Yesterday’s Patch Tuesday brought Windows Updates and updates to Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Reader/Acrobat 10 and 11. In addition, Mozilla updated Firefox to version 38. Firefox 38 is the base for the next Extended Support Release and provided security and feature improvements including introducing HTML5 DRM support.
Supporting DRM in HTML5 is not without controversy. Many people did not want HTML5 to enable DRM for consumer protection reasons. If HTML5 is all about a free and open web, than why does it include locked down, encrypted, difficult to work with DRM-enabled media? Firefox certainly struggled with that debate as well given their mission. The company gave an update with Firefox 38’s release titled ‘Update on Digital Rights Management and Firefox‘.
The problem is that companies like Netflix are running out of options. Previously based on Silverlight, the plugin has its own limitations and downsides. Looking to move past plugins and work natively with more devices, their content providers required DRM options for the streaming content. Firefox faces a similar strong-armed position, they either include DRM-support in their browser or people stop using their browser.
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.
Given DRM’s closed nature, it’s hard to regulate what the content could have access to. In order to secure this ‘black-box’, Firefox includes a sandbox around the DRM content. Firefox is also giving the ability to remove the Adobe Content Decryption Module (CDM) from the browser that is used in the HTML5 Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) or you can download a separate Firefox installer without the DRM capabilities entirely.
When you reach a site that uses DRM content, you will see an icon in the URL bar indicate DRM and allow you to configure your options.
Today, Firefox includes an integration with the Adobe Content Decryption Module (CDM) to playback DRM-wrapped content. The CDM will be downloaded from Adobe shortly after you upgrade or install Firefox and will be activated when you first interact with a site that uses Adobe CDM.
Mozilla has also produced a teaching kit “to introduce DRM, its challenges, and why some content publishers use it.”