04.02.08

Would Only a Perverted Web Consortium Accept Software Patents in the Specs?

Posted in Apple, DRM, Microsoft, Patents at 12:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’re disheartened because Microsoft helped W3C develop the very standards that they’ve failed to implement in their browser. We’re also dismayed to see Microsoft continue adding proprietary extensions to these standards when support for the essentials remains unfinished.”

George Olsen, Web Standards Project

Is this what the world gets for having Microsoft’s Chris Wilson in the W3C? Remember JavaScript? Remember Ogg? This new article about HTML5 contains an eye-opening bit.

Patent problems

Most of the new elements and attributes can be implemented in free Web browser software such as the Gecko engine used by Mozilla products and derivatives and the open source WebKit. The sole possible exception is the authorization scheme incorporated by the copy attribute and the video-specific attributes associated with it: ticket and encoding.

Although the HTML5 specification itself does not dictate HDCP content protection, it is cited as the example case in the published draft, and any site that incorporated HDCP as its authorization method for video content would require an HDCP-compliant Web browser in order to view video content – whether on the PC or via home theater projector. Since HDCP compliance testing requires a per-download license fee, non-profit browser projects are unlikely to ever gain the required certification.

In order to understand why this is unacceptable, one needs to step back and remember how a former Microsoft employee who now works at Nokia, along with the 'friends' from Apple, wanted some more DRM and patents in HTML5. They vehemently objected to having Ogg facilitated.

A few references worth highlighting again:

It’s very important to ensure that W3C does not become the captive of selfish proprietary software companies. We have already seen what happened to ISO, which failed miserably. DRM and software patents render standards rather appalling and pointless.

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