by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 14th 2008 11:49am
And here we go again with rumors about questionable DRM tactics involving Microsoft and NBC Universal. Just days after a (later denied, after first being confirmed) report that Microsoft was going to put a "copyright cop" into Zune devices, users of Microsoft's Vista Media Center were upset to find that they were unable to record certain NBC Universal television shows earlier this week. Instead, they received error messages reading: "Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator prohibit recording of this program." That would suggest, at the very least, that Microsoft's Media Center does allow content broadcasters to block shows from being recorded -- even if it turns out that they didn't block these particular shows on purpose. My guess is that this was an accident in this case, because it would be quite surprising to find out that NBC Universal and Microsoft would do this officially without any kind of announcement. However, given that other DVR systems out there do not have any such restrictions, this should serve as yet another reason not to trust Microsoft and its DRM efforts. Update: Some folks in the comments reminded us that TiVo had a similar problem a year and a half ago, which was equally problematic. There are still other DVR offerings out there that do not include these "features."
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