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Microsoft Patents DRM'ed P2P, Torrent Method

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 39 comments
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Could you imagine a Windows Live Torrent client?

Today, the whole idea of P2P file sharing scare copyright holders as it allows for the easily distribution of material. While having convenient and reliable avenues such as Hulu certainly take things in a good direction, Microsoft sees a future in DRM'ed material and P2P networks.

Microsoft has been awarded with U.S. Patent 7,639,805, which is for a "Digital rights management scheme for an on-demand distributed streaming system."

The abstract reads:

A DRM scheme that may be optionally invoked by the owner. With the DRM protection turned on, the media is encrypted before it is distributed in a P2P network, and is decrypted prior to its use (play back). The peers may still efficiently distribute and serve without authorization from the owner. Nevertheless, when the media is used (played back), the client node must seek proper authorization from the owner. The invention further provides a hierarchical DRM scheme wherein each packet of the media is associated with a different protection level. In the hierarchical DRM scheme of the invention there is usually an order of the protection level. As a result, in one embodiment of the invention, the decryption key of a lower protection layer is the hash of the decryption key at the higher protection level. That way, a user granted access to the high protection layer may simply hold a single license of that layer, and obtain decryption keys of that layer and below. The invention further provides for a process for managing digital rights to a scalable media file wherein a different encryption/decryption key is used to encrypt each truncatable media packet with a base layer without requiring additional storage space to store the key.

The whole system works similarly to a torrent network, where content is split up and then shared amongst peers in a secure and encrypted manner. Learn more about it at Cryptopatents.

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    avatarprime , January 9, 2010 1:37 PM
    The patent office really needs to join the modern era and stop awarding all of these silly software patents.
  • 13 Hide
    alextheblue , January 9, 2010 5:09 PM
    OS_of_fr33d0mSo basically, the only reason that people would use this is because the other P2P clients are no longer available. Is Windows 8 going to be the ultimate police state enforcer, and shove this down everybody's throats, while preventing other P2P apps from running?If you value your online privacy and freedom, you may want to check out Linux...
    I can still run anything I want on Windows, including open source software like Firefox, Dev C++, and Open Office. They aren't policing anything, and this invention is just a combination of a type of torrent-esque P2P and conventional pay-to-download media.

    No conspiracy, just a different method of distributing media - the DRM just makes it so that you can only watch/listen/play if you paid for it. Unless you crack it and pirate it, which once again, is nothing new. We've been using DRM in one form or another for many years. Most DRM doesn't even get in the way or cause any trouble - its the few bad ones (Sony rootkits, etc) that make people really cringe.
    RegulasHey, that fit nicely with their DRM infected Swiss Cheese OS Windows 7. Their fanboys will love it, Now flame me fan boys on how great MS is.
    Ah, I see you're running the new Trollware 49.3, how's that working out for you?
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    dxwarlock , January 9, 2010 1:26 PM
    Now not only are games plagued by sometimes unplayable, buggy, only keeps the honest types honest DRM hype. Which makes the cracked versions of most games the MORE stable alternative..
    Now P2P will have it too!
    As we all know everyone loves MS, now combine it with DRM...I see a winner here (sarcasm)
  • 24 Hide
    avatarprime , January 9, 2010 1:37 PM
    The patent office really needs to join the modern era and stop awarding all of these silly software patents.
  • 8 Hide
    hunter315 , January 9, 2010 3:30 PM
    wow great, a DRM created by microsoft, somehow i dont see this going well, DRMs cause wayyy more problems than they solve and i hope someday someone will slap the CEO's so that they realize this.
  • 6 Hide
    littlec , January 9, 2010 3:45 PM
    I'm not looking forward to it but maybe just maybe this will give people in favor of P2P a legitimate argument.
  • 13 Hide
    alextheblue , January 9, 2010 5:09 PM
    OS_of_fr33d0mSo basically, the only reason that people would use this is because the other P2P clients are no longer available. Is Windows 8 going to be the ultimate police state enforcer, and shove this down everybody's throats, while preventing other P2P apps from running?If you value your online privacy and freedom, you may want to check out Linux...
    I can still run anything I want on Windows, including open source software like Firefox, Dev C++, and Open Office. They aren't policing anything, and this invention is just a combination of a type of torrent-esque P2P and conventional pay-to-download media.

    No conspiracy, just a different method of distributing media - the DRM just makes it so that you can only watch/listen/play if you paid for it. Unless you crack it and pirate it, which once again, is nothing new. We've been using DRM in one form or another for many years. Most DRM doesn't even get in the way or cause any trouble - its the few bad ones (Sony rootkits, etc) that make people really cringe.
    RegulasHey, that fit nicely with their DRM infected Swiss Cheese OS Windows 7. Their fanboys will love it, Now flame me fan boys on how great MS is.
    Ah, I see you're running the new Trollware 49.3, how's that working out for you?
  • -4 Hide
    7amood , January 9, 2010 5:14 PM
    I hope msft fails to the deepest darkest hell pit with their stupid drm.
    is it necessary that they make use of all possible ways to put their brand on everything usable by consumers and make more money??

    I'm happy with windows 7... that's decent business.
    I hate DRM... I HATE WINDOWS LIVE AND I HOPE THEIR NEW DRM FAILS SO BAD THAT THEY NEVER THINK OF INVESTING INTO ANYTHING EXCEPT THEIR OS!!!!!1!1

    how much does patenting cost?? :s
  • 0 Hide
    frozenlead , January 9, 2010 5:21 PM
    So what happens if I want to watch my movies on the road? Whoops, can't authenticate, can't play it. But I bought it? Yeah. This is no solution. It'll just get hacked up anyway.
  • 3 Hide
    joshthor , January 9, 2010 5:26 PM
    OS_of_fr33d0mSo basically, the only reason that people would use this is because the other P2P clients are no longer available. Is Windows 8 going to be the ultimate police state enforcer, and shove this down everybody's throats, while preventing other P2P apps from running?If you value your online privacy and freedom, you may want to check out Linux...


    paranoid freak. i mean.... nope, i got no other word.
  • 2 Hide
    fflam , January 9, 2010 5:37 PM
    i would assume there drm would work like the zune pass drm (witch is the only drm i have found that i am willing to accept) you download the file, it authenticates for a month (or how ever long it is set for zune pass is a month) and you can use it freely until that month is over then you have to re authenticate to reactivate it.

  • -9 Hide
    ossie , January 9, 2010 5:47 PM
    AlexTheBlueI can still run anything I want on Windows, including open source software like Firefox, Dev C++, and Open Office.

    "Trusted" computing sounds familiar? Just wait a bit more, to get
    mandatory access control, copy protection, and digital rights management goodies enforced upon.
    AlexTheBlueMost DRM doesn't even get in the way or cause any trouble

    Really? Just about 10-15% performance penalties, due to overhead... in the current v6.x gamer/drm o$.

    Wintarded micro$uxx fankiddies will "love" this one too, like the gamer/drm o$, when it's shoved down their throats by m$ & co.
  • 3 Hide
    climber , January 9, 2010 5:49 PM
    Why is anyone surprised about Microsoft trying a DRM protected online distribution model, after all they are trying to work towards distributing all their software online, as an interface to the back-end cloud computing end... all we will end up with is keyboards, touchpads/mice and monitors. All our information will be stored on servers out there somewhere... Privacy is dead because there's more money for corporations being able to sell and resell every aspect of our lives to any company or government they can get money out of. Ever wonder why you get so much ads in the mailbox, or in your inbox? We're all profiled, and this is just another step along the road.
  • 3 Hide
    alextheblue , January 9, 2010 6:13 PM
    ossie"Trusted" computing sounds familiar? Just wait a bit more, to get mandatory access control, copy protection, and digital rights management goodies enforced upon.
    Rwear, rokay.
    ossieReally? Just about 10-15% performance penalties, due to overhead... in the current v6.x gamer/drm o$.Wintarded micro$uxx fankiddies will "love" this one too, like the gamer/drm o$, when it's shoved down their throats by m$ & co.
    Oh yes, because 100% identical H.264 streams in an MP4 container suffer a 10-15% performance hit when they're protected? Proof?
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , January 9, 2010 6:17 PM
    AlexTehBlue: You fall somewhere between naive and stupid. When given the choice of DRM and non-DRM, what do people choose? Non-DRM, of course, because DRM sucks for many, many reasons, even if you're not pirating.

    There will always be wav format, and audio out/in jacks, and open-source players, so it'd be naive to think that we can magically make all audio past and presented into some DRMed form, and furthermore, you could directly record the output of a DRMed file into a non-DRM format. This is incredibly intrusive, considering it's a battle they can't possibly win.

    Ipods demand your address and credit card before you can sync them to iTunes, which is why I will never own one. If Microsoft goes to uber-intrusive DRM like Apple already has, then guess what? Your choices as a free, non-sheep person are: GNU/Linux/*BSD.
  • 0 Hide
    ravewulf , January 9, 2010 6:21 PM
    I like the inclusion of the word "optional." This a an improvement over the Zune's file sharing that has manditory DRM
  • -1 Hide
    shuffman37 , January 9, 2010 6:28 PM
    Long live Ubuntu and all open source operating systems.....Now only if we can have games natively produced for Linux....mhm?
  • -6 Hide
    Regulas , January 9, 2010 6:30 PM
    AlexTheBlueI can still run anything I want on Windows, including open source software like Firefox, Dev C++, and Open Office. They aren't policing anything, and this invention is just a combination of a type of torrent-esque P2P and conventional pay-to-download media. No conspiracy, just a different method of distributing media - the DRM just makes it so that you can only watch/listen/play if you paid for it. Unless you crack it and pirate it, which once again, is nothing new. We've been using DRM in one form or another for many years. Most DRM doesn't even get in the way or cause any trouble - its the few bad ones (Sony rootkits, etc) that make people really cringe.Ah, I see you're running the new Trollware 49.3, how's that working out for you?

    If Linux is trollware then so be it MS fanboy
  • 5 Hide
    ravewulf , January 9, 2010 6:43 PM
    RegulasIf Linux is trollware then so be it MS fanboy


    Software is neutral in this respect, it's the people behind the screen that can be idiots (on both/all sides of this and other arguments).

    Can we please keep this on topic instead of making wild claims with no basis in fact and going on tangents?
  • 6 Hide
    razor512 , January 9, 2010 7:14 PM
    Encrypted content means more CPU cycles needed to decrypt it in order to play it, this prevents older systems from viewing content and reduces performance in newer systems if a user wants to multitask

    by the nature of this technology, there will be a bandwidth overhead as it takes more data to create and maintain an encrypted stream of traffic.

    the legit user gains nothing from this, they only loose bandwidth and system performance, and through the nature of permission based DRM, is it requires an internet connection in order to confirm that you are not stealing and if you don't have internet or the company that does the DRM or owns the DRM servers, dies, then your content is gone also

    imagine spending hundreds of dollars on content and suddenly loose it because the company that owned the DRM servers goes out of business.

    companies need to learn that DRM does not stop piracy it increases it because think about this

    if there were 2 people offering you the same content; Person A if offering a video with DRM in which you get the content, it only works on their software and their portable devices and the content has to be validated on their servers so if they ever go out of business, the content you paid for is useless.

    Person B is offering the same content which will come with no DRM and will be available in any format you want so it can work with any device.

    who would you go with?

    what these companies need to do is put no DRM of any media or games and instead offer an experience that cant be pirated. Piracy is not convenient, it requires a user to spend time looking for the content, downloading it and scanning it for infections with multiple scanners, and hoping it is the correct content that they spend all day getting
    avoiding DRM makes this worth it for them,

    the media companies need to make a service that is very convenient and easier to use than the pirate route, they need to make the content available in all popular formats and make it so that a propitiatory program is not needed to gain access to the content.

    look at movies, there available for download and also sold on almost every street corner here in NY days before the movie is out in theaters
    on the way to the movies, you will pass by at least 10 people selling the movie on dvd. but theres one thing that cant be pirated, the experience, and quality and guaranteed safety of the content, + you can bring in your favorite meal with you to the movies if you put other stuff on top of the food and put it in a bag

    when a few hundred million people go o see a movie, can the media companies really think that they don't know about pirating the content, they do, they just rather go to the movies to see it
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