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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Windows Vista Content Protection - Twenty Questions (and Answers)

There's been a lot of talk online about Windows Vista's copy protection technologies. I've been waiting for Microsoft to respond publicly and set the record straight. Finally, they have:
Windows Vista includes content protection infrastructure specifically designed to help ensure that protected commercial audiovisual content, such as newly released HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs, can be enjoyed on Windows Vista PCs. In many cases this content has policies associated with its use that must be enforced by playback devices. The policies associated with such content are applicable to all types of devices including Windows Vista PCs, computers running non-Windows operating systems, and standalone consumer electronics devices such as DVD players. If the policies required protections that Windows Vista couldn't support, then the content would not be able to play at all on Windows Vista PCs. Clearly that isn't a good scenario for consumers who are looking to enjoy great next generation content experiences on their PCs.

Contrary to claims made in the paper, the content protection mechanisms do not make Windows Vista PCs less reliable than they would be otherwise -- if anything they will have the opposite effect, for example because they will lead to better driver quality control.

The paper implies that Microsoft decides which protections should be active at any given time. This is not the case. The content protection infrastructure in Windows Vista provides a range of à la carte options that allows applications playing back protected content to properly enable the protections required by the policies established for such content by the content owner or service provider. In this way, the PC functions the same as any other consumer electronics device.
An excellent Q & A follows. A must-read.

Related: Karel Donk thinks Microsoft's response is a joke.

And finally, the guy who touched off this whole issue with his overly-long treatise on Vista copy protection examines Microsoft's response.
[ Posted at 9:04 AM | Permalink ]


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