Friday, November 08, 2013

Another example of why I hate DRM (Digital Rights Management)

Microsoft protected content playback. I tried to play some Netflix content on my computer. The Silverlight plugin complained and wouldn't do it. Something about the DRM not working and the date on my computer being wrong (it wasn't).

I tried rebooting to no effect. Then I realized that I have Windows 8 and as a result, could use the Netflix app that I had installed when I switched to Windows 8. I logged in and tried to play the content. It wouldn't let me. Went on about there being a problem with my audio driver. Windows offered to fix it for me.

It couldn't. I will give Microsoft credit for one thing. They offered to fix the problem through a tweak in the Windows registry and restarting the aaudiosrv service. That actually fixed the problem, but what I realized is that the only way I could get Netflix to run on my computer was to disable the audio DRM functionality of Windows (that's what I had effectively done).

So here we go again. Damned DRM messing up my computing experience. How would a consumer have figured that out? They would have just given up and assumed they cannot run Netflix on their computer.

So what's this particular DRM all about? A few years back, Microsoft agreed to do something the entertainment industry asked for. Namely, they asked Microsoft to make it so that Windows would not be allowed to make live copies of content being watched or listened to on the PC. What this results in is that if your hardware doesn't meet the DRM standard or the DRM software is broken or it seems you are attempting to record what you're watching digitally, Windows refuses to play the content.

In other words, the entertainment industry owns your computer.


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