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Firefox DRM Mozilla

Did Mozilla Have No Choice But To Add DRM To Firefox? 406

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-flamewar-begin dept.
JimLynch (684194) writes "Mozilla has been in the news quite a lot over the last few months. This time the organization is being hammered by open source advocates for adding Adobe DRM to Firefox. But did the folks at Mozilla really have a choice when it comes adding DRM? An open source project like Mozilla is not immune to market pressures. And with so many competing browsers such as Chrome adding DRM for Netflix, etc. how could Firefox avoid adding it? Is it realistic to think that Firefox can simply ignore such things? I don't think so and the reason why is in Firefox's usage numbers over the last few years."
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Did Mozilla Have No Choice But To Add DRM To Firefox?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:19PM (#47033455)

    I'm not particularly worried about Firefox providing a socket to plug in some DRM module into, because I don't really see much difference between that and other binary plugins. As a Linux user, I'm more worried that anyone who does want to use it will have to rely on Adobe to provide and maintain that module, because their track record has been rather spotty.

    Would I use it myself? I honestly haven't made up my mind yet. From what I understand it would be mostly for movies, and my current computer is a bit too loud for that to be an enjoyable experience...

  • by diamondmagic (877411) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:20PM (#47033467) Homepage

    If DRM is really impossible to implement in F/OSS software, without closed source or the threat of political force... Then what's the worry?

    It seems like the worst-case scenario is media providers get a false sense of security and start providing content without silly plugins that actually ARE closed and non-accessible (under the threat of legal action).

  • by jimktaylor (3539053) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:34PM (#47033551)

    Mozilla are not just supporting DRM, you could already view DRM media, the significant development is their supporting for the addition of DRM to the web in a claimed standard, a damaging development for the open web. Mozilla had the choice of supporting the viewing of DRM media outside the web, by using a plugin or by using a separate media player. The DRM web interface they have decided to support, the EME, in not even capable of playing media on it's own, it is just part of a play and the rest is proprietary JS supplied by the content distributor. This is a strategy promoted by the distributors to advance their own selfish interests, by Netflix/Google/MS, it locks the user into using the distributors web based media player, is anti-competitive, and damages the health of the open web market. By supporting the EME Mozilla has made it almost impossible for the open web community to promote alternatives, damaging the open web community, in an act of betrayal.

    Mozilla made no attempt to promote alternatives, have not explained the technical details of their EME/CDM design in enough detail for their claims of user security and privacy to be verified, and have refused to clarify that users can even view DRM media via Netflix in all its glory using their EME/CDM which was a key claimed reason for their decision, and have not been honest in the reasons for their decision (it's is not about supporting the viewing of DRM media because this is already possible).

  • by mozumder (178398) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:10PM (#47033763)

    1) DRM is bad.

    Did you nerds think your cunning plan all the way through to make this statement?

    It's a very democratic thing to say DRM is bad, because it treats information as a free resource, allowing the poor and the weak to gain information. This is why RMS wants information to be free.

    But the opposite is actually better: information should NOT be free. There should be costs associated with gaining information.

    You can obviously figure out the many reasons why there should be costs for information. But the BEST reason to keep information expensive is so that it maintains an imbalance among people.

    Free information allows everyone to be equal. That actually is a TERRIBLE thing, because it treats everyone equally.

    But the key thing in life, is that, NO ONE wants to be treated equally. Instead, EVERYONE wants to gain power over others. This is the basic law of life: to gain power over others. You do this in everything you do. You brush your teeth in the morning because you want to be better than the uglies that don't. You get a job because you want to be better than the homeless people that don't. And so on.

    Evolution is why this happens. Animals, and you, find mates because you are able to project a gain of power over others.

    It's amazing how people say they want equality in life, when they do everything they can to be unequal.

    Socially clueless and inept nerds obviously haven't figured this out, as their low social status demonstrates, but the real world is filled with people gaining power over you. There is no such thing as a person that wants to reduce power.

    Gaining power is the fundamental meaning of life, as evolution has shown. It is not the content of your character that matters in life. It is your power.

    And treating information as a valuable resource, instead of a commodity, is a way to maintain power over others.

    And that's something you, and everyone else in the world, wants.

    This is why those in power, who control expensive content, want DRM.

    I guess maybe in your next life, you will have more power, and you will know why DRM is a good thing. But right now, most people don't want to be treated the same as a homeless person.

  • by lgw (121541) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:19PM (#47033809) Journal

    I'm not particularly worried about Firefox providing a socket to plug in some DRM module into, because I don't really see much difference between that and other binary plugins. As a Linux user, I'm more worried that anyone who does want to use it will have to rely on Adobe to provide and maintain that module, because their track record has been rather spotty.

    The big win from following a standard for the DRM plug-in is that now it will be obvious what's a DRM plug-in, and what's not. Hate DRM? Write a browser extension that makes use of this standard!

    Seriously, if you really want to make heads asplode: write a FF extension that detects a DRM stream, determines the title from context, and automatically torrents the same title instead. If you can't do it as a plug-in, make a fork, since it's a stunt anyhow. I'm perfectly happy with paying Netflix, myself, but I'd certainly cheer if someone wrote this just to show the folly of the entire DRM approach.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:16PM (#47034143)

    Part of DRM is that it stops consumers from fulfilling their role in the "supply and demand" marketplace.
    Content providers sell content for different prices in different regions. DRM prevents you from buying content at market prices.
    Content is sold internationally, consumers should be able to buy content internationally or the market is artificially distorted by the sellers.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @06:25PM (#47034199)

    If DRM is really impossible to implement in F/OSS software, without closed source or the threat of political force... Then what's the worry?

    It seems like the worst-case scenario is media providers get a false sense of security and start providing content without silly plugins that actually ARE closed and non-accessible (under the threat of legal action).

    The DRM is effectively forced.

    I going to just flat out state that you've obviously never attempted to run the Netflix plugin from a ChromeOS machine (ChromeBook/ChromeBox) on another Linux platform, and discovered it won't run.

    The modules in this case do navel-gazing and examine the container program to verify that the container program ins an unadulterated official build, such that you can't just compile up your own version of the browser, and expect the module to continue operating.

    For Netflix on Linux desktops, this Navel-gazing took the form of utilizing the HAL, which was deprecated by its authors in 2008: http://www.freedesktop.org/wik... [freedesktop.org] which was then used to generate a unique device identifier, which was used in the authorization and decryption process for the data, after having been watermarked with the same identifier at the source so that you could tell who exactly rented the content that was then stripped of DRM, and uploaded to a copy site.

    This same (deprecated) module was required by Adobe FlashAccess beginning in February 2012, and was the reason for the sudden failure of rented content from both Amazon and YouTube, which both used FlashAccess as a means of DRM'ing "premium content" starting on that date.

    So it's about as true to say that the DRM "isn't forced" as it's to say that the HTML "trusted proxy" mechanism would not be forced in order to allow you to make HTTPS connections, should it be standardized, thus giving a centralized ISP choke point, nominally for caching content, but practically, for introspecting HTTPS streams to make sure they are not transporting "unapproved content". If you can't access content without DRM, or you can't access HTTPS without authorizing the proxy at your ISP to listen in on the conversation, effectively instituting an automatic MITM attack for all your communications, it's kind of hard to credit participation in the scheme as "unforced" (Sure... you could choose not to have encrypted internet connectivity at all, instead of encrypted activity your ISP or anyone who got a single FISA order into your ISP could listen in on, but is that really a choice?).

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:09PM (#47034463) Homepage Journal

    No, but taking away your user's right to DRMed content is not protecting their freedom.

    Nonsense. All they needed was an HTML5 tag identifying DRM content that starts and external player that the user can decide to use or not use.

    By using Firefox, you are tacitly supporting DRM, even if you never view and DRM'd content, because they have cooked the technology into the cake. It didn't have to be that way. They could have kept Firefox open and still allow the movie industry to peddle their poison.

  • Re:Nothing changed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jonwil (467024) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:15PM (#47034489)

    The distributors (and the Hollywood studios that provide them with content) will never accept an "alternative" that has no DRM.

    So for Mozilla the choice wasn't "support EME" vs "promote a better DRM free alternative and convince websites to support it", it was "support EME" vs "tell users who want to use HuLu, Netflix etc to use a different browser"

    I for one like the way Mozilla has done it, the browser plugin can't talk to anything other than a narrowly defined set of interfaces specified by Mozilla (so no direct network or disk access). Also, I believe the plugin will be available for Linux as well which means sites like Netflix will work on that platform.

  • Time for a Fork (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BrendaEM (871664) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @09:20PM (#47035111) Homepage

    Mozilla is not taking privacy seriously, lately.
    Cache clear on Firefox does not really seem clear the cache.
    There is no way to clear the "Top Sites" in Firefox Mobile.
    There is no built in way clear on exit in Mozilla Mobile.

  • declining usage (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:07PM (#47035521)

    As someone who used to love Firefox, I claim the usage statistics have nothing to do with not supporting NetFlix. For the last few years, every new version has removed stuff I liked, added stuff I didn't care about, and created various problems. That might be a better explanation for declining share. No one wants DRM. It is death to the open web.

  • by Your.Master (1088569) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:08PM (#47035531)

    I remain extremely skeptical of the idea that DRM does literally nothing. It'l like saying door locks don't work because they can be kicked down or picked, or somebody can go through the window. Imperfect security *can* be better than no security, depending on the circumstance.

    I'm not coming out pro-DRM, just...this argument doesn't make sense. I know for a fact my parents could never be bothered to learn how to use bittorrent. They just went and bought it instead when I moved out. Which implies that it does work to at least some degree. Not necessarily that the benefit exceeds the cost, but I don't think it's fundamentally honest to say that DRM has no benefit for anybody.

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