While the rest of the world may scratch its head at the term download rights management (DRM) gamers will be all to familiar with the technology.

To explain it as simply as possible, DRM ensures that whomever is downloading something has the right to do so. And now that technology can be applied to the web.

A standard known as Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) has been approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and will allow firms like Netflix to more easily protect content that is streamed over the web.

“EME has the benefit that all interactions happen within the Web browser and it moves the responsibility for interaction from plugins to the browser. As such, EME offers a better user experience,” W3C said in a statement.

Essentially EME won’t require users to download something like Flash to enjoy a video as the required “plugin” will be caked into the browser.

But DRM is not the darling of the tech world and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Cory Doctorow has pointed out some issues he has noticed with EME.

“EFF objects to DRM,” Doctorow writes in a blog. “It’s a bad idea to make technology that treats the owner of a computer as an adversary to be controlled, and DRM wrecks the fairness of the copyright bargain by preventing you from exercising the rights the law gives you when you lawfully acquire a copyrighted work.”

The EFF also points out that EME could place security researchers in a precarious spot. Many well meaning techies who have bypassed security to find vulnerabilities in the past would now be required to break DRM to the same. Something which is illegal under Digital Millienium Copyright Act laws in many countries.

That is just one instance of the problems the EFF has noted as regards EME and there are many more.

To be clear W3C has simply established a standard for DRM on the web, Netflix has used a version of EME to secure HTML5 video for some time now.

Is the free web done? We aren’t quite sure and we’ll have to see how EME is implemented. One thing we are sure of is that EME is worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.

[Via – The Verge][Image – CC BY 2.0 John Trainor]