April 2nd, 2002, 09:07 PM
MS Patent, and CBDTPA
I heard of this patent, when a few News Sites talked about it. That was several months ago now. I had forgotten all about it, until I saw this story. Makes ya think, if more people are behind this CBDTPA/SSSCA bill than just the MPAA/RIAA.
CBDTPA is hand-in-glove with new Microsoft patent
The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act proposed two weeks ago by
Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) appears to require technology patented by Microsoft Corporation last December.
The bill requires that government-approved anti-piracy features be included in a range of electronic devices, including but not limited to computers. Microsoft's patent, filed January 8, 1999 and granted December 11, 2001, covers such technology.
Additionally, the Microsoft patent provides for processors that would run only Microsoft software, and then only under the control of Microsoft. The Hollings bill, S. 2048, would provide criminal penalties for that which Microsoft's patent seeks to prevent technologically.
The marketplace, Hollings contends, has failed to protect itself from piracy.
"Current agreements reached in the marketplace to include security technologies in certain digital media devices fail to provide a secure digital environment because those agreements do not prevent the continued use and manufacture of digital media devices that fail to incorporate such security technologies," the bill contends.
In its patent application, Microsoft, too, claimed anti-piracy as its motive:
"There appear to be three solutions to this problem. One solution is to do away with general-purpose computing devices and use special-purpose tamper-resistant boxes for delivery, storage, and display of secure content. This is the approach adopted by the cable industry and their set-top boxes, and looks set to be the model for DVD-video presentation. The second solution is to use secret, proprietary data formats and applications software, or to use tamper-resistant software containers, in the hope that the resulting complexity will substantially impede piracy. The third solution is to modify the general-purpose computer to support a general model of client-side content security and digital rights management.
"This invention is directed to a system and methodology that falls generally into the third category of solutions."
In its next paragraph, the company talks of the importance of the computer controlling what software can be run on it:
"A fundamental building block for client-side content security is a secure operating system. If a computer can be booted only into an operating system that itself honors content rights, and allows only compliant applications to access rights-restricted data, then data integrity within the machine can be assured. This stepping-stone to a secure operating system is sometimes called 'Secure Boot.' If secure boot cannot be assured, then whatever rights management system the secure OS provides, the computer can always be booted into an insecure operating system as a step to compromise it."
The patent having been granted, "secure boot" technology now must take place under license from Microsoft. And it applies to almost any microprocessor-based device, according to the filing:
"Moreover, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention may be practiced with other computer system configurations, including hand-held devices, multiprocessor systems, microprocessor-based or programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, and the like. The invention may also be practiced in distributed computing environments where tasks are performed by remote processing devices that are linked through a communications network. In a distributed computing environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices."
Microsoft's method involves assigning a public-key encryption pair to each microprocessor, which would refuse to run software that did not properly authenticate itself.
The Hollings bill would require that all new digital equipment carry anti-piracy protection of the type that Microsoft has now patented. It is chiefly aimed at propping up the motion picture and recording industries, who claim they are suffering due to unauthorized copying of their digital products. On the computer software side, it would effectively ban Linux and other free and open-source software products. The bill provides that the government approve whatever is the industry standard for such hardware copy protection at the time the legislation is passed. Microsoft has been effective in dictating standards in its areas of interest.
Hollings, who voted in favor of campaign finance reform when it came up for Senate vote last month, has received more than $600,000 from the communications and electronics industry, second only to the $1.33 million he received from lawyers and lobbyists during the current Senatorial election cycle, according to the authoritative Opensecrets.org. Additionally, the television, music, and motion picture industries have donated twice as much to Democrats in the House and Senate as thay have to Republicans, according to Opensecrets figures.
Political observers will not find this disparity in donation unsurprising. Hollywood has been vocal in its support of Democratic Party causes; indeed, the President of the Motion Picture Association of America, Jack Valenti, served as a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson for media concerns.
Co-sponsors of the Hollings bill are Sens. Ted Stevens (R-AK), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Breaux (D-LA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
To the relief of users of Linux and other free and open-source software products, Hollings's bill seems unlikely even to reach a Senate vote this session. Were it to do so, its chances of House passage are dim. In remarks addressed to an earlier version of the Hollings proposal called the SSSCA, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), said the Hollings legislation would be "dead on arrival," and would not even make it through the House Judiciary Committee, on which Issa serves. Contacted by Linux and Main in light of the newly named bill and the Microsoft patent, a spokeswoman for Issa said that the Congressman sees no reason to alter his appraisal of the legislation's chances, though Issa would additionally look at the patent issue.
The patent, with or without accompanying legislation, is likely to provide a further stumbling block to Linux in both PC and embedded markets, should processor makers buy in to Microsoft-licensed encryption. The legislation, combined with the patent, could make the situation for free and open- source software advocates very grave indeed.
April 2nd, 2002, 09:19 PM
So M$ has senators in their pocket? Say it ain't so.......anyway.
Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
- Samuel Johnson
April 2nd, 2002, 09:40 PM
"The bill requires that government-approved anti-piracy features be included in a range of electronic devices, including but not limited to computers. Microsoft's patent, filed January 8, 1999 and granted December 11, 2001, covers such technology."
Would you buy a computer with built in anti-piracy features? I know I wouldn’t. Also why buy one senators when you can buy 10?
Its not software piracy. I’m just making multiple off site backups.
April 2nd, 2002, 11:37 PM
Looks like a solution in search of a problem
"There appear to be three solutions to this problem. One solution is to do away with general-purpose computing devices and use special-purpose tamper-resistant boxes for delivery, storage, and display of secure content. This is the approach adopted by the cable industry and their set-top boxes, and looks set to be the model for DVD-video presentation. The second solution is to use secret, proprietary data formats and applications software, or to use tamper-resistant software containers, in the hope that the resulting complexity will substantially impede piracy. The third solution is to modify the general-purpose computer to support a general model of client-side content security and digital rights management
Orwell would have loved this.
I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.