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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 02:39 PM   #1
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Cost analysis of Vista DRM

Here is an article that may need dissecting.
http://www.p2pnet.net/story/10823
Its looks like their angry because they wouldn’t be able to make illegal copies of movies any more so they try to put Vista in a bad light. I would like to hear what you guys think.

They use the words “Digital Restrictions Management” just like a lot of people but DRM really stand for “Digital Rights Management”
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Old December 26th, 2006, 08:33 PM   #2
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I read that paper by Peter Gutmann a few days ago. Note that the DRM comment at the top was added by the Web site that is republishing the article, not by Peter Gutmann.

Personally, I found the technical details and implications of Vista's Content Protection specification disturbing (and that is putting it mildly). I say this as one who understands the concern with media piracy; after all, I'm looking to make my living as a producer of media. However, the system put in place by Microsoft in Vista carries with it implications of which everyone should be aware.

For instance, driver revocation. If a DRM deficiency is discovered in a driver, the license to use that driver will be revoked remotely by Microsoft. Imagine the implications of such an action. You may say Microsoft would never do that because of the legal backlash from consumers, but consider that the legal liabilities against Microsoft if they did not revoke the driver and thus fail to protect “protected” content would be just as great.

Then there are the implications for system performance, stability, and security. Due to the intensive encryption requirements for premium media, beyond the capabilities of current CPUs, decryption must be offloaded to dedicated encryption pipelines on the GPU, diminishing the pipelines available for 3D acceleration. Since CPUs don’t have the power to decrypt and play premium content, from now on any codec used by premium content must first be supported by GPUs. This means that the adoption of new codecs in the future could be severely restricted.

Media device drivers must constantly poll their respective hardware devices every 30ms, eating up CPU cycles even if nothing else is happening on the system. These and all other communications in Vista's Content Protection system are encrypted with 128 bit AES, chewing up even more CPU power.

As regards stability, in normal computer operations variances in the system are expected. However, in Vista, the Content Protection system scrutinizes everything down to the bit. If certain bits aren’t right under the Vista Content Protection system, it could signal a hack, even if it is just a part of normal variance in the system. This also opens a window for a new type of denial-of-service attack: Malware writers could potentially create a virus that intentionally targets any number the of the trip wires built in to the Vista DRM system. Such an attack could render a Vista computer unusable.

And I haven’t even touched on the intentional degradation in the graphics system that could have negative implications in the health care sector.

I have never been up in arms at Microsoft for whatever DRM protection they put in Windows XP, unlike many who populate geek forums (believe me, I know the type). Media producers should have a reasonable right to protect their intellectual property from piracy. But after reading through the list of things Microsoft implemented in Vista's Content Protection spec I'm beginning to think that Microsoft really stepped over the line here. I'm not sure they really thought through the implications of all their decisions.

My tolerance for DRM protections end when it degrades my computer performance, causes instability, opens doors for malware to attack my system, and gives the right to someone to unilaterally revoke the ability to use critical hardware devices, thus rendering my computer unusable.

To bring this home, what if you are scrambling to meet a deadline on an edit, when Microsoft unilaterally disables a device driver for a critical component on your system (your graphics card or your audio card, for example). How in the world are you supposed to finish the edit when your edit computer is rendered well nigh useless?

I've just skimmed a few of the highlights in the article. The Vista Content Protection system is looking to be a real mess for computer users, hardware device manufacturers, and even potentially Microsoft.

My advice? Carefully read the article, and consider whether Vista is the right decision for you. Don’t just jump in without knowing what you are getting into.
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Last edited by Christopher Lefchik; December 27th, 2006 at 11:53 AM.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 08:21 PM   #3
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Christopher Lefchik,

I do appreciate your response because it was so professionally written that I wanted to hear other peoples opinion especially people who has no intention of making illegal copies of other peoples work. A lot websites that copied that piece are file sharing supporters and to me, it gives an impression that they would want to make DRM seam worse than it is. Like you, I have a mixed feeling about certain types of copy protections and I didn’t think some of them can make computers that much slower. I’m starting to think that the type of protection that Google uses is good enough because once you download an online movie to your hard drive you have to be connected to the internet every time you want to view the video because Google needs to send you the codec every single time. In the future they plan on making it so that you don’t have to be on the internet to view what you just bought but hopefully what ever they develop doesn’t make your computer much slower like Vista.

Maybe Microsoft can develop a way to put all the copy protections on only when you play copy protected videos because a lot of computers are bad enough as is to edit raw HDV files and a lot of people wants to edit AVCHD files. I wonder how Apple is dealing with all this since Leopard is almost out as well.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 09:00 PM   #4
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AACS is allegedly cracked

Microsoft is sacrificing a lot making Vista as bullet proof as possible as far as protecting movies but people who spend all their time developing ways to copy other people’s property, causes companies such as Microsoft and Sony to go to far.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061228-8510.html
Some people need to realize that their talent can land them a job at Microsoft, Google or Apple that provides a lot of money that they wouldn’t need to develop ways to copy movies.

It’s as if Sony knew that AACS will be easily cracked which is why they added more protection to Blu-Ray.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #5
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I have provided a new thread for the AACS situation.
http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.ph...378#post597378
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Old December 29th, 2006, 12:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulo Teixeira
Microsoft is sacrificing a lot making Vista as bullet proof as possible as far as protecting movies but people who spend all their time developing ways to copy other people’s property, causes companies such as Microsoft and Sony to go to far.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061228-8510.html
Some people need to realize that their talent can land them a job at Microsoft, Google or Apple that provides a lot of money that they wouldn’t need to develop ways to copy movies
To be fair, it should be pointed out that the only reason Muslix64 circumvented the HD-DVD DRM was because the DRM would not let him watch his HD-DVD movies on his DVI equipped monitor. If you will recall the HD-DVD DRM will only allow watching content over a DVI/HDMI connection which also supports Intel's HDCP DRM spec. If you don't have a monitor and a graphics card which supports HDCP, you can't watch HD-DVD movies on your existing hardware. Muslix64 was not pirating his movies; he just wanted to be able to watch them on his computer.

And on a technical level he didn't really "hack" or "crack" the encryption, as all he did was find a way to retrieve the key from the computer's memory.

I don't know where you stand on whether or not people should be allowed to backup or transfer their content to other formats, or in this case circumvent DRM to watch the content on their existing equipment, but just to point out, if it had been up to the movie studios we wouldn't even have VCRs today. I'm sure we can both agree that anyone who pirates media and shares it with others should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I have no sympathy for a thief.

The tug-of-war between the protection of content producers' intellectual property from piracy and the right of people to the fair use of the content they purchase has no easy resolution.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 12:34 PM   #7
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I was against all forms of DRMs until about several months ago because I fully believe in fair use but I started to have a new appreciation for them once I helped someone get a contract to sell their programs on Google.

There is no way to tell what’s his true intentions are but it’s a fact that once people figure out how to copy Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs, it will show up on file sharing programs and my biggest fear is that a lot of major corporations wants to privatize the internet and they may use file sharing as an excuse to do it.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 03:12 PM   #8
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-EDIT

Never mind, I just remembered something.
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