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Zune Won't Play Old DRM Infected Files 463

Posted by Zonk
from the do-as-we-do-not-as-we-say dept.
Spritzer writes "According to the EFF, the new Zune portable media player from Microsoft won't play files infected with the old Microsoft DRM. It seems that all of the 'PlaysforSure' media that has been sold and is currently being sold will not play on the Zune. In addition, Microsoft has now advocated violating the DMCA in order to transfer files to the player. Microsoft Zune architect J Allard was quoted as saying there's 'Lots of DVD ripping software out there that encodes to those formats, so the most popular formats out there, whether it's MPEG-4 or H.264, we'll support those.'" ZDNet offers up additional commentary on this revelation.
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Zune Won't Play Old DRM Infected Files

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  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:59AM (#16137799)
    D'oh... that's what I get for not double-checking the URL until AFTER I hid submit. The article you'd want is actually:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/15/16 27248 [slashdot.org]
  • by Otter Escaping North (945051) <otter.escaping.n ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:00AM (#16137805) Journal

    You mean it adds DRM to files I already have? Files not bought through their online store?!

    Based on what I've heard, it's not true that it adds DRM to all files on it. The issue is that it wraps DRM onto files that you wirelessly share with your Zune friends - whether you want it to or not, whether it's permitted to (Creative Commons licencing) or not.

    An article about it at http://www.medialoper.com/hot-topics/music/zunes-b ig-innovation-viral-drm [medialoper.com]

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:01AM (#16137810) Homepage
    I know most of you don't like DRM, but it's not infecting files. It's not a virus/trojan/whatever.

    Normally I'd agree, as long as the files are and always have been restricted. Applying DRM to files that is not restricted, is viral. In fact, it's more "viral" than the GPL ever was, it's infectious by mere aggregation. The closest similarity are to the viruses that lock down your files, holding them hostage against the owner. I am the owner of those files (as far as Zune knows anyway), and Zune has no business applying their locks against me.
  • Re:Hold up a sec (Score:4, Informative)

    by AceCaseOR (594637) <alexander,case&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:13AM (#16137883) Homepage Journal
    Yeah - they should give their hard earned money to the manufacturer before complaining that it's not something they want or would buy.
    Well, it's not even out yet, so unless somebody has pre-ordered a Zune, they haven't given Microsoft any of their hard-earned money yet.
  • by giafly (926567) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:19AM (#16137912)
    Q. Where is Zune going to fit in with people's pre-existing media libraries? What is it going to support? What can we expect when we actually get a Zune and want to be able to use it with the media that we currently have?

    A Lots of DVD ripping software out there that encodes to those formats, so the most popular formats out there, whether it's MPEG-4 or H.264, we'll support those.

    Q When PlaysForSure was introduced, the premise was, we make it simple so that you don't have to worry about whether your player works with the music you're purchasing...

    A. We've also found that there's a category of customers that say, "Give me a brand experience, advertise it to me on television; I want to be part of the digital music revolution, and that solution [PlaysForSure] doesn't work for me." So they're two complementary solutions -- not everyones gonna want Zune and not everyone's gonna want PlaysForSure. They're different paths there, and we're okay with both of them.

    Extracts from The Engadget Interview: J Allard, Microsoft Corporate Vice President [engadget.com]
  • by WebGangsta (717475) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:25AM (#16137966)
    I read over the weekend that MSFT will wrap their own DRM onto *any* file that is uploaded to a Zune player... regardless of what the individual file's copyright says about how it can be distributed.

    This is related to the Zune's ability to share files with other Zune players.

    More info here, all throughout the comments: http://www.zuneinsider.com/2006/09/answers_to_some .html [zuneinsider.com]

    "There currently isn't a way to sniff out what you are sending, so we wrap it all up in DRM. We can't tell if you are sending a song from a known band or your own home recording so we default to the safety of encoding."

  • by oliverthered (187439) <olivertheredNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:34AM (#16138049) Journal
    The last shop I looked at [dixons.co.uk] (and the first)
    didn't have instore notices telling you what format the various players would play, let alone something telling their customers what DRM was.
  • Re:PlaysForSure? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:35AM (#16138053) Journal
    eMusic - which is completely legitimate - plays for sure too on an iPod or any other MP3 player. This is because they sell unencrypted MP3 files.
    Magnatune - which is completely legitimate - plays for sure on any MP3 player too. This is because they sell unencrypted files in most formats (you choose the format when you download).

    eMusic is the second largest legitimate download service, only second to iTMS. Some record labels are quite happy with DRM-less downloads.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:58AM (#16138264)
    So, read the full original interview, and look at the part where the interviewer ask Allard why the Zune don't support PlayForSure.

    Admire the answer.
  • by Pitr (33016) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:58AM (#16138265)
    That is incorrect. If a format has DRM in it, which would be considered both encryption, and copy protection, format shifting would require you 1) reverse engineer the format, which is illegal by the DMCA, 2) undo the encryption, and remove the copy protection, which is illegal by the DMCA, and 3) convert it to a playable format. The last part isn't illegal, although the RIAA would like it to be.

    DRM + DMCA makes format shifting illegal, because circumventing DRM is illegal. If you're just converting from WAV to MP3, or ripping a CD or something, you're in the clear. It's the combination that's the real problem.

    The DMCA sounds like a good idea at first, until you see the loopholes you can drive a truck through. It's made all kinds of reasonable actions illegal, and allowed copyright holders to abuse it for their own ends. It's also law for and about technology, made and approved by people who don't understand it.
  • So, read the full original interview, and look at the part where the interviewer ask Allard why the Zune don't support PlayForSure. Admire the answer.

    Here's the link. [engadget.com]

    Here's the relevant section:
    Q: When PlaysForSure was introduced, the premise was, we make it simple so that you don't have to worry about whether your player works with the music you're purchasing...

    A: That continues to be the premise for devices that are branded in that category, and we think that we've clearly done a lot in that program, where there's a lot of devices out there, there are a lot of services out there, there are a lot of partners, and there are a lot of satisfied customers. We like that program. We've also found that there's a category of customers that say, "Give me a brand experience, advertise it to me on television; I want to be part of the digital music revolution, and that solution [PlaysForSure] doesn't work for me." So they're two complementary solutions -- not everyones gonna want Zune and not everyone's gonna want PlaysForSure. They're different paths there, and we're okay with both of them.
  • by msauve (701917) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:27PM (#16139470)
    not just a pile of comic books, like you.

    The US Copyright Office [copyright.gov] has this to say about the matter (this document is, BTW, the very first hit which Google returns on a search for "DMCA", so your ignorance is not excused) :

    Section 1201 divides technological measures into two categories: measures that prevent unauthorized access to a copyrighted work and measures that prevent unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work. Making or selling devices or services that are used to circumvent either category of technological measure is prohibited in certain circumstances, described below. As to the act of circumvention in itself, the provision prohibits circumventing the first category of technological measures, but not the second.

    This distinction was employed to assure that the public will have the continued ability to make fair use of copyrighted works. Since copying of a work may be a fair use under appropriate circumstances, section 1201 does not prohibit the act of circumventing a technological measure that prevents copying.
  • Re:PlaysForSure? (Score:3, Informative)

    by joe_bruin (266648) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @05:28PM (#16141230) Homepage Journal
    You are 100% correct, the fact that they don't let you see the catalog before signing in is absolute crap.

    Luckily, if you go to their 404 page [emusic.com], you can start searching their catalog from there. Of course, once you do, you will discover (as you suspected) that their catalog has more holes than a fishing net.
  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:05AM (#16144494) Homepage Journal
    Since you are impaired in interpreting plain language English, by "unauthorized access," they are referring to getting content you have not licensed (paid for), NOT media shifting content which you have paid for.

    You're mistaken. CSS and other DRM schemes are [copyright.gov] considered access controls under the DMCA. The "authorized" way to gain access to a CSS-protected work is to play it in a licensed DVD player which can enforce things like Macrovision, region coding, and P-UOPs as required by the CSS license. If you circumvent CSS to access it another way, you're gaining unauthorized access. See MGM v. 321 Studios [eff.org], for example:

    Section1201(b)(1) defines such circumvention, as "avoiding, bypassing, removing, deactivating, or otherwise impairing a technological measure," and 321 states that its software does not avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or otherwise impair a technological measure, but that it simply uses the authorized key to unlock the encryption. However, while 321's software does use the authorized key to access the DVD, it does not have authority to use this key, as licensed DVD players do, and it therefore avoids and bypasses CSS.

    Finally, from the text of the law itself:

    (A) to 'circumvent a technological measure' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner;
    and
    (B) a technological measure 'effectively controls access to a work' if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

    You don't have access to the copyrighted movie stored on a DVD until you decrypt it; decrypting it without the authority of the copyright holder is circumvention; and if you aren't licensed by the DVD CCA to use a CSS key, you don't have that authority.

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