back to article Mozilla agrees to add DRM support to Firefox – under protest

Mozilla has announced that it will add Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) for digital rights management into a future build of Firefox, even if the organization disagrees with the technology on principle. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to add EME into the specifications for HTML5 at the behest of Microsoft, Google, and …

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  1. joed

    as long as the module can be uninstalled/disabled

    I'm OK with the move. If this was to became IE of FF it'll be different story.

    BTW, is the secret module coded by good folks from NSA?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: as long as the module can be uninstalled/disabled

      I do hope the NSA are involved. Weak encryption for DRM and all that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely there's little point in rolling DRM into an entirely open source browser.

    Cue 10 minutes after the release, patches for subverting it.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      They don't provide the DRM, just the "hooks" that allow it to be called.

      In that sense it is no worse than supporting flash player. But they, and other DRM-opponents, are right as it is a very worrying trend towards everything being restricted so ad-blockers, etc, may not be allowed in this dystopian future.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "In that sense it is no worse than supporting flash player. "

        Very much this. Google and Netflix have been pushing hard for it so they can dump Flash and Silverlight respectively. HTML5 video is great, but it can't compete on the DRM or ad-slinging fronts. Once they're rid of the absolute need for third party plugins to serve their vids, and switch to an open standard for hooking in arbitrary DRM modules, it becomes a whole lot easier to maintain a cross-platform video service. That should, and likely will, translate into a better experience for all their users.

        You don't have to like DRM, but it is a reality and frankly it is the content owner's right to exercise it. Don't like it? Don't watch youtube, don't buy netflix, don't accept their DRM hooks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Don't like it? Don't watch youtube, don't buy netflix, don't accept their DRM hooks."

          Ok.

        2. h3

          No need to make it easier for them.

          Netflix doesn't matter because it is built in to both my TV / Blu-Ray player.

          No need for it to be in Firefox. (Don't care about Youtube one bit).

      2. boltar Silver badge

        "may not be allowed in this dystopian future."

        A dystopian future is one where the government controls your entire life and you have no control over your destiny, not one where - shock horror - content providers make sure you have to pay for their stuff. Its just the web FFS, go outside and go for a bike ride or abseiling or something if you don't like it.

        1. DanDanDan

          @boltar: Maybe it's not a dystopian future... seems like it has to be in the future for that to apply.

    2. Len Silver badge

      Of course you can remove, but why?

      Of course you could remove the EME module, the standard is open (https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/html-media/raw-file/tip/encrypted-media/encrypted-media.html), module is open source and the browser that the EME module sits in is open source.

      The question is why you'd do it. It won't suddenly allow you to view protected files, quite the contrary, files you may have been able to view with the EME suddenly become unviewable.

      1. Chairo

        Re: Of course you can remove, but why?

        The question is why you'd do it. It won't suddenly allow you to view protected files, quite the contrary, files you may have been able to view with the EME suddenly become unviewable.

        They become unviewable from that source, true.

        Anyway, by principle I don't buy anything that requires DRM. And I would like to add "any more". I had too much trouble on the e-book front already. If a company cannot be arsed to offer an acceptable, flexible service for their paying customers, why throw money to them?

      2. Fluffy Bunny
        Black Helicopters

        What's wrong with it?

        Why not use digital rights management (DRM)? There are so many reasons:

        1. You have to pay for the content. There is a ton of free content on the Internet, I have never seen any need to go to pay per view sites.

        2. You can only watch it on one computer. But I downloaded it on this computer and now I want to watch it on another one - not happening. Get your credit card out and pay for it again.

        3. I downloaded this before my computer crashed. I rebuilt it, but now I can't play it. That's because the secret key is gone. Easily fixed, pay for it again.

        4. I saved it when I watched it last week and now it won't play. That's because it is time-bombed. Pay for it again.

        5. I want to put it onto this DVD/BluRay so I can watch it on my big TV. Nope, you guessed it. Buy it again in DVD format. Europeans may have the right in law to format shift, but DRM means companies don't have to respect it.

        Yes, there are a ton of good reasons corporations want DRM. They are the very same reasons I don't want it.

        1. Chris 3

          Re: What's wrong with it?

          > 1. You have to pay for the content. There is a ton of free content on the Internet, I have never seen any need to go to pay per view sites.

          Therefore you don't have to pay for content - no-one is forcing you to watch DRM'd content

          > 2. You can only watch it on one computer. But I downloaded it on this computer and now I want to watch it on another one - not happening. Get your credit card out and pay for it again.

          That depends entirely on the content owner and the way the content is licensed. You may be able to run it on multiple computers, but not simultaneously, or any number of computers on the same subnet, or.... the permutations are many. It's up to you to decide whether you like it or not. I don't like the DRM on iTunes movies, so never purchase from there. I'm fine with the DRM on Steam.

          > 3. I downloaded this before my computer crashed. I rebuilt it, but now I can't play it. That's because the secret key is gone. Easily fixed, pay for it again.

          Again, you're making assumptions about the way that DRM is implemented.

          > 4. I saved it when I watched it last week and now it won't play. That's because it is time-bombed. Pay for it again.

          Again, you're making assumptions about the way that DRM is implemented. This one is likely, but seriously - you have the choice not to buy it.

          1. wowfood

            Re: What's wrong with it?

            I'm just waiting for the spree on future malware.

            "Watch XXX hotbods 3"

            *click*

            "To watch this video please install propriety DRM module X"

            Seven viruses later the young teen now realizes that this won't let him watch sexy ladies.

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: What's wrong with it?

          >>"1. You have to pay for the content. There is a ton of free content on the Internet, I have never seen any need to go to pay per view sites."

          Then be happy with your free content. Unless by that you mean pirated material in which you're living off the rest of us who actually pay and thus fund the creation of the content. Living off others != good.

          >>2. You can only watch it on one computer. But I downloaded it on this computer and now I want to watch it on another one - not happening. Get your credit card out and pay for it again.

          Nonsense. What popular DRM'd content sellers work that way? Go ahead and list a few. We're waiting. I got ultraviolet keys included with blu-rays that I bought. I can what them on multiple devices. Music subscription services, e-books I've bought - all multi-device. What are you talking about?

          >>"3. I downloaded this before my computer crashed. I rebuilt it, but now I can't play it. That's because the secret key is gone. Easily fixed, pay for it again."

          Again, show me a popular service that works that way.

          >>"4. I saved it when I watched it last week and now it won't play. That's because it is time-bombed. Pay for it again."

          Without the ability to expire content, there could be no option to rent. So that film I wanted to watch last week? I wouldn't be able to rent it for a few quid, I'd have had to buy it at £12 or forgo it altogether. But because there is the ability to expire content I was able to rent it and watch it the once which was all I wanted to do.

          >>"5. I want to put it onto this DVD/BluRay so I can watch it on my big TV. Nope, you guessed it. Buy it again in DVD format. Europeans may have the right in law to format shift, but DRM means companies don't have to respect it."

          Unless you can magically cram 35GB+ of HD content onto a DVD, then I don't think you have grounds to complain here. And it's not as if your DVDs wont play on your Blu-Ray player with exactly the same quality you accepted when you bought them. (Actually, they'll be better quality because of upscaling).

          It is tragic that not one of your points stands up to examination but you've been modded up so many times.

      3. Christian Berger

        Easy

        If the EME module is not installed by default, or no supported at all, website operators using it will get a lot of complaints or loose a lot of users.

        Mozilla supporting DRM will actually spread DRM. Sites that previously didn't use DRM will consider using DRM since it's so easy to do.

        1. Lamont Cranston

          Re: Easy

          @Christian Berger I think Mozilla know that the users' action, on finding out that their video won't play, is not to contact the content provider, but to switch to a compliant browser.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Easy

            "switch to a compliant browser."

            So, we go back to pages with "Best viewed in Internet Explorer 4.0"

        2. h4rm0ny

          Re: Easy

          >>"Sites that previously didn't use DRM will consider using DRM since it's so easy to do."

          It's already easy to do. All this will mean is that we finally don't have to use FLASH to do it.

          1. The First Dave

            Re: Easy

            But we will have to use a plugin provided by Adobe...

      4. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Of course you can remove, but why?

        The question is why you'd do it. ... files you may have been able to view with the EME [would] suddenly become unviewable.

        Isn't that exactly the point? Some people want to take a stand against DRM by not accessing any DRM-protected content -- not even by mistake.

        If Firefox has an optional DRM module then users will be able to make the decision to disable it and be comfortable that they are not implicitly blessing the user of DRM by unknowingly accessing protected content ... and if at some later date they determine that they are missing out on something they need to see they can re-enable the DRM. This sounds like a reasonable compromise.

  3. Steve Knox

    Not Quite

    The W3C spec requires the use of proprietary Content Decryption Modules, ...

    That statement is inaccurate.

    EME requires the use of CDMs, which may or may not be proprietary. An open CDM is possible and is not prohibited by EME.

    The choice of which CDMs are authorized to decrypt which content is given to the content producer, while the choice of which CDMs are available on a system is given to the system owner.

  4. The BigYin

    While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

    ...their freedom is torn from them piece by precious piece.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

      It's all part of the same problem and they are not "moaning." They are VERY aware it's all tied together.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

        ELECTED BUSH. FOUR TIMES. BUT IN VARYING COLORS.

        MUH NET NEIEUTRALITY!!! MUH DEHERREMMM.

    2. Keith 21

      Re: While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

      "...their freedom is torn from them piece by precious piece."

      And which particular freedom does this remove?

      The freedom to watch other people's work without paying them for it?

      No, that's not a freedom. If you don't like the terms, don't watch. Simple as that. The content creators don't "owe" you the right to watch their content for free.

      1. Steven Roper

        @Keith Re: While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

        I don't have a problem with paying for someone's hard work.

        I have a problem with being spied on and charged every time I want to watch or listen to it. I have a problem with said someone effectively being able to reach into my machine and prevent me from viewing content I've paid for at their whim. I have a problem with said someone locking down my computers so I can't view said content in bed, or in the car.

        The way an honest free market works is, I give you money, you give me a copy of what you've made. I agree not to sell or provide other people with copies as that is your right since you made it. But I'm not paying you to treat me like a criminal. I'm not paying you to take control of my computer or other items of my property. I'm not paying you to impose unjust and unreasonable restrictions on how I can use the copy I paid you for.

        I will not be allowing DRM on my systems, end of. If that means I don't get to view your content, fine, you've just lost yet another customer. No skin off my nose. I've lived 47 years quite comfortably without whatever you're offering, and I'm sure I'll live for many more without it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

          "No skin off my nose. I've lived 47 years quite comfortably without whatever you're offering, and I'm sure I'll live for many more without it."

          Bollocks. You'll just claim you pirated it because you were forced to.

        2. Keith 21

          Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

          Stephen - there is a very simple answer.

          If you do not agree to the terms of the offer being made by the content creators, then simply don't pay for it and watch it.

          Problem solved.

          Nobody is "taking control" of your computer (gotta love the hyperbola in that straw man point!).

          "The way an honest free market works is" And therein lies the problem. As the high rates of content theft demonstrate in this entitlement-driven society, we are not IN an "honest free market", sadly.

          We collectively reap what we collectively sow.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

            "If you do not agree to the terms of the offer being made by the content creators, then simply don't pay for it and watch it."

            No, you're wrong, Keith. I Sainsbury's refuse to sell me tomatoes I can go to Waitrose. In the case with DRM it's not like that - because there is only one "legitimate" owner. This is where the problem lies. The only alternative is to bypass the "legitimate" owner and go to the black market.

            And you know what? If that's the deal - OK, fine.

            1. nematoad Silver badge

              Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

              "And you know what? If that's the deal - OK, fine."

              No, it's not fine. It's illegal. It's called breaking copyright and that is an offence.

              If you don't like the terms offered by the vendor then refuse to accept them and walk away, but you say" I can't live without the ability to watch X." so conclude that breaking the law is acceptable. It won't kill you if you can't watch the blasted programme, so just get on with your life and do something else.

              Oh, and before anyone accuses me of being a RIAA or MPAA shill, I'm not. I detest their activities as much as the next person but two wrongs don't make a right.

              Note to all the copyright nutters out there. The act of breaking copyright is *NOT* theft, it's copyright violation. One definition of theft is: "..., theft is the taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it." It seems however that the pursuit of money blinds these organisations to such nuances of the English language and they will push their agenda as far as they can without any regard to the truth. RIAA and MPAA are not having their property removed from them, just the opportunity to fleece their "customers" as hard as they can, but that still does not justify breaking the law.

              1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

                "No, it's not fine. It's illegal. It's called breaking copyright and that is an offence."

                Yeah, black markets are called "black" because they are illegal. But they exist when the "white" market becomes distorted for some reason - the reason may be something fundamental like a big war and a u-boat blockade, or something criminal, like a copyright cartel, or something stupid, like an unreasonable tax.

                With war, you cannot correct the situation except by ending the war ASAP, which may be difficult. With criminality or stupidity - the fix is very easy. You want the black market to disappear? - make sure you clean up the "white" one...

                1. h4rm0ny

                  Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

                  >>"With war, you cannot correct the situation except by ending the war ASAP, which may be difficult. With criminality or stupidity - the fix is very easy. You want the black market to disappear? - make sure you clean up the "white" one..."

                  That's very dramatic. If it's such a moral issue for you pirates, why don't you buy a DVD copy? "I was forced to torrent the movie because of DRM" is absurd.

                  1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                    Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

                    "DRM is an inevitable response to piracy."

                    You've got it totally arse over tit - piracy is a response to DRMs, not the other way round.

                    "If it's such a moral issue for you pirates, why don't you buy a DVD copy?"

                    Speak for yourself. I am buying DVDs, because CSS is easy to remove if need be and most players can be fixed to disregard the region restrictions.

                    And I am ready to buy movie downloads but only if they would be available at a decent quality and totally DRM-free (like MP3s).

                    I will not, under any circumstances, buy streaming video but that's because of the inevitably crappy quality and inconvenience...

                    1. h4rm0ny

                      Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

                      >>"You've got it totally arse over tit - piracy is a response to DRMs, not the other way round."

                      Argument by assertion and it makes little sense. If there were no piracy then there would be no reason to invest very large sums of money in counters to it. If piracy were a response to DRM then it wouldn't predate DRM in the form of home copied VHS tapes, music cassette tapes and all those CDs which didn't have those anti-ripping measures (which appeared relatively late in the life of the CD and are seldom used anymore, whilst piracy of them hasn't dropped in response to their removal). What of DVDs? The DRM on them is neglible - you admit that in your post that it is so inconsequential that even you who denounce DRM on principle do not have a problem buying them. And yet DVDs are habitually pirated by millions. Are you going to try and build a case that all of those are legitimate attempts to get around region locking? It would be a fine joke if you did.

                      Really, you can say "piracy is a response to DRM". It is a stupid thing to say.

                      >>"Speak for yourself. I am buying DVDs, because CSS is easy to remove if need be and most players can be fixed to disregard the region restrictions."

                      Then you acknowledge that there is a means to get the movies without piracy. Which was my point, so thank you.

                      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                        Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

                        "If there were no piracy then there would be no reason to invest very large sums of money in counters to it."

                        This is a (very common) misconception - DRMs are not meant to prevent "piracy" (as in unauthorised copying and commercial distribution on the 'net). They are used to prevent unapproved use of legitimately obtained content, such as format-shifting, juke-boxing etc. A byproduct of it is "piracy" - because the "pirated" product is superior to the licensed one.

                        "If piracy were a response to DRM then it wouldn't predate DRM in the form of home copied VHS tapes, music cassette tapes and all those CDs which didn't have those anti-ripping measures"

                        I don't want to talk about the analogue formats and even about the CDs which appeared long before the Internet and especially, before mortal people's connections achieved bandwidths making it possible to exchange anything more than text and static pictures.

                        On the Internet though - it is the rights management (firstly, the original form of rights management - denial of availability) that have pushed people to use MP3.COM, Napster, Allofmp3 (remember, people happily paid for their MP3s on Allofmp3?) etc. Your DVDs example - people who normally buy DVDs only resort to pirate copies for something that is caused by rights management, like staggered releases etc.

                        Yes there will always be people copying stuff to avoid paying for it (maybe because they cannot afford it, maybe because they don't value the content they are copying, maybe out of some principle) - this is a fraction of "piracy" that have parallels with the old analogue times - your home taping (did it kill the music in the end?). DRM did not cause it, nor does DRM affect it - it was there and will always be there.

                        1. h4rm0ny

                          Re: @Vladimir

                          My post which you disagree with, is primarily hard facts. Example: the fact that piracy has existed before (and in the case of CD anti-ripping) after DRM. This proves a motivation other than bypassing DRM.

                          Your position is again argument by assertion. And you really think all that pirating of the latest movies and music is people trying to deal with their inability to format shift? Easily refuted by the fact it is possible to format shift from CDs, DVDs and indeed purchasable MP3s. Once again provably wrong in mass numbers, even if we allowed the obvious absurdity of huge swathes of the piraters being simply desperate to format shift because they don't know how to rip a CD.

                          >>"I don't want to talk about the analogue formats and even about the CDs which appeared long before the Internet"

                          Well that's too bad. You've provided no reason for dismissing them. Correction - no good reason. E.g.:

                          "especially, before mortal people's connections achieved bandwidths making it possible to exchange anything more than text and static pictures"

                          So you're suggesting that the existence of piracy pre-DRM is irrelevant because it was harder to do? :D :D :D :D Surely that indicates if it indicates anything, an even stronger non-DRM based motivation for piracy.

                          Your position is absurd. Piracy is generally a response to DRM? Other way around and you know it. And shame on a few people upvoting you because you're justifying piracy, rather than because your're right.

                          >>"On the Internet though - it is the rights management (firstly, the original form of rights management - denial of availability) that have pushed people to use MP3.COM, Napster, Allofmp3 (remember, people happily paid for their MP3s on Allofmp3?)"

                          Argument by assertion yet again. You say people used them because of DRM. Yet they all co-existed with easily rippable CDs. Even the minority of CDs that had anti-ripping on them were easily ripped. allofmp3.com was considered legal by most people due to Russian copyright law being different, was massively cheaper than Western CDs and pre-dated general use of BitTorrent. That last one being especially significant. In any case, the existence of people buying media does nothing to say anything about the motivations of people pirating. Indeed, the co-existence of massive piracy alongside allofmp3 which was selling non-DRM'd downloads proves my point further. So thank you for bringing that up and not thinking through the implications of your evidence.

                          >>"our DVDs example - people who normally buy DVDs only resort to pirate copies for something that is caused by rights management, like staggered releases etc."

                          Tremendous set error there. Read it back to yourself, this time whilst thinking. "people who normally buy DVDs". At a stroke, you exclude all the pirates who do so without intent to purchase the DVDs.

                          >>"Yes there will always be people copying stuff to avoid paying for it (maybe because they cannot afford it, maybe because they don't value the content they are copying, maybe out of some principle) "

                          Hilarious ennobling of pirates there. They are too poor to afford it. (So they live off the rest of us being willing to pay - nice of them to ask if I wanted to pay more of my). Or they steal it because they don't want it. ("don't value the content"_. Or best yet - they take it out of "principle." Because letting everyone else pay for the creation of content they enjoy or not rewarding those that create it are such good principles.

                          Again, hard facts supporting what I wrote. On your side, two arguments that you're right because you say you're right, one collossal exclusion bias and an attempt to make pirates sound like victims. Well done. Weakest argument I've engaged in here in at least a year. The person last week who tried to argue about Powershell without ever having used it did a better job than you're doing here.

                          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                            @h4rm0ny

                            OK, this is a casual discussion forum, not a courtroom - so if I left something implied or did not explain every minute detail of it and didn't cover each and every possible angle and qualified each statement I still don't feel like I committed perjury or perverted the course of justice or something... :-)

                            Now, the original article is talking about DRM (clue: D stands for "digital") on streaming and downloadable contents distributed over the Internet. That excludes VHS and vinyl home taping (not digital) and CDs (not originally on the Internet - remember, I mentioned bandwidth?). You, however, insist on lumping it all together and throwing the kitchen sink in it too, for good measure. But OK, let's do that.

                            You lot have always been quick to call everything that people may do with your stuff without asking for your approval as "piracy". For you, a student making a music compilation for his GF or copying his vinyl LP to a tape was piracy. People lending their CDs to friends - piracy. Now, the format shifting is piracy. Buying a DVD from a different region - piracy. Downloading a TV show from a different country - piracy. Kids sending their friends links to their favourite music clips on Youtube - piracy.

                            Any new form of use that someone, somewhere may find for your stuff is automatically branded "piracy" and is claimed as justification for DRMs.

                            For normal people none of that is piracy - only reasonable use and free promotion for the artists.

                            For normal and reasonable people there are only two kinds of piracy - A) when a copy is made and distributed commercially without approval of the rights-holder (the white van-driving pirate John, or what's-his-name, from the old FACT scary videos) or B) a distribution which *displaces* the legitimate sales - i.e. when people who would otherwise be ready to pay for legitimate product resort to obtaining an illegal copy.

                            Case "A" is a simple fraud, was always there and will always be there in some shape or form and your industry is not the only one that is affected. DRM or any other RM has no impact on it whatsoever.

                            Case "B", though, is the one which is a consequence of DRM and, generally speaking, of any abusive rights management.

                            Why is it a consequence and not a cause? Firstly and most obviously - DRM only exists on legitimate products and only affects the paying customer. The "pirated" copies are free from DRM. It does not affect them at all. So, at the very least, DRM is neutral to piracy - not a deterrent at all.

                            Secondly, and most importantly - people would rather buy a widely available, easy to use, reasonably priced, unrestricted product legitimately than look for an illegal copy. However, by imposing rights management and DRM you are either making the legitimate product unavailable, or difficult/impossible to use or you abuse your monopoly position to make your product too expensive comparing to its perceived value. Hence, people are pushed to look for a better alternative and resort to piracy.

                            The causality here is intuitively obvious: DRM=restrictions -> search for alternatives=piracy.

                            You can find the real life examples easily - like the fact that the most heavily DRMed computer games are consistently the most "pirated" etc.

                            Music industry had the sense to abandon DRMs and adopt unrestricted distribution formats - this not only didn't kill them but probably saved them from total disaster. Even they now admit that with increasing legitimate availability the piracy levels are going down.

                            The movie industry, however, is still clinging on to their hope of finding the mother of all DRM that will finally bring them to their Utopia - where "play" button will become "pay" button. They are deluded.

                            Other minor points from your last post:

                            You did not seem to understand what I was saying about Allofmp3s and people buying files from them. I'm explaining: this goes to prove that people would happily buy DRM-free content if it is reasonably priced, conveniently accessed and of good quality. The reason why people were buying from Allofmp3 was that there was no legitimate alternative. The reason people were using Napster was because there was no legitimate alternative.

                            ""people who normally buy DVDs". At a stroke, you exclude all the pirates who do so without intent to purchase the DVDs." - exactly, that was my point. Because if they do not intend to buy the product, whether they do or not get a free copy is irrelevant. However, if they want to buy but are deterred from it - that should be a problem for you.

                            "Hilarious ennobling of pirates there. They are too poor to afford it." - if they are too poor to afford it then them getting it for free (and at no cost to you, which is important) does not affect you at all. It is not a lost sale, an opportunity cost or anything else that you can complain about.

                            Finally, a message to the industry - stop claiming entitlement to something that is not yours, abandon DRM, relax and enjoy the sales...

                            1. h4rm0ny

                              Re: @h4rm0ny

                              >>"Now, the original article is talking about DRM (clue: D stands for "digital") on streaming and downloadable contents distributed over the Internet."

                              No, it's any digital media. Unless in addition to your other weird exclusions you're not trying to rule out DRM on games, DVDs, CDs, HDCP technology, et al.

                              >>You, however, insist on lumping it all together and throwing the kitchen sink in it too, for good measure. But OK, let's do that."

                              Yep. Because unless you're now trying to argue that someone who is motivated to pirate a VHS, CD, cassette tape magically has their motivation vanish with a computer game or Blu-ray, then you have no grounds to exclude them. You know this but even in finally agreeing to discuss it, you try to make it sound like a some bizarre request. People mass pirated even when it was harder and more expensive to do and the copies were degraded over the original. And yet you argue that when it's easier, cheaper and copies are digitally perfect, the motivation for piracy has suddenly become something else. You cannot dance around that.

                              >>You lot have always been quick to call everything that people may do with your stuff without asking for your approval as "piracy".

                              "You lot" ??? Seriously? Something like that is always a give away that someone is arguing with some created enemy in their head rather than the person they're actually talking to. Let's dispense with that. I even explicitly made clear I wasn't talking about format-shifting. I wrote that mass piracy isn't a response to people's inability to format-shift. Let's stick to what I actually am arguing, okay? Rather than try to dodge into whether it's okay to format-shift something you already own. Unless you're trying to sneak in actual different content under the banner of format-shifting (you have an ancient VHS of a movie and think that entitles you to download a re-mastered Blu-ray version) then format-shifting is fine and not what the vast majority of piracy is about. Ripping a CD to put on your phone is trivial. To say that the huge amount of piracy that goes on today is about helping people to do that, is stupid.

                              >>"Why is it a consequence and not a cause? Firstly and most obviously - DRM only exists on legitimate products and only affects the paying customer. The "pirated" copies are free from DRM. It does not affect them at all. So, at the very least, DRM is neutral to piracy - not a deterrent at all."

                              Ah, the Chewbacca defence. The blu-ray had DRM but the ripped and encoded version doesn't, therefore people copying the version without DRM are not pirating. Makes sense... not.

                              >>"Secondly, and most importantly - people would rather buy a widely available, easy to use, reasonably priced, unrestricted product legitimately than look for an illegal copy."

                              Love how you slipped "reasonably priced" in there. AKA "If I think it's too expensive, I'll steal it". An argument that works for bread, Iron Man 3, not so much. Not to mention that there are plenty of people who think any cost at all is 'too expensive'. Also, that's quite an extraordinary claim given that hit movies are available to buy on disc or cloud-based watchable on a range of devices, and yet these movies still top the piracy charts. Your repeated argument by assertion that mass piracy is a response to DRM and is generally people trying to find ways to watch content they otherwise can't, is in contradiction to what is observable.

                              People also pirate way more than they would or even could afford legitimately, which is a further piece of evidence that now occurs to me. If it were all just finding ways around DRM that would not happen. Indeed, anyone who actually thought as you claim they do, has the opportunity to buy the copy through whatever medium, and then torrent a version for the format shift (because they are presumably unable to rip a CD presumably). Think pirates are typically doing that? I can picture it now - "hey, I'm downloading Frozen HD because encoding is hard, man, and i desperately need to watch it on my phone. but i'm only downloading it as a response to the DRM. i still actually bought a copy therefore".

                              Yes... of course that's the typical scenario.

                              >>"You can find the real life examples easily - like the fact that the most heavily DRMed computer games are consistently the most "pirated" etc."

                              You need a course in basic science and / or data gathering. Which games are the most popular? The big AAA ones made by big studios. These studios also have the most to lose through piracy (in absolute terms) and the most resources to deploy DRM. Correlation is not causation, sorry to bust out the obvious. That you see the biggest budgeted, most promoted, big news games are the most popular targets of piracy and you immediately point at DRM and say 'ah ha! this is why they're pirated', speaks much of your a priori mindset on this topic.

                              >>"Even they now admit that with increasing legitimate availability the piracy levels are going down."

                              Still very high though. Easily obtained, unrestricted, high-quality and cheap. And still there is massive piracy of music. You should probably stick to unsupported conclusions rather than introducing facts because you'll only end up supporting my point. Piracy of music has dropped. There certainly is a subset of people who are doing so for reasons other than not paying - not obtainable legitimately in their country, convenience in not having to go to a shop / wait for delivery. (But neither of those are responses to DRM, btw). But it's your insistence that piracy is a response to DRM which is absurd, along with trying to use scraps like that to prove it. DRM is a response to piracy. Companies would not spend huge amounts of money to prevent people buying their content, they do it to stop people ripping it off.

                              Btw, as music piracy has fallen slightly, do you know what has risen? DRM'd music subscription services. ;) I guess the subset of pirates who were doing so for convenience / availability weren't motivated as a response to DRM, just convenience and availability as I wrote.

                              >>"The reason why people were buying from Allofmp3 was that there was no legitimate alternative. The reason people were using Napster was because there was no legitimate alternative."

                              I understood perfectly well what you wrote about allofmp3. As I point out, allofmp3 did not stop piracy so the piracy was not a response to lack of alternative, allofmp3 was considered legal due to Russian copyright law and it co-existed alongside easily rippable CDs that rarely if ever had DRM on them, so cannot be a response to DRM. You're dodging into issues of convenience / availability. Remember - your position is that piracy is a response to DRM. allofmp3 doesn't support that position, it's mostly irrelevant. Do not forget what you are arguing.

                              >>"exactly, that was my point. Because if they do not intend to buy the product, whether they do or not get a free copy is irrelevant."

                              Yes, and as pointed out, that's a collossal set error. You're deliberately excluding all those who do not intend to purchase a legitimate copy which is an overwhelming majority of pirates and therefore undermines your own argument that piracy is a response to DRM. If a pirate is not willing to purchase a legitimate copy, then their actions cannot be a response to DRM. You're trying to shift the argument away from disputing what I actually wrote (DRM is a response to piracy) and as well as that, you're trying to slip in bogus justifications of piracy. Let's indulge and examine them:

                              >>"Because if they do not intend to buy the product, whether they do or not get a free copy is irrelevant."

                              Firstly, you assume that they will not buy - an assumption letting you focus on a subset of pirates and avoid discussing piracy as a whole. Secondly, why should the rest of us have to pay to provide free content to you? You're leeching off the rest of us. Thirdly, torrenting isn't just taking a copy, it's facilitating everyone doing so - that's the entire technical point of BitTorrent. Fourthly, why should anyone be able to take something for free just because they themselves declare they wouldn't buy it. That's the old and ridiculous 'I didn't value the content so I stole it' justification restated. Fifthly, why should people who don't pay get more than those who do? I buy a movie or two a month, someone else downloads dozens with the excuse they can't afford them or wouldn't have bought them anyway. Seems equitable?

                              The entire principle of taking for free because you don't want to pay, is wrong. You've got way away from trying to disprove my statement that DRM is a response to piracy, and have now gone swinging off into justifications of piracy that have little to do with DRM. Kind of proves my point really - you're just wanting to justify piracy itself. One of the supports people use for piracy is claiming it is a response to DRM. I showed that wrong in my post and now I see why you suddenly leapt up and challenged it. Not because it's wrong, but because it's one of the rationalizations of piracy. Even though it's nothing to do with my original point, you're now throwing in other rationalizations. You essentially want to justify piracy, basically.

                              >>"Finally, a message to the industry - stop claiming entitlement to something that is not yours"

                              :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

                              1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                                Re: @h4rm0ny

                                I'll just try to summarise once again the relevant points:

                                a) DRM cannot possibly be a response to piracy because in order to be affected by DRM you must legitimately obtain the product in the first place. If you download a pirated version - it's free from DRM. There are no known DRM-ed products that haven't been made available in DRM-free "pirated" version somewhere by someone.

                                If the industry spends millions on developing and spreading their DRMs, that can only mean one of two things - either they are complete morons and are wasting their shareholders' money on something that cannot possibly work or they are doing it for a different reason.

                                I humbly suggest it's the latter.

                                b) The reason they are using DRM is to prevent their legitimate customers from using their product in a non-authorised way. This includes prevention of format-shifting, skipping commercials, secondary sales etc. None of that is piracy. In fact, these restrictions represent abuse of customer rights and the reason the industry is getting away with it is simply because they have more lobbying resources than the pro-consumer groups.

                                If the customers (including potential customers) are dissatisfied with the imposed restrictions (as many are and have full moral rights to be) they have no other choice but to resort to using pirated copies. This is how DRM directly causes piracy.

                                c) "Piracy" - which is an unapproved distribution of copyrighted material - is a natural market response to restrictions imposed by rights management.

                                A subset of that - "Digital" Rights Management or DRM - is responsible for some of the piracy that exists today. Prior to the media becoming digital, other rights management practices were responsible for the piracy existing then (some of that is still continuing today).

                                d) Judging by the fact that the media industry as a whole (if you combine together film, TV, music, games) is still doing very well, the overall impact of piracy is either negligible or positive. That means that pirated distribution is not displacing sales and a case can be made that some of it actually increases sales.

                                e) Not all piracy results in displacement of legitimate sales - where a pirated copy is obtained to replace a legitimately purchased DRMed copy in order to avoid the restrictions, for example, or where the downloader would not have been able/willing to purchase a legitimate copy, or where an unauthorised copy is shared between friends as a way of viral promotion. I will call the piracy which directly displaces equivalent sales "parasitic" for ease of reference.

                                f) There is evidence that reduction in the use of aggressive DRM (in combination with increase in legitimate availability) reduces parasitic piracy.

                                g) Regarding your last quote - thanks, that looks much better in bold :-)

        3. h4rm0ny

          Re: @Keith While people moan about "Net Neutrality"...

          >>I agree not to sell or provide other people with copies as that is your right since you made it. "

          Unfortunately mass piracy broke the agreement. DRM is a response to piracy. Companies don't invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into solutions just for the Hell of it. They do it because they're trying to counter piracy.

          DRM is an inevitable response to piracy.

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    They never learn

    Not Mozilla. They "get it."

    What is it the rest never learn? That the "walled garden" does NOT work on the Internet.

    Does. Not. Work.

    Ask AOL. Ask Microsoft and their ever dwindling browser market share. Ask Prodigy. Ask Compuserve. Ask GEnie. Ask the long list of long forgotten companies that tried this and failed.

    Then ask one more question: did Napster really fail and is content piracy really dead?

    Yeah. There you go.

    1. stevo_80

      Re: They never learn

      I actually agree with the gist of everything you have said, but Netflix, Spotify, and a couple of others have kind of achieved the Holy Grail of appeasing every one of the content creators, the rights holders, and the general populace who get pissed off with unskippable antipirating bullshit when the only people who see it are the people who have actually bought it. All this seems to do is allow the (potentially) sustainable streaming model to at least die on its own terms, if it comes to it.

      I don't see a huge problem with this. As has been pointed out, it's an open source browser and it can be removed...

    2. Fihart

      Re: They never learn @ecofeco

      Yeah, even mildly walled garden fails. I collate links to sites on housing issues for a charity I work with and one of the most important housing sites recently installed register and sign-in.

      I know the editor and warned that it would force all my readers to register -- and I knew most wouldn't.

      Surprised to get this anodyne reply: "...implemented the registration gate to capture data so that we can be more responsive to our readers’ needs, so the website is easier to use and even more relevant moving forwards".

      I have stopped including that site's material.

  6. Old Handle

    Another giant leap backwards for Firefox. Why does Mozilla so love trashing what used to be a great browser?

    1. Roger Varley

      @Old Handle

      Did you read the article properly?

      If you want to watch content from Google, Netflix et al then you need EME. If you do, you have to download the module seperately it's not going to be built in. If you don't want the 'official' version, you are free to download the module from third party developers if/when they are available. If you disagree with DRM then you don't have to download the plugin.

      I cannot see what else Mozilla could do. At least it's your choice whether to accept this or not. For the time being DRM is here to stay. Whether that is a good idea is a seperate topic of discussion

      1. Old Handle

        Firefox already supported plug-ins. (In theory, they do keep breaking comparability with their endless updates.) Adding a second type of plug-in just for malware is bloat at best and at worst it will impose design constraints that impact other, useful, parts of the browser.

      2. Fluffy Bunny
        Boffin

        Open source DRM modules

        Not just anybody can write a DRM module. It has to be carefully inspected and certified by the head DRM honchos. The main reason is to prvent you from writing a module that could be used to read and export content into another (non DRM) format. Getting your code inspected and certified is an expensive business. The likelihood of it being done for open source code is vanishingly close to zero.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Open source DRM modules

          @Fluffy Bunny: But that never stopped DeCSS or libdvdcss.

          DRM can always be broken by its very nature (it has to be decoded by the viewer so the viewer needs the key to decode it), it's just a matter of time and reverse engineering.

        2. DropBear
          Devil

          Re: Open source DRM modules

          Not just anybody can write a DRM module. It has to be carefully inspected and certified by the head DRM honchos. The main reason is to prvent you from writing a module that could be used to read and export content into another (non DRM) format.

          Oh, okay then; we just need a honest-to-goodness user-unfriendly one, with a few carefully placed GOTO bugs inside, innit?

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      On the contrary, while other browsers may bake in the Adobe DRM plug-in and give you that as your only option, Firefox will let you download that or another 3rd party plug-in which, say, writes the video out to an mp4 file which can be watched on your other devices.

      1. wub

        Exactly right, Dan 55.

        And even if Netflix someday works in Firefox, it will NEVER work in any browser running on Linux. I know for a fact that in Linux, audio streamed in a browser running from a website can easily be intercepted, allowing the user a choice about what to do with that audio stream next. You don't even need any special plugin. I'm reasonably sure this is also true for video content. And I'm sure the Netflix folks are well aware of that...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Boffin

          "And even if Netflix someday works in Firefox, it will NEVER work in any browser running on Linux. I know for a fact that in Linux, audio streamed in a browser running from a website can easily be intercepted, allowing the user a choice about what to do with that audio stream next. You don't even need any special plugin. I'm reasonably sure this is also true for video content. And I'm sure the Netflix folks are well aware of that..."

          *sigh*

          What you so authoritatively "know for a fact" is obvious and fundamental to anyone who knows anything about OS design. The same goes for any other types of stream or - more generally - all I/O

          The concept just seems to be lost on a generation brought up on Windows, and its restrictive obfuscation.

          Basically, DRM is a sham - as long as people have control of their computers, they can do what they want, as ultimately, your computer is provided with the tools to unlock the data (otherwise you wouldn't be able to view it!)

          Sure, they may try to hide the method, but they are basically saying to your computer: "Here is the encrypted data. Here are the keys to decode it, but don't give them to the human who has 100% control you"

          lt's a bit like your neighbour installing the most sophisticated security/alarm/lock system on his house, and telling you you'll never manage to get in, but then handing you the keys so you can feed his cat when he's out of town.

          And you can bet your life Netflix and co. know this too - all that matters is that the DRM companies can convince the media companies to buy their snake-oil.

          For more detailed analysis and commentary, see this rant by Luke Leighton, in response to the controversy regarding the 'rtmpdump' utility : http://lkcl.net/rtmp/

          1. sisk

            "And even if Netflix someday works in Firefox, it will NEVER work in any browser running on Linux. I know for a fact that in Linux, audio streamed in a browser running from a website can easily be intercepted, allowing the user a choice about what to do with that audio stream next. You don't even need any special plugin. I'm reasonably sure this is also true for video content. And I'm sure the Netflix folks are well aware of that..."

            1) As was mentioned above, this is true of all OSes, not just Linux. The only difference is that the typical Linux user understands the process well enough to intercept the stream. It's not because we're any smarter than users of other OSes but because Linux doesn't hide the processes from anyone who cares to look and tends to attract the type of people who want to know whats going on under the hood.

            2) Netflix actually runs quite well on Linux through a dedicated app. It's been a while since I've used it, but if I remember correctly it runs the decryption through a process running in Wine but is otherwise just a streaming video player. Even still though it's trivial to capture the output (it's trivial on Windows to by the way, in case you were wondering).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another Adobe plugin

    to fuck up your browser. Gotta love it.

    1. Spender

      Re: Yet another Adobe plugin

      Why would you say that? Adobe's track record is exemplary, no?

  8. Christian Berger

    The underlying problem is...

    ...that browsers are already so complex you cannot just write one in a week. That's why only big organisations like Mozilla can write competitive browsers. That's also why there are now power games. Mozilla can now make decisions we don't want since they nearly have a monopoly.

    However I think it's wrong to support DRM in any way. Markets without DRM don't work worse then the ones that do have it. CDs never had DRM, and they accounted for a large part of the sales. Downloads only spread once they removed the DRM. DVDs and BluRays became popular the moment their DRM was broken.

    Putting DRM into the browser makes executives believe that DRM is acceptable. Therefore they will want to use it. If there is no DRM or if DRM rarely works, they will eventually realize that it's not worth the effort.

    Being able to circumvent it is of course of little actual use since that is illegal because of brain dead laws.

    1. Werner McGoole

      Re: The underlying problem is...

      You're right. Browsers are already too complex - a bit like operating systems became, in fact. I think it's time we stopped using "a browser" and had browser distributions like we have Linux distros. That way, projects could more easily set up new forks of (say) Firefox and just use the bits they like.

      More importantly, they could also add in any extras they want and could enhance neglected areas (like security and privacy) without taking on the massive challenge of supporting an entire browser. At one time, Firefox's extension mechanism was a great strength, but many extensions now look like little more than sticking plaster and just provide an excuse for not tackling fundamental browser problems.

      We need to develop an ecosystem where competition can help drive forward the individual component parts of a modern browser and take control out of the hands of the big players.

  9. codebeard

    The real reason Brendan Eich was forced out?

    *dons tin-foil hat and enters conspiracy mode*

    The previous CTO and then CEO, Brendan Eich was a vocal opponent of the DRM extensions. But now that he's gone, ostensibly because of his unfashionable personal opinions which didn't impact Mozilla, it seems nobody at the helm shares his personal opinions (against DRM) which did impact Mozilla.

    I wonder if there's a money trail from Adobe to OkCupid to help push Eich out...

  10. Suricou Raven

    Sandbox? How does that work?

    A DRM plugin needs low-level access in order to function. It needs to be able to get driver IDs so it can be sure the sound drivers aren't actually a loopback recorder, it needs to be able to check hardware IDs to determine which computer it is on, it needs low-level OS and graphics API calls to prevent the use of screen recorders or just printscreen on documents. A DRM program running in a sandbox cannot even be remotely effective.

    Not that they are very effective even without that limitation.

    1. nijam

      Re: Sandbox? How does that work?

      But that's valuable information! How do I go about billing this Mr. D.R.M. Plugin for the information he asks of me?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Mozilla can do whatever it likes....

    ... including the slaughter of baby unicorns as long as the CEO doesn't think anything nasty, has never thought anything nasty and never will think anything nasty.

  12. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Notice to rights holders

    There is nothing that you have that is worth me paying for if you put DRM* on it.

    *) - OK, I will exempt DRMs like CSS etc which can be removed with but a trivial amount of effort

  13. MJI Silver badge

    If they have to change Firefox

    Firstly kill Australis.

    Horrible shite

  14. Anon5000

    Power

    The media corporations want to control the internet and use it as their money making tool. Every time a company or country gives in to them, they get closer to that goal.

    If the media companies want to utilise the internet than that's fine but then to change the internet to fit their business model is out of order.

    Already I can't stream Sky go to my phone simply because it's rooted but even if I could, Sky block the OTG/HDMI port from being used due to ridiculous licencing agreements. So I can't use it because of DRM and even if I could, I couldn't plug it in to my TV even though I pay for Sky.

    DRM also means there is no easy way to get it running on Linux. A HTML 5 DRM solution would be the best option but it's still DRM.

    Don't get me started about Amazon prime streaming being only working on Kindle devices and not other tablets or Pandora not working because i'm in the UK. I could go on and on about most services, their DRM , geo location blocking and even blocking paying customers from using VPN's but it all boils down to the media corporations and their ridiculous licence agreements. Until everyone stands up to them and says NO, they will keep chipping away at usability to maximise their profit.

    When it's more convenient to pirate something you have paid for, there is something wrong.

  15. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Flame

    The day the music died...

    I understand why Mozilla is doing this and have no problem with it. My problem is with DRM in general. The day DRM is finally abolished will be a great day of celebration. With DRM, there is no fair use of content and the only folks that benefit are the huge labels, not the little guy.

    And why use Youtube as an example? There are dozens of free Youtube downloaders that get the job done. And re. DRM and music, this is why Amazon continues to get my business for music downloads. For your very reasonable price you get (usually) a decent quality, unencumbered .mp3 that can be downloaded as many times as you want from any device you want.

  16. Ben Hodson

    The more 'difficult' you make it to watch content 'legally', the more people that will watch it illegally.

    I used to travel to the USA regularly and had a laptop with a region unlocked DVD drive. I used to rent US dvds and watch them on business trips.

    I bought a new laptop with a region locked DVD and suddenly couldn't do this anymore. The result was that I downloaded a film for the first time. This was before netflix etc but still the same regional restrictions apply.

  17. theblackhand

    Whatever the question...

    If the answer is another Adobe plug-in and the corresponding weekly update cycle to address security bugs, then surely the question is the problem that needs to be addressed.

  18. Tail Up
    Trollface

    DRM Salt Depot

    Add some Spice?

  19. sisk

    I support this move. Hold the downvotes a moment and let me explain.

    DRM is the devil. It really is. However Big Content won't let us watch/listen to their stuff without it. Since the web these days is all about content what do you think will become of any browser that refuses to give users the means to decrypt Big Content's stuff legally? You might as well be using Dillo if you're going to refuse to let the devil DRM touch your browser. The way Firefox is doing it, allowing users to download a separate module should they decide they want to be able to use DRM restricted resources, is the best solution to a bad situation. It sucks, but there it is.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Except that, for the reasons mentioned in my previous post, they won't trust the DRM. The music industry took years to learn that they could make do with 'good enough' DRM - it doesn't have to be designed to defeat the combined efforts of all the world's bored programmers, hardware hackers and rival company engineers. This is a lesson the movie industry has yet to learn, and a super-locked-down DRM scheme can't be run as a sandboxed plugin. There would be no way it could be sure the hardware, OS, drivers and sandbox were all free of tampering.

      1. sisk

        Well I didn't say DRM was a good idea. It is a horrible, worthless, expensive, counter-productive idea in fact. My argument is that until the movie studios figure that out like the music labels did years ago we ('we' being those of us who prefer to get our media legally - those who ignore copyrights can do a little dance to get rid of DRM and will continue to do so) are sort of stuck with it. Refusing to allow it in Firefox would just mean that people who respect copyrights would have to use a different browser, which would accomplish exactly nothing except a slip in Firefox's market share. Idealism is great and all, but at the end of the day we all have to live in the real world.

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