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Copyright abuse has gone TOO FAR! Windows Vista


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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

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Posted November 28 2007 - 05:40 AM

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.

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   BrianB

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Posted November 28 2007 - 11:46 AM

You may want to figure out what happened before ranting & raving about how useless copyright is.
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#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted November 28 2007 - 03:55 PM

Regardless of whether that's a justifiable position (and at best it's highly debatable), it's contrary to the rules of HTF. So cool it, please. M.
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#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted November 28 2007 - 11:57 PM

I can relate. VISTA won't let me mix voice with karaoke music tracks I've bought off the net even if I re-record them in MP3 form using adobe audition. What use is VISTA for me in this respect? None. Luckily I have 2 hard drives in my machine. One with Vista and one with XP. More than one way to skin a cat. I use XP much more.
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#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Jon_Are

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Posted November 29 2007 - 01:40 AM

Additionally, you yourself admit that you do not have all the facts. Your fury at Microsoft seems, at the very least, premature. Jon

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted November 29 2007 - 09:34 AM

That's a lousy situation -- having computer problems when you've got a short deadline to make something work is frustrating. Especially when all seems well with a simple process.

But, I'll note that...
...the assumption your boss knows anything about computers because he runs a law firm is a bad assumption. I know lawyers. Smart people. Don't necessarily know anything about technology. I know one that had his TV setup for analog, SD signals for months, thinking he was watching HDTV. Posted Image

I suggest finding out exactly what the problem was and how to avoid it -- you may need to use video again.

Or, buy a Mac.

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Paul Padilla

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Posted November 29 2007 - 10:51 AM

Intelligence does not equate to computer savy...or even common sense for that matter.

First, you can still get laptops with XP, but they generally have to be ordered from Dell or another major manufacturer. You aren't likely to find one off the shelf.

Second, sorry to pile on, here, but your boss's last second emergency is his own fault. It was the last minute, with an untested piece of equipment, and it failed. It happens more than you think. Perhaps you were downhill of that particular pile of rolling crap, but for something as important as a legal hearing there should have been tests done and backups prepared. How would the laptop have performed with the projector? Would the native resolution match or would the picture quality be poor? That all became moot when the plan changed, but there are several things that should have been checked out. If you're a paralegal and not responsible for IT, then you're treading perilously. It's always great to help people when one has some reasonable computer experience, but when you're confronted with something like this which "should be easy" and it goes awry, well, you found out how it can come back on you. I'm not being snide...I've been there in other capacities and it sucks.

**A bit of advice about trying to install XP on his laptop. I just had an issue with the President of my company and Vista. We haven't moved to Vista and we weren't comfortable having the President be a guinea pig, so I wiped the hard drive on his new Vista laptop and and installed XP. I ran into a number of driver issues for hardware that was designed specifically for Vista. Several days of searching and testing later, there was no workaround and I had to revert to Vista.

I work in IT and though I never say it to anyone's face, "user error" accounts for a great deal of the problems I'm contacted about each day. Until you have something more specific to go by other than, "Apparently, VISTA CLAIMED THAT THE FILE WAS UNDER COPYRIGHT..." you don't have all the facts. It's a little scary how the most reasonable and intelligent person will incorrectly relate error messages, or omit them alltogether. "Copyright" could have actually read "Failed to copy..." or some other message which doesn't refer to copy protection at all. DRM is certainly controversial but jumping to the conclusion that Microsoft is trying to prevent a home movie from being copied is ludicrous. Assuming your boss was correct that "copyright" was indeed referred to in the error, it is obviously a glitch rather than a conspiracy.
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#8 of 18 OFFLINE   KurtEP

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Posted November 29 2007 - 01:11 PM


Unfortunately, "user error" often translates into the programmers not understanding their clients. Processes should be simple and consistent. Often, however, even the simplest tasks are marvels of complexity. For example, I just bought a new Lenovo Thinkpad to replace a Vaio that I spilled some liquid on (my fault). I quickly disabled the tapping function on the touch pad, as I find that feature incredibly annoying. Imagine my surprise when a few days later, it's mysteriously enabled again. It took me about 45 minutes to disable it again, and I'm still not exactly sure how I did it. I am not computer illiterate, by any means. I used to handle all of the computer troubleshooting for a 20 person accounting firm, with very good success. Am I an expert? No, but I shouldn't have to have a degree in computer science or some certification to use a laptop. Further, turning off a mouse feature should take minimal effort, in a well designed system. Unfortunately, my brief time with Vista tells me it isn't well designed, it's just different, and for no special reason. It's analogous to buying a car and finding out that to start it, you have to pull up the rear seat cushion to find the ignition switch. Sure, it'll prevent theft, but starting a car should be simple. Honestly, I'm at the point where I firmly believe my next computer will be from Apple. Never though I'd say that. Posted Image
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#9 of 18 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted November 29 2007 - 06:38 PM

Well since Mac's new OS Leopard is the New Vista, don't make the jump too hastily.

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted November 30 2007 - 01:27 AM

Are you taking the opinion of one reporter as fact? His points aren't that compelling. CJ
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#11 of 18 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted November 30 2007 - 03:49 AM

Nah, I just saw the article posted somewhere else and thought it fit well in this thread. And the reporter points out in the article that he is not alone with the issues he is having. 6 system crashes in the short time Leopard has been released is pretty inexcusable for a point-release if you ask me. I, for one, will be sticking with XP for a long while. It's stable and handles everything I need it to do.

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   Eric_L

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Posted November 30 2007 - 12:05 PM

Seems to my that DRM is responsible for many computer problems. My understanding is that much of Vista is about DRM. Much of the hassles with the release of blue ray and hddvd were DRM. We've seen plenty other problems with DRM. It has become admittedly too easy to infring copywrites, but the byzantine methods we have gone through to protect them are comparable to mideival justice; Burn the witch! Soon enough there are witches everywhere to burn! (with carrots for noses!) DRM has become a standard to follow for all sorts of lame ideas. We all used to make cassette tapes of our favorite mixes. Nobody freaked out then. Remember the big stink over Video tape?? Whoop - it actually HELPED the industry. How about nightclub bands and DJs- shall we start serving them with notices also? IMHO DRM is more about securing jobs for lawyers than it is jobs for artists. Consumers ARE getting fed up with it all. I buy NO music, even though there is much I'd like to. I buy no DVDs except for a few for the kids (Netflix rules). My attitude; I'll buy once I can own it. Till then I have a few decades of music to draw from - hundreds of CDs with no DRM hasles. The DRM devolution has put a huge dent in illegal downloading - but there has not been a corresponding or even noticeable increase in legal media consumption. They are gradually alienating their consumers - who are finding other media for entertainment. It is not the fact that they tried to protect their property that is the problem - it is the intrusive and unwieldy methods they use to do it.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   McPaul

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Posted December 02 2007 - 07:12 AM

Might I suggest a Mac to cure all your ailments...

#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted December 02 2007 - 11:27 AM

You know, there are other burning software other then the one built into Vista.. no issues at all with Nero8 converting damn near anything I threw at it from any source, anytype, to DVD.. Hell, using Media Downloader extension to Firefox, I've had no problem downloading YouTube and making DVDs of "cuter" moments (see the HTF thread in After Hours) for people.. The burner built into Vista is VERY basic, as Microsoft is under pretty tight controls so they don't want to release something built into the OS that stomps other companies out of business. But it's very important to note this fact: when you capture video into Vista (or anything anymore) you DO have the OPTION to flag it as copyrighted as you capture. This is a FEATURE designed to protect you; so that if you copy your own stuff into your own PC, it can't be freely copied by others without it having your tags on it. Just that simple. You don't have to chose that feature, but even the Mac allows you to, by option, insert your own copyright into a file so that it cannot be burned on another mac/pc without having the matching capture key. Hell, if you're running XP SP2, and you're using newer programs to capture (Ulead, Nero, Roxio) they all support the ability to flag whatever you capture as copyrighted or not; so you have the choice. If the user choses to flag it, it's a decision they made.. and no PC or Mac will stop user error to my knowledge.
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#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 11 2007 - 02:39 PM

The fact is, the more something has to do, the more complicated it inherently has to be. Once you cross a certain threshold of sophistication, even the most streamlined interface will require some common sense and experimentation.

A different controversial Vista feature removed

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   KurtEP

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Posted December 12 2007 - 12:35 AM

I agree that sophistication does make things more difficult. Yet, they've done excellent work in simplifying other areas, like adding new hardware and programs. MS just seems reluctant to apply that to the actual user interface. Having played with Vista for a few weeks, I can't think of a single thing that I would say is an improvement. This computer has been more difficult to figure out than any one I've had since the mid 90's. Not that that is in any insurmountable me, only annoying, but I would really hesitate to get my father a Vista machine, for example. Also, are the added features of Vista really necessary to the average internet surfer/word processor type, i.e. the average customer?
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#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Paul Padilla

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Posted December 12 2007 - 03:21 AM

Certainly not. The average user doesn't "need" larger than, say, a 40GB hard drive but you'll be hard pressed to find a computer with one that small. Hardware pushes boundries and software works to take advantage of that fact, and visa versa. Time marches on and XP will be supported for a few more years...no need to jump into Vista. By the same token, more and more hardware will be produced from here on out that is not supported by XP so one's options will slowly dwindle. As to the OP's bosses problem, we haven't heard any more detail as to why the CD burn failed. My money is still on a frantic change in plan leading to a critical need and using an untested computer with unfamiliar software.
I'm a ****ing idiot 'cause I can't make a lamp?
No, you're a genius 'cause you can't make a lamp.
What do you know about trigonometry?
I could care less about trigonometry.
Did you know without trigonometry there would be no engineering? Without lamps there'd be no light.

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   KurtEP

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Posted December 12 2007 - 03:33 AM


I understand your point fully. I've often thought that if you took a modern laptop like mine back in time to the 1940's, for example, they would probably be unable to reverse engineer most of it. The complexity of these machines is amazing.

My primary gripe is that, once we've all learned the Windows XP, 98, 95 format, which, while not perfect, certainly seemed to work after a while, Vista comes along and moves everything around. I changed mine back to the old style interface, but someone who lacked computer savvy would probably not even guess that the option was available.

I realize that simplicity is hard, and perhaps even requires genius to implement, but I'd like to have some sense that they were actually trying. Anyway, I'm just ranting. The frustration of destroying a fairly new Vaio laptop right before grad school finals, coupled with a new operating system has been making me rather testy. Posted Image Posted Image
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