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Last post Author Topic: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!  (Read 12058 times)

zridling

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Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« on: June 21, 2008, 10:04:29 PM »
Proprietary media formats like WMV, MOV, and WMA need to go. Many of the same arguments for open standards (e.g., OASIS OpenDocument (ODF) format) apply here:
  • you should be able to do anything whatsoever with media (you create);
  • users will migrate toward software and devices that play open format media;
  • EVERYONE can implement a true, open standard, and it increases competition and choice;
  • the world is shifting to non-proprietary open standards based on the amazing success of the web, a success that was far more important than any single vendor’s market position or ideas for what was right for the world. (Imagine if the web had started out as a proprietary entity! Thanks to the DMCA, a public library could never been conceived and built in this century — "You can't share that book among more than one person, you criminal!)

ibrain1011.jpg

With proprietary media comes the dreaded DRM. PCMag's Bill Machrone talks about how: [DRM] has become a circus act in which we're trained dogs that jump through media companies' hoops. Their goal is to resell us every song, TV show, and movie each time there's a new format and to control how and where we consume the content.

I'm not about to rip someone/some company off, but the point of a proprietary media format is restriction, not collection or sharing. Be gone already!

Lashiec

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2008, 02:14:10 PM »
The only thing that really needs to disappear is DRM. Proprietary media formats, unlike office formats, are not specifically tying you to an application, and then there's the problem of the encoders being used. The whole thing is a real mess, because you have this big range of formats, plus another big range of encoders, so you require to have at least three different players installed (or their corresponding decoders), plus another set of decoders for those algorithms not covered by the main players. And I'm not even getting into the metadata problem. Really, this is something they have to fix, and there's no simple solution in the future, apart from using a format like Matroska and a universal media player like mplayer or VLC (or if you just don't care about QuickTime and Real Player, any DirectShow capable player and a codec pack). Maybe HTML 5 will sort the thing a bit, thanks to the video and audio tag, and the intended use of open formats, although corporations are pushing against it.

I wish things were as easy as with music formats. So, long live the Xiph Foundation :D

Deozaan

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2008, 06:00:48 PM »
My personal opinion is that the solution is that if they're going to treat the media they sell us as if it doesn't belong to us, then they need to do something similar to the following:

  • Sell us a license to use the particular media that lasts our lifetime. This way we can enjoy our movies and music and books on whatever format we choose, no matter what new technologies become available.
  • Make sure licenses are designed in a way that the media can be shared with other members of a household. I shouldn't have to buy a separate license for my kids in my own house, and I should be able to invite friends over to listen to music or watch a movie, or loan a book to them.
  • Along those lines, licenses should be able to be sold or transferred to others, so people aren't left high and dry when they buy a book or movie they don't like, and so you can "loan" an album or book or movie to a friend.
  • There should be licenses made specifically for libraries that incorporate a lot of these features I just discussed.

They already are trying to treat us like we buy licenses to our media, so they might as well really make a license that doesn't rip us off at every turn.


cmpm

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2008, 06:24:39 PM »
Greed making sudo laws that are to govern the use of something we bought but do not own.

There are already copyright laws in effect. Companies are writing laws into their programs.

http://www.undrm.inf...move-DRM-protection/

http://www.google.co...1B3GGIC_enUS269US270

J-Mac

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2008, 11:59:42 PM »
I don't think you'll find anyone here, Zane, that disagrees with you. I don't believe that I have ever seen anyone here at DC offer arguments FOR DRM!  (Different from arguments against outright pirating: making many copies and selling them).  I have probably as much rip/copy software as anyone here, and yet I still have a WMV that I paid $30 for and after reinstalling my OS the password/key for it is no longer working. (Really pisses me off).  I contacted the vendor - a known, "real" vendor, not a private party or fly-by-night operation - and have never gotten a response.  Digging deep on their website I found a paragraph stating that when this happens I have to remove WMP 10 or 11 and install WMP 9 - one specific build - and then contact them for re-activation.  That's a bunch of BS!

Over the past, say, 35 to 40 years I have re-purchased the same music at least 4 times over again:  That's a small fortune in music on vinyl, then as 8-track tape cartridges, then cassettes, and now I have purchased some of the same stuff yet again on CD's.  It will never, ever end  They want our money for the same products every 3 to 6 years.  And the RIAA and MPAA are keeping a lot of cretins - err... - lawyers - wealthy doing this every day.  I have been sick of it for a lot longer than the current "DRM" label has been assigned to this scam.

Personally I fully support any and all efforts to bypass whatever DRM protection is applied to recorded media.  Not doing it for sales profits, but for personal or family unit usage. Without even a tiny a twinge of guilt.

Jim

justice

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2008, 07:14:23 AM »
The situation will not change until people ask for an alternative format if the information is freely available, and if it's not then buy an alternative that is. It's easy to talk about it. I guess all documents available on websites i'm managing should be in text-based pdf format instead of doc to make a start.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 07:17:39 AM by justice »

Josh

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2008, 07:26:18 AM »
I don't see media formats as being propietary (minus apple's quicktime format). What I do see as proprietary is DRM. Now, if you are calling for removal of DRM, then I agree. If you are calling for migration to a single format for audio and one for video then I say it wont happen. One of the beauties of computers is that people have a choice in which format they use. As such, people will have needs which change and the formats will change to support this. MPEG (1,2,4) and DiVX (XviD) appear to be the mainstream video formats and have been for some time really. Now, if your major problem is DRM, then please criticize that, if it truly is proprietary formats (of which very few non-open or interoperable formats exist nowadays), then criticize that. Your original post calls for the removal of proprietary media formats however it seems the root of your issue is not the formats, but the DRM attached to the formats. Any format can have DRM attached, it just takes the consumers to adopt it for it to succeed.

f0dder

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2008, 08:27:48 AM »
It wouldn't be a problem to migrate to one open container file format (like Matroska), and this would be a good idea (not going to happen, obviously). But even if the world settled on one container format, there would still be a need for different codecs for different purposes.

DivX is basically just MPEG, btw - it started out as a hacked-up MPEG codec that had been modified to accept lower resolution and bitrates than it was originally meant for.

And DRM needs to go. "Less restrictive licenses" just isn't good enough, it punishes legitimate users but doesn't stop the pirates at all. The same with those copy-protected CDs that I can't rip for use on my MP3 player, sigh.
- carpe noctem

zridling

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2008, 09:37:03 AM »
Deozaan, as we've all seen with lifetime licenses, it's all in how you define lifetime. Most companies attach that meaning to the device, to a particular version of software (as J-Mac noted), or they're just using it as a marketing ploy. Seems the only purpose of a proprietary format is for DRM. Otherwise, why not open source* it?

__________
Is 'open source' a verb? Ugh.

f0dder

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2008, 09:49:03 AM »
Otherwise, why not open source* it?
R&D costs of algorithms, perhaps? (But hey, most container formats are known, and a lot of the encoding algorithms as well).
- carpe noctem

Edvard

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2008, 11:15:49 AM »
f0dder: About those copy-protected disks...
If you see someone doing this, report them to the DRM authorities immediately! :Thmbsup:

CWuestefeld

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2008, 11:37:56 AM »
Otherwise, why not open source* it?
R&D costs of algorithms, perhaps? (But hey, most container formats are known, and a lot of the encoding algorithms as well).

Competitive advantage? Why shouldn't I be allowed to keep my innovation to myself?

(Of course, that would entail consumer lock-in, and my solution had better be very good to make that worthwhile. But if it's my business, then it's my prerogative to balance the pros and cons of my product.)

CodeTRUCKER

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2008, 01:52:59 PM »
I don't like the greed associated with the various "protections," but without the ability to maintain a modicum of security over intellectual property, R&D would die. 

Isn't it the ability to exercise control over the result of proprietary investment (ROI) the very impetus for additional R&D?  If the ability to protect a "better mousetrap" is constrained there is little motivation to design even a better mousetrap, let alone bring it to production.

While DRM, etc is not desirable, until a better protection entity is established for the products, it is a small price to pay to keep the R&D pumps of creative ingenuity churning.   

f0dder

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2008, 05:42:58 PM »
Small price to pay? Keep the R&D pumps churning?

I don't really agree. I'm doing my best to stay away from any media that involves DRM. If I end up not being able to purchase music any longer, I won't - and I won't feel bad about downloading pirated versions, either. If the companies want to hurt the consumers, we should hurt them back... and the only way to do that involves cash... or rather, the lack of it.
- carpe noctem

CodeTRUCKER

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2008, 06:24:51 PM »
Small price to pay? Keep the R&D pumps churning?

I don't really agree. I'm doing my best to stay away from any media that involves DRM. If I end up not being able to purchase music any longer, I won't - and I won't feel bad about downloading pirated versions, either. If the companies want to hurt the consumers, we should hurt them back... and the only way to do that involves cash... or rather, the lack of it.

Right.  I'm not arguing in favor of DRM or any other lame (nuisance) device.  A point here is that it was the very pirating of products that fomented the DRM and their ilk in the first place. 

As a producer yourself (music or software - it doesn't matter), if you had no way of protecting yourself against having your work pilfered, essentially acquiring the monies for theives that should have made it to your bank account, there would be no incentive for you to extend your efforts to make the next greatest [fill in the blank].

While proprietary extensions and security devices are clunky, annoying, etc., they are still a vital part of our future enjoyment. 

Q: As a "for instance" (albeit, extreme example), what would be the result of everyone not feeling any qualms about acquiring pirated songs? 
A: There would be no new music.  We would all just enjoy "oldies" because that would be all there was available.

f0dder

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2008, 06:30:34 PM »
Problem with DRM is that it does not stop the pirates (for long, anyway), but it has tons of implications for the legitimate users. And we are a lot of legitimate users that don't actually mind spending money on, for instance, music or software...

Analog tapes, cd burners etc. didn't kill the music industry. If anything kills it, it's their inability to embrace the digital world, and the constant river of manure they release, instead of supporting artists with talent :)

As for your Q, I will give this alternate A: we would go to more live concerts, and the artist would end up getting more money, instead of the greedy record labels.
- carpe noctem

CodeTRUCKER

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2008, 06:56:46 PM »
I can appreciate your's and Zaine's frustration with badly implemented necessary ideas.  These frustrations are shared by myself and millions of others.  I also recognize the implications of greed, but as we live in a "real world" the idea of going to more concerts is very appealing, except when you are wide-awake at 3:AM and want to enjoy some tunes.

Your previous points are well taken, though.  Supply and Demand will rule.  When Demand dictates what is to be Supplied, there will be significant changes.  Until then we have to exist with what is available.

Deozaan

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2008, 09:37:29 PM »
The problem with concerts is that unless you live near a major, major city, you'll never see a good one.

Not only that, but when I actually did go to a good one (Blue Man Group's How to Be a Megastar Tour 2.0), I was so far away I was just looking at the screens most of the time anyway so I could see what was going on. Then a year later it was on DirecTV and I enjoyed watching it at home much more than when I was there, except for a couple of things:

1. I couldn't feel the music in my chest. -- But with the right sound system this could be fixed.
2. The didn't play a song (Exhibit 13) in the video that they played in concert. This song was very emotionally powerful to me and its absence from the video was very saddening.


J-Mac

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2008, 03:14:59 AM »
...Right.  I'm not arguing in favor of DRM or any other lame (nuisance) device.  A point here is that it was the very pirating of products that fomented the DRM and their ilk in the first place.

But you are arguing in favor of DRM! Stop and read your own posts here.

And are you certain that pirating fomented DRM?  Methinks not!  The root cause was the fact that the recording industry was woefully unprepared for the digital availability of media files. Once again, they continued their long-standing history of not looking past the end of their last counted dollar and suddenly realized that their products could be made available on the Internet.  They could - and should - have reacted in their common capitalistic way and developed a method by which they made their media products available to the online community in a way that is beneficial to all.  They have ALL the songs, ALL the movies, in their arsenal and could have put it up for a fair price, and in an extremely convenient way for this new brand of consumers to purchase them.  Following "fair use" concepts at the same time.

Instead their gut reaction was, "STOP THAT!!!"  And what did they spend a fortune doing?  Developing more and more DRM methods, contracting with hackers to hack the servers of those sharing the media files (That's for real! They were caught doing exactly that!), and then filing lawsuits against every person they could find that they even remotely suspected was sharing media files online!

Of course Apple simply opened shop with iTunes and showed them one way to do it right.

No, I disagree, CodeTrucker...  'twas pure, unadulterated greed that fomented DRM, and thus large-scale pirating of their precious cargo.

...
Q: As a "for instance" (albeit, extreme example), what would be the result of everyone not feeling any qualms about acquiring pirated songs? 
A: There would be no new music.  We would all just enjoy "oldies" because that would be all there was available.

OK by me - I, for one, just love the oldies!  ;D ;D   8)

More seriously, though, the recording industry has done more to popularize the pirates than anything else.  Their well-publicized scatter-shot lawsuits against all - but especially children and the proverbial "little old ladies" - has garnered more sympathy for illegal downloaders of music/movies in so-called "normal", non-geek/hacker communities than they could ever have imagined.  While it is meant to instill abject fear in anyone considering downloading illegally shared media files, it has also given pirates a kind of "Robin Hood" status for many, no matter how undeserving a title that may be.

Bottom line, IMO:  These companies had a sure-thing "golden goose" handed to them out of the blue when they discovered early on that folks could obtain digital media files online.  And they reacted in a way that is all-too-common for them...  They immediately grabbed ahold of the goose, strangled the goose, and then started trying to crap out the golden eggs themselves.  Of course when they reached behind them,  their hands came back full of..., well, you get the picture!    :o :huh:    :Thmbsup:

Jim

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2008, 06:11:31 AM »
Wasn't it Metalica that decided to stand up and take a hand in killing the original Napster ... about 4 seconds before their record sales went into the toilet for a few years...?

f0dder's right, the Greed Machine shot themselves in the foot with a bad over reaction to a non issue. 

In the digital world if draw too much attention from the wrong people, you onLine life is pretty much over (e.g. When was the last time the RIAA had a website?). ...You make someone with skill & a lot of free time mad & you got a war on your hands ... Kinda like what's going on now.

They're (wasteing) spending millions of dollars to put kids & little old ladys in jail and the pirates are looking like Robin Hood!



...Crap, I didn't read all of J-Mac's post earlier ... but I'll leave my ramblings any how as the point needs to be over stressed. ;)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 06:16:34 AM by Stoic Joker »

Josh

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2008, 06:25:50 AM »
Metallica took a stand against an unauthorized distribution mechanism. Now, they are one of the forerunners in embracing digital distribution. Just look at livemetallica.com, metallica.com, missionmetallica.com and the sales for their new album.

f0dder

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2008, 08:39:34 AM »
Metallica went overzealous instead of being smart about the whole deal. They've sucked since Jaymz went through rehab anyway, so whatever.

As for DRM being necessary, Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor probably has something else to say. While their new distribution model won't work for every band under the sun, it certainly does seem to work for NIN. And instead of hunting down unauthorized remixes, 24bit 96KHz multitrack files are available, iirc even under a creative commons license...
- carpe noctem

CodeTRUCKER

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2008, 11:12:38 AM »

But you are arguing in favor of DRM! Stop and read your own posts here.

Nope, your interpretation.  I am arguing pointing out that without the ability to protect *any kind* of intellectual property the motivation for new creations/modifications will dissipate.  DRM just happens to be the present whipping boy as a protective mech.  I am in total agreement that DRM was a knee-jerk reaction motivated by greed, just like all the ridiculous jurisdictional laws designed to fine truck drivers and the companies to enhance local and state "tax" revenues (sorry, I wandered a bit).  I will admit that as a developer/songwriter/composer myself, I do recognize the right/need to be able to maintain control over creations.

DRM, [fill in the blank], etc. has been the method chosen for protections of intellectual properties and will remain in force until the market's demands (as spoken through $$$, like f0dder accurately stated) brings about enough pressure to send them back to the drawing board.  Since this is unversal, we can turn the clock back or ahead and this same discussion would be right at home if we were discussing [fill in the blank].

Quote
And are you certain that pirating fomented DRM?  Methinks not!  The root cause was the fact that the recording industry was woefully unprepared for the digital availability of media files. Once again, they continued their long-standing history of not looking past the end of their last counted dollar and suddenly realized that their products could be made available on the Internet.  They could - and should - have reacted in their common capitalistic way and developed a method by which they made their media products available to the online community in a way that is beneficial to all.  They have ALL the songs, ALL the movies, in their arsenal and could have put it up for a fair price, and in an extremely convenient way for this new brand of consumers to purchase them.  Following "fair use" concepts at the same time.

Ok, I can give you most of that, but I am reminded of being in the Navy.  In the event of a massive leak, no one sits quietly or sends a request to the engineering department.  You grab whatever you can to at least slow the rushing torrent.  As you stated, the corpoate types saw a massive leak and "reacted."  Again, I can go along with most of this, but there are two points that are problematical...
  • Define: "fair price"
  • Define: "fair use"

Since each camp has different definitions for these concepts, the debate will rage. 

Quote
Instead their gut reaction was, "STOP THAT!!!"  And what did they spend a fortune doing?  Developing more and more DRM methods, contracting with hackers to hack the servers of those sharing the media files (That's for real! They were caught doing exactly that!), and then filing lawsuits against every person they could find that they even remotely suspected was sharing media files online!
...
No, I disagree, CodeTrucker...  'twas pure, unadulterated greed that fomented DRM, and thus large-scale pirating of their precious cargo.

I absolutely agree it is greed that was/is the problem. 
Greed on the one side trying to grab as much $$$$ they can get whilst letting go as little product as possible.
Greed,  the other side trying to grab all the product they can get whilst letting go as little $$$$$$ as possible. 
It all depends on which side of the fence you are on.

Quote
...
Q: As a "for instance" (albeit, extreme example), what would be the result of everyone not feeling any qualms about acquiring pirated songs? 
A: There would be no new music.  We would all just enjoy "oldies" because that would be all there was available.

OK by me - I, for one, just love the oldies!  ;D ;D   8)
...
Jim

Somehow I knew I had a kindred spirit out there!  I was thinking the same thing when I typed that. ;)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 11:15:04 AM by CodeTRUCKER »

Eóin

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2008, 11:39:51 AM »
I am arguing pointing out that without the ability to protect *any kind* of intellectual property the motivation for new creations/modifications will dissipate.

I believe that is an arguement that reality proves again and again to be false. Artists will always create, it's what they do. If you need convincing just look to opensource software.

What the world no longer needs is the leeches like the music industry which produce nothing themselves, but simply 'manage' the artists works.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Proprietary media formats — time to get rid of them!
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2008, 11:58:42 AM »
You grab whatever you can to at least slow the rushing torrent.
I've got to say, that was some nice literary style. You picked an analogy that lets you construct this sentence so that its precise language applies to the analogy or the actual topic equally. Bravo! :Thmbsup: