amazon, W3C and Tomorrow's Internet
Web For All
one of the key principles for W3C is the "Web for All"
The social value of the Web is that it enables human communication, commerce, and opportunities to share knowledge. One of W3C's primary goals is to make these benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.
when a single vendor has the power to block others' access to competitive products, the Web is a place that doesn't live up to this principle. I know that Tim Berners-Lee is not responsible for the way Amazon operates. Neither is W3C CEO Jeffery Jaffe. however, this unfolding battle to pre-empt Web user's ability to access any content anywhere is just another iteration of the same battle that timbl (Berners-Lee's handle) has called out numerous times at the network level. what he calls the Battle For The Net.
users over all others.
i know the W3C has attempted to deal with this in the past -- to mixed reviews. the very fact that Tim penned that piece on DRM and the Web shows that the W3C is aware of the issue. and a key part of that (now two-year-old) position paper was the notion of "users over all others":
In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity.
but events in this space seem to continue to run ahead of the W3C's ability to deal with them. and that's a big problem.
i know its hard, but it is important
i understand that the job of reigning in corporate greed on the open web is a tough job. and someone who has the best interests of users above all others needs to be leading the discussion. not following it. and certainly not silent while others establish the "operating rules" for yet another walled garden of profit built on the backbone of the free and Open Web.
enabling commerce is a good thing.
permitting exploitation and profiteering is not.
Tussle in Cyberspace
there is a great paper that deals with some of these issues: Tussle in Cyberspace: Defining Tomorrow's Internet. essentially:
This paper explores one important reality that surrounds the Internet today: different stakeholders that are part of the Internet milieu have interests that may be adverse to each other, and these parties each vie to favor their particular interests. We call this process “the tussle”.
the "tussle" is important. not because it happens, but because one of the key values of an open internet (not just Web) is that the Internet can be crafted (through standards) to "level the playing field" for all. this is why "Web For All" is important. this is why the Battle for the Net is important.
and it is the same for video content, too.
why standards exist
we don't need to "regulate" vendors, we need to continue to make sure the tussle is fair to all. that's why standards exist -- to level the playing field.
and, IMO, that's why the W3C exists.
and that's why the current news is disturbing to me.