New Yorkers For Fair Use

© Copyright for the Digital Millennium
Microsoft Attacks Fair Use

Microsoft plans to undermine Fair Use as part of Windows XP

During the testimony on the DMCA at the Library of Congress, the Motion Picture Industry made the point that the aproached the budding computer industry about copyright protections in hardware and software. The industry, especially Microsoft, didn't give the movie mongels the priority that they wanted.

Today, in the wake of Napstar hysteria, things have largley changed. Microsoft has produced a two point attach on fair use. First, they propose moving the operating system off the computer. You will have to lease the OS from MIcrosoft by the minute and they will store all your information and control the computer.

The second thing the are planning is to cripple the OS in regards to MP3 files.

The whole thing can best be summed up as put by Jamie McCarthy on Slashdot:

Re:cracked in 5 seconds

(Score:5, Insightful) by jamiemccarthy ( on Thursday April 12, @08:54AM EST (User #4847 Info)

"somebody will make a program that rips cd's into a weird new extensions like .FMS (fuck microsoft) instead of .mp3 stupid winxp will not realize what's going on..."

WinXP will be leased, not bought. It will contact a server at Microsoft headquarters every n days to confirm whether it needs "system updates" or not. And if your net connection is down for more than k days, your system will refuse to run, so don't think you can just pull the ethernet jack and use a (crippled) system.

If a program to use your .FMS extension ever gets more than 1,000 users, Microsoft will patch the operating system to exclude it, and within a few days your workaround will stop working.

This will happen back and forth a few times until 99% of the userbase gets thoroughly sick of it and uses whatever format Microsoft makes it easy to use. Ease-of-use, slow and steady, wins the race.

Don't think Microsoft will zap out your program from Redmond? Think DirecTV. They own the operating system from boot to shutdown. No matter how clever you are, they will take your program down remotely.

That's the short-term fix. In the long-term, 5 to 10 years, you will find that Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers will team up to create an audio standard which requires you to know a secret key to put data to your computer's speakers. If you don't apply to Microsoft for a special license, your program will be unable to make noise -- without going through Microsoft's API, of course, which will make only noises guaranteed not to infringe copyright, like boops, beeps, or files stored in whatever format Microsoft makes it easy to use.

Enterprising hackers will of course find and steal secret keys, so that they can release freeware MP3 players that run on Windows. But again, as soon as these programs get popular enough to show up on Microsoft's radar, the operating system will download the new patches which specifically forbid these programs from working.

Try to understand. Microsoft's eventual plan is that you will not own your computer anymore. They will own your computer, and lease its use to you on very specific licensing terms. Their long-term goal is that people who try to use their computers like Turing machines, thinking they can make them do anything they want, will go to jail.

Jamie McCarthy

This is a Wall Street Journal Article on Microsofts business strategy in this matter.
This is a Rueters Article on Microsofts business strategy in this matter.