Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Murdoch slaps down Gates over DRM crisis

In what is in no way any sort of bargaining stance now that Apple is getting seriously into the film business, BSkyB have abandoned their Windows Media format premium downloads. They're claiming that the cracking of the Microsoft DRM (and the subsequent cracking of the patch) by FreeUse4WM has given them no option:

"We took this step as a precaution after Microsoft said it was working on an update to its digital rights management software, which is used to protect content on Sky by broadband against unauthorized copying or distribution," a Sky spokesman said on Tuesday.

Of course, Sky wouldn't want to be distributing digital-quality copies of films and sporting events in a way that could be easily copied. Erm, except for when it does so over its pay TV network, which can pump programmes direct onto videotape, DVD, hard-drive or computers without any DRM protection at all. 8.2 million people take Sky's TV services, most of whom will have one way of slurping up digital-quality copies of movies; barely a couple of hundred thousand had used the online download service, few of whom would have downloaded FreeUse4WM. What would have the greater impact on film-makers' sales?

But it's not, we stress, in any sense a bargaining position.


Anonymous said...

Erm, except for when it does so over its pay TV network, which can pump programmes direct onto videotape, DVD, hard-drive or computers without any DRM protection at all

This isn't technically true. There is some protection (or at least was but I'm not certain it's still there cause i've not tried it in years) In the past they used Macrovision to stop you from taping films bought on the sky box office paymurdoch-per-view system and as far as my one experiment years ago with the system went, it works .

Certainly i'm sure that there was probably a way round it (i didn't look into getting round it cause i didn't see the point in working out how to on channels i didn't waste my money on in the first place!) but it does show that they've obviously looked into protection in the past and concluded that it was good enough for part of their service but not beneficial enough for them to put it on the rest of their service.... I think that is the real point here. They've had the idea for years but they know that they'd lose customers if they put this sort of protection on the ordinary run of the mill subscribers (is it really 8.2million?? wow we are stupid to be funding that man!) watching sky one/movies/sports or whatever the kids watch these days! Let's face it they've advertised Sky+ with the sole purpose of being able to record (and hence break copyright laws)

It's really funny that BSkyB can go on about supporting FACT or the BPI or the MPAA or the RIAA or whatever other acronym they like this week but when it really comes down to it they're more interested in their own profits than anyone elses.

simon h b said...

I think - and I stand here to be corrected - that Macrovision only works if you're trying to use VHS to tape a programme.

Certainly, when I got Sky+ it made great play that you *could* record Box office movies to it. And from there it'd be a breeze to rip them to DVD.

The key thing, by the way, about using sky is to not use the extras which are where News International try to turn you into a profit centre - I think if you don't buy any of the box office films, or use the shopping or gambling options, you actually wind up being a loss for the company by the time they've subsidised installation and servicing...

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