Last week, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) became a paying and governing member of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (no, seriously).
If there were any doubts that W3C was in bed with Big Hollywood, now it couldn't be more obvious. Together, W3C, the MPAA, and a handful of the world's most powerful web companies are preparing to build Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) deep into our public Web standards. We must stop them.
The Web has come this far by sticking to its principles of
freedom. The result was the world's most powerful distribution
system, which of course the media companies now want to be a part
of. They can, and should be a part of it, but on the same terms
as everyone else, not on terms which give them special
abilities. They can be a part of the Web, but not at the cost of
While DRM is advertised as a mechanism to prevent copyright
infringement, it is actually designed to restrict all of the
incredible possibilities enabled by digital technologies and
place them under the control of a few, who can then micromanage
and track every interaction with digital media. DRM requires that
every user's computer have a back door through which media or Web
companies can peer into in order to enforce the restrictions. In
other words, DRM is designed to take away every possible use of
digital media, regardless of legal rights, and sell some of these
functionalities back as severely limited services.
Defective by Design has been leading the charge against DRM since
2006. We've worked to educate publishers, record labels, and
journalists about DRM as a threat to innovation in media, the
privacy of readers, and freedom for computer users. We've put
together resources like our DRM-free living guide to help
people avoid DRM. And we've taken our message to the streets (and
the online retailers) with our International Day Against
DRM--donning everything from hazmat suits to elf costumes to
disrupt business as usual for DRM purveyors. When we got wind
that W3C was considering weaving allowances for DRM into the HTML
standard, we mobilized the public and delivered a petition with
over 22,500 signatures to W3C's doorstep, along with an award to
recognize their role in locking down the Web.
Defective by Design is ready to take on the W3C, the MPAA, and
anyone else peddling the misguided idea that DRM does anybody but
industry giants any good. These are some powerful opponents who
are flush with cash they've made from the unethical practice of
digitally restricting our media. But public opinion is on our
side. What we need now is the funding to amplify our message to a
wider audience than ever before. W3C chose the MPAA, Defective
by Design chooses you.
Please consider making a $25 donation to Defective by Design
today. Every dollar you give will help us make DRM in
HTML5 a PR nightmare for anyone pushing it.