I am not happy right now, and neither is my boss. I am a paralegal at a Seattle law firm. Last week, a client of ours brought in a video tape to use as an exhibit in his hearing this morning. It is a Hi8 video that he shot of himself and his family, on his own Hi8 camcorder. I brought home the tape, along with the camera and the cables, and transferred the video to a DV format AVI file using my Canopus ADVC analog-to-digital converter box. (Wonderful device -- I plug the audio and video RCA cables into the unit, then run a firewire cable into my Windows 2000 PC.) No problems whatsoever. I burn the resulting DV format AVI file onto a DVD and bring it into the office on Monday. Because the DV format file is too big and unwieldy, (over 1 GB) I convert the file on my office computer (running Windows XP Media Center Edition) using the freely-downloadable, basic edition of DivX 6.7. I end up with a nice 140 MB DivX format AVI file. Again, I encounter no problems of any kind. I copy the DivX format AVI file to my boss's new laptop. He tried to find a laptop with Windows XP (either Pro or MCE) but apparently they are no longer sold, at least at the stores he visited. He reluctantly bought a laptop with WINDOWS VISTA (I'm not sure which edition, probably Business). I have no experience with Vista, but how bad can it be??? The plan is to project the video in the courtroom. (We have access to a projector and screen -- the projector connects to a laptop's VGA port.) However, the plan changed at the last minute and my boss had to BURN copies of the video onto CD-R and give a copy to the court. This should be no problem -- the laptop has a burner, and we have plenty of blanks. I don't know the details of what happened next, because I was not present, but my boss was UNABLE TO BURN THE AVI FILE TO CD-R. Apparently, VISTA CLAIMED THAT THE FILE WAS UNDER COPYRIGHT AND WE ARE SHIT OUT OF LUCK. This is a HOME MOVIE THAT WE OWN THE COPYRIGHT TO. WHAT RIGHT DOES MICROSOFT HAVE TO DENY US THE ABILITY TO BURN A VIDEO THAT WE OWN WITH A LAPTOP AND CD BURNER WE HAVE PAID FOR. My boss eventually got me on the phone this morning and I walked him through the procedure of burning on my desktop PC. (Windows XP, of course, burns files with no problem whatsoever.) He got his burned disc, but the delay caused him to be late to this morning's hearing. Operating system upgrades are supposed to make things EASIER. They are supposed to ADD capabilities, not ELIMINATE them. Maybe my boss did something wrong -- but he is a smart guy (graduated law school) and burning a file onto CD is supposed to be an intuitive process. A great many friends, family members, online buddies, and business associates come to me for computer advice. I will never advise anyone to use WINDOWS VISTA under any circumstances. As far as I am concerned it is a useless piece of garbage. I am perfectly happy with Windows 2000 at home, and will grudgingly upgrade to XP only if an essential piece of software drops 2000 support (which fortunately has not happened to me yet). Because of this useless, nonsensical restriction built into Windows Vista, my boss was late to this morning's hearing, which reflects poorly upon the client, who may not receive the justice he is due as a result. I will be donating money to the EFF, and writing my senators and congressman to ask their position on COPYRIGHT REFORM. The situation is out of hand. The MPAA, RIAA, and their stooges in the electronics industry are denying us our Constitutional rights. The issue of whether non-rival goods (such as creative works, or "bits") should be treated the same as rival goods (such as products, or "atoms") is a very old debate. The founding fathers already had this debate, and their answer was a resounding NO. They decided that you can own atoms, but bits may be copied freely. This is in the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects our right to own property. There were no CD burners in the 18th century, but they did have the printing press, a device which allows the user to make copies of creative works without the permission of the author. The First Amendment guarantees us Freedom of the Press. Copyright is an exception to this, and should be narrowly construed. The purpose of copyright is to give authors an incentive to create future works, NOT to treat creative works the same as products. Anyone who uses the terms "theft", "stealing", or "piracy" to refer to the copying of creative works without the author's permission is either ignorant or deliberately lying. Does keeping Steamboat Willie under copyright provide an incentive for Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks to create additional works? (Hint: they are both deceased.) Why should Michael Eisner or his successor earn one dime from a cartoon created decades before they were even born? I am so livid with rage, I'm prepared to head over to the eastside and kindly ask Bill Gates to do something that is not only anatomically impossible, but I can't even mention it on this forum without breaking forum guidelines. (Use your imagination.) End of rant. I'm going to pour my third cup of coffee this morning (I usually only have 1 per day) and find a cheap copy of WINDOWS XP (i.e. the non-useless version) for my boss's laptop.