Standards leader blasts HTML5 video copy protection

Microsoft, Google, and Netflix have proposed a standard for copy-protected Web video, but HTML editor Ian Hickson has dealt it a serious blow by calling it impractical and “unethical.”

“I believe this proposal is unethical and that we should not pursue it,” Hickson said in a mailing list message this week. “The proposal…does not provide robust content protection, so it would not address this use case even if it wasn’t unethical,” he added.

The Web video DRM debate–and this one isn’t the first–shows the difficulties of reconciling open standards with the constraints of the commercial video industry. Expect more tensions as the the video industry tries to capitalize on the pervasiveness of the Web.

Web technologies such as Hypertext Markup Language have progressed rapidly in recent years, and one headline HTML5 feature lets Web pages include streaming video and audio. So far, though, there’s no mechanism for digital rights management (DRM), an encryption mechanism that permits only authorized video and audio in an attempt to deter unauthorized copying.

That means companies offering video often resort to browser plug-ins, such as Adobe Systems’ Flash Player, that support DRM and copy protection. Indeed, although Adobe has embraced HTML and related Web standards, it also has declared … [Read more]

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giveaway / February 24, 2012 / Software
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