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Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows August 30, 2005

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.
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News.com is running an article about this. It appears Microsoft is putting hooks into the OS that will keep people from being able to Pirate and view pirated movies on Windows Vista. I have been reading some of the comments and Im confused. Nowhere in the article does it say that you will not be able to view content that you own, nor does it say you will not be able to view content that you buy, but simply you will not be able to pirate and view pirated content. Maybe Im confused but how is this a bad thing? The movie industry and the software industry lose billions of dollars to piracy world over. All Microsoft and Hollywood are trying to do is protect Intellectual and Creative properties. I dont see where this will affect a legitimate user at all. Anyone care to explain? maybe im just looking at this to simplistic or too cut and dry.

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1. CyberGeek - August 30, 2005

People are mostly concerned about two things related to DRM.

1) You mentioned in your blog that the article doesn’t say that you will not be able to view content that you own. The article actually does mention something along those lines. Vista will support a protocol that will actually pass video to the monitor in an encrypted form, and then the monitor itself decodes it before displaying it. This is quite secure since you can’t simply plug something into the monitor connection port on your PC and start recording.

Now, not all monitors support this technology. In fact, very few do. Monitors that are being released now are just beginning to include this technology. To address this, content providers will have the option to output video in a degraded format, or not output video at all, if the monitor does not support these security features. This is the first area where people are upset. Even if you legitimately bought the movie, the day may come where you won’t be able to see it at all unless you buy a monitor with these security features built-in. People don’t like the idea that they would be forced to buy a new monitor to see video.

2) People are also opposed to this technology on a purely philosophical level. They argue that they bought their computer and they should have full control over it. They do not like the idea of another entity dictating how their computer is to be used. While that is a legitimate concern, I imagine many people using that argument simply want to be able to easily pirate movies.

There is another reason that some people are concerned, and I suppose I could list this as point 3. In order for an OS to support these encryption technologies, the creators have to get a certificate or something from some organization. I don’t recall the specifics, but in essence you pay them money and then they give you the information you need to support the content. You also have to agree not to disclose how the technology works (obviously.) This creates a problem for free software (free as in speech.) No implementation of this technology can be free software. This means that in order for Linux to support this, it would need to include non-free code. Since the Free Software Foundation is against any non-free software, this isn’t likely to happen. This can result in a significant obstacle to Linux’s adoption as a desktop OS.


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