From the post:
The World Wide Web Consortium has just signaled its intention to deliberately create legal jeopardy for security researchers who reveal defects in its members’ products, unless the security researchers get the approval of its members prior to revealing the embarrassing mistakes those members have made in creating their products. It’s a move that will put literally billions of people at risk as researchers are chilled from investigating and publishing on browsers that follow W3C standards.
It is indefensible.
I enjoy Cory’s postings and fiction but I had to read this one more than once to capture the nature of Cory’s complaint.
As I understand it the argument runs something like this:
1. The W3C is creating a “…standardized DRM system for video on the World Wide Web….”
2. Participants in the W3C process must “…surrender the right to invoke their patents in lawsuits as a condition of participating in the W3C process….” (The keyword here is participants. No non-participant waives their patent rights as a result of W3C policy.)
3. The W3C isn’t requiring waiver of DCMA 1201 rights as a condition for participating in the video DRM work.
All true but I don’t see Cory gets to the conclusion:
…deliberately create legal jeopardy for security researchers who reveal defects in its members’ products, unless the security researchers get the approval of its members prior to revealing the embarrassing mistakes those members have made in creating their products.
Whether the W3C requires participants in the DRM system for video to waive DCMA 1201 rights or not, the W3C process has no impact on non-participants in that process.
Secondly, security researchers are in jeopardy if and only if they incriminate themselves when publishing defects in DRM products. As security researchers, they are capable of anonymously publishing any security defects they find.
Third, legal liability flows from statutory law and not the presence or absence of consensual agreement among a group of vendors. Private agreements can only protect you from those agreeing.
I don’t support DRM and never have. Personally I think it is a scam and tax on content creators. It’s unfortunate that fear that someone, somewhere might not be paying full rate, is enough for content creators to tax themselves with DRM schemes and software. None of which is free.
Rather than arguing about W3C policy, why not point to the years of wasted effort and expense by content creators on DRM? With no measurable return. That’s a plain ROI question.
DRM software vendors know the pot of gold content creators are chasing is at the end of an ever receding rainbow. In fact, they’re counting on it.