wwphx writes "According to Wired, 'German researchers have created a new DRM feature that changes the text and punctuation of an e-book ever so slightly. Called SiDiM, which Google translates to 'secure documents by individual marking,' the changes are unique to each e-book sold. These alterations serve as a digital watermark that can be used to track books that have had any other DRM layers stripped out of them before being shared online. The researchers are hoping the new DRM feature will curb digital piracy by simply making consumers paranoid that they'll be caught if they share an e-book illicitly.' I seem to recall reading about this in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, when Jack Ryan used this technique to identify someone who was leaking secret documents. It would be so very difficult for someone to write a little program that, when stripping the DRM, randomized a couple of pieces of punctuation to break the hash that the vendor is storing along with the sales record of the individual book."
Vigile writes "It looks like the rumors were true; AMD is going to be selling an FX-9590 processor this month that will hit frequencies as high as 5 GHz. Though originally thought to be an 8-module/16-core part, it turns out that the new CPU will have the same 4-module/8-core design that is found on the current lineup of FX-series processors including the FX-8350. But, with an increase of the maximum Turbo Core speed from 4.2 GHz to 5.0 GHz, the new parts will draw quite a bit more power. You can expect the the FX-9590 to need 220 watts or so to run at those speeds and a pretty hefty cooling solution as well. Performance should closely match the recently released Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell processor so AMD users that can handle the 2.5x increase in power consumption can finally claim performance parity."
Tackhead writes "E3 is turning into Bizarro World this year. Sony has not only promised that the PS4 will support used games without an online connection, they trolled the Xbox folks hard with this Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video. Compounding the silliness, and hot on the heels of the political firestorm surrounding Donglegate, Microsoft went for rape jokes during their Xbox presentation." Similarly, onyxruby writes "The Verge covers how Sony has crafted policies explicitly to make the PS4 consumer friendly to the public. They make the case that the PS4 will be superior in nearly every way [to the Xbox Next] by not requiring an Internet connection, not restricting used games, supporting indie developers and selling for $100 cheaper than the Xbox One." And if you're interested in the guts rather than the policies or the politics, Hot Hardware has a comparison of the internals of both of these new offerings.
Following the confusion surrounding Microsoft's announcement of the Xbox One, the company has now clarified many of the hot-button issues in a set of posts on their official site. First, they confirmed that the console will need to phone home in order to continue playing games. On your primary console, you'd need to connect to the internet and check in once every 24 hours. They also announced that you'll be able to access and play any of your games by logging in on somebody else's console, but the internet connection will be required every hour to keep playing that way. Other media don't require the connection. Microsoft also explained how game licensing will work. On the upside, anyone using your console will be able to play your games, and you can share your games with up to 10 members of your family for free. The downside is the news about used games; Microsoft says they've "designed Xbox One so game publishers can enable you to trade in your games at participating retailers." The key word there is can, which implies that you can't without the publisher's express permission. Finally, the company made a set of statements about how Kinect's audio and video sensors will collect and share your data. "When Xbox One is on and you're simply having a conversation in your living room, your conversation is not being recorded or uploaded." They also say data gathered during normal use won't leave the console without your explicit permission.
Presto Vivace writes "In a blog post, danps explains how the music industry initially thought that the Internet meant that people wanted their music for free. In 2003 Apple persuaded the industry to use an online music store with DRM. But DRM just does not work for consumers, so by 2011 online music stores were DRM-free. Sadly, the book industry has not learned these lessons. And there are larger lessons for the gadget industry: 'The tech industry right now is churning out lots of different devices, operating systems and form factors in an attempt to get the One True Gadget — the thing you'll take with you everywhere and use for everything. That's a lovely aspiration, but I don't see it happening. What I see instead is people wanting to only carry around one thing at a time, and rotating through several: Smart phone for everyday use, tablet for the beach, laptop for the road, etc. If you can't get the book you paid for on each of those devices, it's a pain. As a reader I want to be able to put a book on everything as soon as I buy it so I always have a local (non-Internet dependent) copy — no matter which thing I run out of the house with.'"
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a formal objection to the inclusion of DRM in HTML5, saying that a draft proposal from the W3C could hurt innovation and block access to people around the world. From their press page: '"This proposal stands apart from all other aspects of HTML standardization: it defines a new 'black box' for the entertainment industry, fenced off from control by the browser and end-user," said EFF International Director Danny O'Brien. "While this plan might soothe Hollywood content providers who are scared of technological evolution, it could also create serious impediments to interoperability and access for all."'
DeviceGuru writes "BeagleBoard.org has begun shipping its faster, cheaper BeagleBone Black SBC with a new Linux 3.8 kernel, supporting Device Tree technology for more streamlined ARM development. The $45 BeagleBone Black runs Linux or Android on a 1GHz TI Sitara AM3359 SOC, doubles the RAM to 512MB of its predecessor, and adds a micro-HDMI port. The updated kernel gives the BeagleBone Black access to a new Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) display driver architecture, as well as full support for the Device Tree data structure introduced to streamline ARM development in Linux 3.7. The project was hesitant to move up to such a recent kernel, but decided it was time to bite the bullet and support the Device Tree. By doing the hard work of switching to Device Tree now, BeagleBoard.org and its developer community can save a lot of configuration and maintenance headaches down the line, says BeagleBoard.org co-founder Jason Kridner. Fortunately, a modified 3.2 kernel 'coming soon' should provide the necessary bridge from the old cape driver architecture to the new one."
An anonymous reader writes "The Xbox One was revealed earlier, and Kotaku was able to get some answers about the always-online rumors that plagued the console before its announcement. Microsoft VP Phil Harrison said Xbox One doesn't need a constant connection in order to play games, and you won't be dropped from single-player games if your connection cuts out. However, it does require check-ins with Microsoft servers. This echoes the Xbox One FAQ, which cryptically says, "No, it does not have to be always connected, but Xbox One does require a connection to the Internet." The number Harrison gave was once every 24 hours, but Microsoft's PR department was quick to say that was just one potential scenario, not a certainty. Microsoft also provided half-answers about how used games and game sharing would work. Players will be able to take a game to a friend's house and play it (using their profile, at least). Players will also have some mechanism to trade and sell used games, but it's not yet clear exactly how it would work. If one player uses a disc to install a game on their Xbox One, then gives the disc to a friend, the friend will be able to install it, but needs to pay full price to play it. That scenario, however, assumes both players want to own the game — the second one would essentially be a unique copy. Microsoft said they have a plan for trading used games, which would involve deactivating the game on the original owner's console, but they aren't willing to elaborate yet." Several publications have hands-on reports with the new hardware: Engadget, Ars Technica, Gizmodo.
Underholdning writes "DRM is coming to HTML5. The W3C published a working draft yesterday of the framework that will support the use of DRM-protected media. Ars Technica's Peter Bright reports on it with an article claiming that DRM in HTML5 is a victory for the open web, not a defeat. Bright argues that if HTML5 does not support DRM, then content providers will move their content away from open standards and implement it with native apps — abandoning the web in the process. Quoting: 'Keeping it out of W3C might have been a moral victory, but its practical implications would sit between slim and none. It doesn't matter if browsers implement "W3C EME" or "non-W3C EME" if the technology and its capabilities are identical. ... Deprived of the ability to use browser plugins, protected content distributors are not, in general, switching to unprotected media. Instead, they're switching away from the Web entirely. Want to send DRM-protected video to an iPhone? "There's an app for that." Native applications on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 can all implement DRM, with some platforms, such as Android and Windows 8, even offering various APIs and features to assist this.'"
Ars reports on an international treaty being negotiated that would relax restrictions on versions of books made to be more accessible to blind people. Unfortunately, the MPAA and similar organizations have been lobbying aggressively to have the treaty strengthen copyright protections as well, and could derail the entire process. Quoting: "In principle, the digital revolution should have dramatically improved blind peoples' access to the world's information. ... Unfortunately, copyright law often stands in the way. Legal restrictions on circumventing digital rights management (DRM) technologies can limit the accessibility of e-books. And in some countries, libraries and other non-profits must seek permission from the creator of each work before producing accessible versions of books in other formats. Getting permission is a laborious process that, in practice, means that only a small fraction of available works is ever converted into accessible formats. ... The pending WIPO treaty would change that. It has two core goals that everyone we talked to supports in principle: requiring countries to enact an exception for blind people similar to America's Chaffee Amendment and allowing nonprofit organizations that help blind people to share accessible works across international borders. ... Negotiators had already excluded audiovisual works from the treaty in order to placate the movie studios. But to the frustration of treaty advocates, Hollywood has gotten involved in the negotiations anyway."
An anonymous reader writes with news on Coursera partnering with publishers to give students access to more textbooks. From the article: "Online learning startup Coursera on Wednesday announced a partnership with Chegg, a student hub for various educational tools and materials, as well as five publishers to offer students free textbooks during their courses. Professors teaching courses on Coursera have previously only been able to assign content freely available on the Web, but as of today they will also be able to provide an even wider variety of curated teaching and learning materials at no cost to the student." Zero cost, but not without cost: "Starting today, publishers Cengage Learning, Macmillan Higher Education,Oxford University Press SAGE, and Wiley will experiment with offering versions of their e-textbooks, delivered via Chegg’s DRM-protected e-Reader, to Coursera students. We are also actively discussing pilot agreements and related alliances with Springer and other publishers. ... The publisher content will be free and available for enrolled students for the duration of the class. If you wish to use the e-textbook before or after the course, they will be available for purchase."
jrepin writes "Digital restrictions management (DRM) creates damaged goods that users cannot control or use freely. It requires users to give-up control of their computers and restricts access to digital data and media. Device manufacturers and corporate copyrights holders have already been massively infecting their products with user-hostile DRM. Tablets, mobile phones and other minicomputers are sold with numerous restrictions embedded that cripple users freedom. The proposal at table in W3C to put DRM into HTML goes even further. Fight it: use today's today is international Day Against DRM, so spread the word and make yourself heard!" The EFF suggests making every day a day against DRM.
centre21 writes "Having been on Slashdot for several years, I've seen a lot of articles concerning DRM. What's most interesting to me are the number of comments condemning DRM outright and calling for the abolishing DRM with all due prejudice. The question I have for the community: is there ever a time when DRM is justified? My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation. How would those who are opposed to DRM ensure that artists will get just compensation for their works if there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from simply digitally copying a work (be it music, movie or book) and giving it away to anyone who wants it? Because, in my eyes, when people stop getting paid for what they do, they'll stop doing it. Many of my friends and family are in the arts, and let me assure you, one of the things they fear most isn't censorship, it's (in their words), 'Some kid freely distributing my stuff and eliminating my source of income.' And I can see their point. So I reiterate, to those who vehemently oppose DRM, is there ever a time where DRM can be a force for good, or can they offer an alternative that would prevent the above from happening?"
An anonymous reader writes "The new Xbox is almost here and the details appear to strongly suggest 'always on' is the way forward. We all know that this is an artificial requirement and certainly there are plenty of people on all sides of the table. To paraphrase the user 'tuffy' who commented on this issue at Ars Technica recently; if you're trying to sell 'always online' as a feature of the future, there needs to be some benefit for me the customer. There is not one. Or, rather, there is no sign yet of any actual clearly compelling reason why any end user would support this limitation to their purchase. So, what's the best way to express this? Spend your money on an Ouya? Contact the Xbox team? These are all valid options but they also lack visibility. What we need is a way that could help actually quantify the levels of discontent in the gamer community. Maybe E3 attendees could turn their backs in protest like some did during Thatcher's funeral procession. Or gamers could sign some useless petition. What do Slashdotters think? Is the upcoming Steam box a reasonable plan? As a gamer, I'm of two minds about the whole thing. I really don't like it but I may roll over eventually and join the herd because I could get used to it. Then again part of me is rankled by this slow erosion of access to me and my data."
kxra writes "The Free Culture Foundation has posted a thorough response to the most common and misinformed defenses of the W3C's Extended Media Extensions (EME) proposal to inject DRM into HTML5. They join the EFF and FSF in a call to send a strong message to the W3C that DRM in HTML5 undermines the W3C's self-stated mission to make the benefits of the Web 'available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.' The FCF counters the three most common myths by unpacking some quotes which explain that 1.) DRM is not about protecting copyright. That is a straw man. DRM is about limiting the functionality of devices and selling features back in the form of services. 2.) DRM in HTML5 doesn't obsolete proprietary, platform-specific browser plug-ins; it encourages them. 3.) the Web doesn't need big media; big media needs the Web." Also: the FSF has announced that a coalition of 27 web freedom organizations have sent a joint letter to the W3C opposing DRM support in HTML5.
I've been really, really excited about digital video distribution lately: first Netflix greenlights jms's return to science fiction TV, and then Amazon announces their new pilots. Perhaps the decade long dearth of any good television is nearing its end! So, with that in mind, I finished up editing Slashdot for the day and sat down to watch some of these new pilots. Only to discover that Amazon has taken away my ability to watch entirely in the name of Digital Restrictions Management.
itwbennett writes "Amazon sent out a press release over the weekend announcing that the pilots for their original shows 'held 8 spots on the list of 10 most streamed Amazon VOD episodes.' So blogger and entertainment junkie Peter Smith decided to spend a couple of hours seeing if they were worth watching. He managed to sit through 4 of the 8 comedy shows and found a mixed bag — one a clear miss, two meh, and one he'd like to see turned into a series. Have you watched any of the pilots? What did you think?" The quality of these the pilots is not the only way they're a mixed bag: for many Linux users, they're simply not watchable. Watch soon for unknown_lamer's screed on the fat lot of good(will) Amazon is generating by making it harder to legally get these shows.
FuzzNugget writes "In a recent blog post, Netflix details their plans to transition from Silverlight to HTML5, but with one caveat: HTML5 needs to include a built-in DRM scheme. With the W3C's proposed Encrypted Media Extensions, this may come to fruition. But what would we sacrificing in openness and the web as we know it? How will developers of open source browsers like Firefox respond to this?"