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Standards Leader Blasts Html5 Video Copy Protection

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Ian Hickson

HTML editor Ian Hickson


Microsoft, Google, and Netflix recently proposed a standard for copy-protected Web video, but HTML editor Ian Hickson calls it impractical and unethical.

"The proposal...does not provide robust content protection, so it would not address this use case even if it wasn't unethical," Hickson says.

There currently is no mechanism for digital rights management (DRM) for Web video, which means that companies offering video often use browser plug-ins that support DRM and copy protection. However, because device manufacturing companies have banned plug-ins from their products, Microsoft, Google, and Netflix published their Encrypted Media Extensions proposal.

The proposed standard leaves much of the DRM details to a Web site's JavaScript code instead of the browser. "Many consumer electronics are taking advantage of HTML for both video playback and user interfaces, yet their content protection solutions are typically tied to the device," say the proposal's writers.

However, Hickson says "any technology whose exclusive goal is to stop users from being able to make use of the content they have purchased is, in my opinion, unethical." He calls the HTML video DRM proposal “just a plug-in platform in disguise.”

From CNet
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