back to article That DRM support in Firefox you never asked for? It's here

Mozilla has released the first version of its Firefox browser to include support for Encrypted Media Extensions, a controversial World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) spec that brings digital rights management (DRM) to HTML5's video tag. The nonprofit grudgingly agreed to add EME support to Firefox last year, despite the vocal …

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  1. Mike VandeVelde
    Facepalm

    out of the frying pan...

    "various companies, including Netflix, are already evaluating..."

    The end of Silverlight!!!!!

    "...Adobe's tech"

    D'OH!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DRM - Probably related to YouTube dropping API support for older devices

      DRM is coming to YouTube, to prevent people from capturing videos from YouTube and uploading them to YouTube.

    2. Greg J Preece

      Re: out of the frying pan...

      Actually, Netflix already uses the extensions to serve up video content without using Flash. Chrome on Linux has had support for it for ages, which is why Chrome now actually gets used on my PC at least some of the time. They were probably checking whether their particular extension can be put into the container, rather than whether they should be using Adobe's crap.

    3. boltar Silver badge

      Re: out of the frying pan...

      Well don't worry, the article says its only available for 32 bit Windows *Vista*. So either the editors have just touched down from 2007 and are a bit confused, or Mozilla are taking the piss and essentially giving DRM the finger.

      1. Graham 32

        Re: out of the frying pan...

        "Windows Vista and later''

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      From the FF web page: Mac OS X, Linux, Windows XP and 64-bit versions of Firefox are currently not supported.

      It appears there is yet another reason to hang on to Windows XP, or switch to another OS entirely..

  3. ThomH Silver badge

    "Hello Mr. Consumer, if you are willing to use a browser with the DRM extension then we are willing to sell you access our video collection for $8/month". Seems like an acceptable deal to me.

    The main problem with DRM for me is that it makes content unusable outside of a dictated scope. So 'ownership' is fleeting, ending once you exit the relevant walled garden.

    With rented content I don't care that ownership is fleeting. That's pretty much the point.

    On the innovation argument — that locking away data obstructs new ways of working with it — shifting DRM from plug-ins to an extension lowers the barrier. The proprietary bit is smaller than it was.

    So I support this move.

    1. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Yes, but do you really want to move 1970s business models which make no sense in a digital world into the 2010s?

      Movie rentals don't make sense in a digital world. We should instead move to a business model where we benefit the creators, not people who create a fleeting DRMed copy of a work.

      1. h4rm0ny

        >>"Movie rentals don't make sense in a digital world."

        Why not? They produce something I want to watch, but probably wont want to watch over and over, so I give them money and I watch what they've made. Seems a fair exchange to me.

        If you don't want to rent movies then don't rent movies. But don't tell the rest of us that we can't even have the ability to do so.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Simple, you're not renting a tape or a disc of which there is a finite number.

          Buy renting it you're not saving anything, regardless of it you watch it once or download it the same amount of bandwidth has been used.

          It's an artificial business model.

          You don't rent a pizza, you eat it and then it is gone. With a DVD you buy it and suddenly there is one less copy on sale until they make another one. When you rent a DVD you tie up its use for that term.

          With downloads you're making another copy, the company is only limited by bandwidth which you use the same amount of if you stream or download once and repeatedly view.

          1. h4rm0ny

            >>"Buy renting it you're not saving anything, regardless of it you watch it once or download it the same amount of bandwidth has been used."

            So? Do you think bandwidth is where all the costs of production come from? People who want to get a little use out of something, contribute a little towards it, those who want to get much more use out of it, contribute a bit more. Seems fair to me. What has bandwidth got to do with it?

            1. Sebby

              The point is that digital rentals and streaming services are an illusion; there is no rental, only a copy made under certain conditions. It isn't that the idea of a rental, in and of itself, is a bad one: if you get less value from the content and would not wish to "Own" it, you should have the choice of paying less for it because you will get less use from it than those who "Buy" it. But it's still a copy, made under certain conditions.

              The real question is simply whether or if the consumer should be trusted. I think they should, and I think the innovation and long-term viability and interoperability arguments against DRM are strong. Here is DBD on the subject.

              As for Firefox, well, shame on Mozilla, but I moved to Chrome ages ago anyway because there's nothing left to recommend Firefox, and especially not after this. And oh look, DRM only works on Windows--I wonder if all the people complaining about DRM had a point.

              1. Greg J Preece

                As for Firefox, well, shame on Mozilla, but I moved to Chrome ages ago anyway

                You.....know this stuff's been in Chrome for ages, right?

                1. Greg J Preece

                  Oh, downvoted for pointing out facts again. I guess Chrome doesn't have the DRM extensions I use all the time to watch Netflix on Linux.

          2. Just Enough

            So watch static then

            "With downloads you're making another copy, the company is only limited by bandwidth which you use the same amount of if you stream or download once and repeatedly view."

            This view only makes sense if you are wish to download random digital static. If you want to view any kind of bits arranged in a particularly pleasing order, you need a method of paying the people doing the arranging. That is the limiting factor on the company, and has nothing to do with measuring bandwidth.

      2. Indolent Wretch

        Why do they make no sense?

        Why should I be asked to pay $10.00 for a permanent copy of a thing to watch forever if there's a $2.00 watch for a week alternative and I only intend to watch it once?

        Surely that should be possible regardless of who it benefits.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Why not? They produce something I want to watch, but probably wont want to watch over and over, so I give them money and I watch what they've made. Seems a fair exchange to me.

          If you don't want to rent movies then don't rent movies. But don't tell the rest of us that we can't even have the ability to do so.

          .. and ..

          Why should I be asked to pay $10.00 for a permanent copy of a thing to watch forever if there's a $2.00 watch for a week alternative and I only intend to watch it once?

          There are two problems here:

          (1) once you no longer have a choice it's not going to stay at $2.

          (2) it dictates once again on what technology you are allowed (yes, allowed) to watch the content you licensed.

          In addition, DRM causes massive overhead and is far from fault tolerant. Given that I am intolerant of faults of stuff I pay for and already pay via various means for "poor starving artists" (which is a big lie, the people really making the money are the collecting agencies) and they can print DRM on cardboard with jagged edges and stick it where it hurts the most.

          I am really getting fed up with this zombie resurrecting itself every few years. It has proven to be a royal pain in the neck and support overhead for very little reduction in piracy, even Apple abandoned it because it was costing them more in support then it kept revenue afloat.

          There was over the years one remedy which had an absolute and immediate effect on piracy, practically eliminating it overnight in the test country where they tried: they lowered the prices...

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      So 'ownership' is fleeting..

      There's your mistake. In the DRM world, you no longer own anything. All you are given is a license to view/use the product for as long as the vendor allows you to. This is regardless of how long *You* think you're allowed to use the product for.

      1. P. Lee Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        >In the DRM world, you no longer own anything.

        Part of the "problem" for DRM purveyors/users is the lack of standards and distribution of the "black box." If people want to download a separate piece of software (perhaps as a firefox extension) to view the content, that's fine, but don't encourage the use of DRM use by providing it up-front. That is a bad plan.

        Much of the time, I'd rather not have the facility and not rent the content. Providing the facility just encourages more people to find a way to use it. It encourages proprietary protocols as companies build their own clients and hide data from the web.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          re: it encourages proprietary protocols as companies.....

          ...build their own clients and hide data from the web.

          And they should be stopped from doing this why exactly?

        2. Indolent Wretch

          Mozillas job is not net evangelism or revolution. It's making a browser. One of the aspects of that is that people should be able to install and go look at stuff. Providing what may be a very common requirement for "looking at stuff" ready installed is not a bad plan it's customer service.

      2. Wommit
        Pint

        @A Non e-mouse

        Bit like going to the cinema then, eh?

    3. Thorne
      Pirate

      "So I support this move."

      And I don't so off to TPB for me.......

  4. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Firefox is a prime example of why complexity kills the FOSS Idea

    Mozilla recently made quite some questionable decisions about Firefox, starting from weird GUI stuff over displaying ads to DRM. In an ideal world people would either steer the development of Firefox into the direction that's desirable, or fork it.

    Now the problem with Firefox is that it's _huge_. It's much larger than the Linux kernel and extremely complex. It needs to be in order to support hugely complex web standards. The problem any meaning full fork would have is that it would have to need about the same amount of people as the original, which, in case of Firefox, is a lot.

    We must finally learn that complexity is the root of all evil in IT. Not only does it create lots of bugs and waste developer resources, it also prohibits truly free software development.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We need a new rendering engine written from the ground up

        No no no no no. That's second system syndrome, and is doomed to failure.

        What you need is a clear idea where you want to be, and then you make *incremental* changes until you get there. At each point you still have a usable system, but you are slowly absorbing and refactoring the accumulated behaviours of the old system (some of which are important, and some of which you may decide to drop).

        This approach works best if you have a test suite which documents and validates the behaviours that you want. Without it, you should be building a test framework and then adding tests for all the behaviours you need, before you refactor the associated code.

        It's the same with upgrading your network. You don't just rip out your old network and plug in a new one. You design what you want your network to look like, you install new bits and migrate onto them in stages until you have finished. During the migration is when you find out how your network was being used in ways you weren't aware of, and you can roll back one step, update your plans, and roll forward again.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We need a new rendering engine written from the ground up

          The trouble is that foresight is not 20/20. Things change. For example, someone who wired up a place with for 10/100 Ethernet suddenly finds a problem trying to set up for 10Gig Ethernet because the necessary cabling for it didn't exist at the time. There was no way to future-resist something like that because the future technology was past the black wall of uncertainty. Eventually, the cost to upgrade piecemeal (due to lack of scale and continual bodging) approaches the cost to replace, at which point (like a car that would cost more to repair than to replace) it's better to start fresh.

          Incremental changes can lead to bloat if they keep building up. Put it this way. Recall that Firefox at its beginning was a second system: a rewrite of Netscape. Then it became a lot of incremental changes built up over time. Sort of like the unsorted heap of clothes. Eventually, the time comes to "clean up shop". Someone hinted at a lot of bodge-work and unused code. I recall an article about a hole in QEMU that involved the very-old-but-still-active floppy emulator. Sure, don't fix what isn't broken, but sometimes things can be broken without your knowledge.

    2. Dr Trevor Marshall

      Re: Firefox is a prime example of why complexity needs FOSS

      Pale Moon is an excellent 'fork' of Firefox, with a lot of esoteric stuff stripped out. Oh - and it let's you view self-signed HTTPS sites. Pale Moon seems to be run by just a handful of developers. Take a look, see what FOSS can really achieve :)

      1. Hollerith 1

        Re: Firefox is a prime example of why complexity needs FOSS

        Yes, recently made the switch to Pale Moon and it is great. Tuck in the usual (Ghostery etc) and things are spiffing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Switching to Palemoon?

        #1. Are there versions / releases of Palemoon that are better than others esp for newcomers?

        #2. Please offer a download link if the options are anything near as head-wrecking as Linux flavors....

        ==========================================

        * Haven't done it before now well because it can be difficult to change your ways. It took me ages just to get around to exploring Linux etc... So I need a little advice...

        * BTW: I downloaded the new Firefox (was using v16) and WTF???. They hide the JavaScript and image load options under about:config! While its easy to change them, it took me a while to remember to search on 'permissions' for image loading as a search term??? It was much faster and easier before with a dedicated tools options menu.

        * Also, anytime you go full-screen now, you get this stupid oversized invasive dialog telling you that YouTube is full-screen press esc to escape. But it stays on the screen too long, gets in the way, and does nothing. What's with this nanny sh1t?

        1. Ali 4

          Re: Switching to Palemoon?

          Sounds like you need the flash fullscreen patcher which gets rid of the annoying "press esc to exit full screen" See http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/304807-How-to-remove-annoying-Press-Esc-to-message-in-Flash-Video for details.

      3. User McUser
        Holmes

        Re: Firefox is a prime example of why complexity needs FOSS

        [Pale Moon] let's you view self-signed HTTPS sites

        Not sure what you're doing wrong, but I use Firefox and have no trouble at all viewing my self-signed web pages.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Sounds like you need the flash fullscreen patcher "

          @Ali 4

          Thanks so much .I didn't need it as Flash is banned in my casa for patching sake just this for HTML5:-

          "To disable message in HTML5 player in Firefox like image from above

          Copy paste about:config to URL bar and press enter

          in search copy paste full-screen-api.approval-required

          change value from true to false like in image:"

        2. phil dude
          Unhappy

          Re: Firefox is a prime example of why complexity needs FOSS

          But firefox will not talk to my router/firewall because the certificates are out of date (and manufacturer will not update them).

          So I am running an older seamonkey just to access that router...

          Unfortunately I think signing has lost the edge in security, as it is clear the CA's cannot be trusted.

          P.

    3. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Firefox is a prime example of why complexity kills the FOSS Idea

      In an ideal world people would either steer the development of Firefox into the direction that's desirable, or fork it.

      Ever heard of Pale Moon?! It is a fork of Firefox... Without all the Chrome Vomit, of Australis.

      And you can still revert back to the old Download Manager too if you so wish. Its pretty much everything you used to love about Firefox... Just still supported!

  5. Jon 37

    CDM is better than plugins

    Given the choice, a CDM is better than a plugin - a CDM just does the DRM, whereas Flash/Silverlight include DRM but also include a whole programming language runtime that does the same sort of things as your web browser and has lots of opportunities for security bugs. So the Adobe CDM should be much smaller and more secure when compared to the Adobe Flash plugin.

    The only reason anyone sane uses Flash/Silverlight nowadays is to do a DRM'd video player. By moving to CDMs we can finally kill Flash and Silverlight.

    I know the purists will hate me for this - they'll say we shouldn't have DRM. And sure, some DRM is very bad (see: Sony rootkit). And I'm against DRM on *purchased* content. But people (including me) *like* subscription services like Netflix, Amazon, Now TV etc. And if people could subscribe to Netflix for a month, easily download loads of movies, then cancel their subscription, then they would. So there has to be some kind of DRM system to make that harder. And currently the DRM systems exist as plugins. Changing to a CDM will be a big step forward.

  6. elDog Silver badge

    More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

    It's almost like someone (google?) injected a mind-altering parasite into the Mozilla brain. Self-destruct, self-destruct, self-destruct.

    "We don't believe DRM is a desirable market solution, but it's currently the only way to watch a sought-after segment of content," Mozilla senior veep of legal affairs Danielle Dixon-Thayer said in a blog post.

    Perhaps it is really time to start watching/listening to more indie stuff rather than the canned crap with DRM.

    Since Verizon is buying AOL, perhaps we can suffer through some more browser missteps.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

      It's exactly the opposite, it's a reason to choose Firefox over everything else. Replace Adobe's plugin with another which, say, writes out a standard mp4 file and you will then be able to see all your legally purchased content on all your devices, current and future.

      I'm sure it'll take a while, like DeCSS, but it'll happen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

        I don't. The Real-Time Streaming Protocol has been around for years yet no one's been able to satisfactorily crack it to any significant degree (or we'd be seeing torrents and HOWTOs on .onion sites and all). About the only reliable way to do it is to use the "playback gap" and use either two computers and an HD capture device or one powerful one able to playback and simultaneously capture the screen quickly enough.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

          RTSP has been around for more than a decade and there are a tonne of tools which save them to disk.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

            And, based on my experience, NONE of which are very reliable, especially where they're really needed: heavily-protected streams. The most-reliable ones are, like I mentioned, screen scrapers, which requires a pretty potent machine to achieve realtime recording at an acceptable frame- and bit-rate.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

              If you mean Adobe's DRM, it's called RTMPE not RTSP and there's software which decrypts it called rtmpdump. Given the heavy lifting has already been done, I doubt it will take very long to make a plug-in for Firefox.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

                Oops, fail for me, I looked it up and it seems I'm out of date, that's not how Adobe does video DRM nowadays.

                Either way, if another plug-in for Firefox can't be done because the plug-in is downloaded from Adobe on demand, a forked version of Firefox can be done to take the output from Adobe's DRM plug-in and stream it to disk. It's all good.

                1. paulc

                  Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

                  "a forked version of Firefox can be done to take the output from Adobe's DRM plug-in and stream it to disk."

                  which is all very well until the plugin checks the version of firefox and other magic indicators to check it's running on genuine firefox before decrypting...

                  1. druck

                    Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

                    You can put as much DRM in the browser as you like, but unless there is a trust path implemented all the way from the application to the graphics card (and even the monitor), it isn't secure. It's going to be a lot easier to intercept the unencrypted video stream in an open source OS, as opposed to Windows.

                  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

                    Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

                    which is all very well until the plugin checks the version of firefox and other magic indicators to check it's running on genuine firefox before decrypting...

                    It's in a sandbox, it can't check that much.

                    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                      Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

                      "It's in a sandbox, it can't check that much."

                      Then how do these things check against screen scrapers, a well-known bypass technique.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

                        They don't.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: More reasons to go to PaleMoon or other alternatives

        Just pray that who ever does this doesn't live under US jurisdiction!

        Either way I can't see it surviving a DCMA slapdown

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