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Encrypted distribution system a reality?

By grappler in News
Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 05:52:00 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

It looks like Microsoft is already rolling out a "Pay to Play" media distribution system. Check out this link where they explain the newest version of Windows Media Player.


What are your thoughts on this?

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Encrypted distribution system a reality? | 11 comments (11 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Again, how does this stop piracy? S... (2.33 / 3) (#1)
by rusty on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 02:08:42 AM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

Again, how does this stop piracy? So one person buys a license, captures the raw stream, and reencodes it as MP3. This is all just silly. We've been able to copy music and media formats as long as there's been media. There are laws against it in some cases, that is, all the cases this is supposed to prevent. I think this is one of those times when there is no feasable technological answer to what is basically a social problem. How do you stop people from stealing? With police.

____
Not the real rusty

Re: Again, how does this stop piracy? S... (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by rongen on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 06:00:42 AM EST

That's what I've never been able to figure out about all these schemes which purport to eliminate piracy by encryption. If you can view it, you can rip it!

Why not just make the media so affordable that the act of ripping it is too much work to bother? If a CD costs $2.50 I'll probably purchase the CD instead of hunting around all night for an mp3 whose quality might suck, or might be "cut-off" to keep the file size down (plus I'll get liner notes, a jewel case, etc).

I am pretty sure that the music industry (say) would make a truckload of money just from the sheer volume of sales, if they did this. If a bootleg CD is sold on the street corner for a fraction of the real cost than this is probably what the actual CD generating industry could sell it for as well...
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[ Parent ]
Re: Again, how does this stop piracy? S... (3.50 / 2) (#6)
by Matthew Guenther on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 09:17:44 AM EST

The idea is less to eliminate piracy, and more to make it inconvenient so only dedicated piraters will bother to copy anything. As for making more money selling cheap CD's, I'm inclined to agree with you, however the music industry's research obviously doesn't agree with us. (i.e. If they could make more money selling cheapo CD's, don't you think they would be by now? There's no incentive for them to have less than maximum revenues just to keep prices at an inflated level.) OTOH, their researchers could be idiots. :)

However I'm not terribly concerned about it, we all know Microsoft's record in regard to securing things is pretty dismal, so I'm sure it will be trivial to break as soon as it gets between some hacker and his music. In addition, it's great to have a technology, but you have to get people to use it before it will be effective in stopping piracy. Who's going to want to use this limited technology, when it's possible to use mp3's and mov's?

MBG



[ Parent ]
The market will make the final decision (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by rusty on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 02:34:36 PM EST

As always, the ultimate decision is up to the market. When it becomes cheaper and easier to buy pirated music, pirated music will start taking a serious bite out of music company profits. It's that simple. Now despite what the slashdot crowd would have you believe, the RIAA and MPAA and their ilk are not jam-packed with idiots. They know this just as well as we do. They're trying to ensure that things never get to this point. The crucial difference is that they see digital music as being inherently a threat, because it's "cheap" to distibute. They aren't lowering CD prices, I think, because they don't think they can lower them to the point where they will be able to compete with MP3's.

But their operating on (at least) one incorrect assumption. That, given the choice, comsumers will choose to download music rather than buy a CD. This is just not true. I have hundreds of MP3's, and I've only downloaded maybe two or three of them. I buy CD's and rip them, because I like my MP3's to be higher quality than you can easily download. Besides which, I have better things to do with my bandwidth. In terms of convenience, quality, and legality, then, it's still more attractive for me to just buy a CD, even if I only intend to listen to the mp3's I rip off of it. So having the CD as a nice portable format is just icing. Right now, it kind of sucks that CD's cost 12-15 bucks. But it's still a marginally better proposition than trying to find and leech the music I want. If they'd lower the price of CD's maybe four or five dollars, there'd be no question.

All this controversy is just the usual "new media format" panic. I expect it to subside when someone finally looks at the numbers, and does some real research as to how MP3 actually works.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Again, how does this stop piracy? S... (1.00 / 1) (#7)
by Emacs on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 10:02:54 AM EST

Bingo.

The music industry doesn't seem to be in any financial danger after all these years of:

free radio ( Pretty easy to steal songs from the radio - put tape in...hit record)

Albums - See above
CD's - see above
tape - see above


It's just a matter of time before they do the decrytpion in the the speaker itself. Then you wouuld be unable to rip the stream as it passes from the app to the hardware.

I see the internet rapidly changing from this great vast deposit of information into a corporate run multimedia profit center. It's *the man* who is driving the internet bus now, not the *innovative gang of merry hackers* and it's just going to get worse. We better enjoy our net freedoms while we still have them, because they will continue to erode away.

[ Parent ]
Re: Again, how does this stop piracy? S... (1.00 / 1) (#10)
by rongen on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 02:09:27 PM EST

It's just a matter of time before they do the decrytpion in the the speaker itself. Then you wouuld [sic] be unable to rip the stream as it passes from the app to the hardware.

Yeah, I just saw a post on /. that discussed a USB speaker system that cut the audio open right before feeding it to the speaker... But still, a couple of microphones, some souped-up, sound-proof shoe boxes and you can re-record that sound in stereo... Well, you get my point. But I see yours as well. It's just a matter of time until the industry either gives up trying to restrict content or crawls into it's shell and REFUSES to sell to anyone who won't purchase thier special hardware (DVD anyone?). Either way there will be a paradigm shift eventually (maybe we are watching it happen?) and if they choose the draconian approach it will probably end up backfiring eventually...
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[ Parent ]

Freedom of the human spirit. (2.00 / 1) (#9)
by Inoshiro on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 11:22:10 AM EST

I'd say you're precisely correct. People will do what they want, when they want. We have a well-developed judicial system with police, judges, and prisons -- yet every year thousands of people are murdered, and thousands committ murder. Why? Because they want to.

How this applies to movies and music is that people like being able to access these things to entertain or enlighten themselves. Corporate greed would say that you must pay a fee to the company, somewhat to recoup costs but mostly for profit. That's ok, they have the right.

The problem is when the profiteering goes too far. In the case of CDs, everyone recognizes that they are costing too much. So what happened? Someone used a technology to circumvent it, and allow themselves and others to enjoy music more cheaply than was offered by the "official" status quo. I don't think MP3s would have been as popular (initially) if CDs were 10 $, and not mostly one-hit wonder bands over promoted. Now MP3s are a convience thing, and do allow micropayments. Do the corporations take advantage of this? No, they still want their crap music 19$ tax on every 20$ one-hit wonder CD, with good CDs not even being such a good value when the straight MP3s can be had for 50 cents or less each. I only buy CDs if I want all the packaging, and that means I only buy Nine Inch Nails CDs (for obvious reasons :-).

There are always going to be people who go around any attempts to block them because they want something, and will not be disuaded from it. Sometimes it's because they are very poor (rich areas have little to no crime for obvious reasons), and sometimes it is because they can (this is, IMO, true crime). Restricting a medium for the purposes of extra money, and thus abusing the customers who will use the service, as well as those who will turn their noses up in digust, is wrong. Hopefully people will come to understand this someday.

--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
I found this interesting, because i... (1.00 / 1) (#4)
by WallyGee on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 04:52:47 AM EST

WallyGee voted 1 on this story.

I found this interesting, because it's the first i've heard of any such scheme poised make a real impact in the marketplace today. Unless i'm missing something, it sounds like an easy way for MS to not only endear themselves to the recording and film industry powers, but also to quickly gain a competitive edge over Real and QuickTime technologies. From my perspective, this would be a BadThing for freedom of choice, but i don't see anything blocking MS's way to what looks like an easy victory for them. Sure hope i'm wrong; if i am, pls advise.

Re: I found this interesting, because i... (4.00 / 2) (#8)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 10:17:58 AM EST

We don't have to use their service. If it sucks, don't use it. :)

[ Parent ]
Encrypted eh, we'll just see wont w... (1.00 / 1) (#3)
by Zer0 on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 05:46:34 AM EST

Zer0 voted 1 on this story.

Encrypted eh, we'll just see wont we.

I just read the article... Initiall... (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by rongen on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 05:52:00 AM EST

rongen voted 1 on this story.

I just read the article... Initially I can see that the "key" for unlocking the media would need to be changed by the content distributor:

change the content encryption keys daily, or even every few hours...
which suggests that you could post the content and the verification info to a gnapster-like system and view/hear it? Also, how long would it take for someone to develop a "ripper" for these, and convert them to mp3s for reposting? Hmm...
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Encrypted distribution system a reality? | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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