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Web gets built-in copy protection hooks with a few key flaws

Web gets built-in copy protection hooks with a few key flaws
From Engadget - July 8, 2017

The format sets consistent expectations for privacy and security (a company ca not send unnecessary network traffic and must give you the option to clear long-lasting data).It's theoretically better for competition, too, since streaming newcomers wo not need to make you install a plugin to start watching.EME may also help accessibility for the hearing- or vision-impaired by working at a level where it does not interfere with playback or accessibility info, and it is not supposed to prevent use in open source software.

However, it's evident that the Consortium is punting on some topics.For one thing, there's no common interface between approaches to decrypting video -- the organization would like to have one, but it did not want to hold back the initial spec.Likewise, the group did not think it was worthwhile to pursue a "covenant" promising that companies would not abuse the law to crack down on people bypassing EME for legitimate reasons, such as improving accessibility.And what if you want to archive material for posterity?The W3C sees this as a problem with both copyright law and the DRM itself, not the hooks used to integrate that DRM.

And it's decisions like those that are leaving openness advocates fuming.Cory Doctorow, a digital rights activist who has long opposed virtual copy protection, has pointed out some key problems.Without that covenant, it could be difficult to verify whether or not a company is living up to those privacy and security practices.A company could take legal action against security researchers simply because they showed that you could bypass a given DRM scheme.On top of this, the need for a licensed decryption module may favor incumbents like Netflix or Amazon.Even if money is not an issue, the mess of patent licenses could be.They will also have to promise to prevent activities that are technically legal, such as watching a movie from one EU country while you are living in another.

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