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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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  • Why blame Mozilla (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NotInHere (3654617) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:09PM (#47033405)

    The other browser vendors have implemented EME, even IE, which is (caution, sarcasm ahead) well known for implementing the newest HTML5 technologies. Mozilla's only option was to rescue what could be rescued. Blame Google, MS and the MPAA instead, they have deserved the shitstorm.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:13PM (#47033421)

    Blocking something because RMS does not approve is the opposite of freedom

    Nonsense. Choosing not to include some feature in your product is exercising your freedom, unless someone's actually forcing you to do it.

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:18PM (#47033449)

    At the end of the day, it will be users who decide between Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari, and the multitude of other options out there. These users will make their decision based upon a variety of factors. For some it will be access to DRMed content. For others it will be a completely open source product. Of course there are other reasons too.

    I'm guessing that the Mozilla foundation tried to figure out what their user base wanted, and came up with the answer that content would keep more users than excluding the DRM module would. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong. Only time will tell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:24PM (#47033493)

    unless someone's actually forcing you to do it.

    "They forced me with money" is the reiterated excuse of some of the most despicable amoral scum.

  • They made me do it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpghost (719344) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:26PM (#47033505) Homepage
    Just because there's some pressure from the outside to do immoral things, doesn't mean they had to cave in. Evil previls because good keeps silent. Sorry Mozilla, but that was a REALLY bad decision.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:27PM (#47033509) Journal

    Blocking something because RMS does not approve is the opposite of freedom, be it DRM, a binary driver, or whatever.

    And denying people the ability to yell "fire" in a crowded theater is also "the opposite of freedom."
    However, there's also the caveat that it's better for society to limit certain freedoms,
    because otherwise they would otherwise impinge on all of us in a negative way.

  • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:33PM (#47033537)

    1) DRM is bad.

    Yep. So are taxes, and work for many people.

    2) Firefox implementing DRM is one piece of the problem.

    Nope. It is a symptom of the problem. The problem is that there is lots of content that people want that is only legally available with DRM. If you want the content, the choice is support the DRM or steal it. There are merits to both paths.

    3) Firefox is free to do whatever they want, but if they felt forced to implement DRM, it would have been better if they at least made an effort to warn the users about the risks. Instead they are publicly praising Adobe for their approach to DRM.

    Oh, God no! We are already way too overwarned. Turing every movie into the panic over self signed certs is NOT the answer.

    People who criticize RMS often don't even know what he said. That is not true of everyone, but most comments on the net are rather clueless about it. DRM is bad, that's not even controversial.

    Stalman is a brilliant man who has done a lot for computing in general. (Not just open source) He is also an uncompromising ass that is very hard to work with. For those of us that live and work in the real world, this is not a path we can take. I prefer the ESR approach to picking battles that make a difference.

  • RMS is right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DMJC (682799) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:35PM (#47033559)
    RMS is right in this case, DRM just harms everyone. Now Linux might play some more videos, but everyone who wants to run Amiga or Haiku, or another platform will be shutout from accessing that content. This is why DRM is stupid, it keeps the vendor/platform lock in going. For no good reason. It has never stopped pirates from doing their thing.
  • by Kohath (38547) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:40PM (#47033579)

    Netflix streaming is evil?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:52PM (#47033663)

    Nope. It is a symptom of the problem. The problem is that there is lots of content that people want that is only legally available with DRM. If you want the content, the choice is support the DRM or steal it. There are merits to both paths.

    If you want the content, the choice is to tell the content providers that you will not take it with DRM attached to it.

    For those of us that live and work in the real world, this is not a path we can take.

    Those of you that live and work in the real world enabled the holocaust. You accept incarceration, torture and murder of innocents under the banner "fight against terrorism" as collateral damage for your version of "real world".

    And you are proud of it. You look down on people who let their conscience guide their acts and who actually make sacrifices for their values and beliefs. People living in "the real world" don't go protesting on the street. They stick their head out for nobody.

  • by BilI_the_Engineer (3618871) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:56PM (#47033687)

    If you want the content, the choice is support the DRM or steal it.

    Why steal it when you could just ask someone to voluntarily send you some data? Have to do things the hard way, do you?

    And another option is to just ignore the content completely.

  • by Arker (91948) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:57PM (#47033691) Homepage
    Of course they had a choice. That is not even a serious question.

    They are losing market share and their actions will accelerate, not reverse, that trend, just as previous missteps have done. And yes, life will go on, but a great opportunity has been lost. Firefox still has enough users that this matters, and they are throwing their weight behind DRM, and against the open web they claim to stand for at a critical moment. The notion this will get anyone to switch (back) to Firefox is ludicrous. The ones that left because they wanted something more like the other browsers are happy with their other browser, and the rest of us see this is a stab in the back not a feature.

    RIP Firefox Long Live PaleMoon.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:57PM (#47033693)

    1) DRM is bad.

    Yep. So are taxes, and work for many people.

    No, Taxes and work are something you don't like, but are nessecary. Taxes pay for things like your clean drinking water, roads, street signs and lighting, all the things we actually like government for. Work allows you to purchase food, a place to sleep, clothes, a budget for entertainment.

    DRM has no actual upside. There is no "Weeelll but roads are kinda nice" counter point. DRM is bad. Period. It doesn't work at it stated purpose, costs the people who implement it more money to use it, and those of up willing to bypass it do so trivially while those that are not willing suffer under new restrictions while actually being paying customers.

    The only thing DRM is good for is keeping DRM manufacturers in business. It literally serves no useful purpose.

  • by fuzzytv (2108482) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:02PM (#47033715)

    No, it's not. Or at least, there are no clear arguments to support this claim (see the article from Cory Doctorow in Guardian, explaining this in more detail: http://www.theguardian.com/tec... [theguardian.com]).

    The only vague argument available is along the lines "netflix transfers a lot of data => it's important => we'll loose a lot of users if we don't support EME". Which is quite weak implication, IMNSHO. For example it's absolutely unsupported claim that users will abandon Firefox completely - there were times when I had to use IE occasionally, because dumb webdesigners made it work only with IE. But I was using FF or some other browser, because it was superior in every other aspect.

    Second, it absolutely absolutely ignores countries not covered by Netflix - which is pretty much everywhere outside America and northern part of Europe.

    And finally, this DRM is as futile as all the other DRM technologies - it's going to be broken sooner or later (rather sooner), and there are other ways to pirate movies. DVDs/blurays, recording DVB-T ... so the only people not suffering by this are going to be pirates. Just like with all the previous technologies.

    Anyway, I always thought the goal of Mozilla is not to acquire the highest browser marketshare, but to offer a truly open-source alternative. Also, browser is not the only project they have. This could have been a great education opportunity - showing a page briefly explaining the DRM issues, why Mozilla decided not to implement it, etc.

    Partnership with Adobe, one of the companies most hostile towards open-source, that's a slap in the face.

    However, Mozilla is not the only offender here - the first step was done by W3C, who allowed EME to be become part of the standard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:10PM (#47033765)

    Sorry, but Firefox adding DRM, in whatever manner they are, is still a shift in the browser industry going forward. There isn't a mainstream browser, that I see, committed to FOSS philosophies out there anymore. I just heard about Pale Moon, but let's face it folks. Firefox, Chrome and IE are mainstream. The others are side projects. Safari, well, doesn't exist on Linux does it. Even I.E. can be shoe-horned on Linux if needed.

    Point is, moving forward, there is no longer a major browser that hasn't caved to big media, and DRM. That is, in itself, a continuation of a disturbing trend we're seeing across the Internet, and computing in general. If you don't think this isn't part of that, you haven't been paying attention.

  • by black_lbi (1107229) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:11PM (#47033769)
    I think this whole situation has been blown out of proportion. How will this code, that allows loading a 3rd party DRM plugin, be conceptually different than the bit of code that allows loading other closed source plugins (Flash, Silverlight, etc)?
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:30PM (#47033903) Journal

    1) DRM is bad.

    Yep. So are taxes,

    Uh, most people understand why taxes are a good thing. There are people who feel that we are being taxed too much, but there aren't many people who want to get rid of taxes. Some form of taxation is necessary for the operation of the government.

    Oh, God no! We are already way too overwarned.

    Most people don't know the risks of DRM, a lot of people don't even know what DRM is. YOU might have been overwarned, but most people have never heard of The Right to Read [gnu.org], and don't understand why DRM could be problematic. As long as it doesn't get in the way, they are fine with it.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:36PM (#47033935)

    If you want the content, the choice is to tell the content providers that you will not take it with DRM attached to it.

    Which will most likely be met with "fuck off, how else do you expect to lock content down by region so we can charge more in countries where people can afford more?"

  • by pla (258480) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:55PM (#47034055) Journal
    We need an "insightful troll" mod. +0.5, perhaps.

    Clearly trolling, but you have perfectly expressed "the enemy's" stance on DRM. "We" need DRM because some people want to preserve their positions of power over the information-have-nots, simple as that.

    And I don't even mean music and movies, we can live without those. I mean textbooks; I mean research journal access; I mean "for profit" municipal codes of law; I mean for-profit industry standards specs; I mean proprietary and impenetrable pricing structures like health insurance fees.

    So although you troll us, you magnificent bastard, you also have one of the insightful posts on this topic so far.
  • Which is why all the music I buy these days is so heavily encumbered with DRM. Despite the shrill protests of the public, the only way to get the content was to accept DRM on my music files.

    Oh wait, no, I don't.

    It is not a losing battle to fight against DRM. Between the easy accessibility of non-DRM - albeit copyright-infringing - music and a company (Apple) with a large enough market-share to say, "You know what, screw DRM!", nowadays I can download all my songs in unencumbered MP3s. And - despite all their fears to the contrary - the music industry hasn't gone bankrupt because of this. Given an equitable price, combined with the convenience and legitimacy of an above-board purchase, music sales continue to be profitable.

    Firefox had an opportunity to be an Apple here; they could have helped redirect the market into a new direction. Instead they caved into prophetic bullshit about declining marketshare and now all its users suffer for their shortsightedness. Mozilla could have said to big media, "this is a shit idea" and rather than sacrifice that huge potential audience the media conglomerates would have found a more favorable alternative.

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:24PM (#47034829)
    Apple is a company with enough marketshare (in fact they almost monopolized the business of selling music online at a time), Mozilla isn't. Apple then did exactly what I was saying and pushed back on the content producers.

    It is not a losing battle to fight against DRM.

    These days there is more DRM encumbered media and streaming services than ever before!

    Mozilla could have said to big media, "this is a shit idea" and rather than sacrifice that huge potential audience the media conglomerates would have found a more favorable alternative.

    I like your optimism but I don't think Mozilla have that much clout. Perhaps it's time to fork Firefox? Though I'm pretty sure there are quite a lot of popular forks already that are unlikely to implement this DRM so maybe one of them should make an attempt to do what you say.

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:40PM (#47034927) Journal

    So I'm a bit confused all this. How close is the following chain of events?

    1. Netflix/___ others start trying to wrap their "tasty content" into wrappers that (try to) require baked in DRM.
    2. Uneducated Firefox users suddenly discover that their browser won't play that tasty content anymore "because Mozilla didn't add that Dr. Thingy stuff" to make it work.
    3. Said uneducated Firefox users then jump ship to that dulcet siren's call such as Chrome because yay the tasty content works again! "Everything is Awesome!"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

    So what about PaleMoon? Scuttle has it a bunch of people are headed over that way not least because of FF29 UI Shenanigans. So why not DRM? Their entire point was to unbake bloaty parts of reg FF. So why not if they unbake the DRM from their copy?

    And what does Opera have to say about all this? How about Chromium and/or Komodo Dragon? (Non-Googly clones of Chrome.)

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Monday May 19, 2014 @10:36AM (#47038597)

    Just so we're clear, it's perfectly possible to support a family of four on $1000/month (less than one full-time, minimum wage, income), even without government subsidies, provided you're not trying to do so in a major city where rent for a studio apartment will cost $2000+. When somebody says they're being "forced with money" it very rarely means that their survival is in jeopardy, it means they want the luxuries that extra money can buy badly enough that they're willing compromise on whatever principles are being called into question. Granted those luxuries are initially things like "live in a home with more than one room", "eat something other than beans and rice", and "have health insurance", but those are all things that most people in the world don't have.

    More to the point, when you hear someone claiming to be "forced with money" it's usually over a very fat paycheck, so there's no possible dodge around the fact that what they really mean is "I was sufficiently bribed"

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