23. August 2005 · Comments Off on Intel, Microsoft Give Customers The Fork · Categories: Technology

This from Sander Sassen at Hardware Analysis (reprinted in full):

I’ve described DRM, digital rights management, as the holy grail of the movie and music industry before; it is generally perceived as their ticket to safeguard their inflated profit margins and a tool to breathe new life into their obsolete business models. DRM protected content allows them to control exactly how this content is used, distributed, and above all, can be tracked right down to the individual end user. DRM protected content is protected by an elaborate encryption scheme and can only be unlocked and played back if you follow and adhere to the requirements set forth by the producer exactly. This could mean that he only grants you the right to playback the DRM protected DVD you bought once, or dictates that you can only do so a set number of times. For DRM to work however, especially on the PC, you’d ideally need hardware support, so that both hard- and software work together to make sure the protection scheme is in no way circumvented.

Up until now the movie and music industry has been unable to partner with the likes of Microsoft or Intel to make this a reality. Microsoft’s Windows XP featured DRM, but only on a software level and Intel has hinted at a platform with DRM for a few years now, but never followed through with the concept. With the arrival of Microsoft Windows Vista and Intel’s East Fork concept both Microsoft and Intel have however sold out to the music and movie industry and their unbridled greed. Microsoft’s Vista will, amongst other things, feature something that’s called the Output Content Protection, which is a first implementation of the NGSCB, Next Generation Secure Computing Base, the infamous platform formerly known as Palladium. This prohibits the output of protected video content unless you have HDCP, High bandwidth Digital Content Protection, support on your display. Currently a very small percentage, less than 1%, of shipping monitors support this and hence will allow you to view such content.

Intel’s East Fork concept is the proverbial icing on the cake, adding the needed hardware support to supplement the features as found in Windows Vista. And unlike the concept platform Intel has shown us in the past, East Fork will start shipping in the first quarter of 2006, quite in time for the release of Windows Vista. The combination of the two will mean that you, the end-user, will be royally screwed in every way, shape and form. That’s right, once East Fork and Vista ship you can forget about exercising your fair-use rights, no more converting songs to MP3, no more music downloads to- and from friends and family, no more DivX movies, and the list goes on. But more disturbing is the fact that new content will only be able to playback on the new platform, there, for example, will be no (legal) Linux support or support in other operating systems. Simply because any such media player, able to playback this content, will circumvent the protection scheme that is DRM, which is illegal. Basically fair use and your rights as a consumer are out of the window when East Fork and Vista arrive.

With East Fork Intel has given the music and movie industry the tools to force the consumer to give up its rights and abide by their rules and has handed the keys to unlock the protection scheme to Microsoft. Looking at the track record of the music and movie industry and their watchdogs the RIAA and MPAA you can rest assured that when this platform is introduced they’ll use any possible legal avenue to further limit how you can use their content. And more importantly they’ll also make sure you pay a substantial amount of money for any use of their content that before was labeled as fair use, such as converting songs to MP3 for example. So thanks Intel and thanks Microsoft for selling out, you’ve now clearly shown us that these new features are meant to better your revenue and profits, not the computing experience of the end user. Or rather, you’ve sided with the music and movie industry and their unbridled greed and clearly don’t care one bit about what the end user wants. I guess money talks after all.

Check for updates, I intend to look into this further. And I expect our readers have some pithy comments.

Here’s a good piece from Charlie Demerjian at The Inquirer:

Up the river without a paddle
So, that is what it is, how does it sell you up the river? The first part is DRM. Any DRM on a machine is simply a sign of failure. It signifies that the providers cannot, or will not provide you with a good product at a fair price. People are inherently averse to getting screwed, in the way that Intel is doing mind you, and if you try to screw people, they will avoid you. If you offer them something they actually want, they tend to readily open their wallets. This crushing DRM that is being foisted upon you is the surest sign that you don’t want this product, and you will be paying too much for it. Don’t like that? Bought legislators are hard at work making sure you will go to jail if you try to exercise your rights on the issue.

Remember there was a time when something called fair use existed? Remember when you could rip a CD to your MP3 player to listen to in your car, or while out biking? That was and is called fair use. Breaking down the term, fair means equitable, and use means to use. Both are about to be stripped from you, but you get to pay for the privilege.

Here’s how it works. The record companies, and to a far lesser degree the movie studios, are rapacious greedy bastards that have a failing business model. No, really, look at the numbers, they are on a treadmill where they need bigger and bigger hits to support the 90 plus per cent of projects that don’t make dollar one. Each time, they spend more and more money making the latest plastic knuckle dragger seem cool enough so you will part with your money.

It is getting harder and harder to do, mainly because quality is declining so rapidly. So, rather than go for quality and content you want to buy, they are trying to make it so you have to buy, and crying to legislators that you are evil if you don’t consume how they want, when they want, in the ways that they want. Pay per play has these cretins drooling.

Add in the fact that they completely missed the boat for digital media, obstructed its growth at every possible turn, and sued their prime consumers when they didn’t flock to sup-par offerings at super-par pricing, and you have a recipe for failure. This is exactly what the record companies are doing, failing, and it is richly deserved. Some adapted early, Go-Kart being a prime example, are doing the right thing for the right reasons. The vast majority are not.

In their failing, they are passing laws left and right that make you a criminal for doing things that you were entitled to do up until it did not make several large corporations enough money. Don’t like it? How many Congressmen do you own?

Their excuse it that they won’t enter a market without what they deem as adequate protection. Silly me, it seems that they define adequate protection as charging more for a download than a physical product that has actual costs to produce, ship, stock and sell. It is a flat out sham, and strangely, people are stupid enough to believe it, and buy the fact that the poor record companies will lose their shirts if they so much as dip a toe in the water without DRM. They can’t come in without you giving up your fair use rights.

That is a lie, they voluntarily left, and choose not to enter without you kneeling before them and giving up your civil liberties. It would be laughable if so many people didn’t do just that. A good analogy was one I used on a person giving a speech about DRM a few months ago. I said imagine that during his speech, I walk up on stage with a baseball bat, and for no reason, start hitting him. Then, out of the goodness of my heart, I stop hitting him, does this suddenly make me a nice guy? The record companies are hitting you by not supporting the current prevailing formats, and are asking you to call them nice guys when they stop hitting you. I hope you are not that stupid.

Likely, readers of The Inquirer/i>, or even TDB, for that matter, are far from “that stupid.” The problem is, we make up but a tiny minority of the general public.

Comments closed.