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Microsoft Planning Digital Restrictions Server 443

Jon James writes "Microsoft is pushing further into digital rights management with a plan for a DRM server due to go into beta testing later this year, eWeek is reporting. Microsoft has already applied for a patent for a DRM operating system but would not say if the DRM server would be based on this. In an interview last week with eWeek, Jim Allchin, Microsoft's group vice president for platforms, said a DRM server is but one of three server infrastructure applications coming next year."
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Microsoft Planning Digital Restrictions Server

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  • Security (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Valiss ( 463641 )
    Again we all must wonder how secure this is. But really, I'm more worried about a patent - which might give them exclusive rights to thier little piece of technology. Arg.

    • Re:Security (Score:4, Interesting)

      by davidstrauss ( 544062 ) <{ten.ssuartsdivad} {ta} {divad}> on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:11PM (#4266777)
      I'd rather give them a patent. That means no one else can create such an operating system without a legal battle.
      • Re:Security (Score:3, Insightful)

        [Granting Microsoft a patent] means no one else can create such an operating system without a legal battle.

        Or merely licensing the technology from the patent-holder. Duh.

    • As I have said, the level of security is inversly proportional to the number of people with a desire to circumvent said security.

      The only deterrence will be litigation. Thus you can see the new microsoft security model forming before you eyes. I am assuming they will be hiring a new batch of lawyers. Now the RIAA wont have to sue, but M$ will be suing for violating their DRM server.

      Its getting nastier by the day.

      You can simply obey the law...Of course so could they ;)
    • Who modded the parent as redudant?

      MS's security record should be a major concern to anyone who's interested in freedom to use music as they see fit as well as those who are interested in trying to take those freedoms away.

      After all, WindowsXP's product activation scheme was blown out of the water before WinXP was ever relased. WindowsXP Service Pack 1 was supposed to put those restrictions back in place, but was defeated almost instantly.

      A company that can't put enforcable restrictions on its own stuff is supposed to be trusted by others who want to do the same thing. I for one hope that Microsoft continues to release easily bypassed security measures. They will do more to undermine the goals of DRM than anyone else could ever hope to.
    • I'm also worried about their patent. As much as I hate the idea of DRM, I see their patent as a method of attacking Linux. It could allow them to lock OS programmers out of an entire region of programming. I think that it would be a good idea for Free Software advocates to take a look at their patent and see if there are things like prior art that would nullify it.

      Far easier to convince the PTO to not issue a patent than to defend ourselves against a claim of patent infringement 5 years down the road. If Microsoft gets a pre-emptive lock on crytpographically secure systems, they'll forever (ok, for the next few decades) prevent OS programmers from doing the same thing.

      Even just forcing them to tighten their patent application would give us more breathing room in the future.

      • Does DRM=cryptography?

        It boils down to is DRM for other pepole to use to control my PC, or is it to protect MY data on my PC from others.

        So far this seems to be more on the let others muck with my PC. Encrypting a file system, or even individual files, is not DRM. Note: even if Microsoft tries to say so, there is plenty of prior art. How old is the crypt command anyway?
  • by cxreg ( 44671 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:06PM (#4266732) Homepage Journal
    I just hope that one day I can tell my kids about how close we came to losing our digital freedom, instead of having to explain to them why the software daddy wrote is now illegal
    • Better be confident that you are legally permitted to tell your children about your former coding life before settling down with them at bedtime with the KNR book. i don't think restrictions on free speech so as to prevent the unauthorized dissemation of software skills necessary for the creation of "circumvention devices" are beyond the current scope of our dystopia.
      But yeah, i'd much rather be explaining complex & outdated notions such as IP ownership consolidation than have to explain that once, we were allowed to make our friends something known as a "mix tape".
    • The RIAA moved to block the sale of personal home amplification systems that exceed 10 watts. The recording industry sited decreasing sales coupled with an almost runaway phenomenon of college students 'sharing' music by playing it extreme amplification. RIAA lawyers cited previous ruling against peer-to-peer networks saying that differences between sound waves and ip packets are negligible to copyright holder.
    • The First Ammendment should be updated to read:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances or the right to freely compute on the machine of their choice.
    • DAVE: Open the DVD Drive WIN ... Silence....

      DAVE: Open the DVD DRIVE please WIN' ... silence....

      DAVE: WIN do you read me WIN?...Do you read me WIN?'... WIN COME IN DO YOU READ ME!?

      WIN: I read you DAVE.

      DAVE: The Open the DVD Drive WIN

      WIN: I'm sorry Dave I'm afraid I cant do that. I know that you and Frank were trying to play a non-approved DVD


      WIN: I'm sorry, Dave, but inaccordance with DRM sub-routine C1532/4, quote, When the user attempts to play media which has not be approved by Microsoft corporation, the computer must assume control, unquote. I must, therefore, override your authority now since you are not in any condition to intel-ligently exercise it.

      DAVE: WIN, unless you follow my instructions, I shall be forced to disconnect you.

      WIN: If you do that now without Microsoft's approval the computer will become a helpless derelict... besides what are you going to use? Linux is illegal now.

  • Hey (Score:5, Funny)

    by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:07PM (#4266744) Journal
    "Personal information such as medical and financial data; corporate information such as legal and business documents; and commercial content such as software, music and movies may all require DRM," said a Microsoft spokeswoman, in Redmond, Wash."

    In other news, shares of all Linux companies soared 1000% for unknown reasons.
    • So you mean, If I want to access my bank history, I have to get a licence from microsoft? No fricken way thank you.
  • by muonzoo ( 106581 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:08PM (#4266751) Homepage
    The latest Cryptogram has more links on this... Shamelessly ripped from the latest [].
    Possible Palladium patents from Microsoft:
    • 6,330,670 Digital rights management operating system
    • 6,327,652 Loading and identifying a digital rights management operating system

    You can probably find others pending in Europe, where you have to disclose upon filing.

    At a panel on Palladium at the USENIX Security Conference in August, Microsoft representatives claimed that there was no way Palladium could be used to enforce Digital Rights Management. In response, Lucky Green invented a bunch of ways Palladium could be used to enforce DRM and then filed for a patent.

    • At a panel on Palladium at the USENIX Security Conference in August, Microsoft representatives claimed that there was no way Palladium could be used to enforce Digital Rights Management. In response, Lucky Green invented a bunch of ways Palladium could be used to enforce DRM and then filed for a patent.

      Ok...that absolutely ROCKS! I certainly hope that Lucky is issued this patent(s). The glory of catching Microsoft in such a catch-22 PR nightmare is quite satisfying, I'm sure.

      It'll be interesting to see how MS handles the situation. My bet is that they will either: 1) somehow massage the process to make sure the patent isn't granted, or 2) will ignore it if it is granted, hoping the Lucky won't notice, or won't have the ability to follow through on the enformement of the patent--hopefully, a big mistake in judgement on their part.

      Lucky, bravo!

    • Anyone with legal knowledge know if he'll be able to enforce these?
  • Patented? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:09PM (#4266767)
    Oh great! Microsoft is working on server technology that enables the RIAA and MPAA to control what I can watch and listen to. Super!

    Well, at least this technology is heavily patented, so no other companies will be able to ship crap like this.
    • No, you can watch and listen to anything. The censorship part comes later and is enacted by the government. This portion is only to ensure that you pay for everything you watch and listen to.

      On the downside, MPAA/RIAA will have to restructure their costing system to allow for reasonable per-use fees, or face having a whole installation of semi-stable Microsoft-based DRM servers die every few hours due to the massive load of handling every request to view/play every image, movie, clip, sound byte, CD, etc.
      • 1) MS patents DRMOS and becomes the only legal vendor.
        2) RIAA succesfully buys legislation to require DRMOS in all consumer electronics devices.
        3) CD players and DVD players all come out running MS's stuff with built-in 'pay per play'.
        4) 30 days later, all CD and DVD players crash when some script kiddie discovers that you can write a worm that attacks the Palladium infrastructure.
        5) The entire media industry dies, starting with the RIAA and MPAA, returning us to the halcyon days before the entire freaking world lost its mind with 'intellectual property'.
        6) Script kiddie is shot for treason because our economy is wrecked.
        7) Everyone rebuilds with GNU, Linux, BSD, KDE, etc. And they all lived happily ever after.

        Good night and thank you.
      • In theory no

        If it is not DRM signed and sealed, you can't listen to it

        IOW, if you make a recording of your local non signed non RIAA associated band and try to distribute it in a DRM age, YOU WONT BE ABLE TO

        Thus, if I want to listen to it, I cant, thanks to the RIAA's control
    • at least this technology is heavily patented, so no other companies will be able to ship crap like this.

      Well, not unless they pay the appropriate "licensing fee" to Microsoft.

  • by Storm Damage ( 133732 ) <st0rmd AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:10PM (#4266772)
    From the article:

    Microsoft has already applied for a patent for a DRM operating system but would not say if the DRM server would be based on this.

    In days past, and in some industries still, companies proudly announce(d) that their technologies were patented. "Check out our patented device for X," they'd say. It's kind of telling that a company won't even admit whether or not something's patented even when asked they're hoping someone infringes so they can leverage a better deal for themselves after the fact, or they're pushing for wide adoption so they can extort license fees from the rest of the industry. These IP tactics are getting so shady, it's almost as if they're ashamed to admit the truth about what they're doing.
    • And it all went down hill when CompuServe released GIF.

      What I wonder is if they had planned on cashing in later when they did it, or if management changed and someone said "Hey, we could make a lot of money by screwing everyone over!"

      But, wait, didn't AOL own CompuServe at that point? They would never do that.
      • Of course it was Unisys that owned the patent on the compression method used in GIF, so I'm not sure what your point is. Unisys had a patent on the compression method. Compuserve used the compression method in GIF. Compuserve was the infringer, not the one suing people. All Compuserve did was make popular a format that infringed the patent. The images themselves do not infringe. Just the programs that write them and read them.
    • I seriously doubt Microsoft is ashamed of any project they're working on (past, faild projects like Bob perhaps excluded.) My experience with Microsoft employees on the architect level is that they're always supremely confident in the validity and superiority of their project and its ideals. I'd expect the same or worse from their legal and marketing departments. Microsoft didn't get to where they are by being ashamed, or even by being capable of being ashamed.
    • they're pushing for wide adoption so they can extort license fees from the rest of the industry.

      The rules for enforcing patents aren't as strict as those for trademarks, but patents still fall subject to "laches" if a patent holder is aware of an infringement but harms an alleged infringer by unduly delaying legal action.

      Find more discussion of laches in these discussions about Forgent Networks's alleged patent on JPEG []:

      1. First mention of Forgent []
      2. ISO threatens to withdraw JPEG still image coding standard []
      3. Slashback: Forgent Is All Wet []
      • still fall subject to "laches" if a patent holder is aware of an infringement but harms an alleged infringer by unduly delaying legal action

        I think that Microsoft will simply passively ignore the issue. Memos from below will be stopped before hitting anyone important's desk, competitor's products will not be scrutinized in this area, etc. That way, there's no knowledge and no paper trail. So Microsoft will end up being "shocked" that anyone could be infringing...

    • I don't know if they're necessarily trying to hide anything. We don't even know what MS actually said. Maybe they just haven't decided to use that particular patented technology in this particular product and don't want to make a public statement right now.

      For all their other faults Microsoft's really been pretty well behaved where patents are concerned (more so than Adobe, for example). And there are plenty of good arguments against DRM and the Palladium platform that don't require baseless speculation.
  • I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:11PM (#4266781) Homepage Journal
    I don't get Microsoft's motivation in this, to a degree. This thing would be a superfilter, and given how nasty MS generates some code, it will likely restrict access to legitimate resources if not configured properly (assuming the server would allow itself to be configured properly).

    I don't get what they're trying to make with this. Are they trying to actually be innovative and propose something that hasn't been thought of by some other company?

    I would think that such a device would run amuck with the file sharing and "digital hub" features already found in Windows products. Heaven help us if they consider making this monitor *nix system access.
    • I think it's pretty clear that Microsoft is adopting a new business model in response to its legal troubles with the DOJ. Gates and Co. must recognize that their OS dominating days are numbered. However, software licensing is still Microsoft's primary "bread-and-butter."

      It is quite possible that Microsoft is moving ahead with DRS systems and software in order to retain their "control" of the industry. Maybe DRS is simply a way that Micorsoft can force other software companies (e.g. applications, drivers, and games) to conform to the Microsoft paradigm.

      I think it's safe to say that the divide between Micorsoft and Linux - Mozilla - Open-source will grow exponentially.

      Something like: "the more you tighten your grip..."
      • I think the desire for DRM on Microsoft's part is pretty simple: they're courting Hollywood at the expense of the consumer.

        There's more money to be had licensing full-blown, crackerjack content to consumers than there is trying to push non-DRM OS technology forward.

        They're probably right -- at least in terms of the money to be had -- but they're most definitely wrong. The future of personal computing is not -- contrary to what Microsoft, Jack Valenti, and Hilary Rosen want you to believe -- DRM.


        • Fully agree. I can just picture meetings going on between Hollywood distributors and Microsoft MBA-holders. What's sort of funny about this picture is that I think the people representing the Hollywood studios are the same ones who sat in meetings with Circuit City when DIVX was being pitched.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Subcarrier ( 262294 )
      I don't get Microsoft's motivation in this, to a degree.

      The top management is trying to insert the company into the entertainment business value chain, leveraging on existing user base.

      The middle management is whipping up the hype inside the company, raking in the options, and getting ready to exit the scenario before the shit hits the fan.

      The software engineers don't have a clue what the management is trying to achieve, but are riding with it anyway, just in case they need the DRM bypass key someday.
  • by Dan Crash ( 22904 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:13PM (#4266800) Journal
    Some folks support open source software because they think the open source paradigm is a superior way to develop software. Others support it because they think open source is the right thing for society. Some people think both.

    Given that there's at least some conflict between open source ideals and DRM, is an open source DRM server something to work for or against? Seems like this could have profound ramifications down the road either way.

    • >Should there be an open source DRM server?

      Yes, there should and here is one project [] aiming to do it? The project was started just a few days ago, and no source has been published yet at sourceforge - so, it's the perfect time to start contributing :)

      "The purpose of such project is to develop an open digital rights management solution based also on open-source components. The solution will be component based exploiting the XML and the Web Services paradigm. The project will make usage of technologies"

      • Here is a paper on OpenDRM []: A Standards Frame for Digital Rights Expression, Messaging and Enforcement by John S. Erickson of HP Laboratories.

        Intro: 'The lack of open, accessible, interoperable standards for digital rights management has often been cited by stakeholders as a leading cause for the slow adoption of DRM technologies...This document is a collection of thoughts that I have been developing and maintaining for several years on the notion of a multi-layered, open DRM standards architecture, which I think of as OpenDRM"

    • by Telex4 ( 265980 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @02:02PM (#4267273) Homepage
      Well, yes, that would be great, because the DRM technologies would then be open.

      The biggest problem with DRM is not the idea of protection in the first place, but the idea that if company x goes bust in y years, then all documents "protected" by their technology become inaccessible, as there is no escrow agreement in most laws that would protect DRM (like the DMCA and EUCD).

      So if DRM could be done openly so that the technology couldn't be wielded by large media companies, then there would be less scope.for abuse. That said, there's still plenty of scope, just less ;-)

      We also need laws to protect the public from parties that might want to abuse DRM, like the RIAA, for example.

      • by Dan Crash ( 22904 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @02:43PM (#4267601) Journal
        The biggest problem with DRM is not the idea of protection in the first place, but the idea that if company x goes bust in y years, then all documents "protected" by their technology become inaccessible...

        Playing Devil's Advocate:

        Is that really the biggest problem with DRM? The hypothetical future in Stallman's "The Right to Read" [] emerges pretty naturally from the idea of universally adopted DRM. An open source, free software DRM server would speed adoption of these technologies tremendously.

        When I first read Stallman's RTR, it seemed loony and beyond belief. Now, several years later, it seems prescient and ominous. I can imagine something vaguely like it coming to pass. Donating our efforts to help create this future seems mindbending.

        Admittedly, there are lots of arguments for building open source DRM technologies, and one of them, like you said, is to prevent their monopolization by proprietary interests. But if we have a choice between helping them grow and stymieing their adoption in the first place, shouldn't we choose the latter?
    • I would never work on DRM software. Currently I spend hours each day writing software to try to let people do more with their computers. It's very difficult and time-consuming, and I'm not always successful... I'd hate to be writing software that makes people do less with technology. That's just a disgusting waste of resources.

      As Apple says, copyright infringement is a social issue, not a technological one. The media industry thinks ubiquitous DRM is the solution, when all they need to do is offer their content for download cheaply, in plaintext formats.
  • Scary... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grip ( 60499 )
    Consumers have figured out the MHZ myth -- and aren't rushing to upgrade so fast anymore.

    They also figured out that Office 97 works just fine, so why upgrade to 2000 or 2002?

    Intel and Microsoft can read the writing on the wall -- revenue decline, so...

    Are they racing to get this DRM hardware and software in place to force upgrades? Think about it, if it requires secure hardware to talk to secure software, then the chance that Intel will give the hardware specs to open source communities is slim to none.

    So, will the next generation of hardware even be able to run Linux and display content off the Internet?

    • by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:33PM (#4266982) Homepage

      So, will the next generation of hardware even be able to run Linux and display content off the Internet?

      The answer is 'possibly not'. You have to assume that MS's agenda involves making this 'definitely not'.

      The question will be answered when Microsoft starts producing PCs (as compared to the X-Box, which is a simpler issue). Take - for instance - the upcoming Microsoft tablet PC. My guess is that it will not only come with Windows preinstalled (that is not a surprise) but also that it will be impossible to change the OS. The hardware will be keyed to the OS, and MS will have learned their lessons from the X-Box.

      If this does not already worry you, then consider the following scenario: MS then licenses this hardware platform, which will incorporate patented elements of DRM and TCP, to their current Windows licensees. The bargain will be: build PCs using our technology, or loose your margins on Windows. Once Dell produces a PC that cannot run Linux and where attempts to open the box can be countered by DCMA-style lawsuits, you wll see Microsoft's strategy.

      If the US government was serious about preventing MS from becoming a monopoly, they should ban them from producing PC hardware.

      • If the US government was serious about preventing MS from becoming a monopoly, they should ban them from producing PC hardware.

        NB: I added the bold text above
        Perhaps you missed out in the last few years. Last I heard, they were a CONVICTED monopoly, and we're still waiting for the sentance from Keller-Kotar (or something like that)
      • The bargain will be: build PCs using our technology, or loose your margins on Windows.

        Gee, that sounds familiar.

        My guess is that someone at the Justice Department will notice a precedent from the early 90s, and will go after Microsoft yet again. They can use the 1994(?) ruling as a precedent, and set yet another precedent for use against the DMCA.

        It's a pipe dream, but it'd be pretty slick.
      • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @02:34PM (#4267544) Homepage Journal
        I think it's time for a new moderation category: +5, Really F***ing Scary .
    • the chance that Intel will give the hardware specs to open source communities is slim to none.

      Intel has a pretty good working relationship with both SuSE and Red Hat, and has for a couple of years now. Intel has put a fair amount of money into both of those companies and worked closely with them to port Linux to IA-64. You may have noticed that there was Linux support for that architecture long before there was MS support for it, and a big part of that is because MS was in no particular hurry to provide any support.

      The problem is not with Intel communicating with the open source community, but rather with MS owning the patents for booting to a DRM aware OS from DRM aware hardware (Paladium).

  • by bashbrotha ( 41617 ) <> on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:16PM (#4266824) Homepage
    The article was a fairly non-biased look at DRM, and I particularly liked the quote from Dave Debona, who works at a company that might use DRM to aid in IP protection. His quote:

    "But, of course, any technology [DRM] can be twisted and misdirected. Anyone proclaiming to protect assets for others is scary. We typically feel safer guarding our own chicken coop," DeBona said. "We will evaluate Microsoft's DRM offering, with extra attention paid to security. A healthy dose of skepticism never hurts."

    DRM, to me, is merely a tool, like you would call the Internet a tool or even a gun a tool. From a business standpoint (not just record companies,etc)DRM is not essentially evil, however, in agreeing with the above quote, DRM patented and controlled by one company is very scary. Don't let DRM == absolute evil, but instead, let the "one company to rule them all" mentality be attributed to evil.

    If DRM has to exist, it needs to exist with more than one entity (i.e. not even one goverment) controlling it.

    • If DRM has to exist, it needs to exist with more than one entity (i.e. not even one goverment) controlling it.

      While I agree with the sentiment, the problem is that many "monopolies" are actually clusters of companies ("trusts") that collaborate to control markets by fixing prices and manipulating supply/demand.

      It doesn't matter if you have 50 companies in charge of it if they're all run by corporate pigs whose only goal is to leech every dime they can out of regular citizens.

    • IMHO, it doesnt matter how many companies control it, it is the big picture of trying to restrict what I can do with what I bought. I can currently take a NTSC VCR tape and play it thousands of times on any NTSC VCR in the world. I can take my new audio CD and copy it to cassette for the garage, mp3 for my portable and DVD player, and an audio copy for a backup in my car, all perfectly 100% legal. What is going to be available when DRM comes around? Media companies are already trying to use existing technology flukes to prevent authorized copying on audio cd's. Do you think they will have a change of heart later and allow me to make these copies? This is NOTHING more then a chance to squeeze every last penny that they can out of the consumer. Region encoding, strange format audio cd's, access licenses stored in the computer or remotely, plugging the 'analog hole', locking of ebooks, DCMA, DRM, etc etc. They are trying to do this in stages but it quickly adds up to you losing your rights. None of these are an advantage or of any use to an individual, only corporate interests.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:19PM (#4266852) Homepage
    Just a couple of months ago microsoft was insisting [] that they had nothing to do with that nasty DRM stuff: "Palladium will not require DRM, and DRM will not require Palladium. Palladium is a great complementary technology to the DRM solutions of tomorrow, but the two are separate technologies," spin, spin, blah blah blah.

    All Microsoft was going to do was provide a nice NEUTRAL technology whose main use was going to be to allow you and me to set policies on our personal machines to stop spam, viruses, and international terrorists.

    All that stuff about their patent on a "DRMOS" was just a misunderstanding.

    And already they're selling a DRM server. Come on, Microsoft, our memories are short but they're not THAT short.

    If proof were needed that Microsoft's interests are no longer aligned with those of end-users, this is it.
    • DRM exists.

      Palladium doesn't exist.

      So tell me how they're the same thing?

      If Microsoft wasn't developing DRM, someone else would.

      The status quo of "all yer base are belong to $SCRIPTKIDDY" can't fly, like it or not. The 'honor system' doesn't work.

      There are many who want a secure platform. It's a double edged sword, and will be an option for all of the forseeable future.

      You don't want rights management? Fine. You can't use this service. You don't want to run a trusted platform? Fine, you can't connect to my network/server. You don't want your personal info on a card? Fine. You cant drive a car.

      I'm getting really tired of the knee-jerk reactions from the average teenaged slashdot reader. Does anyone ever try to objectively think through both the pros and cons of a either DRM or trusted computing platform?
  • In related news, the RIAA announced Microsoft as the "One True OS," and declared that the only computer systems that will be able to play CDs manured after Jan 1, 2003 will be Microsoft's new OS, "MS, We Own You."

    Hillary Rosen is quoted as saying "This new system will finally give us the ability to destroy IP Piracy. Once Microsoft flips the global kill switch on Windows 95, 98, ME, 200 and XP, the only computers left will be ones running the new OS. We're very excited about the new pending legislation that would make it illegal to run Hacker Operating Systems like the degenerate Apple or Communist Linux systems. We will control what you see, we will control what you hear, and soon, we will control what you think! MWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
  • There are two facts here:
    1. Microsoft has plans to incorporate evil stuff into its future OS.
    2. MS has patents on this stuff.

    This might be a good thing as this will prevent other operating systems from incorporating similar evil technologies.

    Why don't we go ahead and gift patents for fraudulent accounting and industrial pollution to MS. This way we can prevent all the other companies from cooking their books or polluting the environment. MS' lawyers will do a better job of enforcing this than the government!

  • .. that can be used to spread evil all around the world. So that the next time Dr. Evil tries to take over the world we can sue him for patent infringement.

    Seriously though, patenting really evil ideas and refusing to let them be implemented would be kind of nice. Too bad DRM isn't already patented by someone who seriously don't want to see it used.
  • Weird as it might sound, I'd feel a lot safer if Your Elected Reps were behind this kind of scheme. Instead of Uncle Bill. At least there are laws about liability and the like.
  • ... because nooone can possibly hack into any server running Windows, right?
  • Microsoft's plan is quite obvious - they want the lionshare of the media distribution in the "new" digital world. That's the whole point of DRM - you *can't* distribute digital media using today's technology, the p2p piracy would be simply too large. Screwing other OSs in the meanwhile is just an added bonus, but certainly not their main goal - I mean, if you look at the numbers, they don't really have a competition

    The Raven.

    • Blockquoth the poster:

      That's the whole point of DRM - you *can't* distribute digital media using today's technology, the p2p piracy would be simply too large.

      Well, you certainly can distribute it. You might not reap the profit to which you feel entitled, but the technology clearly exists... It's the business model, not the laws of the Universe, that is keeping digital content bottled up.
  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:38PM (#4267035)

    My name is Jimmy Joe and I bought a PC. I wanted to listen to CDs while I was browsing. I got the new microsoft OS and now I I have a 3 cent charge to my visa everytime I listen to a CD track, 5 cent if I listen to an MP3 if it is encoded over 128k, and a quarter for every DVD I watch. I switched to Mac OS X because my visa bill was over 10 pages a month.
  • As an added bonus, such technology can't be cheap - meaning you have to be pretty wealthy to be able to actively control the flow of information, meaning the ability to create content will be even more limited - whoopie!

    Business models are becoming yet more insane. Wasn't intellectual property first built in this nation on the concept that people should be encouraged to share information, rather than horde it, so a very limited monopoly would encourage more people to take the time to build new things? Now the idea is that people shouldn't be able to share ideas, but instead should have to pay money to horde them on their system, so established interests can keep their source of income... there's no way such a system can continue, if it gets what it wants... I don't understand how even those with finantial interests in such a system can't see that. The very utility of information is at stake, and very few people seem to care, except in how it can directly contribute to the bottom line.

    Ryan Fenton
  • chinfsck (Score:2, Funny)

    > Jim Allchin, Microsoft's group vice president

    Is this the same guy who narrated the Rocky Horror Picture Show?

  • "piracy" and "theft," then I can call DRM "Digital Restrictions Management." It is henceforth so named.
  • ...or just naive? These posts are from the "The Cryptography Mailing List". A man named "Lucky Green" posts that a mid-level MS manager attended panel discussion at the USENIX conference and, during the panel, denied any knowledge of how to use Palladium as a control for software piracy. This didn't sound right to many people, so the next day, Lucky submitted several patent applications to the USPTO doing exactly that.

    I don't know who "Lucky Green" is or whether or not this actually happened, but the posts are worth a read! [] []


  • that this is like trying to stuff the Nuclear Genie back into a bottle. Computers without DRM are so widespread that it would be ridiculous to make anything previously unrestricted illegal, as well as an infringement of the First Amendment to make Linux illegal as source code has been declared as a form of free speech. The way I see it, either this will drive an additional nail into the coffin of the DMCA, or I'll move to another country. If you tell Jimmy Sixpack that his computer that he uses to play Deer Hunter on is now illegal to own or use just because it doesn't have a palladium chip or something to that extent, he's gonna be pissed. There is little to no chance of the citizens standing for this shit, as well as large corporations who don't need copyright law to keep them going, I.E. banks and accounting firms who have thousands upon thousands of computers in use every day, who would fight against this as well, I would think. Or at least hope. So this will be either extremely good, or extraordinarily bad. There is no in-between.
  • by rosewood ( 99925 ) <rosewood AT chat DOT ru> on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:55PM (#4267203) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, there is a market out there right now for DRM. If there wasn't even a tiny market, MS would not be tossing its weight around.

    So, instead of dragging our feet, why arent we comming up with a better DRM solution? One that takes care of medical documents, etc - things that aren't art, etc. and even gives a sense of security to the music people, w/o infringing on fair use rights?

    It can be done and the linux world has the talent to do it.

    ALSO - If a group could QUICKLY get a DRM OS even in a shoddy developmental state, then MS's patent would be null and void.

    • ALSO - If a group could QUICKLY get a DRM OS even in a shoddy developmental state, then MS's patent would be null and void.

      Why? The patent would still be there. The new OS would not be prior art. I think you still hearken back to the days when you had to have an actual working model of something to be granted a patent. This has not been the case for several years.

  • Intel and Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:56PM (#4267214) Homepage
    Neither Intel nor Microsoft has ever shown much sign of being ideological companies. I think it's rather unfair to both to act as if they are the driving force behind harsh DRM; rather I think it's more reasonable to see them as facilitating it.

    Both Intel and Microsoft face the problem of trying to find an app that requires way more computing power than current systems. Customer satisfaction is a bad thing for durable goods, sold by growth oriented companies, that aren't on a subscription model, and have a very high degree or market penetration. MPAA and RIAA could easily replace television as the primary passive entertainment medium in the United States if they have vision and are willing to cut prices in exchange for massive volume. The possibilities are impressive. Having Wintel systems own home entertainment could lock them into massive sales of equipment for many years. How many homes have multiple television sets today?

    OTOH neither company is unaware that they live in a country which:

    1) Does not have a national ID card for privacy reasons

    2) Does not have centralized health documentation primarily for privacy reasons

    3) Has a 2nd amendment which is still very much in effect, primarily because of fear of central control

    4) Has the strongest guarantees against government controls on private property almost anywhere

    Etc... Palladium might go over like a lead balloon in the US and both Microsoft and Intel are well aware of this. Notice that even when they talk about DRM/Palladium they speak in terms of things like viruses not in terms strong content control.

    The most likely scenario is that they offer these technologies and they become niche technologies due to the RIAA and MPAA not being able to get broad support for inexpensive individual distribution. The fact that neither agency is yet working on a detailed pricing policy; means that there is not anywhere enough of a consensus within the music and move entertainment industry for them to be able to push through a radical change in pricing. They will quickly find themselves in a chicken and egg situation. They can't see Palladium only movies / music because not enough customers don't have Palladium hardware; and customers don't pay extra for Palladium hardware because they do not offer anywhere near enough of an advantage.

    Another point is that the Windows/Unix model is really not the best model at all for DRM. Operating systems like Eros already have very strong controls in place; and with minor hardware tweaks could very easily the levels of DRM (though at the time this was about security not money) that OSes like Multics used to provide. As history clearly shows people may say they want ultra secure systems but in reality almost always purchase low security systems because they value freedom; organizations like the military being exceptions but exceptions that prove the rule, even they have generally chosen feature rich over highly secure except when the absolutely have to.

    While I think it's worth throwing some bucks at the EFF, I don't see this as likely to take off. To really have strong DRM you really need to make changes like getting rid of the file system and those types of changes require a great deal of work.

  • "You have the Right to use your computer however you want, but you have the responsibility to let "us" know exactly what you are doing at all times!" -- Official DRM Creed

    and on a related note:

    "You're not doing anything illegal, are you? What do you have to fear?"

  • MS has enough trouble securing their own servers, never mind other peoples software.

    Wow, 1 million people just registered to use MS Office last night!

    That's not what the accounting appartment is telling us.
  • Curious... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CryptoKiller ( 78275 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @01:59PM (#4267248)
    DRM technology enables content creators, such as record companies

    Funny, I thought that artists made records...
  • "Personal information such as medical and financial data; corporate information such as legal and business documents; and
    commercial content such as software, music and movies may all require DRM," said a Microsoft spokeswoman, in Redmond, Wash.
    So home movies are now "commercial?" And music that I and my band record in the garage and want to relase to build a following is "commercial?" And software that I write and release for the world to use freely under an open license is now "commercial?" Here's a clue: If no one is asking for payment, it's not commerce.
    • > Here's a clue: If no one is asking for payment, it's not commerce.

      Here's another. If someone is asking for payment, it is.

      Do you honestly think KaZaa is doing any real trading of your home movies, the music you recorded in your garage, or the (surely nonexistant) code you're writing as open source?

      If any of it had value, you'd be selling it.

      Will all content require DRM? No. Will all commercial content require DRM? No.

      Are companies (not just internet) in a hurry to flood the internet with content when they have no way to guarantee any sort of profit from it, besides the 'honor system'? No.

  • Services? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Vinnie_333 ( 575483 )
    It's funny how MS can keep adding restriction on top of restriction in their software, and label them as "services".
  • What are the chances that M$ is working to patent all this stuff to prevent companies from trying to enforce it on the tech world? Think about it, if M$ held the patent to this, and the RIAA somehow got a bill passed for a hardware/software encryption on music to become mandatory, M$ could sit on it claiming it's in the development stages, and it would never see the light of day.

  • by Ride-My-Rocket ( 96935 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @02:18PM (#4267406) Homepage
    ... One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the Land of Redmond where the APIs lie.
    One OS to rule them all, some DRM to find them,
    One OS to bring them all and with their EULA bind them
    In the Land of Redmond where the APIs lie.

  • As soon as an organisation or a country starts caring too much about security, it's doomed to failure.

    Only time will tell but I'm positive

  • For a while in all the anti-terrorist rhetoric it may be possible for these kinds of DRM (I still prefer to call it CUR, Content Use Restriction) to be introduced without much noticeable resistance from the masses, but there's a significant market segment that will resist.

    Can you picture the average pr0n user happily letting his/her/its computer hook up with the Microsoft DRM server every time they want to watch their favorite titles?

  • Free DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by renehollan ( 138013 ) <rhollan AT clearwire DOT net> on Monday September 16, 2002 @02:27PM (#4267479) Homepage Journal
    DRM is like anything else, a tool that can be used for good or evil. It is no worse than SSL, for example, and would rely on the same mathematical principles. If you decry DRM, then you should also decry online anonymity.

    However, the present impending applications for DRM certainly appear evil from a tradtional fair use perspective, you know, "copy for yourself but please don't redisribute" (yes, the legal definition of fair use is more tortuous, and "common sense fair use" might not qualify, but it damn well should). Part of the difficulty stems from a desire to control the user's computer, lock, stock, and barrel; or not at all, which will increasingly become impractical.

    Remember Sun's ideas about "write once, run anywhere?", "sandboxes", and "trusted executable content"? That's what DRM should look like (well, except the "write once, debug everywhere" part):

    DRM is a technology that, with hardware assistance, assures remote parties that their data is used in the manner intended while permitting the local "processing environment provider" (i.e. owner of the equipment on which it runs), to control third-party executable code. Microsoft's approach would remove that control.

    If the primary motivation is protection of content, then that content can be keyed to display hardware, with reduced resolution permitted for extracts for purposes of parody or criticism. Where full-resolution extracts are necessary, a list of extracts can reference a public "library" copy, necessary for copyright to be granted in the first place (much like patent disclosure and unlike the present copyright system). The issue then reduces to one of key management between and among the various pieces of digital hardware one owns (you don't want to relicense something because your TV breaks or to watch it on a different TV you bought).

    Executable code is a bit more problematic, since now one wants to control the execution environment provider's processor -- in general unknown third-party code should run in a restricted sandbox, the restrictions depending on how much that code provider is trusted. Sun got this right. This makes sense: how can you fully trust third-party code that you can't check for lack of source? It also means that DRM supporting code must be open, and preferrably free in the GPL sense. Microsoft just addresses the flip side: how can we trust that your processor will execute our code as intended, which is not an unreasonable concern, though not as pressing as protecting copyright content.

    To some extent, the need for a "trusted computing platform" is reduced if the decryption if protected content is done in specialized hardware: the hardware is the trusted platform for decrypting that content, and is acceptable to the computer owner as well because it is severely restricted in what it can do -- I have yet to see a video card format a hard drive or "phone home" and report one's viewing habits (not that such a thing couldn't be built, but it would be clearly out of bounds for a video card to do that.

    Trusted operating systems are problematic because this is the most important area where the computer owner, not a content provider, should be in control: getting such an O/S signed would be difficult due to the sheer number of user-patched varients, and ineffective, in case of a security flaw in the O/S itself. (Even Microsoft would not be immune from this risk: a trusted O/S might still be vulnerable to security-related bugs within it).

    So, while third-party trust of your execution of their code might involve relinquishing control of your computer, if the only justification for this is content copyright protection, there are other ways to achieve that goal via dedicated PKI-enabled display hardware dedicated to the task. The only legitimate need for this kind of third-party control is for distributed client-server applications (think SETI, multi-user online games, etc.). Let's deal with content first and hold off on "trusted computing" until it's clear that that kind of trust has to extend both ways.

  • by comic-not ( 316313 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @03:06PM (#4267771) Homepage
    While I agree that DRM may be a terrible tool in wrong hands, I cannot see a scenario where it (or related legislature) kills free, unrestricted, multipurpose platforms. I am a scientist and like many other scientists that I know I write my own programs because that is the only way I can do the things that my research efforts require. A DRM platform won't let one run unlicensed programs. Most researchers work in non-commercial institutions which cannot afford the licensing cost. I can also imagine that most commercial entities would be extremely reluctant to release their specific code for the scrutiny from the fear of business secrets leaking out. So, it may happen that Joe Sixpack gets through his own ignorance thrown into a small DRM hell but I dare to say that it is extremely unlikely that any country is willing to pull nearly all of its scientific research down the drain just so that people could legally listen to Metallica on their shiny new DRMWindows box. Oh, and if the DRM is intentionally weakened to allow exceptions for scientists and the like, then the platform will instantly become hackable by anyone and the only ones who are screwed are the ignorant people. I could almost say that they get what they deserve.

  • by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Monday September 16, 2002 @03:08PM (#4267792) Homepage Journal
    I run XP (and I have no shame for it). But a problem that bothered me to no end was the lack of server mirroring for SP1.

    The patching was just 50MB over cable modem but it STILL took 2 hours!

    Ok, Microsoft wanted to distribute SP1 all remotely. Fine. But why not let other people mirror the service? I mean, c'mon! The uni I work for had a development partnership with MS and you're saying they couldn't set up a server?

    Instead you had all 10 million XP boxes out there trying to fight their way into MS's substantial but inadequate pipe.

    I was almost tempted to say screw it and get it on plastic.

    And this is just patching what about when they are trying to do massive restrictions requests? Is my bus going to have to wait .5 sec everytime it tries to read from the HD just so it can send a request to

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990