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DRM Firefox Software Mozilla Open Source Upgrades IT Your Rights Online Entertainment

Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix 371

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 38 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include Digital Rights Management (DRM) tech for playing protected content in the HTML5 video tag on Windows, Ruby annotation support, and improved user interfaces on Android. Firefox 38 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Note that there is a separate download for Firefox 38 without the DRM support. Our anonymous reader adds links to the release notes for desktop and Android.
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Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix

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  • I think you meant Digital Restrictions Management. It's a sad day for Mozilla, the w3c, the web as a whole, and open culture. At least there's still the iceweasel fork that doesn't come with this shit.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:15PM (#49674805)

      I don't see how supporting playback hurts anyone. If you don't like DRM simply don't play or subscribe to content that uses it. Don't force your ideology on others.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because everyone who uses it is legitimizing it and sending the message that it's acceptable and the way forward. That hurts everyone.

        • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:48PM (#49675219)

          Yea, all those Netflix users, are just such a small user base, that they add no legitimacy to DRM at all.
          Unlike all those GNU fans who, who seem to complain the fact that Firefox actually needs a VGA display to work.

        • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:53PM (#49675273)

          Because everyone who uses it is legitimizing it and sending the message that it's acceptable and the way forward.

          For a rental service like Netflix it is perfectly fine. Aim your guns at Steam, they're the ones that charge you full purchase price for software that will fail when they go out of business. You lot got all upset at DRM back when it was used exclusively for 'permanent' purchases, you forgot to re-evaluate that for rentals.
           

          • At least Steam rides its own platform rather than demanding the introduction of proprietary extensions into a tool meant to browse the open web. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Netflix subscriber and I'd like to get my content easily, but at some point I have to wonder why they don't develop their own desktop apps to support the client side.
            • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot @ w o r f .net> on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @04:19PM (#49676575)

              At least Steam rides its own platform rather than demanding the introduction of proprietary extensions into a tool meant to browse the open web. Don't get me wrong, I'm a Netflix subscriber and I'd like to get my content easily, but at some point I have to wonder why they don't develop their own desktop apps to support the client side.

              Then you get people complaining they should be using the browser instead of their own apps which only work on Windows and OS X, versus a web app which works on Linux as well.

              You already get people complaining on mobile that "apps" should go away and be "web pages" instead, and now you're advocating the reverse - that what WAS web pages will now be apps.

              Well geez, what happens is you go to Netflix, select your movie, and then it launches the Netflix app, like what iTunes does now. So the web becomes just a portal for apps and to do anything requires installing bunches of apps.

              Want to download music? Here it is on iTunes, now install the iTunes app to purchase and download. Want to download movies? Well we have the iTunes app, the Google Play app, the Xbox app, ... just a portal for apps.

              I mean, on Windows 8, Netflix has an app. I don't think they have one for OS X, but who knows.

              Still, if Netflix did restrict their service to apps, you'll find a bunch of Linux users suddenly complaining that it doesn't work anymore. And probably a bunch of people whose friends or children upgraded them to Linux and are now unable to enjoy their Netflix.

              There is no good solution. Mozilla's solution is probably the best - sure it's "unpure" and "not ideal", but it's all about compromise and realizing that users will do what they want to do. If Netflix doesn't work on Firefox, no amount of "DRM is bad" philosophy will let them watch movies. They'll take the path of least resistance, Google 'how to get Netflix to work on firefox" and see the solution is "Install Chrome" or "Use IE" or "Use Safari".

              It's all about picking your battles. No point in winning the battle by excluding DRM only to lose the war by being marginalized.

          • Steam itself doesn't universally apply DRM - a large number of games on Steam don't have DRM at all, you can just copy the files to wherever you want and run them.

            They do offer their own DRM, which is about as non-intrusive as you can get while still being DRM, and they allow publishers to include their own DRM as long as it is noted on the store page. You can be mad about games using DRM, but Valve isn't the one to be angry at.

            PS: Valve's talked about issuing a patch to disable the DRM if they ever go out

          • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
            Steam DRM is optional. Several games on Steam do not have any DRM at all. It is entirely up to the one selling the game to decide.
        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Of course the usual way has just been to use Flash, Java, Silverlight or some other NPAPI plug-in to provide the DRM. That API is 20 years old from Netscape Navigator 2.0 and honestly nobody likes it much. Microsoft has always pushed ActiveX for IE, Chrome prefers their PPAPI they launched 6 years ago and Firefox calls plug-ins a legacy technology. Many mobile browsers don't support traditional plug-ins of any kind. But it's not going to go away as long as it's the only way to play DRM'd content under Firef

        • by Damarkus13 ( 1000963 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @03:15PM (#49676063)
          You're right. By subscribing to Netflix I am legitimizing their use of DRM. Personally, I feel that $8/month for unlimited movie watching, with the restriction that I must be online to do so, is completely acceptable.

          There are uses of DRM that I find unacceptable (I won't "buy" a movie from Google Play or iTunes) but Netflix isn't one of them.

      • backlash. You know, the one where people grab pitchforks for being forced to pay for walking into a cinema and viewing a movie with their own legs and eyes.
    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:19PM (#49674857)

      . It's a sad day for Mozilla, the w3c, the web as a whole, and open culture. At least there's still the iceweasel fork that doesn't come with this...

      You say that as if it's the only option.

      We also recognize that not everybody wants DRM, so we are also offering a separate Firefox download without the CDM enabled by default for those users who would rather not have the CDM downloaded to their browser on install.

      I can only conclude that the issue is not that you don't want to use that capability, it's that you don't want anyone else to be able to use that capability. The contradiction in wanting "open culture" to deny some users options that they desire never crosses your mind, does it?

      • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:30PM (#49675003)

        I can only conclude that the issue is not that you don't want to use that capability, it's that you don't want anyone else to be able to use that capability. The contradiction in wanting "open culture" to deny some users options that they desire never crosses your mind, does it?

        Wanting "open culture" to not be destroyed by those who promote "closed culture" instead is not a contradiction.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          So you want complete freedom of expression as long as others agree with your vision.

          Got it.

        • by Holi ( 250190 )
          Why is their not room for both the open and closed cultures?
          • Why is their not room for both the open and closed cultures?

            Assuming s/their/there/:

            Because the concentrated non-free media use their vast financial resources to lobby governments to make existence harder for free culture.

            Big media uses copyright to squelch competition. It has successfully lobbied for successive extensions of the term of copyright, which reduces the chance that a work will enter the public domain while it remains culturally significant. It uses copyright claims to squelch comment on its works and "similarity" claims under copyright to interfere even with creation of original works, as you have no way of telling whether the song you wrote infringes the copyright of some other existing song out there.

            Big media uses its massive selling power to convince viewers to purchase player devices designed to play only works created by sufficiently large commercial enterprises, giving it a captive audience. These include such as video game consoles (with their code signing), Blu-ray Disc players (with the requirement of an AACS license for BDMV), home Internet service plans (with their bans on running a home server, enforced through carrier-grade NAT or TOS disconnection), and AM and FM radio receivers (governed by scarce exclusive licenses to transmit). Furthermore, there exists only a finite amount of electromagnetic spectrum. Case in point: People commuting to and from work who are unwilling to pay for expensive cellular data plan have only AM and FM radio as means of discovering new music. When was the last time, for example, that you heard free recordings of free music on radio? (Here, by "free" I mean distributed under a license conforming to the Definition of Free Cultural Works [freedomdefined.org].)

            Big media even controls elections. All major U.S. television news outlets share a corporate parent with a major movie studio: CBS is Paramount, ABC is Disney, NBC is Universal, CNN is Warner Bros., and Fox is (duh) Last Century Fox. This gives them enormous power over name recognition [pineight.com], both in campaign contributions and in "in-kind" donations of name recognition through news coverage. It also helps them control what issues voters feel are important to them, as they tend not to report on threats to the existence of free culture unless it's something extraordinarily high-profile like Wikipedia's PROTECTIP protest blackout of 2012 [wikipedia.org].

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by dissy ( 172727 )

          I can only conclude that the issue is not that you don't want to use that capability, it's that you don't want anyone else to be able to use that capability. The contradiction in wanting "open culture" to deny some users options that they desire never crosses your mind, does it?

          Wanting "open culture" to not be destroyed by those who promote "closed culture" instead is not a contradiction.

          In this case, yes it is.

          If you are attempting to argue that the very existence of "closed culture" is what is destroying (incorrect tense included) "open culture" - well you are about 50 years late to that lost battle.
          Under that definition open culture was destroyed long long ago with zero hope of ever existing again.

          If you are not arguing that point, then you are either contradicting yourself at best, or lying/trolling at worse.

          Being an additional (optional at that) feature you don't have to use, I don't u

    • Read the blog post [mozilla.org], it is actually very reasonable. Better to have a standardised, secure, removable and optionally installed DRM than a mysterious black-box software by a random company.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by PvtVoid ( 1252388 )

      That's right, because you wouldn't want anybody to be able to watch Netflix on your browser. Somebody might want to use it. I mean, what would be next: users wanting http: support?

    • Does it fix that stupid auto-play of html5 videos?
    • Disableable (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:27PM (#49674959) Homepage

      At least there's still the iceweasel fork that doesn't come with this shit.

      The DRM isn't a closed source part of *firefox*. It's a separate external plugin (like flash, etc.) that runs sandboxed (like chrome) and that can be
      disabled and/or removed [mozilla.org] like any other plugins (or you can download a version of the installer that doesn't even pack the DRM module).
      You don't need to go as far as Iceweasel.

    • I think you meant Digital Restrictions Management. ... At least there's still the iceweasel fork that doesn't come with this [...].

      Or, you know, an actual build of Firefox from Mozilla that also doesn't come with it, as the article pointed out...

    • Firefox can also come without that "shit". From the article:

      Mozilla also announced the launch of a separate Firefox download [mozilla.net] that won’t automatically install Adobe’s technology for playing back DRM-wrapped content in the browser.

      As stated in TFA, the Mozilla foundation had to choose whether to support DRM in its own code according to HTML standards, or else accept that most users will resort to awful buggy plugins like Flash or simply switch to Chrome, Safari, or Edge to get the content they want so bad. I, myself, prefer Firefox not become a marginalized has-been project with single-digit adoption.

      Choose your poison. There's a silver lining in DRM over browser: it enc

    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      Don't like it, don't use it. There's a version of Mozilla available without the plugin. Your beliefs should not infringe on my ability to enjoy the content I want.

  • How does it work ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:27PM (#49674963)

    Is there an explanation of how this works ? At the end of the rendering pipeline shouldn't there be an unencrypted frame for display, and couldn't somebody it just grab it from there ?

    • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:44PM (#49675181)
      FYI, you can screenshot netflix in Windows right now with silverlight. So technically a screen recorder on a sufficiently fast system could record "netflix exclusive titles" and upload them elsewhere.
    • by byuu ( 1455609 )
      I don't know the answer, but it would be quite easy for Firefox+DRM to only be available in the released binaries, and the source code you download to only be the Firefox-DRM portion. Much like Chromium versus Chrome.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:41PM (#49675149) Homepage
    for those who havent kept pace with them, Mozilla jumped the shark years ago. First it was search engine preference for google, then bing, then actual targeted fucking advertisement in the tiles window. The browser, by default, sends all your page calls to google under the auspices of reportable attack page detection. Beguilingly Mozilla started including a video chat system in the browser, while users and devs alike were shunned and ignored as they complained about the ever increasing ram and disk footprint. The mozilla manifesto is effectively fucking worthless...

    02 The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.

    not when you bundle digital restrictions management with your browser and only offer the truly open one as an 'option'

    04 Individuals security and privacy on the Internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.

    quit enabling googles malware system, and stop enabling targeted ads by default.

    05 Individuals must have the ability to shape the Internet and their own experiences on it.

    thats the direct antithesis of DRM. same goes for point 06 on interoperability.

    07 Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.

    but DRM does not.

    08 Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability and trust.

    I dont remember hearing a goddamn thing about you adding DRM or targeted ads before you just decided to do it.

    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      I for one have trouble with the people who want encryption for themselves but demand others don't use it. DRM = encryption. If you get your PGP, then they get their DRM.
      • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:50PM (#49675841) Homepage

        DRM = encryption + key obfuscation.

        If DRM was merely encryption that would be great. Then we could save the encrypted streams to our hard disk, then play them while on vacation. Or we could copy those encrypted streams for time shifting. We could decrypt them, then re-encode them into another format for playing on another device. Or take fair-use protected clips from them.

        The goal of DRM is to prevent the the end-user from doing the things listed above. But encryption alone isn't enough to do that. You need a way to give the key to the user, but obfuscate the key so that they can only use it limited circumstances. It's infuriating to the user.

    • Two sides to the coin, the majority of the Internet exists because there is money to be made from the content being shared.

      If a particular type of content cannot be monetized, then it will not exist on the Internet because the Internet is not "free" as in costs $0.

      Sometimes I think people equate freedom with the ability to take from others as much as they want and not the true meaning that you have all options available to you and offered equally to all.
  • the story headline reads like only DRM is enabled for Windows and not Mac.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:53PM (#49675893) Homepage

    Before this new version of Firefox, the DRM was delivered via Silverlight. Either way, you are running a closed-source binary blob that handles DRM.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      What has changed is the capability of the binary blob. The blob runs in a sandbox that has no network or file system access. All it can do is decrypt.

  • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @03:30PM (#49676209)
    ...I'm going to come at this from another angle:

    Instead of focusing on Firefox, let's focus on Netflix for a moment. Who the hell needs Netflix to pirate? 99% of things on Netflix are published elsewhere first. Netflix is equivalent to syndication--the guys that play stuff after it's already been premiered.

    People target the services that premier shows for privacy. They don't wait 2 years for it to show up on Netflix to THEN pirate it. They go to the source.

    Lastly, Netflix already rents out DVDs--which can be easily pirated and show up long before they hit online Netflix!

    The only thing this could protect would be Netflix originals. So my point is this: It's either to fulfill contractual B.S. with their media providers, or, it's a complete waste of money that accomplishes nothing. My money would be on the former, though, because lots of stupid things like this are the result of "pleasing the customer."
  • by Scorpinox ( 479613 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @04:04PM (#49676459)

    There are some positive aspects to the Encrypted Media Extensions API. It does provide some DRM options for companies like Netflix, which isn't great, but it can also enhance the security of personal media files. It will enable a web app to let you upload an encrypted video, then stream it from their server to your computer without having to download the entire thing and decrypt it -- without any browser plugin.

    So if you really don't want anyone being able to see your personal videos (not just Netflix's videos), this thing isn't all bad.

  • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @08:54PM (#49678091) Journal

    So, my Firefox did the whole pop-up thing with a message saying that it was urgent that I upgraded my browser for security reasons.

    Did they offer me the DRM free version? NO.

    Did they tell me that this next version would be infested with DRM? NO.

    If the update was so urgent, why is the DRM free version dated 8th of may and it is now 13th May, it can't have been very urgent can it.

    And why is it that when I went to about Firefox on the help menu it checked again for an update and said that none was available when Firefox had already told me that an update was available? FFS.

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