Petition to Mozilla: Remove DRM

P.B. pb at
Mon Oct 6 06:04:23 UTC 2014

On 10/05/2014 07:55 PM, Pierre Schweitzer wrote:

> I'd like to highlight some major point in the end: the user must be
> free. That's IMHO the most important thing, and this shouldn't be
> forgotten. 

I agree with Pierre here.

When the Firefox-DRM issue came up initially (around May), I talked to a
Mozilla developer (who's a Fellow) about this.
Here's a short summary of the key points as he explained them to me:

If I understood the developer correctly, then there's no proprietary code in
Firefox (FF). Even pre-built binaries by Mozilla.

Firefox will install Adobe's DRM module on-demand on an opt-in basis,
when the users opens a website which would require DRM to play content
(e.g. Netflix).

For convenience reasons, the proprietary module is downloaded by Firefox
automatically *before* any DRM-requiring site is opened, so it is
immediately installed and useable on-demand.
On Freedom-aware distros (e.g. Debian), I imagine that they will change
the default behavior to *not* automatically download any propietary
extension modules.

So, like most of us Free Software users already do on a daily basis, we decide which services (e.g. sites) we use, and which we don't.
With FF offering the option to support DRM-requiring sites, this choice is still in the hand of the end-user.

Something that might also be worth knowing is, that the current
situation is, that DRM-requesting sites only serve their content to
users who run Flash or Silverlight - not as HTML5.
Flash and Silverlight both run as Firefox plugin, whereas the DRM-module
runs in a (newly implemented) sandbox.

According to the developer, FF-Plugins have way more access to the system than
this sandbox has/will have. Additionally, the unique-IDs required by
DRM-proponents (e.g. Hollywood, Sony) to be generated in order to comply
to the HTML5-DRM-Standard implementation, are calculated and provided by
FF's sandbox. Therefore, FF controls how (and if) unique-IDs are generated.

I'm not saying I'm fine/happy with Mozilla's decision, but the bright
side might be that this chess-move probably will help them to keep their
voice in e.g. W3C decisions, because they will very likely lose less
users by enabling FF to watch DRM-requiring sites.

And I'd also like to highlight what Pierre already said:
It's about giving users freedom. In my book, that includes the freedom
of choice.


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