Vista DRM=iTunes lock down on a greater level?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I just read an interesting article on Vista's DRM. Can the more technologically savy comment on whether this article is accurate?

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut00...vista_cost.txt



One of the main points of the article:

"In July 2006, Cory Doctorow published an analysis of the anti-competitive

nature of Apple's iTunes copy-restriction system ("Apple's Copy Protection

Isn't Just Bad For Consumers, It's Bad For Business", Cory Doctorow,

Information Week, 31 July 2006). The only reason I can imagine why Microsoft

would put its programmers, device vendors, third-party developers, and

ultimately its customers, through this much pain is because once this copy

protection is entrenched, Microsoft will completely own the distribution

channel. In the same way that Apple has managed to acquire a monopolistic

lock-in on their music distribution channel (an example being the Motorola

ROKR fiasco, which was so crippled by Apple-imposed restrictions that it was

dead the moment it appeared), so Microsoft will totally control the premium-

content distribution channel. Not only will they be able to lock out any

competitors, but because they will then represent the only available

distribution channel they'll be able to dictate terms back to the content

providers whose needs they are nominally serving in the same way that Apple

has already dictated terms back to the music industry: Play by Apple's rules,

or we won't carry your content. The result will be a technologically enforced

monopoly that makes their current de-facto Windows monopoly seem like a velvet

glove in comparison."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Just a M$ paid zombie spreading FUD as usual.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    The exact text of the EULA is as follows:



    ?The first user of the software may reassign the license to another device one time.?



    This really sucks for people who build their own PCs, as they will have to pay MS several hundred dollars a year just to install Vista on their machines.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    nerudaneruda Posts: 427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by turnwrite View Post


    The exact text of the EULA is as follows:

    “The first user of the software may reassign the license to another device one time.”

    This really sucks for people who build their own PCs, as they will have to pay MS several hundred dollars a year just to install Vista on their machines.



    Yeah, but the article claims that Vista will go far beyond this in locking down content distribution:

    -control of digital adio/video output.

    -decreased playback quality

    -Elimination of Open-source Hardware Support

    -Denial-of-Service via Driver Revocation (only Microsoft approved/recognized drivers)

    "Once a weakness is found in a particular driver or device, that driver will have its signature

    revoked by Microsoft, which means that it will cease to function..."



    This article is not by an MS shill and is highly critical of the DRM schemes employed by Vista (did you read the article, iPeon?):

    "Vista's content-protection functionality seems like an astonishingly short-sighted piece of engineering, concentrating entirely on content

    protection with no consideration given to the enormous repercussions of the measures employed."



    "The worst thing about all of this is that there's no escape. Hardware manufacturers will have to drink the kool-aid (and the reference to mass

    suicide here is deliberate [Note D]) in order to work with Vista: "There is no requirement to sign the [content-protection] license; but without a

    certificate, no premium content will be passed to the driver". Of course as a device manufacturer you can choose to opt out, if you don't mind your device

    only ever being able to display low-quality, fuzzy, blurry video and audio when premium content is present, while your competitors don't have this

    (artificially-created) problem."



    These claims, if true, are particularly interesting, considering Bill Gate's recent comments on DRM.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    DRM is such a bad idea. It doesn't really stop the people who are intent on stealing content, as they always find ways around it, and it just hinders the rest of us from doing what we want to do. If I actually PAY MONEY for some media, I own it and I should be able to do what I want with it.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    Reason #8716978491647839157831694378643871648371964381764 78527831643928746387512678421987691876891159618765 why no Microsoft OS will ever sully my Macs HDD. It's either UNIX or Linux on this Mac



    Sebastian
  • Reply 6 of 12
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by turnwrite View Post


    DRM is such a bad idea. It doesn't really stop the people who are intent on stealing content, as they always find ways around it, and it just hinders the rest of us from doing what we want to do.



    This is not legally accurate. IP is distinct from the specific physical manifestions (the medium) through which it is distributed.

    When you buy a book, you own the physical book and not the ideas/contents (IP).

    When you purchase software, you are buying a license and no the program itself.



    Quote:

    If I actually PAY MONEY for some media, I own it and I should be able to do what I want with it.



    Your rights are limited and in most cases there are things that you can't do, such as make copies for commercial purposes. The law generally seeks to balance consumer rights (what you can and cannot do with the content you purchase) vs. intellectual property rights (to give IP creators protection of their works for a limited time in order to advance learning, etc).

    This has been discussed before (see my replies here).



    The point of the Vista article is that the content protection this OS uses doesn't really provide any discernible benefits, but on the contrary, is a drawback in many respects and shifts the aforementioned balance decidely in favor of content creators at the expense of consumer rights.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    I've just read the article linked by the original poster. I haven't had chance to confirm any of the content, however it definitely seems plausible.



    Let's make a bold assumption and believe the general message about Content Control in Vista is true. This leads me to the following progression:



    1. The rationale behind this move comes from the content industry, as they want to protect their own 'property'.



    2. HD devices (including as BluRay / HD-DVD) are being manufactured to prevent, as much as possible, piracy (ref: HDMI/HDCP et al.)



    3. MS, for whatever reason, has embraced this philosophy and has embedded it to the core of Vista.



    So... where does this leave Apple and OS X? My feeling is that - if this were all true - Apple would be obliged to comply with some Content Control standard in order to play with HD. Given that BluRay / HD-DVD are a-coming, what are your thoughts? What is the impact on OS X? Will Leopard use some form of DRM / Content Control?
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by starfury View Post


    I've just read the article linked by the original poster. I haven't had chance to confirm any of the content, however it definitely seems plausible.

    So... where does this leave Apple and OS X? My feeling is that - if this were all true - Apple would be obliged to comply with some Content Control standard in order to play with HD. Given that BluRay / HD-DVD are a-coming, what are your thoughts? What is the impact on OS X? Will Leopard use some form of DRM / Content Control?



    This is a very good point. I think that Microsoft thinks at least five moves ahead when it tries to undermine a competitor. Witness the recent deal with Universal granting them $1 for every Zune sold as an obvious attempt to undermine Apple's relationship with the big five record labels. Vista's content protection schemes have to be seen in the same light--the DRM content protection shemes employed in Vista will almost inevitably become the standard just by the sheer volume of OEM computers shipping with Vista in the next couple of years. So where does that leave Apple and others in a couple of years. Locked out. Or at least, I'm sure this is what Microsoft hopes. From the article:

    "The only reason I can imagine why Microsoft would put its programmers, device vendors,

    third-party developers, and ultimately its customers, through this much pain is because

    once this copy protection is entrenched, Microsoft will completely own the distribution

    channel...
    Not only will they be able to lock out any competitors, but because they will

    then represent the only available distribution channel they'll be able to dictate terms back

    to the content

    providers...."



    Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    snoopysnoopy Posts: 1,901member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Neruda View Post




    ". . . Microsoft will completely own the distribution channel. . . Not only will they be able to lock out any competitors, but because they will then represent the only available distribution channel they'll be able to dictate terms back to the content providers. . ."




    To me it looks like a big difference between the Vista DRM scheme and Apple's, which is limited to iTunes music store and the iPod. People can still choose to use other stores and devices with different DRM. I have a couple questions.



    Isn't the Vista scheme just one option at this point in time? For it to become a required standard, all content providers would have to choose Vista DRM as the only way their media can be distributed, no?



    In the past, the EU did not look kindly on many things Microsoft did, and took action against them. Would not something similar happen in the case of DRM on this scale? Vista appears to loom much larger in its restrictiveness than anything MS has done in the past.



  • Reply 10 of 12
    nerudaneruda Posts: 427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by snoopy View Post


    Isn't the Vista scheme just one option at this point in time? For it to become a required standard, all content providers would have to choose Vista DRM as the only way their media can be distributed, no?



    It is only one option, and it is true that the market might move in another direction. However, given Window's 90% market share there is more than a good chance that Microsoft can leverage its position in the PC industry in favor of its own DRM solutions...
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Quote:

    To me it looks like a big difference between the Vista DRM scheme and Apple's, which is limited to iTunes music store and the iPod. People can still choose to use other stores and devices with different DRM.



    I think that 'DRM' in the sense that it's being used here is a red-herring. The underlying issue is much broader.



    Here's why:





    DRM in iTunes is a little like a lock and key. The file is locked, which can be opened with a particular key (in this case your iTMS authentication).



    What is being referred to as 'DRM' in Vista isn't 'DRM' as in the iTunes example above. It is a way of attempting to make data/content 100% secure so that no one can get at it. If we return back to the iTunes example, there are many many ways to obtain a 'non-DRMed' version of the file (one of the simplest is burning an audio CD which can then be ripped without DRM).



    Now, fast-forward to Vista-world. You have what is called 'premium' (think HD) content. This will only play on certain hardware, hardware which has been manufactured to have little or no possibility of being used to recreate a new, unprotected, copy as can be currently done with files protected by DRM.



    And it doesn't end there. If MS considers hardware at risk of 'leaking' content, it can turn it off (by revoking the drivers). Extreme, maybe. Likelihood: Uncertain. Possible: Certainly.



    Now, putting it in these terms, we move outside of traditional 'DRM' towards what's generally known as Trusted Computing.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Computing



    Under this scenario, users ultimately have no control over their devices. My computer is no longer 'mine' insofar as I have ultimate control over it.





    So, where does this leave us? Well, it's clear that the mechanism to protect content is broader than a 'DRM scheme' (as referred to in the quote at the top of my post). Whether this is a good thing or bad, I leave down to you, however it is important that this information is 'out-there' so people can make informed decisions.



    Now, back to Apple: from the reading available, the Windows situation seems relatively clear. What provisions Apple plan to protect 'premium' content, however, are unclear to me at this stage. Any illumination, speculation (or dissent) would be appreciated.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Neruda View Post


    When you buy a book, you own the physical book and not the ideas/contents (IP).

    When you purchase software, you are buying a license and no the program itself.



    Well, you're right, but it seems to me like if I buy the software, I should be able to use it wherever and whenever I want to, since I have a license to use it. After all, I can read the book whenever and wherever I want to, so the same should apply to software. It bothers me when licenses stop me from doing this. For instance, the Vista EULA stops you from transferring it to a new computer more than twice. Well, I bought a license to use this OS, so why shouldn't I be able to use it on a new computer when I buy/build it? Should I have to pay another $300 for the OS again?
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