Cancel Netflix to Boycott HTML5 DRM, the Free Software Foundation Urges

The FSF is worried about DRM becoming a web standard

By Lucian Parfeni on July 19th, 2013 07:55 GMT
HTML5 DRM is rearing its head once again, this time as the Free Software Foundation (FSF) officially voices its concerns about DRM being part of a web standard. The FSF is doing more than that though, it's asking people to cancel their Netflix subscriptions in protest of the company's support of HTML5 DRM.

This comes as Netflix switches away even further from Silverlight, Microsoft's abandoned Flash competitor, by turning on HTML5 streaming in Internet Explorer 11. The streaming site already uses HTML on Chrome OS.

Uncoincidentally, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix are the companies pushing for an Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) standard, aka HTML5 DRM, with the World Web Consortium.

"Each time a part of the Web starts requiring DRM software to decrypt it, it becomes inaccessible to free software," the FSF wrote.

"And if influential companies like Netflix, Google and Microsoft succeed at jamming DRM into the HTML standard, there will be even more pressure than there already is for people distributing media to encumber it with DRM. We'll see an explosion of DRM on the Web -- a growing dark zone inaccessible to free software users," it added.

So the Free Software Foundation wants people to boycott Netflix by unsubscribing. Even if they won't cancel their subscription, or they don't have one, people can still help by using the #CancelNetflix hashtag and spreading the word.

While EME is supported by Google and Microsoft, the FSF is focusing its attack on Netflix which, it says, has been driving efforts to standardize the technology.

While the push against DRM, especially as part of the HTML standard, is hard to argue against, Netflix's position is understandable as well. It wants to move away from proprietary plugins and it can't get rid of DRM even if it wanted to.

So, from its point of view, going the standards way makes the most sense.
The Free Software Foundation doesn't want DRM in HTML
   The Free Software Foundation doesn't want DRM in HTML
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