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ddewey
2007-01-30, 11:54
I know it's long and fairly techie, but this is an important read, especially for this community.

Just excerpt to pique your interest:
"The same deliberate degrading of playback quality applies to audio, with the audio being downgraded to sound (from the spec) “fuzzy with less detail”"

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

jjazz
2007-01-30, 12:28
Good post. DRM is just about companies controlling legit users. It's really ridiculous.

This post hints that somebody's already cracked it so I'm sure there will inevitably be a 'fix'.
http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/29/windows-vista-protected-media-path-drm-already-broken/

funkstar
2007-01-30, 15:40
Just excerpt to pique your interest:
"The same deliberate degrading of playback quality applies to audio, with the audio being downgraded to sound (from the spec) “fuzzy with less detail”"
This does not apply to all audio, just to audio with content protection that is being played through an non-secure audio device. So this only really applied to the audio from HD-DVD and BluRay that is flagged with the Image Constraint Token. If the video and audio are not flagged or protected than Vista will not restrict the quality. Or if you are playing the media through HDCP compliant hardware you are also competely fine.

Simple fix: don't buy restrictive media

This is no Microsofts or Vistas fault, it is the movie industry that has given us this.

martman
2007-01-30, 16:01
It is MS's fault too. They have no need to play game with the draconian mesures being touted by the media companies. MS is far to big to be pushed around.

desertrat58
2007-01-30, 17:33
Microsoft wants to control your living room. They have a huge cash reserve. Once they feel confident they can lock-up content with DRM, look out. I'll bet MS eyes movie and music catalogs to purchase, so they can enter the content provider game. A second Sony is the last thing the world needs ...

Vista, hell. I see Linux in my future after all.

MrStan
2007-01-31, 03:12
It is MS's fault too. They have no need to play game with the draconian mesures being touted by the media companies. MS is far to big to be pushed around.

They may be big but non-compliance will cost them large sums of money.

They have already been fined heavily by the EU and whatever side you take in this by complying with DRM they will not have to fight off a law suit which they will probably loose. The costs awarded against them would be based on the potential loss of revenue to the meida companies and given the amount of copies of Windows in use this could equal hundreds of millions of dollars!

Bill may be a bit naive over the problems of good security but I don't think he's totally stupid.

The Media companies also appear to be a bit naive over security issue therefore whatever measures they put in place will probably be broken. So far both SACD and HD-DVD appear to have been compromised, others are likely to follow.

DLORDE
2007-01-31, 03:53
As has already been said, audio and video degradation only applies to protected content. However, as I understand it, there are other aspects of Vista 'security' - also part of the DRM requirements - such as hardware anomaly checking, that load the system at all times, causing a significant performance degradation.

This is particularly annoying to potential users like me, who have no intention of using their PC for playing protected content, and would prefer a system that allows such features to be disabled, or better still, a system that doesn't have them at all.

If I play protected content, it will be on a dedicated box, not a general purpose PC.

totoro
2007-01-31, 06:54
This does not apply to all audio, just to audio with content protection that is being played through an non-secure audio device. So this only really applied to the audio from HD-DVD and BluRay that is flagged with the Image Constraint Token. If the video and audio are not flagged or protected than Vista will not restrict the quality. Or if you are playing the media through HDCP compliant hardware you are also competely fine.

Simple fix: don't buy restrictive media

This is no Microsofts or Vistas fault, it is the movie industry that has given us this.

That wasn't the point of the article. If you read it, you'll see that the author's point was that there are much greater problems MS's decision have caused.

The Smokester
2007-01-31, 07:34
Here's an excerpt from the Linn Records EULA relevant to the current (pre Vista) SOTA of Digital Rights Protection. (Linn Records is selling cd quality and "studio master" quality downloads from their site.)For your interest:

"...We have been testing the only known commercially available system (Microsoft WMADRM) and come to the conclusion that it is neither robust nor "developed". The faults and problems we have encountered are:

The "system" is a two part handshake license agreement that requires Linn and the customer to meet certain technical requirements. These requirements include for Linn:
Check the computer that is downloading the music is "compliant". This means that we must check that the computer that is downloading the music has not been hacked (Microsoft DRM has been hacked quite recently and not for the first time) to remove all DRM information and capability.
We need to interrogate the downloading computer via our web connection and to do this the contact has to be via Internet Explorer (only) which needs to have both ActiveX and cookies turned on. (If customers don't have these system requirements they won't be able to receive the licence to play the music they have bought).
By doing this, Microsoft will then be able to update the customer's computer to remove the hacked files.
There are versions of Windows Media Player in use and only the most recent ones can be checked. If a customer doesn't have this, they will need to download an up to date version of WMP before being able to play their music.
There are many operating systems in use and only some are supported in the test code. Once all three variables (the browser, Media Player and Operating system) are considered it is easy to imagine that we will only be able to download music to a very small subset of contacting customers.
Once we implemented the new system we tested it and it fails to deliver files with the correct "rights". The files we tested did not operate as intended.
Microsoft has dropped support of WMA (the only audio file format that can have the DRM applied) on the Mac platform. (7% of our customers are Mac users). Plug-ins are available but they require considerable user knowledge and skill. These Plug-ins only work on recent Mac operating systems and are third party support rather than Apple or Microsoft.
Microsoft DRM does not wok on a Mac meaning that any music downloaded to a Mac will not play in iTunes even when the Plug-in is used.
WMADRM'd files downloaded to a PC cannot be imported to iTunes for PC meaning that customers cannot add their legitimately purchased music to their iPod. The files only work when imported into Windows Media Player.
There is no other platform independent DRM systems that are commercially available.
As you can see from the above it is our opinion that the Microsoft DRM system does not work and that until such time that something does work our best endeavours to protect our artists' music will be to include the usage rights as above and ask our customers to agree to these rights when making a purchase..."

nano2nd
2007-01-31, 07:52
Microsoft's motives are pretty simple really. I don't believe they are worried about not complying and facing lawsuits from copyright owners for providing systems that do not support DRM. Microsoft want a piece of the action. Whether it is their Zune music store, Xbox Live TV and movie downloads, or some future ITMS style product for the PC/Vista - Microsoft wants to be onside with the music and movie companies so that they can get at some of the revenues.

Apple did the same - the iTunes music store (ITMS) and (to a lesser extent, the iPod) only exist because Steve Jobs implemented the Fairplay (sic) DRM mechanism. If he hadn't, none of the copyright holders would have allowed him to sell their media.

As consumers, we only have a couple of options.

1. Go along with it and face a future where your purchased music, movies etc will only play on "Brand X's" hardware (who reserve the right to change your terms of use post-purchase - look how iTunes got tighter and tigher).

2. Vote with your wallet. In terms of music, buy the media! Stay away from the pay-to-use model. If you own the CD, you can do what you want with it.

3. Fair-use rights. These are being eroded as we speak and Vista/HD is a great example. In the UK, we still have no fair-use rights and, technically, it is illegal to rip your own purchased CDs to MP3. If you have the desire to (and the storage space), HD DVD has been broken now and you can make your own "backups" too.

Toe the line or bend the rules. I know what I'll be doing.

Skunk
2007-01-31, 09:02
Toe the line or bend the rules. I know what I'll be doing.

You forgot 'fight for change'! For example, http://www.eff.org/ or a similar organization in the UK.

I always thought it would be nice if Slimdevices donated money to them, because draconian measures aren't limited to software (see 'plugging the analog hole' at eff). Not to mention Squeezebox, it appears, is already bending the rules in some countries. IANAL so grab the salt.

One day we're likely to wake up and find squeezeboxes are outlawed.

MrStan
2007-01-31, 09:19
As you can see from the above it is our opinion that the Microsoft DRM system does not work and that until such time that something does work our best endeavours to protect our artists' music will be to include the usage rights as above and ask our customers to agree to these rights when making a purchase..."

Linn has already answered it's own concerns Actually there is no necessity for DRM as the content is already fully protected under the current copyright laws. The only problem is to be able to positively indentify the ownership of the material. This can be done with "watermarking" but unfortunately this also alters the content slightly which to me is audiable.

There was one occaision when a certain well known broadcasting organisation suggested to the Media organisations that DRM or Encryption was totally unnecessary and counter productive since there would always be a ways to defeat it and it would have to be constantly patched. Much better to watermark the material and use the law courts which is where any individual cases would end up anyway. Much of the video programme material broadcast at the moment is watermarked and no-one appears to have noticed any degradation. They were told in no uncertain terms that if they wished to continue receiving rights to broadcast films they would go back and continue researching DRM and encryption.

The media companies own the rights to the material and they are not willing to compromise.

MediaPlayer will play the material perfectly well without restrictions if there is no DRM and Vista will do no further checks than XP did. In fact you are likely to notice any performance hit from Vista's checking since by far the most performance is consumed displaying a 3D desktop. The only real issue I have with Vista is its price and why are we in the UK paying the same price in pounds as the States is paying in dollars? I wasn't aware the exchange rate had reached 1:1.

Linn would be wise to issue the material at a reasonable price, under UK law obtaining any further agreement with their customers will not make any difference. It is the price that encourages the pirates, if people think they are being ripped off then they will look for alternatives.

nano2nd
2007-01-31, 09:50
You forgot 'fight for change'! For example, http://www.eff.org/ or a similar organization in the UK.

I always thought it would be nice if Slimdevices donated money to them, because draconian measures aren't limited to software (see 'plugging the analog hole' at eff). Not to mention Squeezebox, it appears, is already bending the rules in some countries. IANAL so grab the salt.

One day we're likely to wake up and find squeezeboxes are outlawed.

You're right - the EFF and similar are doing a great job and we should all do more to support them.

I'm not so concerned about our equipment being outlawed - it would be hard for Big Media/whoever to put the genie back in the bottle so to speak. Thinking about it, my concern is more that the older "open" mediums such as CD will be replaced over time and people like us will be in the minority.

I'm going to sound very old when I say this (I'm just 35 for god's sake!) but I get the impression that the time-short/ADHD "next generation" aren't as concerned about fair use and their rights to "own" media. They are used to paying for ringtones, iTunes etc. The ability to get at the media instantly and at -relatively- low costs are more attractive than the concept of buying a physical CD. Also, what with downloads, single track sales are up and album sales are down.

Big Media would love us all to be "licensing" or "paying to use" media, video etc. All of this however is dependant on them having control over the client device, be it a CD player, PC, console whatever. And the kids today don't mind this if they get their instant gratification.

"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you've destroyed your own monopoly on fish supply". There are some parallels in there somewhere. Big Media want continued revenues, not a one-off sale. Over time, releases will migrate to these new controlled platforms.

bklaas
2007-01-31, 09:57
You forgot 'fight for change'! For example, http://www.eff.org/ or a similar organization in the UK.

I always thought it would be nice if Slimdevices donated money to them

I'm pretty sure they do. When I got my squeezebox, in it was a flyer that said that a portion of the profits had been donated to EFF.

Skunk
2007-01-31, 10:48
I'm not so concerned about our equipment being outlawed - it would be hard for Big Media/whoever to put the genie back in the bottle so to speak. Thinking about it, my concern is more that the older "open" mediums such as CD will be replaced over time and people like us will be in the minority.


Yeah outlawed was a little harsh, I was thinking more along the lines of cease production court order. Probably far-fetched, but I did see Slingbox mentioned on EFF. In my view Slingbox is more than linguistically related to Squeezebox.

I agree; CD will be phased out in favor of mp3, while people who prefer tangible media will have the next generation of DRM laden SACD to enjoy.

Skunk
2007-01-31, 10:52
I'm pretty sure they do. When I got my squeezebox, in it was a flyer that said that a portion of the profits had been donated to EFF.

Hmm. Maybe I should have looked inside the squeezebox. JK!

All I got was a sticker that said mp3 is not a crime.

The Smokester
2007-01-31, 19:44
Quoted from MrStan:
"Linn would be wise to issue the material at a reasonable price, under UK law obtaining any further agreement with their customers will not make any difference. It is the price that encourages the pirates, if people think they are being ripped off then they will look for alternatives."

I willingly pay their price for excellent music at high resolution where I have no tax or delivery charges. I will have no problem honoring their EULA.

Having no DRM probably works for them primarily because their market is so sparce (on a world-wide scale) that there really isn't much social connectivity (and hence "sharing") between customers. Perhaps also they cater to a demographic that can easily afford their downloads and value intellectual property.

Just guessing.

But it is interesting that the conclusion they came to is that DRM really doesn't work (for them) for a variety of technical reasons. The only way it works is if you funnel everything through proprietary software like the iTunes model and many of us really don't want to stick our heads into that noose.

PS How does one do quotes here?

earthbased
2007-01-31, 20:40
I know it's long and fairly techie, but this is an important read, especially for this community.

Just excerpt to pique your interest:
"The same deliberate degrading of playback quality applies to audio, with the audio being downgraded to sound (from the spec) “fuzzy with less detail”"

http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

XP is my last MS OS. I mostly use Mac OS X now (and linux for servers). What ever happened to "fair use" rules?

earthbased
2007-01-31, 20:43
That wasn't the point of the article. If you read it, you'll see that the author's point was that there are much greater problems MS's decision have caused.

IIRC the degradation happens to ANY HD content not played thru HDMI (a moving standard if there ever was one).

Mark Lanctot
2007-02-01, 08:35
Vista, hell. I see Linux in my future after all.


XP is my last MS OS.

Same here. Once support for XP is dropped, I won't be going to Vista. Instead I'll be going to Ubuntu Linux full-time.

Ubuntu is the first Linux distro I can actually see myself using. I tried others years earlier and there was always something broken. In the few years since I first started experimenting with it, Linux has come a long way. By the time XP support is dropped, it'll be even better.

Aside the DRM stuff, all I see in Vista is eye candy. Big whoop.

ddewey
2007-02-01, 08:58
Quoting Mark Lanctot (Mark.Lanctot.2lc1wn1170344401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com):

>
> desertrat58;175965 Wrote:
> > Vista, hell. I see Linux in my future after all.
>
> earthbased;176365 Wrote:
> > XP is my last MS OS.
>
> Same here. Once support for XP is dropped, I won't be going to Vista.
> Instead I'll be going to Ubuntu Linux full-time.
>
> Ubuntu is the first Linux distro I can actually see myself using. I
> tried others years earlier and there was always something broken. In
> the few years since I first started experimenting with it, Linux has
> come a long way. By the time XP support is dropped, it'll be even
> better.
>
> Aside the DRM stuff, all I see in Vista is eye candy. Big whoop.

And all that eye candy is available in Linux too. Check out Beryl (which
you can run in Ubuntu).
http://www.beryl-project.org/

--
http://www.last.fm/user/ddewey

Mark Lanctot
2007-02-01, 13:56
I'm pretty sure they do. When I got my squeezebox, in it was a flyer that said that a portion of the profits had been donated to EFF.

There's a HUGE Slim Devices banner here, right at the top of the page:

http://www.eff.org/thanks/

I don't know how things will change with Logitech at the helm...unfortunately multinationals tend to toe the media company lines.

rkeeney
2007-02-01, 22:45
[QUOTE=ddewey;175828]I know it's long and fairly techie, but this is an important read, especially for this community.]

Interesting article. I guess it's no accident I've been buying only used vinyl lately or working a little harder to find music I can buy in my preferred format (non-DRM FLAC).

Unfortunately, I think we are in too big a minority to make any difference. I see iPods everywhere and most of the users seem completely unaware that in a few years (or less) they will have difficulty playing their purchased music on anything. When I mention that they are only *renting* their music they don't quite understand the concept. Oh well...as long as there are used record stores I'll be happy.

Skunk
2007-02-01, 22:54
There's a HUGE Slim Devices banner here, right at the top of the page:

http://www.eff.org/thanks/


Thanks Mark! Never thought to look there :-)

Slim Devices deserves a pat on the back.

Mark Lanctot
2007-02-02, 06:42
I'm going to sound very old when I say this (I'm just 35 for god's sake!) but I get the impression that the time-short/ADHD "next generation" aren't as concerned about fair use and their rights to "own" media. They are used to paying for ringtones, iTunes etc. The ability to get at the media instantly and at -relatively- low costs are more attractive than the concept of buying a physical CD. Also, what with downloads, single track sales are up and album sales are down.

Big Media would love us all to be "licensing" or "paying to use" media, video etc. All of this however is dependant on them having control over the client device, be it a CD player, PC, console whatever. And the kids today don't mind this if they get their instant gratification.

"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you've destroyed your own monopoly on fish supply". There are some parallels in there somewhere. Big Media want continued revenues, not a one-off sale. Over time, releases will migrate to these new controlled platforms.

That's very interesting and quite true. Yes, there isn't too much of a big stink about DRM among the general public. It's interesting to note what does affect them and does elicit outrage: "why can't I play this on my iPod?" Companies have so far been quite careful to keep these events to a minimum.

The general public don't know and don't really care about DRM - most don't even know what the acronym means (every time it's mentioned in the mainstream media, it's always accompanied by a dumbed-down explanation). Unfortunately the media companies with willing kickback-accepting politicians have moved so fast that DRM is already in place without everyone realizing the full implications. It's too late to fight it, it's already here, and by the time this becomes a problem for the average person he just has to sit down and take it. The media companies will surely find a way to spin it, the public has swallowed the "rental music" concept without much of a fuss, so they can probably be convinced this is in their "best interests" as well.

I'm convinced it has something to do with the general technological and scientific ignorance of society in general these days. We are willing users of technology but very few of us understand it. Media companies have taken advantage of this situation and put a technolgy in place that no one in their right mind would accept if they understood it. All the public knows is "I load the music in my iPod, it plays, what's the problem?"