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Apple's New MacBooks Have Built-In Copy Protection 821

Posted by timothy
from the presumption-from-on-high dept.
raque writes "Appleinsider is reporting that the new MacBooks/MacBookPros have built-in copy protection. Quote: 'Apple's new MacBook lines include a form of digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-infused iTunes movies, from playing back on devices that aren't compliant with the new priority protection measures.' Ars Technica is also reporting on the issue. Is this the deal they had to make to get NBC back? Is this a deal breaker for Apple or will fans just ignore it to get their hands on the pretty new machines? Is this a new opportunity for Linux? And what happened to Jobs not liking DRM?"
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Apple's New MacBooks Have Built-In Copy Protection

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  • To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JYD (996651) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:49PM (#25825303)
    Built-in copy protection is a bag-of-hurt.

    Sincerely,

    Mac Fan who wants Blu-ray
  • Don't really care (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trillan (597339) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:50PM (#25825329) Homepage Journal

    I don't buy any videos from iTunes: I prefer to rip my own.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:50PM (#25825331) Homepage Journal
    in order to get Blu-Ray playback licensing
  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:50PM (#25825337)

    Is this the deal they had to make to get NBC back?

    It seems likely enough to me. I guess I have no proof either way, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least to find that this was NBC's idea.

    Is this a deal breaker for Apple?

    No.

    Will fans just ignore it to get their hands on the pretty new machines?

    Yes. Just like they always do.

    Is this a new opportunity for Linux?

    No, since it won't hurt Apple.

    And what happened to Jobs not liking DRM?

    Nothing. That was a lie then, and is still a lie. Apple puts DRM in their flagship product, and you actually believe them when they spout bullshit about disliking DRM?

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:50PM (#25825339) Homepage Journal
    If you remove the cloud of the the hipster-doofus lovefest for Apple you realize that Apple only has one obligation as a publicly traded company

    Making a profit for shareholders

    Why anyone is surprised that Apple (and Google) act like real companies is always a surprise to me.

    Apple needs to turn a profit and make concessions to satisfy stockholders.
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vanyel (28049) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:55PM (#25825439) Journal

    If you don't buy crippled content in the first place, it's just wasted, unused, hardware.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:57PM (#25825457) Homepage Journal

    Agai, that's not true. What they are obligated to do depends on their missions statement.

    You, like every dumbass on /., oversimplifying things to the point of absurdity. i.e. Reductio ad absurdum

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:58PM (#25825473)

    The problem is that, in a sane society, a company makes a profit for its shareholders by producing products that customers want to buy, and in general by treating the customer as king. Remember the old phrase, "the customer is always right."

    So how does screwing over your customers and making them angry equate to making a profit for your shareholders? The giant media companies aren't the ones giving money to Apple, it's regular people buying their hardware, software, and stuff on iTunes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:03PM (#25825555)

    a digital rights management company masquerading as a fashion business.

  • Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:05PM (#25825585)

    This article is totally misleading. It's just HDCP. The media has to be HDCP aware in the first place.

    If you don't by defective DRM laden media, then you do not have a problem.

    In some ways, this is actually a GOOD THING. Now the hardware can actually communicate with other media devices that demand a HDCP connection.

    So to SUM UP, all the PIRATED MEDIA WILL STILL PLAY.

  • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:06PM (#25825605)
    Sweet. Once MS put DRM in the OS layer of Vista, Apple felt the need to one-up them with DRM built right into the hardware. Take that, Microsoft.
  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:07PM (#25825617) Homepage

    Good luck finding a computer without it.

    A 2007 MacBook.

    The fact that the same video will play fine on a 2007 Mac but refuse to play on a 2008 Mac proves that the copy protection is not necessary -- if it was necessary it would be applied to all computers equally.

  • Sensational Much? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by macs4all (973270) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:09PM (#25825651)
    How frickin' disingenuous. It's not the "deal they had to make to get NBC back", but rather the "deal" they had to make to allow HDCP output.

    And if you read /., you should already know that.

    This is NOTHING like the all-pervasive DRM that infests Visturd(TM) at every turn.

    And if they DIDN'T allow HDCP-"protected" content to be played, the people would whine about "Where's the Hi-Def"?

    So, please tell me, just how does Apple keep up with (icky) "modern" video standards, and NOT do what it takes to keep from being sued to death by the MAFIAA?

    You'll note that, unlike similar apps in Vista, there don't seem to be widespread reports about Final Cut (or even 3rd party apps like Premiere) not being able to read/edit/write HD content.

    So, as I said, this seems to be confined to as little of QuickTime and OS X as possible.
  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529.yahoo@com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:09PM (#25825659)
    because their pr0n still loads...for now.
  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:10PM (#25825675)

    The problem is that the obligation is getting twisted into "make a profit for shareholders soon", with an almost total lack of concern for the long term.

    Apple is actually one of the better companies in this regard, but a lot of companies are running into trouble because they think that shareholder value means pumping up their upcoming Q7 results no matter what.

  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:12PM (#25825709)

    Think of it as an implicit endorsement of piracy. If you can't play purchased media on your 100% legitimate hardware, then the choice is clear.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:13PM (#25825717)

    Outside of Slashdot's readership, nobody cares about DRM.

    There are vanishingly few "screwed over" customers "angry" about HDCP. Most people never even see the "restrictions" on their "freedom." They subscribe to cable, buy their BluRay players, buy their disks, and it all works just fine. If they didn't, then these stories would be in Time Magazine (or, better yet, TV Guide) and not on Slashdot.

  • Re:old (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:19PM (#25825799) Homepage Journal

    Please go back to Digg. Slashdot is not better than Digg because of the timeliness of the stories. Slashdot is better than Digg because of the user community.

  • by jonico (1376909) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:19PM (#25825811)

    This is not how things work in a capitalistic society. It is usually not the case that companies produce products that people want; the largest companies manufacture needs, brands, and lifestyles, and then tell the consumers that if you want to live your life in that way then you need buy these products.

  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:26PM (#25825903)
    Interesting point of view, but I don't think that applies to Apple. In the case of taxes, there is more or less a gun held to your head that forces you to do such a thing. Not so with Apple.
  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashBLUEdot.org minus berry> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:26PM (#25825913)

    You forgot the best of all options:

    6) License Bu-Ray. When playing back Blu-Ray, require HDCP for any external screens trough a updatable firmware. Then "leak" a "hacked" firmware (the original one) which does allow playback everywhere. And be sure, to make a big press release, that you will get "them" and sue "them", for creating such an incredibly well working "hacked" firmware *hint* *hint*.

    At least that's what I would do. And I'm pretty sure some companies already did similar things.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:27PM (#25825919)

    PS There are surely ways around it.

    Doesn't matter. I shouldn't be restricted. I shouldn't have to go 'underground'.

    The fact that I can is irrelevant.

    The fact that you could still get alcohol during the prohibition doesn't make prohibition any more palatable.

  • It will never stop (Score:4, Insightful)

    by www.blogLinux.org (1401783) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:29PM (#25825963)
    Yet another example of the grip proprietary corporations will continue to impose on their users.
  • by Draek (916851) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:35PM (#25826021)

    So, under which laws Apple will go to jail if they don't put DRM in their notebooks?

    Thought so.

  • by Alereon (660683) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:35PM (#25826023)
    That's certainly true, I'm not defending Apple's choice to make this a requirement. It's just that, aside from the analog portion, this really isn't anything new. When you buy DRM-encumbered media, you should expect some degree of jerking around. Which is why you shouldn't buy DRM-encumbered media :)
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:36PM (#25826039) Journal

    Apple puts DRM in their flagship product, and you actually believe them when they spout bullshit about disliking DRM?

    I believe any hardware maker when they say the don't like DRM. It's tedious to implement, it's expensive, it wastes battery time, and it annoys customers. The only reason anyone implements it is to placate the **AA.

    -jcr

  • by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:36PM (#25826049) Homepage Journal

    Most of Apple's growth for years has been tied directly or indirectly to multimedia. It's what's most differentiated them from Microsoft in the eyes of the common computer user. All of the big content owners demand DRM. So the choice was between DRM and corporate growth or no DRM and Apple going nowhere.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:40PM (#25826091) Journal
    Next week?

    Next month?

    Early next year?

    It's really kind of stunning how stupid they think people are.

    RS

  • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:40PM (#25826105) Homepage Journal

    That was a lie then, and is still a lie.

    I hate taxes. I try not to pay them.

    Yet, in order to keep living outside of jail, I keep paying them.

    Am I lying about hating taxes? Or am I playing the game that needs to be played?

    The difference is that you're describing something that you see as a disadvantage. You dislike paying taxes because you wish you could do something else with your money.

    Now describe to me why Apple dislikes DRM. As far as I can see, not only are they playing the so-called "game that needs to be played" but since they're the market leaders in that particular business, it also serves as a lock-in. If you've been buying your tv shows from iTunes for the convenience of buying stuff online, you know you can watch your stuff on the goal with an ipod. Better not buy a zune, your videos won't work there!

    Ok, that's going too far. Nobody would buy a zune either way. However, do you want to set up a media center that lets you watch all those videos in your living room? The AppleTV is the choice for you! You sure as hell can't set up a mythtv box. If you buy a windows media center box from dell, that won't play those videos either.

    So, I know why you don't like to pay taxes. Tell me again why apple hates drm?

  • Re:Lies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:46PM (#25826175)

    First off, I am not a FanBoy of *anything*. So I am not being an apologist for Apple of even remotely trying to make arguments that DRM is a good thing. The only way HDCP could be a good thing is by making the Apple product more compliant with other devices. Another poster says I am wrong about that. Fine, If I am then HDCP is essentially worthless to the consumer.

    The whole post is misleading because it is representing that a new Apple product has hardware copy protection like the XBOX, XBOX360, Wii, PS2, PS3, PSP, etc.

    This is simply not the case. HDCP is not even in the same ball park. It is just protecting HDCP *aware content* from being heard and/or displayed on devices that don't also have HDCP to protect the content during transit. That's it.

    You are not stopped from playing your own content, DRM-free content, or even pirated content. The whole tone of the article and the title itself would seem to suggest otherwise, and I call that F.U.D.

  • by Moebius Loop (135536) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:47PM (#25826197) Homepage

    There's no gun to your head to pay taxes, just a financial threat (yeah, you can go to jail for tax evasion, but only because you can't afford to pay the taxes you owe).

    If Apple didn't support DRM in iTunes, few if any of the labels would have signed on at the time. Even now, it's clear that the majors continue to believe it's a requirement, and would quite possibly not sell their music through iTunes, thus impacting Apple's bottom line.

    I think it's an apt analogy.

  • by tknd (979052) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:48PM (#25826219)

    Wait so if Microsoft implements copy protection measures in their OS it is bad and evil, but when Apple decides to have DRM in iTunes/iPod, lock down iPhones to a single provider, and now implement HDCP preventing you from playing DRM'ed content you purchased legally on your own hardware, it is business as usual?

  • Re:To Steve (Score:1, Insightful)

    by revscat (35618) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:49PM (#25826229) Journal
    Wow, what an incredibly insightful post. Wish I still had mod points.

    These options are due to the requirements of the Blu-Ray spec, and were demanded by Hollywood in exchange for their support.

    This needs to be repeated. It will probably be ignored, though. It causes cognitive dissonance amongst the "Steve Jobs is Satan" crowd around here.

  • Arrr (Score:3, Insightful)

    by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:50PM (#25826231)
    Well, I think I can safely speak for all mac fans when I say...Arrr! Run up the Jolly Roger! If these lilly-livered landlubbers think they can saddle me with DRM laden crap, I'll get me multi-media from other sources besides iTunes.
  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNaz (730548) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:52PM (#25826253) Homepage

    I'd like to see you say that when asked the same question in a few years from now.

    The cheap quip, "so use last year's machine" is so myopic that it's ridiculous. The principle is "DRM is bad" and, now that Apple have fully embraced it, I am no longer even going to consider trying a Macbook, regardless of what the Apple guys I know tell me about the wonderful OS.

    DRM is bad, I do not want to support a company that buys into the whole attempt to control what I can and can not do on my computer.

    Incidentally, if you think the DRM situation is getting bad now, imagine a world where all your computing gets done "in the cloud" (forgive me for using that idiotic buzzword) and you have no control over the platform you use to do whatever it is you want to do with your computer.

    Big business wants to control your actions, so they can dictate what you need to spend money on. Recognize it. Fight it by not buying into it.

  • by GFree678 (1363845) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:54PM (#25826267)

    in order to get Blu-Ray playback licensing

    Most likely. And yet when Microsoft did it first by implementing it in Vista, they were (and continue to be) flamed for it.

    Yes I know DRM exists in other areas of Vista (eg. protected audio path), but still, now that Apple have gone with this, will they be flamed too as should be fair?

  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:11PM (#25826503) Journal

    It's only a matter of time. Slashdotters are just the amphibians of the DRM-world, we are more sensitive to small changes in the climate than the average organism. The levels of idiocy imposed by hardware and software manufacturers has not yet reached its zenith.

    "Normal" people will start getting angry pretty soon, when they can't hook together ordinary AV hardware and have it just work, and when their seemingly physical media of various kinds mysteriously stops working under certain circumstances. The market for DRM-free gear will also grow, I predict (it already exists, and is a touted feature on some hardware and software).

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:14PM (#25826541)

    I'm a mac user. I've used Linux for 11 years now, I've used Windows back in the day for StarCraft or when it was neccesary for work (and on my jobs workstation) and I use OS X today whenever I want zero-fuss integration and need to run the Flash IDE to draw up some RIA components. I still use Debian and Ubuntu aswell, however.

    I'm typing this on my Mac Mini with Tiger - with the pricey but neat new aluminum mac KB attached - and my last computer purchase was the famous classic 12" G4 macbook, trusted subnotebook of hackers and geeks all around the world. The fluorescent light needs longer time to fully light up, but after 5 years it still is a piece of integrated hard- and software that I love to use on a regular basis. In a nutshell: I'm a computer expert and I like my macs and I can name solid reasons why I do.

    Apple has a rock-solid multiplier in me, as I - as most geeks - am the opinion-leader in all things concerning IT and computers for at least 50 people that know me well enough to know my profession. I can inmediately think of at least 3 people who have gotten macs also due to largely my influence on their decision.

    That aside I can only say: Get pissy with me and I'm right back to Linux on x86 only. As soon as I have to fuss around with media not playing on my computers I'm gone, mac mini and 13" unibody MacBook be damned. I'd rather fuss around with half-finished OSS projects or crappy printer integration on a dell laptop that looks and handles like a piece of shit than having some DRM scheme wasting my time. If Apple even thinks about pressing the lock-in game, I'm gone and I will stop recommending Apple instantly. And I'll start discouraging people from buying them.

    My 2 Euros.

  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:23PM (#25826621) Homepage

    I'm thinking the easiest way around it is to just download a copy. Seriously, wtf, people - do you not like having customers?

    I damn near gave up buying media of any kind because of copy protection, and so I do without. Yay Amazon MP3 store to the rescue. But I'm getting completely sick of this.

    It's time to push Congress for a Consumer's Digital Purchases Bill of Rights that forces compatibility. If you want DRM so bad, it's your job to make it work.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:26PM (#25826661) Homepage

    If this is true, why do Amazon an eMusic have such huge collections of DRM-free music? Is the difference between their catalogs and the iTunes catalog that big?

  • Re:FYI? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:28PM (#25826679)

    Because those traces are on-die. You'd have to take the signal from the output side of the DAC as it goes to the LCD. Reconstituting that signal back into something meaningful would require more hardware and would likely be specific to that model or manufacturer.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:30PM (#25826709) Homepage

    Dear Pottymouth:

    Apple's number one motivating factor, and the number one motivating factor of all publicly traded companies, is to increase stock value. If a clean user experience - or at least the perception of it - is one way to do it, then that's what it's going to be.

    But one theme rings true throughout the Apple way of doing things: a tightly controlled branded ecosystem, which is what underlies the clean user experience. DRM can fit quite tidily with that principle.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:31PM (#25826719)

    Forget my MOD points on this story....my goodness. I'm not a fan of BluRay, but wow. Why the heck would I EVER want a BluRay player when I have other options to watching HD video.

    Those above comparing this to prohibition are spot on. Let's make it REALLY hard for people to do what they want with their content when its REALLY easy for them to steal the content and do whatever they want to do with it. Brilliant!!

    What really bothers me is that it appears Apple fell for the same trap as BluRay with their on-line content. They could have really had a differentiation in their stuff vs. BluRay, but it appears they don't mind opening up "bags of hurt" after all....

  • by Stiletto (12066) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:42PM (#25826847)

    Steve Jobs could piss down their throats and the Apple fanboys would just argue, "Hey, urine's sterile! Have fun drinking your germy PC fruit punch!"

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arotenbe (1203922) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:50PM (#25826885) Journal

    I've often wondered how long it will be until mainstream computing consists entirely of thin clients with web browsers and servers that provide all storage and applications. You can encrypt everything to make sure the server can't read it, but you have no guarantee that the server will give you back your data after you've stored it.

    But no one will care, because, despite all of the horror stories of their friends' favorite storage sites going under and losing all their data, people will think, "It won't happen to me!".

  • So 1984... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kulakovich (580584) <slashdot@@@bonfireproductions...com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:55PM (#25826931)
    ... will be EXACTLY like 1984... Twenty four years. Oh well. They had a good run.
  • by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:04PM (#25827011)
    That is the record companies responding to the fear that Apple might get too much bargaining power (like how Walmart forced them to lower CD prices). They were willing to make concessions in hopes that iTunes would lose a bit of power (and I think that at least Amazon worked out very well).
  • by superbus1929 (1069292) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:09PM (#25827075) Homepage
    If that's their definition of "legal", then fuck legality.
  • by basicio (1316109) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:11PM (#25827093)

    Apple fans ignore so much already. Why would you think that they're going to be bothered by more DRM?

  • by hplus (1310833) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:16PM (#25827135)
    Unfortunately, the EM signals (as I understand it) are radiated from the image displayed on the screen, and thus encrypting bits as they travel to the screen won't make a difference. I like the way you think, though.
  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:32PM (#25827297)
    And people who would post such an assholish comment about any widely defined group of people aren't idiots?
  • Re:To Steve (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DigitAl56K (805623) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:55PM (#25827491)

    DRM is bad, I do not want to support a company that buys into the whole attempt to control what I can and can not do on my computer.

    Technically they're controlling what you can and cannot do with content and they've already been doing that for years with FairPlay. If you don't want to support them over HDCP then you shouldn't want to support them anyway because of FairPlay. The recording industry might tell them that they need DRM but I doubt they tell them not to license it to anyone else.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:03PM (#25827561)

    Name a company that isn't out to get more profits. They probably won't be a company for very long.

  • Re:DisplayPort (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:04PM (#25827571) Homepage Journal

    And it just occurred to me: you'll only be able to watch HD content from a new MacBook with a new DisplayPort monitor--like the one Apple just introduced. That nice old DVI-connected 23" or 30" LCD you've been using up until now won't work.

    I know this isn't the answer for everyone, but I'm totally happy with SD video, even on large screens. Thanks, Apple, for giving me yet another reason NOT to move forward. I don't care about HD content but it's nice enough and I'd buy it if all other things were equal--but if it's going to actively work against me, it definitely lands in the "fuck it" pile.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:09PM (#25827613)

    The DRM in Vista is all encompassing. If you have ever wondered why file transfers and deletions suffer from slow-downs on your vista box you need look no further than your DRM. The presence of the DRM file scanner is especially noticable if you compare the performance of Server 2008 and vista side by side. The DRM was left out of the server version and the difference is amazing.

    This difference is one of the main reasons that I use a 2008 workstation.
    http://www.win2008workstation.com/wordpress/ [win2008workstation.com]

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MacColossus (932054) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:13PM (#25827643) Journal
    I've been accused of being a Apple fanboy before. But I am sticking with a Macbook Pro (Early 2008) for several gripes I have with Apple and the new laptops. Glossy screen only (no matte option), new laptops don't come in a 17 inch version, mini displayport?!, they could use regular displayport to be compliant with the rest of the industry, no mini displayport to displayport adapter, no mini displayport to s-video adapter like they had for DVI, no mini displayport to HDMI adapter, HDCP support in the new ones as mentioned here, etc. I'm aware that one can overcome some of these. For example, one can probably use the mini displayport to dvi adapter with a dvi to hdmi adapter to get HDMI. I shouldn't have to hop through bastardized hurdles to get there and wonder what kind of video quality will be at the other end of this hodge podge. Apple SERIOUSLY needs to rethink mini displayport or start cranking out the adapters.
  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lysergic.acid (845423) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:27PM (#25827753) Homepage

    while Apple's douchebaggery should definitely be protested, your blanket statement about cloud computing is overgeneralizing a bit. cloud computing has a lot of advantages, and there are many cloud services that do not encroach on the privacy or freedom of users. whether or not a cloud service will take power away from users depends on the type of application, its implementation, and the nature of the company providing the service.

    Google's policies have generally been very pro-consumer and do not encroach on the freedom of users. i have no problem using Google's cloud services because they've taken a strong position against vendor lock-in, and they have demonstrated that they believe that it's the user's own data and thus the user should have full control over it. if another company takes the same stance and are respectful of the rights of their users, then why not take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing?

    with the growing ubiquity of broadband/WiFi access, it doesn't make sense to limit yourself to the fat client computing paradigm when there are better, more appropriate solutions out there. multitenancy has a lot of advantages particularly for small businesses. cloud storage, for instance, allows small businesses to pool their resources together to obtain much higher levels of reliability/uptime, data redundancy, security, and peak capacity than they would be able to afford on their own.

    blindly clinging onto your data out of irrational paranoia is incredibly shortsighted. not all cloud service providers are equal, and not all cloud computing applications are bad. just look at the quality of Gmail's spam filters. such effective spam filtering would not be possible without implementing e-mail as a cloud service shared by 50 million users. and Amazon web services is so popular because it gives small to medium sized businesses affordable access to the same level of application hosting & data storage as major corporations like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.

  • by Si-UCP (1359205) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:51PM (#25827925)

    They implemented this crap because if they say no and stick up for their consumers they know they'll get passed by other parties as a content delivery method.

    So, in other words, are you kind of saying that Apple was forced by Hollywood, et al. to do this? Are you essentially reiterating what the GP quoted, but twisting it to cast him in a negative light, but accusing him as a fanboy? Are you essentially proving GP's point? Oh, by the way: the article has very little to do with FairPlay, and everything to do with HDCP.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:53PM (#25827945) Homepage

    > So what's the advantage of Linux regarding this now again?

            Linux won't suddenly cripple your output hardware because
    it thinks you are doing something that the MPAA disapproves of.
    Once you allow the MPAA into the core of your OS, then that
    becomes a very real problem.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:58PM (#25827999) Homepage

    Put up a TV antenna.

    People need to get over this stupid idea that the only way you're
    ever going to see HD Video is through some excessively draconian
    DRM regime. People are stuck in a mental jail of their own creation.

    Microsoft and Apple should have both told the MPAA what to go do
    with themselves.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:08PM (#25828065)

    remember too, the "hurt" of BluRay is that you have to update your players' firmware whenever the license board tells you to keep up with DRM schemes and revoked keys and hackers. That's Apple's problem in a nutshell. Microsoft notably doesn't include BluRay codex for that reason... Microsoft doesn't play other people's DRM either.. it's just so big companies will pay big bucks to cobble it onto Windows.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rho (6063) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:22PM (#25828165) Homepage Journal

    Or stop watching TV/movies altogether.

    If you read a book a day from Project Gutenberg you'd likely be dead before you exhausted it.

    I find it really puzzling that some people are so exercised that they cannot watch "American Pie" without restrictions.

  • by mr_zorg (259994) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:30PM (#25828213)

    And I suppose that you're similarly boycotting Blu-Ray discs, HDTV tuners, HD DVRs and anything else that uses HDMI? Because if not, that's hypocritical. This DRM is nothing more than HDCP and anything using HDMI has it.

  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:40PM (#25828275)

    Apple is a hardware company. Were you gone that day?

    Not when they make an OS, they're not. They're in the OS and the hardware business, and they choose to tie their products together with DRM. And if they're in the hardware business, how come all their advertisements for their computers aren't actually for the computers, but how much better their OS is? Right, because they only claim to be in the hardware business, but that claim is only part of the truth.

    Apple did not invent DRM and OS X is not copy-protected. You can copy it a zillion times and install it with no problems, activation, etc. to any supported Apple computer in existence an unlimited number of times.

    And? The point is Apple puts DRM on their OS. This flies directly in the face of the claim that they dislike DRM. If they disliked it, they wouldn't actively choose to use it.

  • by aqui (472334) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:59PM (#25828423)

    Actually I've avoided anything HD particularly for that reason (DRM)...

    I'm hoping that before I'm forced to change because normal DVDs aren't available anymore that the industry will have come to its senses (wishful thinking I know... :} ) and be producing technology without DRM crippling features.

    I don't know about you but "nothing more" than _not_ being able to use the technology I paid for the way I want to use it is a big deal.

    The next step after DRM is in place is to charge you again for every copy of a movie or song you already own. In other words you cant copy music from you CD collection to your MP3 player or your PC and listen to it. DRM will prevent that. You will have to pay again for each copy...

    After that... the next step is to charge "per play" 5 cents every time you listen to the song...

    Then the next step is to create cycle of new player technologies and the next generation player won't play the previous generations content and you'll have to pay for the music again...

    It's a slippery slope once you accept lock in...

    The only way to send a message is not to buy crippled hardware. If a technology won't sell then it sends a clear message.

    I'd rather give up some features in a product than my freedom to use it the way I want.

  • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:07AM (#25828475)

    I buy my music on CD - still - because I am used to being able to copy them onto MP3s using tools of my choice, at compression quality of my choice, without DRM. Yeah, downloading an .MP3 might be easier, but the bulk of my CD collection is 20+ years old, I can't imagine keeping track of a DRM restricted song file that long, therefore it is of much less long term value to me.

    If I want short term music enjoyment, I'll listen to the radio, or lately net-radio, or actually go see a live performance. If I'm buying a copy of music, I expect that copy to be durable enough to pass down to my children, just as I have inherited 78 RPM Pathe' discs from my grandparents.

  • by mstone (8523) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:16AM (#25828547)

    You're joking, right?

    Apple hates DRM because it takes a shitload of time, money, and effort to design and implement, and an even bigger shitload of time, money, and effort to show 'plausible efforts' to keep it working once it's deployed. Anyone who tries to do DRM simply agrees to climb on a treadmill of trying to stay a fractional step ahead of the people who will break the protection.

    Apple hates DRM because DRM is inherently futile. You simply can't build a system that puts both the lock and the key in the hands of the end user, then impose rules on what the user can do with those two pieces.

    Apple hates DRM because the longer DRM is allowed to exist, the longer the content cartel will continue to make this massive, futile investment a requirement for any access to content. Apple especially hates DRM because it puts the content owners in a position where they can say, "I don't have to know how it works, or whether it's even possible. I have the power to say what has to be done, and making it happen is your job. And thanks to the laws that we've bought and the contracts we've written, if you don't manage to do the impossible to our satisfaction, we can sue the shit out of you then nail you on criminal charges."

    Apple hates DRM because using DRM simply manufactures enemies with the technical knowledge to rip apart any technical measures Apple tries to build. And while defeating DRM may be a socially acceptable goal, a lot of that knowledge can potentially be reapplied to general malware.

    Apple hates DRM because it sucks for the user. Remember: Apple doesn't make money licensing its OS to a bunch of OEMs who then try to sell a product to consumers, or with massive, umpty-thousand-seat software licensing deals. Consumer dissatisfaction hits Apple in the pocket much harder than it hits Microsoft. On top of that, Apple sells in the premium-priced segment of the market, where people are willing to say, "if I have to put up with something that sucks, I can buy another product for a whole lot less."

    It would take Apple a hell of a lot less effort to make a product that users like a hell of a lot more if they could ditch DRM. Given that less than 1% of all the music on iPods was purchased through the iTunes store, the idea that Apple sees some kind of benefit from consumer lock-in just doesn't scan.

    The only upside of DRM is that it gives Apple access to the content cartel's catalog. And tens of millions of consumers voting with their dollars have said that they prefer devices that do have DRM and cartel content over devices free from DRM that don't have cartel content.

    So in the long run, it comes down to a question of philosophy versus economics. If you hate DRM so much you won't buy a Mac, iPod, or iPhone, so be it. The few thousand people who agree with you on that score are less valuable to Apple than the 15-20 million who will buy new DRM-encumbered Macs, iPods, and iPhones in the next quarter.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smallfries (601545) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:17AM (#25828909) Homepage

    Why does it become the world's responsibility to adapt to the rules that the media industry would like? Digital data is easy to copy. If they want to sell digital wares then they need to adapt to the new rules that come with it. Not the other way round.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rnelsonee (98732) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:42AM (#25829079)

    No, that would only apply if the standard is the same. DVI is not just a different form factor than HDMI. HDMI can be more than 8 bits for color space, it uses a different color space (YCbCr instead of RGB for DVI) and rounding errors can occur in the processor when converting from one color space to another.

    In this case, DVI is limited to 8 bits, and chances are the DSP is over 8 bits, so there will be no issue. But HDMI -> DVI does show that just because it's digital, doesn't mean there's no longer any conversion problems.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penix1 (722987) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:48AM (#25829125) Homepage

    My problem with cloud computing is two fold. First, how do you know, for a fact, that Google isn't indexing your data or worse storing it for later use even after you delete it from the cloud? You don't. You only have their word and when push comes to shove if they can profit somehow on your data they will. Second, most cloud computing zealots want everything on the cloud. The cloud isn't suited for every application but just try to convince some PHB who was talked into it by one of these zealots and you got a fight on your hands. I speak from experience on this.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeepHurtn! (773713) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:17AM (#25829317)

    Especially when you consider the legal implications of going "underground". This is exactly the sort of behaviour anti-circumvention laws are designed to prohibit.

    You make an interesting comparison with alcohol prohibition. What are the consequences of outlawing a widespread and generally socially acceptable activity? The bizarre thing is I'd bet (but no, I haven't actually researched it) that there was more popular support for alcohol prohibition than there is today for prohibiting, say, time or device -shifting.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by coolsnowmen (695297) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:46AM (#25829449)

    ...Also the HDMI signal isn't digital, really, it is a digital bitstream on an analog carrier. (at the frequencies involved everything is analog).

    Praytell, at what frequencies can there be a digital signal then?

    How about I skip to the point:
    A Digital signal realized using electricity is an encoding on top of an analog signal.

    Saying that it isn't digital because it is really a digital signal modulated on top of an analog signal shows that you don't really know what you are talking about.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mattsson (105422) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @02:58AM (#25829493) Homepage Journal

    Obviously people shouldn't buy old computers to avoid DRM; that's inefficient and unsustainable.

    It's only inefficient and unsustainable if most people don't buy old computers to avoid DRM.
    If enough people do it, having DRM in computers will be too expensive since they don't sell, and we will have computers without it again.

    Problem is, most people will think "I must have the latest model!" and not care if there's DRM built in or not.

  • by MacDork (560499) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:05AM (#25829519) Journal

    Al, that's a really tired argument. Every Mac comes with a disk burner. Every iTunes track can be burned and re-ripped removing the DRM. It isn't hard. It isn't expensive. It isn't even time consuming on any computer made in the last 3 years. I've done it myself with several tracks. I can't hear any difference. Honestly, they're digital downloads... they're already compressed in a lossy format and reripping them into that exact same format doesn't make an audible difference, at least not to my ears. Maybe you're 12 years old and you can still hear things I can't. [freemosqui...gtones.org] It still won't be a big difference, even if you have dog ears.

    Besides, millions of songs on the iTMS are now DRM free now. The record companies are giving up one at a time, just like they gave into digital downloads one at a time. Remember what a big deal it was getting the Beatles on iTunes, dragging them, one at a time, kicking and screaming into the 21st century? The big labels realize they've been pWN3D by Apple and there's no use fighting it. They'd rather be available on all players and all stores and making money. Apple's DRM has effectively defeated a bleak future full of DRM laden music in a most unexpected way. Apple used DRM like the GPL uses copyright.

    They beat the bastards at their own game and on your behalf. But rather than be the least bit grateful that they saved your ass from that bleak future, it's obvious you have a strong, unwavering, irrational hate for Apple. Apple might be the number one music retailer in the US now, but I'd hardly classify a 19% market share [tomsguide.com] a monopoly. You go right ahead and hate them though, I'm sure they didn't do it for any of your gratitude. They did the right thing because that was also the smart and profitable thing to do and they proved it becoming #1.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:07AM (#25829525)

    > Also the HDMI signal isn't digital, really, it is a digital bitstream on an analog carrier. (at the frequencies involved everything is analog).

    Yes, you can get data corruption with a digital bitstream on an analog carrier - we used to call it "modem line noise."

    That's what the GP means by "it works or it doesn't."

  • Re:To Steve (Score:1, Insightful)

    by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:04AM (#25829761) Homepage

    And this is what infuriates me and I've been on about since I started boycotting the RIAA and MPAA back in '01 when they started suing their customers: those of us that want to watch our content unhindered will continue to use Linux and find our way around the lame-assed DRM protection to get the same rights as anyone else that WEVE FUCKING PAID FOR, and all of the regular Joes will continue to get fucked in the ass good and hard, and the idiots in suits haven't clued into this yet.

    And at this point, if they still haven't clued in, I'm afraid they never will.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moderators_are_w*nke (571920) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:07AM (#25829773) Journal

    It is kinda odd that we're all used to using fibre for digital audio, but no for video, which requires more bandwidth.

  • by KlausBreuer (105581) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:14AM (#25829801) Homepage

    Well, *I* certainly am.

    The switch from VCR Tapes to DVD Disks was well worth it. The movies look very nice and clear, the medium doesn't wear out, and takes up a lot less space - in addition to supporting several languages and the like.

    Tell me the advantages of HDMI again? Higher resolution? Don't really need that, DVDs pretty good. DRM out the wazoo? *Really* don't need that. Higher prices? Oh wow, how lovely.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrEldarion (114072) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:46AM (#25829921)

    The world adapts to the media industry because the world likes the media industry's products and accepts the restrictions to get what they want. You may not like it, but they're free to make selling decisions as they see fit just as you're free to make buying decisions at you see fit.

    They don't need to adapt if they don't want to. It's their product, and they dictate the terms that they sell it to you at. If they'll only sell it heavily-DRMed-up, then that's their choice to make. Your choice, on the other hand, is not to use those products if you don't agree with the terms.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smallfries (601545) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @04:59AM (#25829975) Homepage

    Sure, when you are talking about their products that is a line of reasoning that makes sense. But the problem is when they start trying to rewrite the rules to suit themselves. Digital data has one fundamental property - it is easy to copy. Although this doesn't suit the media industries it is a basic property of the market that they've chosen to enter.

    You see it's not just a choice of whether or not we buy their product. It is also a choice of whether or not they sell it in a given form - ie as a collection of bits. If they chose to then they have to accept the natural consequences that it is easy to copy.

    By all means try and wrap those bits in a DRM scheme. It won't work but it doesn't bother me if you try. The line that is being crossed, is when you try and impose an artifical set of restrictions on all computer systems - because if there is even one out there that functions normally then your scheme breaks.

    That is trying to change the world to suit them. It's wrong.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:13AM (#25830029) Journal
    Uuuuhh......Why didn't you just point her to Staroffice [sun.com] instead of being a jerk? You do know with the economy in the toilet and folks everywhere afraid of losing their jobs telling her to go out and buy $2000+ worth of gear just to do some office work was kinda being a jerk,don't you? If a customer comes in and says "How can I make it so I don't ever get a virus again" THEN I would tell them about Linux and Apple. But to tell someone in this economy to "buy a Mac" when all they need is a piece of office software is kinda being an asshole when asked a legitimate question.
  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:41AM (#25830149) Homepage Journal

    Your choice, on the other hand, is not to use those products if you don't agree with the terms.

    Actually, there are many more choices also open to those who do not agree with the terms, such as ignoring the terms, circumventing the protection and then having a large party where everyone runs around singing "DRM Suckxorz".

    That was a little tongue-in-cheek perhaps, but really, I agree with you that it absolutely IS the media industry's choice on how to sell their product, but you seem to think that means people should either "accept it and buy the product if they want it" or "not accept it and have nothing to do with the product" - those aren't the only two choices available...

  • Re:To Steve (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VoidCrow (836595) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @07:32AM (#25830553)

    Hahaha, yeah.

    You can do things with a digital signal that you can't easily do with analogue. You can, for example, include forward error correction codes in the bitstream, so if bits become corrupted at the far end, you have a chance of fixing them. Using hash functions like the CRC family or MD5, you have a very good chance of knowing that corruption has occured, and you can include a rettransmission request in your digital protocol (if it's 2-way).

    But, like you said (with fewer words), digital isn't magic.

  • by itsdapead (734413) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @10:24AM (#25831747)

    Wait so if Microsoft implements copy protection measures in their OS it is bad and evil, but when Apple decides to have DRM in iTunes/iPod, lock down iPhones to a single provider, and now implement HDCP preventing you from playing DRM'ed content you purchased legally on your own hardware, it is business as usual?

    Deep breath - all together now:

    Absolutely, because, as has just been confirmed in the Psystar case Apple isn't a monopoly. Microsoft is. When a company has ~95% of the market they are in a position to abuse that market by stifling competition, strong-arming themselves into related markets and restricting customer choice. It is quite reasonable to hold such companies up to greater scrutiny, which is why the US, EU and other economies have "antitrust" laws.

    Case in point: because Microsoft agreed to implement HDCP, the movie industry can roll it out in the confidence that 95% of computer users can, potentially, play it. This leaves the other 5% of market with a choice between implementing HDCP or conceding the high-def playback market to Microsoft.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:14PM (#25835867) Homepage Journal

    I think the real issue is that even though something is a digital signal, you can still have corruption of the data (pixel noise) due to interference, wiring, etc. Digital has to suffer the realities of an analog world. It's not as perfect as we have been told, although it is possible to make a perfect digital copy/transmission it is not a guarantee in all circumstances.

    And what is more important here, I believe, is that digital can be converted and translated and still result in loss if the conversion is not perfect 1:1. Examples include RGB to YCbCr, MPEG compression, changing of bit depths, conversion of resolutions (especially those that aren't evenly divisible).

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