Still More Bad DRM News

from the slow-motion-train-wreck dept

As you might have gathered, we don't much like digital rights management, which doesn't stop piracy and doesn't create value for consumers, but does irritate them and create security problems. This week there are two more stories illustrating these problems. First, there's been another Blu-Ray crack. Blu-Ray discs employ two different DRM technologies. One, called AACS, was cracked back in January. The other, called BD+, was supposed to provide an added layer of "security" and differentiate the format from HD-DVD. The specifications for BD+ were released just last June, and the first discs using the technology were released a month ago. Now, to no one's surprise, a company called SlySoft has announced a BD+ crack. The second development is likely to prove even more embarrassing to DRM supporters. Macrovision, the company made famous when its anti-copying technology was incorporated into VCRs in the 1980s, also sells DRM technology called SafeDisc used by Windows computer games. Ironically, "SafeDisc" turns out not to be so safe for your computer, as Microsoft is warning that the technology opens up security vulnerabilities on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Malware running as an unprivileged user could use vulnerabilities in the software to gain administrative privileges. DRM is bad for everyone: technology companies, copyright holders, and their customers.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Buzz, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 1:20pm

    Hmmm

    Are there ANY news reports of how "DRM did an incredible job at halting a huge piracy operation"? I have never heard of DRM being successful. All I know is it ticks me off and does NOTHING to stop pirates.

     

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  2.  
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    Maybe I'm Naive, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 1:45pm

    I'm not a hardware expert but...

    it seems to me at some point from media through the various hardware buses/chips/wires/whosits and the screen and speakers that the data has to be decrypted. I would think a savy hardware geek could fashion a means to insert some hardware/software to capture the decrypted 'signal' so that it could be recorded without the encryption.

    Ok, so I maybe a total neophyte, but if my 'theory' is true then any DRM can be defeated. Granted, the average consumer wouldn't go inserting chips into their DVD but someone out there in a dingy dormroom can and will. And once the file is recorded in a decrypted format then mass distribution is just a BitTorrent away.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    Bad DRM News?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    Bad DRM News?

    What's bad about it?

     

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  5.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 1:55pm

    Re: I'm not a hardware expert but...

    You’re absolutely right. That is how most DRM is defeated. Plug a blueray player into an HD video capture card and hay, I can record. That is if you can find an HD card that doesn’t have that stupid flag hardware to attempt to block it.

    Most of the movies I can find online have been ripped from DRM free media like theater disks or screening disks. (I still pay for the good stuff.)

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Bad DRM News?

    Bad isn't an adjective for News but for DRM. It's news about bad DRM. :P

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 1:57pm

    SafeDisk was always a joke

    I always liked SafeDisk protected games. It is the easiest DRM to get around.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 2:18pm

    > I would think a savy hardware geek could fashion a means
    > to insert some hardware/software to capture the decrypted
    > 'signal' so that it could be recorded without the encryption.

    You don't really have to be a savvy geek. You just have to have a camcorder.

    But really, that's what that whole HDMI thing tries to prevent: signals now travel along the wires encrypted. Crack coming in 3... 2... 1...

     

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  9.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Nov 9th, 2007 @ 2:19pm

    Why DRM, LockDowns and Anti-Piracy Methods Will Al

    This is such a simple concept... so I am constantly amazed why media execs keep falling for this DRM nonsense.

    Ok, once more for you Copyright Cartel Club members out there:

    This stuff keeps failing because you are, and always will be, on the wrong end of an "Invalid Intellectual Capitol Equation".

    Let's take a closer look at that term, OK? You remember equations from grade school don't you? That where you have a number on the right side of an "equals" sign (=) and another number on the left side. For Example:

    5 = 5

    This 5=5 example is a "valid equation".

    An "invalid equation" is where the numbers don't match. For instance:

    2 = 5

    Got it? Good. Let's press forward, shall we?

    Now, instead of numbers just pulled out of thin air, let make those numbers represent something. "Intellectual Capitol" for instance, or in simpler terms, "Brains".

    Now, how many brains were used to create the DRM you bought into?? 50, 100? But they were PHDs you say? Sorry, doesn't matter. They don't award PHDs on the basis of intelligence.

    Ok, so you used 100 brains to create your DRM. Once your DRM is released into the wild, how many brains out there in the world do you estimate will likely consider cracking your DRM a challenge? 1000, 10,000? Who knows for sure. But we can all be pretty sure that the number is at least an order of magnitude greater than the number of brains you used to create the DRM.

    Let's do the math again:

    100 DRM Creation Brains = 100x(N?) DRM Cracking Brains

    See? Not a valid equation. And you're on the wrong side.

    And, yes, this will be on Friday's quiz.

    Alan

     

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  10.  
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    Nick, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 2:20pm

    Re: I'm not a hardware expert but...

    Plug a male to male Headphone cable into your input (back of PC) and stick a splitter cable on your output(next to input) plug the male to male and your speakers into the splitters. Bam! you can record ANY audio that plays on your PC

     

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  11.  
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    Hulser, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Bad DRM News?

    >Bad isn't an adjective for News but for DRM.
    >It's news about bad DRM. :P
    LOL. Exactly. When I read the headline, I expected some news about how some new law was going to require increased use of DRM. Now *that* would be bad DRM news. But the makers of DRM getting negative publicity because of security vulnerabilities their software causes? To me, that's good news. It's all perspective, I guess.

     

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  12.  
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    Danno, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 2:42pm

    Somehow I think the leaky DRM is really just a ploy to justify plugging the analog hole.

    DRM my eyeballs or something like that.

     

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  13.  
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    Nicko, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 2:54pm

    Offline DRM will always be broken

    Top 10 Rules Content Providers need to accept:

    10. The more popular you want something to be, the more it will be pirated/modified/exploited.

    9. Consumers will not accept only using their media online

    8. All offline media can be circumvented.

    7. For every secured media format an unsecured format will exist.

    6. If you develop a device that is supposed to work with other 3rd party standardized devices, that exchange will be compromised.

    5. Backwards compatibility means backwards compatible exploits.

    4. Systems that take millions of dollars in research to develop, take relatively no resources to exploit.

    3. Consumer based products will always gravitate to cheap off the shelf components.

    2. Cheap or common components are easy to mod/circumvent.

    1. If you distribute something, you will loose your control over it.

     

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  14.  
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    Kango Traveler, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 3:25pm

    DRM is dead

    everyone knows that it is just a pain in the but and that it will never really stop the people who want to take your content from getting it, why punnish paying customers with this crap that get's in the way of a good experience.

     

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  15.  
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    Jeff, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 4:24pm

    Well Said

    Well said once again.

     

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  16.  
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    Steve R., Nov 10th, 2007 @ 7:22am

    Economics Anyone

    For the fun of it, lets assume that piracy costs the content producers real money and they need onerous DRM to "protect" their investment.
    1. How much money do the content producers spend to develop DRM versus the money "lost" to piracy? They may well be spending more than they are saving.

    2. The content producers claim that DRM is necessary to protect the value of their copyrighted material. We are now in the midst of a writer's strike where it is my understanding that one of the issues is that the content producers do not want to share revenue with the writers. Seems a bit duplistic to assert a copyright privilege if you are not willing to share it with the authors who actually produce the content.

     

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  17.  
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    CN, Nov 12th, 2007 @ 3:24pm

    It's hard to do the right thing when...

    I pay for the things I want, and a big part of the reason why is because it is "the right thing to do".

    In order to "do the right thing", I have to accept that DRM makes it difficult to use what I have purchased the way I want to use it. I have to accept that I may have to purchase it multiple times to use it in different ways or replace it if the media is damaged or the player is changed. I have to accept that it may work slower (extra CPU overhead for decrypting, etc), or have "false positives" that will prevent me from using it at all (and this has happened to me more than once). I have to accept the fact that I have to pay more to cover the costs of implementing all these annoyances (DRM). In some cases I may have to accept the fact that what I purchased will suddenly not work (MLB anyone?). I have to accept that my computer may be made unstable or vulnerable, most likely without my knowledge or permission (Securom, Sony Rootkit).

    And on top of all that, I have to accept the fact that I have to put up with all this crap because of something someone else is doing, not me. I'm trying to do the right thing, and I'm the one being punished for it!!!

    Somebody tell me, why am I doing this???

     

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  18.  
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    CT, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 4:25am

    I made the mistake of 'paying' for a Blue-ray disk. I'm not exactly sure what happened but at some point my PS3 decided that it didn't like the disk anymore and now I can't get it to play any video.

    I looked into this and it was because it 'incorrectly' flagged the disk as a copy...

    Fat chance they'll ever get me to buy into anymore of their DRM.

     

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