Vista and content protection (DRM) (1 Viewer)

samuel337

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Let's assume that WMDRM doesn't exist. Sony-BMG, EMI, Universal etc. will all release their music with various forms of DRM, and various music sites will all come out with various forms of DRM too.

When users encounter DRM, they're not gonna think, DRM's shit, let's all protest.

They're not gonna all switch to Linux because its still too painful - see my blog if you want to know some reasons why I think that.


Most don't know about DRM, and couldn't care less - we're already overloaded with information as it is.

Only in so far as it doesnt pose a problem for them. When they cant watch their HD-DVD, or cant copy their iTunes music to their MP3 player, then they DO get upset and start caring.

So when you think about it, the only good option at the moment is to compromise on both sides, and that's what Microsoft has done. Its hands are tied - it is no where near powerful enough to tell the music/movie industries what to do.

But this is their business model under attack here. You're telling them to dump the business model they've been using for the last 30 or so years (selling music to consumers) and to adopt a business model that gives their core product away for free. Where will the money come from? Advertising? Sponsorship?

I still stand by this statement. We're not all going to turn open source, and scrap the patent system (even though it should be drastically reformed) anytime soon. Capitalism thrives on the fact that you can own something, then control what you do with it.

By all means, boycott - that is your right and a primary principle of capitalism. But you have to consider all the hidden non-financial costs involved with a decision to boycott and weigh them up.

And finally - although my post was mainly focused on media, we're forgetting the positive side of DRM. The main one I can think of is protecting confidential business proposals and reports, what Microsoft calls Information Rights Management. There have been all too many cases where employees have 'accidentally' misplaced CDs, leaked confidential information (e.g. social security numbers).

EDIT by ZIPHNOR: Really sorry samuel, by mistake i hit edit on your post instead of reply and didnt realize it before i saved my own replies into it! I tried restoring what i could. I completely forgot i had moderator rights on the forum. Hope you can restore your post so we can continue the discussion.
 

ziphnor

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    Let's assume that WMDRM doesn't exist. Sony-BMG, EMI, Universal etc. will all release their music with various forms of DRM, and various music sites will all come out with various forms of DRM too.
    Why? Without the handy support of microsoft, they might fear the mess it might create and instead use something simple like Watermarking which doesnt NEED any special software or simply give up on DRM. You keep assuming that DRM is a must.

    When users encounter DRM, they're not gonna think, DRM's shit, let's all protest.
    If they have problem with it, they will. Just think of the Sony rootkit and the lawsuits against iTunes. Microsoft is helping make it easy use DRM instead of fighting it. Do you have any idea how much strange stuff you have to add to an OS to really protect media from being copied?

    They're not gonna all switch to Linux because its still too painful - see my blog if you want to know some reasons why I think that.
    Im not saying they should switch to Linux, its sufficient to boycott the media itself, dont biy Bluray or HD-DVD and stay away from iTunes and similar.

    Most don't know about DRM, and couldn't care less - we're already overloaded with information as it is.
    Only in so far as it doesnt pose a problem for them. When they cant watch their HD-DVD, or cant copy their iTunes music to their MP3 player, then they DO get upset and start caring.

    So when you think about it, the only good option at the moment is to compromise on both sides, and that's what Microsoft has done. Its hands are tied - it is no where near powerful enough to tell the music/movie industries what to do.
    Try to imagine what would happen if Microsoft refused to add the necessary signed drivers and encrypted audio/video paths to the OS. Then a PC could not be a HDCP certified device and would be unable to play back HD-DVD or Bluray. Who would stand to lose from this? Do you think anyone would change OS to watch a HD-DVD, i dont think so. The HD-DVD / Bluray formats are vulnerable enough that something like 90% of all PCs being unable to play them at all would make the media companies think twice about their DRM system.

    But this is their business model under attack here. You're telling them to dump the business model they've been using for the last 30 or so years (selling music to consumers) and to adopt a business model that gives their core product away for free. Where will the money come from? Advertising? Sponsorship?
    DRM-free music need not be free as in free beer. Unauthorized distribution is illegal no matter if the original has DRM or not. They can keep their business model if they like, they should just stop selling inferior products. When you buy a CD you get a higher quality product with less restrictions than when you buy some 128kbps WMA with DRM online, and yet the price rarely reflects this.

    I still stand by this statement. We're not all going to turn open source, and scrap the patent system (even though it should be drastically reformed) anytime soon. Capitalism thrives on the fact that you can own something, then control what you do with it.
    What does Open Source and patent systems has to do with DRM??

    By all means, boycott - that is your right and a primary principle of capitalism. But you have to consider all the hidden non-financial costs involved with a decision to boycott and weigh them up.
    I have boycotted CDs and DVDs for years without any ill effects to me :)

    And finally - although my post was mainly focused on media, we're forgetting the positive side of DRM. The main one I can think of is protecting confidential business proposals and reports, what Microsoft calls Information Rights Management. There have been all too many cases where employees have 'accidentally' misplaced CDs, leaked confidential information (e.g. social security numbers).
    This is not usually classified as DRM(or at least its not what i mean when i talk about DRM), its just standard encryption. No one is protesting against anyone encrypting sensitive data. Its when they give you the key to decrypt it and then try to take it away a bit later that its starts getting strange. And while it can be done somewhat successfully for music and video it is nowhere near safe enough to be of any use whatsoever for real confidential data. The whole idea of DRM is that you can give people some information and then take it back later/prevent it being copied. It makes very little sense unless you are going to go around banning cameras and mind-wiping people.
     

    samuel337

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    Why? Without the handy support of microsoft, they might fear the mess it might create and instead use something simple like Watermarking which doesnt NEED any special software or simply give up on DRM. You keep assuming that DRM is a must.
    Fear? I seriously doubt that. If Microsoft didn't provide the DRM, someone else would. Did they really know nothing behind the Sony/First4Internet rootkit scandal? I doubt that.

    Also, is macrovision encoding on old VHS movies considered DRM?

    Why would they watermark when they have something else that actively prevents them?

    If they have problem with it, they will. Just think of the Sony rootkit and the lawsuits against iTunes. Microsoft is helping make it easy use DRM instead of fighting it. Do you have any idea how much strange stuff you have to add to an OS to really protect media from being copied?
    Microsoft's DRM is by no means easy. Apple's fairplay is much easier, and that's getting more attention in the courts.

    And yes, I do understand to a certain degree how much effort was needed to really enforce DRM. But as I said before - I'd rather someone who knows Windows inside-out do that than some random hopeful startup. You're right though - Microsoft is using its WMDRM platform as a selling point for Windows I guess, but they're smart enough not to use it as a major one [:)].

    Im not saying they should switch to Linux, its sufficient to boycott the media itself, dont biy Bluray or HD-DVD and stay away from iTunes and similar.
    ...
    Only in so far as it doesnt pose a problem for them. When they cant watch their HD-DVD, or cant copy their iTunes music to their MP3 player, then they DO get upset and start caring.
    How are people supposed to consume their favourite artists if they boycott iTunes, all WMA-based music stores, HDDVD, Blu-Ray, copy-controlled CDs (more and more will be)? Unless you're saying 'illegal is ok' of course. Do remember - people are emotionally attached with their favourite songs, artists and movies. They will not just suddenly ignore them just because of some silly obstacle. Like I said before - who hurts the most from all this boycotting? The signed artists who want to concentrate on making music rather than the business side.

    Those who care already do care. You're only pissing of those who don't care.

    Try to imagine what would happen if Microsoft refused to add the necessary signed drivers and encrypted audio/video paths to the OS. Then a PC could not be a HDCP certified device and would be unable to play back HD-DVD or Bluray. Who would stand to lose from this? Do you think anyone would change OS to watch a HD-DVD, i dont think so. The HD-DVD / Bluray formats are vulnerable enough that something like 90% of all PCs being unable to play them at all would make the media companies think twice about their DRM system.
    You're right, Microsoft and Mac include support for these formats to help sell their OSs. Hence this is a big issue for Linux. Question is, if they didn't include support, why won't the companies just distribute the support themselves? I'm just not sold on the power of Microsoft against the media industries. Apple couldn't do it with iTunes, Microsoft couldn't do it with Video Marketplace (which was in a closed-device to start with!).

    DRM-free music need not be free as in free beer. Unauthorized distribution is illegal no matter if the original has DRM or not. They can keep their business model if they like, they should just stop selling inferior products. When you buy a CD you get a higher quality product with less restrictions than when you buy some 128kbps WMA with DRM online, and yet the price rarely reflects this.
    Accepted. But are you just cashing in on the fact that the media industry was slow to act when CD burners became common? That itself was never legal either.

    You're right about the quality aspect though.

    What does Open Source and patent systems has to do with DRM??
    Has to do with the capitalism point. Open source is an exception - no one can control it, no one owns it. Patent systems are fundamental to the capitalism system, otherwise no one can profit from their developments. The relationship was by extension from the point I made about capitalism and DRM.

    I have boycotted CDs and DVDs for years without any ill effects to me
    So can I ask where do you get your music and movies from?

    This is not usually classified as DRM(or at least its not what i mean when i talk about DRM), its just standard encryption. No one is protesting against anyone encrypting sensitive data. Its when they give you the key to decrypt it and then try to take it away a bit later that its starts getting strange. And while it can be done somewhat successfully for music and video it is nowhere near safe enough to be of any use whatsoever for real confidential data. The whole idea of DRM is that you can give people some information and then take it back later/prevent it being copied. It makes very little sense unless you are going to go around banning cameras and mind-wiping people.
    Its not what people think of when they think of DRM - you can blame the media industry for that. And its not standard encryption either - IRM has the ability to lock a document to a certain computer only, to prevent employees from copying data home. And I'm pretty sure you can timebomb documents as well which is helpful as an extra measure. I think the copy/paste feature will be disabled too, as it is in protected PDF files.

    No DRM/IRM scheme is 100% secure, but it does go a long way to stop opportunistic people. And its a lot more secure than what some companies seem to do with their customer's data.

    But yes, we can't ban cameras and wipe people's memories. The effort required to do that however, is much more than hitting copy then paste.

    Sam
     

    Frodo

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    Seems there is a lot of interest on this subject, and also a lot of false information.
    Let me try to clarify things a bit

    Hoax #1 : You cannot playback full HD media files on a Vista pc.
    Wrong. You can play HD (High Definition) media files (like 1080p) just like you can under windows XP, linux,...
    They wont be degraded or scaled down or whatever.

    !!!But!!!
    if your HD media file contains DRM (a HD-DVD for example) then (and ONLY then)
    you need a drm-compliant system. A drm-compliant system is a system which supports a protected path from dvd ->player->os->video card->tv.

    Hoax #2 : Vista downgrades HD media files to lower quality.
    Again not true.
    - Vista happily plays HD media files in full quality if
    - the files don not contain any DRM
    - or if the files do contain DRM and your system is drm-compliant


    Now what if you dont have such drm-compliant system, what then ?
    Actually it depends on the DRM itself.
    The producer of the HD media file (the movie industry) then decides what can be done. The HD media contains information which tells the system what can be done (and what not) on a non-drm compliant pc.
    So.. the in the end the producer tells the player to either:
    - not play the HD media file at all, or
    - play the HD media file, but downgrade the quality to SDTV, or
    - disable the digital audio output or
    - disable audio at all
    - ...

    A lot of people blame vista on downgrading quality of HD media files.
    I hope you now see that this is only done when
    - the HD media file contains DRM
    - and only when your pc is not drm compliant.
    - and only if the producer has specified that the HD media file should be downgraded on non-drm compliant pcs

    Sadly not vista, but the movie industry is to blame for this.

    HD-DVD on other operating system ??
    Also look at it from another perspective. Vista is the first operating system which allows you to play drm-ed HD material.
    Offcourse a requirement is that your system is drm compliant.
    But does linux, macosx, windows xp or any other OS allow you to play back HD-DVD drm-ed media files in full quality ??
    No you simply cannot playback drm-ed HD-DVD at all on these operating systems!

    Hoax #3 : Vista disables the digital audio output for HD media.
    Again, not true. This is only done when:
    - you want to play HD media which have DRM
    - your system is not DRM compliant
    - the producer specified to disable the digital audio output on non drm compliant systems

    In all other cases, digital output wont be disabled


    Now DRM is something we end-users dont like, me included
    But its there, The movie industry will not release any HD material without proper DRM. So they way i see it Microsoft had 2 choices when developing vista.
    1. Don't add DRM support in Vista, this would mean you could not playback HD-DVD (with DRM) at all

    2. Add DRM support in Vista, only use it for media files which actually require DRM. This will allow people to playback HD-DVD (with DRM) if they got a DRM compliant system.

    Again, i don't like DRM, but i'm glad they choose #2 since now i have the possibility to watch HD-DVD. Offcourse i'll have to make sure then that my pc meets the drm requirements...

    But in the end, the choice is up to me. Under linux, macosx, windows xp i dont have this choice. I simply cannot playback HD-DVD with drm at all...

    Frodo
     

    rtv

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    But in the end, the choice is up to me. Under linux, macosx, windows xp i dont have this choice. I simply cannot playback HD-DVD with drm at all...
    Frodo
    Even if it comes out like this - imagine there would be "Robin Hood" alike people owning a PS3 or similar device which allows them to distribute the HD-Content on a media accessible for everyone.

    Soon all those "poor" people would have access to all the content they'd ever wanted. In the end DRM would have acted like a catalyst to push people into criminal behaviour and just making the content more expensive for people who were willing to pay all that DRM overhead.

    (We're not questioning if the pirate people would have spend a "decent" prize for that content).

    So in the end everyone looses.
    - the companies with dropping sales
    - the poor artists for being depended on an inappropreate business model
    - the early adopter for paying even more money
    - the poor people for either being criminal or not being able to access that content at all
    - Microsoft for the bad PR
    - Open Source projects for causing "incompatibility" issues
    - ...
     

    CHli

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    Let's assume that WMDRM doesn't exist. Sony-BMG, EMI, Universal etc. will all release their music with various forms of DRM, and various music sites will all come out with various forms of DRM too.
    In France the opposite is beeing proved. Since most people do not own a "standard" MP3 player (with WMA - DRM support) but an IPod then the only way for online music seller (other than ITune) is to propose non protected contents. And that's what's happening now !
     

    Marcusb

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    How are people supposed to consume their favourite artists if they boycott iTunes, all WMA-based music stores, HDDVD, Blu-Ray, copy-controlled CDs (more and more will be)?
    Actually, CD's are more and more becomming "regualr" again.
    EMI was the first company to unilaterally copy protect all it's CD line. they did this a long time ago - before 2000 from memory.
    Last year they decided not to and in a very un-announced way removed copy protection from all their CD's

    I guess the difference here is that DRM was never meant for CD's and they cause a LOT of issues when it is applied. HD and BR was designed specifically for DRM
    with just a bit of extra quality thrown in to sunk in the end users.

    Frodo, your post was great and very informative, but the trouble is, as you outlined, that the choice of DRMis up to the studio and in every case I am pretty sure their decision will be for as much DMR as the system can support.

    We had a similar thing here in Oz. One of our tv networks began making old episodes of TV shows available for download on their site. Unfortunately it was only a crap show that no-one ever watched (McCloud's Daughter's for you Aussies), the download episode cost $5, could only be watched once and would automatically expire after a week. The initiative was a huge flop (wonder why?) and now I don't think they offer this any more, probably blaming the "dumb" end users.
     

    ziphnor

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    First off samuel, let me again apologize for accidentally messing with your previous post ;(

    Fear? I seriously doubt that. If Microsoft didn't provide the DRM, someone else would.
    ...
    And yes, I do understand to a certain degree how much effort was needed to really enforce DRM. But as I said before - I'd rather someone who knows Windows inside-out do that than some random hopeful startup. You're right though - Microsoft is using its WMDRM platform as a selling point for Windows I guess, but they're smart enough not to use it as a major one [:)].
    They would have a pretty hard time of it. If you want to be *really* certain that uncompressed video/audio isnt captured you need to force certified drivers and have an encrypted audio/video path, that is hard to do unless you are microsoft.

    Why would they watermark when they have something else that actively prevents them?
    Because watermarking is a pretty good at keeping pe.ople from re-distributing what they buy, WITHOUT any hassle for the end user

    Microsoft's DRM is by no means easy. Apple's fairplay is much easier, and that's getting more attention in the courts.
    Not sure what you mean by easy here, are you referring to implementing it or breaking it?

    How are people supposed to consume their favourite artists if they boycott iTunes, all WMA-based music stores, HDDVD, Blu-Ray, copy-controlled CDs (more and more will be)? Unless you're saying 'illegal is ok' of course. Do remember - people are emotionally attached with their favourite songs, artists and movies.
    In europe most CDs are not copy-protected and they must be specifically marked i believe. But i can see your point. But thats the nature of boycotts :)

    Those who care already do care. You're only pissing of those who don't care.

    Question is, if they didn't include support, why won't the companies just distribute the support themselves? I'm just not sold on the power of Microsoft against the media industries.
    I think it would be very hard to make the PC 'secure' enough without microsofts support, so the only real option the media companies would have would be to either make a less secure implementation with bugs that would make consumers complain to THEM and not microsoft (and which could be easily circumvented, always nice), or they could give up on the PC platform altogether.

    Accepted. But are you just cashing in on the fact that the media industry was slow to act when CD burners became common? That itself was never legal either.
    No, i am saying that their business model is not necessarily threatened by selling DRM-free products.

    Has to do with the capitalism point. Open source is an exception - no one can control it, no one owns it. Patent systems are fundamental to the capitalism system, otherwise no one can profit from their developments. The relationship was by extension from the point I made about capitalism and DRM.
    For the most part i have no objection with capitalism, but i dont see the problem in selling DRM-free products while still being 'capitalistic' :)

    So can I ask where do you get your music and movies from?
    Good question :) There are some online stores that have a limited selection in watermarked (and otherwise DRM-free) MP3 files. In addition to them i also purchased alot from AllOfMP3.com while it was still legal here in Denmark. Otherwise i can borrow music at the library, both as CDs and DRM-ridden WMA files(which is luckily easily removed). Apart from that i already have a large CD collection and feel that most new music is pretty crappy :)

    As for DVD's, i have only boycott'ed buying them, i still rent DVDs.

    IRM has the ability to lock a document to a certain computer only, to prevent employees from copying data home. And I'm pretty sure you can timebomb documents as well which is helpful as an extra measure. I think the copy/paste feature will be disabled too, as it is in protected PDF files.
    Okay, then its DRM :) Still, most of the measures you mention can be circumvented to easily for it to be really useful, but i suppose it can prevent people from accidentally copying something against the company policy (ie to break it, you need to understand what it is :)
     

    ziphnor

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    Seems there is a lot of interest on this subject, and also a lot of false information.
    True, people have misunderstood alot of stuff :)

    if your HD media file contains DRM (a HD-DVD for example) then (and ONLY then)
    you need a drm-compliant system. A drm-compliant system is a system which supports a protected path from dvd ->player->os->video card->tv.
    ...
    - Vista happily plays HD media files in full quality if ...
    - or if the files do contain DRM and your system is drm-compliant
    And that is of course what people are pissed off about :) Its not very funny having a very expensive HDTV and not being able to watch protected HD material on it, just because some media company executive is being paranoid ;)

    Sadly not vista, but the movie industry is to blame for this.
    True, but Microsoft could have helped oppose these massive DRM requirements.

    Also look at it from another perspective. Vista is the first operating system which allows you to play drm-ed HD material.
    Are you sure? I believe i read somewhere that some intervideo or cyberlink had a HD-DVD player for XP SP2?

    Hoax #3 : Vista disables the digital audio output for HD media.[/b]
    Again, not true. This is only done when:
    - you want to play HD media which have DRM
    - your system is not DRM compliant
    - the producer specified to disable the digital audio output on non drm compliant systems
    Still not very amusing when you have your HTPC connected to your amplifier using SPDIF :) I dont feel like purchasing a HDMI output for sound just because of some DRM crap.

    1. Don't add DRM support in Vista, this would mean you could not playback HD-DVD (with DRM) at all
    As you can see above, i heartily support this option. I believe Microsoft has enough of a say to influence the DRM policy of the media companies.

    But in the end, the choice is up to me. Under linux, macosx, windows xp i dont have this choice. I simply cannot playback HD-DVD with drm at all...
    How long do you think it will take until we have HD-DVD playback under Linux? Im guessing this year.
     

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