Hard-coded piracy countermeasures forthcoming in Zune?

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NBC’s president of digital distribution, J. B. Perrette, explained in an interview the various reasons they recently chose to go with Zune for the distribution of their shows online. Perrette says that first of all, they liked that Microsoft was more flexible with the pricing. I can see that, I think Apple’s a little stiff on that front. But NBC’s other beef with Apple was the company’s refusal to build DRM into their iPods to protect NBC’s stuff. I thought Apple was in the right there.

But Microsoft is willing to work with NBC to create “filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content.” And how, pray tell, will this mystery chip/program/rightware determine what is non-legitimately purchased? It seems that there is plenty of legal content on the net that is technically indistinguishable from illegal content. I can think of no way to pull this off without restricting fair use. Perrette says “In the short term, this will not win us a lot of friends.” Yes, and in the long term, it will lose you customers. Without friends or customers, NBC is going to be pretty lonely.

Update: This was pretty much wishful thinking on NBC’s part.

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