Encrypted Media Extensions

For years, we have been fighting Web companies and Hollywood conglomerates who want to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the technical standards undergirding the Web. Their DRM proposal, known as EME (Encrypted Media Extensions), would make it cheaper and politically easier to impose restrictions on users, opening the floodgates to a new wave of DRM throughout the Web. This puts all Web users at risk; DRM undermines privacy, weakens security, and is incompatible with free software. To truly respect users' rights, DRM's role on the Web needs to be reduced, not expanded. (Read our position letter for more about EME.)

Decision-making about the standard lies with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The standards body is under heavy pressure from Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Google, and others to enshrine DRM in Web standards. But through in-person protests and online activism, we push back. Along with allied organizations, we have already significantly slowed the progress of Encrypted Media Extensions.

Protesters at a W3C meetingProtesters at a W3C meeting

Take action as a Web user

Take action as a W3C member organization

Publicly announce that your organization will:

  • Reject any extension of the charter for the HTML Media Extensions Working Group unless the charter is modified to end work on Encrypted Media Extensions immediately.
  • Reject Encrypted Media Extensions if it comes to the Advisory Committee for approval as a W3C Recommendation.
  • Reject any other proposed W3C standard that specifies DRM or a system designed specifically to interface with DRM.

Contact Defective by Design at info@defectivebydesign.org with questions.

Posts about this campaign

Tim Berners-Lee receives Obedience Award for deference to pro-DRM corporations

A plaque, surrounded by laurels, featuring the words 'Obedience Award' and a stick figure saying 'Ok'.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Boston, Massachusetts, USA—Thursday, April 13th, 2017—Today Defective by Design granted Tim Berners-Lee the first ever Obedience Award, recognizing his work to help wealthy corporations add DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) to official Web standards. Inspired by the MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award, the Obedience Award highlights activity upholding the status quo despite an overwhelming ethical case against it. Today is the first opportunity for the addition of DRM to become final as per the formal process for setting Web standards.

#DialUp the Web's inventor for online security and rights

An image of a telephone with overlaid text that reads '#DialUp to save the Web from DRM. +1 (617) 253-5702. Tell the Web's inventor: don't endanger our security and rights!'

Since the beginning of the Web—the age of dial-up Internet connections—the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has kept the Web's technical standards tuned in a careful balance that enables innovation while respecting users' rights.

On April 13th, that will change. User-hostile DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) technology will become an official part of the Web. Unless we can stop it.

Response to Tim Berners-Lee's defeatist post about DRM in Web standards

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, star of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and one of the best-known tech celebrities outside of Silicon Valley, believes he is powerless.

Well, at least when it comes to keeping Web users free and safe.

Tim Berners-Lee <strike>created</strike> sold out the Web?

What would timbl do? Twenty-five years ago, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Back then timbl -- as he's known online -- declined opportunities to lock down his creation and established himself as an advocate for a freedom-affirming, interoperable, and universally accessible World Wide Web. Now he's considering turning his back on this vision to make Netflix, Google, Apple, and Microsoft happy.

Tim Berners-Lee just gave us an opening to stop DRM in Web standards

This week, the chief arbiter of Web standards, Tim Berners-Lee, decided not to exercise his power to extend the development timeline for the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) Web technology standard. The EME standardization effort, sponsored by streaming giants like Google and Netflix, aims to make it cheaper and more efficient to impose Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) systems on Web users. The streaming companies' representatives within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) were unable to finish EME within the time allotted by the W3C, and had asked Berners-Lee for an extension through next year.

The World Wide Web Consortium is being followed by protests

W3C protest at MIT Next week, demonstrators will gather at a meeting of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in Lisbon, Portugal. They will make the same demand that we made at the last major W3C meeting in March: stop streaming companies from inserting Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the HTML standard on which the Web is based.

Microsoft Edge and Netflix — testing new restrictions by locking out competing browsers?

Microsoft made the news last week when it announced that its Edge Web browser could deliver a better Netflix streaming experience than the other three most popular browsers. On Windows 10, Edge is the only one that can play Netflix's video streams — which are encumbered with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) — in 1080p high definition. A PCWorld article confirmed the claim, but no one writing online has been able to give a clear explanation for the discrepancy. Following the tone of Microsoft's announcement, most writers seem content to imply that Edge's "edge" in Netflix playback on Windows derives from technical superiority, and that intelligent Netflix users should switch to Edge.

Web DRM standard moves to next phase of development, Defective by Design to continue opposition

Despite dedicated resistance by tens of thousands of Web users and civil society groups, Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has allowed Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) to move to the next phase of development within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

W3C staff member pledges resignation if DRM is added to Web standards

Watch Harry's resignation pledge. CC BY 4.0

Since 2013, Defective by Design has been fighting Encrypted Media Extensions, a plan to add a universal DRM system to the Web. In March, as an element of this campaign, we led the first-ever protest rally at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which designs official standards for the Web.

From the Web to the streets: protesting DRM at the World Wide Web Consortium

Protesters marching outside the W3C office.

Activists around the world protested in solidarity with this demonstration in Cambridge.

On Sunday, we led a protest at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) against the attempt by Netflix, Hollywood and other technology and media companies to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the HTML standard that undergirds the Web.

We've got momentum, but we need more protest selfies to stop DRM in Web standards

Four protesters from around the world

Explore the gallery of photos against DRM in Web standards, and add your own!

Last week, we asked you to show the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that you wouldn't allow Digital Restrictions Management in the Web's technical standards, and you answered. From around the world, you sent in protest selfies against the proposed restriction standards championed by Netflix, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Hollywood. With you at our backs, we're organizing a major demonstration this Sunday, outside the building where the W3C will be meeting to discuss DRM. A parallel demonstration is planned outside the W3C office in Amsterdam. Our activism is working -- the campaign has drawn renewed attention to this once low-profile issue and more people are learning that DRM standards would be a major regression for user freedom on the Web.

Show them the world is watching. Stop the Hollyweb.

Two activists at the Cambridge W3C office.

Join these activists and take your own photo at a W3C office near you.

For years, Defective by Design and the anti-DRM movement have been fighting Hollywood and proprietary software companies who want to weave Digital Restrictions Management into the HTML standard that undergirds the Web. Winning this is a top priority for us -- the DRM proposal, known as EME (Encrypted Media Extensions), would make it cheaper and more politically acceptable to impose restrictions on Web users, opening the floodgates to a new wave of DRM throughout the Internet. We've been calling this awful possibility the Hollyweb -- a network riddled with restrictions that serves Hollywood, not its users.

Don't let the MPAA buy the Web

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.

Oscar awarded to W3C for Best Supporting Role in "The Hollyweb"

In celebration of International Day Against DRM today, we rolled out the red carpet at W3C to deliver your petition signatures. Internet freedom's most stylish gathered to present W3C with an award for "Best Supporting Role in 'The Hollyweb'," accompanied by over 22,500 verified signatures from members of the public who oppose a proposal that would weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into the fabric of the Web.

Show your friends you care about freedom from DRM; use a banner on your social media profile

Stop DRM in HTML banner photo

The fight to keep DRM out of HTML is heating up. This Friday, Defective by Design will pay a visit to the Cambridge, MA, office of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to hand-deliver our petition against the Encrypted Media Extensions proposal (EME).

Defective by Design and allies condemn proposal for building Digital Restrictions Management into the Web

Stop the Hollyweb! No DRM in HTML5.

Today Defective by Design, through the Free Software Foundation, joined twenty-six other organizations in releasing a joint letter to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Web's standards-setting body, condemning Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).

Tell W3C: We don't want the Hollyweb

Hollywood is at it again. Its latest ploy to take over the Web? Use its influence at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into HTML5 — in other words, into the very fabric of the Web. Millions of Internet users came together to defeat SOPA/PIPA, but now Big Media moguls are going through non-governmental channels to try to sneak digital restrictions into every interaction we have online.

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