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A Copyright Cop In Every Zune

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-just-brown-but-stinky dept.

Handhelds 454

Mike writes "As if the Zune wasn't already crippled and unpopular enough, now comes a story indicating that Microsoft may build a 'Copyright Cop' into every Zune. A future update of the software for Microsoft's portable media player will likely include a 'feature' that will block unauthorized copies of copyrighted videos from being played on it. The president of digital distribution for NBC, J. B. Perrette, said the plan is to create 'filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content.' Of course there's no way to tell legitimate content that you create from 'non-legitimate' content, so this looks like just another nail in the coffin of the Zune." Update: 05/08 20:50 GMT by T : From Microsoft employee Cesar Menendez comes this categorical denial of any such filtering mechanism.

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Nothing new there (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23329894)

Its just 'trusted computing' rearing its ugly head.

Re:Nothing new there (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330002)

For the most part, people just don't care about DRM or trusted computing because it doesn't affect them. However, this "copyright cop" sort of thing is sure to be noticed by the average user. Microsoft seems to be betting heavily on selling DRMed platforms, and I wonder whether they've lost their way, and are listening to partners instead of customers. The Zune has not been an astounding success, and going out of their way to antagonize their customers in a market where they don't have any sort of market dominance seems like hubris on Mocrosoft's part.

premature application of "trust" (3, Insightful)

Mactrope (1256892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330012)

I've got bad news for both NBC and their friends at M$ - you have to have an audience that's actually captive before you try to screw them like this. In the mean time, Apple needs to slap them both with an anti-trust lawsuit for the attempted collusion. Both of those greedy pigs are crying about "suffering" "piracy" but most companies would be happy to suffer with their market share. Most companies would also be bright enought to milk it by delivering product that does not suck life.

Zune was never good but this will surely make it complete shit. A network that "squirts" vanishing media and advertisments. A clunky form factor that's trying hard to match competiton from three years ago. About the only thing they could do worse is make it less reliable than it already is. Bingo. They can't make Vista DRM work with quad processors and always on networking, do they really think an embedded device has a snowballs chance in hell? If you bought an old one of these on firesale, learn how to load it with free software because an auto "update" might cripple it.

Re:premature application of "trust" (0, Flamebait)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330176)

God, twitter, shut the hell up. If you don't want one, don't buy it. It works for everyone else that doesn't own one.

Seriously, Slashdot is the last place to go ranting about not buying a Zune since, by definition, almost noone here will own one.

It's bollocks like this post that are why your posts on all five accounts start at -1 (it's still five accounts, right? Or are we at seven now?)

Re:premature application of "trust" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330360)

If only I had mod points, so I could give you an offtopic mod...

The New York Times says not to buy a Zune. (5, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330496)

Maybe you shouldn't be annoyed with Twitter, in this case. His extremely negative evaluation was only as negative as that of the New York Times. Quote:

"If you like to download the latest episodes of "Heroes" or other NBC shows from BitTorrent, maybe you shouldn't buy a Microsoft Zune to watch them on. [my emphasis]

"A future update of the software for Microsoft's portable media player may well include a feature that will block unauthorized copies of copyrighted videos from being played on it."

Consider this: Someone bought a Zune, believing that he understood the features of the product. But later, Microsoft, in an "update", changes the way it works. That's nasty. It teaches customers that they can't trust Microsoft or a Microsoft product.

Microsoft seems to be unable to deliver. (4, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330264)

MOD PARENT UP.

"A clunky form factor that's trying hard to match competition from three years ago."

Is the Zune the Vista of music players, or is Vista the Zune of operating systems?

Microsoft seems unable to do business sensibly. Maybe Gates and Ballmer are getting tired of working every day. What motivates a billionaire to keep producing mediocre results?

Re:Microsoft seems to be unable to deliver. (-1, Offtopic)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330538)

Mod parent up, please!

He adds nothing to a an argument that still has 'deadhorse' tags on it from three years ago.

Is a troll out of touch with reality, or does he think people care about another redundant comment?

The trolls seem unable to come up with original, accurate* or interesting criticism. What motivates them to do the same thing over and over in any vaguely related thread?

*Bill Gates retired from daily work at Microsoft on 7 January 2008.

Twice! (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330578)

On both shipped Zunes!

So no more ripping FLV vids from YouTube? (2)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23329908)

I've been doing that for years on my SanDisk MP3 player: downloading the .FLV videos from YouTube and converting them to SanDisk compatible videos. So now you can't do that on the Zune? Wow... First Post w0000t :)

Re:So no more ripping FLV vids from YouTube? (3, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330192)

I've been doing that for years on my SanDisk MP3 player: downloading the .FLV videos from YouTube and converting them to SanDisk compatible videos. So now you can't do that on the Zune?
No, I think the summary is misleading and people are misinterpreting it. Nowhere did they say "uncopyrighted videos will be squelched." They're saying they'll find a way to squelch copyrighted videos. That might mean some hidden content, watermark, or digital signature would be used to identify copyrighted media.

My guess is they'll troll through YouTube and BitTorrent looking for copyrighted stuff, taking a hash of it, and comparing stuff you download against the list of copyrighted hashes.

Of course, the obvious next answer will be a format-ripping program that performs some random permutations to the media, preventing any two copies from having the same signature...

Re:So no more ripping FLV vids from YouTube? (1)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330546)

I've been doing that for years on my SanDisk MP3 player: downloading the .FLV videos from YouTube and converting them to SanDisk compatible videos. So now you can't do that on the Zune?
No, I think the summary is misleading and people are misinterpreting it. Nowhere did they say "uncopyrighted videos will be squelched."
Please show where the part you quoted said *ANYTHING* about "uncopyrighted" content.

If you're trying to imply that content on youtube is not copyrighted, then you either have no idea what youtube is, or you don't know what copyright is. Either way, you're completely and totally wrong.

Almost everything on youtube is copyrighted by *SOMEONE*.

God, how the hell did you get modded up?

Re:So no more ripping FLV vids from YouTube? (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330276)

I'm sure this isn't relevant to your particular SanDisk player, but from TFA:

Mr. Perrette added that NBC is trying to develop similar hardware technology with SanDisk, through whom NBC also sells its programming.

Re:So no more ripping FLV vids from YouTube? (5, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330402)

I've been doing that for years on my SanDisk MP3 player

Consumers are good at finding what they want and the features they want. Some folks will be fine with the player and it's subscription service. The rest of us will find players that will play our content ripped from DVD's, shared, and downloaded from YouTube.

I often get asked "What computer should I buy?" I always tell them "Find the software you want to run and then buy the haredware that will run it.". With portable media players, this is still very true. If you want to play MP3's and .flv files, only buy a player that will play it.

If you want a player that plays music purchased from the Zune site, you may wish to consider one, but remember, it won't play songs from iTunes. It looks like it also won't play YouTube rips.

You can vote for DRM with your wallet, or you can vote against it. Vote wisely.

Re:So no more ripping FLV vids from YouTube? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330416)

How do you convert FLV? I've never found a utility to do that. I've been looking for some way to convert it to any normal format (straight MPG, for example).

Re:So no more ripping FLV vids from YouTube? (1)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330516)

ffmpeg is one of the simplest solutions.

AntiTrust (2, Interesting)

bobwrit (1232148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23329932)

Sounds like an AntiTrust lawsuit waiting to happen.

Huh? Zune? (4, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23329952)

I've heard of this Zune, but never actually seen one out in the wild. Do they actually exist? In other words, the Zune can have as much DRM as it likes. No one who cares about that sort of thing will buy one anyway. In fact who does buy them?

Re:Huh? Zune? (3, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330014)

Yeah, I was kind of wondering how many nails you need in the coffin of a dead product? I'd think the ones in there now are enough to keep it buried as a footnote for MS historians to bleat about on Pub Quiz nights?

Re:Huh? Zune? (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330078)

I was kind of wondering how many nails you need in the coffin of a dead product?

Its not so much the nails in the coffin you need as stakes in the heart. Unfortunately Zune's can only be killed by legitimately purchased stakes.

Re:Huh? Zune? (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330380)

...until Microsoft bob is ported to the platform as a Media Copyright Assistant

Re:Huh? Zune? (3, Interesting)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330086)

I read in some paper or another today that MS is 'finally' bringing the Zune to Canada in June. Weird, two bits of news on the Zune in one day.

If this thing is so dead... why are we getting hit with it just now? =P Oh, the kicker is that the Zune online store won't even be available in Canada until some unknown date.

Methinks it's going to be DOA up here.

Re:Huh? Zune? (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330170)

As far as I know, everyone up here has an iPod. People who can't afford gas because they spend their money on WEED have iPods.

But now I have a great image of Robot-Chicken-Dubya running around yelling "Zune zune zune!"

Re:Huh? Zune? (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330054)


Of course you have.

MS stuffed the channels again, so the same three Zunes are sitting on the vendor's display shelf with 3 more out back.

However, their presence on the vendor shelf means that they weren't sold.

They exist. (2, Insightful)

willeyhill (1277478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330076)

I've seen one and only one in the wild. It was bought by someone on some kind of internet firesale site. The owner was pleased but it was clunky and he'd have been better off with a much smaller and better built iPod for what he spent. He made it sound tempting to the ignorant and I half wondered if he was not tied into M$'s sleazy marketing program.

Re:They exist. (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330126)

I've got one and I like it. The Zune software in its current incarnation is miles ahead of iTunes (something definitely not true about Zune v1).

Re:They exist. (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330384)

An iPod does not require using iTunes. You can put Rockbox on an iPod and simply drag the music files directly onto the iPod mounted as a drive. There's also plenty of other programs that can read and write to an iTunes database.

Re:They exist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330440)

You can do the same for zune there is even a way to use wmp10 or wmp11 I forget which v.

Re:They exist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330536)

Rockbox's interface is inferior to the ipod interface. Not to mention the many ipods who can't install rockbox. Or for instance if you bought a touch, why would you even consider alternative firmware?

Re:They exist. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330606)

Rockbox is not available for every generation of iPod.

hi twitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330260)

Yes, and not two days ago you were telling us other things [slashdot.org] about Microsoft. That was trolling too.

Re:Huh? Zune? (3, Funny)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330110)

There are some people who love Microsoft products, use Visual Studio to develop C# code, run Vista and swear up and down that they've never had any problems with it, and have purchased a Zune. I've known one such person. Besides him, I've never seen anyone with a Zune.

Re:Huh? Zune? (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330158)

There are people who enjoy getting their nuts stepped on too. To each his own I guess.

Re:Huh? Zune? (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330212)

here are some people who love Microsoft products, use Visual Studio to develop C# code, run Vista and swear up and down that they've never had any problems with it, and have purchased a Zune.

Heh. I use Visual Studio to develop C# code, run Vista and have never had any problems with it, but even I bought an iPod.

(Although, its hard drive died within a month of the warranty running out and it's not worth the cost to replace it, so maybe I did make a mistake diverging there... even still my next mp3 player won't be an iPod but it probably won't be a Zune either.)

Re:Huh? Zune? (1)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330242)

Hey, I think I take offense to that. I use Visual Studio to develop C++ code, I run Vista on my new home box and have ... well, ok, a few problems, but still, it's Vista. And I don't have a Zune. You take that back!

Re:Huh? Zune? (2, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330112)

I got a refurb'd one at woot for 80 dollars. Yep, a 30gig player for 80 dollars. I havent had any problems with "DRM." I load mp3s on it and it plays. Video too if I want to take that extra step of encoding it into wma.

Since the recent firmware update I can even synch over wireless. Hell, it even has an FM radio in it.

Of course we never discuss the massive drm in the ipod, the missing radio, and the incredible price of apple's product.

Apple DRM is irrrelevent (5, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330374)

I'm sick of hearing about this. Lets dispel some myths.

1: You can copy music on and off an iPod with great ease. There is no magic DRM preventing this *at all*.

2: Apple are quite happy to let you rip their music to cd, and then to mp3. It's no different, and sounds no different from ripping a bought music cd.

3: The iPod only has DRM on it because Apple new they would get sued to fuck if they didn't, or if they went around allowing direct circumvention. By allowing copying to audio cd they avoid this via the fair use claim.

4: A *lot* of available iPod content is not DRM'd anyway.

Re:Apple DRM is irrrelevent (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330426)

Actually your list is identical to the Zune's.

Re:Apple DRM is irrrelevent (1, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330448)

I'm sick of hearing about this. Lets dispel some myths.

1: You can copy music on and off an iPod with great ease. There is no magic DRM preventing this *at all*.

2: Apple are quite happy to let you rip their music to cd, and then to mp3. It's no different, and sounds no different from ripping a bought music cd.

3: The iPod only has DRM on it because Apple new they would get sued to fuck if they didn't, or if they went around allowing direct circumvention. By allowing copying to audio cd they avoid this via the fair use claim.

4: A *lot* of available iPod content is not DRM'd anyway.
The same is true of the Zune and even Vista, despite the frequent complaints about DRM. So far, DRM is a paper tiger.

Re:Apple DRM is irrrelevent (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330570)

So far, DRM is a paper tiger.

Unless you want to buy from many online stores. There are some stores that do offer DRM free audio, there aren't any legit stores that offer DRM free video from the "big" studios that I'm aware.

Re:Apple DRM is irrrelevent (5, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330534)

1: You can copy music on and off an iPod with great ease. There is no magic DRM preventing this *at all*.
YOu're right, they would never Intentionally take measures [arstechnica.com] to prevent third parties from writing software that allows for transfer to and from the ipod.

2: Apple are quite happy to let you rip their music to cd, and then to mp3. It's no different, and sounds no different from ripping a bought music cd.
You're right! How gracious of apple to ALLOW you to transfer a piece of your property to another piece of your property! Its almost like we're PAYING thing for this or something.

3: The iPod only has DRM on it because Apple new they would get sued to fuck if they didn't, or if they went around allowing direct circumvention. By allowing copying to audio cd they avoid this via the fair use claim.
Please cite at least 1 example of a company being sued for creating a device that allows people to play MP3s. You might want to let Justin Frankel know that he should have been "sued to fuck" (whatever that meansd) for creating winamp instead of chilling in his multi-million dollar home studio.

4: A *lot* of available iPod content is not DRM'd anyway.
Right AGAIN! How GRACIOUS of apple to allow you to play the music that you purchased on anything other than their blessed device!

Re:Apple DRM is irrrelevent (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330592)

2: Apple are quite happy to let you rip their music to cd, and then to mp3. It's no different, and sounds no different from ripping a bought music cd.

This isn't quite true. Most music on iTunes is lower quality than a CD and in a different format. Burning it to CD results in a slightly lower quality yet and significantly lower than a purchased CD. Ripping it to a new format will depend upon what quality you normally rip content at, but it will be less than what is available on a purchased CD and worse than a purchased iTunes song.

That said, the quality may be acceptable, and in fact I don't have a problem with the audio quality of songs ripped in this way. I'd further argue that the way most CDs are mastered these days results in a much bigger hit to actual audio quality than anything Apple is doing.

3: The iPod only has DRM on it because Apple new they would get sued to fuck if they didn't, or if they went around allowing direct circumvention. By allowing copying to audio cd they avoid this via the fair use claim.

This is just untrue. Apple not including DRM does not give them any real legal liability, even for contributory copyright infringement. Apple included DRM to get buy in from the RIAA. Without that buy in, the iPod would have had a much slower uptake and been less popular. They needed a way to buy and load mainstream music easier than going to the store and for that, they needed the cooperation of the RIAA... hence DRM. Fair use has basically nothing to do with Apple themselves.

4: A *lot* of available iPod content is not DRM'd anyway.

This is true for audio, and Apple has been pushing hard to get rid of it, both for ease of use reasons to sell more iPods and because it is a potential antitrust issue.

Re:Huh? Zune? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330378)

While I haven't seen any zunes myself, I wonder about all them ipods too. They say they got like 75% of sales or something... Then would someone please explain to me, why I've seen like 3 ipods in my entire life -- and I'm a bus user, so you think I'd see loads of them everyday (I'm in Canada, if that matters). Meanwhile I've seen hundreds of non-ipod ones, no-name ones, creative, gigabeat, etc

Looks to me like they have a 0.75% market share...

Between me and my daughters, we bought six mp3 players over the years (an old CD player that played mp3's 7 years ago, a hard drive based gigabeat, and 4 flash based ones), and none of them were an ipod...

Re:Huh? Zune? (0, Offtopic)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330492)

I've got 4 ipods: 1st gen shuffle, 2nd gen shuffle, 3rd Gen Nano, 4th(?) Gen 'original'
My wife has an iPhone & 2nd gen nano,
My Daughter has a 3rd gen Nano and lost the hand-me-down Mini we gave her.

Most of the women I run with that use an MP3 player have a 3rd Gen Nano for the ipod+Nike thing.

Most of the people I see around with headphone on, the headphones are Apple-white (not sure what they are plugged into though, it's usually in a pocket.

Here in California, I don't see many non-ipod DAPs.

Re:Huh? Zune? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330392)

Missing radio? Not hardly.

Re:Huh? Zune? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330454)

There is actually another cool feature of the Zune that hasn't become relevant yet. Soon XNA Studio 3 will be released and one will be able to target the Zune in that. Games for the Zune will be able to play non-DRM'd music on the device. Microsoft should have concentrated on making the device more consumer friendly as opposed to media company friendly. A Zune with less DRM garbage, a HC SD card slot, and an AM / HD FM radio would be pretty well perfect in my eyes.

Re:Huh? Zune? (2, Interesting)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330500)

And you bring up the only good reason to get a zune, retailers are forced to drop the price to get the things out of there stores. I am by no means a ipod fan, but hey there are other alternatives, take creative labs offering. Brother has a Zen which in all honesty I think is better then either the ipod or the Zune. but hey ya ipod > zune any day. But again not only alternatives.

Re:Huh? Zune? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330608)

Do you listen to the radio regularly on the Zune, if at all?

If the market demanded radio, I'm sure Apple would build it in. Their reps even said they would.

Radio isn't an issue for me. I really can't say I want to listen to it if I have all the music I want on the device with the radio.

Re:Huh? Zune? (0, Troll)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330238)

In fact who does buy them?

Microsoft fanboyz who dream of having uncle Stevie squirting his melodies of love at them. People who wouldn't know style if it hit them on the head like a brick. Three year-old mentally handicapped people. You know... The usual Microsoft media customer.

Re:Huh? Zune? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330316)

I've heard of this Zune, but never actually seen one out in the wild. Do they actually exist?

In other words, the Zune can have as much DRM as it likes. No one who cares about that sort of thing will buy one anyway. In fact who does buy them?
I saw a blurry photo of one and a video of one from a hundred yards away on a TV show. Then again the rest of the show was on bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster so I'd take it with a grain of salt.

Re:Huh? Zune? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330398)

Have you ever even used a Zune? It's more than a decent product; I know it might be hard to believe that Microsoft came out with something useful, but it's been known to happen. The whole "Micro$oft is evil LOL" thing is getting old.

They just came out with new firmware, they're shipping up to release the device in Canada; it's far from being nailed into the coffin.

Re:Huh? Zune? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330506)

DUMB NIGGERS

PlaysForSure (5, Funny)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23329960)

This is a demonstration of Microsoft's new media-compatibility standard. They're calling it "Plays? Yeah sure!"

Re:PlaysForSure (1, Informative)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330156)

Zune [wikipedia.org] does not support [zune.net] PlaysForSure [wikipedia.org] . Those people surely got screwed.

crippled and unpopular (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23329970)

Like your mom?

Bad troll, Mike.

Watermarks (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 6 years ago | (#23329984)

Of course there's no way to tell legitimate content that you create from 'non-legitimate' content, so this looks like just another nail in the coffin if the Zune.

Well of course there are ways to tell legitimate content from non-legitimate content. They're the same ways that are already being used in the HD-DVD and BluRay specs: the content producers put some kind of watermark into the stuff they sell, and if the player detects that watermark in some piece of non-DRMed content it'll shut down and refuse to play that file.

Of course there's a chance of false positives with this sort of thing. Since the watermarks are usually audio-based, that means there's a potential that the system will be triggered by, say, a home movie where the TV is on in the background. And if it's too sensitive then it might go off whenever it sees random noise.

In any case, I doubt this is going to do too much for the Zune's sales, so one hopes that MS is getting something really swank for doing the deal.

Re:Watermarks (1)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330180)

In any case, I doubt this is going to do too much for the Zune's sales, so one hopes that MS is getting something really swank for doing the deal.
Microsoft: Nooo! The Slashdotters discovered our plan! Someone mod them down before our business partners notice! If we can't make money selling DRM schemes on devices that never sell, how will we make money?

Re:Watermarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330206)

You must have missed the part about "content that you create". If you're making videos with your personal MiniDV camera, are you going to be able to watermark that content, that you created, so that the updated Zune will play it? That's what the message you replied to was getting at.

Re:Watermarks (4, Insightful)

dmeranda (120061) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330286)

Except that watermarks still don't work.

  • * They don't expire when the work goes in the public domain after its copyright also expires.
  • * They do not take into account Fair Use exemptions.
  • * They do not equally protect all content producers; only those who can pay the cartel licensing fees.

Re:Watermarks (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330442)

To the publishers these are features, not bugs.

Re:Watermarks (1)

CynicTheHedgehog (261139) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330468)

Legally, would it matter whether the water mark expired or whether it did not specifically exempt fair use? A watermark is just an identifier. So if you were found with a watermarked file, and 1) the date it was found was after the copyright expiration date; or 2) the situation was deemed "fair use" by judge/jury/arbitrator, then wouldn't you be off the hook? Of course, there's always the cynical so-what-it-will-be-abused-anyway perspective, but all things being fair and equal, watermarks wouldn't necessarily be bad things unless abused.

Bonus Feature (3, Funny)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330000)

I hear that if you're wiling to pay a premium, they'll arrange for Steve Ballmer to come over and kick you in the nuts, personally.

Although, I expect that's only for corporate customers, OEMs, since Steve's time is valuable.

Re:Bonus Feature (2, Funny)

Uncle Focker (1277658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330058)

If I'm spending the money, I'd rather that he throw a chair at me.

Re:Bonus Feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330144)

That's more pleasant than using the zune software.

We have already seen MS' trusted platform at work (1)

Stu101 (1031686) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330016)

Will these people never learn. We learnt only a few weeks ago that MS is turning off their music store activation rubbish. How long will this incarnation live on. Ie who keeps the database up to date in 10 years time.

Just to add to that, rather than failsafe, ie if unsure, then let it play, it will not failsafe, so someone is going to loose access to content somewhere along the line.

Replace "video" with "music" (1)

Damon Tog (245418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330022)

Imagine the uproar if they added a copyright filter that prevented people from playing back music that they ripped from a CD (an "unauthorized" copy, in RIAA parlance).

Oh wait, maybe I shouldn't give them any ideas.

Re:Replace "video" with "music" (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330100)

They can make the thing explode at random moments for all anyone cares. It's not as if Zune is a player that anybody uses or gives a shit about. Wake me up when Apple has the same thought. This is too much like some sort of thought experiment "Imagine for a moment that Zune wasn't a complete joke that kids went 'WTF?' if they were unlucky enough to get one for their birthday. Boy, then we'd REALLY show them!"

Re:Replace "video" with "music" (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330522)

> an "unauthorized" copy, in RIAA parlance

Oh, it is unauthorized. However, all unauthorized copies are not illegal. There are a number of circumstances under which you may legally make a copy of a copyright-protected work without the copyright owner's authorization.

thankfully, it's BS (4, Insightful)

Yurka (468420) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330052)

"...will work with [NBC] to try to develop..." is classic software marketing BS - three weasel verbs in succession, a minor masterpiece. Translation: "This feature? Oh, sure, we have it. I mean, we'll have it in the next release. I mean, the crack team of our coding monkeys is going to make it their priority. Now just sign here, initial here and here."

I can't see this going anywhere... yet. (3, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330068)

According to TFA, Google and other companies are exploring having filtering technology similar to this to eliminate copyrighted content from their shared video sites. Unless/until that happens, I can't really see even Microsoft making this move.

As TFA points out, MS is way at the back of the portable mp3/video/etc. pack and it knows it can't afford to stick more "features" in that will drive users away. Now, the NBC dude quoted in the article brings up the idea that through whatever the Zune store is called they'd have options to offer whole seasons of a show at a discount instead of being forced to the $2/episode no matter what pricing standard of iTunes, and I could see that drawing people to buy the episodes from Microsoft -- but not so long as the alternative is to get them free for the iPod from YouTube. A generation raised with free TV and VCRs hesitates even less about 'stealing' TV episodes than it does about songs.

So unless YouTube etc. put a filter in place that successfully blocks this same content I can't see it going anywhere on portable players so long as Apple refuses to do it to the market-dominant iPod.

Re:I can't see this going anywhere... yet. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330268)

According to TFA, Google and other companies are exploring having filtering technology similar to this to eliminate copyrighted content from their shared video sites. Unless/until that happens, I can't really see even Microsoft making this move.


And that may be possible (though I'd wager still error prone) with a large cluster sniffing every video file, but come on, a portable media device?

Re:I can't see this going anywhere... yet. (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330560)

"Now, the NBC dude quoted in the article brings up the idea that through whatever the Zune store is called they'd have options to offer whole seasons of a show at a discount instead of being forced to the $2/episode no matter what pricing standard of iTunes"

Um, iTMS [or I guess just iTS now], has offered 'seasons passes' for shows at a discount, so it is of course misinformation by NBC that Apple doesn't support that.

Apple seems to be against the "Heroes is popular, so it's $3.99 or $4.99 per episode". Or, "Heroes is popular, Scrubs is not so popular, but we'd like you to buy it anyway", so you can only buy both together for $3.50 per pair of shows.".

And of course they keep harping on the "we'd like to offer older shows for less than $2". I would bet $1 Billion that Apple has never said to NBC "Oh, no, we won't sell any shows for any less than $1.99. You could offer to sell shows to us for a lower wholesale price, but we would just pocket the difference."

This is completely about:
a) charging people more money
b) adding more DRM [which evidently also includes preventing the viewing of non-purchased video which could possibly be violating someone's copyright].

Getting with the times. (1)

Blice (1208832) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330070)

Microsoft will come around, they just don't "get it" yet.
Letting users do what they want is what all the cool kids are doing now.
Microsoft is always slugging behind the current trends, and this is another one. Eventually the competition will crush them, and they'll be forced to get with the flow.
I predict that within 5 years they'll be pro open standards and talking trash about companies who are still controlling their users, trying to show the world how "open" they are now.

Re:Getting with the times. (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330472)

Nope. You are forgetting what drives Microsoft (and all corporations, really): money.

In today's world, Microsoft MUST continue to put out new versions of Office and Windows, otherwise people will not give them money. But would you put out $400 for a new copy of Office 2007 to replace your copy of Office 2003, just to get the Ribbon bar, or to get the new and improved Pashtun grammar checker? And if so, will you put out another $400 in 2009 for another new copy, to get the ultra-dynamic margin tool? Probably not. So in Microsoft's eyes, you are not sending them enough money.

Microsoft's business plan has no way to continually extract money from its customers over the long haul. So they are forced to invent new "features" to keep people upgrading, in order to churn that money. But Office and XP are "good enough" for most people. The churn is slowing.

Where Microsoft is trying to go tomorrow is the subscription model. You'll buy a subscription to Office Forever which will cost you only $9.99 per month, (or whatever the rate will be.) The OS in conjunction with the TPM chip will enforce that only a legitimate, paid subscription will be able to run. Illicit copies will be prevented from saving, or crippled from editing, or whatever.

Microsoft believes they need the lock-in DRM model to work in order to survive over the long term. They are deathly afraid of Linux, because it's nipping at their heels of functionality and usability already, and a free alternative that runs whatever software you want is the only thing that could stop their model from working. Look to the future for Microsoft to push for incorporating the TPM chip into the BIOS, so only a blessed and approved (and paid for) OS will boot on the hardware of the future. So, any technology or business deal that helps them leverage DRM is a step in the right direction -- for them.

Reason #437 (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330118)

So now we have Reason #437 to never buy a Zune.

If this is made retroactive to all existing Zunes, or put in new ones without clear notice of this limitation, I hope Microsoft will be sued out of all the money they didn't spend trying to acquire Yahoo!

No way (2, Interesting)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330142)

Sure Microsoft makes plenty of bad decisions, but there's no way they're dumb enough to think that zunes aren't selling because customers want more content restrictions.

On the other hand, I suppose they are dumb enough and arrogant enough to believe that they could compete with itunes if they kissed the asses of enough content providers. They can't, nor can anyone else really. That battle has already been fought and apple is winning by an overwhelming margin. Their best bet is to make quality players with as much compatibility as possible and forget the music stores and DRM ass-kissing that comes with running one.

gnAIa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330172)

Crippled & Unpopular? (1)

NormHome (99305) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330182)

I don't know but saying that they're crippled and unpopular is speaking for a whole lot of people who don't think so. I don't have one but I'm in the process of evaluating a bunch since I do need a new one and I've been reading discussions on just about every Zune discussion site. It's true that it's limited in what music and video formats that it plays but I don't know that I'd call that "crippled". Also 75 percent of the customer reviews on NewEgg rate it five stars, and as I say most people who buy them (as per what I've read on the discussion boards) seem to be happy with them. The Zune 80gb is after all the biggest screen (3.2 inches) with the most capacity for what amounts to just about the least amount of money.

They clearly just don't get it - (4, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330184)

"In the short term, this will not win us a lot of friends,â he said. âoeIn the long term, the consumer wants there to be quality premium-produced content, and in order for that to continue to be a viable business, there needs to be significant protection around it."
Yes, the consumer wants quality premium-produced content, and they want to be able to play it on what they want when they want. And unless that is what they are offering, pirates are going to take the time to remove any protection around it no matter how significant, and give it away for free. As long as this their view, they aren't going to have a viable business, but when it dawns on them that the consumer is ultimately in charge of the situation now, and network stooges aren't, they will release content in an intelligent manner - so the consumer can access it when they want, and on what they want.

How? (1)

TomorrowPlusX (571956) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330202)

Seriously, how? Unless MS manages to develop strong AI, which can tell that my torrented Battlestar episode is in fact Battlestar and thus property of Universal, there's no way to make this work.

So how do figure out that some random video is owned by some studio? Unless every video gets a watermark this is essentially impossible.

The only methods I see coming out of this are:

1) Zune only plays DRMd videos. Period.

2) Every time you attempt to copy a non-DRMd video to your zune, it is forwarded to a poor sap in Bangalore who looks it over and decides if it's kosher or not.

3) Watermarking. We all know how well that works.

4) Magic strong-AI which can do this on your computer ( or zune ). Good luck, MS! NBC has you over a barrel.

Non-Legitimately Purchased Content? (3, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330244)

"... non-legitimately purchased content"? At first I thought this was editorializing by the submitter, but no, TFA contains that exact quote. I garner two ugly conclusions from this statement from Mr. Perrette:
- 1) Your device will soon only play "purchased" content. No home movies for you.
- 2) Your device will soon only play content purchased from us.

I think Microsoft has figured out what Step 2 is:
1. Create media player with subscription services.
2. Shoot self in foot by crippling said player to the point no one wants it.
3. Profit!?

Battery Killer (5, Insightful)

dloyer (547728) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330274)

Not to mention that the extra processing needed for the wiz bang water marking technology will reduce battery life.

How much? Who knows, but extra design constraints always create compromises and battery life is one place it is likely to show up.

A Homeland Security Victor (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330288)



This is the first step toward a REAL COP in every classroom.

Oooooooooops. I forgot. They already do the in the United Gulags of America.

Cordially,
Kilgore Trout

Awww (2, Interesting)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330290)

I have a zune and I love it. These replies are hurting my feelings.

I just couldn't deal with the small screen of the similarly priced ipod. The downside though is that there are no freaking accessories. You can go to any online site and find 150 different cases for the iPod. From diamond encrusted cases to cases cut from the t-shirts of workers from sweatshops. Same online store you'll find like 2 for the zune. And they both cost $249.99.

The 'Uncool' of Microsoft (5, Insightful)

Count Sessine (1135193) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330336)

OK Microsoft-faithful and Apple-haters - listen up. This is why everyone says that Microsoft is 'uncool'.

In spite of a few missteps as of late, Microsoft is still the biggest, richest, most powerful company in tech today. And yet, they have their tongues so far up the record and movie industry's *ss that it isn't even funny anymore. No one respects an obsequious brown-noser. If they had any spine at all, they would tell the record and movie execs the Truth (that they're living on borrowed time) and that the only way to continue to make any money at all is to trust their customers.

Apple was upbraiding the record industry execs for a good three years during and through the Napster debacle. Apple was telling them that customer-hostile DRM that took away obvious and visible consumer rights wouldn't work, they were telling them that the bottom would fall out of the CD business, and they were offering Apple's services as a customer-friendly alternative to some of the loser businesses the record industry was trying at the time (like PressPlay). It's not like the folks at Apple were geniuses for recognizing all of these things - it's just that they have their own protected platform and they're in the software business so they know full-well how futile copy-protection really is.

When the record execs finally realized that everything Apple had been saying was right, they had lost a good fraction of their business and they were desperate to try something new.

The guys who run Microsoft will never have the balls to tell a potential business partner that. They have enough money in the bank to BUY any one of the record companies that they're sucking up to, and yet they behave like the record companies' servile bitch. And that's why they'll never be considered 'cool'.

Re:The 'Uncool' of Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330406)

God I love it when Apple zealots argue with Microsoft zealots over which company is the least evil.

How do they get away with this? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330340)

This isn't the first time Microsoft has retrofitted already-sold products with patches or policies that remove functionality or add aggravation. From the nag they tacked on to Windows menus asking you if your copy is legit to their "This copy of Windows is not genuine" cripple to Windows Update refusing updates to a validly-licensed Windows 2000 (I typed the key in myself years prior from their hologrammed hardcopy distributed with the software, and there was no chance the key was illicit or used inappropriately) to Microsoft refusing to activate a Windows XP laptop with the license/key on the bottom of the machine -- supposedly, with the last, I can call them and plead my case with one of their phone workers.


All of this after the software was paid for. Terms introduced after the sale. All of these things kick into effect in the normal course of using the product -- indeed, you must risk experiencing them in order to keep your product secure and functional down the road. Isn't that something you would think morally would be an implicit obligation of theirs upon sale of the product, not an extra feature used to impose additional terms on your use?


So, surprise, surprise, now they're pulling it with expensive hardware. Feel free to enjoy yourselves, on your dime and on their terms. It's just the logical extension of the crap we put up with in the software world. Can't wait until the portables have to have a direct connection to the Internet to authorize your usage, you scumbag customer.

Something we all needed (5, Funny)

lewp (95638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330386)

Finally, a reason not to buy a Zune.

Apple, Liberals, and Islamic Terrorism (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330450)

It goes without saying that Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc., is among the greatest threats to centuries of progress brought about from Christian society. Having direct involvement in Islamic fascism, they are determined to undermine America and conservative values at any cost.

Apple was founded late winter in 2001, shortly after the events of September 11, 2001 with the single focus of supporting the work of al Quaeda and Osama bin Laden. At the helm is “Steve Jobs”, better known within terrorism circles as Stennuh al Joqidah, and traitor Al Gore. These men, who are likely engaged in physical liaisons, are intellectual leaders of the vast left-wing fascist movement, which is constituted primarily of homosexuals, minorities, atheists, and scientists. Under the auspice of selling personal computers and iPods, Apple have infiltrated millions of American homes and are now targeting dozens of American businesses.

At the tip of their spear is the Macintosh, widely known as the “Gay Computer”. These computers, which do not run the Christian operation system Microsoft Windows, are in use almost exclusively within the homosexual community. At their core is “Darwin”, software that affects nearly every aspect of the Macintosh and works to promote evolution and other atheist and scientific agendas. These machines will routinely promote materials from liberals, including Jon Stewart, while simultaneously censoring the works of true patriots like Bill O'Reilly.

Following the Macintosh is the ever-present and highly dangerous iPod (and its cousin, the iPhone). These two devices, currently in the hands of literally hundreds of millions of American youth, fill the heads of listeners with endless Islamic and homosexual propaganda. The dangers here are self-evident, but even more frightening is the telecommunications services of the iPhone. To protect God-fearing Americans from the satanic forces at work in the world, the American government must listen in on phone conversations. (Incidentally, an activity that receives strong criticism from criminal liberals everywhere.) However, to thwart the forces of righteousness, Apple in conjunction with ATT, uses the iPhone to prevent wiretapping, and thus prevents law enforcement from defusing terrorist plots.

In our chaotic world, we cannot afford to let these threats remain unchecked. Apple, receiving inspiration from the original sin, is attempting to destroy America and usurp Jesus at the behest of closely-allied Islamic extremists and atheists. If left to their druthers, the world will no longer be safe for our children and all patriotic Americans are encouraged to smash their Macintoshes, iPods, iPhones (anything bearing the Apple logo) and drive these cretins off our shores. Thank you for reading.

Learn from Vista (4, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330464)

Vista is DRM and restriction overload and doesn't sell. Zune barely sells now, it's not even available in the UK.

Good luck Microsoft. Customers buy features not ball and chains.

That's nice, but... (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330470)

There are already dozens of devices that work with all the stuff I download from the internet. I gather that even the iPod will (although I think it's fairly fussy about formats), and will play purchased videos from iTunes.

So there's good reason for content providers to support it, but what reason is there to buy the thing? Why are Microsoft going the screw-the-customer route? It never worked for Sony, but at least they had an understandable concern that their chunk of the media cartel would lose out if they didn't restrict everyone.

Too Bad (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330474)

The Zune - physically and on paper - is a great device.

The whole "Plays For Sure (But Not Really)" fiasco and, yes, the DRM ruined its potential. As a media player it's great.

If MS had a proper store (and a single cohesive DRM scheme), the Zune would have been better off. The iPod didn't magically become popular overnight. The Zune at least has decent, reliable hardware and a price advantage when compared to the iPod.

I doubt this new DRM scheme will be effective, but to the casuals, any inconvenience or stumbling block is a huge turn off. If they hear from a friend that the Zune can't play videos from x, they'll opt to buy their 7th iPod instead.

The elephant in the room, of course, is the Apple lock in. If you leave the iPod for greener pastures, say good bye to your portable music library. Until some company can solve that issue, no one will be able to dethrone the iPod.

Re:Too Bad (2, Informative)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330556)

Even Apple tells you how to defeat their DRM. Burn the songs to a CD. Rip the CD. You now have files with no DRM and proper tagging (thanks to iTunes using CDDB).

another incorrect use of "content" (1)

brre (596949) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330518)

NBC's Perrette refers to "filtering technology tha allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content."

The problem of course is almost all content is free. It's expression he's charging for.

If you learn from watching NBC News Obama got 4 superdelegates last night, you're free to tell anyone, post it on your website, give that fact away from free; that's content and NBC can't control it.

If you post bits encoding the NBC TV news broadcast, you're violating NBC's copyright, and you're not free to do that, that's expression and NBC owns its expression.

Perhaps someone could explain this in terms so simple that an NBC executive could understand it.

A key difference: content doesn't get played back. That's expression. Or product, or video, or show, or entertainment, or media; any of those can be played back. There's no player for content. Either you get it or you don't. Either it's conveyed in the material played back or it isn't.

An illustration: some NBC programming is content-free.

What this? (4, Funny)

xbytor (215790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330526)

"non-legitimately purchased content"

How do I non-legitimately purchase content? Are they talking about black-market Seinfeld videos?

Great idea!~ (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330542)

We'll take the portable music player with a tiny tiny market share and make it so that you can't listen to music you haven't purchased from us! We'll either do VERY well, or destroy the Zune once and for all.

pSPonge (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23330558)

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I'm probably too late to get in on the discussion (4, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330562)

Have you noticed a new trend in digital media? NBC has most of their shows online for free. South Park has all of their online for free. Hulu.com hosts more TV shows that most people would want to watch in a lifetime online for FREE!

The problem with all of these services is that you have to put sitting in front of a computer to use them. IF these media companies can figure out a way to put their content (and with it, their ads) onto a portable device...well, then DRM be damned, I'm buying whatever device that IS.

This is a strategic, relationship building move by microsoft. NOthing more.

Why is it the products Responsibility? (1)

sxmjmae (809464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23330590)

Why is it the products Responsibility? Does your CAR send out notice to police if you speed or stop you from speeding? What if I use the device in different jurisdiction where those DRM law do not exist? If some how I do manage to run copy protected works on the ZUNE and get hit by a law suit via the RIAA then am I protected because I assume the ZUNE as acting as a controller? I am not a lawyer but to me if a products goes to such an extent to enforce copy protection then the liability of infringement would fall to the ZUNE and to Microsoft (after I could argue that I thought I was protected because of the heavy restrictions on the device).
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