from the community-consensus dept.
Submitted via IRC for boru
Dear Jeff, Tim, and colleagues, In 2013, EFF was disappointed to learn that the W3C had taken on the project of standardizing "Encrypted Media Extensions," an API whose sole function was to provide a first-class role for DRM within the Web browser ecosystem. By doing so, the organization offered the use of its patent pool, its staff support, and its moral authority to the idea that browsers can and should be designed to cede control over key aspects from users to remote parties.
[...] The W3C is a body that ostensibly operates on consensus. Nevertheless, as the coalition in support of a DRM compromise grew and grew — and the large corporate members continued to reject any meaningful compromise — the W3C leadership persisted in treating EME as topic that could be decided by one side of the debate. In essence, a core of EME proponents was able to impose its will on the Consortium, over the wishes of a sizeable group of objectors — and every person who uses the web. The Director decided to personally override every single objection raised by the members, articulating several benefits that EME offered over the DRM that HTML5 had made impossible.
[...] We believe they will regret that choice. Today, the W3C bequeaths an legally unauditable attack-surface to browsers used by billions of people. They give media companies the power to sue or intimidate away those who might re-purpose video for people with disabilities. They side against the archivists who are scrambling to preserve the public record of our era. The W3C process has been abused by companies that made their fortunes by upsetting the established order, and now, thanks to EME, they'll be able to ensure no one ever subjects them to the same innovative pressures.
[...] Effective today, EFF is resigning from the W3C.
Advisory Committee Representative to the W3C for the Electronic Frontier Foundation
« Northrop Grumman to Acquire Orbital ATK for $7.8 Billion | TSMC to Build 7nm Process Test Chips in Q1 2018 »
Journalist and Open Source advocate Bryan Lunduke has been reporting extensively on the W3C and the EME DRM controversy (discussed previously on Soylent) over the past months. Today, he has announced that he has submitted an application to join the W3C, and was approved. He will be attempting to crowdfund the application fees, and intends to act as a representative for the open source community and to push for greater transparency in the W3C process.
Transcript from the video (@3:30):
I've put in my application; my application this morning was accepted; and once I get all the signed paperwork back to them and pay them my membership fees I will be a member of the W3C, and I will begin to take part in various W3C planning activities and discussions. I feel like there is a real opportunity here for someone from the free and open source world -- I know there's already Open Source advocates internally at the W3C, but I feel like we need someone who purely represents the public, with no corporate backing whatsoever...in order to properly represent the needs of the people...who don't necessarily like the direction the W3C has gone in recent days (and months and years).
Does this matter? Can one guy with a crowdfunded membership and no corporate donors to please actually bring about change in an organization like the W3C? Or is this just throwing money at the people causing all the problems in the first place?
(Apologies for the YouTube links, but I can't find this information elsewhere at the moment.)