Mozilla adding DRM to Firefox, but they are not happy about it

Mozilla is a company that has prided itself on releasing products that embrace an "open web" with few to no restrictions on how to access content. Today, the company announced that it will make an exception for its Firefox browser and enable it to use the W3C Encrypted Media Extensions.

In a blog post, Mozilla says that W3C EME allowed web browsers to play videos in HTML5 that have a Content Decryption Module (CDM). This would allow the browser to play videos on sites such as Netflix or Hulu but still have a DRM system in place.

While Microsoft and Google have previously approved the W3C EME specifications for their Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers, Mozilla says that they prefer other types of content protection such as watermarking. Having said that, the company admits that if they don't also support W3C EME, Firefox might not be able to access sites like Netflix in the future, so they have decided to support a version of the specifications as well.

That doesn't mean Mozilla is happy about this situation. Indeed, the blog states, "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." However, the company does admit that this move will also make Firefox less dependent on using plug-ins, and should help make those old-fashioned browser add-on programs finally disappear.

Source: Mozilla

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft to hold global Windows app developer event May 16-17

Next Story

AT&T HTC One M8 users receiving 'Extreme Power Saving Mode' in update

66 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

They're hardly betraying their vision, they are just making sure Firefox isn't left behind. Nobody really likes DRM but it's not going away so they would only be shooting themselves in the foot by not supporting it.

DRM is just technology which is neither moral or immoral,It all depends on the usage.

Protecting medical documents with AD RMS, live streaming of tv & catch up tv, online video rental are all examples of positive use of drm.

I cam understand complaining about it in paid content like games but not in the browser for rentals

I was under the impression that Chromium was the beta channel release for Chrome, therefore the analogy would be Firefox -> Aurora.

Iceweasel is just a legalese rebranding of a recompiled version of Firefox for Debian GNU/Linux.

Squirrelington said,
I was under the impression that Chromium was the beta channel release for Chrome, therefore the analogy would be Firefox -> Aurora.

Iceweasel is just a legalese rebranding of a recompiled version of Firefox for Debian GNU/Linux.

Chromium is the open source version of Chrome, so all the closed source/patents stuff is removed (like H.264 decoding), Firefox on the other hand links to the system libraries or downloads them at runtime, so there isn't a "closed" version of it, even the builds you compile yourself work the same.

And yeah, Iceweasel is just the name the Debian guys gave their version of Firefox because they didn't like the trademark agreement (That said that if you want to call your binary Firefox, you have to let Mozilla have a say with the modifications to it). In return the Debian guys now have the freedom to make any changes to their binaries (Which is why Iceweasel doesn't do APNG, the Debain guys don't like it, etc.)

Squirrelington said,
I was under the impression that Chromium was the beta channel release for Chrome, therefore the analogy would be Firefox -> Aurora.

Iceweasel is just a legalese rebranding of a recompiled version of Firefox for Debian GNU/Linux.

Correct mostly, There is chromium stable too, albeit harder to find (go poke around the ftp server). Chromium does not infringe on Google's trademarks (why Iceweasle exists), none of Google's tracking goo or an ugly EULA to come with it! Chromium is the open source project which Chrome is built from.

The_Decryptor said,

Chromium is the open source version of Chrome, so all the closed source/patents stuff is removed (like H.264 decoding), Firefox on the other hand links to the system libraries or downloads them at runtime, so there isn't a "closed" version of it, even the builds you compile yourself work the same.

And yeah, Iceweasel is just the name the Debian guys gave their version of Firefox because they didn't like the trademark agreement (That said that if you want to call your binary Firefox, you have to let Mozilla have a say with the modifications to it). In return the Debian guys now have the freedom to make any changes to their binaries (Which is why Iceweasel doesn't do APNG, the Debain guys don't like it, etc.)


Its not that the Debian guys don't like it. A normal FF build could always be put on the non-free/contrib repositories by Mozilla but afaik they never bothered.
But the name and logo are copyrighted, and to keep Debian truly free all over the world without ever running into issues in the future. They, by their guidelines, can not include everything as is.

From the way you stated it, kinda looks like you frown on the Debian guys for acting such with these kind of softwares. But they are actually one of the only Distro's who carry on the Linux spirit as it (in my view) should be.

Aside from the software being closed source, I am not sure what the big deal is. Mozilla Firefox would be at a competitive disadvantage without DRM.

Ian William said,
Aside from the software being closed source, I am not sure what the big deal is. Mozilla Firefox would be at a competitive disadvantage without DRM.
Which is why they're actually relying on Adobe for that. I don't know exactly how that'll work but here's the description from Mozilla's blog:

Due to the architecture of the W3C EME specification we are forced to utilize a proprietary closed-source CDM as well. Mozilla selected Adobe to supply this CDM for Firefox because Adobe has contracts with major content providers that will allow Firefox to play restricted content via the Adobe CDM.

One of the issues with the EME spec that Mozilla raised was that it never made any mention of how the DRM should be implemented, just that it should. That's how IE and Chrome implement two completely different schemes that aren't compatible and are entirely dependent on the combination of hardware+software+site to implement (Which obviously sucks), while staying compliant with the spec (Since all it basically mentions is how web content should interact with the DRM module)

There are nicer ways to implement DRM that give the end user the power (Like making it similar to TLS with client auth so that the user can access the content however they like), but the media companies apparently don't like stuff like that.

Praetor said,
DRM + Silverlight = failed technologies.

Neither of them are bad ideas, though one could argue that the former isn't implemented very well.

Praetor said,
DRM + Silverlight = failed technologies.

Silverlight is more than the 'meme' you think it is. It powers the streaming media features of IIS running on Azure, and even how the Xbox One handles Audio and Video.

The 'Silverlight' plugin was a RIA concept based off of WPF/XAML as a stop gap until the W3C caught up to the features needed for RIA content. HTML5 has gotten very close, and thus Silverlight is no longer needed as a 'plugin' for Web App content.

If none of the browsers implemented this retarded feature, then content makers would be forced to not use it.

Xilo said,
If none of the browsers implemented this retarded feature, then content makers would be forced to not use it.

And continue using Flash and Silverlight...

Xilo said,
If none of the browsers implemented this retarded feature, then content makers would be forced to not use it.

I am curious as to why you think that DRM is retarded?

The same reason a lot of us do. If I pay for content, I reserve the right to view that content on whatever device I want to without restrictions. If I buy a digital copy of a movie or a song, I should be able to copy it to my MP3 player, my laptop, my PS3, whatever I've got and watch it without issues. I hate it when you buy a DVD and it says "Includes Digital Copy!" but that digital copy is really streamed from some website instead of downloaded, or requires a special decryption key in order to watch. I usually just rip my DVDs to get around that because it's a bunch of crap. DRM is just a way to restrict paying customers. It's the equivalent of selling somebody a shovel and then telling them, "Wait a minute, you can only use that shovel in your front yard, and you can only dig holes of certain sizes and for certain purposes."

No, it's not equivalent to selling a shovel. In this case, you're only given the license to view some intellectual property. You aren't purchasing owner rights to the product. Those rights are still held by the movie production company. Transferring owner rights to a well-known movie would cost you figures in the hundreds of millions, not $19. :p

A better comparison is this: Just how you aren't allowed to play a movie anywhere you like (unless that's part of the license of course), you also aren't allowed to install a license of Windows in how many places you like.

It's surprising how ill informed many STILL are, after all these debates, the massive The Pirate Bay trial, and everything. This isn't about physical products, that's the whole idea.

It's funny enough ALSO the reason why "Piracy is theft" is a misnomer. Piracy isn't theft, it's a violation of the intellectual property rights. That's not just semantics; the two crimes are covered by completely different laws!

Edited by Northgrove, May 15 2014, 7:24am :

Northgrove said,
A better comparison is this: Just how you aren't allowed to play a movie anywhere you like (unless that's part of the license of course), you also aren't allowed to install a license of Windows in how many places you like.

It's surprising how ill informed many STILL are, after all these debates, the massive The Pirate Bay trial, and everything. This isn't about physical products, that's the whole idea.


Depends on the laws in the country. According to the laws of my country I am allowed to play content on any relevant device. This for example allows me to rip my DVDs, including removal of copy-protection, to play it on for example my phone.

Also, this is reason why DRM is necessary. Some countries have lacked laws covering digital copies, so making copies has never been illegal there. This means that anyone in that country could legally copy a movie as much as they want, without being prosecuted. DRM is the only solution that allows the content-owner to control usage of content across borders.

Lamp Post said,

Depends on the laws in the country. According to the laws of my country I am allowed to play content on any relevant device. This for example allows me to rip my DVDs, including removal of copy-protection, to play it on for example my phone.

Also, this is reason why DRM is necessary. Some countries have lacked laws covering digital copies, so making copies has never been illegal there. This means that anyone in that country could legally copy a movie as much as they want, without being prosecuted. DRM is the only solution that allows the content-owner to control usage of content across borders.


Yes, my point was more about how this is about a license (although laws may allow ripping, the digital copy would still be covered by intellectual property laws) rather than a physical product.

Yes, good point about the necessity of DRM.

I don't really see a problem with DRM. People dislike it, but without it, they wouldn't have the option of getting digital copies to begin with. I sure prefer streaming protected material from services like Netflix or Spotify rather than going to a video or music store and renting DVD's and CD's. I really don't want to return to that age, but that's where we'd go if forcing producers to not protect their material.

Northgrove said,
I don't really see a problem with DRM.

"Do you think that's air your breathing?"

DRM is pointless because it protects nothing.

Do you think you can't save NetFlix movies, for example, to your local drive and then view them later on for free or distribute them? It takes a few minutes of your time on Google, practically no technical know-how and you have a solution - won't link it here but I'm pretty sure everyone already knows it anyway.

Gerowen said,
The same reason a lot of us do. If I pay for content, I reserve the right to view that content on whatever device I want to without restrictions. If I buy a digital copy of a movie or a song, I should be able to copy it to my MP3 player, my laptop, my PS3, whatever I've got and watch it without issues. I hate it when you buy a DVD and it says "Includes Digital Copy!" but that digital copy is really streamed from some website instead of downloaded, or requires a special decryption key in order to watch. I usually just rip my DVDs to get around that because it's a bunch of crap. DRM is just a way to restrict paying customers. It's the equivalent of selling somebody a shovel and then telling them, "Wait a minute, you can only use that shovel in your front yard, and you can only dig holes of certain sizes and for certain purposes."

So you 'own' the 1000s of Netflix shows you get to watch for $14.99 a month?

So you 'own' movies you 'rent'?

DRM is only evil if you don't grasp the bigger concept. There is NO way for a service like Netflix or Hulu or even Audible.com to exist without 'content protections'.

In the NON-Digital world, it is rather hard to copy a 'Book'. That is why there was no need for ownership restrictions of the content of the book.

PS
When you BUY a Book or a Song or a Movie, YOU DO NOT OWN IT, you only own the right to read, listen, or watch it.

(This anti-DRM stuff is borderline 'The Earth is Flat' thinking.)

CuddleVendor said,

"Do you think that's air your breathing?"

DRM is pointless because it protects nothing.

Do you think you can't save NetFlix movies, for example, to your local drive and then view them later on for free or distribute them? It takes a few minutes of your time on Google, practically no technical know-how and you have a solution - won't link it here but I'm pretty sure everyone already knows it anyway.

Of course you can illegally save Netflix movies, just like you could take a $1200 set of encyclopedias and copy them on a Xerox machine.

However, this does NOT make it legal, nor it is an argument that all content should be freely consumed. Because if all content does become freely consumed, PEOPLE WILL STOP MAKING IT.

rfirth said,

And continue using Flash and Silverlight...

How is EME any better? Instead of having Flash or Silverlight as a plugin, we just get EME extensions which, are just browser plugins that ONLY do content DRM.

Of course, EME is actually WORSE, because the specification doesn't actually define the content decryption module itself, meaning that a CDM isn't required to be cross-browser, or even cross OS, compatible. Some guy running Firefox on a Mac will require a different CDM to another guy running Chrome on Windows, and the CDM might not even be available to a guy running BSD with Konqueror. The whole thing becomes a cluster#### of incompatibilities and cross platform issues.

The ironic thing of course is that this "compromise" undoes much of what the W3C set out to achieve in the first place. DRM has no place in a spec that is (was?) designed to be open to the largest extent possible. It was cross platform, it was an open-specification, and it was consisely defined. The only real issue was that browser makers sucked at implementing it in their software. Now we've got DRM modules that risk locking people out of content. Regardless of your opinion regarding digital rights, content locking, or any of that, having it in HTML is bad, and only provides precedent for locking the web down further.

The W3C should have left the video tag alone. Let HTML5 video remain unencrypted, unburdened, and free, and let those who require DRM use the object tag with plugins to lock down content, enforcing the fact that DRM-burdened content isn't accessible, it isn't free, it isn't anything other than a binary blob that serves up as video content.

Mobius Enigma said,
There is NO way for a service like Netflix or Hulu or even Audible.com to exist without 'content protections'.

This 'the service wouldn't exist without protections' stuff is borderline 'The Earth is Flat' thinking.

The services will exist as long as anyone wants them to exist, with or without DRM. Get out of your stone age intellectual property thinking.

Beaux said,
This 'the service wouldn't exist without protections' stuff is borderline 'The Earth is Flat' thinking.

The services will exist as long as anyone wants them to exist, with or without DRM. Get out of your stone age intellectual property thinking.

Stone age thinking? I think its called smart economics. If I produce something that people love but instead of buying it from me they copy it and give it out for free then I wont make cool stuff people love anymore. What is stone age about that?

Mobius Enigma said,

So you 'own' the 1000s of Netflix shows you get to watch for $14.99 a month?

So you 'own' movies you 'rent'?

DRM is only evil if you don't grasp the bigger concept. There is NO way for a service like Netflix or Hulu or even Audible.com to exist without 'content protections'.

In the NON-Digital world, it is rather hard to copy a 'Book'. That is why there was no need for ownership restrictions of the content of the book.

PS
When you BUY a Book or a Song or a Movie, YOU DO NOT OWN IT, you only own the right to read, listen, or watch it.

(This anti-DRM stuff is borderline 'The Earth is Flat' thinking.)

While I agree with you about DRM and the need for it they really need to fix some stuff. A lot of DRM is specific to a device and that stinks. And, for most cases you cant transfer a license to someone. I can give someone a book to read in the real world. I dont have the book then. But they do and can read it. Then they give it back to me and I can have it again.

But with DRM its mine and I cant lend it to someone or anything. So to do that exchange they have to buy it or I have to "copy" it and then they can get it for free and not have to buy it later if they want it.

I think if we could own the lease and transfer things for a certain period of time then get it back like we can with physical books, etc, DRM wouldnt be an issue with most people like it is today =).

But you are right. We need DRM. It just can be friendlier...

Scabrat said,

Stone age thinking? I think its called smart economics. If I produce something that people love but instead of buying it from me they copy it and give it out for free then I wont make cool stuff people love anymore. What is stone age about that?

It's YOUR decision not to make it anymore. If you want to make it, you'll make it, if you don't, you won't. That has nothing to do with DRM.
People will always want to make things that people love. That's the case with or without drm.

Beaux said,
It's YOUR decision not to make it anymore. If you want to make it, you'll make it, if you don't, you won't. That has nothing to do with DRM.
People will always want to make things that people love. That's the case with or without drm.

Making things they love is great. But love cant pay rent or buy food...

Beaux said,
It's YOUR decision not to make it anymore. If you want to make it, you'll make it, if you don't, you won't. That has nothing to do with DRM.
People will always want to make things that people love. That's the case with or without drm.

It's no fun being a starving artist.

Scabrat said,

Making things they love is great. But love cant pay rent or buy food...

That's a problem with capitalism. If you want to stop that problem, stop capitalism.
That has nothing to do with DRM.

Beaux said,
That's a problem with capitalism. If you want to stop that problem, stop capitalism.
That has nothing to do with DRM.

How is it a problem with capitalism? What do you purpose? Communism? Great theory except it involved people...

This isnt a capitalism problem. This is facts of life. You need money to live. And nothing wrong with people making money.

The problem is people WANT stuff and dont want to pay for it. Its a selfishness problem. Not for everyone. Some people cant get stuff in their area. But the majority of it is they want it and dont want to pay for it. A people problem.

Scabrat said,
This is facts of life. You need money to live.
That's how so many people think that's so obviously false, I don't understand how anyone can think it.
We don't eat money. We don't breathe money. Money doesn't give us anything. And everyone always acts like you have to have money no matter what. That's the stone age thinking that people can't get over.

Beaux said,
That's how so many people think that's so obviously false, I don't understand how anyone can think it.
We don't eat money. We don't breathe money. Money doesn't give us anything. And everyone always acts like you have to have money no matter what. That's the stone age thinking that people can't get over.

. . . I'll just say that, no, we don't eat money, but money buys most of our food so that we can eat.

Beaux said,
That's how so many people think that's so obviously false, I don't understand how anyone can think it.
We don't eat money. We don't breathe money. Money doesn't give us anything. And everyone always acts like you have to have money no matter what. That's the stone age thinking that people can't get over.

How do you get your food and how do you have a place to sleep at night, Beaux? How do you put gas in your car so you can drive (or how do you get a transportation pass?)? How do you get your internet? How do you get your devices?

I dont say I love and only think about money. I am just saying its what I use to pay for my food/rent/internet/devices/tithe/buy gifts/give to charity/save for retirement/fuel my pop addiction/etc...

Money is a tool that is used to get stuff. In the stone age it was items/goods/services. Now, when we work we get money to buy stuff we need/want. That is why DRM is important. Artists can make sure they get paid for their hard work and creativity so they can buy things they need/want. If artists dont make money they starve and cant buy stuff they need so then they dont produce content and we cant hear it.

I still have yet to hear a better idea for compensation than money... DRM helps give artists money. Sure it can be better but it is needed...

Scabrat said,

How do you get your food and how do you have a place to sleep at night, Beaux? How do you put gas in your car so you can drive (or how do you get a transportation pass?)? How do you get your internet? How do you get your devices?

It's only because of capitalism that you use money to get those things. That capitalism is the reason people need money. Capitalism is the problem that you're dealing with. DRM is not a solution. The only solution is to get rid of capitalism.

Beaux said,
It's only because of capitalism that you use money to get those things. That capitalism is the reason people need money. Capitalism is the problem that you're dealing with. DRM is not a solution. The only solution is to get rid of capitalism.

Seeing we plan to keep capitalism, we need solutions that work within that system. Communism isn't a solution as long as we intend to keep capitalism. DRM is.

And if DRM is the price we have to pay for keeping capitalism, I'm very willing to pay it.

Lamp Post said,

Seeing we plan to keep capitalism, we need solutions that work within that system. Communism isn't a solution as long as we intend to keep capitalism. DRM is.

And if DRM is the price we have to pay for keeping capitalism, I'm very willing to pay it.

DRM is not working at all. Artists are still starving. The money from it doesn't go to artists. DRM is not a solution at all.

Beaux said,
DRM is not working at all. Artists are still starving. The money from it doesn't go to artists. DRM is not a solution at all.

The difference is that not every artist is starving. Some artists think they are artists and they arent. Others havent been noticed yet. But many make a good living at it. We arent talking about all artists not starving; just not all artists starving.

But anyways, I am open to ideas. What is your idea to replace DRM? If its so bad, what can make it better/replace it? =)

Scabrat said,

The difference is that not every artist is starving. Some artists think they are artists and they arent. Others havent been noticed yet. But many make a good living at it. We arent talking about all artists not starving; just not all artists starving.

But anyways, I am open to ideas. What is your idea to replace DRM? If its so bad, what can make it better/replace it? =)

What do you mean replace it!? DRM is only making things worse. We don't want to replace it. All we have to do is get rid of it. Replacing it would be a bad thing.

Edited by Beaux, May 16 2014, 6:15pm :

Beaux said,
What do you mean replace it!? DRM is only making things worse. We don't want to replace it. All we have to do is get rid of it. Replacing it would be a bad thing.

So you think that without DRM artists will make the same or more money? Is that the point you are making? =)

Scabrat said,

So you think that without DRM artists will make the same or more money? Is that the point you are making? =)

Money is irrelevant. They will be happier, healthier, more comfortable, and better off.

Silverlight?

Never even once thought about installing that junk!

I guess Firefox is saying if you can't beat 'em, join 'em or, simply going with the flow.

Someone fill me in. Is something wrong with Silverlight? I have it on all PC's and laptops with no issue. Security risk?

It's "another" plugin required to view certain types of content. It's an entire software package that comes with its own set of security vulnerabilities. It's not that Silverlight in and of itself is any worse than other plugins, but it's not necessary when the things people are doing with silverlight can be done natively in HTML5 without requiring the installation of another piece of software.

That, and Silverlight's future isn't looking too bright. Microsoft hasn't made any official announcements about Silverlight 6 that I've seen, and have announced an EOL date for Silverlight 5, and Netflix has already announced that they are planning on eventually moving over to HTML5.

Mr.XXIV said,
It's bad enough I'm still having to put up with Silverlight for some reason.

Agreed. BT sport requires it and it's a colossal useless pile of ####. Doesn't work at all on linux (MS refuses to support DRM content on the linux release which is very outdated), gives me various error codes on windows (none of which I'm able to fix) and does surprisingly work on mac (albeit very slowly and keeps switching between HD and SD which causes annoying pauses)

JHBrown said,
I see. I have it on my systems only for Netflix.

Netflix only requires Silverlight on pre Windows 8.1.

(Guess the candlelight era eventually starts to be less 'awesome' as the rest of the world moves on.)

Mobius Enigma said,

Netflix only requires Silverlight on pre Windows 8.1.

(Guess the candlelight era eventually starts to be less 'awesome' as the rest of the world moves on.)


Still does when you use Netflix in the browsers (including IE).
While the plugin runs on its own basically, but Netflix in FF/Chrome easily eats 20-30% CPU while on IE11 it hardly ever goes above 5%. Pauzing works without reloading the stream...
And since Dutch Netflix is horrible, many people here bypass and end up having to use Netflix US/CA/UK to make it worthwhile. And I tried fooling the Netflix App into thinking I was in the US by changing the DNS servers (which works on the PS3). The app didn't fall for that one :(
Would be nice if there would be Hola or Mediahint for IE.

Shadowzz said,

Still does when you use Netflix in the browsers (including IE).
While the plugin runs on its own basically, but Netflix in FF/Chrome easily eats 20-30% CPU while on IE11 it hardly ever goes above 5%. Pauzing works without reloading the stream...
And since Dutch Netflix is horrible, many people here bypass and end up having to use Netflix US/CA/UK to make it worthwhile. And I tried fooling the Netflix App into thinking I was in the US by changing the DNS servers (which works on the PS3). The app didn't fall for that one :(
Would be nice if there would be Hola or Mediahint for IE.

No...
I am NOT TALKING ABOUT the NETFLIX APP.

You seriously didn't even look this up before replying did you?

Netflix plays in IE11 without Silverlight on Windows 8.1.
http://www.netflix.com/ie11testdrive


Seriously try it, go to http://www.netflix.com and just play content, without Silverlight installed, and in the Modern version of IE11 where Silverlight is not allowed to run.

(I personally prefer Netflix in IE11 than using the dedicated App.)

When I open Netflix on IE11, on laggy moments I clearly see the Silverlight loading circle. Identical to FX or Chrome.

IE would be nice, if I could bypass the dutch Netflix and get UK/CA/US without changing my DNS settings.
Currently use IE for dutch netflix, FX for US and Chrome(Iron) for UK.