February 15, 2005 6:00 AM PST

New copy-proof DVDs on the way?

Macrovision on Tuesday released a new DVD copy-protection technology in hopes of substantially broadening its role in Hollywood's antipiracy effort.

The content-protection company is pointing to the failure of the copy-proofing on today's DVDs, which was broken in 1999. Courts have ordered that DVD-copying tools be taken off the market, but variations of the software remain widely available online.

Macrovision executives said that even if it's not perfect, the new RipGuard DVD technology can prevent much of the copying done with such tools and can help bolster studios' DVD sales.

"Encryption standards either work or they don't," said Adam Gervin, Macrovision's senior director of marketing, "Now the cat's out of the bag. (DVD sales) are going to be one of the main sources of revenue for Hollywood for a long time, so why leave billions of dollars on the table when you can do something about it?"

The company could be hard pressed to break into the DVD protection market, which has historically been managed by companies or industry groups closely associated with the Hollywood studios themselves. However, studios have been deeply concerned by the failure of today's DVD copy protection and may be willing to experiment with an alternative if it proves practical.

The original DVD copy-protection tool--called Content Scramble System--was developed by a technology coalition that included studio representatives. The tool is licensed by a group with close ties to Hollywood.

A new coalition, which includes Warner Bros., Walt Disney, IBM, Sony, Microsoft and Intel, is working on another content-protection technology for next-generation DVDs. That technology called the Advanced Access Content System, which is not designed for today's DVDs, is being designed to let movies be moved around a home though a digital network.

The group has said little about its progress since announcing the project last year, but companies involved have said they expect to have it ready in time for the first expected release of high-definition video on DVD late in 2005.

Meanwhile, Macrovision is promoting its alternative. The company, which has worked with the studios in the past, was responsible for the technique that makes it difficult to copy movies from one VCR to another, and it has updated that technique to help prevent people from making copies of movies using the analog plugs on DVD players.

The company is using a new version of that analog guard to create copy protection for video-on-demand services. That new guard will be included in TiVo devices and other set-top boxes beginning later this year.

Macrovision's new product takes a different approach to antipiracy than it has taken for analog or audio CDs. Gervin said Macrovision engineers have spent several years looking at how various DVD-copying software packages work and have devised ways to tweak the encoding of a DVD to block most of them.

That means the audio and video content itself requires no new hardware and isn't scrambled anew, as is the case with most rights-management techniques. Someone using one of the ripping tools on a protected DVD might simply find their software crashing, or be presented with error messages instead of a copy.

Macrovision's analog copy-protection business means that it receives pre-market versions of most major DVD players in order to test for compatibility, and it has been performing RipGuard DVD tests on these machines for months. As a result, the company says it is confident that discs encoded with its new product will be playable on all major DVD player brands and PC drives.

Gervin said that the technique would block most rippers, but not all, and could be easily updated for future discs as underground programmers find ways to work around RipGuard.

If adopted, the technology could be a welcome financial shot in the arm for Macrovision. The company has seen its revenue from DVD copy protection fall over recent quarters and has increasingly been looking to other businesses to make up for the shortfall.

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geez
Software makers, music labels, movies studios all need to stop wasting all this money on something they can never stop, and spend it on releasing high quality content.

Most software is garbage

Most movies are paint by number snoozefests

Most music is produced in the boardroom, not by artists. How many in the top 100 can even be considered real musical artists? Very few.

These industries will make more profit and bolster their image with the public if they stop wasting money to punish honest customers and create original, excitng content. In the case of software makers, how about creating useful software that works as advertised and is secure from the day of release?
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
haven't you anything original to say?
Before the accusations start, yes, I do "backup" my media...
But your arguments have absolutely no merit. It's true both music and movie studios are putting out a lot of crap. But people are copying none the less. And if the studios spent more and made a more appealing product, the result would be more people copying it, not more "pirates" deciding to stop copying and start paying.
Your arguments amount to nothing more than weak attempts to validate piracy, to which I say, if you're not morally comfortable with your actions, don't do them. If you're fine with copying, then don't waste time clouding the issue with nonsense... we get enough of that from the industry.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
geez
Software makers, music labels, movies studios all need to stop wasting all this money on something they can never stop, and spend it on releasing high quality content.

Most software is garbage

Most movies are paint by number snoozefests

Most music is produced in the boardroom, not by artists. How many in the top 100 can even be considered real musical artists? Very few.

These industries will make more profit and bolster their image with the public if they stop wasting money to punish honest customers and create original, excitng content. In the case of software makers, how about creating useful software that works as advertised and is secure from the day of release?
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
haven't you anything original to say?
Before the accusations start, yes, I do "backup" my media...
But your arguments have absolutely no merit. It's true both music and movie studios are putting out a lot of crap. But people are copying none the less. And if the studios spent more and made a more appealing product, the result would be more people copying it, not more "pirates" deciding to stop copying and start paying.
Your arguments amount to nothing more than weak attempts to validate piracy, to which I say, if you're not morally comfortable with your actions, don't do them. If you're fine with copying, then don't waste time clouding the issue with nonsense... we get enough of that from the industry.
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Link Flag
If it can be played it can be copied...
They embedded the region controls in computer DVD-ROM drives and they developed firmware hacks. Once Rip Guard is defeated people will be coping while Macrovision is trying to update it's copy protect to prevent it, which will do nothing for the tons of media still using the hacked version of the protection.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
why annonomous
why don't you identify yourself?

there ain't no secret that anti-copying schemes will be broken but why bother? bring over your dvd player with its red, white and yellow RCA connectors (or even that funny din connector I think they call S-Vidio) plug it into my computers inputs and I'll have a perfect copy

it takes full play time but I'm not gonna go into business recording dups either so thats no problem with movies I like

for those who dup and sell there are laws that put them in prison so leave it open and spend your money on the lawyers
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
If it can be played it can be copied...
They embedded the region controls in computer DVD-ROM drives and they developed firmware hacks. Once Rip Guard is defeated people will be coping while Macrovision is trying to update it's copy protect to prevent it, which will do nothing for the tons of media still using the hacked version of the protection.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
why annonomous
why don't you identify yourself?

there ain't no secret that anti-copying schemes will be broken but why bother? bring over your dvd player with its red, white and yellow RCA connectors (or even that funny din connector I think they call S-Vidio) plug it into my computers inputs and I'll have a perfect copy

it takes full play time but I'm not gonna go into business recording dups either so thats no problem with movies I like

for those who dup and sell there are laws that put them in prison so leave it open and spend your money on the lawyers
Posted by qazwiz (208 comments )
Link Flag
There will always be a market for copied DVDs
Here in the UK, Hellboy and Without A Paddle, to name but two, were released in the cinema after they were released on DVD in the US. As long as the movie industry continues with staggered release dates, people will always buy copied versions of movies.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There will always be a market for copied DVDs
Here in the UK, Hellboy and Without A Paddle, to name but two, were released in the cinema after they were released on DVD in the US. As long as the movie industry continues with staggered release dates, people will always buy copied versions of movies.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a waste of time
I agree with the previous poster. Why do the movie studios and record companies keep investing money in copy-protection schemes that will immediately be defeated by hackers. If the content is digital, it can be hacked. Instead, they should secretly embed identifiable keys in the content so as to track the distribution of product and the spend the money going after the people who egregiously violate the copyright laws.
Posted by kingwr (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a waste of time
I agree with the previous poster. Why do the movie studios and record companies keep investing money in copy-protection schemes that will immediately be defeated by hackers. If the content is digital, it can be hacked. Instead, they should secretly embed identifiable keys in the content so as to track the distribution of product and the spend the money going after the people who egregiously violate the copyright laws.
Posted by kingwr (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Napster-To-Go's 'rental music' DRM circumvented
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blog.kordix.com/marv/archives/000400.html" target="_newWindow">http://blog.kordix.com/marv/archives/000400.html</a>

So much for jAnus.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Napster-To-Go's 'rental music' DRM circumvented
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blog.kordix.com/marv/archives/000400.html" target="_newWindow">http://blog.kordix.com/marv/archives/000400.html</a>

So much for jAnus.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who this really works for
Copy protection works for people who typically dont copy in the first place or simply stop when EZ CD Creator wont do it.

Who is the winner here?
Well Macrovison and to some degree the studios of course. First they sell a copy protection to the studios which in turn the cost is passed onto John Q Consumer (who is the loser in all this).

Most all other Macrovison copy protection schemes that I am aware of are broken or circumvented. This will be no different.
Seems to me the studios and perhaps even the consumer should sue Macrovision for selling something that doesnt work. The studio can sue Macrovison for failing to actually protect the content and the consumer can sue because they have been not been protected from being able to copy the material in question. The consumer paid for it shouldnt it work? Same for the studio.

The price goes up and piracy will continue as normal. I am not advocating piracy I am merely stating a very likely truth.
Posted by Buzz_Friendly (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who this really works for
Copy protection works for people who typically dont copy in the first place or simply stop when EZ CD Creator wont do it.

Who is the winner here?
Well Macrovison and to some degree the studios of course. First they sell a copy protection to the studios which in turn the cost is passed onto John Q Consumer (who is the loser in all this).

Most all other Macrovison copy protection schemes that I am aware of are broken or circumvented. This will be no different.
Seems to me the studios and perhaps even the consumer should sue Macrovision for selling something that doesnt work. The studio can sue Macrovison for failing to actually protect the content and the consumer can sue because they have been not been protected from being able to copy the material in question. The consumer paid for it shouldnt it work? Same for the studio.

The price goes up and piracy will continue as normal. I am not advocating piracy I am merely stating a very likely truth.
Posted by Buzz_Friendly (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most?
The technology isn't even released yet and the best they can do is prevent "most" current rippers from succeeding? As anyone involved knows, as soon as new techniques are released, the hackers start finding ways around them. If the new methods don't even work now, won't that just result in "pirates" simply chaning tools and carrying on as usual?
Sounds like another 'press the space bar to copy your CD now' scheme. An utter waste of money and time.
Studios need to accept that users have a legitimate need and desire to copy their own media. This will likely result in some copies of media not owned by the consumer, but that is a cost of business, like shoplifting and spoilage. New protection schemes will do nothing to stop commercial pirates and as long as the studios ignore them and focus on private individuals copying for personal use and not profit, the public will view all efforts at stopping piracy as infringement on fair use... fair use pricipals which have already been held up in the courts. Ill will will be the only result.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go finish backing up Resident Evil - Apocalypse and The Forgotten. ;)
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most?
The technology isn't even released yet and the best they can do is prevent "most" current rippers from succeeding? As anyone involved knows, as soon as new techniques are released, the hackers start finding ways around them. If the new methods don't even work now, won't that just result in "pirates" simply chaning tools and carrying on as usual?
Sounds like another 'press the space bar to copy your CD now' scheme. An utter waste of money and time.
Studios need to accept that users have a legitimate need and desire to copy their own media. This will likely result in some copies of media not owned by the consumer, but that is a cost of business, like shoplifting and spoilage. New protection schemes will do nothing to stop commercial pirates and as long as the studios ignore them and focus on private individuals copying for personal use and not profit, the public will view all efforts at stopping piracy as infringement on fair use... fair use pricipals which have already been held up in the courts. Ill will will be the only result.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go finish backing up Resident Evil - Apocalypse and The Forgotten. ;)
Posted by skeptik (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It will never matter...
I don't care what kind of "protection" is used on movies. They will never protect it... NEVER. Back when VCRs first came out, before copy protection, I made a copy of a movie. The thing is that I only had one VCR. I just put a video camera in front of the TV and recorded the VHS movie. PRESTO! If you looked really hard you could see that it was recorded the way I stated. With todays better equipment, it may be easier to see the trash. But most of the pirated movies are compressed and the quality stinks so why not. Maybe you can see that it was recorded directly off the TV.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It will never matter...
I don't care what kind of "protection" is used on movies. They will never protect it... NEVER. Back when VCRs first came out, before copy protection, I made a copy of a movie. The thing is that I only had one VCR. I just put a video camera in front of the TV and recorded the VHS movie. PRESTO! If you looked really hard you could see that it was recorded the way I stated. With todays better equipment, it may be easier to see the trash. But most of the pirated movies are compressed and the quality stinks so why not. Maybe you can see that it was recorded directly off the TV.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Everything can be copied in some way
Even with the most sophisticated copy protection, ultimately, if your eyes and ears can see and hear a movie, or music, then it can be copied.
Posted by gmaskew (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Everything can be copied in some way
Even with the most sophisticated copy protection, ultimately, if your eyes and ears can see and hear a movie, or music, then it can be copied.
Posted by gmaskew (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dear MPAA&screw off
To the MPAA.
I own over 500 DVD's of which about 70% are ripped and stored on my home server. Before you pick up that god damn phone to sue me I don't share **** you pricks. I use my collection when I go on business trips or know that I have a long flight ahead or a very long car trip. Lets do the math. Which takes up more space. 20-30 DVDs that can get lost, stolen, or broken or 20-30 divxx files that can fit neatly on my laptops hard drive. If you want to play games that is fine. Just be aware that you lost another high paying customer you pompous idiot. (Collectively that is.)
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dear MPAA&screw off
To the MPAA.
I own over 500 DVD's of which about 70% are ripped and stored on my home server. Before you pick up that god damn phone to sue me I don't share **** you pricks. I use my collection when I go on business trips or know that I have a long flight ahead or a very long car trip. Lets do the math. Which takes up more space. 20-30 DVDs that can get lost, stolen, or broken or 20-30 divxx files that can fit neatly on my laptops hard drive. If you want to play games that is fine. Just be aware that you lost another high paying customer you pompous idiot. (Collectively that is.)
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Shooting themselves in the foot?
Macrovision "protections" prevent many users from viewing their legit DVDs on older TVs. The only way to watch the discs in this circumstance is to pop the disc in a PC, and remove the protections. Now they want to make an "improvement"? Watch out Hollywood!

---
MyShoots.com
Create, rate, and share photos online
Posted by ChrisSpence (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Shooting themselves in the foot?
Macrovision "protections" prevent many users from viewing their legit DVDs on older TVs. The only way to watch the discs in this circumstance is to pop the disc in a PC, and remove the protections. Now they want to make an "improvement"? Watch out Hollywood!

---
MyShoots.com
Create, rate, and share photos online
Posted by ChrisSpence (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Always an easy way around...
You know, they have copy protection and crap, but there is no protection for the almighty "Video Out". All you need is a digital video camera, line input, FireWire, and Video Editing software. Presto! Play your DVD, records to camera, record to PC, encode to whatever, and you are done! Protection scheme bypassed!
Posted by Impreza WRX (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Always an easy way around...
You know, they have copy protection and crap, but there is no protection for the almighty "Video Out". All you need is a digital video camera, line input, FireWire, and Video Editing software. Presto! Play your DVD, records to camera, record to PC, encode to whatever, and you are done! Protection scheme bypassed!
Posted by Impreza WRX (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There will ALWAYS be copies available
This is a fact that both MPAA and RIAA need to realize. Their actions may make it difficult for 99.9% of people to copy and distribute - but all it takes is for 0.1% of the people to go to the time and trouble... and suddenly it becomes widely available on the net.

What is the solution? Who even implied there WAS one?

Sure, you can pass laws and prosecute offenders... but this method has been tried against far more serious crimes (like, say, MURDER) and look at the results. A lot of time, effort and money are spent using this method. For murder, it's well spent. Are copyright violations worthy of it? Will anyone other than lawyers truly benefit?

I have seen copyright issues following technological advances ever since the Xerox machine. So far, in each case, after a surge of violations the problem "magically disappears" - primarily due to a loss of interest (or change in technology). I see no reason to believe it will be any different today.
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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