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Was Brendan Eich removed to get closed source DRM into Firefox?

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It’s quite a theory, and I’m not sure what to make of it, but via Instapundit I ran into the allegation that the real reason Brendan Eich was removed as the head of Mozilla wasn’t the homosexual “marriage” issue at all, but rather that he stood in the way of Hollywood-friendly restrictions called Digital Rights Managment (“DRM”) being added to the open source browser Firefox.

DRM is a kind of software designed to control data on your computer. Superficially it’s a harmless idea: copyright holders are able to supply time-, person-, and space-limited access to copyrighted data. However in practice DRM has been a problem because it requires an enormous amount of trust to be granted to the suppliers of the software, and at times that trust has been abused greatly, putting customers at risk.

This is a problem because under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the public is prohibited from researching whether DRM software is safe to use or not, because such research constitutes reverse engineering, and reverse engineering DRM software is specifically prohibited under DMCA. This is why DRM is such a nasty thing under US law, and why many people (including the late Steve Jobs) have gone to lengths to fight back against it.

So Firefox’s support for DRM would be a big deal. Additionally, it turns out that the DRM software used by Firefox would not be open source, like the rest of the Firefox project. Mozilla has claimed that Firefox will use various wrapper schemes as a shell game to get around free software licensing issues with respect to the Adobe-supplied DRM software, but to many this is still a violation of the principles of the project.

For reasons like these, Brendan Eich was opposed to DRM in Firefox. But now that he’s out of the way, Hollywood gets its way in Firefox. How convenient.

You will be made to care and you will be made to DRM.

Thanks to Shutterstock for the featured image.

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