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Hollywood Goes Too Far to Protect Content

Jan. 03, 2008 5:57 AM ETMSFT, NFLX15 Comments
Davis Freeberg profile picture
Davis Freeberg

Even though I’m an HDTV fanatic, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally made the jump to an HD monitor. While I don’t have HDTV tuners on my Media Center, I do have an HD camcorder and it was important for me to be able to edit my high resolution videos.

After doing a little bit of research, I decided to pick up a SyncMasterTM 226BW from Samsung. Between the new monitor and my ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT video card, the resolution looks absolutely stunning. Even my home movies look fantastic in HDTV. I really couldn’t have been happier with the upgrade.

Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t quite as thrilled about my new HD Media Dream Machine and they’ve decided to punish me by revoking my Watch Now privileges from Netflix (NFLX).

I first found out about the problem on New Year’s Eve, when I went to log into my account. When I tried to launch a streaming movie, I was greeted with an error message asking me to “reset” my DRM. Luckily, Netflix’s help page on the topic included a link to a DRM reset utility, but when I went to install the program, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw this warning.

The minute I saw“this will potentially remove playback licenses from your computer, including those from companies other than Netflix or Microsoft” (MSFT) I knew better than to hit continue. Before nuking my entire digital library, I decided to call Netflix’s technical support, to see if I could get to the bottom of my C00D11B1 error message.

When I called them they confirmed my worst fears. In order to access the Watch Now service, I had to give Microsoft’s DRM sniffing program access to all of the files on my hard drive. If the software found any

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Comments (15)

you mentioned a lawyer check here someone already did!
It's been said before, but I'll say it again - the "pirates" never have to deal with this crap.

If I purchase something, I'm going to use it on my own terms. Simply because I rip the DRM out of something doesn't make a thief, it simply makes it "unauthorized", and I frankly don't give a damn what some corporate 'tard at the MPAA thinks I ought to be able to do with a movie I've purchased. If they want to have that much control over my experience, they'd better be paying me, and last I checked, I was still paying THEM for content, so I'm going to experience it on my terms.
12 Jan. 2008
This is actually a problem with ATI's catalyst program. Any version after 7.10 breaks Window's DRM system for some programs. Programs like Real.com's Rhapsody, and a few others break as well when Catalyst 7.11 or 7.12 are installed. The problem is with Catalyst not with netflix, rhapsody or anything else. If your card supports it, try switching to 7.10.
@RJM: You said it, mate. I run Ubuntu and the sacrifice of a few small things has been worth it in how much lower my blood-pressure is now compared to a year ago. Totally worth it.

I'm tired of how the corporations keep f*cking their customers in the ass and still expect them to pay for software and movies. Screw that shit. Show the corporations that you will not stand for this crap they're doing in conjunction with the mediamaffia. Stop using their services. Take a stand. If you're going to be a goddamn sheep and just keep baahing then nothing will change. If you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem, that's what I say.
you guys should upgrade to XP, it fixes all the problems of Vista.
I am pretty sure this kind of stuff only happens with Windows Vista, not XP.
This is also the reason why I refuse to Upgrade to Windows Vista or to buy ANY media that has any kind of DRM built in (Except DVDs cos those I already have a solution in place to back up without Copy Protection). I do not like to be treated like a criminal, and DRM protection assumes that you are a criminal BEFORE you have actually done anything with the media. They can keep it. I will keep buying my DRM free content and downloading backup copies of that content under the "fair-use" rule. The market must kill DRM, and the only way that is going to happen is if people reject media, software or hardware that uses DRM.
06 Jan. 2008
I don't know why peeps even use Microsoft products, open source is best imo.

04 Jan. 2008
Ask the pirates they will find a solution for you!Most are nice and can fix most of these issues.Or find a work around it!
That's horrible! I love watching the new episode of Heroes on Netflix Instant Watch, and the thought that something so absurd can come between me and my new love is near heartbreaking. I really think they want us to keep torrenting everything we want. Maybe they're doing all of this because they don't have enough seeders on THEIR torrents. Pricks. I'm sorry for your troubles! What a way to start the year! Good luck to you!
04 Jan. 2008
This article embodies many of the reasons I refuse to use Windows for anything. Not even games. If being a Mac or Linux user means I can't buy and stream video off the web, whatever the source, then so be it. I can live without it; that's better for my blood pressure than constantly having to fight with Hollywood's and Microsoft's lunatic efforts to keep me from doing what I paid to be able to do while the pirates remain unaffected. I have no wish to pay for the products these fools are so hot to sell me, only to have them do their best to prevent me using them.
04 Jan. 2008
I recently bought an Xbox 360 with HD DVD player but when I went to play my first HD movie on my Samsung 52" screen I got an error message that HDCP security protection was preventing playback. Who has the right to prevent me from playing back movies that I legally paid for on equipment I recently purchased. I won't be buying any HD DVD. Time to get a lawyer and sue these ass holes that invented HDCP!
"Once consumer-electronics and IT companies settle on interoperable, domain-based DRMs, maybe things will get better. Maybe."

Err... I've been looking at getting a new A/V Receiver with HDMI switching and one of the "features" that I've been warned about is handshaking issues with passing the HDMI thru the units...

Now granted, this isn't exactly as you described above (domain-based, etc) but it is all "standard" (read: not a white box computer, but OEM) equipment (DVD->Receiver->... and they can't even get THAT right!?! The solution is to make the content cheep enough that it's not worth my time and energy to copy it, not to DRM the hell out of it!

Me - “Dude, can I copy that movie?”
Friend – “Uh, you’re too cheep to buy it yourself?”
Me – “Uh, oh, nevermind.”

That’s the solution, I’m pretty convinced nothing else will do.
I've seen that message a few times in relation to music, and had the same reaction you did: why jeopardize the tracks I've paid for? Most recently, if I'm remembering this correctly, it was in connection with a Rhapsody-to-go or similar portable subscription thing (Yahoo's, maybe?) that I was testing for the sake of writing about it.
This situation reflects the entertainment industry's ambition to achieve a secure delivery path all the way to the final audio or video rendering. And the problem, IMHO, is that they're trying to retrofit this security onto mix-and-match equipment that wasn't designed for it. Once consumer-electronics and IT companies settle on interoperable, domain-based DRMs, maybe things will get better. Maybe. But even then, people with older equipment will be denied the ability to make full use of the gear they paid for. It's like an early adopter penalty.
People have paid some very heavy fines for "theft" of materials. Maybe the same punishments should be applied when the music companies or film companies software erases items that you legally own. Paying a few hundred thousand dollars every time an innocent party is injured seems to me like turn about being fair play. After all they are stealing copyrighted items from you just as they accuse illegal copiers of materials do.
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