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Friday, 16 May 2014 15:28

Mozilla adopts DRM features

Written by Nick Farrell



Reluctantly stuffs itself up

Mozilla has made a controversial move to alienate itself from its open saucy core by adopting DRM features on its Firefox browser. Writing in her blog Mitchell Baker , Chair of the Mozilla Foundation said that the outfit was in a tricky spot because users want to watch video, including movies and TV shows.

However to do that, they have to accept the studios requirements for DRM. Browsers must implement DRM in a way that makes the content owners comfortable. Otherwise they won’t allow their content to be viewed through that browser. Until now, browsers have enabled DRM indirectly via Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight products.) The new version of DRM uses the acronyms “EME” and “CDM.”

At Mozilla we think this new implementation contains the same deep flaws as the old system. The content providers require that a key part of the system be closed source, something that goes against Mozilla’s fundamental approach. Google, Microsoft and Apple have already implemented the new system and the old system will be retired shortly.

“We’ve contemplated not implementing the new iteration of DRM due to its flaws. But video is an important aspect of online life, and a browser that doesn’t enable video would itself be deeply flawed as a consumer product. Firefox users would need to use another browser every time they want to watch a controlled video, and that calls into question the usefulness of Firefox as a product,” she wrote.

Baker said that Firefox needs to provide a mechanism for people to watch DRM-controlled content and it has selected Adobe to provide the key functionality. Adobe has been doing this in Flash for some time, and Adobe has been building the necessary relationships with the content owners. We believe that Adobe is uniquely able to bring new value to the setting.

She said that each user will be able to decide whether to activate the DRM implementation or to leave it off and not watch DRM-controlled content.

Nick Farrell

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