Microsoft on DRM, Content Protection, and PVP-OPM

Last week I posted My Views on Microsoft, DRM, and Content Protection (PVP-OPM).  I wanted to get my personal opinion on the issue out before I had a chance to read exactly what Microsoft was thinking.  I now have my reply from Microsoft about Digital Rights Management in Windows and technologies like PVP-OPM that will appear in Windows Vista.


Microsoft: “Our fundamental goal governing our content protection efforts is to ensure that “content flows”.  This requires coordination across multiple – and intimately related – dimensions, including:


  • Content owners making their content available
  • Services delivering the content using business rules that create incentives for the content owners
  • Consumers finding content they value and that is available on reasonable terms
  • Device manufacturers supporting the technology (DRM, codecs, etc) that provides flexibility and portability – which is what makes digital content so unique and desirable for consumers

As a platform provider, we provide the technology that allows these partners to test and implement new business models and scenarios.  It remains up to “the market” to determine the equilibrium that drives any free-enterprise system.  We are thrilled to see the PC becoming more widely used as an entertainment medium, and we are committed to ensuring that new premium content flows to the PC in the future.  Next-generation DVD content is a fantastic opportunity to offer even greater value to Windows users – so obviously we’d like consumers to have the choice of viewing next-gen DVDs on their PC.  These DVDs may specify policies around how this premium content is handled (such as supporting HDCP) as it’s transmitted to the monitor.  Any device – whether it be a PC or consumer electronic device – will need to ensure compliance with the specified policies otherwise they risk being unable to access the next-gen DVD content.  Clearly we think that offering next-gen DVD content on the PC is much preferable to having the PC excluded from accessing this premium content, so we’re working on things like Protected Media Path – Output Protection Management (PVP-OPM) to ensure that Windows users have the option of enjoying content they’ve never seen on the PC before.


These policies would only apply to premium content – where piracy concerns could preclude delivering high quality digital files “in the clear” as they are transmitted to the monitor.   This would be enabled by content owners at their discretion.  It is worth noting that PVP-OPM will not impact content that is available today, and that any Longhorn PC (Vista PC) will be able to play next-gen DVD content provided it is connected to a compliant monitor.  PCs can already connect to many plasma and LCD TV displays that are already compliant, and we’ll be working closely with our PC industry partners to ensure they don’t miss out on this opportunity as well.”

6 thoughts on “Microsoft on DRM, Content Protection, and PVP-OPM

  1. So is MS saying that they are developing the tech for the protection and that the Media industry decides if we will be able store that media in digital form and if so the media industry will also decide if we can stream it throughout our homes and portalble devices?

  2. Basically, yes. There DRM system for Windows (WMRM) allows for a host of different rights. From Subscription, Rental, Video-on-Demand, PPV, purchase, etc. The content owners can set the rights for you to play it on all PC’s you own, 10 PCs, 5 PC’s, unlimited transfers to portable devices, etc, etc. It’s very flexibly

    At the same time, Microsoft has a lot of interest in providing you with more fair-use for your media, the AACS is still my best example of that.

  3. This is rather clever, of course, because MS is saying "We’re just providing the guns and bullets, we’re not responsible if people shoot other people"–an argument which is actually quite convincing.

    However, that is not the whole reality. To extend the analogy further, because the MPAA actively desires this technology to limit the rights of consumers from what they are today and in effect restrict fair use, and because MS has stated implicitly that those intentions are valid (by taking for granted that content will not be released), the analogy becomes ‘supplying guns and bullets when the stated and only purpose is to shoot other people.’

    I apologize if this is an extreme analogy, but my point is that MS’s decision is still predicated on a situation where the end users are assumed to deserve a voice.

  4. For what it’s worth, if we’re going to start bashing Microsoft for supporting HDMI, we also need to start *equally* bashing Intel, other chipset makers, HDD makers, DVD-player makers, monitor makers, sound card makers, and everyone else who has decided to support HDMI.

    Microsoft had, basically, two choices regarding the HDMI blackmail: (a) Not support HDMI, thus preventing anyone from viewing HDMI content on a Windows machine, ever, or (b) Support it, leaving the blackmail issue up to the end user.

    I’ll be interested to see how Apple responds, for example.

  5. Restrictions set by the broadcaster or originator of the content prohibit playback of the program on this computer.

    Vista Media Center will not let you watch or record your TV shows so don’t bother buying it.

    This should be spread far and wide, shouted from every rooftop.
    If you buy Vista for the Media Center, you will be out of luck.
    I am so tired of this crap it isn’t funny, and it should be made a giant problem for Microsoft as well.
    Maybe, maybe the bottom line would be affected enough that this problem would go away or at least be relaxed.
    Vista Breaks the DRM over the simplest of things.
    Add a new Audio card, reinstall.
    Change the amount of time for your PC to go to sleep, reinstall; this completely is insane

    I am usually a supporter on MS products but if the new Vista goes on the market they should be sued.

    Every time I change a setting or ad a new piece of hardware on my system it breaks the DRM and I am locked out of viewing my TV stations with Media Center, and have to start all over again.
    Why put up with the headaches?
    Why not just circumvent the DRM Flags?
    I should not have to resort to this, but I am constantly being locked out of viewing content that I have paid to view already.
    Yes I have a device that will allow me to circumvent the flag and will not hesitate to use it, thus making me a criminal
    Thanks MS for making me a criminal.
    When will this DRM madness end?
    Only when the bottom line of these insane, greedy dinosaurs are affected.
    The quality that we have now is just fine for me so when it comes to resorting to something with out DRM and something with I will take the later any day.
    Blue Ray? ROTFLMAO.
    What piece of garbage movie has been put out by the studios that warrants the price of this garbage?
    I guarantee that those things if not hacked and copied already, will be so shortly and will be selling on the streets of China and elsewhere: Business as usual.

    It was decided a long time ago with the VCR that we had the right to record our TV programming and now they are trying this crap again with the HTPC.
    As far as I know, all attempts at making this illegal have been struck down and they are now going against a court decision.
    But of course they will hide behind the License Agreements and say you agreed with this when you installed or purchased the product.
    People are going to buy this and not know, as it will be sold as the next big thing since sliced bread only to later discover they have been screwed and misled.

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