Brendon Posted January 25, 2007 Report Share Posted January 25, 2007 NZ Press Assn. Thursday 25 January 2007 Microsoft has defended the digital rights management systems in its new Vista operating platform due to be released on January 30, after strong criticism from a New Zealand academic. Peter Gutmann, a computer science lecturer at Auckland University, set off a storm of debate on the Internet a few weeks ago with a paper claiming Microsoft's content protection features of Windows Vista made it "the longest suicide note in history". He claimed it could be used to degrade performance in the playback of next-generation HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs if they were not output through approved connections on a computer. He said Vista was "broken by design" and intentionally crippled the way it displayed video. "The sheer obnoxiousness of Vista's content protection may end up being the biggest incentive to piracy yet created," he wrote. But Microsoft said today only the quality of "premium content" would be lowered, and then only if requested by organisations which held the copyright of a piece of music or a video. Microsoft said it had incorporated the measures to protect content such as high definition movies from being copied. In a response to Mr Gutmann's paper, Dave Marsh, lead programme manager for video at Microsoft, told the BBC many of the copy protection systems enforced by Vista were common on all playback devices. He said Vista did have the capability of downgrading video and audio quality, like other devices, but that it would only be activated "when required by the policy associated with the content being played". And Microsoft said that if picture quality was degraded it would still be better than current DVD quality. Mr Marsh also denied reports that the degradation would impact all video output, insisting it would only apply to premium content video. Mr Gutmann said it was "reassuring" that only the ability to playback high definition video could be revoked. "But if consumers have gone out and paid thousands of dollars on high quality, high resolution, high definition displays and find the content is downscaled or there is no picture at all, they are going to be very unhappy," he said. "Some of the feedback I have been getting indicates that high HD-DVD discs are not playing on some PCs." Mr Gutmann also said Vista's content protection systems will put extra demands on a computer's processor, but Mr Marsh said the content protection features were developed to carefully balance the need to provide robust protection... while still enabling "great new experiences". Mr Gutmann said some sort of digital rights management was necessary, but the technology being deployed was "very consumer-hostile". (Original article HERE for a day or two) Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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