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New Copy Protection to Make Playing DVDs on a PC Difficult 557

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the thankfully-there-are-alternatives-to-windows dept.
The Cowardly Pirate writes "ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 blog is reporting that new copy-protection software for DVD publishers from a company called ProtectDisc not only makes it difficult to rip movies that you've purchased but also prevents discs from playing in a Windows PC at all. From the article: 'Protect DVD-Video is the brainchild of a company called ProtectDisc. Part of the copy-protection mechanism is a non-standard UDF (Universal Disc Format) file system which results in the IFO file on the DVD (this is the file responsible for storing information on chapters, subtitles and audio tracks) appearing to the PC as being zero bytes long.'"
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New Copy Protection to Make Playing DVDs on a PC Difficult

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  • DVD Jon (Score:5, Funny)

    by doctor_nation (924358) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:19PM (#16398883)
    Countdown to DVD Jon hack 3..2..1..
    • Re:DVD Jon (Score:5, Interesting)

      by norminator (784674) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:36PM (#16399221)
      Or: Gentlemen, start your magic markers!
      Or: Fingers on the shift key!

      It's always great to hear about new hacks, designed to keep us from watching our purchased content, likely to keep some legitimate players from being able to play the content, and which will be quickly and simply foiled by some low-tech solution. It's hard to believe companies want to be in this business of "content protection" (but of course they are, because a solid, secure protection system is the holy grail for content providers). Thanks a lot, Hollywood, we love you, too.
    • obDoctrow (Score:5, Funny)

      by dculberson (1012365) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:38PM (#16399267)
      "Nobody woke up this morning wanting to do less with their DVDs!"
      • Re:obDoctrow (Score:5, Interesting)

        by b100dian (771163) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @05:55PM (#16400481) Homepage Journal
        "Protect DVD-Video is the brainchild of a company called ProtectDisc"
        I first read "brainchild" as "child's brain"
        I still do.
        You see, whenever somebody invents a such pathetic copy protection for specific software (read: UDF filesystem driver) you have to keep in mind that the only device that is 100% surely programmable to avoid the protection is.. TA-DA.. the COMPUTER!!! [Applause]
        This is a 1-day job for any CD/DVD writer software author, to read the raw and use it in another way.
        So, some person will lose 1 day in life walking around this `protection`, the other `hackers` will lose 1 googling minute for finding, downloading, installing and finally playing the DVD.

        This is why the entropy principle is there to stay! These sort of thoughts/inventions will never _create_ information :))!
    • Re:DVD Jon (Score:5, Interesting)

      by davros866 (812083) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:52PM (#16399535)
      From the article:

      SlySoft have a product called AnyDVD which works in the background to automatically remove the copy protection of a DVD movie as soon as it's inserted into the drive. The other day they released an updated version of AnyDVD which effortlessly bypasses Protect DVD-Video.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by neil.orourke (703459)
        Not only that, but AnyDVD makes DVD's bearable by skipping all the forced junk that a stand-alone player must show.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by freeweed (309734)
        Ironically enough, AnyDVD itself uses some decent copy protection to prevent people from copying it without paying.

        Even more funny, the DVD ripping forums are full of people explaining how to use "rollback" software to fool AnyDVD into thinking it's never been installed, so that you can just keep re-using it without paying. Of course, this rollback software is also copy-protected.

        But I'm sure we all use AnyDVD to bypass FBI warnings :)

        Good for the goose, good for the gander, I say.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:19PM (#16398885) Journal

    Just the other night we had more DVDs to watch than TVs and players. Our daughter wanted to watch her Smallville (purchased), and we were watching one of our circulating Blockbuster "mailer" DVDs.

    She was delighted when I showed her how to watch her DVD on the upstairs computer -- she hadn't known that was possible. Problem solved, everybody happy.

    But, now this? What the hey? So now potentially what she presumably knows about watching on an alternative device could not work, and she wouldn't know why -- yes, the article mentions the latest new "tool" that "effortlessly" bypasses the security, but again, What the Hey? She isn't going to know about that tool, or how to use it, and I'm about as sick and tired as I can be of setting up the workarounds for restrictions that shouldn't even exist.

    Interestingly, the article mentions (emphasis mine):

    As usual, I don't have a problem with anyone protecting their intellectual property and making sure that they are paid fairly for their work, but I am dismayed when, time after time, they seem to blur the line between fair use and piracy

    I only almost agree with that -- "they" in this case seem to be blurring the line between use-use and piracy. Each day I toss a coin to decide who annoys me more -- media "providers" or spammers. It's a close call.

    I used to wonder whether the DVD industry would totally shoot itself in the foot with the HD vs. BluRay DVD wars coupled with intrusive DRM, sending potential customers away in droves. If this new protection technology is for existing DVDs (it's not clear from the article), they could send existing DVD customers away in droves. I no longer about the sanity of the industry -- I worry about the sanity of artists allowing contracts for their "art" to be wrapped in technology like this, I wonder why they allow it.

    (Interesting (and I think important) aside: I recently updated the firmware on my Creative Vision:M mp3 player, a player I've absolutely loved for its features, ergonomics, screen quality, you name it, there was hardly a thing about it I could find fault with. As the new firmware was installing I browsed the release notes... looking for the standard blah blah blah on what's fixed, what's new. The very last line of the notes said (paraphrasing), This firmware upgrade will disable your FM recording capability(!). WTF? It was too late for me to stop the upgrade -- sure enough, I now have a Creative Vision:M sans FM recording capability, (a feature which I was quite fond of)! Creative doesn't say whether it's RIAA induced, I have no idea why they did this... but if it IS more DRM crap, what a crock!)

    (Other aside: I love that the ad for the slashdot page for the "read more" for me was an HD-DVD ad...)

    • by sbrown123 (229895) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:23PM (#16398947) Homepage
      She isn't going to know about that tool, or how to use it, and I'm about as sick and tired as I can be of setting up the workarounds for restrictions that shouldn't even exist.

      Eventually only the hackers will be able to watch movies and play games on their computer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gblues (90260)
      Chances are the FM recording had a serious bug that's still being worked on, but the FM recording is being disabled to minimize the impact of the bug. If that's the case, a future update will probably re-enable it.

      Dunno if Creative has released any official information, though.

      Nathan
    • by hirschma (187820) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:27PM (#16399041)
      IANAL, but if Creative, in any way, induced you to upgrade the firmware (i.e., it fixed an existing bug), then they have just handed the class action vultures a nice gift. Can't sell a product based on features, and then take them away.

      If you want to see Creative punished (you won't benefit, class action suits never actually benefit the consumer), take a screen grab of anything on their site that still shows this capability, and then email it to the proper vultures.

      jh
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gfxguy (98788)
        I was just involved in a class action (something I almost always disagree with), and the settlement was that the company will reimburse me for the repair I had to make, and will fix the problem if it happens again for free.

        So yes, class actions are abused 99% of the time, and the lawyers are the only ones who benefit, but "never" is a harsh word.
      • by omeomi (675045) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @05:04PM (#16399739) Homepage
        (you won't benefit, class action suits never actually benefit the consumer)

        Hey! That's not true...I got like $12 from that CD price-fixing lawsuit about four years ago to reimburse me for the money I lost paying too much for the 500 or so CD's that I own. That's twelve whole dollars, man!

        I probably spent it on a CD...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by josephdrivein (924831)
      Next in news: new DVD protection that makes it impossible to play it at all. All you can do is watch at its shiny surface and think about how cool the movie is.

      The sad thing is that people will probably still be buying them.
    • by aztektum (170569) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:36PM (#16399223)
      As soon as contract negotiations over royalty payments and distribution expenses come into play, I feel they lose their "artist" status and are "entertainers."

      Artists to me are people that attempt to share a unique, creative and inspired vision through sound and vision (or the combination of the two.)

      (Yes I realize 'art' is subjective, but I'm talkin strictly to the movie/music type here.)

      When it comes to the **AA's and their international counterparts, all we get is rehashed, same old same old in order to service a businesses bottom line.
      • As soon as contract negotiations over royalty payments and distribution expenses come into play, I feel they lose their "artist" status and are "entertainers."

        Artists to me are people that attempt to share a unique, creative and inspired vision through sound and vision (or the combination of the two.)

        Yes, because it is crass and unseemly when hardworking artists try and look out for their own interests, pay for a decent roof over their family's head, food on the table, have medical and dental costs, pe

    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:46PM (#16399433) Homepage Journal
      Instructions to downgrade the firmware are here:

      http://www.epizenter.net/e107_plugins/forum/forum_ viewtopic.php?46417 [epizenter.net]

      I would send a nasty letter to Creative when you're done downgrading too, but that's just me. I know I sent one to Apple when they castrated iTunes' ability to share over the internet, a feature that I had used all the time to listen to my music while studying or working in another building.

      Companies need to know that we won't just bend over and let them fuck us with little "upgrades" like that, at least not without noticing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by XorNand (517466) *

        Companies need to know that we won't just bend over and let them fuck us with little "upgrades" like that, at least not without noticing.

        Since you didn't mention otherwise, I'm going to assume that you still use iTunes? How exactly is that not "bending over?" If that feature was really that important to you, you would switched to using WinAmp and Shoutcast (or something similar). It's doubtful that Apple cares what you think is important to you. That doesn't affect your buying decision. They're more intere

    • Security policy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by complexmath (449417) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @05:13PM (#16399885)
      There's some kind of rule regarding security policy which states that if security is so tight as to be an obstacle to normal work, legitimate users will attempt to circumvent the security measures just so they can do their work at a reasonable level of efficiency (ie. without undue irritation). I think that rule applies to media security as well. Right now, media security measures are still largely invisible and legitimate use does "just work" for the most part. But what will happen if that changes? If the security measures become so draconian as to impede legitimate use, it's extremely likely that legitimate users who had never considered pirating will begin to look for ways to circumvent the system just to continue using the product in a convenient manner. Basically, I think it's quite likely that if media security measures get much tighter then the media companies will effectively create a consumer base of "pirates" as a simple reaction to the inconvenience the new security measures present. And once a person becomes used to the convenience presented by circumvention, it will be difficult to convince them to play by the rules again, even if future security measures are relaxed.
    • I normally take the side of DRM in these discussions, I sell games online for my own 1 man company, so I have a vested interest (and urgent rent-paying need) to combat piracy and make sure that the content provider gets paid for his/her hard work.
      But this is a step WAY too far for DRM.
      I often watch DVDs on my laptop, its a great feature, and its totally insane to prevent me as a consumer from doing this, with DVDs I have BOUGHT.
      We now are in a situation where:
      95% of content prov
  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:20PM (#16398891) Homepage Journal

    I love reading stuff like this. I hope that they lock DVDs down so tight that no one can even play them on their regular players. Then, when the next blockbuster movie sell a grand total of four DVDs, maybe the movie and television studios will finally realize how much money this is costing them.

    And seriously, can I see a quick show of hands of everyone who thinks that this will keep people from copying DVDs?...

    Yeah, that's what I thought, and neither do I.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, people who want to copy dvds professionally are smart. Legitimate users are not really. Everyone in between is better off using a pirated copy, because it is just better.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:51PM (#16399527) Homepage Journal
        Everyone in between is better off using a pirated copy, because it is just better.

        Agreed. I hardly even watch movies straight from DVD anymore. Even if I'm just going to watch it once, I just run them through HandBrake first. That way I don't have to deal with crappily designed menus, FBI warnings, and mandatory-view advertisements. (Because yes, Virginia, a "preview" is just an advertisement for another movie.)

        I've told more than one other person about HandBrake and now they do the same thing. I wouldn't call it quite "Grandma friendly" yet (although the stripped-down iPod version is) but it's pretty close. If the person you're instructing knows the difference between a Phillips screw and a Torx, they can probably deal with HandBrake.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:34PM (#16399185)
      Then, when the next blockbuster movie sell a grand total of four DVDs, maybe the movie and television studios will finally realize how much money this is costing them.

      More likely they'll blame piracy.
      • by joe 155 (937621) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:44PM (#16399381) Journal
        bingo, hit the nail on the head. This is what they are doing now anyway, sony says "hm, why aren't people buying our music... PIRACY! release the RIAA lawyers!"... they never seem to see the "our products are shit, you can't use them how everyone would think you should be able to and we rootkit your computer"
    • by kent_eh (543303) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @05:25PM (#16400065)
      Actually, I have run into several DVDs (mostly Disney) that won't play on my set-top DVD player (says either "bad disk" or "wrong disk type"), but play fine on my computer.
      They will, however, play on my set-top after I "process" them on my computer.
      Is this what the movie industry wants?
      • by KozmoStevnNaut (630146) <henrikstevn@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday October 12, 2006 @06:39AM (#16405823)
        My dad bought a fancy Denon integrated DVD player and surround amplifier to get rid of all the different boxes under his TV (yeah I know. I thought it was a silly idea, too).

        It absolutely refuses to play copy-"protected" CDs. If he puts one in it will refuse to function in any way until the disk is removed again, due to function locking while the disk is loading. The kicker is that if he copies the disk on his computer (which will luckily read the "protected" CDs just fine), the Denon player accepts the copy right away, every single time.

        So the only way for him to play copy-"protected" CDs is by copying the damn things! How's that for ironic?

        I would not be surprised at all if it acted the same way with these new "protected" DVDs.
  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mysteerie (972719) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:22PM (#16398909)
    Movies are actually meant to be watched? I thought they were collectibles!
  • Not a DVD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:23PM (#16398939)
    ...mechanism is a non-standard UDF A non-standard anything on a DVD makes it not a true DVD. We've seen this tried before on CDs and the response was that they'd have to stop using the "Compact Disc" trademark because that's only for people who follow the standard.
  • Bastards (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lost+Found (844289) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:23PM (#16398953)
    What makes me angry about this isn't that I won't be able to find movies online; hell, it's usually possible to get them before they're even available from Blockbuster. What's irritating is that I'm an honest customer of the MPAA. I have a huge shelf of DVDs. I'm a DVD collector. The first time I buy a DVD that has been engineered in such a way to not play, I'm going to return it and never buy a DVD again.

    Note: This doesn't mean I'm going to stop watching movies. Do the fucking math, MPAA.
  • XBox? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Apocalypse111 (597674) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:24PM (#16398965) Journal
    As I recall, the XBox operating system was based off some version of Windows (although HEAVILY modified). Also, as many (most in the /. crowd, I'd wager) know, the XBox is pretty much just a small form factor computer. I don't own a normal DVD player, I just use my XBox for this purpose. Would this mean that I would be unable to watch movies using this tech with my existing setup?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gemini_25_RB (997440)
      "...the XBox is pretty much just a small form factor computer..."

      I'd hardly call the XBox small.

  • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:24PM (#16398975) Homepage
    new copy-protection software for DVD publishers from a company called ProtectDisc not only makes it difficult to rip movies that you've purchased but also prevents discs from playing in a Windows PC at all.

    I don't know about you, but the only DVDs I watch on my computer are in DIVX format and come from sweden. GG MPAA.
  • Nothing to see here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:25PM (#16398989)
    It looks like this only effects the IFO on the disc. VLC (along with many other players) can play the VOB files without using an IFO.
  • UDF? (Score:5, Funny)

    by object88 (568048) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:25PM (#16399001)
    Part of the copy-protection mechanism is a non-standard UDF (Universal Disc Format) file system...

    Not very universal if it's non-standard, now, is it?
  • by fructose (948996) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:26PM (#16399019) Homepage

    Of course the encryption is already broken. From the article:

    SlySoft have a product called AnyDVD [slysoft.com] which works in the background to automatically remove the copy protection of a DVD movie as soon as it's inserted into the drive. The other day they released an updated version of AnyDVD which effortlessly bypasses Protect DVD-Video.
    Nice try. I'll give you a cookie.
  • Learn Dammit (Score:4, Informative)

    by COMON$ (806135) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:27PM (#16399033) Journal
    When are these companies going to learn...every "protected" piece of crap they put out there gets broken. It is inevitable, Mr Anderson. When you figure out how much money the world has put into copy protection, vs how much they have actually lost to piracy...what are they really gaining?
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:28PM (#16399071) Homepage Journal
    If it's a non-standard format, then it isn't a DVD....

  • Home Theater PCs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by uberhombre (959917) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:30PM (#16399111)
    This will lock out people that use their PCs as Media Center PCs to play DVDs, watch TV, etc., and they usually spend quite a bit of money on tvs, dvds, sound systems, so this may not play out too well.
  • by schnikies79 (788746) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:31PM (#16399119)
    On 10 October 2006, SlySoft released a press release: AnyDVD beats new copy protection "Protect DVD-Video"

    With the latest release of AnyDVD, version 6.0.8.0, SlySoft has again confirmed its position as the market leader in providing video DVD decryption software. With this version it is now possible to bypass the new "Protect DVD-Video" copy protection which first appeared on the DVD "Silent Hill" (german rental version).

    Among other mechanisms, Protect DVD-Video comes up with a messed-up UDF file system, in which an IFO file appears with a zero-byte length on a regular PC. The unsurprising result is that these DVDs will refuse to run on a Windows PC with Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center Edition or all software players that are based on DirectShow (e.g. the very popular ZoomPlayer).

    "With this copy protection the film industry clearly overshot the mark", says Giancarlo Bettini, CEO at SlySoft. "The premium customer who spent a lot of money on his multimedia home cinema and who, for quality reasons, would never even consider watching anything else but an original DVD, is being slapped in the face. These customers with their shelves stuffed with rightfully aquired DVDs, can't watch their videos."

    This is incredible nonsense! Any Media Center freak will have no choice but to install AnyDVD on his PC in order to watch his original DVD." "The film industry should actually thank us for taking care of their premium customers so well. Maybe one day I'll be nominated for an Oscar", Bettini adds with a grin.

    Background info: The company ProtectDisc is being run by Volkmar Breitfeld, also managing director of ACE (FluxDVD copy protection). Remarkably enough, Volkmar Breitfeld was previously known for creating copy protection circumventing products like InstantCopy or InstantCD/DVD, before he changed fronts to selling copy protection mechanisms.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frenchy_2001 (659163)
      In my case, I already require AnyDVD anyway, as my MCE PC send infos to my TV in a set 1080i resolution and DVDs do not want to be sent over 480p. So, I used AnyDVD to strip macrovision from the signal and... voila.

      Those protections are moronic and only get in the way of legitimate users. People that know what they are doing (tech educated, hackers...) will be able to find an appropriate tool in minutes. This "protection" would probably not even stop a ripper program...
  • by Channard (693317) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:33PM (#16399161) Journal
    After all, it only took the branching features of The Matrix to make several popular brands of DVD player come to a screeching halt until they were updated (which itself required sending the player back to the manufacturers)
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:35PM (#16399207)

    Safedisc. Or Discguard. Or Safecast. Or SecuROM. Or...

    Oh hell. Here's the list of those who have gone before. [cdmediaworld.com]

  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:37PM (#16399251)
    Has anyone seen the crappy DVDs that have been released in the last couple of years? I have older DVDs, The Matrix, The Day The Earth Stood Still, 2001: A Space Odyssey, that actually PLAY when I insert them into my DVD player. Recent DVDs run STOOPID advertisements for movies that have already come and gone from the theater or something else I would rather NOT WATCH! I don't see myself buying many DVDs in the future for this reason alone. Add to this the crappy movies that are being released and I've just about given up.

    On anther rant, Linux machines won't be affected by this. Even if I bought one of these disks it would only stop me from using it on my work computer, not my laptop, not any of my homebrew computers or my Mac Mini.

    So why does anyone care?

  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@gm a i l .com> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:41PM (#16399329) Homepage
    Is that there are people out there that think this is a good idea. It could be the greed or just misguided ideals. But the fact that there are people out there that think this is both a good idea and worth of working on is just sad.

    People rent movies because it beats watching paint dry. All this DRM stuff is doing is making wall paint more and more interesting...

    Tom
  • Filesystems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by StormReaver (59959) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:42PM (#16399341)
    "Part of the copy-protection mechanism is a non-standard UDF...file system which results in the IFO file on the DVD...appearing to the PC as being zero bytes long."

    Then how does a dedicated DVD player read the data?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dhasenan (758719)
      Presumably, the file size information is stored in the filesystem portion of the disk. Since the IFO file is in a predictable location and has a predictable (minimum) length, the DVD player will read it anyway, and continue reading until it finds an EOF. If it was designed that way.

      Why don't computers do this? They can. But likely, with buffer issues in mind, and not wanting to reallocate memory often, the programs instead get the file size and then read the contents of the file into an appropriately-sized
  • How this works (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning.netzero@net> on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:55PM (#16399605) Homepage Journal
    This is mainly a little DVD-Video tidbit to explain how technically this works.

    For the DVD-Video spec, the actual file system being used is irrelevant and is mainly used to "boot" the disc and discover where the very first data sector is located at on the DVD disc. From then on, at least in theory, all of the navigation to the rest of the DVD media is handled internally within the DVD-Video files themselves, including the MPEG data, as the navigation within the video data is handled with the use of special navigation packets.

    So for a set-top box on your home television, the data scanners ignore the UTF file format and just march through the data according to the DVD-Video specs, not even aware that there might be a problem. Besides, these set-top boxes have just enough of a file system BIOS just to get to the "root" sector and not much more. Sometimes the "higher-end" ones will try to scan for MP3s or other kinds of media files, but that is a bonus and not required for playing the video data itself.

    As for PCs, the operating systems are obviously designed to trust in the file system to believe that what the file system is telling you is also correct. Obviously you can mess with the order of the files and make something playable only on PCs and not set-top boxes, but usually you are more worried about the set-top ones rather than some hobbiest with some DVD playback software. The PC-based DVD-Video playback software is usually designed to trust in the file system and does the file requests through normal OS-related file requests rather than doing low-level sector navigation. This is a sign of good programming, not the lack thereof.

    What is being done here is a very cheap hack that took the brains of a half-competent software engineering intern who knows just enough about the specs to get him/herself into some serious trouble and doesn't know the basics of trying to stick with known standards. Or to understand the need for redundant systems to try and protect data through multiple means of accessing the information. As has been pointed out, by doing this the file system is essentially corrupted, so normal OS file system requests will not be able to retrieve the data, unless you are accessing information on the DVD drive via individual sector requests instead (that would be the "hack" to break this "encryption" system). BTW, the "file size" of the IFO files is also recorded in the IFO file format itself as well, so "recreating" the IFO files is trivial in this situation if you can access the individual sectors.

    I certainly hope that this idiot who designed this system didn't get a patent on the subject. I will go down right now as somebody to contact if you want to break the patent to testify that this is not a patentable idea in the first place. And as has been pointed out by others, this is clearly in violation of the DVD-Video standards and as such you can't claim compatability to DVD-Video by using this system. This is not a copy protection scheme but rather a corruption of the file system, as has been pointed out, and taking on a percieved weakness in the organization of the DVD-Video format.
  • European Perspective (Score:5, Informative)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:56PM (#16399625) Homepage Journal
    I live in the Netherlands, but I know the situation is the same in many other EU countries:

    Since the implementation of the EUCD, it is now against the law to bypass "effective technical measures" that restrict what can be done with a copyrighted work, even if these restrictions involves rights you would normally have under copyright law.

    At the same time, downloading copyrighted material off the 'net is explicitly allowed. The copyright holders are paid from a levy that is imposed on blank media.

    As a result of this, for me as a Linux user, it is illegal for me to watch movies from "copy-protected" DVDs that I bought and paid for, but it is legal to watch the same movies if I download them off the 'net for free.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh (229690)
      Since the implementation of the EUCD, it is now against the law to bypass "effective technical measures" that restrict what can be done with a copyrighted work, even if these restrictions involves rights you would normally have under copyright law.

      I don't know about there, but over here in the UK we have the right to make a request to the Secretary of State (I'm not sure which one, but one of 'em), who should issue an order to the copyright holder to provide you with a copy that allows you to perform all of
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kamineko (851857)
        In the UK, Tessa Jowell [wikipedia.org] is the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

        According to the website for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport [culture.gov.uk], you can contact Tessa Jowell through the DCMS by writing a letter to:

        Department for Culture Media & Sport
        2-4 Cockspur Street
        London
        SW1Y 5DH

        Or by telephone:

        020 7211 6200 open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

        Or by e-mail:

        enquiries@culture.gov.uk

  • by slidersv (972720) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:57PM (#16399647) Journal
    I thought a lot of people watched DVD movies on their home entertainment systems - a lot of which are based on PCs (Windows Media Center/Linux). Or what about people with just big monitor?
    So now i cannot watch this new Hollywood-DVD that I'd buy on my home entertainment system?
  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @04:58PM (#16399659) Journal
    1.) Stop making DVDs. Distribute the crap by download only.
    2.) Put Adam Sandler in every film.

    "1" is already happening, although Mal-Wart and the rest of the retailers are not happy about it.

    "2" would be a crime against humanity.

  • by Suzumushi (907838) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @05:09PM (#16399821)
    This "copy protection" is really "viewing protection" since most of the tools one might use to view the DVD are rendered helpless. Whereas, the tools one would use to copy/rip the DVD are left unaffected or simply patched within a matter of hours or days.

    It used to be, back in the 80's, that you had to be careful about putting disks from people you didn't know into your computer because you might get a virus...now in the 21st century, pirates and anonymous downloads on the internet are more reliable and less risky than sticking a CD or DVD from a well known company into your computer...

  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @05:17PM (#16399955)
    The more I see stuff like this, along with the recent issues brick and mortar retailers are having over the pricing difference from online movie distribution, the more I think the movie industry wants the standard DVD format to die. Without having a phyical product being placed in the hands of consumers, and forcing movie downloads to be tied specifically to a single computer/user, it makes the process of transferring the content to third parties (either by illegal file sharing or through legal after-market resale) nearly impossible for the average person.

    Just think, that $14 movie you "conveniently" downloaded from iTunes today won't be nearly as "convenient" to resell to someone else later on, as a physical DVD would be. To resell that one single movie, you'll need to literally hand your entire computer and iTunes account over to the buyer. Otherwise, your only remaining option is to delete the file and eat the loss... and all because you didn't buy a physical copy when you had the chance.

    The industry *wants* you to buy downloaded movies instead of DVDs, despite their seeming lack of support for it. As soon as the "trusted computing initiative" is in full effect, it be game over for the consumer.
  • by rollingcalf (605357) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @05:31PM (#16400167)
    Again, the pirated copy has more functionality and actually will play on any sufficiently powerful computer, while the legitimately purchased copy is hobbled. They're actually driving people to piracy who originally didn't plan to go that route.
  • some thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @06:36PM (#16401013) Homepage Journal
    There are side-effects to these content "protection" schemes. Here's one, for your pleasure:

    I bought a MacBook Pro recently. It's a great machine except for one thing: The DVD drive isn't region free. What nonsense, my $3000 machine is less functional than any $30 DVD player.

    My solution is: I don't buy DVDs anymore. The absolute best movies I'll watch in the cinema, for the rest there's BitTorrent. I'm thinking about putting my DVD collection up on eBay.

    So where, I wonder, is the gain for the movie industry? I fail to see any, unless their goal is not getting their movies watched anymore (which I just think might be true, given the crap they produce).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tom (822)
      Addendum: I just found out that the built in DVD Player of OSX will play DVD image files just fine, with full functionality, just like a real DVD. On an image file, I can fix the region to whatever I want it to be.

      So MPAA, if you're listening, please give me one reason to give you money. Not that I don't want to, some movies actually are worth it, but with all this hostility and restrictions you shove in my face, give me one reason not to prefer Pirate Bay.
  • by Kris_J (10111) * on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:01PM (#16401305) Journal
    I have two DVD players; a Sony PS2, which I hardly use anymore, and an Zensonic Z500, which is an embedded linux device (you can telnet into my DVD player!). I can't imagine either could cope with this stupid idea. So the disc would just go back as faulty.

    The entertainment industry needs to realise it's the entertainment industry. I don't need to have anything to do with it, and if it makes life unpleasant, I won't.

  • Piracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Randseed (132501) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:20PM (#16401487)
    Oh well. I guess I'll have to keep getting my movies from Torrent sites.
  • by Alchemar (720449) on Wednesday October 11, 2006 @07:59PM (#16401989)
    I have long ago stopped going to the movie theater on a regular basis. Not because of price, but because I was rather upset the first time I paid to see a movie and got a comercial. One of the things I paid for was to have an uniterupted movie experience. If you want to show me trailers before the movie starts, go ahead, but don't give me a standard commercial. That first commercial was for Nestle Quick. I remember the commercial, but not the movie. If I am in the store, I will now try to pick another brand, just on principle.

    Since then, I have become a collector of DVDs. I can sit at home and watch it on my own terms. If the beging has too much stuff other than trailers, I will rip it into a format that I can enjoy. Commercials and piracy notices are not part of your "creative work." That is not what I paid for, that is not what I want, and it is not what I am going to buy. If you wish to send me the DVD for free with the commercials, then like TV, I might or might not watch it if I have the time.

    If you are going to take the ability for me to watch a movie that I have paid to watch without commericals, then I will go back to books, then I can tear out or paint anything that I find offensive.

    You are trying to do business in a capitolistic society. The intent of that economic system is that people or companies that provided the products that people want at a resonable price are allowed to stay in business. Please quit trying to stretch our legal system to get around that simple fact, and please quit trying to force DRM onto people that do not want it. Provide the general people with what they want, and you will continue to have a thriving business.

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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