AMD to introduce hardware DRM with new GPUs?

By Justin Mann on
Is AMD planning to incorporate DRM into future GPUs? I certainly hope not, but a statement from them makes me think otherwise. It seems with future GPUs, they will have the ability to block access to the framebuffer in hardware, allowing access only to certain software from certain vendors. The purpose? To control what content can and can't be viewed on that particular card. If you control the framebuffer, you control anything that can be displayed:

There is a short list of parties who will be unauthorized to access your frame buffer: You. There is a long list of parties who are authorized to access your frame buffer, and that list includes Microsoft, Apple, AMD, Intel, ATI, NVidia, Sony Pictures, Paramount, HBO, CBS, Macrovision, and all other content owners and enablers that want your machine to themselves whenever you’re watching, listening to, reading, or shooting monsters with their products.
The immediate impact of this would be vendor-locking when it came to, say, playing back a movie. Without the proper software, for instance from the vendor in question, a Blu-ray disc might be totally worthless. Potential circumvention aside, one must wonder what AMDs intentions are. Obviously they aren't looking out for the customers at this point, because the backlash DRM is facing only grows each year. Criticisms aside, it seems they are pandering to content providers – the last thing a company trying to compete with Intel and Nvidia should be worried about.

Think twice, AMD. It isn't Sony who brings in your bread and butter.

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