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Intertrust Plans Universal DRM System 314

Posted by michael
from the one-drm-system-to-bind-them-all dept.
Rushmore and others wrote in with news that Intertrust, which has a large DRM patent portfolio, is planning a universal DRM scheme for consumer electronics.
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Intertrust Plans Universal DRM System

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  • Phew.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:05PM (#7739595) Homepage Journal

    That's good, I was worried that this fancy-pants DRM thing wasn't going to take off.
    • by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:13PM (#7739670) Homepage
      ...than to get the patent lawyers involved.

      • by mausmalone (594185) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:12PM (#7740267) Homepage Journal
        Well, at least if there's a universal scheme we'll only have to crack it once and then we'll all be set. :)
        • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @10:59PM (#7742161) Homepage
          e'll only have to crack it once and then we'll all be set. :)

          No, they want this new "Universal DRM System" to prevent exactly that.

          22. What's TORA BORA? [cam.ac.uk]
          This seems to have been an internal Microsoft joke: see the Palladium announcement. The idea is that `Trusted Operating Root Architecture' (Palladium) will stop the `Break Once Run Anywhere' attack

          The whole thing runs on top of Trusted Computing. They are pushing for this new "Universal DRM system" becuase it is very very different. You will no longer own your own computer or your own devices. They will have a "Trust" chips inside that guarantee them control.

          To "crack the system" you need to dig your own personal encryption key out of the chip soldered to your motherboard. Breif info on one such chip. [atmel.com] See page one "Physical security circuitry" and page 2 where it says "if it has been removed from the PC in any way and can also take actions internally"? That means chip is tamper resistant and programmed to wipe your key if it detects you trying to get at it.

          And lets say you do manage to dig out the key - every computer has a different key! If you dig out your key that only cracks that one machine. One key extracted, one PC liberated. The TORA BORA plan includes plans for "traitor tracing". If you aren't extremely carefull how you use that key they will detect it and revoke that key. Hell, they might even track you down and throw you in prison.

          And before people say they simply won't buy computers with these control chips built in I suggest they look at my other post here. [slashdot.org] In a few of years you may be denied internet access unless you submit.

          -
    • Yeah, good for THEM ... bad for US.

      Say not to Digital Restriction Management!
    • Re:Phew.. (Score:3, Funny)

      by Salsaman (141471)
      Me too. I was worried us poor Linux users mightget left out.
  • by junkymailbox (731309) * on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:06PM (#7739596)

    For those interested:

    Intertrust [intertrust.com] holds alot of United States patents. Those are listed at the USPTO office [uspto.gov]

    They also have a patent litigation [intertrust.com] against Microsoft covered by Slashodot [slashdot.org] earlier

  • Unbelieveable... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by insmod_ex (724714) <mallratssuckNO@SPAMtomchu.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:06PM (#7739601) Homepage
    ...I pay $50 a month for satellite and I cant even record any TV. Thats bullshit.
    • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:09PM (#7739632) Homepage Journal

      I pay $50 a month for satellite and I cant even record any TV.

      Cancel your satellite and be sure to tell them why you're cancelling it. Or keep it. Either way, you're voting with your wallet, it's up to you to decide how you'll vote.
      • Re:Unbelieveable... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Frymaster (171343)
        I pay $50 a month for satellite and I cant even record any TV.

        oh, you'll be able to record... i mean, there are guys in the parking lot of the mall trying to sell me satelite decoders out of white vans every weekend. it'll only be a matter of time (measured in days) before the white van gang have the "satelite recorder" boxes.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:17PM (#7739720)
        For $50 a month you can buy lots of good secondhand books and even a beer to go with them.
        • Re:Unbelieveable... (Score:3, Informative)

          by PCM2 (4486)
          For about $20 a month I subscribe to Netflix. I can watch pretty much all the DVDs I want, any time I want. No commercials, the movies start and stop when I want them to, and I can pause them while I'm making dinner -- no additional TiVo required.
        • Useful trick (Score:3, Interesting)

          by bstadil (7110)
          I agree. I use a little trick to get books cheap. Use Amazon Wishlist and wait.

          When I hear or read about a new book I think might be of interest I just add it to my wishlist. Then once a month I review my list and see what the Used / Almost New price has dropped to. Just Got Digital Biology [amazon.com] published in Jan 2001 for $3 rather than the original $25.

    • by ERJ (600451)
      You got a vcr? Then you can record. What it pretty much comes down to is, if you can see it and hear it, you can record it. Now, granted, it might not be digital quality, perfect replica, but you can still record it. For some reason the media industry doesn't seem to quite understand this yet...
    • That's like when I'm NOT ALLOWED to press the fucking STOP button on my DVD player during the first several seconds of the the DVD.

      And while I'm ranting off topic, FUCK YOU to the anti-fair-use people who won't let me skip previews on DVDs. I paid for use of the movie I bought. There should be no limitations placed on me with respect to previews and my ability to NOT watch them.

      Who are these people who create these rules?
    • Always a way around it, never fear.
  • Hrrm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GnrlFajita (732246) <brad@@@thewillards...us> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:06PM (#7739606) Homepage
    Anyone know any more details than are in the article? As much as the idea of DRM makes me cringe, I know it's here to stay and therefore a unified standard would be a good thing ( iTunes on my MD player?). But the article has exactly zero info on the "RM" part of the DRM, specifically the most important question of how many copies can be made (i.e., one onto your computer, one to archive, and one to your media player?).
    • Re:Hrrm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BJZQ8 (644168) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:10PM (#7739641) Homepage Journal
      I can't imagine any scenario where DRM would make things more open and transferrable between devices. Instead of sharing music between your iPod and your MD player, it will instead prevent you from playing music from your iPod V4.3 on your iPod V4.4. When corporate types are given a tool of any sort, they always seem to use it as a hammer. (When all you have is a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail!)
    • Re:Hrrm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nate1138 (325593) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:13PM (#7739665)
      Bullshit. DRM isn't here to stay if you don't let it be. I know it seems tough, but just refuse to buy anything with DRM included. Vote with your wallet. So you won't have the coolest new toys, but your soul will stay intact.

      • Re:Hrrm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JudgeFurious (455868) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:24PM (#7739794)
        Absolutely, 100% the fucking truth.

        I buy nothing with DRM.

        NOTHING.

        It might very well be here to stay but if that ends up being the case I'm not going to be the asshole who made it that way. Society, if it feels strongly enough about this to want to do something should make it our collective "mission in life" to make any product with DRM built in a financial failure. The only way they're going to stop pushing DRM down our throats is if we convince them that there's no money in it and that the consumer will not buy it.
        • sneaking it in (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SHEENmaster (581283) <travis AT utk DOT edu> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:42PM (#7739946) Homepage Journal
          iPod, iTunes, SD cards, Texas Instruments graphing calculators, game consoles, and so forth all have DRM. The items that don't forcefully use DRM are the ones that sell.
          • Re:sneaking it in (Score:3, Interesting)

            by laird (2705)
            "iPod, iTunes, SD cards, Texas Instruments graphing calculators, game consoles, and so forth all have DRM. The items that don't forcefully use DRM are the ones that sell."

            Don't forget cell phones, most commercial videotapes, cable set top boxes, Palm Pilots, Newtons (ok, kinda dated), ...

            Most forms of "DRM" are fairly innocuous. For example, the "you can't beam this program to anybody else" flag on many commercial Palm programs isn't too unreasonable. And when the cable or satellite company scrambles thei
        • Re:Hrrm (Score:2, Funny)

          by jazman_777 (44742)
          I buy nothing with DRM.

          NOTHING.

          Bully for you. You won't be like all the other /. ranters who then add in a whispter, "after the Return of the King comes out on DVD." Or whatever movie/music you just gotta have.

      • You know, like DVDs with region encoding (+ CSS to enforce that). Won't take off, dead in the water, right? At which point someone will probably mention

        a) All the reasons it was better than VHS
        b) that DivX (no, not the codec) lost and so the lesser evil won.

        So will the latest DRM be too. Your AMD Athlon 64 or Intel Prescott whatever with the latest "Trusted computing"-mobo and other certified components. So will those HD-DVDs etc. as well. They'll be a lot cooler, and with less DRM than a really draconian
    • "specifically the most important question of how many copies can be made"

      I believe the article said or strongly implies that copies cannot be made. Pure speculation, but I assume that this means that it's some system whereby when a file is copied, the DRM dictates that the original must be destroyed.

    • Re:Hrrm (Score:3, Funny)

      by cfuse (657523)
      As much as the idea of DRM makes me cringe, I know it's here to stay ...

      DRM here to stay? I think the whole of Asia will have something to say about that.

  • by malibucreek (253318) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:08PM (#7739625) Homepage
    FWIW... more doomsday from Newsweek [msn.com]: How the Internet could become a tool of corporate and government power, based on updates now in the works.

  • Did they... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Penguinshit (591885) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:08PM (#7739631) Homepage Journal

    ...just say "DRM" and "Open Standard" in the same sentence?

  • Er, consumer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkBlackFox (643814) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:09PM (#7739633)
    "DRM is an accelerator which will boost digital sales of media, because it will convince media companies their content is protected. It should not be a competitive weapon," he added.

    Err.... Last time I checked, sales were more dependant on the consumer than the peddler. I'd hope it's more important to convince consumers their right to use what they are investing in isn't in jeopardy.

    • Last time I checked, sales were more dependant on the consumer than the peddler. I'd hope it's more important to convince consumers their right to use what they are investing in isn't in jeopardy.

      ...if all media that MOST people want to listen to is DRM-only. Of course, since a DRM-free market will sell more shit than a DRM-crippled media market, manufacturers WANT you to have as much freedom as possible, as it's good for their profits.

      The only problem with that is that some of the major hardware manufac

    • Re:Er, consumer? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BenSnyder (253224)
      In order for a consumer to exist, a market with sellers already in the market also needs to exist. I think that quote was intended to mean that media companies will feel comfortable about creating the market when they feel that their IP is safe.

      Now, needless to say that the market already exists, and flourishes in the ways we're all familiar with. That they don't recognize that is the fault of their own hubris. The works (songs, movies, etc.) are obviously already available online for phree. But it's t
    • Re:Er, consumer? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dalcius (587481)
      > "DRM is an accelerator which will boost digital sales of media, because it will convince media companies their content is protected. It should not be a competitive weapon," he added.

      Err.... Last time I checked, sales were more dependant on the consumer than the peddler.


      It's companies that think like this that make small business possible. The stupid, lumbering companies who don't know their arse from a hole in the ground. The companies that have HR folks interview someone for job X who have never
  • *sigh* (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    DRM is bad. Although it is effective at stopping pirates, it also hurts the people who want to legally use what they pay for. Everytime any attempt has been made to stop pirates, it has done nothing but hurt those who paided for it. Take iTunes: You can't take your music to platforms where iTunes doesn't exist. Take the bogus CD track on some music CDs: Couldn't play them in your PC, some CD players, some car CD players, etc.

    Although DRM will stop pirates, it stops legit users too.

    Fortress of Insanity [homeunix.org]
    • I wouldn't say it's effective yet. But it does make things annoying.

      1. SAMS system on DAT players/recorders. (oh...why would you want to copy your original recording?)
      2. Sony and the MD crisis. (That was cool. Now; how do I get the blasted music OFF the fsckin recorder?)

      There are always ways.
    • by rbird76 (688731)
      the only purpose of DRM (or at least the only purpose that is likely to work) to restrict the rights of users over the works they "purchase" and the machines they "own". Professional-grade copiers will crack DRMd works and sell them - preventing that from occurring is likely impossible. DRM is here to take users' fair use rights and give them (mostly) back to them, charging them for the privilege. That way, companies can make money while providing less of a product - the dream of corrupt, evil industries
    • Re:*sigh* (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Um...It is not at all effective at stopping pirates. The only thing it does effectively is piss off legitimate consumers.

      I made my DVD player region free so I can play DVDs from any region. DRM didn't work. I only have one non-R1 DVD (Crouching Tiger which was released in R3 long before R1). I disabled my DVD player's Macrovision "feature". Again, DRM didn't work. I don't know why I'd ever want to record a DVD to VHS but I'm not going to let some corporate clown prevent me from doing it. When I was
    • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Metasquares (555685) <slashdotNO@SPAMmetasquared.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:27PM (#7740406) Homepage
      Although DRM will stop pirates, it stops legit users too.
      Who said DRM will stop pirates? It's just another slight inconvinience pirates have to get around. Normal users, on the other hand... well, it's illegal to circumvent copy protection thanks to our favorite 1998 law. Normal users may care about violating the DMCA, but chances are that pirates aren't going to lose any sleep over it.

      Pirates... I feel so silly just using that word...
  • Adoption rate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trentblase (717954)
    They say they hope to replace a "confusing array of proprietary systems", but they don't say what they're going to do to get people to use their system. It's not a "global DRM" system if they don't even have any large media companies on board.
    • Oops (Score:2, Insightful)

      by trentblase (717954)
      I overlooked the fact that Sony is in itself a large media company. But I still don't see why other media companies would choose this over anything else.
  • Stable Door... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:11PM (#7739653)
    Does anyone else get the feeling the horse has left the stable, walked down the street, gone in to an electronics store, bought an IPOD and got the hell out of town already?

    The problem is that there are perfectly good alternatives without DRM technology. Why would anyone by something new that restricts their existing options? Even worse, why would a consumer pay the extra $x for their media player to buy the rights from a DRM patents company?

    Perhaps it's time companies stopped chasing after the music DRM market, let it go, and simply learned their lessons for the still [largely] unfought movie market?
    • Simple. Because new music will be released with it and on old player would people people can listen only to old music.
      • Simple. Because new music will be released with it and on old player would people people can listen only to old music.

        You say that as if that would be a Bad Thing...given what gets passed off as "music" nowadays, I'm not so sure that would necessarily be a Bad Thing.

        • Speaking as someone who spends more time trying to track down obscurities from his old vinyl collection on CDs rather than checking out the latest thing, I'm with you! But I'm sure that DRM will be important to the record companies as their income must mostly be from new material.
      • Re:Stable Door... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EvilSporkMan (648878)
        Two words: Analog hole. Also, I'm pretty sure one could write some sound card drivers that piped WAV data to disk instead of to speakers...
    • Re:Stable Door... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Isca (550291) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:23PM (#7739773)
      The bad thing is that companies such as this one are positioning themselves for the next round of laws, the ones where they say it's illegal to purchase any new device that does not confirm to the DRM standards.

      Sure, there will be people who can get around whatever restrictions, but if DRM is built into everything, it becomes harder for the avg joe to get around them.

      Most people won't complain about these issues if it comes slowly... first, the broadcast flag will be used very very sparingly... then a little more, except that they'll sell that tv show to you through your cablebox at 3:00 am in the morning when you want to see it--- then pretty soon, that will be the format for everything.

      The good news is that anything you ever want to see will be available for a cheap price (because of competition).

      The bad news is that anything you ever want to see will be available for a cheap price (nothing will be free, except infomercials).

      -chris

      • Re:Stable Door... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nucleon500 (628631) <tcfelker@example.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:23PM (#7740366) Homepage
        As much as I hate to say it, you're right - most people won't complain, because they simply don't care, and they haven't thought about what's best for them in the long run. But I certainly don't think "anything you ever want will be available for a cheap price (because of competition)." Currently, there is very little competition, and DRM will destroy even that. It's an issue of infrastructure.

        In meatspace, the infrastructure is moderately open. For example, although the RIAA has a great deal of marketing power and well-established channels to sell CDs, it's still possible for Joe Public to publish content. The Internet is far more open than this - the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing is amplified, and publishing is much easier. But a DRM infrastructure would almost certainly be totally closed.

        If mandatory-DRM devices become popular, or worse, legally required, then to publish anything, you have to talk to the DRM authorities. Instead of many fine-grained copyright based monopolies, there'd be one ubiquitous DMCA-based monopoly, and no competition.

    • Re:Stable Door... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tr0p (728557)
      I don't think these top-heavy ad-hoc markets will add up to a "big brother internet". Who wants that? I don't think it can get that bad, but if something like the big brother net can happen by pulling the wool over everyone's eyes midswing through the information age then it was probably inevitable by nature. If it happens it will be because we are better off with it.

      Not even Intel, AMD, and Microsoft combined have the influence to "lock-in" everyone, I don't think its possible. Anybody here read Stev

    • Re:Stable Door... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swb (14022) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:35PM (#7739890)
      The problem is that there are perfectly good alternatives without DRM technology. Why would anyone by something new that restricts their existing options? Even worse, why would a consumer pay the extra $x for their media player to buy the rights from a DRM patents company?

      The only scenerio that makes *any* sense to me is if some new DRM device came on the scene and had inexpensive access to a massive library of content. Such as a set-top box with access to nearly every movie or TV show ever made -- no restrictions on when you watch them, how often you watch them, as long as you paid your monthly fee.

      The problem is the DRM pushers want expensive usage fees, content packages, content limits and all kinds of other restrictions that make it undesirable AND they want to DRM it.

      I think they'll be able to sell DRM once they realize that the flat fee and a huge library will make people notice the DRM less. Until then...
  • by johndiii (229824) * on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:13PM (#7739672) Journal
    Copy protection did not work for computer software. A sufficiently determined individual can always defeat such a system. And distribute the results. Yes, they can be prosecuted using the DMCA, but that will not stop it.

    In this case, it is more instructive to look to the profit motive. When they implement a new DRM system, they can sell us new CD and DVD players, and new CDs of all the old music that we've bought (twice, maybe) already. The "replace your old LPs" profit center was a huge one, until it was knocked down by (1) DVDs and (2) saturation. Now, they are hoping to recreate it through technical means.
  • Universal = Better? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekychic (732496) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:13PM (#7739673)
    For the company, doesn't diversity in standards actually help them protect their materials? It seems that having only one standard would just concentrate everyone's efforts on breaking it and therefore would get cracked faster.
  • I say it will be, but there will always be alternative means that although may be illegal, will be as easily obtainable. An example are the DirecTV dishes in Canada. Although the RCMP has begun doing raids to stop people from "stealing signals", it won't be long before they realize their time on that is a waste of resources.

    Remember 3 years ago when it was said that we'd all have harddrives with built in DRM by now? Where are they?

    • Remember 3 years ago when it was said that we'd all have harddrives with built in DRM by now? Where are they?

      They're putting them in the flying cars.

      Wait... wrong thread. I meant they're being used for the new, improved rings of power.
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug AT geekazon DOT com> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:14PM (#7739681) Homepage
    Does anybody else think it would be a good idea if the life of a patent were shortened by a specific amount every time the rights changed hands? The idea would be to discourage companies that exist only to acquire rights to things without actually creating anything.

    After all, the original purpose of the patents and trademarks system was, "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries (United States Constitution, Section 8)."

    It doesn't say anything about promoting or supporting a "rights market" for clever business people.
    • Does anybody else think it would be a good idea if the life of a patent were shortened...

      Please no, i have this bright idea of starting a company to patent DRM.

      Shares anyone ?

  • by ansak (80421) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:14PM (#7739688) Homepage Journal
    ...as DVD country codes and the various "disposible" digital cameras whose contents have been analysed and the results posted here on a regular basis, right?

    How many times did we hear rumours of pay-per-run services being the wave of the future in the last 10 years? But the best way to keep this from being adopted, is for us as the consumers to boycott such products in the stores and for us as the voters to remember what democratically elected individual supported the adoption of the DMCA-like laws required to back it up.

    F-IW [abelard.org]...ank
    • Maybe. I haven't been able to find a way around the DVD-Audio copy protection discussed on the 'net. I don't know how long DVD-A has been out, but I'm not holding my breath for a crack. Given the fact that DeCSS was possible because of some vendor's goof (left the keys out in the open, pretty much), I'm not surprised that DVD-A has not been broken just yet (that we know of).

      Of course, the "analog hole" will pretty much always be around. But the joy of ripping the raw bits off the disc may be a long wa

  • Linux - DRM-apathetic since 1991! Seriously, Linux is going to be around for some time, and with the source for most stuff all over it CAN'T go back in the bottle. Just keep noncompliant software around and DRM worries will be a nonissue. Remember, content can be either viewable or completely secure, not both, and there's always sneakernetting.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:17PM (#7739721)
    This means we'll only have one format to crack, instead of four hundred! :)
  • by Marcus Erroneous (11660) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:21PM (#7739756) Homepage
    Hmmm, reasonable terms. Another company looking to get everyone established as a revenue stream for them. One more person in my wallet everytime I turn around. Reasonable until they need to meet the street's expectations, then "reasonable" changes. I know, it's not inherently bad, and it's not. It's just not inherently good either and today's benevolent manager will eventually be replaced by tomorrow's pointy-haired boss who has numbers to meet for the year. I'm not against capitalism, I'm just suspicious that this is another attempt to put an armlock on a popular service and then apply their leverage.
  • by jpmoney (323533) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:22PM (#7739762)
    "DRM is an accelerator which will boost digital sales of media, because it will convince media companies their content is protected. It should not be a competitive weapon," he added.

    So let me get this straight:

    1. Companies encrypt their data
    2.
    3. Digital sales of media are "boosted"

    They're leaving out the entire... well... consumer and adoption step that I think is a bit important. Just because they build it, it doesn not mean that people will come. Didn't they learn anything during the .com boom?
  • by Cash Mitchell (601903) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:23PM (#7739772)
    Unless the given DRM technology is truly unbreakable (probably not), having one standard widely implemented will probably be worse protection for content owners. It is similiar to genetic diversity in a population. The benefit of having many different content protection schemes is that if any one is broken, the others will most likely be unaffected. Thus by adopting one imperfect DRM standard, they may in fact be greatly lessening the ability to protect their content.
  • by LaCosaNostradamus (630659) <LaCosaNostradamus@@@mail...com> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:24PM (#7739786) Journal
    Go right ahead, Intertust (i.e. Philips/Sony). Make sure your DRM stickers on your equipment are bright, cheery and clearly identifiable so I can find which stuff to NOT buy.

    "Consumers want an open system, and the electronics industry wants it too," Ruud Peters, chief executive of Philips's intellectual property and standards unit, told Reuters.

    That's the finest example of "two different meanings for the same phrase" that I've seen all year. Consumers have most of the "open system" they want right now.

    Wankers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:31PM (#7739847)
    The article includes a quote of what has been accepted wisdom, accepted unchallengingly by regulators (see the commentary to the FCC regulations concerning the so-called Broadcast Flag, for example, which accepts at face value that DRM will boost sales, without in any manner examining that assumption):

    "DRM is an accelerator which will boost digital sales of media, because it will convince media companies their content is protected. It should not be a competitive weapon," he added."

    This quote is simply wrong. DRM has already damaged sales of hardware and content. I predict that increased DRM will not be an accelerator but will continue instead to be a de-accelerator and drain on the economy which will reduce digital sales of media.

    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." -- Edward R. Murrow
  • ok and not ok (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:33PM (#7739868) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

    "The electronics industry recognizes that Microsoft is a formidable player, but consumer electronics makers do not want to become dependent on Microsoft. They need an interoperable and independent system," Peters said.

    DRM sucks, DRM is evil, DRM is the tool of terrorists, robber barons, and Republicans. That having been said, though ... I would much rather see a DRM standard that is vendor-neutral from a computer platform perspective, instead of Palladium Everywhere (also known as "Dystopia" to us Linux folks).

    Don't get me wrong, I'd prefer to see no DRM at all, and I intend to vote with my wallet as much as possible. But if DRM does happen anyway, I would have a very strong preference for Intertrust instead of Palladium. At least with Intertrust there's the possibility that some vendor will offer a Linux version of the protected player.
  • Oh Boy! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:46PM (#7739983)
    More stuff to crack! Never a boring day, is there?

    Really though, if it weren't for all this cat and mouse shit, all these parasite companies wouldn't exist and all the crackers would have to get a real life...

  • In case anyone was worried about DRM dragging down consumers' ability to enjoy their content, the sheer number of "universal" DRM systems being proposed should effectively castrate their effectiveness.

    At least for a while...

  • by Hellasboy (120979) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:48PM (#7739996)
    They spend millions to create technology to hinder people from doing what they would like with what they paid for, in that process they increase the price to help pay for this technology.

    Increased prices lead to decreased sales. DRM get's cracked, sales increase and companies yell that they are losing money to piracy. To offset this potential loss of money, they increase prices.

    They spend millions more to create new DRM to hinder people from doing what they would like with what they had paid for. Increase the cost to offset this spending.
    It just continues.

    anyone catch the following in the article?
    "'Consumers want an open system, and the electronics industry wants it too,'"
    [very next paragraph]
    "Microsoft, for instance, has opened music stores on the Internet that sell music encoded in such a way that they can only be played back with a Windows Media Player."
    how is this good for the consumer or even open for that matter?
  • by muckdog (607284) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @05:55PM (#7740082) Homepage
    That is until the building burned down. Now I'm at Pennitrode. Michael is trying to get me to join him at Innitech though.
  • by lurker412 (706164) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:08PM (#7740205)
    Perhaps it's time to redefine DRM. I suggest Defective Recording Media. You can probably come up with something better. Digital rights management has about as much to do with my rights as the Patriot Act has to do with patriotism.
  • 2035: a reflection (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:09PM (#7740230) Homepage Journal

    The FBI stopped by to see me earlier this morning.

    Apparently, they found an unlicensed compiler on one of my student's computers. Copyright central has visited the campus on more than one occasion, so I expected this to be fairly routine. Far from it - for the better part of the morning, they questioned me about this kid's activities. Being a college professor, I couldn't tell them much. This was probably the first time that a student was glad his professor didn't pay more attention to him.

    I don't think he's been charged yet, but I was able to discover the nature of what he'll be charged with. The unlicensed compiler is problematic, though not technically illegal since it can't sign object code (illegally). Instead, he was found with a great deal of original material - some dating back 10 years or more - that was never registered with the copyright office. Some was on paper, but most of it was on disk. At a dollar per kB, he's looking at close to a million dollars in fines, not to mention a felony conviction.

    But I think that's the least of his worries. About 15 years ago, unlicensed media formats became illegal. In order to record music or video today, you must use one of the state-approved formats which incorporate DRM, and you have to digitally sign the file. Given that the encoders are patented and held by private companies, it's not surprising to learn that leasing a music encoder (just the softare!) costs about $50,000 per year. And after you are finished recording, a general distribution license costs another $50,000 per year. Writing your own encoder would land you in jail for creating a "circumvention device". Which is why anyone who owns a compiler is viewed with suspicion, even though such ownership is not strictly illegal.

    Apparently, this kid had a few mp3 files (illegal format), a few mp3 encoders (illegal tools - a felony), and a plethora of original content which hadn't been registered with Copyright Central. He's probably looking at about ten to fifteen years in jail, plus some pretty hefty fines.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      You know, you could have just posted a link to Right to Read [gnu.org] and saved yourself the trouble of trying to sound original.
    • by hqm (49964)
      This was a very chilling scenario, thank you for painting it for us. Unless we watch ourselves, it *will* happen. The DMCA and "palladium" are
      like storm clouds gathering, and with all that technology for supressing the communication of data, it is not a question of 'if' but 'when' malevolent people will try to exert control over the population. They already are.
  • by wytcld (179112) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:11PM (#7740253) Homepage
    From the corporate point of view DRM is good precisely because many clever kids will find their way around it. This teaches a disrespect for law and ethics that creates a good crop for the mega-businesses to recruit their next generation of executives from. Success in tomorrow's economy requires both practice in cheating, and deftness in not getting caught. A wide array of breakable, but challenging laws pertaining to things young people care about assures our corporate citizens the cleverness and teeth necessary to preserve their freedom. No patriot should oppose this.
  • DRM for the user (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fireteller2 (712795) * on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:21PM (#7740349) Homepage
    I worked briefly for a now defunct DRM company that was going to compete against Intertrust (we also considered using Intertrust technology under ours where there where patent issues). It seemed like it was going to be easy to compete (and it would have been if the VC wasn't so scarce at the time), because most DRM solutions are designed only to help the copyright holder not the customer. Are designs we focused on a balanced approach.

    DRM wouldn't have quite such a bad name if it would provide users with benefits. Intertrust technology has the ability to do this it seems but since consumers are not their clients, so easily integrated features are ignored. We designed a system with the end user in mind. From the point of view of how would we want to use the electronic media we buy.

    Important user features should include:

    Free trial, and fare use of content, while right management is still in effect.
    Merging of artistic works into new works with automatic (pass through) licensing fees.
    License to the user not to the computer so I can listen to MY music at home or office or at a friend's house.
    Easy distribution from user to user with no penalty to either user in the transaction (i.e. napster 1.0 can work because each file is self managing).
    User selected automatic billing from incremental use (such as paying a per hour fee to use very expensive, but rarely used software, PPV etc.) to outright purchase.

    From a security point of view our philosophy was not to make an unbeatable DRM solution, but rather to make the cost of circumventing the DRM higher then the value of the content. This came about automatically when you allow people to use $30,000 software packages for $5 an hour or whatever. It just becomes too easy to work with the DRM then not. We also had the ability to pass the billing for the software use (plus any "cost plus" amount) to a user's client, so mom and pop shops had equal access to high end software that big companies had only pay for what you need.

    I'd love to see the open source community pick up where we left off. Current DRM solutions need a user-focused competitor. Perhaps, I'll start a project. What do you guy think? Is it worth it?

    firetellerATkoldnhostileDOTcom - If you want to talk to me about it.
  • by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @06:38PM (#7740473)
    Surely all that DRM will do is allow the really good pirates (those who are willing to go to whatever lengths are necessary to bypass the DRM) to make much higher profits?

    Hell, if DRM stops end-users from backing up their music or whatever, surely they'll just ignore the geniune offerings andy by a pirated copy without the DRM.

    I predict that the only people a universal DRM system will hurt are the law-abiding customers who should, thanks to their ethics, actually be rewarded, not penalized.

    Meanwhile, those who make a living out of selling $1 per CD copies of popular music and movies will see their profits soar.

    Is that *really* what the RIAA and MPAA want?
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @07:09PM (#7740712)
    I think it is easier than some think to implement Universal DRM. Simply follow these steps:
    1. Install Orwellian Memory Holes (tm) in billions of convenient locations worldwide, so that every media--including paper, magnetic, plastic, etc.--can be vaporized upon creation.
    2. Poke everybody's eyes out to prevent them from seeing something copyrighted, because doing so places a copy in their head, which is a violation of copyright.
    3. Pop everybody's ear drums to prevent them from hearing something copyrighted, because doing so places a copy in their head, which is a violation of copyright.
    4. Cut everyone's vocal chords to prevent them from saying something copyrighted, because doing so creates a copy of valuable intellectual property, which is a violation of copyright.
    5. In fact, cut off everyone's arms and legs, to prevent sign language from being used to violate copyrights.
    6. Finally, kill everyone to prevent any other form of body language from being used to violate copyrights.
    By following these simple steps, we can ensure that nobody's copyright can be violated. This will benefit all of humanity, as piracy will become impossible.

    Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention... Bill Gates and Darl McBride are exempt from the above, because they are the Creators of copyrighted valuable intellectual property.

  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @08:45PM (#7741371) Homepage Journal
    No seriously folks.

    Aside from all the (endless, redundant) DRM IS BAD commentary, I still find that these companies are fundamentally missing the point.

    I would not mind (so much) them wanting to enforce their rights to sell music, to earn money from it, and to stamp out piracy. Except that each and every deployment of Rights Management/Copyright Enforcement has always put me in a position where I (ie The Customer) would be purchasing a lesser product for as much if not more money.

    For Example:
    • A new Australian service where you purchase licenses to tracks for (essentially) $2 Australian
      • A whole album of tracks would cost more than the CD
      • AND if you want physical copy, you provide the CDR yourself
      • Only it's WMA (ie lossy encoding)
      • And it's 128Kbps (ie not lossless and/or very-high-quality encoding of the original CD bitstream)
    • CopyProtection systems on CDs
      • which refuse to play on some CD players
      • or which flat-out BREAK other CD players
      • which take up data space ie you're getting less music
    • iTunes and its ILK, which only work on [insert-one-specific-media-player-here]
      • I already have XYZ hardware, now I have to buy NEW hardware to listen to music
      • What's stopping them next year producing new and incompatible formats, requiring not just higher license fees but MORE HARDWARE
    A Smart Consumer wants value for money. In an existing market (ie music), a new product needs to give the customer more value (for some definition of 'value') in order to succeed.

    So far your (ahem) "solutions" give me
    • less music
    • playable in less devices
    • with lower quality
    • and less convenience
    • at the same or higher (total) cost to me
    After all this you're surprised to find that Smart Consumers aren't interested in DRM'd music?????
  • by pixel fairy (898) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @08:47PM (#7741392)

    assuming they want the same level of protection DVDs gave...

    keep it in the hardware, make it as platform/os independant as possible. for example, as a cd drive can output directly to the sound card, let a dvd output to the framebuffer and sound to the card. in this example the driver would need little more than a transformation matrix, position in stream(s) and some settins. theoretically, it could be built so the OS doesnt even see the image.

    • easier development, less driver/intergration issues
    • less software dependance give hardware makers some much needed leverage microsoft
    • better PR, for example you wont have the ill will of collage professors or the ACM
    possible issues
    • analog hole. but you can make it annoying, like filtering the video and sound through a lossy codec and back to make it hard to recompress.
    • fair use. the user could still take a screenshot, attach a camera etc. or just copy it since thats supposedly allowed.
    • filesystem for the media. FAT32 is out due to license restrictions that leave out free software. UDF should work, or any of the free filesystems. most can read ext2 now and support wouldnt be hard to add to any others.
    • licence. make it freely available. history has shown that open standards (that can be freely implemented usually win out over propriatary ones, espeically on the net.(1)

    MS and mpaa/riaa and similar organizations wouldnt like it because they would only the control what theyre supposed to and couldnt use this to create an artificial barrier of entry(2). but thats better for the hardware makers, probably sony (3), and the users. and they wouldnt be able to use thier copying excuse(4)


    (1) time to market is, of course, the other, and possibly bigger factor
    (2) lock out competition
    (3) i suspect sony makes more money from technology than entertainment. either way would be interesting to know
    (4) they could complain about it being easy to crack, but given thier past, thats a pretty pathetic. of course the legal people they complain to/buy off wouldnt know or care...

    i was going to trace this to drm is not a good idea, but will have to save that for later

    • Mod this up! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spitzak (4019) on Wednesday December 17, 2003 @12:28AM (#7742626) Homepage
      Whether you hate DRM or not, this is how it must be done if it is really going to work. Hardware manufacturers have to get together and design sealed and tamper-proof hardware that does this, and stop listening to Mr Gates saying it will all be done by Palladium. They are being taken for a ride so that Gates can screw the entire rest of the computer industry and put them out of business, and possibly also extract a nasty licensing fee from every content producer.

      If you are a content provider and you want DRM that works, you should insist on a sealed hardware device where the manufacturer has published all the specs and enough information that a Linux driver can be written. Not because of the trivial amount of extra business by Linux, but because this is a guarantee that the DRM cannot be broken. The hardware device will have an ID in it (which is going to drive privacy advocates nuts, but what kind of horrors do you think Microsoft's DRM will have?) so that you can download content that will only play on your device.

      If anybody is still too dense to get it: the API is similar to the remote control on your DVD player. Yep, you can push those buttons in any order you want, but you are not going to get it to do anything other than play that DVD on your TV.

      Microsoft is going to fight this with everything they got, because they will lose the ability to lock-in media playback to their software. They will LIE about how their software will prevent cracks. Listen to your own engineers, and do not believe crap from Microsoft!
  • Shift Key (Score:3, Funny)

    by f0rt0r (636600) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @08:54PM (#7741437)
    They are releasing a new DRM scheme? Ok...I am holding the shift key down...let me know when they are done!
  • by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @09:25PM (#7741619) Journal
    Now convince the consumers that it provides them ANY benefit or advantage...Granted the manufacturers will get to lie and misrepresent the facts on national television and printed media but still every person I've EVER explained the concept to has come away WHAT ?!?! NO WAY, be they a computer literate person or just someone buying lots of music or dvd's. Break it down to a basic level and compare to every day examples, and they 'so-called' consumer advantages DRY UP AND BLOW away and all you are left with is a system to squeeze blood from a failing market, DIVX didn't fly and it was consumer friendly and simple compared to the implications of DRM and the long term hidden effects.....
  • by Machina70 (700076) on Tuesday December 16, 2003 @10:40PM (#7742036)
    That way you only need one method of bypassing it, rather than let each corporation make a diff version.

If it happens once, it's a bug. If it happens twice, it's a feature. If it happens more than twice, it's a design philosophy.

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