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Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Microsoft Patents DRM'd Torrents 193

Anonymous Crobar writes "Microsoft has received a patent for a 'digital rights management scheme for an on-demand distributed streaming system,' or using a P2P network to distribute commercial media content. The patent, #7,639,805, covers a method of individually encrypting each packet with a separate key and allowing users to decrypt differing levels of quality depending on the license that has been purchased."
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Microsoft Patents DRM'd Torrents

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  • as old as bt (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JackSpratts ( 660957 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:17PM (#30696692) Homepage
    similar schemes have been around the community for (unfortunately) ages.
  • by hAckz0r ( 989977 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:24PM (#30696766)
    ...how to put a torrent proxy service out there to read in a torrent stream and republish those DRM'ed packets as a non-DRM'ed version of the same data, or just torrent the key itself. Once the genie is out of the bottle its always a challenge to talk that genie back into that little tiny bottle.
  • by stagg ( 1606187 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:25PM (#30696808)
    If this goes mainstream we won't get in trouble for downloading "stolen" products, we'll get in trouble for stealing/cracking encryption keys. That should be even harder to police.
  • Re:ambivalence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jpmorgan ( 517966 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:26PM (#30696824) Homepage

    That's a problem you have with any DRM. However, a system like the one described would be a fairly interesting way to deliver live content to subscribers without undue server load, especially if the underlying P2P system was network topology aware.

  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:00PM (#30698174) Homepage

    For the record, I've bought music over the years, which I've then subsequently had to pirate for use in players other than the designated "official" player. MP3 DJ tables, music imported to home movies, old MP3 CD players in cars... It all needs to just work, and the only format that just works is MP3 without DRM.

    Adding restrictions to content literally drives legitimate purchasers to pirate sites.

  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:06PM (#30698282)

    Stealing would be walking into my house and taking my hard drive.

    Do you lay any claim to the data on that hard drive? Would not the thief merely be requiring you to line up your kids and take new snapshots of them, or recalculate your taxes, or re-download all your torrents? Have they actually deprived you of anything, by your standards? I'm genuinely curious if you attach any value to time and effort, or if because it is merely digital it can never have any value at all.

    This system will fail because nobody will download the restricted media; there is unrestricted media available at no cost.

    You're dreaming, at best. 'Nobody' or 'nobody who is already using torrents'? There are a vast, wide majority of people consuming media like this that have zero idea what a torrent even is, let alone how to safely acquire and use them. Torrents only appeal to a small, technically-minded group of people. Subsequently, few profits are probably lost to this crowd.

    Further, the amount of time needed to extract the secret keys from the restricted codecs is minimal, unless a hardware crypto module is required. I expect that any software implementation will be broken within a week; an implementation using hardware crypto will probably be defeated within a year of its release.

    See, again: minimal for whom? For those that were previously using illegal means to gain access to the content, or for those people who actually make up their target market. You know, the people who use money who buy these things.

    Some of us stopped feeling remorse for the recording and movie industries when we saw how extensive their lies are. Like, the RIAA claiming that Kazaa was killing CD sales, when in reality they had record setting revenues during the height of Kazaa. Or Hollywood accounting. Or the claim that downloading is benefiting violent Mexican gangs. After a decade of claiming that they are suffering financially, I would expect to see RIAA and MPAA member companies all defunct or near bankruptcy, yet in reality these companies are among the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world.

    On these points we definitely agree. They do in fact over-charge, and a certain backlash is to be expected. I do see the danger, however, in a world where everyone feels this way. Eventually there will be no one else to support the content you are obtaining illegally, and so none will be made. Any way you slice it, your torrents are funded by the good faith of others, and you are abusing that. If you really, honestly believed that the content held no value, and had stronger ethics, you'd simply stop consuming it.

  • Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:12PM (#30698364) Homepage

    Indeed, using DRM-protected torrent to distribute paid-for content was attempted by several players almost immediately by several provider when bittorrent appeared. And lots of less-legal sharing cites may encrypt the torrents so only members of the community could access its content.

    In addition, having different levels of quality in different packets of the same stream (the more packet you have, the better the quality), has been proposed in lots of old systems such as the OGG/Vorbis compression (so that a web radio emits only 1 single stream and quality decreases as packet are dropped, instead of having to emit several stream of varying quality). In fact, progressive JPEGs work in a similar way (first chunks contain low-res blurry image, later chunks add the missing details), except that they are not a media stream but static pictures.

    Meanwhile the patent was applied for only in 2005. The only thing that wasn't widely used before, is using separate key on each different "quality" packets. But it looks almost straight forward given the other technologies.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:35PM (#30700424)

    It's not about the technology, it's about the monetization. For people like me, now 30 years old, successful adults with money in the bank, there is absolutely no reason to steal a $4 product. Except that there are when it takes weeks for delivery, or days for research, or going and and getting it, or waiting for it to come in, or waiting for it to be released onto physical media, or any other sort of delay.

    The reason that theft is high-tech is because it can be. The crime industry doesn't suffer from haing to do things properly.

    This would allow legitimate sales to be made using techniques previously impossible for paid transactions.

    For example, I could purchase a $50 pre month licence to receive updates to these codec-like things, and be able to download the material from anywhere at any time. I could get it from the back of a van, steal it from my clients or steal it from my friends, and it's all legal. Because the purchase price isn't paid through the distribution channel.

    That's cool.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:40PM (#30700474) Homepage Journal

    Do you lay any claim to the data on that hard drive?

    The data should be backed up. In any case you paid for the drive itself, which the thief, who doesn't care about the data but only the drive now has a free drive but you have to go out and buy another drive.

    Would not the thief merely be requiring you to line up your kids and take new snapshots of them

    Were you dumb enough to not back your data up, how are you going to recreate your wedding pictures? How is lining up your kids going to recreate their baby pictures? This is nothing like downloading, which only makes a copy of data. But like I said, if it's backed up the data doesn't matter; you have copies. You're out the price of a hard drive. Should a thief come in and decide not to steal the drive but only copy its contents, you've lost nothing. In this case the thief is breaking and entering and invading your privacy, but not stealing.

    See, again: minimal for whom?

    Anyone. Once the key is broklen, the content will be on the internet sans keys.

    Eventually there will be no one else to support the content you are obtaining illegally, and so none will be made.

    This is a fallacy. Cory Doctorow (for one) puts his books online in HTML and many e-reader formats, free for anyone to download, yet is on the New York Times best seller list despite (or because of) the fact that anyone can get it for free. By this flawed reasoning libraries would have put book publishers out of business long before the invention of the computer.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.