|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [Hangout-NYLXS] Mozilla and DRM
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From: Ruben Safir
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2017 19:01:06 -0500
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Subject: [Hangout-NYLXS] Mozilla and DRM
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This is old, but it is a PIA now when dealing with my new laptop
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FSF condemns partnership between Mozilla and Adobe to support Digital
by Free Software Foundation =E2=80=94 Published on May 14, 2014 05:23 PM
BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA =E2=80=94 Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 =E2=80=94 In=
Mozilla's announcement that it is reluctantly adopting DRM in its
Firefox Web browser, Free Software Foundation executive director John
Sullivan made the following statement:
"Only a week after the International Day Against DRM, Mozilla has
announced that it will partner with proprietary software company Adobe
to implement support for Web-based Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)
in its Firefox browser, using Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).
The Free Software Foundation is deeply disappointed in Mozilla's
announcement. The decision compromises important principles in order to
alleviate misguided fears about loss of browser marketshare. It allies
Mozilla with a company hostile to the free software movement and to
Mozilla's own fundamental ideals.
Although Mozilla will not directly ship Adobe's proprietary DRM plugin,
it will, as an official feature, encourage Firefox users to install the
plugin from Adobe when presented with media that requests DRM. We agree
with Cory Doctorow that there is no meaningful distinction between
'installing DRM' and 'installing code that installs DRM.'
We recognize that Mozilla is doing this reluctantly, and we trust these
words coming from Mozilla much more than we do when they come from
Microsoft or Amazon. At the same time, nearly everyone who implements
DRM says they are forced to do it, and this lack of accountability is
how the practice sustains itself. Mozilla's announcement today
unfortunately puts it -- in this regard -- in the same category as its
Unlike those proprietary competitors, Mozilla is going to great lengths
to reduce some of the specific harms of DRM by attempting to 'sandbox'
the plugin. But this approach cannot solve the fundamental ethical
problems with proprietary software, or the issues that inevitably arise
when proprietary software is installed on a user's computer.
In the announcement, Mitchell Baker asserts that Mozilla's hands were
tied. But she then goes on to actively praise Adobe's "value" and
suggests that there is some kind of necessary balance between DRM and
There is nothing necessary about DRM, and to hear Mozilla praising Adobe
-- the company who has been and continues to be a vicious opponent of
the free software movement and the free Web -- is shocking. With this
partnership in place, we worry about Mozilla's ability and willingness
to criticize Adobe's practices going forward.
We understand that Mozilla is afraid of losing users. Cory Doctorow
points out that they have produced no evidence to substantiate this fear
or made any effort to study the situation. More importantly, popularity
is not an end in itself. This is especially true for the Mozilla
Foundation, a nonprofit with an ethical mission. In the past, Mozilla
has distinguished itself and achieved success by protecting the freedom
of its users and explaining the importance of that freedom: including
publishing Firefox's source code, allowing others to make modifications
to it, and sticking to Web standards in the face of attempts to impose
Today's decision turns that calculus on its head, devoting Mozilla
resources to delivering users to Adobe and hostile media distributors.
In the process, Firefox is losing the identity which set it apart from
its proprietary competitors -- Internet Explorer and Chrome -- both of
which are implementing EME in an even worse fashion.
Undoubtedly, some number of users just want restricted media like
Netflix to work in Firefox, and they will be upset if it doesn't. This
is unsurprising, since the majority of the world is not yet familiar
with the ethical issues surrounding proprietary software. This debate
was, and is, a high-profile opportunity to introduce these concepts to
users and ask them to stand together in some tough decisions.
To see Mozilla compromise without making any public effort to rally
users against this supposed "forced choice" is doubly disappointing.
They should reverse this decision. But whether they do or do not, we
call on them to join us by devoting as many of their extensive resources
to permanently eliminating DRM as they are now devoting to supporting
it. The FSF will have more to say and do on this in the coming days. For
now, users who are concerned about this issue should:
Write to Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal and let him know that you oppose
DRM. Mozilla made this decision in a misguided appeal to its userbase;
it needs to hear in clear and reasoned terms from the users who feel
this as a betrayal. Ask Mozilla what it is going to do to actually solve
the DRM problem that has created this false forced choice.
Join our effort to stop EME approval at the W3C. While today's
announcement makes it even more obvious that W3C rejection of EME will
not stop its implementation, it also makes it clear that W3C can
fearlessly reject EME to send a message that DRM is not a part of the
vision of a free Web.
Use a version of Firefox without the EME code: Since its source code
is available under a license allowing anyone to modify and redistribute
it under a different name, we expect versions without EME to be made
available, and you should use those instead. We will list them in the
Free Software Directory.
Donate to support the work of the Free Software Foundation and our
Defective by Design campaign to actually end DRM. Until it's completely
gone, Mozilla and others will be constantly tempted to capitulate, and
users will be pressured to continue using some proprietary software. If
not us, give to another group fighting against digital restrictions."
What is DRM?
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
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that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
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