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Microsoft Patents DRM'ed P2P, Torrent Method

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • dxwarlock
    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)
    Reply
  • Regulas
    Hey, 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.
    Reply
  • avatarprime
    The patent office really needs to join the modern era and stop awarding all of these silly software patents.
    Reply
  • hunter315
    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.
    Reply
  • littlec
    I'm not looking forward to it but maybe just maybe this will give people in favor of P2P a legitimate argument.
    Reply
  • So 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...
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    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?
    Reply
  • 7amood
    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
    Reply
  • frozenlead
    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.
    Reply
  • joshthor
    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.
    Reply