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.”