DRM

Apple HDTV rumors resurface as Apple secure digital TV IP

Apple HDTV rumors resurface as Apple secure digital TV IP

Apple has quietly licensed IP belonging to digital content protection and media information specialists Rovi, according to a document filed by the company, prompting analyst speculation that the Cupertino firm is still working on an HDTV with integrated Apple TV.  Rovi is responsible for much of the program guide and copy protection technology used in cable set-top boxes and online media portals, and in recent years has been buying up entertainment metadata firms such as Muze and All Media Guide.

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HDCP cracked confirms Intel: piracy chips predicted

HDCP cracked confirms Intel: piracy chips predicted

Intel has confirmed that the supposed HDCP master key - which can be used to unlock the anti-copy protection used on Blu-ray and other media - is legitimate, with company spokesman Tom Waldrop saying that he expects a DRM decoding chip to be the next challenge facing the content production industry.  "We have tested this published material," Waldrop told PCMag, "[and] it does produce product keys ... the net of that means that it is a circumvention of the code."

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DMCA updated: Jailbreaking, unlocking and fair-use DRM bypassing are allowed

DMCA updated: Jailbreaking, unlocking and fair-use DRM bypassing are allowed

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has been seen as a double-edged sword by many, offering small content producers a legitimate way to defend themselves against copyright theft, but also throwing into doubt things like fair-use excerpts, jailbreaking of devices like Apple's iPhone, and unlocking handsets.  Now, in a new set of exemptions pushed for by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the legal rights of those looking to do those things have been made clearer and - dare we say - more palatable.  That includes the proviso that jailbreaking a device to run an app that has been made incompatible by the handset manufacturer is fair use, as is bypassing copy protection on media (such as DVDs) to excerpt sections for derivative fair use works.

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DECE UltraViolet cross-platform DRM “digital locker” unveiled; Apple conspicuously absent

DECE UltraViolet cross-platform DRM “digital locker” unveiled; Apple conspicuously absent

The DECE (Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem) has announced its plans for cross-platform DRM that would allow digital content like movies to be stored in the cloud and then played on whichever hardware supports the system, without providers having to worry about copyright theft.  Dubbed UltraViolet, the technology has been backed by Warner Brothers, Sony, Microsoft and Netflix; however there are notable exceptions, including Apple and Disney.

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Nokia Comes With Music gets DRM-free Chinese launch

Nokia Comes With Music gets DRM-free Chinese launch

If you were to believe the hype, China is a hotbed of counterfeit software and fake products, and now Nokia are throwing Comes With Music into the mixture.  The Finns have announced that their Comes With Music service is launching - as Yue Sui Xiang - in China, with no DRM on downloaded tracks; subscriptions range from twelve months to two years, and once that period is up you can keep any songs you've downloaded from them.  Of course, thanks to the absence of DRM this time around, you're also free to load up the tracks on other media playing devices.

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Kindle, DRM & the case for an ebook Marketplace

Kindle, DRM & the case for an ebook Marketplace

Shortly before Christmas, Freescale sent me an Amazon Kindle to take a look at. On the surface, I should be the perfect audience for ebooks. I've never really invested in all that much digital music - I don't own an iPod or another manufacturers' PMP and I've only ever bought a few tracks online (and never with DRM) - instead using Spotify, the streaming music service, initially free and subsequently as a premium subscriber (which kills the ads and gives better quality audio), but I do love reading. I'd much rather read a book when travelling than listen to music, and it's books that distract me from tech before I go to sleep each night. I'm also pretty obsessive about keeping my books in pristine condition: I'm one of those bizarre people who don't like to crack the spine, and as such end up peering into a carefully spread gap.

So, voracious reader and obsessive-compulsive about book damage: ebooks, with instant Kindle download and no pesky spine to worry about, should be the ideal solution, right? As you probably guessed was coming, things haven't quite worked out that way.

Basic TV hack cuts HDCP copy-protection out of HDMI signal

Basic TV hack cuts HDCP copy-protection out of HDMI signal

Opening up your brand new HDTV and soldering wires directly to its control board takes a certain type of devil-may-care attitude, but in doing so one new owner found he could bypass HDCP.  HDCP is the often-frustrating copy-protection system that insists on a "digital handshake" between DVI/HDMI connected components; however, the InstaPort Fast HDMI Switching system in this "big brand" TV fails to re-encrypt with HDCP in-between the control board and the switcher.

Amazon 1984 ebook case settled: new remote-delete policy revealed

Amazon 1984 ebook case settled: new remote-delete policy revealed

Amazon's attempt to placate the braying crowds with a $30 kiss-and-make-up check and a grovelling apology after the deleted 1984 ebook fiasco worked with most Kindle customers, but it wasn't enough to dissuade suing student Justin Gawronski from his court case.  Amazon have now settled with the Michigan teen, to the amount of $150,000 in fact, which he will share with his legal team and a co-plaintiff; meanwhile, the retailer has taken steps to make its deletion policy clearer.

Full policy after the cut

Media Center for Windows Deserves Some Respect

Media Center for Windows Deserves Some Respect

When I first was briefed on the Media Center edition of XP by Microsoft, I thought MCE was a pretty bad idea. A lot of my skepticism had to do with the market they claimed they were going after, namely college students in dorm rooms and yuppies living in cramped apartments with no room for both TVs and PCs. Of course, college students mostly buy laptops, and no matter where you live most folks don't watch TV on a small computer monitor from across the room. The short-term market were enthusiasts who understood the value of a DVR such as a TiVo.

Over time, Microsoft tried a few approaches with MCE – from extenders to allow you to view content on other TVs in the home over your network, to creating extender technology for Xbox (which is already hooked up to a TV set) – as well as working with a host of OEMs to create "living room" form factor home theater PCs. The result of these efforts was less than a stellar success and few vendors actively build home theater PCs; these days, if a consumer uses media center they're either an enthusiast or they've tripped over it by mistake trying to do something else. That's a shame, as MCE has evolved over time to become a great technology, one that few people even know exist.

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