HTML5, DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT (DRM), AND THE RHETORIC OF OPENNESS

Michael S. Daubs

Abstract


This paper traces linkages between the commoditisation of the Web and “app-centric media”, an environment composed of a multitude of concrete-but-connected software applications. Within this environment, multiplatform HTML5 apps are often framed as the antithesis of Apple’s iOS and Google/Android “siloed” mobile app platforms, but this rhetoric of openness masks corporate involvement in the development of HTML5 and the commoditisation of the very protocols used to build the Web. To illustrate this process, this paper examines one new element of HTML5 that was hotly debated: the inclusion of digital rights management (DRM) protocols. Proponents of DRM in HTML5 argued it would increase overall interoperability while balancing the rights of content creators, providers and users. This paper argues, however, that it instead essentially legitimises U.S.-centric copyright protections on a global scale and allows the future development of the Web to be dominated by a select group of media institutions.


Keywords


HTML5, digital rights management (DRM), mobile apps, informational capitalism

Full Text:

PDF

References


Arvidsson, A., & Colleoni, E. (2012). Value in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet. The Information Society, 28(3), 135-150.

Astle, T. B. (2002). Research in Motion Ltd. Rolling out the RIM (pp. 1-18). Toronto: Merrill Lynch.

Berners-Lee, T. (2011, 04 May). Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality. Retrieved 08 July, 2013, from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=long-live-the-web

Berners-Lee, T. (2014, 23 August). Tim Berners-Lee on the Web at 25: the past, present and future. Retrieved 19 December 2016, from http://www.wired.co.uk/article/tim-berners-lee

Berners-Lee, T., & Connolly, D. (1993). Hypertext Markup Language (HTML): A Representation of Textual Information and MetaInformation for Retrieval and Interchange. Fremont, Calfornia: Internet Engineering Task Force. Retrieved from http://tools.ietf.org/pdf/draft-ietf-iiir-html-00.pdf.

Bogost, I., & Montfort, N. (2009). Platform Studies: Frequently Questioned Answers. Paper presented at the Digital Arts and Culture Conference 2009: After Media, Embodiment and Context, Irvine, California.

Bowker, G. C., Baker, K., Millerand, F., & Ribes, D. (2009). Toward information infrastructure studies: Ways of knowing in a networked environment International handbook of internet research (pp. 97-117): Springer.

Bright, P. (2013, 11 May). DRM in HTML5 is a victory for the open Web, not a defeat. Ministry of Information. Retrieved 14 June, 2015, from http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/05/drm-in-html5-is-a-victory-for-the-open-web-not-a-defeat/

Bright, P. (2014, 15 May). Driven by necessity, Mozilla to enable HTML5 DRM in Firefox. Technology Lab. Retrieved 14 June, 2015, from http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/05/driven-by-necessity-mozilla-to-enable-html5-drm-in-firefox/

Brodkin, J. (2016, 07 November). Netflix arrives on Comcast TV boxes, won’t be exempt from data cap. Retrieved 08 November, 2016, from http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/11/netflix-arrives-on-comcast-tv-boxes-wont-be-exempt-from-data-cap/

Burk, D. L., & Gillespie, T. L. (2006). Autonomy and morality in DRM and anti-circumvention law. Triple C: Cognition, Communication, Cooperation, 4(2).

Campbell-Kelly, M., & Aspray, W. (2004). Computer: A History Of The Information Machine (2nd ed.). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Castells, M. (2000). The Rise of the Network Society. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.

Citrom, D. J. (1982). Media and the American Mind from Morse to McLuhan. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press.

Coombe, R. J., Schnoor, S., & Ahmed, M. (2006). Bearing Cultural Distinction: Informational Capitalism and New Expectations for Intellectual Property. UC Davis L. Rev., 40, 891.

Daubs, M. S., & Manzerolle, V. (2015). App-centric Mobile Media and Commoditization: Implications for the Future of the Open Web. Mobile Media and Communication, 4(1), 52-68.

Doctorow, C. (2013, 12 March). What I wish Tim Berners-Lee understood about DRM. Technology Blog. Retrieved 28 August, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2013/mar/12/tim-berners-lee-drm-cory-doctorow?CMP=twt_fd

Doctorow, C. (2014, 14 May). Firefox’s adoption of closed-source DRM breaks my heart. Technology. Retrieved 17 May, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/14/firefox-closed-source-drm-video-browser-cory-doctorow?CMP=twt_gu

Electronic Frontier Foundation. (2013). DRM. Retrieved 13 October, 2013, from https://www.eff.org/issues/drm

Electronic Frontier Foundation. (2013, 29 May). EFF Makes Formal Objection to DRM in HTML5. Retrieved 28 August, 2013, from https://www.eff.org/press/releases/eff-makes-formal-objection-drm-html5

Elkin-Koren, N. (2007). Making Room for Consumers under the DMCA. Berkeley Technology Law Journal, 22(3), 1119-1155.

Feuer, J. (2003). The Concept of Live Television: Ontology as Ideology. In E. A. Kaplan (Ed.), Regarding Television: Critical Approaches: An Anthology (pp. 12-21). Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America.

Fuchs, C. (2009). A contribution to the critique of the political economy of transnational informational capitalism. Rethinking Marxism, 21(3), 387-402.

Galloway, A. (2001). Protocol, or, how control exists after decentralization. Rethinking Marxism, 13(3-4), 81-88.

Gillespie, T. (2004). Copyright and commerce: The DMCA, trusted systems, and the stabilization of distribution. The Information Society, 20(4), 239-254.

Gillespie, T. (2007). Wired Shut. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Gillespie, T. (2010). The politics of ‘platforms’. New Media & Society, 12(3), 347-364.

Gitelman, L. (2006). Always Already New. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Goode, L. (2009). Social news, citizen journalism and democracy. New Media & Society, 11(8), 1287-1305.

ICANN. (2010, 05 May). First IDN ccTLDs Available. Retrieved 19 December, 2016, from https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2010-05-05-en

Jackson, J. (2011, 11 July). W3C Chastises Apple on HTML5 Patenting. Retrieved 10 September 2013, from http://www.pcworld.com/article/235395/article.html

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press.

Jobs, S. (2010, April). Thoughs on Flash. Retrieved 3 September, 2013, from http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

Johnson, S. (1997). Interface culture: how new technology transforms the way we create and communicate (Vol. 1st). San Francisco: HarperEdge.

Jordan, M., Lawson, B., & Sharp, R. (2010, 27 September). HTML5: The 900-Page Gorilla with a Wide Ensemble. Retrieved 2 October, 2013, from http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1629150

Lambert, L. (2005). The Internet: A Historical Encyclopedia (H. W. Poole Ed.). Santa Barbara, California: MTM Publishing.

Lawson, B., & Sharp, R. (2011). Introducing HTML5. Berkeley, California: New Riders.

Lessig, L. (2004). Free Culture: How Big media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York: Penguin Press.

Levine, E. (2008). Distinguishing television: the changing meanings of television liveness. Media, Culture & Society, 30(3), 393-409.

Lotz, A. D. (2007). The Television Will Be Revolutionized. New York: New York University Press.

Lunden, I. (2015, 08 December). Mozilla Will Stop Developing And Selling Firefox OS Smartphones. Retrieved 09 December, 2015, from https://techcrunch.com/2015/12/08/mozilla-will-stop-developing-and-selling-firefox-os-smartphones/

Manovich, L. (2002). The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Manovich, L. (2005). Generation Flash. In G. M. Buurman (Ed.), Total Interaction: Theory and Practice of a New Paradigm for the Design Disciplines (pp. 66-77). Boston: Birkhäuser.

Meyer, D. (2013, 9 October). The DRM dilemma facing the open web. Retrieved 10 October 2013, from http://gigaom.com/2013/10/09/striking-a-balance-or-striking-out-the-drm-dilemma-that-faces-the-open-web/

Mitchell, W. J. (1995). City of bits: space, place, and the infobahn. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Murray, S. (2003). Media Convergence's Third Wave Content Streaming. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 9(1), 8-18.

O'Brien, D. (2013, 2 October). Lowering Your Standards: DRM and the Future of the W3C. Retrieved 14 Jine, 2015, from https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/lowering-your-standards

Parikka, J. (2014). Cultural techniques of cognitive capitalism: Metaprogramming and the labour of code. Cultural Studies Review, 20(1), 30-52.

Qiu, Y. (2016). The openness of Open Application Programming Interfaces. Information, Communication & Society, 1-17.

Schaaf, K., & Norton, G. (2014). Native-quality HTML5 apps - from phones to tablets to TVs Paper presented at the Apps World North America, San Francisco.

Schrock, A. R. (2014). HTML5 and openness in mobile platforms. Continuum, 28(6), 820-834.

Spigel, L. (1990). Television in the Family Circle: The Popular Reception of a New Medium. In P. Mellencamp (Ed.), Logics of Television: Essays in Cultural Criticism (pp. 73-97). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Spigel, L. (1992). Make room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stalder, F. (2005). Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Frankfurt am Main: Revolver - Archiv für aktuelle Kunst.

World Wide Web Consortium. (n.d.). Standards. Retrieved 23 August 2013, from http://www.w3.org/standards/

Yee, R. (2008). Learning Web Services APIs Through Flickr. Pro Web 2.0 Mashups: Remixing Data and Web Services, 121-170.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17349/jmc117106

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Copyright (c) 2017 Journal of Media Critiques [JMC]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.