Friday, January 05, 2007

Vista testers get TV blackout

Here's a wonderful example of how Microsoft Vista is going to bring the reality and insanity of DRM and remote corporate control of consumer gadgets to the masses, in a way which no amount of networked insider technobabble could ever do. It may well also generate enough stink to send DRM into temporary extinction.

"Some people testing Microsoft's Windows Vista got an unexpected holiday surprise: their TVs stopped working.

Media Center, which is included in the Home Premium and Ultimate versions of the Vista operating system, allows remote-control access to a variety of entertainment options, including television, for machines that have a TV tuner.

However, for those running the "release candidate 1" version of the software--the most broadly distributed of the Vista test versions--the TV feature stopped working on December 31.

Microsoft blamed the issue on the fact that it has a paid license for the video decoder and Dolby sound technology, and it only licensed those through December 31."

If Microsoft or anyone else start interfering with TV signals those of us who have been rambling on about the problems with these technologies for years will finally, through no fault of our own, see the message register on the radar of Joe and Jo Public.

Sony fined by French court over DRM

I hear from Cedric Manara, via the CyberlawEU list that a French court of first instance has fined Sony UK and Sony France for illegal business practices in connection with DRM on proprietary ATRAC 3 format music files which they sell via a Connect website. The files only play on Sony equipment and the court held that the company had not made this clear to customers and that this tying practice was in breach of the French Consumer code, article L. 122-1.