CNet reports that Windows next operating system, "Vista" (that's what Longhorn is called this week), will be designed with extensive countermeasures to prevent the owners of computers from using them in the ways that they want. These computers will be designed to break compatibility with current monitors, analog outputs, and currently shipping software, all to ensure that the restrictions dictated by enterainment companies are obeyed by Windows.
Microsoft is cutting its throat here. There isn't a single Windows user who wants a version of Windows that lets her do less with her music and movies.
Microsoft is also subverting copyright. Fair use and other public rights in copyright hinge on factors that can't be modelled in software. For example, people engaged in parody have a lot more flexibility in terms of how they use copyrighted works than people who are engaged in satire. The difference between parody and satire is pretty fine -- it's the kind of thing courts rule on, not the kind of thing that you get a computer to detect.
DRM apologists claim that DRM can be used to model the preponderance of fair uses, but this is completely untrue. Fair use almost always hinges on intention -- there isn't any software that is capable of reading a user's mind and determining intention.
So here come Microsoft, the great defenders of copyright, selling out both their business and copyright: creating devices that no one wants that models a copyright law that doesn't exist.
What's the use of having a swaggering bully of a monopolist if it can't muster the intestinal fortitude that Sony displayed from 1976-1984 when it battled in Congress and all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to manufacture VCRs despite Hollywood's insistence that these were tools of piracy?
In short, the company is bending over backward--and investing considerable technological resources--to make sure Hollywood studios are happy with the next version of Windows, which is expected to ship on new PCs by late 2006. Microsoft believes it has to make nice with the entertainment industry if the PC is going to form the center of new digital home networks, which could allow such new features as streaming high-definition movies around the home.
PCs won't be the only ones with reinforced pirate-proofing. Other new consumer electronics devices will have to play by a similar set of rules in order to play back the studios' most valuable content, Microsoft executives say. Indeed, assuring studios that content will have extremely strong protection is the only way any device will be able to support the studios' planned high-definition content, the software company says.
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company’s consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims. The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]