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Firefox DRM Media Mozilla

How Firefox Will Handle DRM In HTML 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the backed-into-a-corner dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last year the W3C approved the inclusion of DRM in future HTML revisions. It's called Encrypted Media Extensions, and it was not well received by the web community. Nevertheless, it had the support of several major browser makers, and now Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal has a post explaining how Firefox will be implementing EME. He says, 'This is a difficult and uncomfortable step for us given our vision of a completely open Web, but it also gives us the opportunity to actually shape the DRM space and be an advocate for our users and their rights in this debate. ... From the security perspective, for Mozilla it is essential that all code in the browser is open so that users and security researchers can see and audit the code. DRM systems explicitly rely on the source code not being available. In addition, DRM systems also often have unfavorable privacy properties. ... Firefox does not load this module directly. Instead, we wrap it into an open-source sandbox. In our implementation, the CDM will have no access to the user's hard drive or the network. Instead, the sandbox will provide the CDM only with communication mechanism with Firefox for receiving encrypted data and for displaying the results.'"
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How Firefox Will Handle DRM In HTML

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  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:47PM (#47001685) Homepage

    In our implementation, the CDM will have no access to the user's hard drive or the network

    As with all DRM schemes, it's only a matter of time before this is broken. However, to save the decrypted content to the hard drive, one has to, well, have access to the hard drive. Does Firefox's architecture actually get in the way of users eventually pirating the content? Might have to switch browsers if that's the case.

    • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:19PM (#47002021)

      Does Firefox's architecture actually get in the way of users eventually pirating the content?

      I doubt it, but it's likely that the CDM will attempt to check the Firefox binary and assert that the one loading it is signed by Mozilla and refuse to operate otherwise.

      It's the CDM's job to fight off attack attempts against itself, not Firefox's. All Firefox will do is attempt to isolate the (undoubtedly security hole riddled) CDM and protect the end user from it - but given the closed source nature of the CDM this may not be possible.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:40PM (#47002287)

        How are you going to check the binary if you've explicitly isolated the CDM from any access to the system? Either you allow the CDM direct access to the OS so it can perform the check on its own, or you can provide an interface that can be trivially spoofed. If the CDM access the OS directly, aside from the security implications that causes, now your open source OS can attack it in the same exact manner, returning whatever information the CDM wants to see, rather than the reality.

        The simple truth is that you cannot have open source anything anywhere within the code chain from the point the content exits the CDM to the point the content is sent along with wire to your display device. If you are breached anywhere, then your system is insecure, and if your system is insecure, your content will be stolen and freely distributed on the internet. All you've prevented with all this DRM is the typical honest customer from being able to flexibly access the content in the manner they chose. The typical honest customer needs to be taught this, that DRM has nothing to do with stopping piracy, and everything to do with artificially restricting their abilities. Education is the key to fighting all forms of oppression.

        • by Microlith (54737)

          Either you allow the CDM direct access to the OS so it can perform the check on its own, or you can provide an interface that can be trivially spoofed.

          This is where I doubt that they can actually sandbox it. The CDM needs OS access so it can try and leverage nonsense like Windows' Protected Media Path. I'm not sure what they intend to do with the sandbox, realistically.

          I still doubt that Firefox will, or can, do anything to protect the CDM.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          How are you going to check the binary if you've explicitly isolated the CDM from any access to the system?

          By requiring the sandbox to prove that it passes a validation with an attestation using credentials that are not available to the user.

          Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) / TPM come to mind. The TPM allows for secure storage and secure reporting of some security related metrics.

          The Sandbox can't spoof a validation of the trusted status of the Sandbox program, because the digital signature n

    • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:26PM (#47002119) Journal

      As with all DRM schemes, it's only a matter of time before this is broken.

      DRM being crackable is not actually that important, what matters is how difficult it is for the average user. You only have to make it slightly tricky or add some slight perceived risk to downloading pirated stuff and they will choose to pay for it instead. For most people with a bit of cash the hassle factor of DRM is what keeps them on the straight and narrow, for the people without cash who cares, they probably would not have paid for it anyway.

      Some people who pirate lots of stuff eventually grow into big paid consumers of stuff when they get a bit money, but when they do they often end up forgetting about their strict stance on DRM and just sign up with Netflix or Lovefilm or whatever based on how convenient it is for them. Who cares about keeping a copy of the latest crap to come out of content permanently, just give us lots of stuff to watch on demand and most of the time as consumers those of us with money are happy.

      Does Firefox's architecture actually get in the way of users eventually pirating the content?

      It's not really the job of browser vendors to make sure you can be a freeloading shithead is it? Their job is to make a product that as many people find useful as possible and that means a certain amount of mass appeal. Refusing to support this part of the standard would have robbed Firefox of more users than they will lose by supporting it.

      The reality is that people who view piracy as some sort of moral duty and right like you do are in the minority, that is why most of the public quite happily go along with more stringent copyright laws being drafted by the politicians they elect. That means that creating a browser that will be unusable for certain sites that want to protect their content will just drive users away.

      BTW, I actually also think DRM is a joke and a complete waste of space and that more companies should trust us to buy their content if we like it. I spend a fortune on services like netflix and cable TV. I also think though that people who refuse to pay should do without, pure and simple. Anything other than that is freeloading off those of us who pay.

      • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:43PM (#47002343) Homepage

        The reality is that people who view piracy as some sort of moral duty and right like you do are in the minority, that is why most of the public quite happily go along with more stringent copyright laws being drafted by the politicians they elect.

        Come visit us in Eastern Europe sometime. Furthermore, even in more affluent countries, it seems to me that an enormous proportion of the youth are getting their music from YouTube, not from buying CDs or purchasing legal downloads. You can find nearly any album from any era on there. Yes, Google might send a little bit of advertising revenue to whoever complains, but most of those songs were uploaded by a third party, not the copyright holders or artists.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        It's not really the job of browser vendors to make sure you can be a freeloading shithead is it?

        It's not really the browser's job to defend other processes from your assault, now is it? We'd call that malware in any other context.

        Anything other than that is freeloading off those of us who pay.

        No offense, but the industries in question are making money hand over fist. No real loss is occurring.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You only have to make it slightly tricky or add some slight perceived risk to downloading pirated stuff and they will choose to pay for it instead. For most people with a bit of cash the hassle factor of DRM is what keeps them on the straight and narrow, for the people without cash who cares, they probably would not have paid for it anyway.

        Then there are people like me. I have a bit of cash but have no desire to trade any of it for a product that will be actively hostile to me, or to reward a company who continues to lump me, the paying customer, in with the same group as pirates.

        If the company wants to give the pirates a better product than their paying customers, where the paid version limits me in stupid ways (aka forcing me to have/connect/power an optical drive for their installer media while the software runs 100% from internal storage

      • by ultranova (717540)

        For most people with a bit of cash the hassle factor of DRM is what keeps them on the straight and narrow, for the people without cash who cares, they probably would not have paid for it anyway.

        The problem is, the Pirate Bay Edition typically has far less hassle than the official "disable CD burners and phone home" version. DRM creates a constant hassle, installing a no-DRM patch is a one time thing.

    • by Blue Stone (582566) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:34PM (#47002211) Homepage Journal

      >Does Firefox's architecture actually get in the way of users eventually pirating the content? Might have to switch browsers if that's the case.

      Remember, DRM doesn't just stop 'piracy', it stops fair use of copyright content too.

    • I'd say the opposite

      If the plugin is running in a tight sandbox it should be easy to modify the sandbox to send the video to somewhere other than the screen without the plugin having any way to detect that this is going on.

      Of course this way you will have to re-encode so there will be a performance and quality cost but it should be easilly doable and work for any website that uses this drm infrastructure.

      And if you do want to hack the plugin itself (to avoid re-encoding) I can't imagine it will be too hard

    • That's what I don't understand about this whole DRM-in-the-browsers thing. It's all well and good to have the data sent as an encrypted stream, but when it hits the browser, even if it the decryption is run in a sandbox, as per TFA, eventually it needs to render the data on the browser window. And since since the browser source is open, what's to stop someone very easily building their own executable with extra code to intercept video and sound output and saving it as a video file? As far as I can see, in-b

    • Even if you had the most 100% rock solid DRM, mathematically proven to be unbreakable and cryptographically secured, you cannot stop pirated content. If absolutely nothing else, people will use screen capture software and grab it that way. If things really go to shit and there's watchdog software on every PC preventing screen capture from happening while DRM content is playing, they'll pipe it over to a separate PC and capture it there. If you manage to block that they'll take apart a monitor and grab th

      • by NotDrWho (3543773)

        you cannot stop pirated content

        The goal isn't to stop it, it's to make it complicated or risky enough that the average person will pay for it instead of pirating.

        • You missed the last point of my post. All it takes is a single dedicated person to crack the DRM and it will be available on streaming, downloading, and torrenting sites all around the web in a matter of days. Anything even moderately popular (and therefore able to be monetized) can be found. DRM at the stream level is like going after people recording radio onto cassette tapes; even if we agree that pirating is a real problem, those particular pirates are not part of it.

        • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @05:32PM (#47004315) Journal

          Much of this conversation is beside the point. You talk like DRM is an acceptable tool for a desirable motive. It is neither.

          Not only is DRM an unsound idea that simply does not work, it and the idea of intellectual property it's meant to protect are immoral. That's right, immoral. Our very ability to communicate with each other, and share valuable ideas and information, is at the core of our intelligence, and is what put us on top of the animal kingdom. Sharing is a natural right. To give that up, voluntarily give that up, is to embrace a new status making us no better than sheep, fit only to be fleeced repeatedly. These scumbags in the content industries have misunderstood, perhaps deliberately, the differences between ownership and authorship, and the material and scarce vs the immaterial. Authorship does not mean the power to deny all usage and derivate work, until they get around to individually approving each proposal and only if they please. They are out to control all communications, stifling that which they can't manage, which by necessity would be the bulk of all communication as they haven't the means to handle the sheer quantity, by asserting that they should be compensated every time people share anything they were in any way involved in, and that the only fair way to accomplish this is by controlling all copying so every single occurrence of it can be taxed. And of course to do that requires extreme control of the sort necessary to make DRM actually function somewhat.

          If there are risks in fighting DRM, it is our civic duty to take those risks, to preserve the freedoms our ancestors fought so hard to win for us. The risks are in any case little enough. The control freaks who want to monopolize and monetize all content do not have the power to go after everyone. There are other ways to compensate artists. Big Media still doesn't want to be bothered trying them, and admitting that they might work. Instead they have the gall to ask the rest of us to make the truly insane sacrifices it would take to really make their horrible vision work, and act as if they aren't asking much, putting on this hurt and baffled attitude and crying that artists will surely starve. We are NOT going to give up the Internet, flash drives, cell phones, home movie theaters, or even public libraries and used book stores. We are not going to turn the clock back to the 1980s, and artists will not starve and art will still be created.

          This ramming of DRM down our collective throats and into the HTML standard is at best a waste of effort that will have no effect. At worst, it will harm the Internet, slowing it down and blocking some things. If, somehow, it kills the Internet, Big Media would celebrate. That's the kind of trolls they are. But it won't accomplish the destruction of the Internet or the elimination of piracy. I think the only reason the DRM was allowed is that we knew it would be ineffective and only slightly damaging if that, and so we could afford to humor them in this matter. And they problably bribed key people, maybe tried some threats too.

  • by lesincompetent (2836253) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:48PM (#47001701)
    THIS is a good reason to oust a Mozilla CEO.
    • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:49PM (#47001729) Homepage

      This, or inventing javascript. Ick.

    • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:46PM (#47002387) Homepage Journal

      Exactly, this is a bad move no matter what. Because FF should have let third parties write a plugin and waited until it was inevitable before including it, if ever. With this move they threw their weight IN SUPPORT of it, from a practical point of view. Because now people will say: see this scheme is supported by all major vendors, let's go for it.

      That it's a w3c standard, it is not relevant. In fact "we implement only the sane things out of w3c" would have been a marketing bullet point. No, not now: when remote wipings of DRM protected stuff start happening.

      • by BZ (40346) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @04:45PM (#47003819)

        1) A third party is writing the plugin.
        2) We did wait until it was inevitable. Every single other browser is already shipping it, Netflix is using it, and other sites are starting to use it. The only alternative to shipping this was to make sure Netflix and other video sites continued to work with Flash or Silverlight _and_ that Flash and Silverlight continue to work indefinitely.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:52PM (#47001763) Homepage Journal

    Mozilla just ousted their chair over something that screws over far fewer people than this.

    LK

  • You can either have open source or DRM - anything where the end user has control of the software can be broken, period. Trying to keep people from messing with your DRM is a losing battle, anyway - there are always more bored hackers that will break whatever scheme you come up with.

    Beyond that, why would you bother with a browser-specific technology? It's yet another thing that looks shiny in the 'features' column but no one will ever use, because the market share is too low to justify it. Oh, and Microsof

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      Beyond that, why would you bother with a browser-specific technology?

      Given that not all browsers are able to implement the same set of features, nearly every feature is browser-specific.

  • Personal DRM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @01:57PM (#47001809)

    What we need to do is figure out how to apply DRM to the personal information emanating from our machines. You will then be able to lawfully defend against those who profit from that information. Of course you could work out an arrangement to get a slice of the gross coinage as well ;).

    • by ewieling (90662)
      Wrap your personal information inside some form of DRM and require acceptance of your EULA before opening it. Sort of a "technical jujitsu", take your opponents strengths and use it against them.

      I wish I could do that to the DMV. Within a week of registering my car in FL I started receiving postal junk mail at my new address. I'd love to get involved in a class action lawsuit against them.
    • Its called "dont go to a website if you dont like their terms; dont provide them info if you dont want it used."

  • As I said before, this is an ideological loss for no practical gain. Now that we've lost, let's release browser plugins to break the shit out of EME, forcing DRM back into shitty proprietary browser extensions that have to be installed one user at a time!

  • But this is an open-source browser we're talking about. If we don't want DRM, we can make a build of it without the DRM piece.

    Companies will use DRM schemes whether they're supported by browsers or not. I don't entirely agree with Firefox deciding to implement EME, but it doesn't actually matter all that much.

    • But this is an open-source browser we're talking about. If we don't want DRM, we can make a build of it without the DRM piece.

      Or, even better, when it asks you if you want to turn the DRM feature on, click "no." No compiler needed.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:26PM (#47002115)

      But this is an open-source browser we're talking about. If we don't want DRM, we can make a build of it without the DRM piece.

      Being open-source has nothing to do with this. The number of people who will use a fork is essentially zero when compared to Firefox's total userbase.

      The problem is that Mozilla has thrown away the power that comes from being able to speak for hundreds of millions of users out of fear of losing some of those users. That's a path to irrelevancy, they've traded the vision that made them popular in the first place for the hope of maintaining marketshare. It is a total MBA move, as if Mozilla should be driven by profits instead of advocacy.

    • this is bigger than an open source project or even one browser

      this is about the standards of the internet and openness...no DRM is just as important as Net Neutrality

      the W3C are total sell-outs to corporate interests in DRM...complete and total...now it appears firefox has joined them

      the WHATWG [wikipedia.org] is the only reason we are stuck with 90s-era spaghetti code on websites now...they developed HTML5 and finalized CSS3...

      HTML would be spyware if the W3C had its way...and HTML5 would not exist w/o the WHATWG

  • by Drethon (1445051) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:13PM (#47001959)
    How long before someone codes a module to bypass the DRM handling?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:13PM (#47001967)

    From Cory Doctorow's article today [theguardian.com]...

    ...the Adobe module is not only closed source, it is also protected by controversial global laws that threaten security researchers who publish information about its security flaws.

    These laws â" the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the European EUCD, Canadaâ(TM)s C-11 and so on â" prohibit revealing information that can be used to weaken DRM, and previous security researchers who disclosed information about vulnerabilities in DRM have been threatened and prosecuted.

    This created a chilling effect on the publication of vulnerabilities in DRM, even where these put users at risk from hackers. For example, when word got out that Sony BMG had infected millions of computers with an illegal rootkit to stop (legal) audio CD ripping, security researchers stepped forward to disclose that theyâ(TM)d known about the rootkit but had been afraid to say anything about it.

    This gap between discovery and disclosure allowed the Sony rootkit to become a global pandemic that infected hundreds of thousands of US military and government networks. Virus writers used the Sony rootkit to cloak their own software and attack vulnerable systems.

    The inclusion of Adobeâ(TM)s DRM in Firefox means that Mozilla will be putting millions of its users in a position where they are running code whose bugs are illegal to report.

  • dumb (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:15PM (#47001985)

    Rather that deal with it in such a complex way, they should just do what linux did for years with MP3s. Popup box "This is an MP3, we can install the thing you need to listen to it, but it's not open source. Do you want it? Yes/No" Simple as that. Let users chose. I don't see how this is any different.

    Then they can let their plugin community quietly subvert the entire mechanism, just like they have everything else, and the industry will abandon it.

    • First of all, the codecs were typically handled by patent-encumbered FOSS code. That's far less of a security risk, and isn't even a legal issue in much of the world. Secondly, the codecs, even if proprietary, generally didn't have any kind of DRM mechanism.
  • by RR (64484) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:39PM (#47002261)

    Brendan Eich may have had some opinions that people don't like, but at least he stuck to his morals. Now that he's gone, the new CTO, this Andreas Gal, seems more likely to compromise. DRM is evil, but Dr. Gal thinks he's clever, and is trying to wrap it in an open-source sandbox. Let the exploits come.

    Oh well, now I do have an actual reason to boycott Firefox.

    • by Derek Pomery (2028) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @03:09PM (#47002673)

      http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

      Well, here you are standing on principles. :)

      You wanted to watch Youtube vids, so you run Google Chrome, which has even more liberal implementation of this DRM.

      You didn't boycott Youtube.

      So, this is why Firefox is implementing it. They no longer have the leverage. Google Chrome is bundled with Flash, with Adobe Acrobat, with Oracle Java. It is pushed on every google website people interact with - Search, Plus, Docs, Youtube, Translate. There's the google app store, ChromeOS, Android...

      I doubt Brendan would have held out against this either. Firefox' choice is to accede to its users, or become even more marginalised.

      I'm glad they are using their limited remaining leverage to try and at least ensure user privacy and security and offer something that is cross-platform, with an open source auditable wrapper and actually works under Linux.

  • Mozilla would have preferred to see the content industry move away from locking content to a specific device (so called node-locking), and worked to provide alternatives.

    Instead, this approach has now been enshrined in the W3C EME specification. With Google and Microsoft shipping W3C EME and content providers moving over their content from plugins to W3C EME Firefox users are at risk of not being able to access DRM restricted content (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu), which can make up more than 30% of

    • by wile_e8 (958263)
      Or I could have just kept reading to the next line where they say pretty much the same thing.
    • Although until they start supporting h.264 and h.265, isn't this whole discussion a bit premature?

      • by robmv (855035)

        Firefox already support h.264, go to vimeo with a Windows 7 Firefox or Linux with GStreamer plugins and it will play without plugins

        • Well, no - with Windows it's handing the decoding tasks off to the OS. It's only on Windows that it does it - it doesn't work on a Mac (even though it could do the same thing), and on Linux without gstreamer you're SOL.

          • by robmv (855035)

            Are you repeating what I said?

            go to vimeo with a Windows 7 Firefox or Linux with GStreamer plugins and it will play without plugins

      • by Microlith (54737)

        They deferred on that to the platform. And stuff being routed to the CDM won't be handled by the browser anyway.

    • by Arker (91948)
      "Translation: We don't like this, but if we boycott it we are going to lose users to browsers run by companies more concerned about keeping media companies happy so they can keep licensing content."

      That's what they are saying, but it's not credible.

      It's like saying 'we want to win the fight, but if we fight we might lose, so we are going to give up and not fight instead.'

      If you want to fight then fight. I'd back you. If you are not going to fight, then just admit it and shut up about it, quit blowing smoke
  • about a decade ago, IBM first wanted to implement something like Secure-Boot. They went to the open source community, wrote a FOSS Linux driver, but we told them to take a hike. They did.

    Later, MS did it, with much secrecy, and it was rammed down our throats.

    I don't like DRM one bit, but this seems like good damage control.
  • Fork the code. Maybe mozilla has no qualms about fucking its users with shady blobs but as a user, i sure as hell have a problem with it.
    assert ($mad as $hell);
  • Sad seeing this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sasparillascott (1267058) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @04:47PM (#47003839)
    It's sad seeing this, but its also good to keep in mind - this standard was pushed by Microsoft, Google and others. As such its already "live" in Chrome (as of Release 25 if memory serves, current Chrome release is 29 I believe) as its in WebKit (so ad Safari and Opera as well). Microsoft will add it to IE if they haven't already - leaving Firefox and its slowly dwindling user base. Since 75% of the PC web and nearly all of the mobile web will be making use of this - it'd be a market share death sentence for Mozilla to take a stand and say we just won't implement these "standards" in Firefox - (JMHO, but most general users would notice that what they want using this cgap works with Chrome, IE etc. and not with Firefox and just stop using Firefox making the Firefox user base melt away faster). I don't like Mozilla doing this, but I can easily understand why they are.
  • by Bazman (4849) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @02:57AM (#47006937) Journal

    Are Adobe going to make a Linux version of the DRM module? Because their record with Linux versions of their PDF DRM tech is VERY POOR. We get research articles from the British Library which are DRM'd, and our Linux users can't read them. One solution is to complain to BL at which point they will often just email you a plain old unDRMd PDF. The mega-facepalm thing is that the British Library came out against DRM-content a few years ago, and have done a massive backtrack because the publishers didn't like it.

    Whether DRM is a bad thing or an insanely bad thing (ok, or a good thing, whatever), I don't ever want to see "This Content Cannot Be Viewed On Your Nerdy Linux Operating System" popups ever. But if this is Adobe's shitcreek we're wading through, I think I will.

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