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December 7, 2007

WD Service Stops Sharing of Audio and Video, If Used

Another little information bug is wending its way across the Internet, this time about restrictions in large Western Digital external drives in sharing music and video files.  The complete list of restricted files is here.  The reports make is sound as if there is something in the drive firmware that restricts copying these files if the drive is shared across the Internet.  That apparently is not the case.  Western Digital offers a service called WD Anywhere Access which allows users to access their files remotely, even when the PC is turned off.  It's a "pay for" service.  While individual users can access their own files, the same audio and video files will not show up as part of a public share due to "unverifiable media license authentication." 

Ooooh, Big Brother is adding DRM to hard drives.  In all honesty, no one has to use the sharing service, and WD even provides instructions and considerations of setting up a share using general networking technology (Answer ID 1531 in the WD Knowledge Base).  The idea that hardware vendors load filtering into hardware is scary, but that's not what is going on here.

Start with the report in the New York Times (the story is mostly about Macrovision buying TV Guide), trace it back to BoingBoing, and then the vendor site.  The comments in the BoingBoing story are hilarious and telling.

December 7, 2007 | Permalink


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