At the end of April at the WinHEC 2005 developers´ conference Microsoft intends to furnish further details on the copy protection functions of the successor to Windows XP Longhorn, which is planned for 2006.
The preliminary WinHEC 2005 Master List of Tracks and Sessions under the heading Media Advances for the Windows PC Architecture lists a number of events dealing with the form of control of use known as Digital Rights Management (DRM). One of these track sessions will, for instance, be concerned with the Protected Media Path (PMP), which is to be established for media data in Longhorn PCs. A Protected Environment (PE), whilst providing a Protected Video Path (PVP) and Protected User Mode Audio (PUMA), will enforce defined requirements on hardware drivers (for TV or graphics cards, say). These channels are to be proof against data theft by rogue software. PUMA runs in the PE, with the PVP even encrypting data transfer to the graphics card over the PCI Express Port (AES 128). A PC´s outlets – in the case of video signals the outlet of the graphics card – are also integrated into the output protection management concept (OPM). Here Microsoft mentions known output protection schemes such as HDCP, Macrovision or CGMS-A, but also speaks of artificial resolution constrictors. According to Microsoft “significant hardware features must be implemented in graphics chips for Windows Longhorn to support PVP and OPM, with additional larger implications for the drivers.” The longer term project PAP is to introduce audio encryption all the way to the audio codec chips. [Heise Online]
With this heavy blow to “fair use,” which in the near future will be non-existent, will Linux developers buck the system? In other words, will no-name PC hardware vendors sell non-DRM compliant products to run on Linux? And will software gurus create programs that will bypass copy-protection, in lieu of what the content producers want imposed? Hmmm… my guess the battle is about to heat up. And if my prediction of a Linux counter movement comes into being, get ready for a mass exodus from Microsoft and Apple (because you know they’re secretly working on a similar scheme).
Filed in: Industry Buzz