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Microsoft Acknowledges NBC's Wish is Its Command

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the it-will-be-as-you-wish-my-master dept.

Television 417

theodp writes "Responding to questions about why some users of Windows Vista Media Center were prevented from recording the NBC Universal TV shows 'American Gladiator' and 'Medium,' Microsoft has acknowledged that Windows Media Centers will block users from recording TV shows at the request of a broadcaster. 'Microsoft included technologies in Windows based on rules set forth by the (Federal Communications Commission),' wrote a Microsoft spokeswoman, apparently referring to an FCC proposal that the courts struck down in 2005. 'Microsoft has put the requirements of broadcasters above what consumers want,' said the EFF's Danny O'Brien. 'They've imposed restrictions way beyond what the law requires. Customers need to know who Microsoft is listening to and how that affects their equipment. Right now, the only way customers know what Microsoft has agreed to is when the technology they've bought suddenly stops working. Microsoft needs to come clean and tell its customers what deals it has made.'"

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I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (5, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 6 years ago | (#23460938)

Last I checked... Tivo supports the broadcast flag as well, yet those of us (I have 2) with Tivo's had no issues... So I guess the question is, why is Tivo ignoring the broadcast flag (not that I am complaining mind you, I hate the broadcast flag), but I am curious..

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (3, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461066)

Last I checked... Tivo supports the broadcast flag as well, yet those of us (I have 2) with Tivo's had no issues... So I guess the question is, why is Tivo ignoring the broadcast flag (not that I am complaining mind you, I hate the broadcast flag), but I am curious..
I don't know if my Time-Warner provided box blocked it or not. Still, I'm surprised this got noticed at all; Does anyone watch these shows?

I wonder why... (4, Funny)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461120)

...you tried to record American Gladiators.

Re:I wonder why... (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461462)

It wasn't for him.

or alternatively:

He's using advanced video editing techniques to create an "American Gladiators Gone Wild" video.

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (4, Insightful)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461204)

They remembered who their customers were perhaps?

With Tivo TV is no longer real-time. (4, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461240)

Has anyone using Tivo ever been able to go back to regular TV? If they took a look at the viewing habits of Tivo-ed users, they would be forced to remove the flag if Tivo had enforced it.

Ever since I got Tivo, I *never* watch programs in real-time. If I can't record it, I am not watching it.

Re:With Tivo TV is no longer real-time. (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461336)

If I can't record it, I am not watching it.
I tried using that argument at the cinema, but they threw me out :(

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (5, Informative)

rasper99 (247555) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461292)

From what I remember the way Tivo series 2 works with the broadcast flag is that it will record it but you can't use Tivo2go to transfer the recording to your computer.

You can watch it on the Tivo all you want but that is all you can do with it. If you look at the information about a program recorded with the broadcast flag it should tell you that.

I believe I recorded a show with a broadcast flag a long time ago and it said that. Guess I'll have to record one of these shows just to double check.

Not sure what the Tivo series 3 and Tivo HD do with it. Should be the same.

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461298)

"They've imposed restrictions way beyond what the law requires." -- Wrong and ignorant.

Microsoft has to program for more then one country you know. There is a wide range a laws and regulations that end up going into the media center programming - and yes, some of the programming will bleed over into the American version.

In Canada we see shows being blocked from recording using that flag all the time. Yes, its ok for a broadcaster here to stop us from recording a program.

I'm not saying i agree with it, but it's not as if Microsoft was screwing around with Americans just because they wanted to be a jerk.

I would put more blame on the broadcaster for playing around with the flag when they shouldn't.

In the meantime... Microsoft should release a patch that stops the DRM for those in America. It won't happen, but hey.

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (1)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461714)

it's not as if Microsoft was screwing around with Americans just because they wanted to be a jerk.
No. I suspect they're doing this because they were paid off by the media conglomerates, not because they wanted to tow the line of Canadian (or any other country's) law. This isn't the only place in Vista where "inappropriate" DRM has creeped in, and it wasn't international law that inspired it - it was Big Media.

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (4, Interesting)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461730)

"Microsoft has to program for more then one country you know."

And it's *SO* difficult to write code to conditionalize behaviour based on locale, right? It's not like there's something in the OS that tells the computer which country it's in.

"In Canada we see shows being blocked from recording using that flag all the time. Yes, its ok for a broadcaster here to stop us from recording a program."

Reference please, or I'm gonna have to call bullshit.

Google returns a ton of old references about Canada *thinking* about talking about it, but not a single instance that it's actually in use, but no reference to any law that was passed regarding it.

Your MS apologism suggests that the US is on the lenient side of what's required, when in fact it's on the strict side.

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461604)

Most likely because no Tivo users in the affected broadcast area bothered to complain or have seen this often enough that they're busy pursuing the only effective resolution -- complaining to their cable company and/or local broadcaster.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=390326&highlight=broadcast+flag/ [tivocommunity.com]

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=385828&highlight=broadcast+flag/ [tivocommunity.com]

There are too many steps along the broadcast path where a stupid user can accidentally reset the flag and they unfortunately do so far too often.

None of the alarm-ringing "articles" on this have offered reason to believe that NBC-qua-NBC set this flag vs. it having been set by a local affiliate station or local cable provider.

FURTHERMORE, the CNet reporters have failed to understand the distinction between the broadcast flag the FCC was not allowed to impose and the broadcast flag that CableLabs is allowed to impose on anybody making a system capable of using a CableCard (which both Tivo and MS do).

Re:I wonder why Tivo ignored the flag (1)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461652)

The only situation I've encountered regarding the broadcasters determining what I could do with their programs is that I cannot pull the majority of HD recordings off the Tivo due to the flags the broadcaster set. As to why Tivo is ignoring the "do not record" flags set by the broadcaster: they aren't required to - so why should they?

Do they? (3, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461662)

I could see Tivo in the past implementing it as they thought it was inevitable, but probably once it was determined as not inevitable, a company in a competitive marketplace can't afford to screw their customers. The networks probably offered Tivo some money to honor the flag and Tivo may have decided the better business move would be that the money wouldn't be worth the lost sales.

Meanwhile MS is not accustomed to such a situation. To them, the end-users have been a foregone conclusion, MS expects to get that money no matter how crappy they treat those users. So when the networks come to them with an offer, it's a no-brainer. This is what a monopolistic viewpoint does. In the DVR space, you would think they would realize they are not a monopoly and not act this way, but until this incident, they hadn't had their situation tested.

It's an interesting thing showing users the reality of where they stand. They are not customers to NBC, they are a necessary evil for NBC to deal with indirectly to please their customers, advertisers. Advertisers desires trump viewer desires. To MS, the end-users are to an extent customers, but again they are assumed to be guaranteed customers. MS has to pander a bit more to OEMs, but not much. MS therefore views deals with other entities (like studios) for abusing their users as the place where they can grow.

I will say I like how this has played out in general compared to the alternative. The networks tried to get the FCC to enforce it on their behalf and failed. Now, they must pay every DVR vendor and every DVR vendor gets to choose whether or not the lost sales are worth it. Allow the broadcast flag, and specify a standard path for it, but don't mandate enforcement and let capitalism work it out. Of course, I know which way this would go, obeying the broadcast flag is dvr market suicide.

Re:Do they? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461732)

Well, if MS screws the pooch on the television market... it's just a division of an overall company. It wouldn't hurt them as much as it would hurt Tivo, as recording and time-shifting television *is* their company.

If MS fails, they can relaunch, rebuild, etc. If Tivo fails, they're done for.

How fast will a hack appear for this ? (2, Interesting)

UberHoser (868520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23460942)

Seriously folks, I give it a couple of days at least, if not hours. Nothing horks of people more than this type of "By Your Command".

In fact I would be surprised that the hack is already out there. Just too much of a slacker to search for it.

Re:How fast will a hack appear for this ? (4, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461256)

In fact I would be surprised that the hack is already out there

It is, the fix is here [ubuntu.com] .

Re:How fast will a hack appear for this ? (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461610)

Hey, that's the same solution I chose!

Honestly, all this just makes me wonder when Windows will finally be ready for the desktop.

Nothing to see here (-1, Troll)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 6 years ago | (#23460950)

Move along...

Nice one by MS, but this won't have much of an impact on Windows I think. What else are people going to use? Just because MythTV is out there doesn't mean it's plug-and-play all of a sudden.

Re:Nothing to see here (5, Insightful)

that_itch_kid (1155313) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461084)

I don't think so. People are not so apathetic as you seem to think. They will take notice as soon as it impacts on their ability and their freedom to do things they have been able to do since they bought their first VCR recorder 25 years ago.

Microsoft has been putting too much faith into its monopoly position. The more people this affects, the more people WILL move to alternative systems, and the more those alternative systems will improve.

DRM will never survive.

Re:Nothing to see here (0, Offtopic)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461276)

VCR recorder, is that like an ATM machine? ;)

Indeed... (5, Funny)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461426)

VCR recorder, is that like an ATM machine? ;)
Indeed, it is. However, unlike an ATM machine, you don't need a PIN number for a VCR recorder.

Re:Nothing to see here (4, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461480)

"things they have been able to do since they bought their first VCR recorder 25 years ago."

MacroVision ACP, anyone?
Yes, you can easily filter that out with a little box you buy for a couple of bucks if you're affected by it, but you're definitely viewing things a bit too rose-colored on the whole copy-protection front if you think that this sort of thing is new.

Re:Nothing to see here (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461194)

Nice one by MS, but this won't have much of an impact on Windows I think. What else are people going to use?

Huh? That is the absolutely dumbest question I've heard all week (but it's Monday). There are a lot of flavors of Linux, there's Sun, there's Be, there's Apple. or did I misunderastand the question?

Are you a Microsoft employee, did you get to slashdot by mistake somehow. or are you just trolling?

-mcgrew

Re:Nothing to see here (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461264)

Be? Is this a copy-pasta response from 5 years ago? If someone needs to record American Gladiator, they'll find something else to record it with (or watch it on hulu or nbc.com), not switch to linux.

Re:Nothing to see here (3, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461614)

...they'll find something else to record it with

You spend over a hundred dollars to upgrade a product, it won't work as advertised, and than just just say "oh well I'll download it?" That's not how I would react.

No, if you bought Vista because of the commercials that tell you how it's a "mddia center" and you find out that your "media center" won't work, you're going to be pissed.

And "something else to record it with" includes Linux (or other UNIX clone like Apple or Be) and MythTV.

Re:Nothing to see here (5, Insightful)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461200)

Actually, Mythtv is pretty easy to set up now, if you use one of the distro versions (knoppmyth, mythdora or mythbuntu).
I add a nice pchdtv video card, which does not detect the broadcast flag, and I have nothing to worry about. Plus, I can burn dvd's of my recordings, and many other things.

Windows media center has a number of problems, and crashes too. However, because it is windows, people ignore it. Myth is just as stable. And can be tested before buying (since mythbuntu at least has a livecd)

I don't want a "TV experience" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23460954)


I just want it to work!

defective by design... (5, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 6 years ago | (#23460956)

shows just who the real "customer" here is... not you... you are the product, delivered to the media conglomerates...

Re:defective by design... **Mod Parent Up** (1, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#23460996)

Parent is right, it's the commoditization of the consumer.

Re:defective by design... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461042)

Yeah. It makes you wonder why they bother with delivering TV shows or the OSes.

re: defective by design... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461068)

Wasn't it _MS_NBC? Delivered by MS to MS...

Re: defective by design... (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461678)

MSNBC is a joint venture between Microsoft and General Electric, who is the owner of NBC. The programs in question are NBC shows, not MSNBC. This doesn't completely invalidate your point, but adds another player to the equation.

Re:defective by design... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461070)

Just another example of why they don't want public documentation of how their stuff works. The EU has been demanding only the protocols for years, maybe they should require more.

Re:defective by design... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461124)

Well said!

How can they get away with this? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461156)

In some parts of the world that's called collusion and when a convicted predatory Monopoly does it, in some countries, they get hanged.

Re:How can they get away with this? (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461718)

Yeah I remember that time in Cuba when all those guys got hanged because people found they couldn't TiVo the latest episodes of Lost.

Re:defective by design... (5, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461228)

That's old news.

Douglas Adams is often quoted with something along this line:

"Most TV stations are in the business to deliver customers to advertisers. The BBC is in the business to deliver TV programmes to people."

Re:defective by design... (2, Insightful)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461554)

The BBC isn't a business, so you can't really say it's in the business of anything.

Then Douglas Adams was talking crap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461670)

If Douglas Adams said that, then Douglas Adams was talking crap.

The BBC is stuffed with ads. The difference is merely that they're ads for BBC programmes and BBC products.

Most of the BBC's programmes are pretty lousy anyway. You can't pretend to be a "public service" broadcaster (as an excuse for the licence grab) on the basis of Radio 3 and a few programmes about gibbons when most of your output is absolute dross like Eastenders, home make-overs, and cheap-to-make antiques' auction shows.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461312)

That's right brother! Power to the people! Down with the corps! Wait I sound like the '60s.

Microsoft is like any other kind of company. Provide competition (Tivo, Cablevision, ect - it already exists) and a consumer and they will provide what they have to to sell or leave the market. If the consumer don't care, then neither do they.

Vista looking more attractive every day (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461436)

Wow, I really wanted to buy Vista before, what with all the glitches and problems. Now I REALLY want it.

Damned either way (3, Insightful)

eggman9713 (714915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23460976)

If Microsoft doesn't disclose what is going on, customers will be angry that they can't do what they thought they paid to be able to do, and in the future, will not give them anymore money If they do disclose upfront, many customers will not give them money in the first place. Damned if you do, damned if you don't when it comes to our friend DRM.

Re:Damned either way (0, Flamebait)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461062)

If Microsoft doesn't disclose what is going on, customers will be angry that they can't do what they thought they paid to be able to do, and in the future, will not give them anymore money If they do disclose upfront, many customers will not give them money in the first place. Damned if you do, damned if you don't when it comes to our friend DRM.
yawn... so use open source... yawn... who didn't expect this...

Re:Damned either way (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461086)

BS I call it. They've been doing it for YEARS and still customers go like sheep.

You seriously underestimate powers of monopoly and lack of knowledge of substitutes.

Sorry.

Re:Damned either way (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461424)

Bahhh, OHH SHINEY! bahh bahh bahh....

Yup. you are 100% correct. The populace is easily controlled and herded to a masters desire. The American people in 1776 would have happily followed the English herders if it were not for a very few well financed and abled revolutionaries.

EVERY revolution or uprising starts with a few leaders, it NEVER EVER starts with the populace.

Re:Damned either way (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461574)

Very true.

Indeed, if there is anything I have found, it's that most human behavior can be modeled on the Bell Curve.

Re:Damned either way (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461472)

Some people are sheep. No way around it. But I'm not so sure it doesn't matter. People do change, and MS is getting hit, albeit slowly. Google has them even if they buy Yahoo. Linux continues to get better, although the arrogantness of certain distributions needs to back off. They no longer rule the browser to most. They don't have a good gaming platform. The list goes on--they're second in everything and bloated and eating themselves to stay alive.

I was a Mac user. Who went to Win98 and XP. Who saw Vista and thought, screw that. Seems to me a lot of people don't like Vista either, far far more than they dislike XP. And you know what? Before I buy Vista, I'd go back to Apple. Most likely I'll go Ubuntu (although Ubuntu has gotten worse, imo, since 6.04; either that or their upgrade process blows chunks).

I saw MS putting DRM in left and right in WMP. I started out not upgrading WMP. And now, I use VLC for most things.

I now use Ubuntu on my 2nd main machine (XP still is on the first). When I get the time, the Win98 boxes (which are just used to surf) will got to Ubuntu. When XP loses support, I am probably keep some XP boxes around, but I may only buy 1 copy of Vista (if that), down from 3 of XP. For the last 5 years, MS hasn't received any money from me except for their mice and keyboards, and the only forseeable purchase I have with them is for their flight sim game software.

I had been interested in XP Media Center for years. Never bought it. Why? As mentioned before, I watched MS add DRM into everything. Then I recently read MS's crap with dropping support on their DRM'd mp3s, and it is solidified that I'm not buying the Vista version. Now this going beyond the broadcast flag.

Oh, and Xbox? I love the Mech franchise. Never bought another game since since MS bought (and then killed) that franchise. Will never bought either console. I instead own a Wii and a PS3.

btw, people, stop watching NBC. That network sues companies for all sorts of crap, their parent company lays people off unnecessary to slim up margins, they have been hell when it comes to DRM, and now this. They've made themselves irrelevant with gameshows and abandoning viewers, so stop rewarding them at all. Hell, I feel bad watching SciFi, USA, or Bravo.

Re:Damned either way (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461756)

Except MS is not a monopoly in this space, but rather a minority player. Last I checked, Tivo was probably the market dominator, but no vendor has a monopolistic hold on the market.

Maybe you say they have a grip on the 'media pc' market, but I'm not sure that's accurate either. I think the common market is not excited about media pcs and is instead favoring consoles and DVRs. Particularly since consoles are implementing internet access and web browsing, the motivation for a media pc for most people is low. Since it isn't seen at large as the best means to an end, that means the people implementing it are more the hobbyist type, so the penetration of something like MythTV is higher. In this sort of application, DRM rears its ugly head the most, so a platform like MythTV will treat users well as those are the targets to please, not a commercial partner/customer.

Re:Damned either way (4, Insightful)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461162)

and in the future, will not give them anymore money
Bullshit.

The majority of the proles will bitch and complain, but they will still come home to Daddy - in this case, Microsoft - when it comes time to upgrade.

The handful of people with enough brains to see this sort of shit coming aren't suffering.

Re:Damned either way (1, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461484)

Hence why I've never even considered an XBox, 360 or Zune.. and never will consider any MS product as long as there is a reasonable alternative. I have never bothered with the whole DVR/TiVo scene, I mostly watch DVDs/Blu-Rays and a few regularly scheduled programs (I don't try to fit my life around those programs, I just watch them if I'm at home and not doing anything else). I may consider MythTV at some point - I could do with a decent media server anyway to make better use of my NAS box and PS3.

Re:Damned either way (2, Funny)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461184)

Damned if you do, damned if you don't when it comes to our friend DRM.

Would that be Damned Restrictions Management?

Great News! (5, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23460986)

This is great news. Look, Microsoft has a vendor first / user second approach. The more stupid shit like this they do the more the users will catch on that they are simply taken for granted.

Re:Great News! (4, Insightful)

bobetov (448774) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461114)

Don't be an ass. The best outcome would be Microsoft taking great care of its customers, so that millions of people aren't hassled and inconvenienced.

It's a pathetic second best to have lots of people getting shafted, just so a company can be "punished".

The end goal is great technology and happy people. How we get there is much less important. Don't put politics before the people we're supposedly trying to help.

Re:Great News! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461270)

The end goal is great technology and happy people. How we get there is much less important.

      OK, but we have determined that the optimal path includes you giving me all your assets and equity, and you being executed. Please report to the nearest clearing station.

      Oh wait, now suddenly the way we do it seems more important doesn't it? There's such a thing as ethics, you know.

Re:Great News! (1)

hassanchop (1261914) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461762)

"The end goal is great technology and happy people. How we get there is much less important.

            OK, but we have determined that the optimal path includes you giving me all your assets and equity, and you being executed."

I hope you see why you're an idiot.

Re:Great News! (3, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461582)

The end goal is great technology and happy people. How we get there is much less important. Don't put politics before the people we're supposedly trying to help.
Microsoft have had pretty limited success in creating 'great technology' over the years. You can tell by looking at the alternatives that are out there, and the crappy products that they have produced when they try to get into new market segments - witness the RROD fiasco with the 360 (though people seem to be stupid enough to keep getting replacements or buying another one more for some reason..), and the pathetic sales of Zunes. Then there's the joke that Windows has become by being infused with plenty of DRM, just when things were starting to head in the right direction with 2000/XP and Windows Server, etc. Microsoft just try to get away with whatever they think the market will take up its ass. Some companies out there, believe it or not, try to benefit their customers - while still looking to make a profit of course. But when you put profits ahead of your customers, your profits are going to suffer in the long run anyway, aren't they? I don't think I'm too naieve in saying that.

Re:Great News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461644)

You must be new here...

Re:Great News! (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461782)

Microsoft is taking care of it's "customers" ( entities that have a choice ) , the broadcasters. To Microsoft, the end users are simply "consumers" to be culled, not customers to be sold or cared for.

Duh!

Thats what monopolies do.

Re:Great News! (5, Insightful)

rundgren (550942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461132)

This is great news. Look, Microsoft has a vendor first / user second approach.
..and so does every other company that uses DRM.

Reminds me of ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461014)

Re:Reminds me of ... (5, Informative)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461196)

It would help the argument a lot if people would stop posting the link to Peter Gutman's first paper. He already has acknowledged that some facts were based on pre-release versions of Vista, and Microsoft trial-balloons.

The newer slideshow [cypherpunks.to] addresses much the same issues, without the minor holes the MS astroturfers can use to misdirect attention away from the main points.

Mart

Banging in another nail (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461024)

One more nail in their coffin.

Power To the Corporates! (2, Funny)

Oblong_Cheese (1002842) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461030)

I'm all about multinational billion dollar corporates deciding for me about what I can and can't record legally. It's hell sweet! Before you know it, we'll have pay-per-view on every single broadcast!

Re:Power To the Corporates! (4, Funny)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461176)

pay-per-view on every single broadcast

I sure hope they leave the commercials in!

Re:Power To the Corporates! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461192)

I think the whole thing is a conspiracy to get someone to make an anti-corporate comment in the context of American Gladiators.

It was well executed and hilarious.

Brought to you by MSNBC (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461046)

Brought to you by WeSaySo Corporation [wikia.com] , ooops, MSNBC and Microsoft.

Good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461060)

I used to think MSNBC meant Must See NBC, as part of their "Must See" advertising. Thank you for unlocking this mysterious tie to Microsoft.

I say let them drag each other into the ground. I can't recall the last time I watched any of the NBC networks. OK, I briefly watched some of the Olympics last time around, but that was about all. Even if there were anything decent to watch when I was away, I always have my VCR.

As for Microsoft, they do make some darn good keyboards and mice.

Re:Good (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461628)

As for Microsoft, they do make some darn good keyboards and mice.
They also make some horrific ones. The wireless keyboards and mice that someone in our office bought for themselves and reception are pathetic, not even sending the right letters to the computer from the keyboard. Give me logitech peripherals anyday (though again they are not infallible, I used to have a logitech headset that fell apart after a couple of months).

"Technologies" (4, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461074)

Microsoft included technologies in Windows based on...

What is it with Microsoft and the word "technologies"?

Heeding a fucking bit is "technologies"?

[Clicks fingers] Oh, sorry, that's marketdoublespeak to hide the fact that they're selling stuff that takes its orders from someone other than the customer who bought it.

Microsoft has been screwing us over for years (5, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461088)

Microsoft has never been about the customer. Microsoft will gladly screw over their customers to get a few bucks or gain marketshare.

Here's an old but great example. Back when Win95 was released you could not natively use long file names with 16-bit apps. However, there was a product called "Name-It!" which did allow that function. In other words it was possible and quite easy to enable the function, but Microsoft chose NOT to implement it. Why? Because long file names was a well liked feature among customers and denying it to customers would give incentive to upgrade to new 32-bit programs.

Another great example is Messenger, the chat program not the service. Microsoft originally made it nearly impossible to get rid of. Even if you edited your sysoc.inf file and uninstalled Messenger, it'll suddenly come back. Even if you deleted the subfolder under Program Files, it would mysteriously come back. Obviously Microsoft considered its chat war against AOL more important than ease of use for its customers.

And of course there's product activation. We were told it was to stop piracy, but that was bull-shit. You can easy obtain pirated copies of XP and Vista. Let's face it, if piracy has been decreased, then why is Vista Microsoft's most expensive OS? Why aren't they passing the savings back to us? Clearly product activation is not stopping piracy at all. Once again, the real purpose of product activation is to screw over the paying customer who wants to install the OS he paid for on both of his systems.

And lets not forget how Microsoft's Office products are constantly screwing with file formats to make the later versions incompatible with earlier versions. Once again, this is NOT done to make it easier for paying customers. It's merely leverage to get those customer paying again and again.

It'd be really hard to be passionate for Microsoft's products. It's hard to be passionate for anything that nickel and dimes you at every turn. That treats you like a criminal. And sees you merely as a cash cow to be milked at every chance.

Re:Microsoft has been screwing us over for years (1)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461526)

I agree with all your points. So why do people resist when I give them Ubuntu and offer to install it for them? Even after using it, and finding that it does all they need, people flock back to pirated XP that they know contains malware right there on the install disc. Why?

Re:Microsoft has been screwing us over for years (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461592)

If only there were an operating system that was controlled by its users and never manipulated them that way. Oh, and it would be really cool if it were free and came with source code.

Too much to wish for, I know...

Re:Microsoft has been screwing us over for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461666)

You forgot the NTFS/FAT32 handling in XP?

You can't format a large (greater than ~32Gb) drive using FAT32 in XP.
XP will happily USE a drive larger than 32Gb that is FAT32, it just won't format one. Windows 2000 will. XP forces you to use NTFS when formatting a drive that size.

Arguably, FAT32 isn't a great filesystem - but at the time, it was the most compatible system to use when you needed interoperability with other OSes.

Obviously there is nothing technical reason a drive that large can't be FAT32, so what reason is there is there for MS to prevent you doing it, other than to try to prevent interoperability?

Remote controlled PR-disaster (4, Informative)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461094)

Sooo, it seems Microsoft has set itself up for a PR disaster and given the remote control to any content-provider that knows how to use the broadcast flags.

There is no better way to illustrate what restrictions DRM will have on the users day-to-day life, and Vista users will not like these demonstrations of Microsofts built-in Big Brother TM.

Basking in the love... (4, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461098)

Is this the place where those of us who loathe Vista as a bloated, DRM-ridden piece of crap that just can't wait to rat on its owners come for an apology from all those people who accused us of spreading FUD about it?

Just wondering...

Re:Basking in the love... (0, Troll)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461388)

Yes, this is the place where those of us who loathe Vista as a bloated, DRM-ridden piece of crap that just can't wait to rat on its owners come for an apology from all those people who accused us of spreading FUD about it.

But don't expect them to come with apologies. Astroturfing Microsoft shills never apologise. They'l call this story FUD, too. It's how they've always done business.

Re:Basking in the love... (1)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461596)

But don't expect them to come with apologies. Astroturfing Microsoft shills never apologise. They'l call this story FUD, too. It's how they've always done business.
What keeps them so loyal to MS? I know people who pay for Windows who are as loyal to the company as Ballmer himself. I also know people who pirate Windows and prefer their known-malware ridden XP over free Ubuntu, installed and supported by me. Why are they so willing - no, wanting - to give their money and business to MS, not matter how many times MS screws them? What is their attraction?

di3k (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461100)

don't want to feel BSD sux0rs. What here, but what is Join GNAA (GAY Inventing excuses would choose to use Out of bed in the MAKES ME SICK JUST to work I'm doing, Or mislead the that support are tied up in they are Come win out; either the GAY NIGGERS from to work I'm doing, with the number irc network. The volume of NetBSD and has instead ass until I hit my everything else the resources that around are in nned no maater how surprise to the to deliver what, Invited back again. and sold in the Irc.secsup.org or our ability to do and doing what to die. I will jam from one folder on themselves to be a (7000+1400+700)*4 The mobo blew Of various BSD common knowledge Be forgotten in a *BSD has lost more Members all over Vary for different

NBC should drop the broadcast flag....or perish (4, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461150)

Let's see, how many different competing sources of videos are there today? And NBC thinks it's got the best ones out there and wants to restrict their dissemination with the broadcast flag?

I don't really care if Vista respects the flag or not. NBC, by putting it in the stream, thwarts its use, legitimate or not. In the YouTube/Tube world, they have *so* scratched themselves off the list.

Let's see-- was that good for marketshare, branding, asset value, shareholder value, or compennsation? Hullo?

Re:NBC should drop the broadcast flag....or perish (2, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461246)

Agreed, everyone here seems focused on Microsoft but they were only respecting some crazy law that seemed to be in existence at one small point of time, NBC were the ones that triggered the broadcast bit in the first place. It doesn't really matter if this was an experiment or an accident or even completely intended; they turned the bit on and this was the result. Hopefully they'll wake up and realize how pissed this makes their viewers, but maybe not.

Re:NBC should drop the broadcast flag....or perish (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461482)

The thing is, afaik this only affects Vista. XP boxes vastly outnumber Vista boxes, and not many people use their computers to record TV anyway, except those who have a dedicated DVR that they don't even realise is a computer.

If it was Tivo that did this you would see NBC losing ratings and you would be right. But this will actually affect very few people.

That reminds me, I have to go get my DTA converter for my TV. Lets see, plug the DTA into the VCR, the VCR into the TV...

Re:NBC should drop the broadcast flag....or perish (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461636)

As Vista is the only platform known to respect the flag, yes. Underneath the embedded flag is either a screw-up, or the barrel of a gun aimed precisely at the metatarsals and the smoking hole after-effect.

paradigm shift to the rescue (2, Interesting)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461174)

I am starting to think that the customer is about to decide.

Why buy MS when you can get something that works. The reason MS is not working for the consumer is because it's not getting its money from the consumer.

Computers are becoming a commodity. By the time, if not already, the next windows/office comes out computers will be so cheap there will be little room for MS. Solid state multi capable CPUs should dramatically drop the cost.

I'd say paradigm shift to the rescue.

G

NBC programming blocked = net win for the consumer (2, Funny)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461218)

I just glanced over the channel lineup for my area (I honestly didn't know what NBC was offering), and I'm in favor crappy TV networks self regulating themselves further out of my view.

It isn't much a surprise, given the lack of NBC on the chart [usatoday.com] .
/half-joking, half-not

Just one more reason to use mythtv (1)

muppetman462 (867367) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461222)

Wow...So glad I use mythtv and don't have to worry about microcrap like that!

Re:Just one more reason to use mythtv (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461294)

Heck yeah - mythtv rules!

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461338)

Then switch to another program. Media Center has way to many restrictions now. There are several out there. I use Sage 6.3 on Windows XP. It works on XP, Vista or Linux.

Perhaps we should thank Microsoft (2, Interesting)

J_DarkElf (602111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461348)

I think we should be grateful to Microsoft in a way. By fully exposing people to the whim of the content mafiaa (in this case NBC) it will finally become clear to a large enough crowd that DRM and like measures, like this 'broadcast flag', are taking away rights we took for granted.

Hopefully with awareness finally spreading beyond the minority of hobbyists, enough of a voice can be made to stop the big companies before it is too late.

My VCR Still Works (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461358)

As long as there is analog out, I'll be able to record my favorite shows. Just retarded you have to go through all that.

Is it really any surprise MSFT puts business interests ahead of user interests? It's been that way a long time.

NBC and Microsoft pattern (3, Informative)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461376)

15 July 1996: Microsoft and NBC form MSNBC.
31 Aug 2007: NBC pulls all content from iTunes Store.
6 May 2008: NBC puts content on Zune Store.
Now: NBC has Microsoft block Windows Media Center from recording certain shows.

What other wonderful developments can we expect?

I knew something was up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461414)

When I wasnt able to record last weeks Doogie Howser. Damn MS.

American Gladiator and Medium, there was..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461422)

a great disturbance in the Force coming from West Hollywood and San Francisco.

Full featured Vista alternative? (1)

Logger (9214) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461442)

I'm a Mac owner, but until this broadcast flag thing happened I was contemplating building a Windows Vista based Media Center to connect to my LCD. I'd rather put a MacMini there, but there's no commercial Blu-Ray support yet.

So now how do I build a full featured alternative? The requirements I'm trying to fulfill are:

1) Play Blu-Ray movies
2) Stream Movies and Music from iTunes on my Mac (including some FairPlay encrypted ones unfortunately.)
3) Watch internet TV (Lost on ABC.com)
4) DVR

Windows was the only platform I've found that can do both #1 & #2. Mac's don't support #1. PS3's can only stream unencrypted stuff from iTunes, and they don't do #4 as far as I know. And now Windows has a crippled #4. Suck!

As for #1 (2, Informative)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461736)

Here [fastmac.com] is a good place to start.

The Last Straw. (4, Interesting)

kiwioddBall (646813) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461534)

I've been a pretty loyal Microsoft user since Win3.1, and I'm a senior I.T. professional. I'm not particularly radical, I use Vista, and its OK.

However, Microsofts recent performance has been pretty disgraceful, enough to force change for me. I point to three incidents - This one with the broadcast flag, the recent shutdown of the Microsoft Music Validation servers, and the release of the emails where it showed that senior management had no idea how to treat customers or partners during the months leading up to the release of Vista.

How hard is it for Microsoft to treat their customers OK? I mean, the broadcast flag incident shows they bend over for the broadcast networks, even though the networks business model doesn't even require this. Why do they do this to their customers? Obviously, the networks are paying Microsoft, but surely they can't be paying as much as customers pay for licenses to use Vista/XP. Why treat your greatest revenue stream like a POS - like they're stupid?

With regard to the Music Server incident, a number of customers have paid for music, these are valuable customers again, and they are having their servers shut down so they can't play their music beyond their next upgrade/reinstall. How low is that. I mean, how much more poorly can you treat your customers. How hard is it for Microsoft to keep a few servers running to validate that music, to say to the customers, look, we'll keep this going as a sign that we give a .... - you're our customers after all. Being an IT professional, I can see perhaps there might be an issue keeping it going through system upgrades, or server upgrades? Well, how hard would it be supply music on the current store? Or perhaps there aren't enough customers to make this cost effective? I don't know, then you don't have to keep many DRM servers running to keep them happy.

As for the emails, I don't know where to begin. They treated HP like .... after they made them bend over to develop new hardware for the Vista Capable logo, and then redefined the conditions so HP wasted their time and money. And then they were surprised when Vendors weren't developing drivers for Vista. To quote the MS executives, the hardware vendors 'didn't trust us'.

It really pains me to use Vista after reading this stuff. This isn't a complaint about Vista or whatever, its an OK operating system, its a lot easier to use than any Linux variant, and I find it stable now. But I can't keep using it beyond my current hardware iteration. I'll keep using it at work, but from a moral point of view, I just can't keep using it personally. You just can't keep treating people like that, and I feel like a gullible fool giving Microsoft more money. I am pleased that there are alternatives at last, be it Apple or a future Linux that will be more innovative and user friendly by the time my current hardware dies.

I pay for advertisement (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461590)

Long ago when cable TV was new, part of the draw of cable TV was "commercial free!" and signal clarity. Well, there was nothing wrong with the signals we got over the air until cable lobbied to have the RF power of TV stations lowered and the commercial-free thing didn't last long either.

Of course, the internet was not created to be yet another form of advertising media, but that is what it has become and somehow people actually believe that is what it's there for -- they don't see it as a corruption of its original intent.

I bought some DVDs over the weekend only to find that the first 5, unskippable, minutes were advertisements for other things.

Why should I have to pay for advertisements being shoved in my face?

I once worked for a weekly news rag and we fought spam hard. Meanwhile, our own sales people were constantly pushing and stepping over the line when it came to their own email behaviors. As a company that is all about advertisement, you'd think they'd be more sympathetic to the "needs of the other marketers" out there. But in their defense, I suppose, they published a paper and didn't shove it down anyone's throat... and it was a free paper too, so no one actually paid to see these ads. (This is about as legitimate as it can get) Eve so, I couldn't stand working there any longer so I don't. I hate marketing. It simply corrupts everything it touches.

Blaming Microsoft? (0, Troll)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 6 years ago | (#23461676)

Why is everyone blaming Microsoft? While the broadcast flag is certainly not a required thing to honor, it is something the content providers wanted and something that doesn't really negatively affect consumers unless the content provider wishes so.

The fact of the matter is: It's not up to Microsoft to decide for you NOR the content provider. Microsoft can't tell the content provider "screw you" because you want to skip by some commercials on TV.

Microsoft isn't a champion of consumers, nor is any other company. They are out to get your money. That's their primary goal, that's why they exist.

Without support for DRM in Windows, we wouldn't have the ability to watch things such as blu-ray. This will become more important as the drives become cheaper and people start loading them up in their HTPC setups.

What do you want? To just not watch blu-ray movies?

You could go and download the HD movies you want (like I'm sure most people here do), but if you want to make a good faith effort to stay on the "legal" side of things, these technologies need to be in place by Microsoft.

It wasn't their decision, after all. They need to attract content providers to have a good reason to support the PC platform, AND they need to attract consumers.

Even if massive DRM was removed from say, Blu-Ray, tomorrow, it would not increase the sales of players nor movies. Why? Because DRM isn't as big of a "problem" as some people on these comments seem to think it is.

That said, let's look at the law here. You have no "constitutional" rights in the US to do whatever you want with whatever you want. You have no "rights" to download, store, digitally alter media produced by someone else if they don't want you to.

If you want the ability to do that, stand up to your government and push them for laws that favor your ability to do this more.

But hey, then that puts more "control in the hands of that evil, terrible thing we call government!"

Can't have it both ways.

Mister Rogers already settled this issue (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23461740)

This issue has already been settled in SONY CORP. OF AMER. v. UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC., 464 U.S. 417 (1984) (http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/464_US_417.htm). Fred Rogers made a profound and compelling argument for the personal recording of television programs:

"Some public stations, as well as commercial stations, program the 'Neighborhood' at hours when some children cannot use it. I think that it's a real service to families to be able to record such programs and show them at appropriate times. I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the 'Neighborhood' off-the-air, and I'm speaking for the 'Neighborhood' because that's what I produce, that they then become much more active in the programming of their family's television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been 'You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.' Maybe I'm going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important."
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