Michael S. Daubs


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.


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

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