Coffeehouse Thread

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Digital Rights Management in Windows

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  • User profile image
    earnshaw

    As an external observer, it appears that certain Fair Use rights of Copyright audio have been foreclosed by Microsoft, without notice.  It is clear that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act put Federal teeth into protecting the rights of music and movie publishers against people who illegal share high quality copies of their material.  And, of course, it is only to be expected that something had to be done to stop free distribution of material that cost something to make and, on which, something should be earned by the originator from the sale of every copy.  A Windows feature call Secure Audio Path has been around for a while that protects against illegal copying of certain copyright works by reversably encrypting the binary representation of sound from the source to the sound card driver.  Interlopers hear random noise.  Back in the day, you could hookup a tape recorder and make a copy of the radio station playing in your town.  That was called Fair Use, and Congress mandated that manufacturers of magnetic tape put a surcharge on blank tape, as it was assumed that every blank tape would be filled with copyright material.  These days, you cannot record the sound coming out of your computer's speakers, because the fear is that what is playing is copyright material.  And who are you to record that?  You might (gasp!) sell it on eBay.  So all sound, with and without pictures, is assumed to be copyright material and is off limits to every Windows user.  And without notice from Microsoft.  The value of Windows to me would be enhanced were it possible for me to digitally record what comes out of my computer's speakers, which, in my lonely case, is not copyright material.  But, it is no longer possible, despite no admission of that fact by Microsoft.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Please note that without this feature, Windows would not be able to play said protected content at all. So you certainly wouldn't be able to record it then either.

    EDIT: That is not to say I approve of DRM; I don't. But I don't believe MS really is the guilty party because all they're doing is making it possible to play the stuff.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    FUD.  You don't serve your cause by spreading lies.  I have lots of complaints when it comes to DRM, but no one will listen to you if you spread FUD.


    "These days, you cannot record the sound coming out of your computer's speakers, because the fear is that what is playing is copyright material.  And who are you to record that? "

    Non-copyrighted material, and even a lot of copyrighted material, is not protected by DRM, and nothing legal or technological prevents you from copying it.  DRM is stupid, and we need to protest its use, but scare tactics like this aren't called for.  Oh, and no matter how much we dislike DRM, it doesn't make much sense to complain about the OS or the hardware.  The problem is with the media, not the software and hardware that allows you to play the media.

  • User profile image
    earnshaw

    wkempf said:
    FUD.  You don't serve your cause by spreading lies.  I have lots of complaints when it comes to DRM, but no one will listen to you if you spread FUD.

    "These days, you cannot record the sound coming out of your computer's speakers, because the fear is that what is playing is copyright material.  And who are you to record that? "

    Non-copyrighted material, and even a lot of copyrighted material, is not protected by DRM, and nothing legal or technological prevents you from copying it.  DRM is stupid, and we need to protest its use, but scare tactics like this aren't called for.  Oh, and no matter how much we dislike DRM, it doesn't make much sense to complain about the OS or the hardware.  The problem is with the media, not the software and hardware that allows you to play the media.
    Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.  That is what IBM used to spread about the BUNCH companies in legacy days.  Well, I'm not about to spread FUD.  Microsoft has clearly embraced Digital Rights Management as closely as Time-Warner and Fox.   What Microsoft has not done is clearly express what is and what is not supported in its software.  Capabilities come and capabilities go.  And you only find out about what has changed when you try to use capabilities and they don't work.  Are they not working because the user interface has changed?  Don't know.  Are they not working because Microsoft's 400 lawyers sent down The Word that it is now illegal?  Don't know.  Microsoft spends a fortune writing words that are supposed to inform the public, especially the Developing Public.  Where is the information regarding how to record the sound coming out of your computer speakers?  If doing that is now prohibited, then say so.  I don't have a cause.  I think every decision made in Congress is divinely inspired.  I'm doing business with Microsoft when I buy their product.  They should be man enough to tell me what their product can do, can no longer do, and how I can work it to my advantage.  And I state this in all humility and in deep respect of the many talented people who work at Microsoft.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    earnshaw said:
    wkempf said:
    *snip*
    Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.  That is what IBM used to spread about the BUNCH companies in legacy days.  Well, I'm not about to spread FUD.  Microsoft has clearly embraced Digital Rights Management as closely as Time-Warner and Fox.   What Microsoft has not done is clearly express what is and what is not supported in its software.  Capabilities come and capabilities go.  And you only find out about what has changed when you try to use capabilities and they don't work.  Are they not working because the user interface has changed?  Don't know.  Are they not working because Microsoft's 400 lawyers sent down The Word that it is now illegal?  Don't know.  Microsoft spends a fortune writing words that are supposed to inform the public, especially the Developing Public.  Where is the information regarding how to record the sound coming out of your computer speakers?  If doing that is now prohibited, then say so.  I don't have a cause.  I think every decision made in Congress is divinely inspired.  I'm doing business with Microsoft when I buy their product.  They should be man enough to tell me what their product can do, can no longer do, and how I can work it to my advantage.  And I state this in all humility and in deep respect of the many talented people who work at Microsoft.

    FYI   http://blogs.msdn.com/larryosterman/archive/2008/07/11/whatever-happened-to-wave-out-mix.aspx

  • User profile image
    Matthew van Eerde

    > These days, you cannot record the sound coming out of your computer's speakers, because the fear is that what is playing is copyright material.

    Of course you can.

    > You might (gasp!) sell it on eBay.

    I can't respond to this better than Mark Twain did:

    "It does look as if Massachusetts were in a fair way to embarrass me with kindnesses this year. In the first place, a Massachusetts judge has just decided in open court that a Boston publisher may sell, not only his own property in a free and unfettered way, but also may as freely sell property which does not belong to him but to me; property which he has not bought and which I have not sold. Under this ruling I am now advertising that judge's homestead for sale, and, if I make as good a sum out of it as I expect, I shall go on and sell out the rest of his property."

    > So all sound, with and without pictures, is assumed to be copyright material and is off limits to every Windows user.

    Eh? Not all sound, and not with or without pictures - only media that is marked as such, and even then only over digital outputs like S/PDIF and HDMI.

    In internal testing we do a lot of recording what comes out of the speakers - there's a way to get what's going to the sound card before it ever leaves the machine (loopback capture) and then there's the old-fashioned hardware loopback cable.  We even do S/PDIF loopback.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    Whenever this complaint is made, it is always without paragraphs.

    Why is that?





  • User profile image
    matthews

    Ray7 said:
    Whenever this complaint is made, it is always without paragraphs.

    Why is that?





    Stupidity and inability to hit the enter key must travel along the same gene.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    earnshaw said:
    wkempf said:
    *snip*
    Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.  That is what IBM used to spread about the BUNCH companies in legacy days.  Well, I'm not about to spread FUD.  Microsoft has clearly embraced Digital Rights Management as closely as Time-Warner and Fox.   What Microsoft has not done is clearly express what is and what is not supported in its software.  Capabilities come and capabilities go.  And you only find out about what has changed when you try to use capabilities and they don't work.  Are they not working because the user interface has changed?  Don't know.  Are they not working because Microsoft's 400 lawyers sent down The Word that it is now illegal?  Don't know.  Microsoft spends a fortune writing words that are supposed to inform the public, especially the Developing Public.  Where is the information regarding how to record the sound coming out of your computer speakers?  If doing that is now prohibited, then say so.  I don't have a cause.  I think every decision made in Congress is divinely inspired.  I'm doing business with Microsoft when I buy their product.  They should be man enough to tell me what their product can do, can no longer do, and how I can work it to my advantage.  And I state this in all humility and in deep respect of the many talented people who work at Microsoft.
    My soundcard has a record source of "What U Hear".  It's an X-Fi running on Vista H.P. x64.  If that wasn't there, then of course I could just run a cable from the speaker out into the line-in.

    That is a fantastic Mark Twain quote, by the way.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    earnshaw said:
    wkempf said:
    *snip*
    Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.  That is what IBM used to spread about the BUNCH companies in legacy days.  Well, I'm not about to spread FUD.  Microsoft has clearly embraced Digital Rights Management as closely as Time-Warner and Fox.   What Microsoft has not done is clearly express what is and what is not supported in its software.  Capabilities come and capabilities go.  And you only find out about what has changed when you try to use capabilities and they don't work.  Are they not working because the user interface has changed?  Don't know.  Are they not working because Microsoft's 400 lawyers sent down The Word that it is now illegal?  Don't know.  Microsoft spends a fortune writing words that are supposed to inform the public, especially the Developing Public.  Where is the information regarding how to record the sound coming out of your computer speakers?  If doing that is now prohibited, then say so.  I don't have a cause.  I think every decision made in Congress is divinely inspired.  I'm doing business with Microsoft when I buy their product.  They should be man enough to tell me what their product can do, can no longer do, and how I can work it to my advantage.  And I state this in all humility and in deep respect of the many talented people who work at Microsoft.
    Yes, you're are spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).  You're claiming something that's not true.

    >Microsoft has clearly embraced Digital Rights Management as closely as Time-Warner and Fox.

    Because they want to enable users to play the media supplied by Time-Warner and Fox?  The logic doesn't follow.  If it did, your anger should be just as strongly aimed at Apple, Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic... and the list goes on and on and on.  The bad guys here are not the middle men, but the media owners.

    > What Microsoft has not done is clearly express what is and what is not supported in its software.

    How so?

    > And you only find out about what has changed when you try to use capabilities and they don't work.  Are they not working because the user interface has changed?  Don't know. 

    More lies.  You do know.  The OS clearly tells you that the operation would be a violation of DRM.

    > Where is the information regarding how to record the sound coming out of your computer speakers?

    Very, very few people want to do this.  Why would you digitize an analog signal from a source that was digital to begin with?  That said, I'm not aware of a single person that wanted to do this that failed to figure out how.

    > And I state this in all humility and in deep respect of the many talented people who work at Microsoft.

    Somehow, I suspect that's a lie as well.

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    You forgot to mention that no company ever used Secure Audio Path which has been in Windows since XP.

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