This week, it appears that NBC has actually used the Broadcast Flag to prevent the recording of certain episodes of their programming. Fortunately, the only system that paid any attention was (wait for it) Windows Vista Media Center, but you can see where this is going. If the content dorks get their way, the networks will be able to prevent recording of their programs on a whim, ending the whole practice of time-shifting or saving favorite shows just because they would rather charge you every time you lay eyes on their (usually execrable) shows.
Vote with your dollars people. Don’t buy equipment that you don’t own and control. A computer that runs Vista clearly thinks it’s more beholden to NBC than to you.
Remember: DRM isn’t about fighting piracy. It’s about the ability to strictly control how we consume content. Users who are interested in pirating TV shows and movies aren’t going to do so with a DVR or buy them through PPV. They’ve already skipped the middle-man and gone straight to BitTorrent with its decent-quality, commercial-less, and DRM-free offerings. Boneheaded mistakes like the one apparently made by NBC and Microsoft Monday night will only serve to make alternative means of obtaining content more attractive.