Vista's Video DRM Is Deeply Rooted and Troubling

The DRM controls built into Microsoftis Vista are both rooted very deeply into the operating system and troubling to to some, according to a Wired blog post. Special hardware interfaces are required to play "Premium Content," and all that protection incurs considerable costs in CPU performance and stability.

Of particular interest was a link to a deeply technical and wide ranging analysis of the DRM in Vista by Peter Gutmann. Basically, Vista comprises a dream platform for Hollywood in which pervasive DRM provides Microsoft and its partners with a new monopoly on content distribution.

Peter Gutmann went on to explain the effects: "These issues affect not only users of Vista but the entire PC industry, since the effects of the protection measures extend to cover all hardware and software that will ever come into contact with Vista, even if itis not used directly with Vista (for example hardware in a Macintosh computer or on a Linux server)."

Mr. Jobsi recent suggestion that music DRM should go away could have much larger implications. Microsoft has given itself and Hollywood, ostensibly, complete control of the PC when it comes to Video IP. This will make PCs more difficult and complex to use, but in the long run, Microsoftis concessions, which it didnit have to make, will affect Hollywoodis perceptions of what they can expect to achieve with both Apple and Microsoft in terms of protecting their IP.

As Mr. Jobs recently pointed out, however, any DRM scheme can be broken. How long Hollywood will cling to the belief that they can lock down video content in an OS as complex as Vista, and how Apple will successfully offer a viable alternative will be interesting to watch.

[Update: This article was edited for clarity. - Editor]