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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.

    • Really? Apple, Google and Opera are all going to add EME?

    • 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.

      • "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."

        EXACTLY. Those are the moments when you knew FF was doing it right, that made you more, not less loyal to FF. But then some suit somewhere figured that this would cause you to switch to IE full time (instead of reminding you why you avoid it) and so they ordered the developers to make FF more like the other browsers
      • With website js, your firefox already runs closed-source software all the time. Everything Mozilla creates and ships will be open source, and firefox will download the CDM and execute it in a sandbox, just like the js. I doubt that the sandbox chrome or IE have are as secure as the Firefox sandbox.

        Mozilla must ask the user for their consent whether to install the CDM, as they must at least accept the license. This could be a good spot for Mozilla to explain that DRM is bad, while still allowing the user to

        • by fuzzytv (2108482)

          With website js, your firefox already runs closed-source software all the time. Everything Mozilla creates and ships will be open source, and firefox will download the CDM and execute it in a sandbox, just like the js. I doubt that the sandbox chrome or IE have are as secure as the Firefox sandbox.

          I'm not using Chrome or IE, and I don't care how secure their sandboxes are. I simply don't agree with the DRM concept in general, because it limits my rights, the problems with reporting security issues, and it only affects the customers (not the actual pirates). And no, running a JS code is not the same as running the EME plugin.

          Mozilla must ask the user for their consent whether to install the CDM, as they must at least accept the license. This could be a good spot for Mozilla to explain that DRM is bad, while still allowing the user to click "Yes, I want to restrict my freedom".

          Given how much they praise Adobe (which is one of the worst companies cosidering approach to open-source), I doubt they'll have the courage to do that.

          W3C allows EME to become a standard or not doesn' bother Microsoft or Google.

          Believe that or no, they act

  • 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.

    • Freedom should never sell out its values.

      or

      You can sell your values but you can't buy morality.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        So by restricting what people can use their browser for, you think its more free?

        You can choose not to use DRM content or you can choose not to, but if the browser doesn't support it, there is no freedom of choice, is there?

    • Let the default download of a new firefox randonly select either with- or without-DRM. Cound the number of times the same user goes back and selects a non-default browser from a list that explicitly says whether they have DRM or not.

      Done well, no-one will even notice.

      In this experiment, I expect the null hypothesis will be "no-one cares", and will win (:-))

  • by diamondmagic (877411) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:20PM (#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 tlambert (566799) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @05:25PM (#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?).

  • 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.
  • 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 MrEricSir (398214)

      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.

      So DRM is bad because it stops people from accessing content, even though it's never actually done that? You've completely talked yourself into a circle.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Now Linux might play some more videos

      You really think Adobe will release their DRM plugin for Linux?

    • 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.

      How so?

      Firefox is OS-neutral. You can port it to your obscure OS to your heart's content.

      In the case of any proprietary code the DRM layer runs, well the BSDs have long provided an emulation layer for linux-specific binaries.

  • Bending over and adding DRM might not exaclty be a good thing, but I can see how it might be necessary if they want to stay relevant. Though I have to say they really should have waited with that until DRM actually becomes relevant to the Web, jumping on the DRM train this early is really sending the wrong signal. Anyway what they should have done it also just ship the anti-DRM messures right in the browser as well. Add a function to screen capture videos of your browser interaction isn't all that difficult and would have nicely shown just how pontless the whole DRM thing is.

  • 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.
    • They are losing market share and their actions will accelerate, not reverse, that trend, just as previous missteps have done.

      Ah yes... previous missteps.

      .
      The last straw, the item that chased me off FireFox was the developers' stupid decision to lock down the reload and stop buttons on the FireFox UI. Yes, I know there is a "Classic" add-on that attempts to restore the previous look and feel of the UI. But like many add-ons, the quality level of that add-on is much lower than that of FireFox. I ran into too many issues trying to get that add-on to work properly. During my attempts, various items in the UI would actually di

  • I'm concerned that really, between having UEFI Boot forced on us, and now EME with FireFox, even Linux is losing the war against DRM and as such losing the war on Fair use computing rights entirely. I disgree that the Internet is becoming Cable 2.0, but, the issue is that really, this has escalated beyond a technology issue and into a law and society one. I don't see any real solution to this beyond massive changes at the governmental level. Like:

    1. Repeal of the DMCA.
    2. Copyright roolled back to 14 years as it was at first
    3. No Software patents
    4. Internet Providers declared common carrier utilities.

  • 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)?
    • I think this whole situation has been blown out of proportion....

      Possibly. However, what is adding to the fire is string of stupid decisions made by the FireFox developers. Those stupid decisions are convincing users that FireFox may be going in the wrong direction. Hence the uproar.

    • 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)?

      It doesn't.

      I raised this point months ago when this whole DRM thing started and no one had a good explanation. I think the best explanation was "Yes, but it's encouraging it more." Not that I understand how an arbitrary plugin architecture encourages DRM any less. Cause that's what we have today.

  • finally proven wrong?

  • the notion that the Mozilla foundation "didn't have a choice" about DRM is an absolute joke

    DRM is dead, in practice...all that DRM does is make users frustrated...it does *not* protect from illegal copying/distribution whatsoever

    DRM is alive and well, in dumbass business porfolios, under the section of "risk management"

    can Adobe or any organization *prevent* the Mozilla Foundation from releasing a non-DRM browser? NO!

    no one is forcing Mozilla/Firefox to make this choice, except their own unscrupulous non-te

    • by qzzpjs (1224510)

      no one is forcing Mozilla/Firefox to make this choice, except their own unscrupulous non-tech business people

      I see this as Mozilla giving US the choice instead of making it for us. If they choose not to support DRM, then I have NO choice in watching DRM material with Firefox and I have to use another browser I dislike. By supporting a DRM plugin, "I" now get to choose whether to use it or not and if I choose not, then it doesn't affect my browsing experience at all.

  • But did the folks at Mozilla really have a choice when it comes adding DRM?

    Of course they had. It's not like someone put a mind control spell on them.

    That, exactly, is the point that the FSF is making and that some people complaining about the move make: That Free Software should differ from commercial software precisely because it can afford to make unpopular choices. It can do the right thing. And sometimes the right thing isn't the easy thing.

    But that is the other side of freedom. Anyone can fight for freedom when the fight is easy. Think what you want about RMS and the FSF and

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

    by BrendaEM (871664)

    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.

  • There's no way to add DRM to anything without compromising security.

  • It's just decorative DRM; anyone who wants to can just loot the decrypted video at any point between the graphics card and your eyes. They can't lock down a picture and show it to you simultaneously, so this is just to prevent your average joe from copying the video onto their computer to watch later or whatever.

    • Don't some video chips already honor watermarking in the stream? Sure, it can be stripped out well enough to appear unwatermarked, but can it be obscured completely enough for a computer forensics professional to not find your name in lights?

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