Google and Microsoft want DRM for the web

There are dark murmurings on the W3C HTML mailing list after Google, Microsoft and Netflix revealed that they want to bring copy protection mechanisms to the web.

Dubbed the Encrypted Media Extensions, the draft defines a framework for for enabling the playback of protected media content in the web browser.

Saying that such a concept is controversial is an understatement and it looks like the three will have a fight to get the standard adopted.

There are those who think that the proposed framework is completely insecure. Mozilla has asked the authors about whether it would be possible to implement such a proposal in an open source web browser.

But there is some dispute even among the companies as to whether it should go through. Google’s Ian Hickson, the WHATWG HTML specification editor, called the Encrypted Media proposal “unethical” and said that it wouldn’t even fulfill the necessary technical requirements.

According to Ars Technica, the proposal is quite a DRM platform, but it would provide the necessary components for a generic key-based content decryption system.

It would work with pluggable modules that run the decryption mechanisms. There would need to be a new set of API extensions for HTMLMediaElement.

But even if the standard is stomped on it does show that there are moves to have some form of content protection for movies online.

Netflix wants to abandon plugins in favor of standards-based HTML5 video, but the company has been stuffed by the lack DRM mechanisms, which Big Content demands before it will release the movies to them.