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Consumers gain one step against digital rights management

Late last year while Microsoft promoted its Windows Media digital rights management (DRM) system to developers and content producers, a team of coders found a way to circumvent the WM DRM system. With a tool called FairUse4WM, users were able to strip DRM coding from media files, allowing playback of said media on any device. With a great deal of concern, Microsoft launched a formal lawsuit on "Viodentia," the creator of FairUse4WM after a fix was released but was quickly cracked again.

After several months of pursuing the whereabouts of "Viodentia," Microsoft has submitted a Notice of Dismissal, removing all claims against "Viodentia." The reason for the dismissal was due to the fact that Microsoft was unable to locate "Viodentia" for prosecution.

The software giant went after FairUse4WM and "Viodentia" claiming that the creator of the tool had infringed on copyright laws. According to the dimissal, Microsoft said:
Please take notice that plaintiff Microsoft Corporation ("Microsoft") respectfully dismisses all of its claims, without prejudice, against John Does 1-10 a/k/a "viodentia." Microsoft was unable to locate these defendants through discovery and therefore could not serve them with process.
Without the tool, users were locked to playing purchased media. Only Microsoft PlaysForSure devices were able to decode the protected media. Bill Gates stated publicly late last year that he was against DRM, and that removing DRM from media and devices ultimately benefits the consumer. Apple's CEO Steve Jobs also echoed Gates' statement, indicating that he too preferred a DRM-free industry.

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RE: Perhaps this...
By Zurtex on 4/10/2007 9:06:24 PM , Rating: 3
I do know what you're getting at but it simply reduces down to this, DRM interferes with legitimate users, non-legitimate users will find a way around DRM no matter what. Therefore all DRM is going to do, is turn legitimate users in to non-legitimate users.

It's not a matter of justifying piracy, it's a matter of learning that the digital age of media is different from the physical media age of media. If you off people something easy and legitimate to use which doesn't make it difficult for the user, then you're going to have much better sales.

RE: Perhaps this...
By TomZ on 4/10/2007 11:17:48 PM , Rating: 1
But what about right and wrong? Doesn't anybody understand the difference any more? If DRM is inconvenient (an opinion I share. BTW), then the decision is to put up with it, or do something different. Breaking the law doesn't rationally follow from inconvenience.

Besides, if everyone who finds DRM inconvenient withholds their buying dollars, the sellers will get the message and fix the problem. On the other hand, if people continue to buy DRM content and then use crack software against it, the problem never really gets solved.

RE: Perhaps this...
By derwin on 4/11/2007 12:04:53 AM , Rating: 1
If you want to talk about right and wrong, wouldn't you agree atleast that DRM laws are not "right" laws? Anti-Piracy is one thing, but DRM is far beyond anti piracy, making things hard for legitimate users to use their property in ways they are legally allowed to do so. So, as it is the responsibiliy of and good citizen, it is not just a right, but a duty to break any law which is wrong. If this law is not right, it should be broken.

RE: Perhaps this...
By TomZ on 4/11/2007 12:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
No, that's not how it works. Content providers have every right to distribute their IP based on any model they choose. It is the consumer's decision whether to accept what they have offered.

Save civil disobediance for more serious matters like human rights. Being able to play iTunes music on my car CD player is hardly in the same category.

You and I may dislike DRM, RIAA, DCMA, etc., but breaking copyright laws doesn't solve anything. Withholding purchase - now that has the power to change the market.

RE: Perhaps this...
By AndreasM on 4/11/2007 5:41:06 AM , Rating: 1
You and I may dislike DRM, RIAA, DCMA, etc., but breaking copyright laws doesn't solve anything. Withholding purchase - now that has the power to change the market.

Those who pirate aren't buying so it has the same effect as not purchasing. Also, right and wrong have nothing to do with law, they are just moral concepts. It seems to me that the majority is of the opinion that piracy is not wrong, and if the world was more democratic the laws would reflect this.

RE: Perhaps this...
By TSS on 4/11/2007 6:07:39 AM , Rating: 2
i think the difference is mainly is the fact that it's not physical stuff your "stealing". you cant even steal it. to use the car thief example, a car thief jumps in a car, drives away thus taking that car from you as his own. now, if this thief was a software pirate, he would have jumped in the car, driven off, the car would have cloned itself on the fly and after a time the "thief" drives off in the car, leaving the exact same car in the exact same spot. he just didn't pay money to the previous owner of the car, which isn't him since he owns a duplicate but would be ford if he stole a ford and so on.

that is where the problem lies, we have no moral ethics on cloning something that wasn't even solid in the first place. it isn't stealing, as you aren't taking anything away, you're duplicating something. would i steal if i could walk into a store, take anything i want then walk out with that stuff, while it has never left the shelf? probably not since its still taking something physical (and you can get caught easyer), but it would eliminate a whole scale of ethical problems which cause that "probably" to be there in the first place. guess it all depends how much you think something you cannot toutch and hardly influence is worth.

RE: Perhaps this...
By TomZ on 4/11/2007 10:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
right and wrong have nothing to do with law, they are just moral concepts

I agree, they are technically two different things, however, they are also highly correlated, as they have to be in order to make sense.

RE: Perhaps this...
By mindless1 on 4/12/2007 10:21:14 AM , Rating: 2

They don't have the right to oppress the entire market which is clearly what is happening.

RIGHT would be seizing all their assets and giving all customers a partial refund, then of course the rest has to go to the lawyers as is traditional.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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