MS denounces Hollywood DRM Jihad

About time


Microsoft has come out against the schemes and dreams of the entertainment industry with a position essay criticizing any notion of the government's mandating technical standards for content protection as Hollywood wants.

The authors clearly have in mind proposed legislation by Fritz "Hollywood" Hollings (Democrat, South Carolina) originally called the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA), recently renamed the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) to conceal it's proscriptive anti-consumer, and anti-tech industry nature.

"Some ideas advanced by the entertainment industry could have unintended consequences. One concept would require computers and other devices to inspect every bit of incoming content -- every file, every e-mail -- for digital 'watermarks' that indicate copyrighted material. Potentially an invasion of users' privacy, this measure would also slow the processing of data communications," the MS flacks observe.

The entertainment industry uses piracy hysteria as an excuse to withhold its precious jewels from digital distribution. Not until every hardware device and computer in the world has been forcibly locked down with Hollywood-approved DRM features will the products of their genius be safe from the universally felonious intentions of the rude masses.

But of course the software industry manages to thrive in spite of the horrific dangers of digital distribution. In spite of an on-line world full of serialz and cracks and infested with horrible, thieving people, it does actually manage to make a sale once in a while. So MS suggests to Hollywood that this might just be worth looking into.

"A more effective solution would be for entertainment companies to invest in digital distribution. Few companies have made much content available online, yet the popularity of file sharing among music fans suggests that the market is large. Making legitimate content available easily and affordably would help to counter the illegal supply."

But of course Hollywood isn't going to be content merely to dilute the illegal supply and end up enjoying most of the loaf. Their view of the problem is entirely binary. Unless we hear a good deal more of this kind of talk from influential software and hardware makers, the entertainment industry is going to continue stamping its feet and sniveling, and demanding the impossible. ®

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The MS essay

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