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4 Microsoft Engineers Predicted DRM Would Fail 10 Years Ago

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-that-companies-have-listened-yet dept.

DRM 142

An anonymous reader writes "Ars is running an article about a paper written just over a decade ago by four engineers at Microsoft. In it, they talk about the darknet, and how it applies to distributing content online. They correctly predicted the uselessness of DRM: 'In the presence of an infinitely efficient darknet — which allows instantaneous transmission of objects to all interested users — even sophisticated DRM systems are inherently ineffective.' The paper's lead author, Peter Biddle, said he almost got fired over the paper at the time. 'Biddle tried to get buy-in from senior Microsoft executives prior to releasing the paper. But he says they didn't really understand the paper's implications — and particularly how it could strain relationships with content companies — until after it was released. Once the paper was released, Microsoft's got stuck in bureaucratic paralysis. Redmond neither repudiated Biddle's paper nor allowed him to publicly defend it.' The paper itself is available in .DOC format."

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DRM is not useless (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42148389)

DRM hasn't failed and isn't useless. It's quite successful at pissing off honest customers and turning them towards piracy and circumvention.

Re:DRM is not useless (5, Funny)

chad.koehler (859648) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149067)

That point is made in the conclusion of the actual paper. I know it's against the rules, but I read it.

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149769)

Indeed. I wonder how much more wealthy MS might have been if they had continued working on their previous promises, instead of pursuing the DRM pipedream.

I mean, they have spent a hideous amount of company resources to implement DRM in their main product, the Windows operating system; those resources could have been spent elsewhere on any number of features that really needed the extra attention. Instead, they were spent creating an alien DRM system in Windows, a place where the user (or even the admin) was not in control; what more, no one uses the DRM features.

  In short, it was a waste of resources.

Re:DRM is not useless (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150287)

Uhhh...everybody forget Bill Gates famous "If they pirate, I want them to pirate from us" line? Ballmer apparently has, as which two bombs in recent years had the nastiest DRM? why Vista and 8 of course. Win 7 was totally broken almost from RTM, look up "Win 7 all versions" on TPB and you'll see there is two DVDs, one for 32bit and one for 64bit, that covered every release from basic to ultimate, it even gives you a nice wallpaper based on who made the board!

But one thing they got wrong i believe is that DRM is doomed, i point to netflix and Steam as examples of DRM done right. If you make the customer feel they are getting more value in their purchase and the DRM is unobtrusive and just rides along? Most won't care. look at how many had a fight over the Humble bundle and I was surprised to see how many agreed with me that it didn't matter because Steam gives value like chat, updates, matchmaking, etc and I know many pirates that once they got netflix haven't bothered, they have so many shows to watch now that frankly they could live in front of the set and never see it all, so why bother pirating more?

The reason DRM has gotten a bad rap is because like many ideas handed to PHBs with little foresight naturally it can be misused, look at Starfuck breaking DVD burners, or SecuROM slowing down systems, or how most of those won't play nice with each other or even newer versions of itself so you end up with a dozen of the damned things running in the background. Compare this to steam, when its off? its off. No kernel level crap sucking resources and getting buggier by the day, no hassles, its all just "click to buy game" and even gifting something like the humble bundle takes just a couple of clicks. its cheap, easy, and hassle free and most people will NOT care as long as you meet those requirements.

Hell even with MSFT they used to have common sense, like Windows activation...do i care? No. Why? because after changing every. single. part. on this desktop i had to re-activate exactly ONCE, and that was when I swapped boards. it took less than 10 seconds online, and that was it, done. Compare this to Vista and its black screen of death or even worse WMV/WMA DRM as examples of DRM done poorly. It was glitchy, often screwed up, and ALWAYS defaulted to "Ur a pirate!" so you ended up just wanting the shit far away from you.

So just like VB or Java or Flash or any other thing out there DRM can be done right, or it can be done poorly. Personally I'd rather have a couple of services like Steam and netflix as "one stop shops" where I can buy anything I want cheaply an easily than see our rights stripped away with ever more draconian laws and customer screwing policies like 6 strikes, wouldn't you?

Re:DRM is not useless (4, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150731)

i point to netflix and Steam as examples of DRM done right. If you make the customer feel they are getting more value in their purchase and the DRM is unobtrusive and just rides along? Most won't care. look at how many had a fight over the Humble bundle and I was surprised to see how many agreed with me that it didn't matter because Steam gives value like chat, updates, matchmaking, etc and I know many pirates that once they got netflix haven't bothered, they have so many shows to watch now that frankly they could live in front of the set and never see it all, so why bother pirating more?

I think you are missing the point of DRM. The point of DRM is to stop unauthorized people from using or copying or distributing your software. That is its purpose. It was never intended as some kind of additional feature to get more people to buy your software as people like you claim Steam has done.

In terms of stopping pirates from using software DRM has been an almost complete failure. There is the rare exception where the developers themselves devoted a large percentage of their development time to weaving DRM into thousands of different places to intentionally make things difficult/tedious for crackers, but those are rare exceptions. For the most part DRM has been an utter failure.

When I want to buy a game that is only available on Steam I download it from TPB or KAT instead. The torrent version has an additional feature other than its lower cost: it allows me to install it without an internet connection. That's the kind of feature that I don't need all that often, but when I need it I really need it. So I rationally choose the version which offers me the most value: the DRM free version.

There will always be a significant percentage of sheeple who don't care about DRM, no matter how draconian it is. Even the must-always-be-connected-to-server DRM sells many copies. Obviously less intrusive forms of DRM like steam will have fewer people objecting to it, but that doesn't mean the publisher isn't losing a significant number of sales from people who refuse to pay for DRM or who don't have reliable (or any) internet connections. Obviously such publishers just don't care about those people. They are willing to lose some number of customers in order to have that warm fuzzy feeling that delaying the release of their software on TPB for an extra 12 hours seems to give them. If I were a stockholder I would not be happy with that decision.

Re:DRM is not useless (5, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42151527)

The point of DRM is to stop unauthorized people from using or copying or distributing your software.

The *stated* point of DRM is to keep people from pirating your software. The actual purpose of DRM is to maintain control over the user, thus using it to prevent used games sales, format shifting, playing on unauthorized devices, etc.

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151719)

Almost there. Just like anything else in business, the purpose of DRM is to make more money. Just like everything else, if the projections show it won't make more money, they won't do it.

Re:DRM is not useless (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152317)

The problem is that it is not easy and often impossible to measure the gain or loss of money because of DRM even at short term. At medium and long term it is certainly impossible.

If any money is made with DRM it is not because piracy is deterred by it, but because companies manage to enforce standards and lock people inside their ecosystems, in effect generating an artificial monopoly, which arguably should not be legally allowed.

'digital rights'=copyright (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152435)

It's about the 'rights' as they say down in LA

You all have it...no dispute...DRM is anchored in the concept of holding a 'copyright' to written music

The concept has been so abused that it gets confusing, and it's definitely about money at the core...money...power...control...whathaveyou...we all know their fsking game now, to me that's the important thing

Re:DRM is not useless (2)

pepty (1976012) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152417)

When I want to buy a game that is only available on Steam I download it from TPB or KAT instead. The torrent version has an additional feature other than its lower cost: it allows me to install it without an internet connection. That's the kind of feature that I don't need all that often, but when I need it I really need it.

You do realize that you're talking about really needing to play a game, right? What exactly would the consequence be of your having to wait until you have an internet connection to install a game?

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42150391)

You are the reason why pages get slashdotted. I hope you are ashamed of yourself.

The money quote (5, Interesting)

mystikkman (1487801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149331)

Te hoped that writing a paper saying so would reassure Microsoft's critics in the technical community that Redmond wasn't planning to lock down the PC in order to satisfy Hollywood. And by making it clear that the people behind Microsoft's "trusted computing" push were not fans of DRM, Biddle hoped he could persuade the technical community to consider other, more benign applications of the technology he was building.

snip

It didn't work out that way. "I almost got fired over the paper," Biddle told Ars. "It was extremely controversial." Biddle tried to get buy-in from senior Microsoft executives prior to releasing the paper. But he says they didn't really understand the paper's implications—and particularly how it could strain relationships with content companies—until after it was released. Once the paper was released, Microsoft's got stuck in bureaucratic paralysis. Redmond neither repudiated Biddle's paper nor allowed him to publicly defend it.

At the same time, "the community we thought would draw a connection never drew the connection," Biddle said, referring to anti-DRM activists. "Microsoft was taking so much heat around security and trustworthy computing, that I was not allowed to go out and talk about any of this stuff publicly. I couldn't explain 'guys, we're totally on your side. What we want is a program that's open.'"

The so called "community" is and was rabidly anti-Microsoft regardless of the actual merits of the case. There are umpteen journalists(eg. Farhad Manjoo of Slate), who railed endlessly against Palladium, but when Apple implemented the Palladium spec to the letter in the iPhone and iPad, locked out developers and users from their own machines, the exact same people went "OOH SHINY" were falling all over themselves singing its praises.

See http://www.salon.com/2002/07/11/palladium/ [salon.com] and http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2012/03/new_ipad_how_apple_s_tablet_strategy_parallels_its_unbeatable_ipod_success_.html [slate.com]

Now we have the slow decimation of user and developer freedom led over the past 5 years by the iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook,locked bootloaders on Android phones like the Droid, tablets etc., Windows Phone and now Windows RT. As they say, the first cut is the deepest, the war was lost when the public started buying iDevices in droves and they *still* can't keep them in stock. Now everyone can say if it's okay for the market leader Apple to do it, so can we. This is the harm with the "raise hell if it's MS, ignore and pump it if it's Apple etc." attitude of the community and Slashdot is no different for the most part. If, instead of playing fanboys and haters, if pundits and tech folks actually stood for openness like RMS did, we might have had a different future today.

The cat is out of the bag though. Apple charging 30% of even the services offered through apps is just the tip of the iceberg.

Re:The money quote (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149545)

The fundamental misconception of the paper(which, as you note, Apple was first to demonstrate in a broad and serious way) is that DRM is about controlling exfiltration rather than controlling playback.

Yeah, obviously, even the people who design PAL hardware for thermonuclear warheads are going to have a difficult time designing DRM systems that will resist prolonged physical access by a sophisticated attacker. If they have to build such systems on a consumer electronics budget, forget about it.

However the 'break once, play everywhere' DRM defeat model implicitly assumes that computers will be 'default allow' devices. That, unless a given object is specifically encrypted/crippled/otherwise fucked with, they will happily do their best to work with what they are given.

This simply isn't true. Market forces have prevented going 'default deny' in certain highly competitive sectors(eg. nobody selling cheap DVD players can get away with selling DVD players that play only CSS-encrypted disks) and for certain legacy formats(it isn't really an 'mp3 player' if it doesn't play mp3s...); but it is increasingly the case that more sophisticated devices are 'default deny'.

None of today's consoles will boot an unsigned binary, even one otherwise compatible with their environment without modification to the system(sometimes a software crack, some are known only to possess hardware vulnerabilities requiring physical modification). The iDevices of the world will reject any .ipa executable package that isn't DRM-encumbered. You can strip off the "fairplay" all you like; but unless you have a jailbroken device or access to a trusted signing key, you aren't going to be running it... Microsoft's "Windows RT" will be the same thing for Windows style executables.

If anything, what the MS guys demonstrated is that (because of the 'darknet' consideration) 'Trusted Computing' as DRM is doomed to failure and its only real function is trusted computing as control.

Re:The money quote (3, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149799)

I agree in general. However, for what it's worth, Windows RT can both sideload apps (they have to be signed by *somebody*, but the certificate can and often will be from an "untrusted" source) and execute unsigned desktop apps if they run in the app sandbox. The first is an official feature, intended for use either by developers or for internal (company, etc.) apps. The second is completely unofficial, but it works; "Metro-style" apps (which run in a sandbox) aren't supposed to be able to invoke arbitrary .EXEs. Somebody has figured out how to do it though, and it turns out that so long as the target EXE is within the sandbox's accessible portion of the filesystem and doesn't need to access anything outside of the sandbox, it works fine even if completely unsigned. Of course, it still needs to be recompiled for ARM, so no running arbitrary legacy programs yet unless you have the source code and build tools, but it works.

The question will be how MS responds to this. It's arguably completely safe to leave in place; even if somebody goes to the trouble to create malware that will run in this environment, the environment itself will keep it constrained. A sideloaded or store app could literally do just as much damage. If anything really malicious does pop up, they can add its definition to Defender. On the other hand... it's possible that they'll try and take a "you just *thought* it was your device" approach and block people from even doing that much. After all, given the need to recompile, you could argue that legacy malware wouldn't run anyhow, so there was no need to forbid third-party desktop apps in the first place. In any case, time will tell. Meanwhile, there's already work on other ways of unlocking Windows RT.

Overall, a very insightful post, and I almost modded it as such (hopefully somebody else will) but wanted to respond.

Re:The money quote (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150617)

yes it only loads signed executable until its jailbroken, as i recall their was a hacker a while back breaking each iOS update for each device, where to break it you just had to go to his page in the iphone browser. and apple in the end hired him to make him stop. drm don't work. just look at playstation they try to lock you out and a hacker just breaks it, Sony knows they cant stop him from doing it technological so they litigate him to death

PAL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42152211)

This is so hilarious.

The links can be used to ddos a warhead SO easily.

WTF were they thinking; you don't need to protect against something you can turn off remotely.

Re:The money quote (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149793)

You couldn't be more right. I remember how much fuss was made against the DRM in Vista, which was fairly benign and had to be implemented to playback BluRay discs. Remember that debunked hitpiece of a paper written by an Australian professor? Many on Slashdot *still* believe that FUD and will say Windows 7 has a lot of DRM.

When Apple implemented lockdown DRM on *apps*, the Apple fans made sure to moderate and steer the discussion about the OH SHINY part and no one talks about it anymore.

Re:The money quote (2)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149967)

Apple charging 30% of even the services offered through apps is just the tip of the iceberg.

Okay you're correct in many ways except for this right here. Apple's 30% cut is an extremely great price point given the market share and central access it provides. You might not be aware that we've (developers) had to put up with much higher rates in the past from similar offerings that were only a fraction of the Apple ecosystem. While lockout may seem like "death", there are elements that I can't deny are far more beneficial and efficient than a pure open system.

Erosion of developer freedom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151195)

I get paid now instead of ripped off. I'll take it.

Re:The money quote (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151493)

You know you had me until you went for the "30%" argument. As an old school game developer in the 80's for the commodore 64 and Apple IIe I would have tripped over myself and stabbed someone for 70% of the gross in sales.
The iOS business model is an absolute dream for developers.

You're right that it doesn't fit for all things, but that's the way things work if you want to make certain your ecosystem for your platform doesn't get corrupted.
I have an HTC incredible for my work phone and I installed an app that caused my phone to spontaneously reboot hundreds of times in a row. You couldn't even get it to come up long enough to delete the app. How is this my fault as a consumer? It was a caller ID app. I didn't have the source code and I couldn't fix it.
t doesn't matter how much freedom of choice I had, a bad App almost took me down to the point of having to wipe the phone.
I suppose that's fine if you're a 20 something who doesn't really NEED his phone to be reliable and spends his spare time building nightlies of his linux distro.
But for the rest of this, quality control is important. If you have to have a walled garden for that, so be it.

And actually, your argument about freedom is moot too... if you want to jailbreak/root any of those devices and use them for whatever you want you can still do it.
Tell me the last time you did that to a microwave, or dishwasher, or car. A mobile device is simply not the same thing as a general purpose computer... it's much more purpose built and akin to those other tools I mentioned. If you want to develop for your computer, do it. There's no decimation of freedom there... there's only people wishing you had MORE access to new platforms and not getting what they want.

Re:DRM is not useless (3, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149371)

I am going to be a devil's advocate again: It did work extremely well on the PS3, where a "complete" break wasn't achived until recently, and for a console that is almost five years old, that is a pretty good accomplishment.

Satellite is well protected with no "master cards" available on any black market. So far, no cracks are out there in any form.

The iPhone 5 has yet to have even a single usable JB. The 4S has had only limited windows of time where it was jailbreakable.

Even with e-readers, I've yet to see a cracked AZW file in the past two years. Amazon must be doing something right with their Kindle DRM. (I hope to be proven wrong, but I was curious about this earlier, did some quick searching and found any supposed decoders just were links to malware/Trojans.)

DRM is alive and well.

Re:DRM is not useless (3, Informative)

bluemonq (812827) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149527)

Actually AZW has long been cracked. It was initially done to create DRM-free copies that Amazon could not revoke (remember the incident with 1984?). Of course, there are those who use it to share ebooks without permission to do so. There is even a plugin that integrates into Calibre to strip DRM out of your books,

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149961)

You mean the plugin that requires a version of the E-reader that isn't up to date, or the plugin that is a Trojan dropper? I wish there were a Calibre plugin that worked, but so far, there are none.

Re:DRM is not useless (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42150053)

There is a python script that works (need your kindle serial number).

Or you can use Kindle.DRM.Removal.v4.2.1.247-Lz0 (Basically a crappy gui to the same script).

Re:DRM is not useless (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149747)

Also Microsoft's PlayReady DRM hasn't been broken to date.

Annoyed the crap out of me because I am forced to use windows media center with my crap cable provider who CCI flags every channel. I have instead resorted to usenet and now download my tv shows illegally, and plan to cancel cable soon. Sadly, my HDHomeRun is basically worthless.

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150543)

I remember removing the DRM from a PlayReady file 5 years ago.

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152481)

That's impressive considering PlayReady has only been out for 4 years.

Re:DRM is not useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149813)

"Satellite is well protected with no "master cards" available on any black market. So far, no cracks are out there in any form."

There might not be any cracks for current cryptos, but there is no need for them. For all providers I can receive there are people who share a card for it, either a for pay service (mucht cheaper and available to regions that cards aren't sold in) or as a "peer to peer" network where everybody pitches in their own card to share in return for access to others. See softcams and cardsharing.

Re:DRM is not useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151965)

And yet, PS3 didn't crushed Wii and 360 in game sales by a large margin, even if you count the exclusives.

"useless" =! "alive and well" (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152439)

Just because companies still try to use DRM doesn't make it useful...

It is currently in use in various forms, and as GP said...it's fsking good at one thing: PISSING OFF THE USER

Re:DRM is not useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149593)

You know, aside from Slashdot I've never heard anyone say they gave up on any legally gotten software because of DRM.
 
But then again, this is Slashdot... everyone claims they've been MS free since Win98 but also claim that they don't buy Windows only software because of the DRM... There's no winning around here because of all the dumb shit.

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150857)

If you are anti-DRM why buy the software in the first place? The reason you never hear of it here is because we are mostly techies. We know what DRM is and know to check for it before we buy the software. Only a non-geek would buy software and only later realize it has DRM.

Re:DRM is not useless (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152531)

So, I can understand physical disk DRM causing occasional issues (buy the disk and lose/damage it) but honestly for network-based game DRM why does anyone really care? I have bought a few games from Steam for the PC, and a few Xbox Live games, and both times when I upgraded my PC or got a new Xbox it was trivial to re-download the game for the new device. Actually, in both cases I have the games installed on 2 PCs and consoles and as long as you don't try to use both at the same time it works fine.

Like *many* things, when implemented poorly DRM is a PITA. But when implemented *well*, DRM (as a part of a software distribution *system*) mostly limits casual copying while making it pretty braindead easy to reinstall the software you own...

Re:DRM is not useless (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150507)

DRM hasn't failed and isn't useless. It's quite successful at pissing off honest customers and turning them towards piracy and circumvention.

Not just DRM, but all the preview sh*t when I put a DVD in the player. I don't give a damn about all these other things, why do I have to sit there hammering the skip forward button and/or menu button? It's a great motivator toward ripping the content off the DVD, burning it on a blank and then watching it whenever I want to see the movie.

Disney one of the worst offenders.

Re:DRM is not useless (2)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about a year and a half ago | (#42151129)

s/piracy and circumvention/better products/

DRM is dumb. Charge a fair price and offer a better service, and people will buy it. If it's easier to get a better product through file sharing, then that is where people are going to go.

Media companies:
Just have certificate or password RSS feeds. Charge $5/month/feed. No DRM. You'll make money. I promise. Hell, even use torrent trackers for the feed links and you won't have to pay for the infrastructure yourself. Your own customers will actually offset that cost, and do it willingly. Imagine that.

Re:DRM is not useless (1)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152283)

Or the opposite. I used to pirate, but now I use steam.

alright, (2)

fjolnir (2690993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148465)

Who didn't predict that?

Re:alright, (5, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149021)

The rest of their engineers.

Basically they had 4 employees who realized what the rest of the free world already knew. This is why MS products are so lousy, only 4 people in the whole place figured this out!

Re:alright, (2, Interesting)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149099)

The rest of the engineers didn't actually gave a crap about it as they were paid to implement those DRM. Ever had that feeling,"oh my this guys are paying me to do this, what a bunch of jacks, this will never work".

Re:alright, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149261)

Yes. And I've also worked at places where I implement meaningful code that works and does some good. So I speak from experience and mean it in the most sincere possible way that working on bullshit projects sucks out your soul. It's a horrible experience. You wake up each morning realizing there's no real reason to go to work. You come home and you want to wash your hands of the bullshit project least it infect your family. You sit through meetings in a daze because, ultimately, it doesn't matter. None of it matters. Because the project is bullshit, doomed, and you're a sacrificial goat they cast into the fire to toil on it despite it being pointless.

For your own sanity and your own skillset, listen unto me when I say: GTFO.

Re:alright, (2)

turbidostato (878842) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149461)

"working on bullshit projects sucks out your soul."

Absolutly right. But still...

Working on real bullshit projects pays your bills, great still-to-be-seen unreal ones, do not.

Re:alright, (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149265)

EVERY DAY

Every day.

Re:alright, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149581)

The rest of the engineers were/are foreign nationals who don't give a rats-ass about U.S. of A. citizens.
Just tellin' it like it is.

Re:alright, (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149131)

Senior management, apparently. ;)

Re:alright, (2)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149283)

I realize everyone here is going to say "The rest of MS", but let us not be that one sided; how about all of Apple didn't predict it?

Re:alright, (2)

jhol13 (1087781) | about a year and a half ago | (#42151161)

I. I was extremely frightened that they could shut the internet music up, with so enthusiac audience (customers) for DRM.

DRM really had a chance, it failed mostly not on "us" who were accustomed BSD/GPL etc, but on far too many competeting "standards". Then some DRM music stores shut down leaving customers with nothing (still someone bough zune after playsforsure ... go ahead, buy now the 8).

But then, loosers learned nothing and are now "buying" ebooks.

Just a couple of days ago there was a story in the news in Finalnd about "digital inhertance". They did not say it will be close to zero as most is loaned rather than bought. Your loss, not mine, I don't loan from iTunes, etc.

10 Years ago? (4, Insightful)

jabberwock (10206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148483)

... except for the few people I knew who worked for companies that stood to benefit from the wide acceptance of DRM, pretty much everyone was predicting it was a disaster starting in about 1996.

Try 20+ years ago... (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149171)

...hell, most of us knew that back when we were using nibblers on Commodore 64 boxes to copy stuff onto blank 720k floppies. ;)

DRM failure predicted 10 yrs ago? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148501)

Dunno...DRM failure was predicted many years before that (remember back when the DMCA was just a proposed bill?).

When it was predicted isn't the important part...it is WHO did the predicting; the Palladium team.

Re:DRM failure predicted 10 yrs ago? (4, Interesting)

Applekid (993327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148517)

The DMCA has, in fact, prolonged the life of DRM by making it a literal crime to circumvent it. At least in the US.

Re:DRM failure predicted 10 yrs ago? (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148921)

Not from what I can see. AACS was cracked within a year or so of the arrival of Blu-ray and HD-DVD, with BD+ falling not long after. The DRM on most ebook formats was stripped within weeks or less.

The DMCA just makes sure that the tools to strip DRM are hosted outside the US.

Re:DRM failure predicted 10 yrs ago? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149845)

The DMCA has, in fact, prolonged the life of DRM by making it a literal crime to circumvent it. At least in the US.

This shows the opposite, that DRM required a law agaisnt trying to bypass it only shows that it failed so hard on its own it needed outside intervention to stay alive.

Without the DMCA, it just would have gone even faster and been even more hilariously one sided.

The problem with DRM is something military types figured out thousands of years ago. Its far, far, easier to design a better weapon than it is to design a better piece of armor. It doesn't matter what new type of DRM you come up with, somebody will come up with a way to break it. Even the "always online" stuff doesn't work, ripper groups either remove the check, fake the check, or give you a fake server.

And it will keep getting cracked, the prevailing mindset of the internet is that DRM is bad. Thanks to some hilariously bad implementations of intrusive DRM pissing off actual paying customers even people largely uneducated on the subject still think its bad.

Re:DRM failure predicted 10 yrs ago? (3, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42151591)

Its far, far, easier to design a better weapon than it is to design a better piece of armor. It doesn't matter what new type of DRM you come up with, somebody will come up with a way to break it.

Cool, tell me how to run unsigned code on my PS3 without having obsolete firmware or a hardware flasher.

(Hint: the hacks that "completely" cracked the PS3 didn't.)

Re:DRM failure predicted 10 yrs ago? (1)

A bsd fool (2667567) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152567)

Only half true. DMCA explicitly grants exceptions for portability. You know, like, to write player software for unsupported platforms.

Even (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42148553)

a blind pig ...

Re:Even (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149231)

... is made of tasty bacon.

Re:Even (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149303)

likes his movies free.

Re:Even (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42152655)

just tell them its a radio show.

infinitely efficient darknet (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148627)

I like the sound of that.

HDCP is still here (1)

andrew3 (2250992) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148633)

HDCP is still here. So is DRM on Blu-Ray.
Some DRM never goes away...

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42148775)

Right, which is why you can't find HD films on The Pirate Bay and then stream the MKV to your television...

Re:HDCP is still here (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149125)

News to me seeing there is 10s of 1,000s of 720p/1080p bd rips.

Re:HDCP is still here (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148839)

They still put CSS on DVDs. That doesn't mean it does anything to protect anything.

Re:HDCP is still here (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149157)

CSS isn't just about stopping piracy. It also requires a license to impliment legally (Being both patented, and covered under the DMCA or your national equivilent). The terms for this license include a number of other conditions, including mandating that players respect the region code byte and that they not provide the ability to skip videos in a certain navigational area usually used for anti-piracy warnings and studio logos. As an anti-piracy measure it is useless today, but it still serves to keep consumer electronics manufacturers (Who cannot afford to go underground to avoid lawsuits) more-or-less in compliance with the region system.

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

Vanders (110092) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149281)

Are you kidding? "Region free" hacks for DVD players were there from the very beginning. The very first player I bought (and it turns out the only one I ever bought, and which I still have!), back in something like 1997, was a Samsung DVD 709. I bought it specifically because it was trivial to put it into "regionless" mode and play Region 1 DVD's even though I'm in Region 2 (Bless you, Play247.com).

These days it's even easier; you can walk into a supermarket and pick up a cheap Asian player that can be put into "regionless" mode with the remote that's in the box. Hell, sometimes they're even advertised as such.

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150467)

The region sillyness was only ever law in the USA and the players are made elsewhere. While the default used to be region locked with an option to unlock I think it's the opposite now since I haven't had to unlock anything for many years.
I wouldn't be surprised if you guys are paying a bit more because somebody has to make sure the hardware is region locked before it goes to the USA.

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42150693)

Like I said, I'm in Region 2 (Europe). I remember the lip service manufacturers paid (and in some cases till pay) to region locking, Phillips were particularly anal about it, for some odd reason.

Re:HDCP is still here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149307)

Being both patented, and covered under the DMCA or your national equivilent.

Excuse me?

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149351)

They still put CSS on DVDs. That doesn't mean it does anything to protect anything.

Sure it does. Or something does, anyway.
Whatever they put on DVDs protects at least a third of them from properly playing in my (windows) laptop DVD drive.

It may not deter copying, but it sure does something

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150743)

that why you use a player that ignores regions and bypasses css like vlc with libdvdcss

Re:HDCP is still here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42148951)

So what. Every single blu-ray is available, without DRM, on the internet BEFORE it's on the store shelves. DRM's presence on the actual disc is entirely irrelevant to the internet.

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149159)

HDCP has been cracked and HDCP strippers were available from Asian manufacturers even before then.
AACS was cracked within a couple of years of BluRay being released.
BD+ was cracked not so very long after that.

DRM might not go away any time soon but it has failed.

Re:HDCP is still here (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150881)

HDCP is still here.

Search for "HDCP Master Key". Now HDCP is reduced to annoying honest people rather than copyright violators.

JEANE DIXON WROTE EXACTLY THE SAME 11 YEARS AGO !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42148655)

And if you know of her writings, you know that some of them actually came TRUE if you ignored a few things here and there !! But regardless, she was a GENIOUS!! Ahead of her TIME !! As if ordained by GOD HISELF !!

.doc file? (5, Funny)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148927)

Couldn't they have torrented a pdf file to make their case?

Writing the obituary for their project (3, Insightful)

slew (2918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148967)

Basically, for these folks, the darknet paper was just writing the obituary for the Palladium (trusted computing) project they were working on for Microsoft. They knew that it wouldn't stop piracy, so might as well explain why that is the case and move on...

Re:Writing the obituary for their project (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149205)

They failed to understand then the true purpose of Palladium. That one day, a distant descendent of the project would be used to make computers that are not capable of booting any untrusted operating system, and that Windows alone would be recognised as trusted by most motherboard manufacturers and OEMs. Palladium was always half about DRM and half about lock-in, over Intel's objection. It got so much bad press it was eventually renamed to NGSCB, and then quietly dropped, but some aspects do still remain.

Hearing: H.R. 6156-Retinal Decryption Device Req. (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | about a year and a half ago | (#42148973)

Just need to get rid of that pesky "last mile" of secure content delivery and DRM is a success!

I'm a PC.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42148997)

Hi I'm from Microsoft, I work on the Windows SMB 1.0 team, and I predicted DRM would fail....
10 Years Ago , 5 Years Ago, 15 Years Ago, 1 minute Ago, 20 years Ago, 2 years Ago......

Was a pretty good talk (5, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149091)

The paper presentation at CCS 2002 was pretty good. I was one of the about 60 people in the room and 5 minutes in I had the feeling of witnessing history in the making. And yes, in the Q&A part, they did directly confirm that they thought DRM was completely doomed from the beginning.

Re:Was a pretty good talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149323)

Sounds interesting but seriously: who didn't?

It was obvious from the early machinations that vomited forth DRM that it was largely designed to protect existing distribution monopolies and antiquated business models. I'm sure it's helped keep some software piracy at bay but in media it was clearly not.

If they'd clearly stated that it was doomed AND that it was a detriment to business and sales, that might be more insightful.

ECHOOOOOOOOO !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149107)

Hellooooooooooo !!

AaaayyyyOoooooo !!

AhLooooooooooow !!

Echoooooooooooo !!

Word doc, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149189)

Is it written in Comic Sans, as appropriate?

they did (1)

physlord (1790264) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149363)

Mayans also predicted that. Well, actually Mayans predictions were little wilder.

What is the definition of "succeed" and "fail"? (2)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149421)

If "success" means "no content copied", then of course nothing will work. That's an impossible goal.

What success actually means *economically* is "increase revenues, or prevent revenue loss, more than the cost of implementation." If you make it difficult enough for somebody who has the potential means and motivation to buy to avoid buying then it could be deemed a success. A teenager with nothing to lose (and no money) might not care about being busted for torrenting copyrighted content---but a family man with a mortgage, job and credit rating might care.

Electronic tags on handbags don't prevent 100% of shoplifting, and yet they're deployed fairly widely.

Re:What is the definition of "succeed" and "fail"? (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42149781)

DRM has not done this. In terms of music, DRM created a situation in which hapless dominated the market and could kill the album. Now some may say it saved music from free, but in singles were free like music videos and radio once was, lwe mat still have album sales. No one knows because every freaked instead of looking for other market solutions, so music is worth nothing now.

DRM for books is the reason Amazon know has control of the publishing and authors get paid what Amazon wants. Amazon put DRM on the kindle, Amazon made it difficult to put other books on the kindle, so kindle owners are tied to Amazon, and the kindle software expands that to most e reading. Publishers and authors have little control over revenue. Without DRM control goes to the right holders.

We see this movies. Blu ray and DVD is a format in which the end user does not own anything. If you don't have a player for the region you can't play it. Backups are nontrivial. Online copies can only be played on certain devices and are stored only online. So streaming is the thing, or renting, which tends to enrich a third party not the right holders. Who would not pay a bit for a movie that can play on VLC or stream to a tv. I would. But I am not going to pay for something that could be disabled at any time.

Re:What is the definition of "succeed" and "fail"? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150151)

Now some may say it saved music from free, but in singles were free like music videos and radio once was, lwe mat still have album sales. No one knows because every freaked instead of looking for other market solutions, so music is worth nothing now.

No, that wouldn't have helped. The problem with album sales is what it has been for 30 years now -- poor quality of music. It's become a situation where most of the good tracks on an album are the singles. So releasing the singles for free isn't going to increase sales of the full album.

Re:What is the definition of "succeed" and "fail"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151659)

Music is dead because it requires too many purchasing decisions. Every time I click on the $1.99 or $10.99 button I need to evaluate the utility of a purchase, and each time I decide if I really don't "need" the track or album or if I should torrent it and buy a pizza with the savings. If it's an artist I know and trust the quality of I'll buy to support them, but I'm making a utility decision every time and most of the time I'm deciding that high maintenance, incompatible, DRM, non-physical pop-shit doesn't have any.

Subscriptions make these utility calculations hidden. I get the instant Pavlovian jolt of satisfaction, I don't think about the download, and it gets rebilled every month where I can contemplate it more intellectually. I can download the lady gaga song I'm going to delete after listening to once, without contemplating that I'm specifically wasting money on it. I can't get subscriptions that work on my idevice, desktop, browser and android, and don't use cellular data. So no one gets my money every month.

Irony (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42149431)

I am reading a document,with libreoffice, written by Microsoft employees, published in doc format, ten years after the fact and actually agree. Great isn't it ?

Speaking truth to power. (3, Insightful)

quax (19371) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150787)

Another case in point, that speaking truth to power is usually costly for the Kassandras of the world.

Encouraging though that they did speak up.

ONLY four people predicted that? I'm disappointed (1)

zr (19885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42150995)

subj

DRM's rare successes (2)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42151031)

99.99999999999% of the time DRM is an utter failure, but what about those oh so rare exceptions?

I believe that many of those successes were 'protecting' software that just wasn't all that popular. Any sufficiently obscure software with DRM you pretty much have to crack yourself.

There have been occassional locked down hardware systems that have gone uncracked for years. The PS3 for instance.

I was dismayed to find that Audible.com's proprietary audio format: .aa/.aax, which supposedly is just a wrapper for mp3s, has gone uncracked for quite some time now. It remains 100% uncracked. However the quality of the 64 kbps .aax audio is high enough for its speech only content that the generation loss involved with burning to CD and re-encoding to mp3 is minimal. This workaround may be the reason no one has made any serious attempt to crack the .aax format.

Nevertheless it is disappointing. From the POV of Amazon/Audible the .aax format DRM has been a complete success. Their files cannot be distributed without generation loss. Is it possible they didn't anticipate that most people wouldn't particularly care about the minor loss in voice quality? Admittedly the higher quality 64 kbps .aax file is a somewhat recent addition. Before that there were only 32 kbps versions. Perhaps in that case the generation loss would have been much more noticeable.

Any other insights into the obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151111)

While Microsoft engineers were "predicting" the failure of DRM, everyone else *knew* it would fail (and in many cases, were actively making it happen).

News flash: Microsoft engineer distinguishes between hot rock and own ass, using only two hands! Wow!

DRM is great ! (2)

speedlaw (878924) | about a year and a half ago | (#42151201)

All of my consumer electronics has crappy DRM. I'm stuck with HDMI and HDCP. Occasionally box A does not want to talk to box B. Sometimes it does. I had to toss a perfectly good AVR because the HDMI/HDCP board went...something not really essential. DRM is a raging success for making my CE experience harder.

Ambiguity (1)

multi io (640409) | about a year and a half ago | (#42151699)

4 Microsoft Engineers Predicted DRM Would Fail 10 Years Ago

OK, and when did they predict that?

Seriously, shouldn't the sentence have read something like "4 Microsoft Engineers Predicted 10 Years Ago that DRM Would Fail"?

So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151791)

bureaucratic paralysis

Sort of describes most of Microsoft's history, once they became addicted to the easy money. Hoping the phone thing will pull them out of the tailspin but it's not looking good. What a waste of developer horsepower; Microsoft Corporation has held computing back twenty years.

So what? So what? So what you boring little ****?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42151939)

Uh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LE99b0AbYrM

I predicted this stuff way back in 1998 back when I was just getting out of high school. All of it was accurate. Nobody gives me props! And I still even got some of my first originally pirated files today from all the way back then! Wheres MY props people?

friends != 'darknet' & Napster/Metallica heari (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152403)

I was there...and one of the Gnutella network founders from MIT testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee (after Lars and Shawn Fanning w/ 'M' hat)...he testified that the **infinitely copyable** nature of digital music files made DRM useless

These Microsoft guys get respect...but they were being **kind**...no damn "darknet" is necessary...trading with friends IS NOT A DARKNET

See, anyone is allowed to compile music on media and give to a friend...that's part of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act...and the Federal Government cannot define 'friend' just to control digital music...it is a non-starter

So...the labels/studios had to either 1) adapt business model beyond holding copyright **OR** 2) use DRM

We know the rest...

FYI it was the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to propose adaptations to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in July (?) of 2000...Senators Leahy and Hatch presided...I used my 'intern' badge to sneak into the press box :P

The precioooous ! (5, Insightful)

ElRabbit (2624627) | about a year and a half ago | (#42152515)

I have been hanging around with TV executives for 10 years, always trying to make them understand that all the protection they were trying (lamely) to put in place will only block legitimate customers while increasing product cost. But those guys behave like Gollum in Lord of the Ring: their content is sooooo precioooousss. They are beyond any reasonable argument.
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