time limited, the account detail can be updated to no longer provide the content. The end user *could* make a copy of the content but if the price is right, access is very easy and tangible rewards are offered for purchase (i.e. exclusive loyalty offers not sourcable elsewhere) then an provider could be onto a winner. Somebody could always point a camera at the screen, but the point is to make it far easier to get it legitimately for a fair price. Unfortunately the entrenched industries don't see it like this, see increased prices and greater restrictions as the only way to improve market penetration and when they commission reports into the alternatives they already know what they want the reports to read.

        1. Annakan

          Re: Re: Re: Who the hell do they think they are?

          This is AWESOME :

          "marketing, distribution, legal teams, advisers and so on."

          All people that only exist because lock in (and now DRM) and IP right are the way they are.

          These people do not provide ANY value to the creative work (no a song is not better because it is "marketed", neither is a painting or a movie, more successful, maybe, better no).

          Parasites that ask to be fed on the back of the creator(s)., who incidentally are gets the LOWEST share of the retribution...

          In a "logical" and "fair" world you would pay 1/10 of the price you pay now (and yes I'll do it even if I could copy it, not all of us are undiscriminated thieves) AND the creator(s) would be retributed 2 to 4 times what they are now.

          And yes the "marketing, distribution, legal teams, advisers and so on." would have to find another job or work for another kind of product where maybe this has value, and maybe they would be creating wealth and the whole society would benefit from it (through a mechanism call taxes, among a few other that are designed to spread the wealth and sow the society).

          Dream on ?

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Who the hell do they think they are?

            "marketing, distribution, legal teams, advisers and so on."

            "All people that only exist because lock in (and now DRM) and IP right are the way they are."

            Not true. While I'm happy to agree that many don't add to the quality of in some ways to the value of the work, they are often required:

            * marketing - help the public find out about the work in the first place.

            * distribution - those CDs or books don't get to the stores on their own

            * legal teams - ok, maybe they should all be shot (in front of their families no less) but some form of legal assistance is often necessary. If only to ensure the split of royalties is correctly drawn up. (notice how I'm avoiding the word "fare")

            * advisers - artists aren't always the most world savvy people and often need assistance. From how not to get arrested too often, where to holiday without being mobbed or just how to avoid paying quite so much tax.

            With a switch to digital these roles would change, however there are still a lot of cases where they are needed. For example, if you're a talented singer with a good band but nobody buys your music because nobody knows who you are - would you like to put the effort into learning how and where to best promote your band or would you employ somebody who has the experience to do it and you can get on doing what you like doing best - i.e. creating music? Simplistic example I know, but still valid.

            And yes, I'd be more than happy to pay less and have the artist / creator get more of the money. However that is muddying the issue and while nastily tied up with Copy Protection and DRM, is a separate blight on the creative industry.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Who the hell do they think they are?

      They think they are the person selling you a license to watch the media. They are right.

  27. squilookle

    DRM has a time and a place

    For services where you rent the content like Spotify and Netflix, it's fair enough because I understood when I signed up that I do not own the content and would lose access to it if I ended my subscription, so that's fine.

    On the other hand, I think DRM on a download or a disc that I have purchased is wrong. It's mine and I want to be able to play my content on any device I see fit.

    As I'm not against DRM for streaming then, I was going to post here saying that I don't think adding DRM to the spec would be unethical and that, if we want to be able to stream the content many of us want on any device we want, such as Linux boxes, then this would be a good thing.

    However, there are some convincing arguments in the comments against it too, so I'm really not sure now, other than to say that if anything like this did get into the spec, then it would have to be done very, very, very cautiously and would be a compromise, not ideal.

  28. mraak

    Oh, we're totally HTML5

    Because it's open.

  29. clean_state
    Thumb Down

    DRM not needed

    I disagree with the comments saying that DRM is required to enable a movie rental service like Netflix.

    It is the same argument as used a couple of years ago to explain that DRM was required to make a music purchase service like iTunes work. "Otherwise you could copy the music off your neighbour's computer instead of buying it, gov'ner - duh." went the argument. iTunes is now a thriving DRM-less music service.

    For netflix rentals, all you have to do is enable streaming in the time window the user has paid for. He comes later, the "watch now" button is not there anymore. No need to change the HTTP or HTML spec for that. Of course some people will record the stream but ... This has been debated over and over and SETTLED with iTunes.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get the opposition to this. HTML5 video is for streaming video. All the people complaining about DRM oppose to the MP3-like DRM where it is your content after you buy it but then are restricted to do what you what. That's not what this is.

    The restrictions Youtube and Netflix relate to streaming it. If you sign up to their service (willingly) then you play by their rules. Without this restriction Netflix would be completely free and make no money and then obviously close. Content providers would still be able to not enforce the DRM should it be non-paid content. Everyone wins.

    If its not included in HTML5 spec then as so many people have said before no-one will use it and carry on using numerous codecs (such as Flash) and HTML will have fixed nothing.

    And even if DRM can be beaten in a matter of time that doesn't mean it should be there. It's not too hard to pick/break a lock to your home but you still have one on your door..

  31. Annakan

    Simple solution, if they don't want the content seen and spread

    They should not release it.

    Honestly I am so fucking tired of this artificial creation of scarcity benefiting always the same people and screwing all the others, artists included.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We had a de-facto standard

    for Web video (DRM or not) and interactivity, in the shape of Flash. HTML5 is a solution looking for a problem, it is the "new big thing" and if you're not into it you're Wrong(tm).

    (I also find '90s Web pages much more readable/accessible than modern ones, and I wish those damn kids would get off my lawn.)

  33. the-it-slayer

    DRM incites piracy?

    Yes it does. To make content so difficult, time-consuming, resource consuming to view, aren't you just making a case for someone to go and get it elsewhere? DRM makes it difficult for you to move that content around to different hardware or playable devices in terms of the media context.

    Okay, we have copy-protection (weak however) on DVDs. However, at least you can lend, sell or burn that copy however you like. Techies/media mogues haven't come up with an inbetween to DRM and DRM-Free. PCs naturally give you the ability to "copy" data and multiple it out to other people via other media. Surely it would make more sense to block copying media files that have been bought from legit sites (i.e. iTunes, Amazon etc) and only allow them to play via the device you have it located on (maybe a stamp of some sort until an authorised move was done).

    Again, this goes back to developers of operating systems unless video codec companies add that sort of protection to their encoders/decoders? We're getting the same old one small group tries to play the hands of everyone else for everyones benefit even though everyone may not agree.


    1. A J Stiles

      Re: DRM incites piracy?

      "Surely it would make more sense to block copying media files that have been bought from legit sites (i.e. iTunes, Amazon etc) and only allow them to play via the device you have it located on (maybe a stamp of some sort until an authorised move was done)."

      Great idea! Shame that it's impossible and that the impossibility is a limitation, not of present technology, but of the universe itself (so nothing anyone could invent would make it possible).

  34. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

    It's all a tempist in a tea pot

    I'll ignore for the moment that when users don't feel they are being ripped off by content providers overcharging for the content, they tend to not copy & distribute it.

    All DRM schemes regardless of media eventually get defeated by people intent on defeating them. The real issue for those trying the protect their movies and music is to simply not have the bar so low that the average user, who has the technological prowess of a gerbil, can effortlessly copy and distribute the content. But study after study keeps showing that DRM free content does not tend to get pirated by users who feel the content provider is giving them a fair deal.

  35. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Open DRM

    Is what is needed. The problem with the current crop of proponents is that they will ensure that a closed, patented DRM mechanism is mandated.

    Now, if the DRM scheme is patent-free for both origination and consumption, that would potentially allow anybody to generate and publish content without the freetards nicking it. Think struggling bands, local TV, that sort of thing. It might actually make the provision of on-line content viable and democratic.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: Open DRM

      Shame that big corps don't want multiple little corps taken a slice of their power. Great idea in principal, but only when everyone is round the table will that ever happen.

  36. dssf

    Considering that DRM allows/enables tracking...

    Some of you may want to look at Ghostery. I found out about it just minutes ago reading some Dvorak stuff:,2817,2400448,00.asp

    It is a tracker that tracks who is tracking YOU....

  37. Jean-Luc

    Dare I say it?

    Naw, gonna keep me mouth shut.

  38. Mikel

    What is even the point of DRM?

    It's not like you can't get every single item of content unencrypted for free already. That cat is already out of the bag. The barn door is open and the horses have fled. What is it about making the content unusable by the people who actually pay for it that even starts to make sense? I just don't get it.

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