Saturday, December 08, 2007

Because retarded isn't stupid enough.

I first read of this comically stupid move at the Galloping Beaver when Dave cited Saskboy pointing at this Wired article. Got that?

Anyway, hardware manufacturer Western Digital has decided that their business model is now one that requires them to make very large, one-way hard drives that won't let you move your files. Who doesn't want that feature, eh?

Western Digital's 1TB MyBook external hard drives won't share media files over network connections

Because gawd knows you have to have at least a terrabyte of storage, because those files ain't going anywhere. Here's the list of files you aren't allowed to move around, you fucking pirate criminal bastards.

As Wired points out, the only file types that are guarded by this data black-hole are video and audio files. I guess nobody bothered to tell Western Digital that books are often available in "text" files of varying types. With luck they'll upgrade their DRM (Demonic Robot Master) to lock out Word docs, RTF files and certainly those dastardly pdf files that can house more than one kind of information at a time. If the science wizards at Western Digital really up their game, they'll soon realize that all digital information is encoded in zeros and ones. If they upgrade their drives to never share files that are encoded in zeros and ones, well that should keep the MPAA happy.

Gosh, in a decent universe, you'd be able to buy Western Digital stock at a huge discount for the next while. I wonder if anyone's told the shareholders about this marketing plan. Idiots. That's the kind of bright, technologically advanced future we can expect if we allow the government to pass the suspected hyper restrictive copyright law that Jim Prentice is getting ready to throw at us. Isn't that an innovation!

*Disclosure: Image of not useful drive copied without permission from Wired's article, long list of file extensions not supported by expensive paperweight, stolen outright from the companies own promotional literature.


Ian said...

This is from today's NY Times. Deflects a little criticism from WD, but still clearly points out what is so wrong about current US laws.

December 7, 2007, 5:09 pm
More on WD’s Hard Drive That Won’t Share Video
By Saul Hansell

Tags: Copy Protection, western digital

BoingBoing today posted about a networked hard drive from Western Digital that blocks access to music and video files. The blogosphere started a chorus of outrage. And I referred to it in a post about the dark side of Macrovision’s acquisition of Gemstar TV Guide.
I also called Western Digital, and when they called back it turns out that the situation is—as it often is—somewhat more complex than it first seemed.
The file blocking is not in the hard drive’s software itself but in an Internet file sharing service called Mio that is included with the drive. This service, Mionet , which was acquired by Western Digital earlier this year, has two aspects: It lets you connect to your own files from anywhere on the Internet. And it also lets you specify certain folders that you can share with your friends.
Even before WD bought Mionet, the service blocked people from sharing music and video files with friends. But it did—and still does—allow users to link to any of their own files. Moreover, the hard drives, which are designed for homes or small businesses with several computers, will let any machine on a local network read music and video files. And the drives themselves, don’t prevent any sort of files to be stored.
“None of our drives are in any way taking a stand against any kind of data,” said Catherine Scott, the vice president for corporate communications of Western Digital. “WD’s position on hard drives is save what you want; do what you want with it. This is simply about the software.”
Ms. Scott said the company needs to be conservative when so many Internet services that enable file sharing in one way or another are getting sued by Hollywood. Mionet, in fact, resembles a private version of Napster, orchestrating peer to peer exchange of files.
She readily acknowledged that this arrangement is far from ideal, as it keeps people from using the service to share home movies and MP3s of the high school band. WD is trying to look at fingerprinting technology that will let it filter out copyrighted material and still allow sharing of other material.
So I was too harsh in accusing Western Digital of electronic vigilantism. It is not volunteering to be a cop for Hollywood, so much as ducking the sort of lawsuits that are regularly fired at Internet services these days.
What’s still clear, however, is that unambiguously legitimate uses of WD’s technology are currently being blocked because of the fighting over what represents fair use of media content.

pretty shaved ape said...

that's fucking rich. they aren't being cops they're just bending over for the cops. they went and bought a service that is compromised for the benefit of self appointed cops because they are running scared. wow, that's a ringing corporate endorsement. buy our new drives that come with broken, chickeshit features to hamper utility and prevent you from doing what you like with your own files.

meanwhile we'll fuck about trying to come up with even more broken useless and shitty software to "fingerprint" your own intellectual property. jeez, i hope some flack from western digital is reading all of these glowing responses to their cowardly efforts. here's something they should know, there is a whole sector of the high tech market place that will be steering clear of their hardware. if we need to enact work-arounds to do what we want with our equipment, there are other options. so suck it western digital, nobody wants to play with the kid in piss soaked pants.

hey western digital shareholders, how much is all that stupid worth?

CC said...

What's particularly galling is that that list of "unshareable" formats includes the open-source OGG format, which is the format preferred by those of us who specifically don't want to be locked into restrictive, proprietary music formats.

Why don't they just restrict file-sharing in general and be done with it? Twits.