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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C's members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining.

EME provides a standard interface for DRM protection of media delivered through the browser. EME is not itself a DRM scheme; rather, it defines how Web content can work with third-party Content Decryption Modules (CDMs) that handle the proprietary decryption and rights-management portion.

The development of EME has been contentious. There are broad ideological and legal concerns; some groups, such as the Free Software Foundation, oppose any and all DRM in any context or application. Some do not object to DRM, per se, but are concerned by regulations such as the US' Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Under the DMCA, bypassing DRM is outlawed, even if the bypass is intended to enable activities that are otherwise legal. These concerns are particularly acute in the context of the Web; for many the Web should be open, without any kind of technological restrictions on what can be done with Web content. The protection that DRM offers is seen as anathema to this. Moreover, while browsers themselves can be fully open source, CDMs are built using proprietary, secret code with no source available.

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