Does DRM really limit Vista?

Does DRM really limit Vista?

Summary: A lot of people have been screaming that Vista will deprive you of your rights with the inclusion of DRM technology.  Bruce Schneier even referred to this DRM issue as a "security" issue for Vista even though he's merely referring to existence of DRM capability.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Windows
0

A lot of people have been screaming that Vista will deprive you of your rights with the inclusion of DRM technology.  Bruce Schneier even referred to this DRM issue as a "security" issue for Vista even though he's merely referring to existence of DRM capability.  We're hearing widespread rumors that DRM slows down game play.  I even hear people blaming DRM for the lack of driver support in Vista.  Is there really any truth to these accusations or is this simply anti-DRM anti-Microsoft hysteria?  Are you actually being deprived of your rights by DRM?  Vista DRM simply gives you the choice of playing back DRMed content and it does not prevent you from playing back non-DRMed contentI realize that DRM is a controversial issue and I'm not here to endorse DRM, but I wanted to set the record straight on Vista and DRM so let's examine the facts.

I've been running Vista for more than a week now and I've been able to play backed up DVDs and MP3s you've ripped which contain no DRM in them.  I've also been able to play back DRMed content that I've either rented or purchased but no one forces me to buy DRM content and I can choose to only use restriction-free non-DRM content on Windows Vista.  On the other hand if we look at something that refuses to implement DRM such as Linux, you will only have the ability to play back non-DRMed content and you're technically not even licensed to play back DVDs.  While there are workarounds for this but it isn't with legal software and no one is supporting HD DVD or Blueray DVD playback on Linux because it doesn't offer the movie companies the DRM restrictions they seek.  So based on some obvious facts that no one can really dispute since it's easy for everyone to verify, we can say with certainty that Windows permits the playback of DRM and/or non-DRM content while Linux only supports the playback of non-DRM content.  There for it's logical to say that Vista DRM simply gives you the choice of playing back DRMed content and it does not prevent you from playing back non-DRMed content.  This is just like how iPods have Apple FairPlay DRM in them but it doesn't prevent you from playing non-DRM MP3 files so you have a choice of using DRM or not.

There are also widespread rumors that DRM will slow down game play in Windows Vista.  These rumors came from an often cited "report" that never even attempted to produce any numbers on game playback frame rates but mere speculation.  [Update 4:25 PM - The researcher who Bruce Schneier cites who in turn is widely cited in the media as an expert on why Vista DRM is so evil actually admits to never actually even touching Windows Vista.  That's the level of "research" he did.]  Never mind the fact that no one has even come up with any data to show that DRM does slow down video playback performance in any noticeable way, games don't even use DRM to begin with because they simply aren't concerned with MPAA Video and RIAA Music playback.  It's ridiculous to make such a claim especially when zero testing or data was ever presented.  Games render their own content and have their own super restrictive copy protection technology such as copy-proof CDs and DVDs (possible to bypass but not easily with most burning software).  More importantly games have their own "activation" keys that only permit one instance of the software to be running at any given time so if you post your keys on the Internet you'll probably never be able to play the game again since someone else will be using it.  It simply makes no sense for Games to be implementing worthless DRM technologies because they're already running the most draconian copy protection on that planet that checks in a central database every time you play the game.  Game makers have been doing this long before the word "DRM" even existed.

Let me reiterate again that I am not debating for or against DRM.  DRM will most likely become irrelevant and it already is since it hasn't stopped a single song or video from being pirated on BitTorrent.  DRM will not die because of anything the Free Software Foundation does, it will most likely die from lack of business ROI (Return On Investment).  The record companies are spending a ton of money on DRM technology and some of them have already started considered dropping DRM and simply use MP3s since they know DRM is useless.  But let's rise above the hysteria that DRM causes everything from ruining your frag count in Doom to halitosis.

Topic: Windows

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

0 comments
Log in or register to start the discussion