Peter Gutmann has done an amazing analysis of the costs and issues involved with the “Content Protection” scheme in Microsoft’s Windows Vista (slides). Essentially, if you want to use multimedia, you can only use it how the movie industry says you can. NetFlix has given in to that, producing (along with Microsoft) a tool that effectively strips your fair use rights. It’s amazing how we’ve all become criminals of the information age. I guess it’s only the information age for those who are willing to spend the money.
The leaking of the AACS key, for many users, is not about piracy or even the ability to make ‘backups’ of HD-DVD disks. Like the issue surrounding DeCSS, it is about the ability to use content on a variety of platforms. I would like to build a home theater PC running MythTV. Perhaps I’d like that HTPC to be able to play HD-DVDs.
It is not even a fanatical view of Free software that encourages the distribution of this key. Many Linux users would be satisfied with a HD-DVD and DVD codec that is no-cost and works with existing software.
For these same reasons, I oppose most DRM. If I pay for the content, why should I not be able to play it when and where I want? The fear of piracy has caused the content producers to treat everyone like criminals. Whether or not we have actually done any harm, we are restricted to what they want us to do with “their” content.
Until the AACS-LA (and the entertainment industry in general) understands these issues, it seems like the solution may be to only purchase content in DRM-free form from Independent artists and studios.
If they treat us like pirates, we are forced to act like pirates to protect our Fair Use Rights.
Edit: Oh, and Mark Shuttleworth has it again: DRM doesn’t work. Who’d have guessed that the leader of the fastest-growing Linux distribution would understand the digital media market? I’m glad someone has some sense.
The AACS (Advanced Access Content System) is the cartel responsible for the DRM (Digital “Rights” Management) behind HD-DVD disks. Recently, one of their encryption keys was leaked to the internet. While I applaud the spreading of this key, it has already been revoked, rendering it somewhat useless. I am personally quite tired of seeing the continued proliferation of software and technology designed to infringe upon my fair use rights. I don’t understand how stupid the entertainment industry execs have become.
iTunes has DRM, DVDs have DRM, and now HD-DVD and Blu-Ray have been designed AROUND DRM. There will soon be a shift in the industry, and I, for one, hope the entire industry collapses. I would love to see the entertainment industry turned upside down, where the end user and content are king.
The continued infringement of fair use must not continue and cannot be sanctioned by our own government. I encourage all citizens to examine their priorities and work towards an open world, rather than continued restrictions upon what we can and cannot do.