Will Copy Protection Always Introduce New Security Problems?

from the probably-so dept

Following the Sony BMG copy protection rootkit fiasco there have been more stories about other copy protection systems introducing vulnerabilities as well. However, the real issue may be that malicious hackers have now been alerted to the fact that this can be a promising new path to compromising systems. Linuxdevices is running a column from someone who warned about exactly this issue nearly three and a half years ago. By its very nature, copy protection introduces an added complexity that is designed to override many other things that a computer is expected to do. Correctly being able to account for every case and every situation is going to be impossible — and that’s going to introduce both security problems and safety problems as an unintended consequence. When you pile on top of that the fact that no copy protection system has been shown to actually prevent the eventual copying of the content and the fact that there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that freely shared entertainment content online isn’t the main cause of the entertainment industry’s problems — it’s hard to figure out why the industry is so focused on continuing to invest in copy protection.

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Comments on “Will Copy Protection Always Introduce New Security Problems?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Why is it so hard to understand?

Copy protection isn’t about keeping the files from being copied. It’s about control. As long as the music industry thinks that they can apply more control over the content you bought and what you do with that content, they are going to keep trying this. More control means more money.

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: Why is it so hard to understand?

or it means that more people will do like me and say to hell with buying or downloading any music at all.

I have downloaded maybe 3 songs that I would never have been exposed to otherwise (Eastern music) and not gotten a new CD in about 3 years. I do listen to a web radio station or two at work but that’s just background noise for me. The car radio gets all of one hour of usage a week now.

The music industry turned me off for a while and then it just became a lifestyle of not caring about their crappy singles and, surprisingly, life is just as good – and cheaper – without it.

How long before kids figure that out? That’s the $12 billion (or however much the industry is worth) question.

mbuel76 says:

Re: Why is it so hard to understand?

while you make an excellent point about control, you are still forgetting about the money. You want to see the driving force for copy protection? look at the PSP. You have to re-purchase movies for two different formats, and that’s exactly what they want for the iPod as well.
It’s a win-win in their minds. They get at least twice the money from the idiots who have a PSP and buy two copies of the films. One for DVD and one for PSP.
They could’ve been nice and included a blank disk to transfer movies that you own (that aren’t backup disks) to the psp… but instead they iron fisted the controls in order to rake in more profits.
Should it really be that surprising that for profit companies are trying to make as much profit as possible? Yeah it’s low down and dirty, but that’s the base nature of capitalism!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Why is it so hard to understand?

for lack of a better term let us call it the AOL effect. AOL was popular not because it was the best isp availible but because of its ease of use. Novice web users loved this despite the fact that it was a walled garden and updated itself without any input from the user. In fact these were a few of the features that they loved. The fact is that some people still have not advanced past this level of web knowledge. They just haven’t taken the time to learn of the many possibilities that the internet opens for them. I also have technically inclined friends who don’t know things like how to fit a commercial dvd onto a dvd rw (dvd shrink or dual layer disks) . In many cases it is about weighing the time needed to master a task and the ease of buying a cd when you visit walmart. The riaa knows this. As they make it scarier and scarier for people to download music, those who haven’t already started to do so will much less likely to start. They continue to be sheep just like most of the voting public – see lcnn’s latest survey on the wiretapping scandal. When they can continue to tell people that there is no such thing as fair use and that downoading music will get you sued and people believe it, they have already won…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why is it so hard to understand?

Tried to tell my daughter not to buy any Sony BMG CDs because that is the best way to let Sony know we don’t want their product if it is crippled. She said she still would if that was the only place to get the music she wanted.
See, the artists are in the best position: soon self-publishing will be pretty easy and the hardest part of becoming a known musician will be getting people’s attention to listen to your stuff. By necessity there will have to be free samples. Many artists won’t care if some people take their music without paying if it means none of their audience has to deal with DRM. Others will. The market will decide. Just don’t buy protected CDs and if you accidentally do, take them back. Or try to return them to the publisher. These guys will go as far as they can into your pockets but you DON’T have to let them! They consider it their job to get money from you however they can and they respond to sales numbers. Speak in a language they understand!

Me says:

Re: Why is it so hard to understand?

That is one of the problems with the music industry. They “think” they can control what consumers do with the content when the fact is they can’t. As long as you can play music in your PC, you can do anything with it (copy, modify, distribute, etc.) regardless of what copy protection they use. They’re just making more problems by drilling holes and making someone’s already vulnerable PC even more vulnerable. And the fact that the software which made you vulnerable can’t even do what it was supposed to (protect the content) makes me want to pull my hair. Its like grabbing a stone and hitting your own head with it.
I have no problem with protected content, in fact I despise piracy. But when it comes to security holes, I despise it even more.

kurt (user link) says:

Re: Why is it so hard to understand?

it absolutely is about control… not so much about the money, though… if they were really that concerned about money they wouldn’t be taking PR risks with their digital rights malware or ignoring the studies claiming that filesharing helps record sales…

they want the money, sure, and they definitely think the control will get them more money, but they’ve focused so much on just the control aspect of things that they’ve become blind to the fact that the control isn’t getting them more money and they’ll never be able to get enough control for it to actually work the way they intend (due to the darknet effect)…

it could very well be that we’d all be better off if they’d just keep their eyes on the prize…

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