I can't separate the DRM hype from the facts, so I'm appealing to you.
June 12, 2006 11:00 AM   Subscribe

What are the possible DRM consequences of upgrading to Windows Media Player 10 and/or Windows Media Center Edition?

Look, I'm a bad person, ok? I have a collection of music and television (no movies, though!) that I did not purchase. Some files are ripped from friends CDs, but many came from the unsavory networks of the late nineties. In addition, I still bittorrent television shows.

My system uses a large television as a monitor, so I'd like to have more control from afar, and most of the devices I've encountered are only compatible with Media Center. I have been considering upgrading for some time now, but I have been worried about possible DRM issues. Moreover, I don't generally use Windows Media Player 9, as Winamp is mostly sufficient. However, I've run into some instances where it seems like it would help. (With WMP 11 in beta, I'm also worried about that 9 will become obsolete.)

I'd appreciate some input from current and former pirates on this matter. Avast! Will Digital Rights Management software paralyze my system?
posted by anotherpanacea to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Best answer: I guess you are asking will they 'know' that you didnt aquire the content legally? The answer to that is a big NO. There is no way for Media Player or Media Center to know where you got content, and if you did it legally via fair use or not.

MCE and WMP will honor the content restrictions that providers put on their materiel, but it wont try to guess at the provenence of the content that you bring to it.

Anything that you bring to the machine will continue to play no problem.
posted by stupidcomputernickname at 11:17 AM on June 12, 2006

I'd agree with the chap before: you should have no problems.

You might want to download VLC Player - it copes with much more than any other player I've found does. But, a file wiped clean of DRM will always remain wiped clean of DRM, whatever you do with it.
posted by jamescridland at 12:29 PM on June 12, 2006

Response by poster: So basically, if I purchase something with Digital Copyrights, I can't distribute it. But if I download an episode of Lost on bittorrent, even after the switch, neither WMP nor MCE will care? (I don't understand the complaint about TV downloads, since it's broadcast, anyway. In HiDef, no less. Sure, torrenters cut the commercials, but that's the same as TiVo.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:52 PM on June 12, 2006

right....if you buy something from Napster or Urge or Buy.com or musicnow or msn music or whatever, you wont be able to copy it to other computer except within the framework of the DRM decisions made by the company that you purchase the song from. If you record a TV show using Media Center, you will be able to move alll of it around, watch it on different machines, etc except for content that the content provider (not Microsoft) says that you shouldnt be able to move.

The only TV shows that I have seen that get copy protected are HBO. None of the major networks copy protect their content so far.

The key to all of this is that the people who supply the content are the ones who make the decision on what is allowed, not Microsoft.
posted by stupidcomputernickname at 3:42 PM on June 12, 2006

DRM currently punishes legitimate purchasers by restricting how they can use what they bought, but MS has shown signs of moving towards a system that requires a license for everything, to the point where it assumes that consumers can't possibly also be content creators.

You would do well to find a remote control option that works with VLC or mplayer. I use a PocketPC with VNC over WiFi.
posted by krisjohn at 4:05 PM on June 12, 2006

And for Music listening needs there's one software that is way powerfull than all others : foobar2000

It may appear dull as you install it, but with a little learning how to handle its preferences, you can get it to look as my layout

Or if you are really lazy you can use the foobar2000 version of indietorrent
posted by zouhair at 6:28 PM on June 12, 2006

Response by poster: This foobar sounds suspicious. "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition," eh?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:52 PM on June 12, 2006

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