A tweet delivered from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has joined the membership of the standards organisation responsible for what the majority of the populace would consider "the internet".
The MPAA represents the six major Hollywood movie studios, and has a long tradition of asserting the intellectual property rights of its members. It was one of the supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) Bills that were proposed, but never voted upon, and shelved in 2012.
The SOPA Bill threatened to give copyright holders the ability to have alleged copyright-infringing websites shut down without due process or trial.
The MPAA signing up to the W3C is unlikely to cool tensions from the last time that the W3C and one of the MPAA's favoured technologies, digital rights management (DRM), were.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said that it was "deeply disappointed", and labelled the W3C affirmations that DRM was in the organisation's scope as "a dangerous step for an organisation that is seen by many as the guardian of the open web to take".
"No one likes DRM as a user, wherever it crops up. It is worth thinking, though, about what it is we do not like about existing DRM-based systems, and how we could possibly build a system which will be a more open, fairer one than the actual systems which we see today," Berners-Lee said in response.
The W3C's member agreement gives the MPAA the ability to appoint a representative to serve on the W3C's advisory committee and to be part of the standards review process. Membership also gives the MPAA access to W3C software, standards, and documentation before it is released to the general public.
In the case of the MPAA, only employees of the association itself are granted the rights of the member agreement. Rule 5g of the agreement states: "If the member is itself a consortium, user society, or otherwise has members or sponsors, the rights and privileges granted under this agreement extend only to the paid employees of the member, not to its members or sponsors."
The membership term of the W3C is conducted on a rolling annual basis.