The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has taken Mozilla to task for its decision to allow digital rights management (DRM) technology add-ons to be installed in its Firefox browser.
The FSF said in a statement on its website that Mozilla's move put it at odds with the free software movement and creates a "hostile" presence.
"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," it stated.
Mozilla appears to have adopted DRM reluctantly and revealed its move on its Hacks pages and in a blog post by Mozilla chairperson Mitchell Baker.
In the statement, Mozilla said that DRM is a controversial area, but added that it really had no alternative. It said that it was responding to moves in the market, and mentioned entertainment on-demand businesses including Netflix and Amazon as it spoke of its support for Adobe and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).
"Today at Mozilla we find ourselves at a difficult spot. We face a choice between a feature our users want and the degree to which that feature can be built to embody user control and privacy," it said in a post.
"Firefox should help users get access to the content they want to enjoy, even if Mozilla philosophically opposes the restrictions certain content owners attach to their content... This is a difficult and uncomfortable step for us given our vision of a completely open web, but it also gives us the opportunity to actually shape the DRM space and be an advocate for our users and their rights in this debate."
The FSF said it understood Mozilla's dilemma, but added that the move meant Mozilla has aligned itself with the "proprietary" competition.
"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," it said.
"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 proprietary competitors."
The FSF asks Mozilla to reverse its decision and rally against "forced choice".
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