Microsoft Clarifies: Amateurs And Hobbyists Not Wanted

from the no-room-for-you-around-here dept

A few weeks ago, we noted that the details of the proposed "analog hole" legislation made it clear that the bill was less about "protecting" content from being copied, and all about killing off amateur content production. It was so focused on setting up a different set of rules for "professionals" and "amateurs" that it was really just about trying to handicap the disruption that amateur content represented. Now, it appears that Microsoft has bought into that same vision. Two separate stories point to two separate quotes from Microsoft execs that both make this abundantly clear (they're not even tap dancing around the issue, like you'd expect). The first comes from Tim Lee, who points to a Jim Allchin interview where he was quoted as saying that the only way anyone will be able to watch digital TV is if it's been certified by CableLabs -- meaning that hobbyists and tinkerers are out. Meanwhile, someone in the comments to that article point to a talk by another Microsoft exec, talking about how the company views copy protection as only being for professionals: "We don't want this technology to be available to every hobbyist. We need to keep the number of licensees down to a manageable number. We charge a license fee to keep the number of people we have to deal with down to a level we can handle." They may want to do that to keep it "manageable," but it has the side effect again of trying to block out hobbyists -- who are doing some of the most innovative work right now. Of course, while some people are pointing out the anti-competitive nature of these statements, the truth is that the only ones it's really damaging for are for Microsoft and for the professional content producers. They're pretty much guaranteeing that everyone else will look elsewhere to work with technology that isn't trying to hold them back.

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  • identicon
    giafly, 1 Feb 2006 @ 1:57am

    Me, cynical?

    Either this was an incredibly stupid announcement, or people in Microsoft who disagree with this policy are trying to use public outrage to get it killed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ?, 1 Feb 2006 @ 2:31am


    There will always be developers out there who will have the capability to produce their own applications for creating / playing somebody's video content.

    It is out there now, and will always be out there. Just because people can't use M$ Media Player, doesn't mean that they can't install some other kind of video player. Amature content has always been under attack by the institutions (govts and corporations alike). Yet, amature content has always and will forever exist.

    The only way these institutions can win their fight is to destroy the creative spirit of man (THX 1138).

    Good luck to them on that front.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brad, 1 Feb 2006 @ 2:32am

    Does it really?

    Does it really kill off hobbyists? Or does it simply mean that Microsoft isn't responsible for protecting their media from being distributed - I mean...has anyone said that ONLY media with DRM Licenses will be playable? Is the plan to completely obliterate the MP3 and AVI file formats? I didn't think it was, but I haven't been following too closely. (No sarcasm here, I genuinely don't know)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hedwig, 1 Feb 2006 @ 4:51am


    The way this is going is exactly the way Mike is predicting:
    The big business players (MS, studios etc) will have their DRM'd, copy-protected, practically-unplayable-because-of-locked-content (ad's you can't skip) etc format that will limit itself to certified, genuine and probably over-expensive content.

    And there will be another format that will allow the user to (partially) playback, copy and maybe even paste the content. Call it a free (in the sense of what you can do with the content, not the fact that content doesn't cost anything).

    And now for the real funny part: because the locked, unpopular system is so user-unfriendly, the 'all the rest' system will become the system of choice for the creative and innovative: artists will release directly under the 'free' system, shortcircuiting the entire 'industry'.
    Or rather... the industry shortcircuiting itself because they made themselves incompatible.

    By the way, I suppose that pretty soon there will be ripped, converted, de-DRM'd copies of the locked content available in the free format. On the other hand, I don't quite see the reverse ever happening...

    You may guess once which system will prevail...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Robert, 1 Feb 2006 @ 8:26am

      Re: Imagine...

      You forgot step two.

      Draconian "anti-hacking" and "intellectual property protection" laws will make it a FELONY to use or manufacture a non-approved player.

      Will hacked versions be available? Sure, but the vast bulk of the population won't be able to get one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Brian, 1 Feb 2006 @ 9:08am

      Look at the bright side..

      If software companies and content providers lock down all forms of media and make them prohibitively expensive maybe it will force a few folks to turn off their TVs/computers, step outside, and get a little exercise.
      I for one think that's something we all could use.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Who Cares, 1 Feb 2006 @ 9:48am

        No Subject Given

        Anything and everything can be cracked. Information should be and always will be free. Go ahead MicroCrap, keep on killing yourself :-D

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joey, 1 Feb 2006 @ 6:39am

    Water flows down the path of least resistance...

    and so does money.
    If the only thing that "amaetur" artists can do is eek out a "living" (say, $40,000/yr) by doing local gigs (local concerts/local screenings)buying time on local Lease Access ($300/hr here at San Antonio, TX)and selling their CDs iPod/PSP friendly videos and DVDs locally or on the internet(don't know why we would have to throw out a perfectly good video media because someone is telling us its not good enough),then so be it.
    Now if content creators (a.k.a "creative folk") want to get greedy and make more money, then there are two choices;
    do a Buckethead, and release 13 CDs (or movies) a year.
    "Sell out" and sign on with a record label/production company and be a tool.
    whatever you can live with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Feb 2006 @ 8:28am

    No Subject Given

    I find this quite encouraging. If you wish to build a fortune and don't mind nonviolently breaking the law to do so, first look for what has been prohibited and then exploit it. DRM-cracking might very well be the basis of a major underground growth industry, not unlike trade in illicit drugs. Just follow the existing business models: take advantage of grassroots sales networks and pay off the proper officials.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gizmo, 17 May 2006 @ 7:47am

    The future of kids

    What will our children think about it all?
    Will they even know what "free" is?
    Or will there be a "free" only different?
    Anti Competitive behaviour is illegal in most countries isn't it?
    MP3 is just the new Audio Tape, just like AVI is the new VHS tape.
    AVI is like TV, FREE
    MP3 is like radio, FREE
    *** will be just like DRM only FREE

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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