Microsoft may build copyright cop into every Zune

“If you like to download the latest episodes of ‘Heroes’ or other NBC shows from BitTorrent, maybe you shouldn’t buy a Microsoft Zune to watch them on,” Saul Hansell reports for The New York Times.

“A future update of the software for Microsoft’s portable media player may well include a feature that will block unauthorized copies of copyrighted videos from being played on it,” Hansell reports.

“Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it would start selling video programming for the Zune, mainly TV shows. These include programs from NBC Universal, which has pulled its shows off Apple’s iTunes Store,” Hansell reports.

“Late Tuesday afternoon I reached J. B. Perrette, the president of digital distribution for NBC Universal, to ask why NBC found Microsoft’s video store more appealing than Apple’s,” Hansell reports. “He explained that NBC, like most studios, would like the broadest distribution possible for its programming. But it has two disputes with Apple.”

“First, Apple insists that all TV shows have an identical wholesale price so that it can sell all of them at $1.99. NBC wants to sell its programs for whatever price it chooses,” Hansell reports. “Second, Apple refused to cooperate with NBC on building filters into its iPod player to remove pirated movies and videos.”

“Microsoft, by contrast, will accept NBC’s pricing scheme and will work with it to try to develop a copyright ‘cop’ to be installed on its devices,” Hansell reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jack” for the heads up.]

Microsoft is desperate. Apple is not. And this is yet another reason not to buy a Zune, as if another one was needed. NBC can keep dicking around until the cows come home for all Apple cares. iPod and iTunes sales continue unabated with or without also-ran NBC TV shows. P2P just keeps on serving up NBC shows at very nice prices, iPod- and Mac- compatible, thanks. NBC will come crawling back to Apple in due time.

[UPDATE: 8:59pm EDT: According to CNET, “Microsoft denies putting ‘copyright cop’ in Zune.“]


  1. No great loss. Except for “The Office,” NBC’s programming is “Must Pee TV” (props to Garry Shandling for that one).

    But give them credit for something: they found a way to make the Zune even less attractive to consumers. Impressive, most impressive.

  2. Speaking of shite…

    > I’ve never actually seen a zune…. not that I want to

    I saw one this morning. And then I flushed.

    MW “british”… huh? What’s that got to do with anything?

  3. Ignoramuses in the TV & Film (and Music for that matter) industries STILL don’t get that adding all kinds of hurdles and pricing trickery to your content ONLY serves ONE purpose and that is to help another generation of users discover Bit Torrent. These clowns SHOULD be slashing prices!! Make all this an impulse buy! I feel that at $2 the TV shows are STILL overpriced! Make them $1 (or less) so that we will buy shows we aren’t that familiar with on a whim! Who knows maybe we’ll like it and buy the whole season for $10-$15. But at $2 a pop and $30± for a season (with sleezeballs like NBC clamoring for even more $) it just becomes compelling to investigate the torrents…

  4. I saw a Zune once…it was clunky and lopsided… completely uninspiring. Everything I expected from the way people make fun of it on here (and everywhere for that matter)

    Made me want to scrub myself after being two feet from it.

    The music being played was like the device too…….

  5. @ macoverdose_dot_com: I’ve seen exactly one Zune “in the wild” – that is, being used by a person and not stuck to some display in Best Buy.

    And I live in the center of the most populous city in the country and ride the subways at rush hour with thousands of people. Seen about a zillion iPods and iPhones in the last year, just for comparison…

    MDN word: “response” as in the consumer response to the Microsoft Zune has been somewhat, uhh, underwhelming.

  6. “Microsoft, by contrast, will accept NBC’s pricing scheme and will work with it to try to develop a copyright ‘cop’ to be installed on its devices,”

    SO, you will pay $5.99 to watch a copy of Heros, and the best part is that MS will “TRY TO DEVELOP” a way to stop extra copies of the downloads from being made. Hmmm. MS did say they ARE GOING TO DEVELOP, only that they would TRY TO DEVELOP. Guess NBC is going to be screwed. MS can’t even get their OS to work right after 7 years, I don’t think they will be able to make a whole new program to work any faster.

  7. You should go read the comments on the original story. Some of them are so funny.

    Nicole’s comment is one of the best.

    “My goodness, as a former MSN Music customer I can ASSURE you that your legitimate purchases are safe in Microsoft’s hands. You don’t ever need to worry about your purchases ceasing to work with every Windows update or Microsoft suddenly deciding to terminate your licenses.

    I know I’ll be running out and buying a Zune.

    — Posted by Nicole”

  8. Let Microsoft do it. That would hurt Zunes cruddy market share even further.

    This will benefit Apple.

    But I still haven’t seen a Zune Yet, so I don’t get Microsoft’s hype on how successful it’s been. I just hear talk about it.

    That Music sharing feature has gotta suck when there’s nobody to share music with.

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