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The W3C Moves The EME Framework to "Recommendation" Status

Posted by Christopher Levy on Jul 26, 2017 2:00:00 PM



Much to the chagrin of the EFF and FSF, the Web moves forward with DRM in the browser.

This is an update to the ongoing saga of DRM for HTML5 using Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) which we first covered in our highly read blog post: "Cory Doctorow and the EFF want to take away your Netflix..."

After a very bitter organized and well-funded attack on the W3C by its member company, The Electronic Freedom Foundation, the W3C has finally decided to move ahead with elevating the EME spec to "Recommendation" status, thereby opening the gates for EME to move into a nearly-permanent spec as part of the standards on which browsers of the World Wide Web operate.

In making his decision known, the Director of the W3C, Tim Berners-Lee (you may have heard of him) wrote "The Encrypted Media Extensions specification remains a better alternative for users than other platforms, including for reasons of security, privacy, and accessibility, by taking advantage of the Web platform." This simple but powerful statement effectively put to bed the years of failed efforts by people like social satirist Cory Doctorow and the former editor of the HTML5 specification, Ian Hickson to prevent DRM from becoming a key component of HTML5 video playback.

The W3C's draft specification for their recommendation is located here. It is extremely thorough and covers every known aspect of supporting EME in HTML5 compliant web browsers.

And now, our industry moves forward with DRM now available as an integrated component of today's most popular web browsers. To summarize: Google's Chrome Browser supports their Widevine DRM while Microsoft's IE and Edge browsers both supporting PlayReady DRM and Apple's Safari supporting FairPlay DRM. These crucial stakes in the ground will lay the framework for large-scale movement to HTML5 as the de-facto secure playback platform for encrypted content.

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If you would like to read more in-depth information about this change I highly recommend these articles:

"On EME in HTML5" - Tim Berners-Lee

"DRM in HTML5 is a victory for the open Web, not a defeat" - Peter Bright

"Notice to the W3C of EFF's appeal of the Director's decision on EME" - Cory Doctorow / EFF

"Over many objections, W3C approves DRM for HTML5" - Peter Bright

"HTML5 Comes of Age: It's Finally Time to Tell Flash Good-bye" - Jan Ozer

"EME - WTF?" - Sam Dutton

"The State of Browser-based DRM 2017" - Christopher Levy

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