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DRM: How To Boil A Frog 484

Posted by timothy
from the too-bad-it's-a-decent-artist dept.
symbolic writes "This article on the Register explains their experience with Creative's first attempt at supporting DRM, and also reviews a sneaky little technique for 'easing' DRM into peoples' lives via a free Costello preview CD. Two of the tracks are free from any DRM, but for the two that are DRM-enabled, you have to activate the right to listen to them (up to four times), by accessing a central server via the net. For those in the know, the doublespeak used to inform users of any actions they need to take to enable their DRM rights might be quite amusing. To wit: 'The content you are accessing requires an additional level of security. In order to play it, you will need to update your Digital Rights Management Installation.' Others, however, will think they're getting something, when they're actually having something taken away from them. It's a matter of time to see if consumers will flat-out reject this new 'enabling' technology, or let it seep into and infect their lives like the disease that it is."
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DRM: How To Boil A Frog

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  • Or (Score:5, Funny)

    by sulli (195030) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:01PM (#4315911) Journal
    Just wait until someone posts it up on Kazaa.

    (Note to self: don't buy Creative. iPod works fine.)

  • Why Elvis? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CresentCityRon (2570) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:02PM (#4315918)
    Elvis Costello in his prime was ANTI-establishment, ANTI-big biz and PRO-individual. You can see a lot of that from his interviews and comments.

    Now he's just a tool. And it is funny as well since his music isn't as important as it once was. He could USE some of the exposure P2P offered. Now he'll be known by the masses as the first person who's CD stopped playing after four times. (At least in the UK.)

    "You better do what you've been told. You better listen to your Radio" - EC.
    • Or, in this case (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sulli (195030) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:04PM (#4315935) Journal
      the person whose CD didn't play at all, because everyone threw it out rather than go through all the hassle of playing the WMA files.
      • Re:Or, in this case (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CresentCityRon (2570)
        "They say you better listen to the voice of reason
        But they don't give you any choice
        'cause they think that it's treason." - EC from "Radio Radio"
    • Re:Why Elvis? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:54PM (#4316226)
      This is what really is funny about this whole nonsense. And what I think dooms any of these strategies to failure.

      For two generations at least the music industry has been selling rebellion. Throw off any restraint with regard to authority, parents, morality. They have been in a small way part of what has made North american society what it is.Rebellious, indifferent -- hostile towards authority.

      Now they have to somehow try to live within the society they have created.

      Very very funny.

      Derek
      • Its not so bad for Time-Warner and Sony Music but what about the groups themselves? Its going to be real hard to explain DRM to Rolling Stone.

        BTW does anybody know Rolling Stone, Cream, etc... take on DRM or do they not know about it yet?

    • To contort some Costello lyrics:

      "I was seriously thinking about hiding the computer
      when the switch broke 'cause its old.

      Elvis, you're saying things I can hardly believe.
      I really think its getting out of control..."

      I could go on, but this is just rediculous. I'm gonna have a sore neck tomorrow from shaking my head in dismay all night.

      Now the debate as to whether I want to drive all the way to Atlanta to see him in November :-(.

      "They say you better listen to the voice of reason. They don't give you any choice 'cause they think that its treason." --Elvis Costello
    • Is there a source where we can confirm Elvis being really enthusiastic and supporting this?

      Because if we can't, I'd be reluctant to blame him...as an artist, I know firsthand how we have to give up many of our rights to our labels, studios, publishers, and the rest.

      There's a good chance that Elvis is totally against this, but can't control what the label does with his music once he records it.
  • Rights? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by littlerubberfeet (453565) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:03PM (#4315927)
    Now, if I remember correctly, we have the right to make backup copies of media, right?

    Has this simple little fact gotten lost among all the complexities of the DRM stuff? So, tell me, where is the class-action lawsuit for consumers?
    Damn, now I sound like a troll, oh well
    • Re:Rights? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dredd13 (14750) <dredd@megacity.org> on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:38PM (#4316146) Homepage
      Fact: you have a right to make backup copies for archival purposes (for yourself only, obviously)

      Fact: nothing requires that it be POSSIBLE for you to do so

      Executive Summary is that if you can break the DRM, you can make a backup copy.

      Of course, there's conflicting laws (copyright doctrine for years has permitted backups, but breaking the DRM probably counts as a DMCA violation). Which one will take precedence in court, should someone try to beat you up for breaking their DRM to make a backup copy, is left as an exercise for the reader.

    • Re:Rights? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by anto (41846)
      The studios will tell you you can backup your media. However if you gave your backup to someone else then its not going to work without your license (your not going to give them that to - that would be naughty or something) Of course if you loose your licence the studios will be more than happy to give you another one - just after you re-purchase all your media again. Remember this stuff is about terrorism, the american way of life and racking up huge profits for the handfull of multinationals who currently control distribution.

      The best way to beat all of this is to buy *everything* proteted by DRM - and then return it when it dosn't work for you. That way the RIAA dosn't get to claim that theft is causing drops in sales - and the record companies get the message through thousands of expensive returns (and lost income) that the public just wont stand for people messing with their entertainment.
  • Damn... (Score:3, Funny)

    by infornogr (603568) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:06PM (#4315950)
    Damn... I was expecting information on frog-boiling. Videos would've been cool.
  • by raehl (609729) <raehl311 AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:07PM (#4315952) Homepage
    Microsoft recently announced their initiative to protect the content of their users' media through an initiative known as DRM, or Digital Rights Management. "It is absolutely essential that computer users adopt Digital Rights Management as quicly as possible," stated Microsoft spokesman Al Screwum. "Without this software, people's music and videos remain insecure." "It is only a matter of time before rogue black-hat hacker elements maliciously take advantage of this insecurity and replace parts of or even whole songs with other content," stated RIAA spokeswoman Annah Acker. "Imagine trying to listen to Brittney Spears and being forced to listen to Led Zepplin instead - all because someone exploited your unprotected music files!" "I hope this program is available soon," said Microsoft Windows user Nadja Clue. "Just yesterday I was trying to get the latest Christina Aquilera song off of KaZaa, but when I played it, all I got was static! Maybe DRM will stop the people who deleted the song I had to restart my computer 6 times to download!"
  • by rworne (538610) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:09PM (#4315961) Homepage
    Sneaking software onto unsuspecting users' PC's. Adding or removing functions. It seems that the DRM crowd has taken a page off of the crapware/spyware vendors and are encouraging people to install this stuff on their computers.

    I guess it won't be too long before that mega-hit CD has a data track with an unreleased track that requires DRM in order to be played, enabling both the RIAA to get their control over hardware/software and MS to get Windows Media Player more entrenched.

    I'd say who the losers are in this case, but we already know that by now.

    • by Reziac (43301) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @01:43AM (#4317497) Homepage Journal
      Um.. isn't there already a law against "surreptitiously placing anything on a PC that impairs its function" ?? It was aimed at virus authors, but ISTM that sneakware-DRM is just begging to get prosectuted under this same law.

      If you read thru some of The Register's links from the parent article, you'll come to one that speaks of how M$ is positioning itself as the sole purveyor of digital content. I think they're right. The fallout from this is also why barring some radical departure from M$'s current course, XP (and NO service packs) is the LAST Windows version I'll ever use.

  • by I_am_Rambi (536614) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:11PM (#4315971) Homepage
    If you do, then you'll (most likely) end up with the beta of Microsoft's latest DRM player (which youn can't easily get off XP), and you'll also have your settings changed so that your installation facilitates DRM, WMA format and pay per play. But don't worry, it didn't cost you anything.*

    Doesn't this violate the Microsoft agreement? There has to be a way to take Windows Media Player off your computer. If I am correct, there should be a program to illimate the presence of Microsoft products (IE, and that sorts) from desktop/startup menu. The program should also illimate WMP from these areas as well. Does anyone know for sure if this breaks the Microsoft agreement?

    UK Sunday Times newspaper unleashed a neat little trojan that'll upgrade you to Windows Media Player 9

    I always thought trojans are bad. This is no exception. I wonder how long it will take McAfee and Norton to come out with a fix for this.
    • Doesn't this violate the Microsoft agreement? There has to be a way to take Windows Media Player off your computer. If I am correct, there should be a program to illimate the presence of Microsoft products (IE, and that sorts) from desktop/startup menu. The program should also illimate WMP from these areas as well. Does anyone know for sure if this breaks the Microsoft agreement?


      Nope.. note your own words there - "from the desktop/startup menu". All that crap is still on the computer and waiting to jump at the first beck and call. The obvious icons are just removed to give 3rd party software a "chance".
    • I always thought trojans are bad. This is no exception.

      Trojans definitely have their uses!

    • There has to be a way to take Windows Media Player off your computer. If I am correct, there should be a program to illimate the presence of Microsoft product

      one patch [linux-iso.org] and another [freebsd.org]

    • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:37AM (#4317258) Homepage
      Doesn't this violate the Microsoft agreement? There has to be a way to take Windows Media Player off your computer.

      Nope. The Microsoft/DOJ agreement is worthless. Microsoft agreed to give you a way to "hide" things like the Media Player. The exemptions relating to security and DRM leave holes big enough to drive Bill Gates' bank account through.

      Even when something is "hidden" Microsoft can pretty much activate it at will. Click on a DRM file and Media Player jumps right out of hiding. View a .CHM help file or try to patch the latest Windows security hole and up pops Internet Explorer you can get the patch "securely, for your own protection".

      Lets have three cheers for the DOJ. Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay! Hip-hip horay! PTHBBBBBT!

      -
  • creative was becoming one of the better hardware companies over the past few years, coming out with nice sounding soundcards that are well supported under windows, Linux and even beos(well when be was alive anyway- did you know beos had emu10k1 drivers well before linux), but this DRM crap goes to far, disabling the digital out so you its harder to create copies that sound like the original, I don't have a problem with DRM for the most part as long as it stays out of my way. but hardware that cripples itself when something uses DRM is just lame, I think I'm going to go out and get a new soundcard, anyone know of any good brands/chipsets that are well supported under Linux that sound good and costs under 70$
    • MS was pushing this. Creative supports the "secure audio path" stuff, but they didn't invent it. If you don't accept the secure audio path files from Microsoft, then your SBLive will continue to work. When playing non-DRM files (such as MP3 files you encoded yourself) your SBLive will continue to work. Under Linux, your SBLive will continue to work.

      I am not annoyed enough with Creative to get rid of my SBLives, and I'm surprised you are. I guess each of us has to decide where to draw the line.

      steveha
      • maybe I'm just too much a hardware purist, I don't want crippled hardware even if I don't do anything that triggers it becoming crippled, supporting DRM is one thing if you like drm for some reason more power to you, but I feel sorry for anyone who has the audigy connected via the digital out, If DRM takes off game companies will eventually use it as another copy protection device, again something the audigy is good at that will cripple the hardware, if creative was so much afraid of the digital out being used as a copy device they shood not of put a digital out on it to begin with
  • Buy-Bitch-Return (Score:3, Interesting)

    by peterdaly (123554) <petedaly@ix. n e t c o m.com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:12PM (#4315976)
    For the ones with more initiative than myself, it may be time once again for the good 'ol buy...bitch...return, sequence of events. Be interesting to know if they honor returns. Too bad the CD is free.

    Also, go to the review sites on the net and let this info be know about the Soundblaster Live. Amazon's a good place to start, I'm not up to date with all the current popular ones.

    -Pete
  • If they're using Costello to promote DRM, this won't become all that widespread. If they start using combination NSYNC/Britney Spears album, then we're in trouble. Because then the world will be saturated with DRM, noise pollution and the pitter patter of little Britneys banging out their first album against the crib.
  • cd? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dizco (20340) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:15PM (#4315999)
    So, i have to boot up a windows box and connect to the net to play this cd through my 20 dollar speakers and my 10 dollar sound card?

    I can't put it in my cd player and listen to it through real speakers? I can't listen to it in my car?

    Ok, well. I dunno what that is, but its not an audio cd, and I don't know how much it costs, but even if its free, its useless to me. Thanks, but no thanks.

    --sean
  • Don't Do Anything (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PaulQuinn (171592) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:17PM (#4316016)
    Don't use DRM files
    Don't hack DRM files
    Don't pay for DRM files
    Don't do anything with DRM files

    As soon as it's known that DRM content doesn't make money it will tank faster than advertising CPMs.
  • by bogie (31020) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:19PM (#4316030) Journal
    It's funny because as much as everyone complains, its pretty apparent that DRM and Palladium are coming to a computer near you.

    Instead of reading how fucked were going to be, it would be nice if we concentrated on what current efforts are being made to fight for our rights. If Slashdot is going to be posting Y.A.S.O.D.R.M.(yet another story on drm). Maybe they could actually do something positive and once a week post about the ongoing efforts to combat it. You know like "this week X happened", and have it be a ongoing thing.

    I'm not really sure what page to link to, but someone out there must be organized. It would be great if every Friday their was some sort of update we could all follow along with.

    Now I know some of you are saying Slashdot is a "news service" and shouldn't get involved. But gimma a break Slashdot is hardly unbiased and there is obviously no "journalism code" being followed. Amost every submission is heavily biased.

    I dunno /. do you want to be remembered for posting the news, or would you like to be remembered as something that actually made a difference?

    Its just a suggestion, but if I had a website read by billions a visitors a day, I'd try to do some good. Are there other more worthy causes? Sure by far(AIDS,war,education etc), but this IS a tech news site and if there is even going to be opensource news to print about, things like DRM and Palladium need to be stopped now.
    • I think you want something like http://www.mediageek.org/ [mediageek.org] -- it's not specifically about this, but there is a bit of "take-back-the-media" activism on there. Check 'em out.
    • by MoneyT (548795)
      I still say all the subscription money from slashdot should go towards buying a senator so that we can have a voice in congress.
    • Donate to the EFF. Enough said.
    • Instead of reading how fucked were going to be, it would be nice if we concentrated on what current efforts are being made to fight for our rights.

      There's no fight...just keep your money- that alone is more powerful than any law, and best of all, there aren't any loopholes.
    • I think a resource center would be a great idea, particularly if it involved a political organization element.

      There's much deep political organization that needs to take place. So far, there's no political powerhouses (read voting blocks and/or economic drivers) explicitly opposing DRM. In fact, as far as any of us can tell, DRM is great news for hardware and software manufacturers. We need to rustle up some of these, or at least a journalist-joltin spin. The times that consumer protection groups have won against business have almost always involved danger to something with more impact than people's "right" to listen to their CD's through their 48x cdrom.

      Furthermore, almost nobody in this portion of the tech community is proposing solutions that will address people's legitimate concerns about control of their intellectual work - legitimate because there are real reasons for authors to have SOME control over their works in the digital medium. This is what we need to do - give people reasons to go with fair, open solutions for dissemination management rather than these monolithic ones.
    • by twitter (104583)
      ...its pretty apparent that DRM and Palladium are coming to a computer near you.

      No, it is not.

      If Slashdot is going to be posting Y.A.S.O.D.R.M.(yet another story on drm). Maybe they could actually do something positive and once a week post about the ongoing efforts to combat it. You know like "this week X happened", and have it be a ongoing thing.

      The fight begins with information. Slashdot has been great at documenting abuse and potential abuse. They have also been good enough to report news of those who are doing something besides reporting, and they make it all available at zero cost. What larger impact can anyone have besides telling everyone?

      Now I know some of you are saying Slashdot is a "news service" and shouldn't get involved. But gimma a break Slashdot is hardly unbiased and there is obviously no "journalism code" being followed. Amost every submission is heavily biased.

      Huh? what do you want to do besides complain about Slashdot? Why don't YOU start a group and then submit a story about it? Then you might end up with that site or even do some good.

      ...things like DRM and Palladium need to be stopped now.

      That's true, thanks for caring, don't buy that shit.

  • It's a matter of time to see if consumers will flat-out reject this new 'enabling' technology, or let it seep into and infect their lives like the disease that it is.

    OK, I am against DRM too, and will never buy a system with Palladium in it or any DRM-{en|dis}abled media player, but this is ridiculous. If you're going to call it news, please report with some degree of objectivity. The "from the...dept" line is the place for editorial comments. In this case, not only is the title rather suggestive (appropriate, too, but not impartial), but the author goes out and says DRM IS A DISEASE. While I agree, not everyone does, and you will find that your journalism becomes stronger and less controversial/offensive if you smash something subtly (or not at all) instead of openly, especially when the facts speak for themselves.
    • by GigsVT (208848) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:22PM (#4316382) Journal
      The smart people already get it. The time for subelty is over. Leave that to SNL and the satire web sites. We need to get through to everyone, not just the ones that get the subtle in-jokes and clues. DMCA+DRM is a disease that threatens general computing; this isn't about CDs and Elvis Costello, this is about the right to use your turing machine to manipulate bits and bytes how you want it to.

      The government considers computers a weapon, and just like Gun Control Inc. wants to remove weapons from the hands of those who could use them to threaten the social order, the RIAA and MPAA are a harbingers of a larger picture... The disarmament of the public.

      Those in power want to stay in power, and private ownership of high speed turing machines, and firearms, and many other things that are being lobbied against, are a threat that must be eliminated.
    • I've never seen articles from cancer's point of view commenting about how cigarette smoke reduces resistance to spreading throughout the lungs and thus on balance its hard to weigh the plusses for the cancer against the plusses for the normal cells.
  • by grahamsz (150076) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:28PM (#4316082) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know of a tool that can reliably test a CD to see if it meets any of the various *book standards published for CDs.

    That way it'd be real easy to prove that it wasn't a CD-Audio disc and return it.
  • by brain159 (113897) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:30PM (#4316087) Journal
    We get the relevant newspaper (the Sunday Times) in my household so out of boredom yesterday I grabbed said CD, and found the following:

    The article is over-hyped (more than is usual for The Register) - it's not necessary to download WMP9beta to play the "limited" media files, it just offers you that as the default download if you're lacking WMP or are too far out-of-date.

    On WinXP with the default version of WMP (8.1 or something like that), I had to go online and pick up a license file for each track (and fill in a form on a pop-up window for the first one, giving them a BS name and address). There was no super-clever Secure Audio Path stuff when playing back the files on WMP8 and it didn't seem to notice I was ripping the stream to disk with TotalRecorder [highcriteria.com] for later mp3-encoding!

    (to their credit, the audio files on the CD are 192kbit WMA which does sound pretty damn good, even after MP3ing)

    • by GigsVT (208848) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:08PM (#4316314) Journal
      at), I had to go online and pick up a license file for each track (and fill in a form on a pop-up window for the first one, giving them a BS name and address).

      I think you are missing the point of the article, as the Slashdot title implies...

      "How to boil a frog"...

      You turn up the heat slowly.... of course. This time you had to do some annoying stuff, and fill in some bogus info on some forms. It's the "next time" we are worried about.
      • I don't think he's missed the point at all. What's he's saying is analagous to the frog leaving a dummy of himself in the pot, made of broccoli and lettuce leaves, while he jumps out and heads back to the pond. After enjoying a nice warm bath and a cup of Earl Grey, of course.
    • ...sound pretty damn good, even after MP3ing)

      Didn't you mean to say "pretty damn good, even after OGGing"?

      BURN THE HERETIC!

      :-)
  • Ok but my other computer still has an analog in, and I have a nice little cable that will bridge the 2. Start recording on one, play on the other, problem solved. Sure it may not be the absolute best quality but it still allows me to excercise my right to make a backup copy of cds I own.
  • I'm just gonna write to Mr. Costello and explain that I am now unable to hear his music at all. I use linux and they don't play Costello on the radio all that much anymore.

    Last time I heard Costell was during an interview on Fresh Air on NPR.
  • by Headrick (25371) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:38PM (#4316149)
    Many pieces of software are already protected using a license manager or whatnot. Music, like software, is a mathematical piece of art. Like software, it should not be free. If all software was free, I would not be able to pursure my passion as a software developer and still support myself. The analogy is directly applicable to music (I am also an amateur musician). The point is that the DRM must not impede the user's experience. As long as they have the freedom they need to enjoy what they own, I'm all for it. It puzzles me when so many Linux zealots fight so hard for music to be free yet support things like the GPL that they probably don't understand the full ramifications of. Every wonder why BSD is more stable? When I write a song, I want to protect it and protect my rights to it. Why is the medium (audio) being treated with such disdaim when the artist trys to protect themselves. Eventually this will help indy artists as well. Please examine your viewpoint and make sure you're not being a hippocrite. If it takes me 40 hours to develop a piece of software, I expect to get paid. If it takes me 40 hours (probably more) to produce a single I expect to get paid. It is my artwork. Maybe creative doesn't have the right approach but don't discount the notion entirely.
    • by blank_coil (543644) on Monday September 23, 2002 @10:35PM (#4316808)

      It is my artwork.

      No, it's not. Many people had a hand in getting you where you are today. You would know nothing of music if it weren't for people who came before and paved the path. You'd know nothing of musical theory or composition if it weren't for you instructors, who got their knowledge from someone else. The sheet music you study, the instrument you play, and the songs you cover when you're learning, were all made by someone else. If it were illegal to cover a song without written permission, if it were illegal to "reverse engineer" a song, and play the melody on your guitar just by listening to it, just how far do you think you would have made it composing that 40 hour song? What you did was pull together all the knowledge you've gained from others' work, and with that knowledge, you were able to craft something of your own style. The song you made is not your creation, but rather the culmination of knowledge that came before you, guided by your hand. You don't live in vacuum. Physical property belongs to you, but ideas do not.

      • No, it's not. Many people had a hand in getting you where you are today.

        You couldn't be more wrong. The whole of commerce is comprised of commercial entities and the resources they consume (including their own skilled employees, financing, outside expertise, existing technology, research & development, etc.). Bottom line - whatever arrangement exists between an artist and any peripheral resources has nothing to do with the artist's relationship to you, as a consumer. An artist offering a finished work for purchase is no different than any other business transaction. You either accept the terms under which the artist's product is being offered, or you look for something more agreeable.

        Secondly, a musical work is not an idea, it's an expression of an idea, and is therefore tangible in that it can be recorded onto a physical medium. It is this expression that is protected by copyright.

        Finally, show me ONE THING having a method of implementation hasn't somehow been influenced by something before it. The evolution of anything, be it technology, art, or whatever, is really little more than the iterative refinement of methods and ideas that already exist.
  • by danc256 (533961) <chisarickdNO@SPAMdoombridge.com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:43PM (#4316169)
    Divx A few more words... You can read a book written hundreds of years ago, and listen to a record pressed decades ago, because they used simple, open technologies. My single biggest grip about any sort of protection mechanism (aside from inconvenience to me) is that the technologies are so short-lived. If DRM does catch on, how long do you think companies are going to keep the activation mechanisms around? If they want to protect their investment by building mechanisms to prevent illegal copying, they better hang onto them to protect *my* investment so I can listen to my DRM-protected music 40 years from now.
  • I was anxiously waiting to read about that levitating frog hitting some power line and getting fried...
  • by S5o (102998) on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:47PM (#4316191) Homepage
    A few weeks ago, my dad, not a techie by any means, casually brought up the issue of Palladium. "Have you heard about Palladium?" he asked.
    I was ready to go into "Yes, I agree, it's dumb-shit" mode, but the next thing he said shocked me:

    "I read that it lets you send emails to people that they can't forward or copy. It's called Digital Rights Management."

    I've since heard this exact same statement twice more from other, random people, among which, tech-oriented guys that should know better. Somehow, Microsoft marketing has somehow pushed DRM and Palladium as something that /gives/ you rights, and ironically, additional privacy.

    Of course, I told him that how DRM really works, but on a larger scale, the huge "consumer backlash" I've been counting on to end all of these anti-consumer technologies just may be further off than anyone expected. It very well could end up as the next Macrovision: people will think "it's there because copying stuff is illegal, and only bad men want to copy stuff", even after they've bought their 2nd or 3rd copy of the same scratched CD.

    The misinformation campaign is obviously deliberate, and real. And the worse part is, mindshare typically goes with the media, which just happens to be the rights-slayer this time.
    • There's no misinformation, they're just not highlighting some things Palladium might be used for that some might find objectionable. However, Microsoft is NOT setting the rights. Let me repeat that again so it sinks in. Microsoft is NOT setting the rights of intellectual property (other than their own). Palladium is technology, it is amoral. It is up to the content creators to determine what level of DRM, if any, will be set on their works. Personally I see a lot of good coming from Palladium your dad highlighting one of them. Perhaps you should listen more and stop preaching. My guess is your dad is smarter than you think.
    • by Soko (17987) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:41PM (#4316482) Homepage
      Actually, your father and colleagues were correct - Palladium would enable such a thing as stopping people from forwarding and copying e-mail. Possibly good - possibly.

      You really should remind these people that there is no free lunch - they will get, they'll also give. Palladium all on it's own will not discriminate who can use the technology to protect whatever digital things they want. Criminals would have thier e-mails protected just like any upstanding citizen, (Hope Dad's not a Soprano type ;-]) as would other un-savoury factions of society. It would make it harder to obtain and gather evidence against purveyours of child-porn, for instance, since they could protect thier communications as well as thier illicit files. Want to forward the hate-mail you got from the KKK member in the office to your boss or the cops? Nope, sorry, too bad, it's Pd protected. Nope, can't print it either! Now what?

      If they then counter "Well the government/FBI/SomeAuthority will have the keys...", you can explain that Pd isn't much good to begin with then. This isn't FUD, it's truth. It's also a way to show that Pd isn't "good", it's just technology which can only be alligned to the purpose of it's user - which is where the good or evil truly lies.

      Sometimes file copying is good. Where and when this is true takes good, running wetware to figure out properly.

      Soko
      • Your comment brought to mind a disturbing vision involving DRM-protected content that can't be *deleted*, because you don't have rights to do so.

        What an opportunity for entrapment -- just email the victim some kiddie porn (or whatever) that's rigged so DRM won't let him delete it, then call the cops.

        I know this sounds farfetched, but what if DRM eventually incorportates a no-delete/no-format feature (which would probably require hardware involvement) that could be used to *prevent* people [think corporations and mobsters] from deleting "evidence"?? A handy tool for catching Bad Guys, but how far would YOU trust it in the hands of certain law enforcement agencies??

        Yeah, the cops could just as well have used a data recovery agency, but this is SO much easier, can be inspected on the spot, and besides, the perp *might* be a terrorist!

        I think you can see where my train of paranoid extrapolation is headed. I hope I'm suffering from an overactive imagination.

  • by Zakabog (603757) <john&jmaug,com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:56PM (#4316240)
    The title of this story actually makes sense. To boil a frog you can't just throw a live frog into a hot pot of water (it'll jump out). What you do is put a frog in a cold pot of water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog never leaps out because the change is too slowly, then when the water's too hot the frog can't jump out because it's dead (PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BUT I READ ABOUT IT!)

    Anyway what the story title is suggesting is that we're like the frogs, DRM is like hot water. To get us used to DRM (and eventually "killed" by it) they (yeah it's always them) have to introduce DRM slowly so you get used to it, then they add more DRM, then you get used to that, it's a cycle that ends only after it's too late and DRM is everywhere.

    By the way, check google for "How to boil a frog" and you'll find where I got my information from (should be the first result.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 23, 2002 @08:57PM (#4316243)
    FYI: WHQL certification for WinXP audio drivers *requires* that DRM be supported by that audio driver. Also, all drivers downloaded from Windows Update are WHQL certified. Windows update is something that the public is used to. DRM support in kernel mode audio drivers is spreading as we speak. Windows update is seeing to that.

    So not only Creative is involved here. They are merely herded along this path by MS via the leash of WHQL. Don't have DRM kernel mode components on your system? You sure about that? Do you have WHQL (signed) audio drivers for WinXP? Yes? Then DRM has infected your system. :-(

    Just thought you might be interested.
  • Recently, some discussion with legislators have been pushing harddrive manufacturers to do something similar, in efforts to stem piracy. In march of this year, Senator Hollings introduced a bill that would require it. Lookup "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Act"

    This is no different but not legislated, fortunately. It merely means I won't be buying a Creative card when I upgrade.

    I strongly suggest you archive some of Creative's current drivers (without the protection enabled) if you plan on using this card in Windows in the future.
  • by toupsie (88295) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:04PM (#4316288) Homepage
    As long as consumers spend their money on "DRM enhanced" products, they will be viable in the marketplace. So far, that has not happened...yet! The example of the DiVX(?) format was telling. The DVD won out because average consumer was thinking, "Dang it, I bought it, I want to watch the movie as many times as I want, and if my buddy has a movie I want to watch and I got one they want to watch, we trade." With DiVX, they couldn't do it and cost nearly the same as a DVD. Right now, the consumer feels if they are going to the trouble of buying a movie in a tangible medium, it should be able to play anytime and anywhere they want. Once the consumer loses that desire, DRM is in.

    The law is slow, deliberate and generally fails the consumer. However, with the marketplace, consumer demand could easily spell the demise of DRM without having to grease one legislator's palms. Fast. Look at DiVX. If no one buys it, no one will want to make it.

    Maybe I am hopeful, but I don't think the generic consumer is going to think, "Hey! Great! The DVDs and CDs I am buying are protected by DRM. They only work at my house so my pesky friends can't steal them!". Nothing that DRM does benefits the consumer except for the pesky friend problem. Consumers want better, bigger, faster. Not complicated, rigid and limited.

    • "As long as consumers spend their money on "DRM enhanced" products, they will be viable in the marketplace."

      The problem is that there are many customers out there who may be purchasing their very first CD. They could be teenagers, or maybe not. But as new customers they will simply accept this as the-way-things-are, because they will never anything different. I don't know statistics here, but I'm guessing there are probably less than 20% of music/tech types who even follow this stuff. I've asked dozens of people about DRM and the DMCA, and have even managed to get a few to understand, but basically most folks don't realize this is happening and don't know what it is. Microsoft and the other DRM camps are counting on this customer ignorance to push this through quickly before the rest of the world figures how badly they are getting screwed. People that are new to the market will never know of a free net, of a time when you purchased it and it was yours to keep, and they may never find out there was a time when it was different.
  • here [google.co.uk]

    When there's mindless stuff like this been going on for over 10 years... well....

    who knows?
  • I'm the proud used of an SB Audigy Platinum, and was curious to test out what Creative says. Now granted, I don't have the Costello CD (I'm not a fan), but I had no problems - I got a nice digital stream from the TOSLINK out - playing both an MP3 and a CD via WinAmp, Media Player 6, and Creative PlayCentre.

    Funnily enough, PlayCenter, a Microsoft DRM supported audio player has a large button that says "Rip This CD" and allows you to rip directly to MP3 (up to 320kbps). Your other choice for format is (surprise, surprise) WMA, but there's a checkbox that just says "DRM" next to to. According to the help file "Click the DRM option if you wish to restrict the transfer of the audio file. Protected WMA files cannot be transferred to other systems." I'm not sure how/if this works as I don't use WMA (or PlayCenter, for that matter) but it seems odd the for such a pro-DRM player you have the choice not to enable it in their integrated ripping program.

    Also, how do we reckon this would affect motherboard-integrated soundcards. Can MediaPlayer disable the SPDIF coming from it...do ANY motherboard sound solutions support this now?

    • the digital out is only crippled when playing wma 7.1 + files that use DRM, and then only creative cards are affected, mp3/cd/plain wma and everything else works just fine, I don't know if the current creative drivers disable the digital out or if its just future drivers
  • by Kozz (7764) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:08PM (#4316315)
    Microsoft and Intel have already outlined a DRM partnership called CDS [bbspot.com].

    Now that I can actually see happening. How far will we be from this in just a few years?

  • sorry creative... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:09PM (#4316316) Homepage
    Their products have been going downhill for years now... the Live should have been the pinnacle yet was worse sound quality and overall quality than their AWE64 Gold. :-( why?? the Audigy is only a rebranded live with added firewire.

    Now they have DRM devices... Will all of them follow suit? Turtle beach? will they fold? how about the 90,000,000,000,000,000 Korean and chineese and other eastern country manufacturers making the knockoffs? will they all comply? I highly doubt it.

    So the only way to make this DRM stuff work is to either force all manufacturers to comply and design it in, or to make the non compliant cards illegal.. which will increase the sales of them 10 fold, encourage the kiddies out there that can easily outwit college graduates with masters and doctorates and either design a hardware hack or a software crack, or some simply elegant workaround that will put the genius designers to shame (sharpie marker anyone?)

    I am both entertained and appaled at the new era we are beginning... entertained that it is finally proven that the brightest and best people by definition of the large piles of money you have are easily defeated and smacked squarely in the face by children and yound adults. BrRAVO! As I am appaled at the unadultered Greed driving every aspect of industry...

    Intellectual property, anyone who is for it is a greedy self serving bastard that more than likely really isnt creative in the first place. 95% of everything you have and use is based on someone elses IDEA! just because you though up something does not make it your property... where would we be if the current levels of stupidity were running rampant 100 years ago? we would all be driving only FORD cars and trucks, buying anything from outside the USA would be illegal and you would have to watch only one TV channel, one radio station, you would only be able to buy an IBM pc, and own a Zenith Television while listening to your RCA records.. Phillips CD's? Banned as they infringe on RCA's INtellectual property of recording audio on disc shaped objects.

    programmers, your software is not innovative nor special in any way... 90 people did it before you and 90 more will do it after you. Musicians... let's see something origional.... I dare you... and Movies or photography? Oh come on nothing has been origional for 100 years.

    and now we are going to be thrust into the largest black period of creativity all because of some narrow minded dimwits should have been beaten more as children because they cant grasp the idea of sharing....

    I am tired of hearing the 3 year olds screaming "GIMMIE! MINE! MINE! MINE!"

  • by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at. .hackish.org.> on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:10PM (#4316319)
    We already have the MPAA and RIAA mad at us, are you trying to get PETA mad at us too? :-P
  • For the curious, this page [www.gov.sg] explains what is meant by the phrase "How to Boil a Frog".

  • by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hotma i l . com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @09:24PM (#4316396) Homepage
    Two points:
    "The content you are accessing requires an additional level of security. In order to play it, you will need to update your Digital Rights Management Installation.

    "When you click OK, Windows Media Player sends a unique identifier for your computer to a Microsoft service on the Internet. Click learn more to find out how the Microsoft service protects your licenses, files, and your privacy."

    I think this language is very deceptive. By claiming to "protect you" and by claiming they are enabling "additional security", they're implying that you will receive some sort of benefit. What benefit is that, exactly?
    Say you've recorded bought CDs using WMP, and you decide before upgrading to XP you'll do a clean install, so you back up your music files, vape the disk and then do the install. You did back up your licences as well, didn't you? Oh dear...

    This giant PITA scenario illustrates why DRM without force of law is destined to fail: Any solution that requires an end user to think along the lines of an IT department in order to work will not be acecpted by Joe Blow or his family.

    Joe isn't going to get the concept of "digital certificates" that allow him to play his media files, and won't remember to backup his licenses.

    Instead of starting over, re-ripping everything again (hopefully not in WMA) they're going to look for a way around it, and his 10 year old will know where to download the player software that breaks it, and the port to block to keep it from tattling to Microsoft.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that this does suck but it isn't the end of the world. What we need to concentrate on is defeating the laws that will ban non DRM media players.

    As long as we can access non-DRM media players, we are still free. I for one think we should continue to fight like hell to stay that way.
  • This may be entirely coincidental, but the copy of When I Was Cruel that I purchased (sic) in its first week of release refused to play well in my recent-vintage Mac G4 tower. The first two songs sounded as though they'd been recorded using the same deck used to record the Watergate tapes [grolier.com], and the rest had mysteriously long bits drop out suddenly. Nowhere did the package or disk itself state that whether it was copy-protected in any way. So did I return it as defective? Nah, 'cause I was too lazy--and it's not such a great album that I absolutely, positively need to have MP3 copies of it for my own use. Sic transeunt iura digitalia.

  • This FAQ describes what we can do about public servants abusing their power. Includes such goodies as Public Servant's Questionnaire.

    Ver 1.7 seems to be the latest.

    http://www.nettrash.com/users/frogfarm/fffaq.html [nettrash.com]
  • How long will it be before we have great DRM propganda like this:

    http://jeff.whoark.org/images/drmpropaganda.jpg [whoark.org]
  • Elvis Quote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Simulant (528590) on Monday September 23, 2002 @11:01PM (#4316924) Journal
    "Well, that there is no such thing as free music. If a carpenter made a chair and then someone went into his workshop and took it without his permission, that's not free, that's stealing. I think that the Napsters of this world only encourage that."
    -Elvis Costello, 2002

    The man plainly does not get it.

    (http://www.dotmusic.com/interviews/April2002/in te rviews24611.asp)

  • To operating systems that don't support this kind of bullshit.

    I've been using DOS/Windows ever since 1992 or so when I was 12. Before that I used Apple II's. Right now I'm using Win2K because like a lot of people I've just sort of followed the Microsoft upgrade path since then. Windows has done what I've needed it to do, I feel comfortable with it, and I've never had to pay for it, so I've never been forced out of my comfort zone with it.

    I've just never seen a big enough payoff to switch to another operating system. I'm a professional computer programmer, I build my own boxes, and I've even installed Linux on a couple of them, so it's not like there's technical hurdles to running another OS.

    The point is that Windows has been Good Enough (tm) for me, and that there are literally millions and millions of people who continue to use Windows for just the reasons I outlined.

    But now, as Windows gets more and more shitty baggage like this, it stops being good enough. It's actively becoming an obstacle to the things I want to do. I've already given up on PC gaming, because the technical troubles are such bullshit that I'd rather play on a console. The last two games I bought recommended that I "buy a new CDROM drive" as a solution to my problems running the game due to their copy-protection schemes. And this is on top of the typical driver-related and other compatibility issues that have plagued PC gaming since Day One.

    Now, Microsoft is trying to pollute the user experience even further with this DRM stuff. It turns me off even more. I think Win2K is the last version of Windows I'll be using. Linux and/or OSX is next for me. It's funny, proponents and developers of non-Windows OS's have been frantically trying to promote and improve their products in order to get users to switch... but the real key for a lot of people might be once Microsoft actively starts taking *away* things that users take for granted.
  • by sacolcor (471889) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:54AM (#4317326)
    It seems to me that the best way to combat DRM is to politely but firmly let the companies that include it know that we will not purchase their products. Those of us here have (comparitively) a lot of influence on purchasing decisions for hardware and software, both through friends that come to us for advice, and because many of us hold IT positions in our companies. In this case, we need to identity which sound cards have DRM, publicize that fact in any reviews/recommendations we do, and encourage people to buy hardware without such restrictions. So, to get the ball rolling, would anyone like to reply to this post with a recommendation for a good sound card that does not have DRM, and preferably has open source drivers?

    To make my position clear, I just sent the following letter to Creative Labs:

    ---
    I am currently the owner of a SoundBlaster AWE64 Gold, and have been very happy with its performance. I am in the process of purchasing a new computer, and am trying to decide what sound card to get. I just read the story at http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/27232.html, which states that the SoundBlaster Live and Audigy series have built in Digital Rights Management (DRM), which will disable the digital output of the sound card if the card believes that the audio signal is copy-protected. Can you confirm or deny the presence of such restrictions in your cards?

    If your cards do contain DRM, I would like to express my distaste that you have included such restrictions without clearly notifying the consumer of their presence, and state that I will no longer purchase your products as a result, and will recommend that my friends do the same.
    ---

    Why not take a few minutes to send a similar letter? I sent mine to sales@soundblaster.com, but I have no idea whether its valid or not - they don't list many email addresses on their website. Perhaps a followup poster can find a more appropriate address?
  • DRM like DIVX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @12:58AM (#4317346)
    Listen, folks. The individual is intelligent. People in large numbers are STUPID. But, look at it this way: DIVX. I'm not talking about that new system for video that everyone seems to like. I'm talking about the efforts two or three years ago by a company of lawyers to hijack the growing market for DVD by selling a pay-per-view video disc that you could have on your shelf, but you'd have to pay to watch. Did it take off? Nope. In fact, it was quite a flop, and rightly so. Nobody wants to clutter up their home with discs that they own which contain content they must rent. That's stupid. Just go to the neighborhood video rental joint and pick up whatever movie you want!

    DRM is sort of like that. People are gonna get mad... "Why can't I open this stupid file?" Et cetera. And guess what? 99% of the pirates out there are tech-savvy users who know that there are other choices around, like that thing called Linux, and they'll switch from Windows to Linux in a second if it means they can watch the pirated version of whatever for free. And you know what? There won't be any difficulty in obtaining audio, video, pictures or whatever you want. If you can display it on a screen, or play it through speakers, you can record it in whatever format you want. All it takes is for one person in the entire world to do this for a song or movie or whatever and it's out there. DRM is not going to work because it's just plain stupid. We still need to fight, but not against Microsoft. They'll realize the errors of their ways when they're cashing their welfare checks a few years from now. We need to fight against the laws that have already been passed, and those that will be passed, that make copyright, patents and trademark last virtually forever. The limits should be returned to their original values, so that a reasonable number of years after something is published, it becomes public domain so that knowledge and ideas and whatnot in this country can flourish. Not the crap that's going on right now, where the huge crush everybody else, and therefore, widely-used software sucks, because it doesn't have to work properly, and movies suck, because nobody needs to make them intellectually stimulating, etc.

  • by Proc6 (518858) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @02:10AM (#4317554)
    Ive read, and pondered quite some time. And though Im hardly a psychic or market analyst, I honestly think all this crap is as good as taco'd. Let me explain a few points as to why.
    • DiVX. Same idea. They made it as conveinent as possible. You had to dialin once in awhile to verify/bill or your crap stopped working. They wanted a pay per play. And what did people do? /me plays the AOL "Goodbye" sound.
    • Bible Beaters. The "666, mark of the beast" crowd, and the "this is the beginning of concentration camps and serial numbers on the forehead" crowd that showed up at the Pentium serial debacle have yet to make their appearance. They will, and it will be felt. /me plays the AOL "Goodbye" sound.
    • No Working Examples. I can think of no other real examples of a vendor selling a product successfully to the masses for years, then turning around one day and completely handtieing the enduser, stalking the enduser, monitoring the enduser, etc, that continued to make the same, or more money. /me plays the AOL "Goodbye" sound.
    • The Lawndart Example. Lawndarts were extremely popular at one time. They were dangerous, but everyone had some. They sold quite well Im sure. For outside reasons of safety, the manufacturor of lawn darts was forced to change their product to a more hand-tying, watered down version. They made Nerf and plastic lawn darts as replacements. Same product sort of, but less effective as the original. Now how many people own the Nerf lawndarts? No one? /me plays the AOL "Goodbye" sound.
    • Hacker Challenge. All of this, if enabled somehow will amount to the biggest hacker/cracker challenge on the face of the earth. And I have faith in them. I expect a WindowsXP.2004.FritzChipEMU-hacked.RiSE to be quite popular. /me plays the AOL "Goodbye" sound.
    All this boils down to a picture where this crap is halfass tried, and for every $1 they extort from a naieve person who forks over another $600 for a copy of Photoshop to work from home, they'll lose $2 to crackers, disenfrancheised customers, people who've lost interest in having to work to listen to the latest N*Sync DRM CD, and privacy fanatics who won't go near it. And what happens when things lose money in America? /me plays the AOL "Goodbye" sound.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern

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