Microsoft bends on copyright protection

When Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition was first announced, there was outcry that the operating system's DRM features were too tight, especially for recorded TV shows which could only be played back on the machine with which they were recorded. Now it appears that Microsoft is backing off a little, and as C|Net reports, they've loosened the copy protection to allow recorded TV shows to be played on any computer with Windows Media Player 9.

Vocal opposition to the TV program copyright protection likely played a part in Microsoft's decision, but as you might expect, it wasn't the whole reason. It turns out that Sony sells a line of PCs with similar multimedia capabilities to Media Center Edition PCs, but Sony lets you copy recorded shows to CD or DVD, making Media Center Edition much less appealing in comparison.

While it's great to see Microsoft roll back some of Media Center Edition's copyright protection, I'd be a lot happier if their only reason for doing so was public outcry. Better yet, legal action challenging Media Center Edition's violation of fair use would have made things far more interesting.

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