Microsoft Media Player shreds your rights

Comment No more backups, or Tivo

By Charlie Demerjian: Thursday 21 September 2006, 10:08
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THINK DRM WAS bad already? Think I was joking when I said the plan was to start with barely tolerable incursions on your rights, then turn the thumbscrews? Welcome to Windows Media Player 11, and the rights get chipped away a lot more. Get used to the feeling, if you buy DRM infected media, you will only have this happen with increasing rapidity.

One of the problems with WiMP11 is licensing and backing it up. If you buy media with DRM infections, you can’t move the files from PC to PC, or at least you can’t and have them play on the new box. If you want the grand privilege of moving that content, you need to get the approval of the content mafia, sign your life away, and use the tools they give you. If you want to do it in other ways, you are either a lawbreaker or following the advice of J Allard. Wait, same thing.

So, in WiMP10, you just backed up your licenses, and stored them in a safe place. Buying DRM infections gets you a bunch of bits and a promise not to sue, but really nothing more. The content mafia will do anything in its power, from buying government to rootkitting you in order to protect those bits, and backing them up leaves a minor loophole while affording the user a whole lot of protection.

Guess which one wins, minor loophole or major consumer rights? Yes, WiMP11 will no longer allow you the privilege of backing up your licenses, they are tied to a single device, and if you lose it, you are really SOL. Remember that feeling I mentioned earlier? This is nothing less than a civil rights coup, and most people are dumb enough to let it happen.

Read the links, the entire page is scary as hell, but the licensing part takes the cake. “Windows Media Player 11 does not permit you to back up your media usage rights (previously known as licenses)”, Wow, new terminology, old idea, you are a wallet with legs waiting to be raped. “The store might limit the number of times that you can restore your rights or limit the number of computers on which can use the songs or videos that you obtain from them. Some stores do not permit you to restore media usage rights at all.” Translation, not our problem, and get bent, we got your cash.

But it gets worse. If you rip your own CDs, WiMP11 will take your rights away too. If the ‘Copy protect music’ option is turned on, well, I can’t top their 1984 wording. “If the file is a song you ripped from a CD with the Copy protect music option turned on, you might be able to restore your usage rights by playing the file. You will be prompted to connect to a Microsoft Web page that explains how to restore your rights a limited number of times.” This says to me it will keep track of your ripping externally, and remove your rights whether or not you ask it to. Can you think of a reason you would need to connect to MS for permission to play the songs you ripped from you own CDs? How long do you think it will be before a service pack, masquerading as a ‘critical security patch’ takes away the optional part of the ‘copy protection’? Now do you understand why they have been testing the waters on WiMP phoning home? Think their firewall will stop it even if you ask?

Then when you go down on the page a bit, it goes on to show that it guts Tivo capabilities. After three days, it kills your recordings for you, how thoughtful of them. Going away for a week? Tough, your rights are inconvenient to their profits, so they have to go. “Recorded TV shows that are protected with media usage rights, such as some TV content recorded on premium channels, will not play back after 3 days when Windows Media Player 11 Beta 2 for Windows XP is installed on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. No known workaround to resolve this issue exists at this time.” Workaround my *ss, this is wholesale rights removal by design.

What WiMP11 represents is one of the biggest thefts of your rights that I can think of. MS planned this, pushed the various pieces slowly, and this is the first big hammer to drop. Your rights, the promises they made, and anything else that gets in the way of the content mafia making yet more money gets thrown out. Why? Greed. Your rights? History. You were dumb enough to let it happen, don’t say I didn’t warn you. µ
Source

Zune won’t play MS DRM infected files

Comment This wonderbox screws partners too

By Charlie Demerjian: Tuesday 19 September 2006, 11:02

MICROSOFT JUST BIT its partners in the donkey euphemism with their DRM infection on music and video files. According to the EFF, backed up by the MS Zune docs here, the new MS DRM infection is incompatible with the old MS DRM infection. 'Tis to laugh. No, 'tis to cry.

If you were dumb enough not to heed the advice of, well everyone, and bought DRM infected files, you are SOL. If you believed the MS Plays For Sure logo, and bought things based on that, well, it won’t play for sure, it won’t play at all on Zune. Basically, as we have been saying, you squandered every cent you overpaid for your music because of the DRM infection. I smell a lawsuit.

Does it get better? Sure it does, Microsoft also shafted its partners. If you signed up to send out content in infected WMA/WMV format, you can’t sell to the hot new device this non-denominational year end season. Partners get bitten as hard if not harder than the users. Luckily, if you ignored the law, you can enjoy Zune to the fullest.

So, what do you do if you want to play videos on your shiny new Zune? If you follow MSs advice, you break the law. “Lots of DVD ripping software out there that encodes to those formats, so the most popular formats out there, whether it’s MPEG-4 or H.264, we’ll support those.” Yes, J Allard, MS Corporate VP is actively advocating that the new device be used to break laws, DMCA be damned, it is only meant to be observed when it is fattening their wallet.

So, in general, the device that Microsoft is aiming to gut the iPod with does three things really well. It screws legal music customers, screws partners, and actively advocates breaking the law to use. What a wonderful world we live in, all brought to you by the letters D, R and M, and the term infection. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up. µ

  • FOOTNOTE The Microsoft footnote in question says "4 Zune software can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264."
    Source

Good read, especially the first one, LastStand! That is the object of any story, to give this kind of ‘heads up.’ :iagree: :bigsmile:

Moral of the story: No one use Windows Media Player 11!

Excellent posts there, LastStand :clap: - and I for won’t won’t touch WMP11 with a 10 foot pole :wink:

Source Microsoft
[B]Backing up and restoring licenses[/B]
Windows Media Player 11 does not permit you to back up your media usage rights (previously known as licenses). However, depending upon where your protected files came from, you might be able to restore your rights over the Internet.

If you encounter an error message that indicates you are missing play, burn, or sync rights for a file and you had these rights previously, you might be able to resolve the problem by restoring your media usage rights. You have several options to do so:

*If you obtained the file from an online store, contact the store to find out if it offers media usage rights (license) restoration (some stores refer to this procedure as computer activation, computer authorization, or license synchronization).
  The procedure for restoring your rights varies from store to store. For example, you might be able to right-click the file in your library or click an Error button or an Information button next to the file, and then click a command. Or you might be required to delete the file from your computer and then download the file again.
  The store might limit the number of times that you can restore your rights or limit the number of computers on which can use the songs or videos that you obtain from them. Some stores do not permit you to restore media usage rights at all.
  For details, see the store's customer support or Help links.

[B] *If the file is a song you ripped from a CD with the Copy protect music option turned on, you might be able to restore your usage rights by playing the file. You will be prompted to connect to a Microsoft Web page that explains how to restore your rights a limited number of times.[/B]

[B]Cannot play back recorded TV that is protected with media usage rights in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 after 3 days[/B]
Recorded TV shows that are protected with media usage rights, such as some TV content recorded on premium channels, will not play back after 3 days when Windows Media Player 11 Beta 2 for Windows XP is installed on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. No known workaround to resolve this issue exists at this time.

[B]Microsoft’s Zune will not play protected Windows Media Audio and Video purchased or “rented” from Napster 2.0, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Unlimited, Movielink, Cinemanow, or any other online media service.[/B] Zune doc’s
4 Zune software can import audio files in [B]unprotected[/B] WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264.

Quema34 and Arachne thanks for the replies, if this is an indication then future could be very bleak for our fair use rights. If Vista is the next step with trust computing or something similar but named better, then the future would lead to us renting everything (at the same price as we would ‘own it before’) and end up owning nothing.

Everything was working fine! Bought songs from Napster Light, imported them into WMP 10 and life was good. Able to sync with my iRiver H320 and life was good.

“Upgraded” to WMP11, and all that changed. My licenses have all disappeared and I can’t even play the songs in my Napster library anymore. What a waste!

I have uninstalled WMP11 and reverted back to WMP10, but the licenses are still gone!

I have contacted Napster support for their help on obtaining new licenses, but so far no response.

Sigh.

Great read LastStand. Sounds like all the more reason to stick with Winamp, Foobar, or one of the other other non-invasive applications.

Makes Apple’s stuff seem downright consumer friendly! :slight_smile:

MS = Teh eVilZ!!!