May 20, 2013

DRM and HTML5 to Interact with W3C EME Specifications Draft

The W3C (NewsAlert), the Web standards body, is moving to give access to digital rights management (DRM) to interact with HTML5. The organization made the announcement as part of a first draft of the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specifications. EMEs are a set of APIs that control how protected content is played, and as part of HTML5, will be able to deliver content more easily. If and when it is implemented, DRM will be able to interact with HTML5, both upsetting and delighting many people.

According to the draft, content marked with HTML5 media element tags such as audio, video and interactive content will be affected. Any time DRM is mentioned, you can rest assured a battle will ensue between people that want to protect their content and those that oppose it.

The WC3 wants EME to make the Web more open by eliminating apps in order to access content on the Web. Having to download Flash or any other application to watch content is time consuming and inefficient for mobile technology.

As more developers and operating systems start using HTML5 they want to have access to content that is protected by DRM without the limitations of apps. They also want to give their customers access to premium content from entertainment companies that would otherwise not allow their content to be aired without DRM.

"Without content protection, owners of premium video content driven by both their economic goals and their responsibilities to others will simply deprive the Open Web of key content. It is W3C’s overwhelming responsibility to pursue broad interoperability, so that people can share information, whether content is protected or available at no charge. A situation where premium content is relegated to applications inaccessible to the Open Web or completely locked down devices would be far worse for all," saidWC3chief executive Jeff Jaffe in a statement.

As an open technology, the goal of HTML5 was to have a system capable of providing a uniform experience across all platforms so developers can be more efficient in providing content and service on mobile and standard Web. The success of DRM can’t be called success because the latest songs, movies and software are readily available on torrent sites, so baking DMR in HTML5 can only be seen as way for the WC3 to get media companies to adopt HTML5.

Only time will tell if EME will be adopted by the WC3, but with companies such as Google, Microsoft (News Alert) and Netflix already part of the process, it is almost a guarantee.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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