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<nettime> Open letter against DRM control of web browsers - Seeking supp
parminder on Wed, 19 Apr 2017 10:25:39 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Open letter against DRM control of web browsers - Seeking support and

A new WWW standard seeks to enable corporations to control web browsers
with Digital rights Management - please support and endorse an open letter aiming to prevent

Dear All

We all use the Internet and the world wide web, and celebrate it for
how it has equalized the information playing field. It has allowed
unmediated p2p communication, and placed all content on an equal
footing. Those who invented the Internet and the Web gifted it to the
world so as to promote the public good. The key bodies establishing
Internet standards such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and the
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), were similarly concerned to safeguard
the Internet's core values of equality and openness. But as the
Internet has evolved it has become as well, a key means for those with
economic power to dominate and exploit. The various bodies now
developing Internet standards are today dominated by trans-national
digital corporations. Not surprising then that the new Internet/ Web
standards increasingly respond to the needs of these corporations
rather than of the public at large.

Inspired by demands from the big content providers, the traditional
movie and broadcasting companies, corporations like Apple, Google,
Microsoft and Netflix, have come together to use the W3C to develop a
new web standard which allows them to gain ever more power over the
cultural and economic life of humanity.

At the heart of this is the EME, a technical specification which has
been developed at the World Wide Web Consortium and is now close to
publication an official Recommendation of the W3C. The purpose of EME
is to allow for the implementation of Digital Rights (Restrictions)
Management (DRM) systems through which publishers will control what end
users can do with the content they receive through the Internet.

The effect of the W3C's support of DRM is a new form of digital
colonialism where a black box of computer code installed in all
browsers globally will enforce U.S. Copyright laws such as the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act without user consent or respect for local
laws. Unlike earlier web standards this undermines fundamental
principles of social justice and equality of access to information as
well as fundamental principles of computer security.

In response to this the Just Net Coalition has sent an open letter
urging the W3C, and in particular the inventor of the WWW, Sir Tim
Berners-Lee (who has veto powers at the W3C), to reject the EME.

Louis Pouzin, an inventor of key elements of the original Internet, put
it thus: “Of course lobbies have financial and political means to
ignore or distort standards in their products, but they want more. They
need the guarantee of a reputable standard institution or outstanding
individuals to boost the legalization of their marketing strategy.”

The open letter can be found at

The Web is at a crossroad, and your voice is valuable to stop its
enclosure. We are looking for support and endorsements for this letter,
which will be conveyed to Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the W3C on April 28,

Support can be conveyed in response to this email or by going to 

Best, parminder
Just Net Coalition 
and, IT for Change, India 

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