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Vista and the Music Industry 438

Posted by kdawson
from the locked-down dept.
BanjoBob writes "Vista locks down all the DRM functionality and actually reduces the quality of playback of some media. This includes both audio and video content. As a company creating music and video products, how can we use Vista to create, distribute, and use legal media? I have read nothing to indicate that Vista has a model to allow 'authorized' use without causing problems. Currently we use Windows 2000 and Linux products. If what we understand is true, Vista and future Microsoft products won't be viable options for us since prior to publication, media must be copied multiple times, edited, moved around, re-edited and often modified into various forms (trailers, etc.) before, during, and after production. This naturally includes backups and recovery. If Vista is intent on prohibiting these uses, then Microsoft is intent on keeping their products out of the realm of content creation and editing. How do others deal with these issues?"
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Vista and the Music Industry

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  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Monday January 01, 2007 @02:59AM (#17420464) Journal
    DRM is a just tool for content producers. Unprotected media should be entirely unaffected by it. I'd be surprised if the quality reduction wasn't an opt-in feature that only applies to protected media where the producer chooses to enable it. I haven't used it, but I doubt Vista can or would try to prevent an app from decoding and displaying an unprotected video in full quality.
    • by dtfinch (661405) * on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:17AM (#17420530) Journal
      I should add that I switched to Linux in early 2004. I support the right to use DRM like I support the right to commit suicide. If publishers want to cut off their revenue with stupid restrictions then let them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shelled (81123)
        "If publishers want to cut off their revenue with stupid restrictions then let them."

        If it were that simple. There is no 'opt' in 'opt-in'. Content providers in many cases own the hardware companies manufacturing media players or work in concert with nominally unrelated industries such as Microsoft, Phoenix and Intel to create 'standards' which leave the consumer little option. Theses oligarchies are backed by now-federal, criminal law resulting from generations of lobby effort preventing work-arounds. Con
    • That's true, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:35AM (#17420590)

      ...if people want to spread anti-DRM FUD, I say we let them! : )

      But seriously, you're absolutely correct that Vista won't screw with non-DRM'd media. The flip side of that, though, is that Vista's DRM "support" won't do him any good either. Even though Microsoft has been claiming that the DRM will help producers of content like him, I think it's obvious that it'd be just too damn inconvenient.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mysticgoat (582871)

        But seriously, you're absolutely correct that Vista won't screw with non-DRM'd media.

        That's what I used to think, before I began reading about "tilt bits" and the hardware gyrations needed to support that and the other "protected channel" features. Now it seems like

        1. At best, producing content on Vista is going to have much higher up-front costs for hardware than competitors using other OSs will face;
        2. At worst, the product will be inferior if somewhere during the production process any activity unrelated
    • by dtfinch (661405) *
      I made an embarrassing typo. "DRM is just a tool"
    • by arivanov (12034) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:43AM (#17421294) Homepage

      Not just that. That is what Microsoft would like us to believe now as it is making all opponents of DRM square off with the recording industry while it is pushing for a completely different agenda.

      Media playback is not going to be the primary use of Vista DRM in as little as 2 years from now. Vista + MS Office (post 2003) + active directory should provide businesses with a content control solution top to bottom. Data theft will become considerably more difficult, so will data leaks both internal and external. If implemented correctly any data the company values will be locked down using DRM to the company systems with a very strict and effective policy all the way to the desktop using TPM, per machine, per user keys, etc. Any mid-size and large business will jump at the opportunity. They will be idiots not to.

      There are consequences of this:

      • If Linux+Openoffice do not offer a similar solution they will be firmly sidelined to hobbyland or special dedicated server duties regardless. Having an "open" server or word processor in the document and data flows will become a thing of the past.
      • Using the office SDK any non-office document flow including multimedia (the way it is described in the question) can be protected in a similar manner.
      • Sun & Co EU recent competition commission wins will become largely irrelevant because MSFT will sideline them back out of their turf with a single swipe.

      And all this will happen quietly while we are paying attention only to the multimedia side of DRM (which I personally do not give a flying fuck about as dedicated players are way cheaper than a PC compliant to all HD requirements).

      The only way to fight this off is to compete with it on merit - to have DRM top to bottom in the OS all the way to the word processor, mail client and the desktop. If OO wants to be relevant in 2 years it will have to have it in a year from now.

      • by cfulmer (3166) on Monday January 01, 2007 @11:03AM (#17421956) Homepage Journal
        Well, that's a pretty expansive view of DRM, one that covers traditional computer security and encryption. Let me point out the Achilles' heel: you said "If implemented correctly" -- exactly how much work is involved in this correct implementation? How many people need to be trained how to protect information? This is the user population that doesn't understand Word's "Fast Save" feature, yet you are expecting them to understand stuff like user keys? The much more likely scenario is that this DRM will get in the way of what people want to do and they will quickly discover how to create unprotected documents.

        You claim that businesses would be idiots not to jump at the opportunity. There must be a lot of idiots out there -- all the press I'm reading says that business isn't exactly jumping at the chance to move to Vista.

        One of the great lessons of history is that companies fail when they focus on their own desires instead of those of their customers. MS has done this twice: (1) adding obscenely restrictive multimedia DRM when the very large majority of their customers do not want it; and (2) staying in bed with the hardware manufacturers by failing to control OS-bloat, which forces new computer purchases. It may be that Window's dominant market position is enough to drive this through, for now. Or, it may be that Vista starts a shift to Macintoshes. It's just a matter of time -- no company survives forever by not giving customers what they want.
      • by mysticgoat (582871) on Monday January 01, 2007 @01:31PM (#17422932) Homepage Journal

        Any mid-size and large business will jump at the opportunity. They will be idiots not to.

        This needs to be thought through very carefully.

        Most large and mid-size businesses know that a significant number of improvements in their data flows come from individuals developing new templates, spreadsheets, and other tools at home, on their own time. This is often done in the expectation of making their jobs easier (and the somewhat more distant hope of advancement or maybe a small bonus, or at least an honorable mention at the annual dinner furkryesache). These practices will be stopped by the kinds of controls parent post is talking about. The humming workerbees of 2005 will be reduced to the drones of 1985; the bottom-up flow of innovation that made the downsizings of the 1990s actually work, and that continue to have a positive impact on bottom lines, will be blocked.

        Preventing employees from working with data on their own time will be like draining the swamp that sustains a big part of the company's ecosystem. Putting the DRM techniques into action the way parent talks about them would be like a bunch of fishermen ditching an upstream marsh to control mosquitos without bothering to think through where the fish are getting their sustenance.

        As any corporate officer knows, it takes more than a well planned organizational chart to keep a business thriving. The important stuff always begins at an informal level, where undocumented meetings between people in different parts of the company thrash out ideas, separating the kernels from the chaff, and various brews are placed in the dark corners of the cubicles and hard drives to ferment. The good stuff isn't presented to the formal management structure until it has been taste-tested, placed in a sparkling clean mug, and offered up on a fancy coaster with a dainty cocktail napkin on the side. The stuff that doesn't work out is quietly poured down the drain without ever being documented.

        Narrowly channelling data flows so that they cannot escape the corporate organizational chart is a sure way to prevent the cross-channel meanderings that bring forth the system wide improvements. There will be no new brews to delight the corporate palate. There will be no place for these to ferment in quiet, and very little grain to put into the informal thrashing parties.

        Any business that jumps at the opportunity to channelize its data flows is not going to be able to respond as well as its competitors to changes in its environment and is not going to be able to grow. And in business it is either grow or die.

        The DRM techniques parent talks about are an excellent improvement for the silo management structures used by big companies in the 1950s and 1960s. The kind of channelling they provide makes for much stronger silos. But today's business environment favors agility and athletic grace over brute strength, and that means opening up more informal communications networks, not shutting them down.

        Yeah, there are new problems to face wrt securing company data, etc. But these are new problems and they are not going to be solved by improving on antiquated techniques. Businesses need to be looking for something better than the 3/4 horsepower rototiller they now have for plowing their acreage. With Vista, Microsoft appears to be offering to replace that fussy machine with the finest titanium digging stick money can buy.

    • by tjcrowder (899845) on Monday January 01, 2007 @08:44AM (#17421436) Homepage

      I think you didn't read Guttman's article.

      Scenario: Medical imaging, displaying a scan on PC which uses a year-old DVI output (no HDCP). Operator fires up image, and opens a DRM'd ebook or other DRM-encumbered content to reference some information relevant to evaluating the scan. The DVI display is degraded by the PVP-OPM constrictor, because Vista sees DRM'd visual content going out over a non-DRM display (DVI w/o HDCP). Hopefully, the operator understands this and closes the ebook/whatever before reading the scan. Cost impact? Cost of prematurely-replacing hardware (video card and monitor -- possibly more -- so they're DVI+HDCP-compliant), cost of retraining operators to ensure they're aware of the issue, cost of management time spent planning for this, cost of technical support time spent diagnosing intermittent display problems until the issue is well-understood, etc., etc. Not to mention that the new hardware will be more expensive (see ATI's PowerPoint slides [microsoft.com] from WinHEC '05).

      (Guttman's example was playing DRM'd audio to drown out background noise in the office environment, but I suspect Vista's smart enough not to downgrade the video because of DRM'd audio content.)

      No, the sky's not falling. And yes, FUD doesn't only flow from Redmond. But Vista genuinely is set to cause quite a lot of additional costs and loss of productivity at several levels, because a small number of large influential content providers are successfully dictating it and Microsoft, Intel, and others are going along.

      Guttman says that the specs on this constitute the "longest suicide note in history". We'll see.

      • by dtfinch (661405) *
        I saw his article, and decided I'll believe it when I see it. They have no reason to degrade the wrong video, or make the entire screen blurry. That'd actually be a heck of a lot harder to do than to just do it right and degrade only the protected video, and would serve no purpose.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)
        Your "example" problem doesn't actually exist. PVP-OVM doesn't work that way - it downsamples video as part of the VMR9 output path, not by changing the screen resolution or blurring the entire screen.

        Let me reiterate: PVP-OVM (video) does not "down-res" your entire display. PUMA (audio) does not "down-res" your display or downsample your audio.

        Has anyone who is complaining about Vista's DRM features actually USED the product?
    • Re:Unprotected media (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283)
      Unprotected media should be entirely unaffected by it.

      Since Vista is locking down the secure media paths, and degrades paths or shuts them down at the kernel level, I don't think I would want to be in the middle of a Skype call and visit a website with a protected content video of the latest news broadcast that degrades or shuts off the analog hole.

      Maybe it's FUD, Maybe the Fear is real. Can visiting a website degrade or disable your analog audio out, even if it is being used for something else? I'm going
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:01AM (#17420470)
    Sounds to me like you've gotten caught up in the anti-Vista FUD machine. There's aren't evil DRM gremlins in Vista that are going to try to screw you over and mess with your media. All the DRM stuff is of no consequence if you don't choose to use it. Old apps run fine, I've used Sony Vegas at work and it works as it always does (well, you have to screw around to get it to install since it checks for .NET 1.1). There's no problem importing and messing with un-DRM'd audio and video.

    So you can continue to use DRM free tools to your heart's content. The only time you need to start worrying about it is if you want to release content that's protected using the new DRM. Then you'll need to consider what tools you'll need to get for that, what restrictions it'll place on you, etc.

    However you needn't worry about an evil gremlin applying DRM to your files while you sleep. Gutmann is just one of the many out there that dislike MS and are spreading FUD related to Vista. It may indeed be true that the DRM'd media files will suck and be low quality, however if you just don't use them then you'll never have to care.
    • Yes and no.

      If a product doesn't support DRM then Vista may not allow it as a valid application (and can in fact remove the ability of applications to run *after* the fact when they are identified as a problem.)

      Vista can revoke the rights to your editing software when they find out it allows ripping and the authors don't immediately close the hole.
      • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Monday January 01, 2007 @05:51AM (#17420984)
        If a product doesn't support DRM then Vista may not allow it as a valid application (and can in fact remove the ability of applications to run *after* the fact when they are identified as a problem.)


        What the hell are you talking about? There is no such revocation system in Vista - the only thing close is the fact that drivers must be signed in the x64 version.

        Microsoft could certainly push an upgrade that breaks applications explicitly, but this would be blatantly anticompetitive.

        FairUse4WM works fine in Vista, as does nearly every DRM circumvention program that I've tried.
      • by kripkenstein (913150) on Monday January 01, 2007 @06:00AM (#17421006) Homepage
        Vista can revoke the rights to your editing software when they find out it allows ripping and the authors don't immediately close the hole.

        Yes, this is one of the tricky aspects of so-called 'Trusted Computing'. To elaborate: one possibility in 'Trusted Computing' is to disallow certain programs from being run. So, if you use editing software that, among other things, can use DRM-ed media, then if a 'DRM hole' (a security breach) is found in that software, it - the entire program - can be 'switched off' remotely. And this will affect you even if you don't use the DRM-related features, i.e. even if all the work you do with it is on DRM-free media of your own.

        I don't believe that we have all the information about the technical details in this area yet. Let's assume for a moment, for simplicity's sake, that what I described above is how it can work. Now, if a DRM hole is found in a program, then Microsoft is in the position of being able to prevent mass copyright infringement by simply pushing a 'critical update' in Windows Update (what could be more critical than upholding the law?). The RIAA/MPAA will demand it, and I don't believe Microsoft will have much choice in the matter but to comply. And this is true even though it isn't in Microsoft's interest to comply - their interest is to keep their customers happy. But just like in P2P lawsuits, the issue will be 'contributory copyright infringement' (and if you think "Microsoft is too big to be sued" - well, the content industry is pretty big too, and anyhow the bigger they are, the more reason to sue them, isn't that how it works?).

        The vendor distributing the program with the DRM hole might 'fix' things by closing the hole, of course, but that might take time. They might, in theory, offer a DRM-free version for people who don't need the DRM features, and that version would always work (probably overly optimistic, I know). But all of this is speculation: we simply have no experience with such circumstances. 'Trusted Computing' is bringing in a completely new set of rules, and anybody's guess as as good as another's.
    • The problem with Vista isn't that it will mess with your unprotectd media, but rather that it might mess with your unprotected media, and when and why that happens cannot always be that predictable or the DRM features that MS has been touting to the big media producers (and being coy about when talking to consumers) will be too easy to break.

      This problem will be especially pronounced for professional content creators because they're going to have a higher than normal probability of needing to (legitimately) work with protected content -- whether it's their own or somebody else's. Again, this is very unlikely to always happen, but it doesn't take that many 'unfortunate coincidences' to turn your average high-strung artist into a paranoid schizophrenic.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by thejeffer (864748)
        Where the hell are you getting this "it might mess with your unprotected media" crap. If your media is unprotected, you can use whatever media player you want to play it, and Vista won't care one little bit. If there's no DRM on the file, Vista DOES NOT MESS WITH IT. Period. End of story. Unless you have some evidence to the contrary, quit spreading this FUD.
        • by Grym (725290) * on Monday January 01, 2007 @05:53AM (#17420988)

          If there's no DRM on the file, Vista DOES NOT MESS WITH IT. Period. End of story. Unless you have some evidence to the contrary, quit spreading this FUD.

          You see, modern computers have this thing you may have heard of called multitasking. Inevitably, this will lead to non-DRM content being processed while DRMed content is also being processed. The problem with Microsoft's implementation is that, when this happens, Vista will apply the downgrading of quality to ALL of the output--not just the DRMed content. And don't think for a minute that this will be an unlikely scenario either. Once proprietary software starts putting DRM on icons or splash videos, this type of interaction will become all but inevitable.

          Here's the relevant part of Dr. Gutman's [auckland.ac.nz] paper on this:

          Alongside the all-or-nothing approach of disabling output, Vista requires that any interface that provides high-quality output degrade the signal quality that passes through it if premium content is present. This is done through a "constrictor" that downgrades the signal to a much lower-quality one, then up- scales it again back to the original spec, but with a significant loss in quality. So if you're using an expensive new LCD display fed from a high- quality DVI signal on your video card and there's protected content present, the picture you're going to see will be, as the spec puts it, "slightly fuzzy", a bit like a 10-year-old CRT monitor that you picked up for $2 at a yard sale...

          The same deliberate degrading of playback quality applies to audio, with the audio being downgraded to sound (from the spec) "fuzzy with less detail" [Note G]...

          Beyond the obvious playback-quality implications of deliberately degraded output, this measure can have serious repercussions in applications where high-quality reproduction of content is vital. For example the field of medical imaging either bans outright or strongly frowns on any form of lossy compression because artifacts introduced by the compression process can cause mis-diagnoses and in extreme cases even become life-threatening. Consider a medical IT worker who's using a medical imaging PC while listening to audio/video played back by the computer (the CDROM drives installed in workplace PCs inevitably spend most of their working lives playing music or MP3 CDs to drown out workplace noise). If there's any premium content present in there, the image will be subtly altered by Vista's content protection, potentially creating exactly the life-threatening situation that the medical industry has worked so hard to avoid. The scary thing is that there's no easy way around this - Vista will silently modify displayed content under certain (almost impossible-to-predict in advance) situations discernable only to Vista's built-in content-protection subsystem [Note H].

          -Grym

          • by jez9999 (618189)
            I'm as anti-DRM as the best of them, but this sounds a bit weird. Why would they bother sending you high-quality content just so Vista could degrade it? Wouldn't they just send you crap quality content in the first place (jokes about most Hollywood/RIAA content being crap anyway aside)?
    • It's ridiculous. Slashdot is supposed to be full of IT competent people, yet most of them cant even understand simple concepts. Heck, I'm barely competent in IT, yet I understand how DRM is implemented in vista and the difference between different versions of Vista, yet I keep hearing this FUD. It's like I'm reading posts from people typing on a 486 using a 10 year old version of slackware.
    • by Grym (725290) * on Monday January 01, 2007 @05:20AM (#17420910)

      Why do people keep insisting that hardware-enforced DRM (like Vista's) is somehow optional, like Active Desktop or ClearType fonts? IT IS NOT.

      Now, I don't expect the OP to read the technical documents behind Vista's "premium content protection" methods and I don't even expect him to read the expert analysis [auckland.ac.nz] he references on the subject, but for God's sakes, I can't believe he's acting as if he's somehow informed on the matter when he says things like:

      There's aren't evil DRM gremlins in Vista that are going to try to screw you over and mess with your media... you needn't worry about an evil gremlin applying DRM to your files while you sleep. Gutmann is just one of the many out there that dislike MS and are spreading FUD related to Vista.

      This is a complete strawman argument. Nobody knowledgeable on the matter has ever claimed this. I specifically implore anyone to find me where Dr. Gutman ever claimed that DRM would be applied to non-DRM files. This mis-characterization of the opposition is academically dishonest in every sense of the phrase.

      Old apps run fine,

      This is not true. Not even MICROSOFT is saying that. In fact, here's what they [microsoft.com] have to say about it: "We have made tremendous investments in Windows Vista to ensure backwards compatibility, but some of the system enhancements, such as User Access Control, changes to the networking stack, and the new graphics model, may require code changes on your part. You should work hard to run as standard user." (emphasis mine)

      It may indeed be true that the DRM'd media files will suck and be low quality, however if you just don't use them then you'll never have to care.

      The fact that the vast majority of hardware you'll be able to buy (regardless of DRM or OS) will be more expensive, less reliable, slower, and fundamentally vulnerable to DDOS attacks is of no concern to you? Well I guess as long as it looks pretty, why should you care, right?

      -Grym

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is not true. Not even MICROSOFT is saying that. In fact, here's what they [microsoft.com] have to say about it: "We have made tremendous investments in Windows Vista to ensure backwards compatibility, but some of the system enhancements, such as User Access Control, changes to the networking stack, and the new graphics model, may require code changes on your part. You should work hard to run as standard user." (emphasis mine)

        I work on the App Compat team at MS. The things that we block apps for hav

    • by Selanit (192811) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:21AM (#17421236)
      If you take the time to read Gutmann's actual analysis [auckland.ac.nz], rather than just the summary on the Inquirer, you'll note that he gives several reasons to object to Vista's DRM requirements even if you never use a single DRM-protected file. For example:

      The specs for DRM support in Vista specify that the OS has to encrypt any protected video data sent to the video card. "Ah HA," you say. "I'll just never use any protected video." Fair enough. But consider this: in the future, any new video card you buy will have to be capable of decrypting stuff even if you yourself never send it any encrypted content. That means that the company that makes the video card has to integrate cryptography capabilities into the video card. Which requires space on the video card's circuit board. That same circuit board space could have been, say, another pixel pipeline or two for faster video rendering - oh well. Congratulations, you're getting less bang for the same buck.

      Except, of course, it's NOT the same buck; it's more buck. Integrating cryptography into a video card will require expertise (expensive), development (expensive), and testing (expensive). And naturally, some cryptography technologies are covered by patents, so the video card company will have to purchase more patent licenses (expensive). Guess who's going to wind up footing the bill for these new expenses? That's right: you, the end user.

      Some of the patent expenses can probably be reduced. nVidia has patents of its own, as does ATI, and SGI for that matter. They can offer to swap patent permissions with companies who hold patents for cryptographic technology. (Assuming that the cryptography companies have any interest in graphics patents.) What's that you say? You're a small company? You don't have a massive portfolio of patents to bargain with? And your budget is limited? Sorry, friend, you're in the wrong line of work. Try McDonald's, I hear they need highly-skilled cash-register operators. (Not that there are very many small upstart video-card companies; breaking into that market is damn hard. Throwing in all this DRM stuff just makes the impossible a teensy bit harder.)

      Slower development times, higher hardware costs, decreased competition ... all those affect you even if you never sully your system with a DRM-protected file. And that's just scratching the surface. Open source drivers are going to get harder to write; the DRM spec breaks Microsoft's own unified driver scheme, requiring a completely unique driver for every possible variant of every possible device; massively increases the required system specs; decreases system reliability; and on and on. It doesn't even do a damn bit of good in the long run; all it takes is one bright hacker with a compiler (and possibly a soldering gun) to figure out some way around it. One compromised system means that Hollywood's precious copies of Soccer Dog: the Movie [imdb.com] will be smeared all over the net. And meanwhile, the rest of us poor schmucks will be paying more for hardware that does less. Great.
    • Old apps run fine (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)
      Today.

      Tomorrow you can expect that to stop, and only 'certified' individuals will get software that will work without DRMizing all the content first. This would be to prevent 'joe user' from doing 'unauthorized' things with his ( err, their ) content.

      Sort of like how you cant buy freon unless you are government certifed.

      Expect dev tools to fall under this same sort of control down the road someday. And before you say 'screw them, ill just use free xyz', when the compiler wont run on the board due to manda
  • News Flash (Score:5, Informative)

    by jfclavette (961511) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:01AM (#17420472)
    Media DRM on Vista is optional. If you don't like it, don't use it. No, your mp3s won't degrade. And you can copy them as often as you wish.

    If you want to spread FUD, at least don't make up EVERYTHING.
    • Re:News Flash (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rucs_hack (784150) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:27AM (#17421256)
      People like doing that though. I just got myself an iPod, and was much mocked by my friends for this, citing several dreadful reasons garnered from the anti Apple Fud vendors, all of which I disproved within a day.

      1: You can't get music back off it.

        - Well actually you can really easily, and organised by artist/album too if you use ipod-access or similer.

      2: You can't use it to transfer files.

        - Wrong again, iTunes lets you do it, but even without that option you can make a folder on the iPod and do that yourself with ease.

      3: iTunes will nuke all your files instantly if you connect it to another computer.

        - Nope, only if you choose to resynch it with a new machine, otherwise it'll leave it as is quite happily.

      So, I win, and the iPod is rather nice with it. I rather suepected that their arguments were a load of dingoes kidneys, and I was right. FUD does serve one useful purpose though. It neatly reveals the easily fooled people.
    • Re:News Flash (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday January 01, 2007 @09:03AM (#17421476)
      Media DRM on Vista is optional. If you don't like it, don't use it. No, your mp3s won't degrade. And you can copy them as often as you wish.

      True, to the best of our knowledge, because it is only common sense isn't it?

      Do you know about Microsoft's Zune?

      It has wireless music sharing - you can send a song to another Zune player wirelessly. Sounds great, right?

      Well, contrary to common sense - Zune infects ALL wirelessly transmitted music with DRM. It doesn't matter if the source was originally infected or totally clean - if you Zune it, it gets DRM.

      And, that's not the only precedent - if you use XP's media-player to rip your CD's, you should check the configuration because it defaults to infecting your rips with DRM. At least it did for the original release and many service packs, I think they eventually did change the default to non-DRM, years later and all.

      If Microsoft is willing to pull stunts like that, then obviously somewhere within MS, someone with a lot of clout believes in a 100% DRM world. How long until the next service pack for Vista tries to do something that actually makes the current FUD into truth?
  • It sounds like what might happen is the big players (huge music labels, etc.) will just pay MS to expedite their company's files and processes, but companies who actually have to compete, and offer real value to their customers to create an alternative get shafted. I guess it's time to popularize the super open formats with average users so we can sidestep this lock down nonsense.
    • It sounds like what might happen is the big players (huge music labels, etc.) will just pay MS to expedite their company's files and processes,

      Because the "trusted path" contains everything from the monitor to the OS kernel, the only way to expedite the processes will be to replace everything. You will have to have special video drivers, a special version of Vista and perhaps special hardware. That's the kind of special that killed off non free Unix. The whole point of M$ was that you could use cheap,

  • You say you are using Win2k and Linux, however you don't state any reasons as to why you need to move to Vista.
    As the old saying goes: If it ain't broke don't fix.
  • by figleaf (672550) on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:05AM (#17420484) Homepage
    and there is no effect on content which is doesn't require provider authorization.

    Is this a new feature?
    Vista can playback a music file with reduced quality if you don't have rights to it.
    I can find no reference to such a feature on Microsoft site. Please post relevant links.

    Previous operating systems completely denied music playback if you didn't have rights.
    Its actually super cool if you now actually play non-authorized files, albeit with reduced quality. /.
    • by darkonc (47285)
      and there is usually no effect on content which is doesn't require provider authorization.

      Unfortunately, there may also be situations in which a driver isn't able to prove that it's got clean media and will, therefore set a 'trouble bit' to indicate that it's 'worried'. This can cause the degradation of the affected media, whether it's properly DRMed or not.

      Part of the problem is that secure DRM is going to essentially require that every step in the chain can prove that it's handling the data correctly.

      • Unfortunately, there may also be situations in which a driver isn't able to prove that it's got clean media and will, therefore set a 'trouble bit' to indicate that it's 'worried'. This can cause the degradation of the affected media, whether it's properly DRMed or not.

        False. Completely and totally false. and FUD.

        Things like "worry bits" and degradation cannot and do not happen unless you are using a protected media path that has been turned on by the media. Without DRM, there is no DRM, thus there is n
  • well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:08AM (#17420488)
    Short answer: OS X. Long answer: Linux, assuming "better" support and/or a "blessed" hardware configuration -- perhaps a "digital media" distribution (yeah, it's been done) that's got more emphasis on high-end audio and video interfaces. Note that OS X has/will have "better" DRM "interoperability" since it's a closed enough platform to make the asset holders comfortable.
  • by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Monday January 01, 2007 @03:09AM (#17420492) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it is FUD, maybe not. I have not heard or seen conclusive proof either way. The "FUD" in question here is the oft-repeated 'fact' that if you play DRM'd content under Vista over a non-DRM-capable connection, such as VGA, DVI, or SPDIF, then *ALL* content going over that connection will be degraded.
  • Do people really care that little about this article, or is this place that dead? I was half-considering going for the "frosty piss", but damn. This is just sad.

    Anyway, is Vista so locked down that you can't have ANY non-DRM'd files? Sounds a bit weird to me...
    • by darkonc (47285)
      No. You can have unprotected files, but there are certain conditions under which Vista (and it's drivers) will "magically" downgrade the quality of any media going across certain paths. Mostly, it should only occur if you're trying to use protected media under 'improper conditions', but sometimes it can occur if the system just thinks that 'something may be wrong'.

      That something wrong might be you trying to tamper with the DRM system, or it might just be because a capacitor someplace got too warm and went

  • Vista restricts playback of *some* media. Media flagged as DRM controlled, in whatever internal fashion that is.

    For those businesses or persons wanting to use it as an industry app, it's easy - just use the raw files your obtained from your source. Because in my industry, I get those files all the time, and if you aren't they have some 'splainin' to do.
  • WOOHOOO...

    Now that said. How do we know it will reduce quality of works created on the system itself? From my understanding, unless the media files themselves have a form of DRM on them, they won't be treated any differently then any other normal file. If you create it yourself as it seems that you would be if you are a marketing/promotion firm, then the protection is whatever you decide the protection will be. Just like in Linux/Unix, if you give it world read/write, well then anyone can read it and modify
  • What of us who use Linux and don't have our OS implement any DRM against the will of the user whatsoever? What's preventing us from doing whatever we like even with "protected" media files (once the system is cracked)?
    • by darkonc (47285)
      You mean besides the law?

      In theory, once the DRM is cracked, either Linux or Windows should be able to do whatever they want with it, but the DMCA says that you'll be looking over your shoulder a lot if you're intending to put the results of that crack out in public view.

      DRM will mostly just prevent honest people from doing dishonest things -- unfortunately, those aren't the kind of people that you have to worry about most.

      There 'always' have been, and probably ever will be professional pirates who wi

  • "Holy crap, good point" -- S. Balmer
  • !first post of 2007
  • Hang on... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:03AM (#17420678) Homepage
    This is tagged "fud", and yet has still been posted to the front page... It is obviously a troll post. Any reasonable person could easily discover that Vista only implements DRM for DRM protected media, not for every random file you create.

    Editors, please... edit?
    • by jb.hl.com (782137)
      You are confusing incompetence for malice yet again. It has long gone past pure incompetence and a wilful spreading of FUD, judging by the number of bullshit Vista articles that get posted daily and do little but offer yet another opportunity for the pale-skinned "Linux-uber-alles" crowd to shoot off another creamy load over just how disgusting Microsoft is.
  • The dumbest, most misguided argument ever.

    There's no DRM in your .wav. There's no DRM in your .mp3. There's no DRM in the CD you burned. There's no DRM in anything that you didn't buy from a DRM-using source. There's no DRM in anything you didn't yourself digitally lock down. There's no DRM in the way to lock you out of content you yourself created, unless you're such a fucking moron that you're going to DRM yourself out of your own content.

    But.. You are dumb enough to ask this question. It is entirely poss
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ewhac (5844)

      There's no DRM in your .wav. There's no DRM in your .mp3. There's no DRM...

      You haven't been paying attention.

      When you "squirt" a song from a Zune, the recipient is only allowed to play it three times, whether the song is Defective Recorded Media (DRM) or a plain, unencumbered MP3.

      Prove that this defect in the Zune will not be "back-ported" to Vista. (Answer: You can't.)

      Vista is untrustworthy. Install and use at your own risk.

      Schwab

      • "Prove that this defect in the Zune will not be "back-ported" to Vista. (Answer: You can't."

        Prove that this defect in the Zune will not be "back-ported" to Linux. (Answer: You can't.)

        I don't worry about not being able to prove something is not going to happen when there's zero evidence that it will.
        • Prove that this defect in the Zune will not be "back-ported" to Linux. (Answer: You can't.)

          Actually backporting Microsoft propriatory code inti Linux is not something Linus nor Steve would approve. GPL rules in the Linux kernel.
      • There's no DRM in your .wav. There's no DRM in your .mp3. There's no DRM...

        You haven't been paying attention.

        When you "squirt" a song from a Zune, the recipient is only allowed to play it three times, whether the song is Defective Recorded Media (DRM) or a plain, unencumbered MP3.

        True, but irrelevant. Anyone who buys a Zune is an idiot. Anyone who "squirts" a file to another Zune is an idiot. The acts of idiots is of no concern to me or any other rational person.

        Prove that this defect in t

  • by Weirsbaski (585954) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:15AM (#17420712)
    As a company creating music and video products, how can we use Vista to create, distribute, and use legal media?

    You could always buy the development version of Vista. I believe the working code-name was "OSX Tiger".

  • Don't Use Vista (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AC5398 (651967) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:19AM (#17420728)
    If Windows Vista and its DRM can harm your business, don't use them as your OS. Use MACs, or try Linux. Or go with an old version of Windows - XP or ME if you can't get over the Windows addiction.
  • by seebs (15766) on Monday January 01, 2007 @04:35AM (#17420768) Homepage
    "How do others deal with these issues?"

    They use a mac for their production work.

    Duh.

    p.s.: Dear lameness filter: I know it is like yelling, THAT'S WHY THAT WAS IN ALL CAPS.
    • by seebs (15766)
      Er, no, I'm not trolling.

      If you wanna do music production, and one of the major hardware platforms is actively trying to get in your face, use the other one. This is not complicated, and it solves the problem.

      It's not as though you can't get music software for the Mac.
  • First Post (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by phalse phace (454635)
    I have no life.
  • DRM:Trying in every shape and form to stop a music listener from actually listening to the song while still making money.
  • The article asks:

    How do others deal with these issues?"

    As a media professional, I can tell you EXACTLY how I deal with it:

    I use an Apple Macintosh Computer [apple.com]

    RS

  • by hobbesmaster (592205) on Monday January 01, 2007 @05:11AM (#17420886)
    I've used Vista for a while since RTM - I never got stopped by DRM doing anything with media. If you can do it right now in Windows XP, you'll be able to do it in Vista. As it stands, there is no media out there that uses any of the DRM features, and if the blueray/hddvd rollouts are any indication, I don't think we'll see them for a while, if ever. The real problem with Vista right now is that everyone's drivers are complete crap. I took a 30% performance hit on video and audio in Vista compared with XP - Creative and nVidia's Vista drivers are simply horrible (in fact the latter has severe issues with artifacting in games such as Oblivion and Counter Strike:Source. These games work just fine in Windows XP, and my card seems do just fine in Ubuntu using compiz).

    This is the fault of Microsoft somewhat - they completely changed the way their drivers work for sound and video, though I can't imagine that nVidia and Creative are blameless. Systems are going to start shipping with Vista in a few weeks and games do not run properly. I'd imagine that other video intensive things like rendering and editing will run into the same problems.
  • Uh, troll? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Monday January 01, 2007 @06:01AM (#17421008)
    What the hell is this article even about? The new DRM features in Vista include:

    - PVP-UAB (sends video encrypted across the PCIe bus)
    - PVP-OPM (HDCP / ICT support)

    That's it. Protected User Mode Audio is just an update to the Secure Audio Path that's already in Windows XP. Windows Media DRM isn't new, either - every copy of Windows XP already has it.

    I am running Windows Vista right now. The quality of non-DRM content is not "reduced" by Vista. 1080p H.264 videos still play in 1080p. MP3s sound just like they did under XP. I can still record from line in. WMP11 still rips to unprotected MP3s or WMAs. I can still rip DVDs. My XVID/AC3 videos still play. My no-CD patched games still work. FairUse4WM still runs and can still crack WM-DRM.

    Vista has meant absolutely NOTHING for me regarding DRM. DRM-encumbered content is still as easy to break as ever under Vista. You can still write, distribute, and use DRM circumvention programs using Vista.

    There is very little new as far as DRM goes in Vista. This isn't an XBOX 360.
  • Xp does everything ok at the moment, and there are linux distros. why are you itching to go vista ?
  • Until you protect it, its just a bunch of data and can be edited by anything designed to edit it. Suggest you have some technical understanding before making a fool of yourself in public, unless your just trying to spread FUD amongst the stupid.
  • by Jfarro (219817)
    DRM is a system being used for online media outlets...not just by Vista, but by any online stores selling media. Movie downloads, ITunes, Napster, etc.

    Any media you own yourself or have created yourself does not get magical DRM added to it in Vista. If you rip a CD, the default settings for WMP is to not DRM the CD. These settings are easily found and changed.

    I guess I may not understand what the authors issue is. The linked article links to yet another Inquirer article from which I could not gather what
  • Amazing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SimonInOz (579741) on Monday January 01, 2007 @07:43AM (#17421298)
    It seems incredible someone wanting to perform perfectly reasonable activities should turn to Slashdot, of all places, to attempt to get some sort of help.
    Either someone is having a bit of a joke, or, just possibly, Microsoft has truly lost the plot.

    Ok, this is Slashdot. Let's assume MS has lost the plot.

    What have they done - and why have they done it?

    Well, it would appear they have entirely sold their souls to the content owners (not producers). [Note, this assumes they had souls .. and that souls actually exist .. but let's not get into that].
    They have created a computer system so perverted to the content owners' cause it will spend half the power of the hosting computer in checking to make sure no content is inadvertently revealed in some copiable way.
    To this end, they have an extraordinary scheme of in-computer and on-line checking. They will even disable computers if they believe them to be misbehaving. The merest hint of a possibility will cause quality downgrading ...

    Not, personally, a direction I wanted to go in. Or Microsoft to go in, actually (like most people, I actually try to use their systems ... is it me, or does everyone thing the "new and improved" help systems are damned near useless .. it's just me. Sorry. I digress. I'm sure when I used to hit F1 I would actually get something vaguely useful and vaguely relevant, fairly quickly ... nah, surely not).

    But the questions is - why?
    It's possible that someone else sold *their* soul, someone who could put in place laws to force all this to happen.
    Or it's possible that some sort of deal/deals was/were done so MS would get better content. (Before Apple, maybe? Are they really such a threat?)

    It's got to be one or the other, surely.

    Either way, I don't like the sound of it.

  • by ATAMAH (578546)
    I don't really have much to say on the matter...but why on earth are there no posts at all? Surely not everyone is like me ?:)
  • Hi guys, and happy new year. Gutman wrote an article [auckland.ac.nz] about this, which should be required reading when talking about vistas builtin idiocies.
    It goes through how MS with Vista requires drivers to be closed source, hardware to be revokable and quality to be degraded.
    It really should be required reading, before installing any version of Vista

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