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Macrovision Responds to Steve Jobs on DRM

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the thinking-out-loud dept.

221

An anonymous reader writes "Macrovision Corporation, best known for its long history of DRM implementations, (everything from VCRs to software copy protection), has responded to Steve Jobs open letter regarding DRM. With ample experience and despite the obvious vested interests, it's great to hear their point of view. In the letter they acknowledge the 'difficult challenges' of implementing DRM that is truly 'interoperable and open'. At the same time they also feel that DRM 'will increase electronic distribution', if implemented properly, because 'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership, and lowering risks for content producers. While I'm impressed they responded, I can't say I'm impressed by lofty goals that might not be reached for years. The reality is, current DRM implementations often leave users with the bad end of the deal. What do you think? Should people give DRM manufacturers more time to overcome the challenges and get it right?"

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221 comments

DRM adds customer value ??? (1, Insightful)

mAIsE (548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049342)

I would disagree that buying music that is flawed EG i can't use it with devices i desire, vs buying in DRM free for increases consumer value!!

But what do I know I am just a consumer ;) ...

Re:DRM adds customer value ??? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049422)

As far as I am concerned there is no value in a product you buy and can't use as you see fit. The one thing that doesn't want to be admitted here is that it isn't what a company sets the price and value at that has meaning. It what the customer is willing to pay for it that sets the value. You can make all the thousand dollar matches you want, if your customers won't buy them then you go broke waiting for the sale.

While the example may be a good bit overextended, it makes the point no less applicable. Selling a nonphysical product at the price of a physical one and then limiting what can be done with it lowers the value that is already seen as near nil by the majority of the public.

Re:DRM adds customer value ??? (1)

Bega (684994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049546)

DRM increases not decreases consumer value

I think this is in the same category as piracy causing losses to record labels. "It's this way because we say so."

Parasites versus pirates (5, Insightful)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049758)

It seems to me that the DRM people are basically parasites. They do not create the original source material, they would have no function if the source material did not exist. Now I admit that if original works that are expensive to produce (movies) were heavily pirated, then no one could afford to make them and they would generally not come into being. (Although machinima is pointing to the future when maybe you won't need to spend $50 million to produce a movie, with a $10 million paycheck for some actor.) But I think that neither parasites nor pirates have an honorable role in society. Maybe we need new models for the arts that make both irrelevant. Look at the great animation that came from projects sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada. Then look at the latest Hollywood stinkbomb produced by the existing bloated system. Somewhere there's something wrong.

And on a side note, if we have a system where DRM is needed to protect Kevin Federline or Britney, it begs the question of why lock up turds in a vault anyway.

Re:Parasites versus pirates (1, Troll)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050174)

It seems to me that the DRM people are basically parasites. They do not create the original source material, they would have no function if the source material did not exist.
Hey, just like computer programmers.

Re:Parasites versus pirates (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050280)

Look at the great animation that came from projects sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada. Then look at the latest Hollywood stinkbomb produced by the existing bloated system.


The National Film Board of Canada has produced some real stinkers, too. I don't think taxpayer funding for movies is really the way to go. I think there's room for some public financing for arts, but it does not guarantee quality. Thank God the technology for making movies is getting cheaper, is all I can say. There may still be room for the big Hollywood blockbuster too, but they'll have to figure out how to make the experience of going to a movie in a theater more appealing. I don't know about you, but when I see the price tags on some of these big-budget pictures I wonder "who's skimming money?". The same guys who write up military contracts must be making these things. I'm thinking The Pirates of the Carribean Two doesn't really look like it's price tag to me.

renting content (4, Interesting)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049380)

DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

Well, if the consumer recognizes that as a value at all. So far the trend (at least in DRM systems used in internet distribution) has been clearly indicating that people generally don't want to rent their content.

The media companies certainly want this however, as it gives them more opportunities to get the consumer to pay for the same content multiple times, maybe in different formats or for different devices or uses.

Re:renting content (3, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049472)

There's a tiny store near us called 'blockbuster', I wonder if it will catch on?

Re:renting content (4, Informative)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050044)

I've got a pretty nice library near me. Selection is not as nice as Blockbuster, but the prices are somewhat better.

Give to your local library. Either media (originals, of course) or via donations. Your entire community will benefit.

Re:renting content (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050218)

And isn't it interesting that people continue to use Blockbuster and Netflix despite being able to rip and copy DVDs or download bittorrents? And people continue to buy music in an age of easy ripping of CDs?

Sometimes, there's a benefit to having a wide and deep catalog. I will admit to using online music stores occasionally. Sometimes, you just need a copy of Ollie and the Nightingales singing "Just a Little Overcome" or a cut off of an obscure 999 album. Then, I turn to the marketplace, but not to DRM.

Re:renting content (2, Interesting)

rg3 (858575) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050224)

I don't fully disagree with you. Renting content at a lower price may or may not work, but in the mean time Blockbuster closed all their stores in Spain [google.com] because they were not profitable. So it's not a clear answer. Of course, they blamed piracy, but maybe people are no longer interested enough in renting movies and watching them at home when you can either watch them in the cinema or when they reach digital TV (and then you can record them). They are passed on digital TV maybe one or two months after they're available for rent. Maybe people think "well, I didn't watch it in the cinema 4 months ago, so why not wait 1 or 2 more months and I can watch it on TV?".

Re:renting content (5, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049538)

The wanker-in-chief Fred Amoroso says:

Quite simply, if the owners of high-value video entertainment are asked to enter, or stay in a digital world that is free of DRM, without protection for their content, then there will be no reason for them to enter, or to stay if they've already entered. The risk will be too great.

Quite simply, this is bullshit. Some of the greatest (sorry, "High value") music and film was produced in an era when there was no DRM. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.

Are we really to believe that people such as these would not pursue their art if there were not DRM? It doesn't even make sense from a hardcore businessperson's point-of-view. If someone stamps their feet and says "Fine, I'm not going to make my brilliant movie because I cannot use DRM," then there is no loss. Someone else with more sense will simply step up to the plate and make their movie instead, and profit from it. To think that one cannot make money on media without DRM is ridiculous. History has shown this. If there is money to made, somebody will do it.

Some will argue that less profit would be made without DRM due to piracy. Even if this were true, less profit does not equal no profit. But various studies have shown that piracy does not affect sales much, and nobody has ever been able to demonstrate that DRM prevents piracy. In fact, it is more likely that DRM reduces profit, because companies have to pay a "DRM tax" to the ridiculolus companies who make crappy DRM, like Macrovision. It's basically an extra cost that doesn't even prevent piracy.

We offer to assist Apple in the issues and problems with DRM that you state in your letter. Should you desire, we would also assume responsibility for FairPlay as a part of our evolving DRM offering and enable it to interoperate across other DRMs, thus increasing consumer choice and driving commonality across devices.

Macrovision even think they can do a better job than Apple, and offered to "take responsibility" for Fairplay. This is hilarious. They are obviously jealous of Apple's success, and would love to be given access to Apple's products. Does anyone think that Macrovision could do a better job? Apple is one of the top software producers in the world. Macrovision is a bunch of hacks, a one-trick pony who has made a living from a stupid analog video hack. I doubt they are even competent to write software. We've all seen the kind of shit that bottom-feeding companies like this produce, and it ain't pretty. (think Sony rootkits)

Re:renting content (3, Informative)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049730)

Apple is one of the top software producers in the world. Macrovision is a bunch of hacks, a one-trick pony who has made a living from a stupid analog video hack. I doubt they are even competent to write software
ever heard of safedisc? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SafeDisc [wikipedia.org] Macrovision make that, and its fairly 'successful' in terms of publishers using it

Re:renting content (3, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049762)

ever heard of safedisc? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SafeDisc [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] Macrovision make that, and its fairly 'successful' in terms of publishers using it

Sounds like crap to me. Deliberately authoring discs with "weak sectors"? Sounds like copy protection from the Commodore 64 era. Probably breaks DVD standards, too.

This is exactly the kind of shit I'm referring to when I talk about hacky software developers. When have they written some serious software that does something useful?

And, from the Wikipedia article:

Though SafeDisc protection effectively prevents regular home users from creating functional copies of CDs or DVDs, it is quite easy for skilled software crackers to bypass.

So, it doesn't even work, does it?

00000001.TMP CLCD16.DLL CLCD32.DLL CLOKSPL.EXE DPLAYERX.DLL And also by the existence of two files .EXE and .ICD (where is replaced with the acual game's name). The EXE executable is only a loader which decrypts and loads the protected game executable in the encrypted ICD File.

Gee, that EXE file must work wonderfully with non-Windows systems.

Re:renting content (1)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049796)

So, it doesn't even work, does it?
it works against the novice, clueless users who dont realise it can be removed yes, but not the more technically inclined who can crack it, download a crack for it, or work around it using emulation software.
Its why i put 'successful' in quotes :)

Gee, that EXE file must work wonderfully with non-Windows systems.
Indeed, so well infact that it wont even let it *start* the game :D

Re:renting content (3, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049838)

it works against the novice, clueless users who dont realise it can be removed yes,

The problem being that the novice clueless users are probably not inclined to try and copy a disc in the first place, and just go buy them at the store. So, it does nothing except cost producers profits, because they have to pay to license stuff from Macrovision, when they could simply release the product without those costs.

Its why i put 'successful' in quotes :)

Yeah, I got that, but I still think they remain a "one trick pony." the "SafeDisc" thing is really just the digital equivalent of their analog video hack. What are they going to do to "help Apple improve Fairplay? Have it include deliberate "bad samples" in AC3 files?

I was trying to highlight what a joke it was of Macrovision to think they had anything to offer Apple - who have some of the greatest talents in the software field, and produce a greater breadth and depth of software than pretty much any other company. In comparison, Macrovision reminds me of those idiots who write the drivers for hardware copy-protection dongles.

Indeed, so well infact that it wont even let it *start* the game :D

Yup, but Macrovision claim they want to "lead the industry" in DRM. Yet they've written software for a grand total of one platform, and are basically only still around because of the prevalence of their video hack. not really ones to be in a position of leadership over anything.

The funniest thing about their rant is that I actually know people who stopped buying DVDs, and started getting copied DVDs from friends because of Macrovision. You see, their DVD player is hooked up to their old TV via a VCR. This is because their TV only has an RF input. So DVDs look like utter crap. They eventually found out that this was because of Macrovision. But ripped DVDs that have been de-macrovisioned look perfectly fine.

I'm not sure how Macrovision can be considered "successful" when illegally ripped copies of products that use Macrovision look better than the purchased original. I guess they are successful in the way the mafia is successful - but even the mafia adds more value for end users than Macrovision.

Re:renting content (1)

Ullteppe (953103) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049866)

Ha ha! This is the most abt comparison I have seen so far - Macrovision and similar companies "add value" in the same way that the Mafia "adds value"! Extortion is the right word here.

Re:renting content (2, Insightful)

jbuda123 (1022623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049876)

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.
DRM = Digital Rights Management. I don't think any of these people had to fear digital reproduction of their content when they made it. Or did your IBM 650 vacuum-tube machine have an LP duplicator?

Re:renting content (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050334)

DRM = Digital Rights Management. I don't think any of these people had to fear digital reproduction of their content when they made it.

What's your point? It could still be duplicated - and it was. What difference does it make if it is digital or not? Never heard of an audio cassette or videotape?

Might be with the world "digital" in it (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050434)

but it did start with analogue, and with VCR+Macrovision. The real fact here is "digital" is only a red herring. It should be called "copyrighted Media Right Management" as in "our wet dream is to put a good lock on this and every time you want to watch it or put on another computer/player you have to pay again. And again. And again". If they could apply the same method to analogue with the same sucess that they had with DRM and macrovision , they would. Alas, it is not that easy without breaking legacy analogue equipement, and such they concentrate on the digital area.

Re:renting content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050100)

Much anger i sense in you

Re:renting content (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050400)

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charlie Chaplin, B.B King, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Martin Scorcese, Stanley Kubrick, even Steven Spielberg created their work in a pre-DRM era and somehow managed to sell their work.

They also created their work in a pre-Internet era, in which essentially zero cost distribution to potentially hundreds of millions of people simply wasn't possible.

I'm no fan of DRM, but you're (intentionally?) ignoring the fact that copyright infringement is a lot easier and on scales orders of magnitude greater now than in the period you're talking about, even ignoring the (solved) problem of generational loss of quality.

Re:renting content (1)

AC5398 (651967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049604)

It's not so much about renting their content inasmuch as I'd rather not have them control my hardware.

Re:renting content (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049618)

In that case I'm sure DRM does increase value to the consumer. And I have no problem with special disk being released which you can rent with the DRMed content on them, under the precondition that there are non-DRMed sales as well, with equivilant market penetration to ensure that when the time comes the content enters the public domain, and to protect fair use rights.

Re:renting content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049714)

Well, I don't use Windows anymore, but back in the day, had there been a way to cheaply "rent" a play-once-movie (or play-for-one-day), I'd have appreciated it.

Yet, there is STILL no internet site that offers a wide selection of movies, TV shows, DESPITE the existence of DRM for YEARS (can I say WMA/WMV?).

So their argument is clearly ludicrous.

And there are more reasons: renting a movie online should be cheaper than buying a used DVD on ebay, Amazon & friends, it should be good quality, and yes, some people out there can't watch WMV on their computers. And those few sites that allow you to buy/download movies, they're just way to expensive.

It's like "almost nobody" shopping on iTunes: CDs are just as cheap, better quality, format of your choice (no iPod lockin), system of your choice (OS + no need for iTunes the application when your MP3 player works as an external hard disk).

Re:renting content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049800)

drm can never be implemented 'well'.

this is in two senses

1) this is not a model that can have an 'unbreakable' encryption, since
the consumer has access to decrypt the information since they need to view it to play it on their ipod or whatever...

2) consumers don't like drm since it's restricting how they can play back the media they paid for. it's job is to lock it to one device and is against our nature to share with each other, what makes us successful.

Re:renting content (2, Insightful)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050168)

But if we are renting the license to use whatever we paid money for, movie or music than if we break the medium it came on or how we obtained it in the first place it should be replaced for us for free or for the cost of the medium. However if we bought the medium it came on such as a DVD/CD then we should have the right to do whatever we want. I don't think they can have it both ways. Either we buy the license to use it or we bought the entire thing that is ours, in which case we can do what ever we please with it.

If you are asking that question on /. (1)

budword (680846) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049392)

You must be new here.....

Re:If you are asking that question on /. (3, Interesting)

jbuda123 (1022623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049956)

I've never understood the standard /. position on this. Most /.ers support the GPL, which is nearly identical to DRM, at least in theory - both protect the original creator of a copyrighted work from unauthorized redistribution by others (the GPL doesn't forbid redistribution, but does force derivative works to be distributed under the terms of the GPL, i.e. open). The motives behind the two are completely different, but the theory is the same - content creators control the rights of redistribution.

Or is it that /.ers aren't opposed to DRM per se, but just the current implementations? If DRM worked in practice the way it works in theory - that is, by preventing redistribution while allowing free use for private purposes - would /.ers support it? If that's the case, then I wouldn't entirely disagree. But, then I wouldn't say I don't like DRM - I'd say I don't like the current implementations, the concept of DRM being sound. But that's not the impression I have of most /. posters' positions.

Re:If you are asking that question on /. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050134)

The GPL and DRM are very different, both conceptually and in terms of implementation. The GPL is based on copyright law, DRM is not. The GPL says you have bought (or had given to you by someone who is either the copyright holder or their authorised distributor[1]), and you may use it in any way you wish. If you want to distribute it, then the GPL imposes legal, but not technical, limitations on you (such as requiring you to pass on the same rights that you have to anyone you distribute the code to).

DRM, in contrast, says 'you have paid for this material, now you may do any of this small list of things (which are usually smaller than the list of things copyright law allows you to do anyway) with it.' Do you see the difference? The GPL (and copyright law) are exclusive, while DRM is inclusive. You can use GPL'd (or copyrighted) material for anything that the GPL (or copyright law) does not expressly prohibit. You can only use DRM'd material in the way that the DRM vendor authorised; no transcoding, no playing it on unauthorised devices, and often no fair use rights, such as extracting clips for academic discussion or using a music track as the sound track to your (not for distribution) home video.


[1] In the case of the GPL, this is anyone who has a copy of the code and accepts the GPL.

Re:If you are asking that question on /. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050708)

Oh, I knew the first tag was going to be "no" (I'm the AC who submitted the article), but like I said, I *am* impressed that Macrovision tried to respond. They put on a good show ... if you're the sort of person who found Orwell's "1984" a good roadmap for a future political system.

Let me count the ways that Macrovision has interfered with my fair use rights:
1. When I wanted to pipe the output from my DVD player through my VCR to use it as a video switch -- Macrovision ruined the signal, even though I wasn't recording. I had to buy a manual switch
2. When I wanted to play a Microsoft game on a new Microsoft operating system, and it wouldn't run, not because the game was incompatible, but because the Macrovision copy protection wasn't
3. Every time I want to install and play a game without hunting for the CD, Macrovision (or some other DRM scheme) is there
4. When one of my DVDs got badly scratched up, and I wanted to make a copy of it before it was completely ruined
5. When I wanted to extract some tracks from a particular (copy protected) audio CD to make a compilation CD

And that's just the hassles where I know Macrovision's technology has been directly respondible. DRM in general has caused more. While it's often an interesting adventure to figure out how DRM systems work and circumvent them, I really have better things I could have been doing, and both Macrovision and the companies that buy its product have been working hard to make what I am doing (circumventing the DRM in order to exercise my fair use rights) illegal in my country (it currently isn't). The technical means are bad enough. The lobbying for legal changes to tilt the balance in copyright is much, much worse. Forcing electronics manufacturers to include protections (conveniently the technology Macrovision sells) by law? And I as a consumer get to pay for them, all in a FUTILE effort to stem commercial-scale piracy? Yay!

Everything the CEO says sounds laudable, fair, and well-principled, but they've been at this for decades and I've seen NO sign that they care about the half of copyright law that limits controls and grants users certain rights. "Challenges"? In what way have they attempted to implement a technical system that would respect all the user's rights inherent in copyright law? All I've seen is very one-sided efforts that care only about the content owners, and trample user's rights. Even if they did try, is it even technically feasible to have a DRM system that can read user's minds to figure out their intended use and whether it qualifies as "fair use"?

The answer is a resounding "no", but thanks for trying, Macrovision. You had your chance to do things right, and you never have. You're at the forefront of the erosion of consumer rights, and now that the general population are slowly starting to realize it, you are starting to realize the backlash could hurt your business. Now you care.

It's too late. You and your DRM crew are the pirates. You've made your money by stealing fair use rights from me and every other honest user who has paid for content with one of your DRM schemes embedded.

they are retards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049394)

Disk are cheap to reproduce in bulk, EVERYONE knows this. They could SELL the disks without DRM just as cheap as renting them and that would be customer value..and they would still make a profit by much higher numbers of sales.There's no reason disks need to be more than a few dollars any longer, none, just they have this mindset they need to make 1000% markup or more on manufacturing costs. Entire complex computers, which are orders of magnitude more difficult to make, and costlier to ship around, have dropped in price drastically the past ten years...entertainment disks? What used to be a 1500 dollar computer a few years ago is now at least 5 times more powerful and costs 500 bucks-disks? Same price during the same time frame.

They are just rip off greedy millionaire gougers trying to justify their predatory pricing schemes and scams.

Well... (1)

kinocho (978177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049404)

I say:

My opinion has been meditated for a long time, based on personal experiences, feelings to different companies and the fact that I am no the other end of the deal. So the conclusion is:

Fuck DRM, Fuck Macrovision, Fuck any company, retailer, producer, whatsoever that supports drm.

DRM just hurts the legal users, it has never, never stopped me from pirating content, so what's the point?

Why the never tried to, don't know, lower the prices to increase the sales? and not try all the time to increase profit by sale.

DRM increases not decreases consumer value (4, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049410)

"such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership"

Consumers don't get the opportunity to "own" media, consumers get no ownership rights at all, we cant resell, get a refund etc like you can with a TV you buy.

Consumers get usage rights as granted by the copyright holder, DRM makes it easier to restrict these usage rights which takes us further away from what they would call "ownership".

Smells like fud to me.

Re:DRM increases not decreases consumer value (2, Informative)

gregorio (520049) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049904)

Consumers get usage rights as granted by the copyright holder, DRM makes it easier to restrict these usage rights which takes us further away from what they would call "ownership".

Smells like fud to me.
That's an extremely inappropriate use of this expression.

Re:DRM increases not decreases consumer value (2, Insightful)

bukharin (344329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050226)

I agree...

'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

This is such bullshit. The price differential between "renting" and "owning" is almost purely profit, and is specifically enabled by DRM. This decreases value, by allowing them to charge us more for something that costs them the same to provide. How stupid do they think we are?

Re:DRM increases not decreases consumer value (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050644)

Furthermore, the low cost has nothing to do with DRM, but changing attitudes and competition. I recall when a movie cost 50-100 dollars, or $150 in todays money. Why is this so? I believe that originally all movies were priced assuming that some would be shown publicly, and to compensate for that the prices were high. Then renting came along, and the fact that someone else was making a profit on the product forced prices to decrease. The only purpose of DRM on VHS was to impose the implicit licensing limitation that the "owner" had the right to view the movie only as long as the media was viable.

With the DVD everything changed, and this proves that DRM does not provide value for the customer. DVDs, even those that contain no significant extra content, are more expensive than a tape, even though the process for the DVD is no more expensive for tape, and shipping for the DVD is less. The DVD is the most secure consumer format, almost no casual piracy happens, yet the consumer is forced to pay more for product that is essentially dead stock than a music release with a new, previously unreleased product. If DRM increased consumer value, then most DVDs would sell for $15.

Yet DVDs are not decreasing in price due to DRM, but again due to compition, mostly through places like Netflix, and now on demand download. Sure everyone would want to blame online piracy, but industry survey show that minority has downloaded media, and the standard for counting those downloads is :one over the past year".

In fairness the presence of DRM probably does reduce the unauthorized casual distribution of content, and even may place a picket fence between the content and professional copyist, but as the parent say the biggest reason is to enforce licensing restriction, which is to say make the business model predictable enough so that middle management is comfortable enough putting forth a minimal effort to create the product.

Added value (5, Funny)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049414)

Of course DRM adds value! You get an interesting pastime, a puzzle to solve.

Re:Added value (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049926)

That's excellent. It's like getting a free Rubiks Cube every so often. So yes let them take all the time they want to get it "right"...again and again and again.

A new job for starving stunt men (5, Funny)

codefrog (302314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049420)

Those starving stunt men who show up in front of otherwise legitimate movies to warn us about how we (the theater-going evildoers of the world) are denying their kids a college education...
I SAY LET THEM EAT CAKE. Let's take up a collection... and hire them to drive cars off cliffs ...said cars to be filled with DRM executives and other such indispensible consumer-value-enhancers.

Re:A new job for starving stunt men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049502)

Every time I see one of those commercials, I download a few movies just to spite them for spreading bullshit. They can pay actors $20 million per movie, but the lighting guy is starving? Give me a fucking break.

Re:A new job for starving stunt men (5, Insightful)

AC5398 (651967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049566)

Nothing irritates me faster than being forced to watch that drivel BEFORE I get to watch the movie I PAID FOR!

Re:A new job for starving stunt men (5, Insightful)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049770)

The really hilarious part here is that I've never seen those infomercials before movies, because I stopped paying for the movie theater "experience" (i.e., douchebags with cell phones, sticky floors, and 25 minutes of car commercials on the screen) long before the studios started adding them. So the people like me--who might actually feel a smidgen of guilt at seeing the infomercials--don't actually see them, while people who are doing the right thing by paying instead of stealing get to be annoyed by shit that doesn't apply to them in the first place.

I guess I just defined irony.

Translation from PR-Speak to English (5, Interesting)

sunya (101612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049436)

Here [daringfireball.net] is John Grubers translation. Spot on.

Re:Translation from PR-Speak to English (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049516)

[For the link lazy]

I would like to start by thanking Steve Jobs for offering his provocative perspective on the role of digital rights management (DRM) in the electronic content marketplace and for bringing to the forefront an issue of great importance to both the industry and consumers.

Fuck you, Jobs.

Macrovision has been in the content protection industry for more than 20 years, working closely with content owners of many types, including the major Hollywood studios, to help navigate the transition from physical to digital distribution.


Weve been helping and encouraging the entertainment industry to annoy its paying customers for more than 20 years.

We have been involved with and have supported both prevention technologies and DRM that are on literally billions of copies of music, movies, games, software and other content forms, as well as
    hundreds of millions of devices across the world.


Remember those squiggly lines when you tried copying a commercial VHS tape? You can thank us for that.

While your thoughts are seemingly directed solely to the music industry, the fact is that DRM also has a broad impact across many different forms of content and across many media devices. Therefore, the discussion should not be limited to just music.


We recognize that if getting rid of DRM works for the music industry, its going to open the eyes of executives in other fields, and it could unravel Macrovisions entire business.

DRM increases not decreases consumer value


Up is down. Black is white.

I believe that most piracy occurs because the technology available today has not yet been widely deployed to make DRM-protected legitimate content as easily accessible and convenient as unprotected illegitimate content is to consumers.


I have, to date, succeeded in convincing the entertainment industry that DRM can stop piracy.

The solution is to accelerate the deployment of convenient DRM-protected distribution channels--not to abandon them.


The solution is more DRM. DRM everywhere.

Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas vacation homes, cars, different
    devices and remotely. Abandoning DRM now will unnecessarily doom all consumers to a one size fits all situation that will increase costs for many of them.


Abandoning DRM will prevent us from forcing our customers to keep paying us over and over again for the same movies and songs theyve already paid for.

Well maintained and reasonably implemented DRM will increase the
    electronic distribution of content, not decrease it.


I am high as a kite.

Quite simply, if the owners of high-value video entertainment are asked to enter, or stay in a digital world that is free of DRM, without protection for their content, then there will be no reason for them to enter, or to stay if theyve already entered. The risk will be too great.


If it werent for DRM, no one would attempt to sell video in digital formats.

I agree with you that there are difficult challenges associated with maintaining the controls of an interoperable DRM system, but it should not stop the industry from pursuing it as a goal.


Just because we have sold the entertainment industry on the pipe dream of interoperable DRM that cant actually be implemented does not mean they should stop paying Macrovision in a futile attempt to make it happen.

Truly interoperable DRM will hasten the shift to the electronic distribution of content and make it easier for consumers to manage and share content in the home and it will enable it in an open environment where their content is portable across a number of devices, not held hostage to just one companys products.


Magic interoperable DRM would give people all the features and capabilities they get with DRM-free media.

At Macrovision we are willing to lead this industry effort.


If we could get everything under our control we could make a lot of money.

We offer to assist Apple in the issues and problems with DRM that you state in your letter. Should you desire, we would also assume responsibility for FairPlay as a part of our evolving DRM offering and enable it to interoperate across other DRMs, thus increasing consumer choice and driving commonality across devices.


I realize Apple is never going to work with Macrovision, so I have decided to insult you and your company by insinuating that your Thoughts on Music open letter was an expression of frustration at technical hurdles Apple just cant figure out on their own.

With such an enjoyable and revolutionary experience within our grasp, we should not minimize the role that DRM can and should play in enabling the transition to electronic content distribution. Without reasonable, consistent and transparent DRM we will only delay the availability of premium content in the home.


Without DRM we dont have control over what people can do with their media.

As an industry, we should not let that happen.


As a company whose only purpose is to provide copy protection, we cant let that happen.

Re:Translation from PR-Speak to English (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049890)

Here [daringfireball.net] is John Grubers translation. Spot on.

Spot on maybe, not for long though. How much music is out there? How many action movies? Comedies, TV series, cartoon, dramas...

Can you own all of it? Can you afford all of it? People instinctively want to own all that media since there has never been a single central, *reliable*, *compatible* and *immediate* source where they can go to and rent their media.

You buy it, since tommorow it may be out of stock and forever lost. You want to make sure it's always on your shelf to listen to it / watch it, and show it to friends, and maybe even your kids some day.

How does DRM / Internet change this? You no longer need to own all this media. It's too much trouble owning all this. The truth is you want most of it available, but it's not SO good that you wanna watch it every single day, you'll get sick of it fast, and there's new content produced every day.

Imagine being able to to rent a DRM-ed movie for 10-20 cents for specific 3 devices (example: three iPods, *or* your iPod, your PC, and your home cinema station), which expires in 3 days. And all movies produced worldwide instantly available in this central store, forever.

Beats ownership big time.

Would it happen? At some point it may, but greed will drive prices up, sales down, and some future era hippies will whine about DRM being evil.

Re:Translation from PR-Speak to English (1)

noamsml (868075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050306)

What you are suggesting may be somewhat valid, and it is a slightly different approach to DRM: instead of making all digital media DRM in order to "suppress piracy" (ineffective), you are suggesting that DRM should be used for "restricted media" at a lower price and that full-license media can be unencumbered of DRM. I do, however, believe that since DRM is ultimately ineffective from a technical standpoint, it might be said that a metadata-based control system without faux encryption is actually as good and does not waste unneeded CPU cycles. In both cases, the two devices are essentially honor-based, since they can both be broken easily (every DRM suggested, especially an interoperable one, will have a decryption program before you can say "Jack Robinson").

Re:Translation from PR-Speak to English (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050696)

Can you own all of it? Can you afford all of it? People instinctively want to own all that media since there has never been a single central, *reliable*, *compatible* and *immediate* source where they can go to and rent their media.
How exactly does a single centralised source fit in with the free market?

Imagine being able to to rent a DRM-ed movie for 10-20 cents for specific 3 devices (example: three iPods, *or* your iPod, your PC, and your home cinema station), which expires in 3 days. And all movies produced worldwide instantly available in this central store, forever.
Imagine perpetual copyrights and no public domain. While, at the same time, artists are forced to hand over their right to control what happens to their work.

Basically, you're advocating artistic communism. Thanks, but I prefer an imperfect freedom to perfect captivity.

Re:Translation from PR-Speak to English (1)

Clear Monkey (945568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049964)

Thanks for pointing to the translation at daringfireball.net - that really cuts through the peanut butter.

Renting makes no sense (2, Insightful)

Lobais (743851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049452)

At first sight their argument about letting people rent videos might sound reasonable,
but then in real life, why rent videos to a lower prize, when it costs the same (or even less) for the content manufacturers to give a real copy?

Re:Renting makes no sense (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050372)

The difference between buying and renting is who pays for storage. There are very few films I want to see more than twice, so I'd rather someone else pays for storage. Ideally, I would be able to download a film in an unencumbered format, transcode it to a format that suited my playback device (e.g. burn it to a DVD+RW as MPEG-2 or make a lower quality copy for a mobile device) then delete it when I'm done with it.

The idea of DRM seems completely pointless for video content, since I have no desire to hoard films (and neither do the majority of the non-kleptomaniac population). I don't want to pay to own a film. I want to pay for access to new films. I want to pay for someone else to maintain a well-indexed store of all older films. I want to pay for the convenience of being able to watch any film I want, when I want to watch it, how I want to watch it. I thought capitalism was about the market providing customers with the services they want to pay for, not using technology to try to prolong obsolete business models.

Hi, it's Fred calling. Is Steve home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049462)

TFL is nothing more than a sales call.

"Hello, Steve? It's Fred--Fred Amoroso, you know, from Macrovision. We sell DRM products and we're wondering if you'd like to pay us to get FairPlay working with the Nomad and the Zune. [Click] Steve?"

It's a waste of money (3, Insightful)

Noonian Soong (1016626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049484)

I don't think DRM will ever develop to a good thing. Either it places restrictions on a user regarding OS, player, mobile device, etc. or it is available everywhere which will make the DRM system more vulnerable to cracks. Then it's a waste of money to develop such a system if it's unable to protect content. Was making analog copies of VHS tapes and DVDs really prevented by the Macrovision protection on there? No. So why develop it in the first place?

Re:It's a waste of money (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050734)

I'm not sure about the VHS protection, but certainly now there is a point. For one, a crack only helps those who know about it, have access to it, and are capable of using it. For example, many copy protection systems on CDs can be easily be bypassed by not copying with windows (or holding down shift), but when a friend tried to copy a copy-protected CD, and it didn't work, they gave up instantly. They actually said they were relieved that they had been stopped in their attempts to do something illegal (and it was illegal).
For two, an effective copy protection mechanism is protected under the DMCA, and so it makes it harder for people to distribute cracks. You can't sell them in the country, you can't really advertise in the country, and the DMCA-equivalents are spreading across the globe. Even if the copy protection mechanism only makes a token effort, it still isn't a waste.

OK, let's see (1)

nickol (208154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049490)

> DRM increases not decreases consumer value

Can somebody explain me, how exactly DRM will increase the consumer value of
a particular music piece. Let's take http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._9_(Beeth oven) [wikipedia.org]
Symphony No. 9 as a very good music and well-known example.

Well, I'm not Steve Jobs and it seems that nobody will answer...

Re:OK, let's see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050360)

This piece itself, being old, is in the public domain. However, modern performances of the piece are not necessarily in the public domain. Because it takes money to record music, DRM would allow performers who might not otherwise would be able to to make performances and sell them to finance their recording. It is well known that most classical music CDs are money losers - that is, they cost more money to produce than they bring in. This has meant that music publishers have eschewed CD production of niche classical music and increasingly have just put their weight behind big name, 'sure sellers.' With a well done DRM on the internet, there is no cost of CD, warehousing, distribution, etc, so the break even point is much lower, thus potentially allowing CD-unprofitable artists into making more recordings of Symphony No 9 available.

QED.

Balance (1)

infonote (1065258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049530)

It is all about balance. While as a consumer I prefer non DRM, I understand the business point of view. This is a grey-area IMHO not black or white.

needing more time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049578)

We slashdotters, as the somewhat informed, somewhat less ignorant majority, will have very little impact on whether DRM takes hold or not. Regardless of time, companies will roll it into the "gotta have" (read: Ipodzzzz!!..Poniezzz!!!) gadgets that the less informed, much more ignorant, consumer majority will lap up like warm milk. This will make the technology neccesary for other gadgets that need to interact with them creating a need for the 'capability'. I expect this will just simply end up with every consumer paying a premium for anything with DRM ingredients; whether there is a benefit or not.

Looking for a silver lining... (4, Funny)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049592)

because 'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

That's like being happy you got into a car accident because you met a nice nurse at the hospital.

These Guys Want You To Drink Their KoolAid (2, Interesting)

rogerborn (236155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049642)

How is this possible that anyone who buys tracks and listens to music can benefit from these Jokers
who want to steal your right to own your own copy of a song, and share music with your friends at
parties? (Things even our parents and grandparents could freely do when they were growing up).

You buy a copy of a song or album, and play it all you want, and move it to another player for jogging,
or to play in your car, or as a backup on your computer. But Macrovision and the music companies would
deny you any of this.

To them, DRM means they own the music and they will rent you your copy for a price, and totally limit
what you can do with that rented copy. Don't buy into their Doublespeak. They are not your friend.
Their only interest in you is profit, and as much as they can milk you for.

To them, you have no rights, and you are probably a criminal anyway, stealing their potential profit
from them, every time you hum the words in public, and every time a second person hears the song
you bought playing on your stereo, and every time you move that song to another player or computer.

Which sort of makes this whole topic ludicrous, doesn't it? You might as well discuss how the terrorists
are going to benefit us with their way of doing things. Sheesh!

Steve Jobs was right about DRM. It is time to ger rid of that whole thing. If it were gone, more people
would buy music, and even these people who say they own the music would profit by DRM being gone.

Prices wont come down, they'll go up. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049652)

The prices of DVD's have gone down, with all of the illegal copying and downloading...

Why in the world would the prices go down with DRM? DVD's when they first came out were not copyable, were not downloadable and cost a lot more than they do now...

Now they're cheaper..

Should we presume that they are cheaper because they are downloadable, copyable and so forth?

I know the market is saturated with dvds but still. Frankly i think the piracy is a way keep their prices fair. If they eliminate piracy, the skyies the limit for them, they can charge whatever they want and you have no alternative.

Re:Prices wont come down, they'll go up. (1)

Knetzar (698216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049798)

The alternative is other forms of entertainment. RIAA music competes with local/independent music. MPAA movies compete with film students, YouTube, TV, videogames, etc...

Just because there is no alternative for a particular product, doesn't mean there is no alternative.

Example: A Mercedes SL 55AMG is nearly $100,000, but the high price doesn't mean that people have to go without cars.

Re:Prices wont come down, they'll go up. (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050190)

This is true, and it's an argument I haven't seen before. Well done.

Mackerelvision (2, Interesting)

izprince (1065036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049654)

So, the guys at Mackerelvision respond... DRM "increases" value for the consumer. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Up is down. Black is white. Anyway, I don't know whether to laugh or cry, I'd laugh if I thought there was no way people would believe them, but I cry because I know people tend to be stupid enough to believe something that absurd. How exactly, does a technology that by design, interferes with my fair usage rights, and interferes with my ability to play back the content I purchased usage rights for at a time of my choosing on the platform of my choice add any value for me? No, every time you buy a DVD with Mackerelvision crippling, you're signing these assholes paychecks, so they can keep designing worse and worse systems by which to restrict you.

Re:Mackerelvision (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050616)

So, the guys at Mackerelvision respond... DRM "increases" value for the consumer. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Up is down. Black is white. ....And they get killed at the next Zebra crossing.

Electronic distribution (1)

edschurr (999028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049674)

I absolutely wouldn't want DRM on anything I "buy" (or is it "license" with shitty terms?). I am however excited at the prospect of more content being available over the Internet. I don't really mind watching commercials much, but I would much rather use my monitor than TV and I hate planning around schedules. Piracy, besides price, simply offers a better product.

Do you know Zonk the journalist? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18049820)

Michael Zenke (608) 845-6941 3101 Stratton Way,Madison, WI 53719

But in the meantime, dear Macrovision (1)

infolib (618234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049892)

Why can't those of us who prefer buy-to-own just download in a standard, non-defective format? Then you can put time-expire DRM on the market once you've made it work in an open and efficient fashion (or invented a free-energy machine, whichever comes first).

Facts (4, Informative)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049920)

1. DRM costs the consumers money. That is, the producers license shit technology (that going by their track record they're batting .000) that they then pass the cost onto the consumer/customers.

2. DRM doesn't actually work. Every single form of DRM from CSS to WDRM to Fairplay has been in one form or another broken or circumvented. Including the many methods (and millions of dollars that went into) CD and video game protection schemes

3. Despite the ability to circumvent DRM, media says continue to increase.

4. DRM often attempts to circumvent fair use rights preventing the social order.

5. The introduction of the DMCA was a *crutch* introduced by lobbyists to do what DRM could not do.

6. DRM vendors have no souls.

7. Media studios leverage their market share to unfairly harm competition (see: payola).

8. Media studios will boldly lie about revenue and other statistics to gain power over citizens of "free" nations.

9. I ran out of facts.

Tom

Re:Facts (3, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050162)

10. The executives who think this DRM stuff up, go to bed every night with a big smile thinking of all the money their making despite having cheated on their tests all the way from high school to college, since they are now putting their training to good use.

DRM solution... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049930)

DRM woul be a acceptable solution if (and only if):
  • the consumer have the right to buy as many copies of the media, at raw media cost, when (s)he bought the right to see it (then you don't need to copy it). The content owner must however always and forever be able to ship new media if you media dies, after X years they may choose to lift the copy protection.
  • the DRM was truly transparent and platform independent (also on open platforms like Linux and xBSD).
  • the DRM didn't require a connection to the content owner.
If you now look at this, it is quite simple to achive... most people are just too blind to see the solution. The solution is a USB like device with personal key allowing wiewing and copying as long as the key device is present, copies made this way have to require the key too unless the media is uncopyable (that could be a MP3 player with no digital output capability).
Now... there are several problems in it... your key device need to have the capacity to hold indefinite number of keys... AND there have to be a central copy of it so you can get a new one if it fails (wich may be against the law at least in some countries). Next problem are gifts... you can't buy the physical media... you have to buy a gift certificate (because the key have to be updated too, unless there also is an online key distribution service wich is multiplatform).
---
This idea is now in public. You may or may not use it. The license is GPL ver. 3. ...oh shit ;-)

Re:DRM solution... (3, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050182)

How about....no DRM ? There are many other problems in the world looking for solutions, why create more problems?

Re:DRM solution... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050202)

That would be optimal... I'm not pro-DRM, I just described the minimum requirements for an implementation wich could be successful. I also listed some technical problems...

Re:DRM solution... (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050198)

You're talking about a DONGLE..... possibly one of the most restrictive, annoying and inconvenient forms of copy protection there is.

Re:DRM solution... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050232)

That is correct... and ? Your car got a dongle too... the key, so does your home. You use a card for your bank, that's a dongle too.
Correctly implemented it is a very secure and very flexible solution.
I'm no DRM fan... I just listed some minimum requiremnts... and a possible solution. ...and it's not perfect.

Re:DRM solution... (3, Insightful)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050300)

Let's see...

It would really suck if my car got stolen. That's why I go to the effort of carrying a key with me everywhere I go to protect it.
It would also really suck if my house got broken into. Or my bank account. These things are so important that it's worth carrying around a piece of metal or plastic just for that wherever I go.

If someone copied my music off my iPod... well frankly that would be between them and the RIAA. In other words, I as a consumer have no interest in protecting my music from being stolen (especially when it's being protected from myself), therefore I have no interest in carrying a dongle to access my music.

Furthermore, my car, my house and my bank account are probably the 3 most expensive things I own, so once again I go to such lengths to protect them. If I am forced to go to such lengths to protect something like my music, then why not have a dongle to activate my toaster, my chair or my shirt?

As with all DRM, the issue here is that unlike other forms of security (where I go to as much or as little lengths as I wish to protect myself) this is about me being forced to go to exactly the lengths they tell me to go to to protect them. This is a hopeless solution, and I don't think consumers would even be stupid enough to go along with it unlike other forms of DRM.

Re:DRM solution... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050612)

Technically when your car is stolen it is a case between the thiev and the police...
...so you do in fact not care about the fact that someone has stolen the music you have paid for ? ...and that is just because you got a working copy of it... if we now were talking about a physical CD (or the whole iPod) then you would care, wouldn't you ?
Yes, DRM is wrong but so is your attitude... just because you didn't lose anything doesn't mean that you shouldn't care about it... and btw. strictly speaking you did lose 50% of what you paid for that music.
The DRM problem is in fact two separate problems... one is about what one can do with something (s)he bought (everything except redistributing copies, wich is illegal in allmost all countries)... and the other is how to protect it from beeing stolen. As long as the protection makes it difficult to use it, then it is wrong...
I can live with the fact that I need to buy something to have it...
...and all the DRM schemes used do not adress any of these problems... and are in fact only ment for controlling how we can use the media, because that is the only thing the record labels (and Microsoft) cares about. That is btw. called censorship.

Re:DRM solution... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050464)

DRM only takes value away from a product; the only way it can be of advantage is to convince those who would otherwise be unwilling to offer content to the consumer on fair terms, the chance to offer it on more restrictive terms.

The music industry is now curious about the advantages of offering their product on fair terms; as Macrovision imply, when the "transition between physical and digital distribution" is coming to an end and producers are comfortable with fair terms, DRM is no longer useful.

Obviously, as a business based solely on providing DRM technologies, Macrovision is unhappy with their product base becoming irrelevant. Cry me a river. The door's that way, don't hit it on your way out.

And, dongles aren't secure at all.

Crackers have debuggers which find it very, VERY easy to trap on hardware interactions; they stick out like candles in the dark.

Really good crackers have friends who perform professional hardware reverse-engineering, with ready access to nitric acid and scanning electron microscopes that will take that poor potted dongle and turn it into a specification and a routine in about 24 hours.

Really, really good crackers will sidestep the whole thing.

Dongles aren't flexible at all.

You either have the dongle or you haven't. When the dongle breaks, you're screwed. When the dongle wobbles, you're screwed. When the dongle is removed or breaks during your access, you're screwed. If the dongle stops working at any point, it's a minor miracle if you can get a replacement, and you're screwed until you do.

I have, in the distant past, been employed at considerable cost by content purchasers to remove dongle-based copy protection from an expensive software package they have licensed, on the grounds that the dongle was failing on a continual basis and the manufacturer refused to provide the support they were paying for. I was successful in this. It was a nice challenge. The dongle was a 16-bit LFSR with an extra XOR whitening stage. Calls to it were used to step into jump-tables that indexed into tables of mathematical operations such that if the dongle was not working correctly, the content that was being produced using the software would be subtly altered without the purchaser's knowledge, leaving a watermark identifying the user with the unique 16-bit code imprinted in the dongle's FPGA. This watermarking was not disclosed to the licensee by the producer. They were very interested to learn it was deliberately ruining their data for not working right.

I have, in the recent past, but before relevant changes in the law, also been employed at considerable cost to provide a proof-of-concept procedure for non-interactively deriving knowledge of the PIN from the smart-card on a Chip&PIN card. I was successful in this. It was a nice challenge, too. It takes approximately 30 seconds, is non-destructive, offline and potentially portable, and leaves no usage traces. It could be performed by a modified rogue terminal. Now I am very careful where I use my card, never let it out of my sight, and always treat the terminals with healthy suspicion. I doubt I am the only person to figure that out.

Hardware tokens ("dongles") where the adversary has physical access and ownership are fundamentally insecure, and are not the answer.

Re:DRM solution... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050710)

That's not in the scope... everything can be cracked, just give me the time and the technology and I get you somone that can crack it.
You need to remove the reason for cracking it, if it always works then there are no reason for cracking it. DVD-Jon didn't crack CSS because it was there, he cracked it because he couldn't see his films where he wanted and on what he wanted... if you look at all these cracks they are made just because of that, it is not because "I want share my films/music with the whole world".
In my post I've tried to ADRESS ALL POSSIBLE AND LEGAL difficulties with DRM (with success) and people are still arguing against it. That's seems to me more like people are interested in just beeing able to make and distribute illegal copies... that is very interesting. ;-)

Re:DRM solution... (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050258)

What prevents me from making an uncopyable device that's really one copying can be done with? Like if I gutted the no-copy MP3 and searched the disk for the files. Isn't this just distribution on the USB, or does the USB have the key? If the USB has the key, what stops me from cloning it? No DRM system can ever succeed, because you need to hide the information from the person viewing it!

Re:DRM solution... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050276)

Nothing... however if the DRM is transparent for you then you are just doing the same as if you were breaking into your own car just because you don't want to use the key you've got in your hand.

Re:DRM solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050262)

This idea is interesting, but it probably won't fly unless the entity that controls the keys also controls the software that will play the file, else the key is easily circumvented; which is a sticky situation already.

Re:DRM solution... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050358)

It could be as simple as dual key encryption. The player should in fact be as simple as possible... my points are: make it as simple and cheap for the end user as possible then there will be no point in trying to crack it.

No matter what they throw at us (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18049944)

We'll put our 5,000 computers on the grid and break it in an hour. There's almost no sport in it anymore. It's like hunting sqirrels with an elephant gun.

Not interested in digital restrictions management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050132)

I'm not interested into buying copy protected media. I'm not interested into buying personalized (watermarked) media. I'm not interested into sponsoring devices that try to implement such limitations like HDMI capable tv's (I will stay for a long time with my old one)

As a result I'm not buying music via internet and I'm trying to avoid to buy CD's from major lables (I mostly buy music from the musicians at their concerts)

Stop pretending it's in our interests (3, Interesting)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050150)

DRM is uniquely suitable for metering usage rights, so that consumers who don't want to own content, such as a movie, can "rent" it.
I fully agree that the Single And Only Fair Usage of DRM is to enable rentals. I hate DRM, but if I'm going to pay $3 to rent a film, it's in everyone's best interests to give me a disc which I don't need to return, I can just throw away as it becomes useless after a week. That's great, and it's a great use for DRM.

Problem: I don't want DRM to "meter my usage rights". In other words, I don't want DRM to say "you own this" "you rent that". By the very nature of DRM, I don't own it. In my eyes there is one and only one solution: Anything I am renting has DRM on it. Anything I own does not, or by definition, I don't own it.

Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas - vacation homes, cars, different devices and remotely.
Correction: Consumers who want to use content across all of their entertainment areas can pay more than those who just want to consume it only on a single device. This was never about making things cheaper.

The entire concept of this is complete bullshit. You buy content. You own it. You do whatever the hell you want with it. There is no free or convenient consumer market for "only using content on a certain device". No market like that is ever in the consumer's best interests.

Abandoning DRM now will unnecessarily doom all consumers to a "one size fits all" situation that will increase costs for many of them.
You know... if I could buy a shirt that fits any size body, like I can buy hats or socks that do, I'd be happier with my shirts (in case I grow, or I want to give it to my friends, or I don't want to fuss about with shirt sizes, or whatever, it's just more convenient to have one-size-fits-all shirts). Digital media is great, because it is one-size-fits-all! Yay! Now why would you use the phrase "doom all consumers to a one-size-fits-all situation"? One-size-fits-all is good for consumers, if it's feasible. And it is.

"DRM needs to be interoperable and open"
There is no such thing as open DRM. There is only different shades of interoperability. So you can get FairPlay vs Zune going at each other, or you can unify them into a single DRM model which is interoperable. That's better for consumers, yes, but it isn't open. DRM, by design, can never be open, because as soon as it is, it can be cracked. In other words, you may get the same DRM working on Zune, iPod, Windows and Mac, but you will never get it working in open source software (unless it's been hacked, like DVD).

Without reasonable, consistent and transparent DRM we will only delay the availability of premium content in the home.
The delay, I assume, being from the corporate shits who can't stand to see their content go on a format without DRM. What about the years of setbacks in products such as PS3 and Vista just to get the overblown and insane DRM specs working?

BS arguments (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050326)

TFA is the usual corporate snake oil.

"We don't give a shit about our customers and we don't want to see them as anything more than cows to be economically milked, but we can't let them know that because if they do find out, they have a tendency to jump the fences we're trying to build around them. The only thing we care about is money. We don't care about our own lives, the lives of anyone else, or anything else. The only thing that matters is getting as much money as possible. We don't even care if we destroy the world sufficiently that we won't be alive to do anything with our billions of dollars after we've made it...the only thing that matters is making it."

It's times like these that I am in danger of almost vaguely starting to believe that at least some of Stallman's paranoia and relentless fanaticism is justified...it becomes momentarily seductive, anywayz. I may not appreciate the FSF's desire to dominate people to the extent they seem to want to, but I sure as hell don't advocate demoniacs like the author of this article, either.

My own personnal experience of macrovision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050332)

When their copy protection system became ubiquitous on the VCR, i stopped buying and renting VHS.
In fact, I even gave up my VCR.
Yes, if you had a good TV, you werent affected, but people without the money to buy a good one saw quite clearly the flickering and the color degradation. It just gave me headache.

It's the same here: rich people, buy another set of everything you own and then more. The rest? we dont care.

Macrovision is not about increasing distribution.

DRM increases cost (1)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050458)

A couple of days ago, I put forth how DRM was just a waste of money and mostly defeatable by those who want to try enough. What DRM is really for is to increase cost.

(*) M$ would love it if you had to pay to open Word or PowerPoint each time you needed it, maybe even renting your computer back to you after you shelled out the money on the hardware. (*) Music companies would also like to charge you each time you play a song on your mp3 player

Now is really the time for M$ and other organizations to start thinking about how they plan to implement DRM before they start to do stupid things and Linux and open source really becomes a desktop standard.

On a side note, I have no problem paying for things. I do not think most people do either. But there is a difference when a song is not worth buying but worth enough to waste the time to download.

Insight (1)

franksands (938435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050486)

I am currently in Tokyo, Japan and there is a very curious thing here: there is an area of the city (akihabara, the "electric town") where whole buildings have nothing but DVDs with porn. And they are very easy to find. But there's a catch: all the scenes that shows the sexual parts are pixelated. That's right: you pay the whole price for a movie, to watch in the privacy of your den, and you're denied the option to see the whole thing. That's DRM. You pay the whole price for something that only hinders you and prevents you from doing stuff that you have the right to.

ps. I don't know if there is any "normal porn" around here, I've been here for 2 weeks and so far, nothing.

cut the bull (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050512)

'DRM increases not decreases consumer value', such as by enabling people to rent content at a lower price than ownership

That statement takes advantage of the nearsighted. DRM's purpose is to maximize proffit, and to do that you have to maximize the money you squeeze out of the consumer. You cannot maximize proffit AND provide the customer with a better value, the two goals are opposed to each other.

Yes, DRM allows a consumer to rent content for less, but it also requires them to rent it every time they want to watch it, paying several times instead of once. As a result, the consumer ends up paying more over the long term to rent the content many times than they would have paid to purchase it and play it as many times as they liked.

Saying that DRM provides better value to the customer is a very poorly disguised lie.

Anyone trying to convince me that companies are spending millions of dollars and pissing off their customers because they are "trying to provide the consumer with better value" will be laughed at. (and then kicked)

Jobs didn't call for the death of DRM... (4, Insightful)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050570)

Macrovision's CEO's argument with Jobs seems to rest on a faulty foundation. Jobs didn't call for the death of DRM, at least not directly, he called for the big 4 to license their music for sale online without DRM.

If, like most people reading this, you consider DRM a negative for the consumer, then you'd naturally think DRM-free licensing would obviously lead to the death of DRM, at least for music. But if, like Macrovision's CEO, you claim that DRM actually adds value for the consumer, then you should have nothing to fear from competition with non-DRMed sales. If a consumer thinks it is a better value to rent music with DRM, then they will do so regardless of weather music available for sale elsewhere has DRM or not.

The idea that DRMed music cannot be successfully sold when non-DRMed music is also available is only valid if you assume that DRM has a negative impact on the consumer large enough to overwhelm any positives it might offer (like the ability to facilitate online rentals). The fact that Macrovision's CEO equates allowing DRM-free sales opportunities to denying DRMed sales opportunities, while asserting that DRM is a positive for the consumer, would seem to indicate that he is either arguing dishonestly or hasn't really thought this out (or both).

That said, Macrovision's CEO's position actually suggests a compromise (if we assume that Macrovision's CEO is honest in his assertion that he believes DRM adds value for the consumer, and that decision makers at the big 4 agree with him, both of which are far from certain imho):
If Apple were to license the RIAA (and it's international equivalents) the right to sub-license FairPlay DRM to anyone they liked, in return for the RIAA's members giving Apple license to sell all their music DRM-free under terms no worse than their current ~70% cut, then everybody wins (after a fashion).
Apple gets to sell music DRM-free, the RIAA&co get to sell/rent DRMed music for the iPod under whatever terms they like, and the customer gets to have their choice.

Translation From PR-Speak to English of Selected P (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050576)

By John Gruber

Source: "Macrovision's Response to Steve Jobs's Open Letter".

I would like to start by thanking Steve Jobs for offering his provocative perspective on the role of digital rights management (DRM) in the electronic content marketplace and for bringing to the forefront an issue of great importance to both the industry and consumers.

Fuck you, Jobs.

Macrovision has been in the content protection industry for more than 20 years, working closely with content owners of many types, including the major Hollywood studios, to help navigate the transition from physical to digital distribution.

We've been helping and encouraging the entertainment industry to annoy its paying customers for more than 20 years.

We have been involved with and have supported both prevention technologies and DRM that are on literally billions of copies of music, movies, games, software and other content forms, as well as hundreds of millions of devices across the world.

Remember those squiggly lines when you tried copying a commercial VHS tape? You can thank us for that.

While your thoughts are seemingly directed solely to the music industry, the fact is that DRM also has a broad impact across many different forms of content and across many media devices. Therefore, the discussion should not be limited to just music.

We recognize that if getting rid of DRM works for the music industry, it's going to open the eyes of executives in other fields, and it could unravel Macrovision's entire business.

DRM increases not decreases consumer value

Up is down. Black is white.

I believe that most piracy occurs because the technology available today has not yet been widely deployed to make DRM-protected legitimate content as easily accessible and convenient as unprotected illegitimate content is to consumers.

I have, to date, succeeded in convincing the entertainment industry that DRM can stop piracy.

The solution is to accelerate the deployment of convenient DRM-protected distribution channels--not to abandon them.

The solution is more DRM. DRM everywhere.

Similarly, consumers who want to consume content on only a single device can pay less than those who want to use it across all of their entertainment areas -- vacation homes, cars, different devices and remotely. Abandoning DRM now will unnecessarily doom all consumers to a "one size fits all" situation that will increase costs for many of them.

Abandoning DRM will prevent us from forcing our customers to keep paying us over and over again for the same movies and songs they've already paid for.

Well maintained and reasonably implemented DRM will increase the electronic distribution of content, not decrease it.

I am high as a kite.

Quite simply, if the owners of high-value video entertainment are asked to enter, or stay in a digital world that is free of DRM, without protection for their content, then there will be no reason for them to enter, or to stay if they've already entered. The risk will be too great.

If it weren't for DRM, no one would attempt to sell video in digital formats.

I agree with you that there are difficult challenges associated with maintaining the controls of an interoperable DRM system, but it should not stop the industry from pursuing it as a goal.

Just because we have sold the entertainment industry on the pipe dream of "interoperable DRM" that can't actually be implemented does not mean they should stop paying Macrovision in a futile attempt to make it happen.

Truly interoperable DRM will hasten the shift to the electronic distribution of content and make it easier for consumers to manage and share content in the home -- and it will enable it in an open environment where their content is portable across a number of devices, not held hostage to just one company's products.

Magic interoperable DRM would give people all the features and capabilities they get with DRM-free media.

At Macrovision we are willing to lead this industry effort.

If we could get everything under our control we could make a lot of money.

We offer to assist Apple in the issues and problems with DRM that you state in your letter. Should you desire, we would also assume responsibility for FairPlay as a part of our evolving DRM offering and enable it to interoperate across other DRMs, thus increasing consumer choice and driving commonality across devices.

I realize Apple is never going to work with Macrovision, so I have decided to insult you and your company by insinuating that your "Thoughts on Music" open letter was an expression of frustration at technical hurdles Apple just can't figure out on their own.

With such an enjoyable and revolutionary experience within our grasp, we should not minimize the role that DRM can and should play in enabling the transition to electronic content distribution. Without reasonable, consistent and transparent DRM we will only delay the availability of premium content in the home.

Without DRM we don't have control over what people can do with their media.

As an industry, we should not let that happen.

As a company whose only purpose is to provide copy protection, we can't let that happen.

'Difficult Challenges' too difficult for them! (2, Interesting)

mikearthur (888766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050628)

In the letter they acknowledge the 'difficult challenges' of implementing DRM that is truly 'interoperable and open'

Clearly too bloody hard for them. I got two new DVDs last week, was pretty happy with them. Both use RipGuard, meaning none of my Linux machines, using XINE, MPlayer or VLC can play the damned things.

The sad fact is, these are fairly obscure UK TV shows, and basically, short of piracy, this is now the only way for me to get them on DVD. So what I have to do now is rip them to watch them on Linux.

Ironic, how the only way to watch "RipGuard" on any of my computers (all running Linux) is to rip the things!

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