One of the most hotly contested sections of the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)” is the criminalization of any circumvention of Digital Rights Management (DRM) features, even when there is no infringement of copyright itself. So even if you’ve not violated copyright, any act that might interfere with some hokey copy protection scheme, e.g. Sony’s rootkit, would constitute a crime.

I’m currently involved in the design and implementation of system software (e.g. device drivers) for Vista and Longhorn. (Needless to say I’ve not had time for awhile (a long while) to write about furniture and interiors.) Hardware and system software vendors have to go through a tedious and annoying process of ‘signing’ their drivers, essentially getting M’soft approval for their stuff. Microsoft would have you believe that these signed drivers exist to protect users from viruses and trojan horses. Nothing could be further from the truth, almost all the new security features in Vista exist to enforce draconian censorship of any content that might (emphasize MIGHT) be pirated. Vista contains a great deal of code whose only purpose in life is to evaluate the possibility that you’re doing something evil with your computer and attempt to circumvent you. (Evil is defined as anything Microsoft, the MPAA, or the RIAA don’t care for, and includes doing things like playing your newly purchased HD movie on your hi-res computer display.)

Many aftermarket software products deliver applications and digital content from servers running Longhorn and Win2003. In order to do this, the developers must write ‘virtual drivers’ to span the connections between computers. In other words, they must hook the MS-windows ‘media chain’, adding the capability to re-vector content to a remote computer. Guess what? The DMCA probably makes doing this illegal. Once again, honest people trying to do perfectly acceptable “fair use” viewing of their own content will be seen as criminals, and probably denied access to the content they’ve purchased.