Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Handhelds Media Microsoft Music Wireless Networking Hardware Your Rights Online

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A Copyright Cop In Every Zune

Comments Filter:
  • Nothing new there (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:15PM (#23329894) Homepage Journal
    Its just 'trusted computing' rearing its ugly head.
    • by lgw (121541) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:22PM (#23330002) Journal
      For the most part, people just don't care about DRM or trusted computing because it doesn't affect them. However, this "copyright cop" sort of thing is sure to be noticed by the average user. Microsoft seems to be betting heavily on selling DRMed platforms, and I wonder whether they've lost their way, and are listening to partners instead of customers. The Zune has not been an astounding success, and going out of their way to antagonize their customers in a market where they don't have any sort of market dominance seems like hubris on Mocrosoft's part.
      • Re:Nothing new there (Score:5, Interesting)

        by aurispector (530273) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:12PM (#23330658)
        I'm not sure M$ ever did really listen to their customers; they certainly have never seemed to put them ahead of their partners.

        The music companies have been sort of backing away from DRM, but the movie industry isn't. It's not clear if they're getting industry pressure to support DRM in exchange for some sort of agreement (exclusivity?) allowing video downloads for the zune. After the "play for sure" debacle, who would trust them anyway? There are plenty of fine alternatives to Ipod and Zune anyway.
        • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:09PM (#23332718) Journal

          I'm not sure M$ ever did really listen to their customers

          Sorry but MS are very good at listening to customers. Its just that they only listen to their business customers and nobody else. This worked extremely well for them with Windows and Office and in theory should have worked with the Zune too. Unfortunately they do not seem to have realized that in this case their business customers, the RIAA, are employing kamikazee tactics. They are more interested in ensuring that nobody can ever listen to content in a manner they have not personally approved than they are about making a successful, profitable product.
    • On both shipped Zunes!
    • Re:Nothing new there (Score:5, Informative)

      by fullgandoo (1188759) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @09:00PM (#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.
  • 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? Wow... First Post w0000t :)
    • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:35PM (#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...

      • by schon (31600)

        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."

        Please show where the part you quoted said *ANYTHING* about "uncopyrighted" content.

        If you're trying to imply that content on youtube is not copyrighted, then you either have no idea what youtube is, or you don't know what copyright is. Either way, you're completely and totally wrong.

        Almost everything on youtube is copyrighted by *SOMEONE*.

        God, how the hell did you get modded up?

    • I'm sure this isn't relevant to your particular SanDisk player, but from TFA:

      Mr. Perrette added that NBC is trying to develop similar hardware technology with SanDisk, through whom NBC also sells its programming.
    • by Technician (215283) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:50PM (#23330402)
      I've been doing that for years on my SanDisk MP3 player

      Consumers are good at finding what they want and the features they want. Some folks will be fine with the player and it's subscription service. The rest of us will find players that will play our content ripped from DVD's, shared, and downloaded from YouTube.

      I often get asked "What computer should I buy?" I always tell them "Find the software you want to run and then buy the haredware that will run it.". With portable media players, this is still very true. If you want to play MP3's and .flv files, only buy a player that will play it.

      If you want a player that plays music purchased from the Zune site, you may wish to consider one, but remember, it won't play songs from iTunes. It looks like it also won't play YouTube rips.

      You can vote for DRM with your wallet, or you can vote against it. Vote wisely.
    • by Toonol (1057698)
      How do you convert FLV? I've never found a utility to do that. I've been looking for some way to convert it to any normal format (straight MPG, for example).
      • ffmpeg is one of the simplest solutions.
      • by ratboy666 (104074)
        Toonol

        mplayer (google it). Both mplayer and mencoder are available for Linux, and Windows.

        Any format that can be played can be converted. And they do support FLV format. Now, how to download the FLV? Firefox. Download the "Video Download Helper" add-on, and tell it to save the FLV.

        Easy peasy (especially on Linux, not so much on Windows, but easy enough).
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by El_Oscuro (1022477)
          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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by zbaron (649094)
        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.
  • Huh? Zune? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:18PM (#23329952)
    I've heard of this Zune, but never actually seen one out in the wild. Do they actually exist? In other words, the Zune can have as much DRM as it likes. No one who cares about that sort of thing will buy one anyway. In fact who does buy them?
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:23PM (#23330014) Journal
      Yeah, I was kind of wondering how many nails you need in the coffin of a dead product? I'd think the ones in there now are enough to keep it buried as a footnote for MS historians to bleat about on Pub Quiz nights?
      • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <{shadow.wrought} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:28PM (#23330078) Homepage Journal
        I was kind of wondering how many nails you need in the coffin of a dead product?

        Its not so much the nails in the coffin you need as stakes in the heart. Unfortunately Zune's can only be killed by legitimately purchased stakes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fishchip (1203964)

        I read in some paper or another today that MS is 'finally' bringing the Zune to Canada in June. Weird, two bits of news on the Zune in one day.

        If this thing is so dead... why are we getting hit with it just now? =P Oh, the kicker is that the Zune online store won't even be available in Canada until some unknown date.

        Methinks it's going to be DOA up here.

        • As far as I know, everyone up here has an iPod. People who can't afford gas because they spend their money on WEED have iPods.

          But now I have a great image of Robot-Chicken-Dubya running around yelling "Zune zune zune!"

    • Of course you have.

      MS stuffed the channels again, so the same three Zunes are sitting on the vendor's display shelf with 3 more out back.

      However, their presence on the vendor shelf means that they weren't sold.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Digi-John (692918)
      There are some people who love Microsoft products, use Visual Studio to develop C# code, run Vista and swear up and down that they've never had any problems with it, and have purchased a Zune. I've known one such person. Besides him, I've never seen anyone with a Zune.
      • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:32PM (#23330158) Journal
        There are people who enjoy getting their nuts stepped on too. To each his own I guess.
      • here are some people who love Microsoft products, use Visual Studio to develop C# code, run Vista and swear up and down that they've never had any problems with it, and have purchased a Zune.

        Heh. I use Visual Studio to develop C# code, run Vista and have never had any problems with it, but even I bought an iPod.

        (Although, its hard drive died within a month of the warranty running out and it's not worth the cost to replace it, so maybe I did make a mistake diverging there... even still my next mp3 player wo
      • by plover (150551) *
        Hey, I think I take offense to that. I use Visual Studio to develop C++ code, I run Vista on my new home box and have ... well, ok, a few problems, but still, it's Vista. And I don't have a Zune. You take that back!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      I got a refurb'd one at woot for 80 dollars. Yep, a 30gig player for 80 dollars. I havent had any problems with "DRM." I load mp3s on it and it plays. Video too if I want to take that extra step of encoding it into wma.

      Since the recent firmware update I can even synch over wireless. Hell, it even has an FM radio in it.

      Of course we never discuss the massive drm in the ipod, the missing radio, and the incredible price of apple's product.
      • by thermian (1267986) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:48PM (#23330374)
        I'm sick of hearing about this. Lets dispel some myths.

        1: You can copy music on and off an iPod with great ease. There is no magic DRM preventing this *at all*.

        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.

        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.

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

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Colonel Korn (1258968)

          I'm sick of hearing about this. Lets dispel some myths.

          1: You can copy music on and off an iPod with great ease. There is no magic DRM preventing this *at all*.

          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.

          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.

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

          The same is true of the Zune and even Vista, despite the frequent complaints about DRM. So far, DRM is a paper tiger.

          • So far, DRM is a paper tiger.

            Unless you want to buy from many online stores. There are some stores that do offer DRM free audio, there aren't any legit stores that offer DRM free video from the "big" studios that I'm aware.
        • by blhack (921171) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:01PM (#23330534)

          1: You can copy music on and off an iPod with great ease. There is no magic DRM preventing this *at all*.
          YOu're right, they would never Intentionally take measures [arstechnica.com] to prevent third parties from writing software that allows for transfer to and from the ipod.

          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.
          You're right! How gracious of apple to ALLOW you to transfer a piece of your property to another piece of your property! Its almost like we're PAYING thing for this or something.

          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.
          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.

          4: A *lot* of available iPod content is not DRM'd anyway.
          Right AGAIN! How GRACIOUS of apple to allow you to play the music that you purchased on anything other than their blessed device!
          • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:22PM (#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?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by merreborn (853723)

            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.

            Y

        • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:07PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by VEGETA_GT (255721)
        And you bring up the only good reason to get a zune, retailers are forced to drop the price to get the things out of there stores. I am by no means a ipod fan, but hey there are other alternatives, take creative labs offering. Brother has a Zen which in all honesty I think is better then either the ipod or the Zune. but hey ya ipod > zune any day. But again not only alternatives.
      • Do you listen to the radio regularly on the Zune, if at all?

        If the market demanded radio, I'm sure Apple would build it in. Their reps even said they would.

        Radio isn't an issue for me. I really can't say I want to listen to it if I have all the music I want on the device with the radio.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've heard of this Zune, but never actually seen one out in the wild. Do they actually exist?

      In other words, the Zune can have as much DRM as it likes. No one who cares about that sort of thing will buy one anyway. In fact who does buy them?
      I saw a blurry photo of one and a video of one from a hundred yards away on a TV show. Then again the rest of the show was on bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster so I'd take it with a grain of salt.
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      I've seen about 10 at my university, mostly owned by computer science students who should know better. However, I own an iPod and many people dislike them as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Foofoobar (318279)
      I worked with a guy who was 'pro-microsoft' and swallowed every word that cme out of Redmond (we live in Seattle). He got the Zune the second they came out and they looked like crap but had a full color screen. He had it crash a few times on him and had trouble with it from the start but he always said 'works great!' with a smile no matter how many times I saw him having problems with it.

      And now with the touch iPods having wireless connectivity to the internet, touch screens, video and applications, the

  • by Carnildo (712617) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:19PM (#23329960) Homepage Journal
    This is a demonstration of Microsoft's new media-compatibility standard. They're calling it "Plays? Yeah sure!"
  • 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 if the Zune.

    Well of course there are ways to tell legitimate content from non-legitimate content. They're the same ways that are already being used in the HD-DVD and BluRay specs: the content producers put some kind of watermark into the stuff they sell, and if the player detects that watermark in some piece of non-DRMed content it'll shut down and refuse t

    • by Boogaroo (604901)

      In any case, I doubt this is going to do too much for the Zune's sales, so one hopes that MS is getting something really swank for doing the deal.
      Microsoft: Nooo! The Slashdotters discovered our plan! Someone mod them down before our business partners notice! If we can't make money selling DRM schemes on devices that never sell, how will we make money?
    • Re:Watermarks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dmeranda (120061) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:42PM (#23330286) Homepage

      Except that watermarks still don't work.

      • * They don't expire when the work goes in the public domain after its copyright also expires.
      • * They do not take into account Fair Use exemptions.
      • * They do not equally protect all content producers; only those who can pay the cartel licensing fees.
      • Re:Watermarks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:54PM (#23330442) Homepage
        To the publishers these are features, not bugs.
      • Legally, would it matter whether the water mark expired or whether it did not specifically exempt fair use? A watermark is just an identifier. So if you were found with a watermarked file, and 1) the date it was found was after the copyright expiration date; or 2) the situation was deemed "fair use" by judge/jury/arbitrator, then wouldn't you be off the hook? Of course, there's always the cynical so-what-it-will-be-abused-anyway perspective, but all things being fair and equal, watermarks wouldn't necess
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122)
        Who cares if watermarks don't expire, no one is going to be checking them after the work goes into public domain.

        How do they prevent you from fair use in any way?

        The only downside to watermarks is if they're audible. Are they audible?
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:22PM (#23330000) Homepage Journal

    I hear that if you're wiling to pay a premium, they'll arrange for Steve Ballmer to come over and kick you in the nuts, personally.

    Although, I expect that's only for corporate customers, OEMs, since Steve's time is valuable.

  • Will these people never learn. We learnt only a few weeks ago that MS is turning off their music store activation rubbish. How long will this incarnation live on. Ie who keeps the database up to date in 10 years time.

    Just to add to that, rather than failsafe, ie if unsure, then let it play, it will not failsafe, so someone is going to loose access to content somewhere along the line.
  • by Yurka (468420) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:26PM (#23330052) Homepage
    "...will work with [NBC] to try to develop..." is classic software marketing BS - three weasel verbs in succession, a minor masterpiece. Translation: "This feature? Oh, sure, we have it. I mean, we'll have it in the next release. I mean, the crack team of our coding monkeys is going to make it their priority. Now just sign here, initial here and here."
  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:27PM (#23330068)
    According to TFA, Google and other companies are exploring having filtering technology similar to this to eliminate copyrighted content from their shared video sites. Unless/until that happens, I can't really see even Microsoft making this move.

    As TFA points out, MS is way at the back of the portable mp3/video/etc. pack and it knows it can't afford to stick more "features" in that will drive users away. Now, the NBC dude quoted in the article brings up the idea that through whatever the Zune store is called they'd have options to offer whole seasons of a show at a discount instead of being forced to the $2/episode no matter what pricing standard of iTunes, and I could see that drawing people to buy the episodes from Microsoft -- but not so long as the alternative is to get them free for the iPod from YouTube. A generation raised with free TV and VCRs hesitates even less about 'stealing' TV episodes than it does about songs.

    So unless YouTube etc. put a filter in place that successfully blocks this same content I can't see it going anywhere on portable players so long as Apple refuses to do it to the market-dominant iPod.
    • According to TFA, Google and other companies are exploring having filtering technology similar to this to eliminate copyrighted content from their shared video sites. Unless/until that happens, I can't really see even Microsoft making this move.


      And that may be possible (though I'd wager still error prone) with a large cluster sniffing every video file, but come on, a portable media device?
  • So now we have Reason #437 to never buy a Zune.

    If this is made retroactive to all existing Zunes, or put in new ones without clear notice of this limitation, I hope Microsoft will be sued out of all the money they didn't spend trying to acquire Yahoo!

  • No way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MooseMuffin (799896) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:31PM (#23330142)
    Sure Microsoft makes plenty of bad decisions, but there's no way they're dumb enough to think that zunes aren't selling because customers want more content restrictions.

    On the other hand, I suppose they are dumb enough and arrogant enough to believe that they could compete with itunes if they kissed the asses of enough content providers. They can't, nor can anyone else really. That battle has already been fought and apple is winning by an overwhelming margin. Their best bet is to make quality players with as much compatibility as possible and forget the music stores and DRM ass-kissing that comes with running one.
  • I don't know but saying that they're crippled and unpopular is speaking for a whole lot of people who don't think so. I don't have one but I'm in the process of evaluating a bunch since I do need a new one and I've been reading discussions on just about every Zune discussion site. It's true that it's limited in what music and video formats that it plays but I don't know that I'd call that "crippled". Also 75 percent of the customer reviews on NewEgg rate it five stars, and as I say most people who buy them
  • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:34PM (#23330184) Homepage Journal

    "In the short term, this will not win us a lot of friends,â he said. âoeIn the long term, the consumer wants there to be quality premium-produced content, and in order for that to continue to be a viable business, there needs to be significant protection around it."
    Yes, the consumer wants quality premium-produced content, and they want to be able to play it on what they want when they want. And unless that is what they are offering, pirates are going to take the time to remove any protection around it no matter how significant, and give it away for free. As long as this their view, they aren't going to have a viable business, but when it dawns on them that the consumer is ultimately in charge of the situation now, and network stooges aren't, they will release content in an intelligent manner - so the consumer can access it when they want, and on what they want.
  • Seriously, how? Unless MS manages to develop strong AI, which can tell that my torrented Battlestar episode is in fact Battlestar and thus property of Universal, there's no way to make this work.

    So how do figure out that some random video is owned by some studio? Unless every video gets a watermark this is essentially impossible.

    The only methods I see coming out of this are:

    1) Zune only plays DRMd videos. Period.

    2) Every time you attempt to copy a non-DRMd video to your zune, it is forwarded to a po

  • by Migraineman (632203) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:39PM (#23330244)
    "... non-legitimately purchased content"? At first I thought this was editorializing by the submitter, but no, TFA contains that exact quote. I garner two ugly conclusions from this statement from Mr. Perrette:
    - 1) Your device will soon only play "purchased" content. No home movies for you.
    - 2) Your device will soon only play content purchased from us.

    I think Microsoft has figured out what Step 2 is:
    1. Create media player with subscription services.
    2. Shoot self in foot by crippling said player to the point no one wants it.
    3. Profit!?
  • Battery Killer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dloyer (547728) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:41PM (#23330274)
    Not to mention that the extra processing needed for the wiz bang water marking technology will reduce battery life.

    How much? Who knows, but extra design constraints always create compromises and battery life is one place it is likely to show up.
  • Awww (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GrayCalx (597428) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:42PM (#23330290)
    I have a zune and I love it. These replies are hurting my feelings.

    I just couldn't deal with the small screen of the similarly priced ipod. The downside though is that there are no freaking accessories. You can go to any online site and find 150 different cases for the iPod. From diamond encrusted cases to cases cut from the t-shirts of workers from sweatshops. Same online store you'll find like 2 for the zune. And they both cost $249.99.
  • by Count Sessine (1135193) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:45PM (#23330336)
    OK Microsoft-faithful and Apple-haters - listen up. This is why everyone says that Microsoft is 'uncool'.

    In spite of a few missteps as of late, Microsoft is still the biggest, richest, most powerful company in tech today. And yet, they have their tongues so far up the record and movie industry's *ss that it isn't even funny anymore. No one respects an obsequious brown-noser. If they had any spine at all, they would tell the record and movie execs the Truth (that they're living on borrowed time) and that the only way to continue to make any money at all is to trust their customers.

    Apple was upbraiding the record industry execs for a good three years during and through the Napster debacle. Apple was telling them that customer-hostile DRM that took away obvious and visible consumer rights wouldn't work, they were telling them that the bottom would fall out of the CD business, and they were offering Apple's services as a customer-friendly alternative to some of the loser businesses the record industry was trying at the time (like PressPlay). It's not like the folks at Apple were geniuses for recognizing all of these things - it's just that they have their own protected platform and they're in the software business so they know full-well how futile copy-protection really is.

    When the record execs finally realized that everything Apple had been saying was right, they had lost a good fraction of their business and they were desperate to try something new.

    The guys who run Microsoft will never have the balls to tell a potential business partner that. They have enough money in the bank to BUY any one of the record companies that they're sucking up to, and yet they behave like the record companies' servile bitch. And that's why they'll never be considered 'cool'.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Fortunately Microsoft denies 'Copyright Cop' speculation [news.com]. Of course, /. would never post an update (let alone call out that the article was speculation).
  • by lewp (95638) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:49PM (#23330386) Journal
    Finally, a reason not to buy a Zune.
  • Learn from Vista (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <[giles.jones] [at] [zen.co.uk]> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @05:55PM (#23330464)
    Vista is DRM and restriction overload and doesn't sell. Zune barely sells now, it's not even available in the UK.

    Good luck Microsoft. Customers buy features not ball and chains.
  • by 91degrees (207121)
    There are already dozens of devices that work with all the stuff I download from the internet. I gather that even the iPod will (although I think it's fairly fussy about formats), and will play purchased videos from iTunes.

    So there's good reason for content providers to support it, but what reason is there to buy the thing? Why are Microsoft going the screw-the-customer route? It never worked for Sony, but at least they had an understandable concern that their chunk of the media cartel would lose out
  • NBC's Perrette refers to "filtering technology tha allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content."

    The problem of course is almost all content is free. It's expression he's charging for.

    If you learn from watching NBC News Obama got 4 superdelegates last night, you're free to tell anyone, post it on your website, give that fact away from free; that's content and NBC can't control it.

    If you post bits encoding the NBC TV news broadcast, you're violating NB

  • What this? (Score:4, Funny)

    by xbytor (215790) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:00PM (#23330526) Homepage
    "non-legitimately purchased content"

    How do I non-legitimately purchase content? Are they talking about black-market Seinfeld videos?
  • We'll take the portable music player with a tiny tiny market share and make it so that you can't listen to music you haven't purchased from us! We'll either do VERY well, or destroy the Zune once and for all.
  • by blhack (921171) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:05PM (#23330562)
    Have you noticed a new trend in digital media? NBC has most of their shows online for free. South Park has all of their online for free. Hulu.com hosts more TV shows that most people would want to watch in a lifetime online for FREE!

    The problem with all of these services is that you have to put sitting in front of a computer to use them. IF these media companies can figure out a way to put their content (and with it, their ads) onto a portable device...well, then DRM be damned, I'm buying whatever device that IS.

    This is a strategic, relationship building move by microsoft. NOthing more.
  • Why is it the products Responsibility? Does your CAR send out notice to police if you speed or stop you from speeding? What if I use the device in different jurisdiction where those DRM law do not exist? If some how I do manage to run copy protected works on the ZUNE and get hit by a law suit via the RIAA then am I protected because I assume the ZUNE as acting as a controller? I am not a lawyer but to me if a products goes to such an extent to enforce copy protection then the liability of infringement woul
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why is it the products Responsibility?

      Legally, it is not the product's responsibility. This is just MS kowtowing to the media companies in hopes of getting their content. Legally MS doesn't have to do this. They just think it will make them money, whereas Apple has been down this road before and wants as little DRM and as easy and flexible of a consumer experience as possible, because that is what they think will make them more money.

      If some how I do manage to run copy protected works on the ZUNE and get hit by a law suit via the RIAA then am I protected because I assume the ZUNE as acting as a controller?

      Playing copyrighted works is not illegal. Making a copy of a copyrighted work is potentially illegal. MS's

  • by Programmerman (1166739) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @06:53PM (#23331118)
    http://zuneinsider.com/archive/2008/05/07/just-so-no-one-gets-the-wrong-idea.aspx [zuneinsider.com]

    They say this isn't coming or planned.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

Working...