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A Copyright Cop In Every Zune 454

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

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  • Re:PlaysForSure (Score:1, Informative)

    by TypoNAM (695420) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:32PM (#23330156)
    Zune [wikipedia.org] does not support [zune.net] PlaysForSure [wikipedia.org]. Those people surely got screwed.
  • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:35PM (#23330192) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

  • Re:They exist. (Score:5, Informative)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @04:49PM (#23330384) Homepage
    An iPod does not require using iTunes. You can put Rockbox on an iPod and simply drag the music files directly onto the iPod mounted as a drive. There's also plenty of other programs that can read and write to an iTunes database.
  • Re:Too Bad (Score:3, Informative)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) <sexwithanimals@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:04PM (#23330556) Homepage
    Even Apple tells you how to defeat their DRM. Burn the songs to a CD. Rip the CD. You now have files with no DRM and proper tagging (thanks to iTunes using CDDB).
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:07PM (#23330592)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Re:They exist. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:08PM (#23330606)
    Rockbox is not available for every generation of iPod.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:22PM (#23330776)

    Please cite at least 1 example of a company being sued for creating a device that allows people to play MP3s. You might want to let Justin Frankel know that he should have been "sued to fuck" (whatever that meansd) for creating winamp instead of chilling in his multi-million dollar home studio.
    Wasn't the Rio the subject of various lawsuits?
  • by zbaron (649094) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:33PM (#23330896)
    Add "&fmt=18" to the end of the youtube url, and the video in the page becomes a plain .mp4 file (H.264 + AAC) rather than .flv. No converting needed.
  • by dedazo (737510) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:37PM (#23330940) Journal
    You're missing the point. He's not annoyed at twitter because of "negative evaluation" or even the ever-hilarious "M$" thing that just never gets old. It's the fact that he's posted in this article with three different accounts already. Very soon now you're going to see three different people jump into the thread, agree with him and complain if there's any moderation he doesn't like.

    Seriously, is there some sort of reality distortion field problem here where someone with seven or eight accounts that humps all over Slashdot shilling his own posts can happily get away with it, no repercussions? Screw the controls that this website has in place to prevent things like these, along with crapflooders, GNAA trolls and erotic stories about CmdrTaco and CowboyNeal?

    There is a reason why his first two accounts are in negative karma hell, but he doesn't understand that people mod him down, not his opinions. As if criticizing Microsoft on Slashdot was reason to be modded down? People are tired of him, but he just blames everything on Microsoft [slashdot.org], claims that anyone who disagrees with him "hates" him, and then proceeds to create seven or eight accounts, and reply to himself so that moderators think "wow, this gnutoo/inTheLoo/Erris/westbake/willeyhill/twitter/Mactrope fellow sure has a lot of friends who agree with him" and play the karma game to his full satisfaction.

    Aside from my personal dislike of his "evangelism" style that does more harm than good to free software, that should not be allowed. I don't reply to myself pretending I'm someone else to see if I get modded up, I say what I think and I'm responsible for it. Within the community that is Slashdot, that means you are moderated up or down and deal with the consequences of that. The next time you find yourself getting stacked upon on a discussion thread by three people who sound exactly the same you'll see what the problem is with sockpuppets.

    Anyway, it's just the internet, and some people take all this too seriously (probably including myself sometimes) but even here there are rules and an etiquette that people follow or things go the way of Kuro5hin and Digg.

    (And now I'm sure he'll use one of those sockpuppets to mod me down like he's been doing the past few weeks with his gnutoo and inTheLoo accounts, which are the only ones that are not posting at zero or less for obvious trolling.)

  • by El_Oscuro (1022477) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:54PM (#23331136) Homepage
    For Linux, just play the video and look in /tmp for Flashxxx files before you close Firefox. In Windows, it is probably also in %TEMP%, but is probably xxxx.flv.
  • by merreborn (853723) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:15PM (#23331354) Journal

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

    Please cite at least 1 example of a company being sued for creating a device that allows people to play MP3s. You might want to let Justin Frankel know that he should have been "sued to fuck" (whatever that meansd) for creating winamp instead of chilling in his multi-million dollar home studio.
    You'll have to forgive the GP, he's gotten his arguments mixed up, or something.

    Apple DRMs iTunes because their contracts with the labels require it. Few of the major labels were open to selling their music digitally without DRM when iTunes launched 5 years ago. The labels only recently started coming around -- DRM free media became available on iTunes just a little over a year ago; Amazon's DRM-free MP3 store opened a little over 6 months ago.

    Now that iTunes has proven itself, and the concept of commercially successful digital distribution, by becoming the nation's #1 music retailer, they've got some negotiating power. That wasn't the case in 2003.
  • Re:Nothing new there (Score:3, Informative)

    by bcdm (1031268) <bcdm999@yahoo.NETBSDca minus bsd> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:18PM (#23331394)
    Here you go:

    U.S. Top Selling Computer Hardware for January 2007 [bloomberg.com]

    Scroll down to the MP3 section. SanDisk only has 8.9%, but Zune is at 3.2% and the iPod is at 72.7%.

  • Re:Nothing new there (Score:3, Informative)

    by PeterKraus (1244558) <peter.kraus@member.fsf.org> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:21PM (#23331418) Homepage
    In Europe, no one knows about Zune. Everything is either Apple iPod, or Creative, or Sony.
  • Umm, no? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @07:17PM (#23331854)
    Actually, if you read this
    http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2008/05/07/just-so-no-one-gets-the-wrong-idea.aspx

    it might make you a bit happier.

    At least microsoft arent complete assholes
    (BTW, for you guys to lazy to go to the link, its basically microsoft saying it isnt gonna happen.
  • Re:Nothing new there (Score:5, Informative)

    by fullgandoo (1188759) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @08:00PM (#23332226)
    Microsoft has already denied this: http://www.news.com/8301-13860_3-9938650-56.html?tag=nefd.top [news.com] But since this is slashdot, let's just ignore it while there is an opportunity for MS bashing.
  • That only works with some videos, not all of them yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @09:01PM (#23332664)
    Fortunately Microsoft denies 'Copyright Cop' speculation [news.com]. Of course, /. would never post an update (let alone call out that the article was speculation).
  • Re:They exist. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:20PM (#23333256) Homepage Journal

    You can put Rockbox on an iPod and simply drag the music files directly onto the iPod mounted as a drive.

    Or you can not install Rockbox and still do the same thing.

  • Re:Nothing new there (Score:2, Informative)

    by fuelvolts (852701) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:23PM (#23333274)
    Looks like this is false... Source: http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2008/05/07/just-so-no-one-gets-the-wrong-idea.aspx [zuneinsider.com]
  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @08:19AM (#23336370) Journal

    Apple's primary method of shifting products is the fashion angle, followed by their proprietary OS and other software that people may prefer. It's certainly not cost/technical merits the products are purchased on as you can get higher spec with equivalent quality (but not style) cheaper elsewhere.

    I love my iPod, and although I acknowledge that I think it's "cooler" than other players, that's not the main reason.

    I should acknowledge that I got mine for free by winning a musical contest, so cost wasn't a factor. I had been listening to mp3s in WinAmp at home for years, and burning mp3 CDs to listen to in the car, so I was pumped.

    But what really got me excited was when I installed iTunes. Yes, it's bloated and slow, but it scratched a major itch for me: a way to organize my music collection. I had cases full of CDs that I had started to get tired of alphabetizing. iTunes made my collection easy to organize, easy to sort into playlists, and let me see the lovely cover art. I know, who cares, right? But I like my music collection. I like to see it as well as hear it.

    Syncing is easy, ripping is easy, etc etc. DRM isn't a problem because I pretty much only buy CDs, and if I buy more music online I will make sure it's DRM-free (maybe via Amazon).

    Now for this "style" factor you disdain so much. My wife had a Sandisk mp3 player that was ugly, needed batteries (which means that the battery door can get knocked open), had a terrible and confusing user interface, and needed to be put into an armband to strap on for a workout. After it died (my fault (sarcastic) for formatting it, because I couldn't find any other way to delete some music off it), I got her an iPod Shuffle, which is easy to use, smaller, has no battery compartment, and has a built-in clip. For working out, it's perfect.

    My Nano has a great UI and is a pleasure to use. The whole experience, from ripping a CD to selecting songs on the device, is a pleasure. How is that irrelevant?

    There may be other good products on the market, but frankly it's easier to buy something I know will be well-designed than try my luck on another product.

    What would make me switch? Well, maybe if something else became popular. Am I a sheep? Nope. I call that "not volunteering to be a beta tester."

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