EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.19.08

Is Microsoft Trying to Illegalise/Exclude MythTV and Increase Eavesdropping?

Posted in Asia, DRM, EFF, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 12:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Deliberate or just a side-effect?

Some months ago we drew attention to what seemed like the possibility of Microsoft fighting patents-free video playback on the Web. Its former employee was at it along with the long-time partner called Apple [1, 2, 3, 4]. The politics here are complicated because companies that collaborate sometimes compete with one another (take Cisco and Nokia for example).

It is widely known by now — or at least ought to be known — that Microsoft collaborates with the media industry (see reference 5.b-g) a lot more than most other companies in the same sector. It happens to be doing ‘legwork’ for moguls, which sometimes involves amending (read: spoiling) laws. Just take, for instance, this recent incident.

Microsoft Misleads on Copyright Reform

[...]

The Hill Times this week includes an astonishingly misleading and factually incorrect article on Canadian copyright written by Microsoft.

Look back at the Nokia/Ogg kerkuffle [1, 2, 3]. It elucidates the issue and demonstrates how articulate brainwash, which takes the form of a whitepaper/report, can eventually reverse decisions or make new ones. Microsoft almost successfully pulled a fast one when striving to block the acquisition of DoubleClick by Google, as reported by eWeek at the time. Analysts are a similar problem that we shall revisit routinely.

“It’s otherwise too hard to compete with libre and gratis.”For more information about Microsoft’s relationship with the media industry, see [1-8] at the bottom and consider them in sequence (roughly chronological). Microsoft sets precedence in the entertainment world just as it always aspires to ‘tax’ Free software, e.g. with software patent deals. It’s otherwise too hard to compete with libre and gratis.

A couple of weeks ago came this shot from the EFF. It came immediately after Microsoft had shamelessly betrayed innocent customers with its phased-out DRM.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that Microsoft has “betrayed” MSN Music customers and wants the company to make things right by issuing an apology, refunds, and eliminate digital rights management technology from the Zune music player.

The latest news, however, is only related to all of the above. The EFF is at it again, having just noticed what a dangerous precedence Microsoft sets on behalf of broadcasters.

After further investigation of reports of Vista refusing to record NBC, we have found at least one case where a user receiving digital TV over-the-air has been blocked from recording TV shows. Justin Sanders, who took this screenshot, says he was recording Raleigh’s HDTV channel WNCN-DT1 on his Vista machine when a popup stating that “restrictions set by the broadcaster … prohibit recording of this program” appeared.

This is significant: this is the first case we’ve heard of equipment voluntarily obeying broadcast flag-like restrictions on TV content digitally broadcast over-the-air.

The broadcast flag is a small piece of data broadcast alongside a digital TV program. The ability to flag broadcast content was created by the ATSC standard which governs digital TV broadcasts in the United States. By itself the broadcast flag cannot restrict use of broadcast content. Instead, its force comes from a tech mandate law – an FCC regulation – which required manufacturers of DTV-receiving devices to detect and respond to “switched on” broadcast flags. EFF and others opposed the use of the broadcast flag and fought successfully to have the FCC regulation overturned by the courts. We did that because it handed control over your hardware to a remote authority, limited your right to your fair use of media, and would have made illegal open source products like MythTV. As a result of that victory, manufacturers are not legally required to force their devices to detect and respond to the flag.

It would now appear that Microsoft has voluntarily chosen to obey such content restrictions in Vista, despite the successful work of thousands of users to defend Microsoft’s right to innovate and our right to fair use.

Coming from Microsoft, this shouldn’t be surprising. Also be aware of the tight Microsoft-NBC connection (they are former partners that are still very close) The DRM cat is out of the bag and if a Forbes article which goes by the headline “Microsoft: We Like DRM,” is anything to go by, then it’s worth keeping an eye on this mess.

Steve Jobs wants the music business to drop restrictions for digital tunes. But Microsoft, which began competing head to head with Apple in the digital music business last fall, is happy with the way things are, says media exec Robbie Bach.

Mind you, Robbie Bach is the Vice President accused of inside-trading, which is a crime (mentioned here along with others). Being a Microsoft executive, needless to say he’s above the law though.

More on Microsoft’s DRM in Windows Vista:

In other related news, remember that set-top boxes are typically very ‘user-aware’. They act as spyware that ‘phones home’ to the broadcasters. In that respect, this new alarming article is very relevant too.

1984: The amendments on the Telecom Package are killing fundamental freedoms

Brussels – Guy Bono is indignant about the freedom-killing amendments that have been submitted in the framework of the “Telecom Package”, that is currently being discussed in the European Parliament.

[...]

For the socialist member of the European Parliament: “What Orwell predicted in “1984” is becoming reality: one wants to know everything about you, trace you, spy everything you are doing, and direct your behaviour. The only difference is that the dictator is not a politician, but made up by large multinationals!”

Windows Vista has already stepped further into the status of “malicious spyware”. We covered this before. It gets even worse (back doors and control).

___

[1] Music industry meeting could change the Zune

Bryan Lee, corporate vice present for Microsoft’s entertainment business, told me today that the meeting was set up as part of the deal struck between Microsoft and music business honchos, who are always wary of piracy… The meeting was supposed to take place “some time after the holidays,” he said. It also talks about the future of the zune.

[2] Microsoft May Build a Copyright Cop Into Every Zune

If you like to download the latest episodes of “Heroes” or other NBC shows from BitTorrent, maybe you shouldn’t buy a Microsoft Zune to watch them on.

[3] A Legitimate Reason to Hate the Zune (And Microsoft Too)

Here’s the situation: Microsoft has agreed to pay a portion of the profits from the sales of the Zune to a record company (Universal) because the Zune will undoubtedly be used to store unpurchased songs.

[...]

Here it is important to remember a few simple things. The money goes to the Universal, not to the artists.

[...]

Microsoft’s move sets a bad precedent and turns all consumers into thieves without evidence.

[4] Universal to seek money for each iPod sold

“It would be a nice idea. We have a negotiation coming up not too far. I don’t see why we wouldn’t do that… but maybe not in the same way,” Morris said. His “same way” comment is a reference to the Zune, which Universal already gets $1 from after signing a deal with Microsoft.

[5] Piracy figures are inflated say criminologists

A draft report by the Australian Institute of Criminology says copyright holders are making up piracy figures in order to sway governments to their side.

[6] UK music industry pines for the good old days, seeks an iPod tax

But that’s different from what the UK’s music industry is demanding. I happily pay Apple every time I download a song from iTunes. EMI and crew get a piece of that $.99 fee to cover their costs of discovering and marketing artists.

What I’m not going to pay is for the right to move that song to my computer, or to my phone, or wherever, just as I never had to pay to move a song from vinyl to cassette tape. The music industry incurs no cost in that transfer, and offers me no help in facilitating it. Why should it get paid for that transfer?

[7] Copyright cops demand Ipod tax

British legal eagles have been trying to unshackle the UK from a law which makes a criminal out of you every time you copy one of your own CDs to your mp3 player for some time now, but the Music Business Group (MBG) says it won’t support the change in legislation unless manufacturers impose the tax.

[8] Japan to tax MP3 players

According to a report in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs wants to force MP3 player manufacturers to pay a royalty charge to copyright holders that may have lost out as a result of illegally recorded content.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 31/5/2016: Linux Lite 3.0, Alpine 3.4.0, Krita 3.0

    Links for the day



  2. Data Mining Company: EPO is Like Suicide

    LinkedIn, one of several giants that spy on people to determine what's on their mind and what's similar to them, has yielded the above (for EPO)



  3. Patents Roundup: When the Patent Systems Turn Against People and Adjust According to Patent Lawyers and Their Largest Clients

    A look at the Singaporean, US, and Chinese patent systems, which are all becoming more aggressive and more disconnected from public interests, in favour of large multinational corporations



  4. Microsoft's Former Chief Patent Counsel Praises Elevation of Software Patents in Microsoft Case, Adds to Cherry-Picking and Lobbying by Patent Lawyers

    Microsoft, which is renowned (or notorious) for patent extortion against Linux, is still a big contributor to software patenting policy and Shelston IP -- much like Microsoft's front groups -- pretends to speak for small businesses in an effort to spread software patents outside the US (in spite of Alice)



  5. Extremely Dodgy Dealings at the European Patent Office

    Yet another dodgy contract between Battistelli's EPO and private contractors overseas, this time in an effort to whitewash or cleanse the image of the EPO's current regime



  6. The EPO's Media Partners Like Les Echos Already Produce EPO Puff Pieces (Marketing/Stenography)

    EPO promotion disguised as reporting or journalism, as seen in the media partners of the EPO well before these partnerships even begin



  7. Unitary Microsoft: EPO Excludes People Who Are Not Microsoft Customers From UPC Participation

    The EPO just can't help providing special treatment to Microsoft, not only when it comes to patent applications but also when it comes to rejecting stakeholders/applicants who dare not become Microsoft customers



  8. Links 30/5/2016: Linux 4.7 RC1, Best Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  9. Make Nothing, Sue Everybody: The Reality of Patent Trolls Increasingly Understood by the 'Mainstream'

    New patent stories and even extensive coverage at PBS, which dedicated a whole program to these matters but failed to address the core issue, which is software patenting



  10. [ES] Advertencia: La Vigilancia de la EPO Surveillance Puede Haberse Convertido en Más Intrusiva

    BlueCoat, que la EPO usa para oprimir a sus empleados en sus premisas Europeas, acaba de ajustar más y hacerse más intrusiva y los empleados pueden estar en riesgo



  11. [ES] Tarjeta de Victima Termina en Otra Torpeza para Battistelli Seis de su Guardia Pretoriana

    Battistelli esta destruyéndo lo que queda de la reputación de la EPO (después de las décadas que le costó a ella construírla) mientras los medios continúan escrutinando su desastroso régimen



  12. [ES] La EPO esta Excelente, Dice Sitio de ‘Noticias’ Conectado a Ella

    Los caraduras de la ‘revista’ IAM, viejo aliado de la EPO, da la impresión a la gente de que en la EPO todo esta bien y dandy aunque claramente ese no es el caso



  13. New EPO Caricature: Nouveaux Garde-Vélo (New Bicycle Guards)

    A new cartoon poking fun at Battistelli's bicycles and the perceived threat these are under



  14. Battistelli's 'Special Relationship' With Portugal and the 'Inventor of the Year' Charade

    What makes Portugal rather unique when it comes to Mr. Battistelli, who is allegedly desperate for support from smaller countries whose vote is easier to 'win'



  15. Patent Lawyers' Marketing Dominates and Marginalises Meaningful Analyses of Software Patenting in the US

    In an effort to create demand for software patents again, patent lawyers produce a huge heap of so-called 'analyses' which piggyback just one single decision (the exception, not the norm)



  16. A Mix of Patent Aggression and Sanctions/Raids (Using Controversial Patents) Against East Asian Companies

    New stories that demonstrate patent protectionism and show how Western industry, which barely makes anything anymore, relies on patents (software and design patents included) and this self-serving patent regime perpetuates itself even in Asia, where almost everything is actually being manufactured (and often/increasingly designed/developed too)



  17. Rumour: Battistelli Wants to Extend the Term of Topić's EPO Appointment in Spite of Criminal Charges Against Him

    The EPO's 'ringleader', Mr. Battistelli, is trying to keep his confidants (like Mr. Minnoye and Željko Topić) together for several more years to come, even defying rules regarding retirement age



  18. Links 29/5/2016: NetBSD 7.0.1, Genode OS 16.05

    Links for the day



  19. [ES] La Gerencia de la EPO Bajo Creciénte Estres por las Autoridades Legales Croatas, Políticas Alemanas, y los Medios Italianos

    Las cosas no son color rosa como la calma relativa sugiere, y esperamos en las próximas semanas mayores eventos otros que la protesta en todas las sedes de la EPO a través de Europa



  20. [ES] Los Medios de Comunicación Comienzan a Informar al Público Europeo Acercas de las Desventájas de la UPC Mientras que la EPO Acelera su Cabildeo por Ratificación

    La vergonzósa promoción de la UPC por parte de la EPO da otro paso adelánte mientras que venues de la prensa Europea (incluso canales de televisión) comienzan a explorar el arreglo secreto que es negociado por los abogados de patentes (con clientes corpórativos) y las oficinas de patentes, no el público o cualquier grupo que represente los intereses del público en general



  21. [ES] Algunos Detalles Acerca de ¿Cómo el Presidente de la EPO Es Rumoreado Estar Comprando Votos, y el Porqué es Suficientemente Base Para un Despido Inmediato?

    Algo de información tras las cortinas y una detallada explicación de la dependencia finánciera sistemática, creada por Battistelli a un costode €13 millónes o más, la cuál evita una efectiva supervisión de Battistelli



  22. Mishi Choudhary and Mike Masnick Explain Why India Should Reject Software Patents

    Both an Indian activist-lawyer and a widely-recognised author from the US explain to Indians why over-reliance on patents -- and acceptance of patents on software in particular -- is a very bad idea



  23. Microsoft Boosters Pretend Microsoft Fights for Privacy While the Company Uses Malware Tactics to Put Keyloggers on Everyone's Computers

    In spite of malware-inspired tactics that should land Microsoft in courts of law all around the world (as a defendant), Microsoft-friendly circles pretend that the company fights for people's rights like privacy -- all this when Microsoft installs keyloggers on people's PCs without their consent and obviously against their will



  24. Battistelli's Assault on EPO Staff's Right to Strike in Relation to French Politics and That 'Bicycle' Pretext for Crackdowns

    The latest bicycle 'gossip' and how it's being used, based on expectations from EPO staff, to introduce further crackdowns on human/labour rights



  25. Vice-President of the EPO Under Investigation: Treason, Abuse, Violations, Giving and Receiving Bribes

    An English translation of documents involving the Organised Crime Section of the Criminal Police Department in Zagreb, where the Vice-President of the EPO faces criminal charges



  26. EPO Management Warns People About Scams When the EPO's Management is Itself Falling for Scams

    Jesper Kongstad, the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, helps demonstrate that not even the EPO is intelligent enough to spot an obvious scam



  27. Links 28/5/2016: Wine 1.9.11, New Gentoo

    Links for the day



  28. Links 27/5/2016: Android for Raspberry Pi, Google Beats Oracle in Court

    Links for the day



  29. Warning: EPO Surveillance May Have Just Gotten Even More Intrusive

    BlueCoat, which the EPO uses to enable oppression inside its European premises, has just gotten even nastier and staff may be at risk



  30. Victim Card Ends up in Another Blunder for Battistelli and His Six Bodyguards

    Battistelli is wrecking what's left of the EPO's reputation (after decades it took the Office to earn it) as the media continues to scrutinise his appalling regime


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts