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DVDs w/ Built in USB Ports for Copy Protection 306

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the april-fools-coming-early-this-year dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Aladdin has come up with a new way of restricting the data stored on optical discs. It's 'XCD' format has a chip built directly into the disc and which fits into a USB port. So, a user needs to plug the disc into their computer to access a cryptophic key before being able to use the data stored on the disc (presumably in some sort of proprietary player)."
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DVDs w/ Built in USB Ports for Copy Protection

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  • Stupid stupid idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:00AM (#16484197) Homepage Journal
    With USB memory keys now containing more data than a cd or dvd, why not just sell the program on the key itself and stop messing about with systems that might break peoples hardware?

    The software could run, detect its host key is plugged in (hell, they could make a custom key with an encrypted read only block if they like your software can try to write to that area, and if it managed it it knows its fake...).

    The data can be protected by cryptographic magic and the shareholders are happy.

    Whilst this won't stop all forms of hacking, it will certainly stop the normal folks from having a go and ensures that the hardware isn't broken by putting unbalanced pointy edged crap into the dvd drive.

    I'm not even considering how you would get this "key" into a computer with cramped usb slots.

    The only thing a key that looks like the one described should ever be needed is for a petrol station toilet key.

    • by MankyD (567984)
      With USB memory keys now containing more data than a cd or dvd, ... Not more then the upcoming blu-ray and hd-dvd formats (which I assume this would work for as well.) And of course, there's always cost to think about. I think this is as stupid an idea as the next, but let's get our facts straight.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 2short (466733)

        As long as we're getting our facts straight, the "upcoming" formats are just that, upcoming. By the time they are anywhere near as standard in new computers as CD drives and USB ports are now, flash drives will have out-stripped their capacity. (Based on any reasonable estimate of adoption rates and flash capacity increase.) Mass produced, inert platic discs will continue to be far cheaper of course, but this whole idea is to add much of the expense of a flash drive to the disc. For no benefit to the cus
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TommydCat (791543)
      I'm not even considering how you would get this "key" into a computer with cramped usb slots.
      Not sure how I'd jam it into my DVD, car CD or portable CD player either. Seems like a nobrainer nonstarter.
      I, for one, do not welcome our USB-dongle-built-in DRM overlords...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by purpledinoz (573045)
      This is no big deal. Just companies doing research into technology. It's not like hollywood is trying to push this to us now... until then, this should just be considered interesting research.
      • Er, no.

        That's like saying "eh, that DMCA bill is just a bunch of Congresscritters doing some research into ways to make a buck. Until it's on the House floor for a vote, it should just be considered interesting thoughts."

        By the time Hollywood is trying to push something down your throat, it's probably already too late. This sort of stupidity needs to be nipped in the bud; the idiot executives who spend millions on these systems and millions more buying laws to force them on us, need to learn that no DRM scheme will last against the concerted effort of thousands of people. It's fundamentally flawed, irretrievably broken, and it doesn't matter if they put the decryption key on a USB dongle, or a special sector of the disc, or over the Internet.

        All DRM is broken, it's just a question of how obnoxious it is to legitimate users. Systems that just reek of stupidity, like this one does, should be killed quickly before they can gain any traction.
    • by TheGrit (1015125) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:21AM (#16485621) Homepage
      So a key needs to be installed before a CD can be read. How will this solve any copy protection issues once it is "unlocked"? Despite the probable DRM; a way will be found to somehow copy the data. The only purpose it will serve is an extra hassle to the average consumer and yet another reason to download illegally.
    • by RoLi (141856)
      If you compare the price of an (empty) DVD and a flash-based device of similar size you know why.
  • by SRA8 (859587) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:00AM (#16484199)
    Why not place a giant padlock and chains all over it?
    • by hal2814 (725639) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:39AM (#16484855)
      It didn't work for Pee Wee's bike. Why would it work for this? Francis will get that DVD anyways if he really wants it.
    • by bmo (77928)
      All bicycles weigh 40 pounds.

      A 40 pound bicycle needs no lock.

      A 30 pound bicycle needs a 10 pound lock.

      A 25 pound bicycle needs a 15 pound lock.

      A 20 pound bicycle needs a 20 pound lock. (Kryptonite NYC Fahgettaboutit chain, which, btw, stops nobody with a voltage inverter and a Skillsaw with abrasive cutoff wheel)

      This smart-card-on-a-cd is like putting the Kryptonite lock on the 40 pound bicycle.

      --
      BMO
      • Kryptonite NYC Fahgettaboutit chain, which, btw, stops nobody with a voltage inverter and a Skillsaw with abrasive cutoff wheel

        ...or aa Bic pen [slashdot.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)
      Picture if you will a 3.5" floppy disk with a small padlock through the write protection hole, with a label on the disk reading "My Diary".

      But otherwise, yeah, a special clamp that interfaces with contacts for circuitry at the hub of the disk and ends in a USB plug would be better than this unbalanced monstrosity, and you don't lose disk capacity. After the initial introduction of disks with the device included, you then sell them without the device and offer it separately as a replacement part and for new
  • Why? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash@eighty+slashdot.gmail@com> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:03AM (#16484227)
    Someone please tell me why they don't just put the damn movie on some sort of USB storage to begin with, and avoid borking up our perfectly good normal DVD drives?
    • Because that wouldn't be any fun.
      • Or because... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by norminator (784674) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:27AM (#16484637)
        Someone please tell me why they don't just put the damn movie on some sort of USB storage to begin with, and avoid borking up our perfectly good normal DVD drives?

        Because that wouldn't be any fun.

        Actually, I think it's becase a whole bunch of companies want to invent the "holy grail" of copy protection schemes (the connotation of the word scheme makes it fit well here, I think), so they run around making up wildly rediculous stuff that either doesn't work, noone wants it, or is easily bypassed (using magic markers, the shift key, etc.). In the end it just annoys people, but these companies must be getting paid by the so-called content providers, because they never stop trying to think of silly new ways to do things, not realizing that their complicated schemes just annoy legitimate consumers and barely begin to challenge the "pirates".
        • Yeah, but I don't see how this would work here.
          They can not have the smartcard chip do the decryption because you need to remove the disk from the USB port to place it in the PC, hence you are really transferring data from the USB dongle to the PC, that data is likely a proprietary binary with an embedded decryption key and algorithim. It all boils down to the thing being a DVD and a thumb drive. step one: execute app from thumb drive, step two: insert DVD.
          Since the decryption is still happening on the us
        • Re:Or because... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@earthshod[ ].uk ['.co' in gap]> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:54AM (#16486267)
          Yeah, but the "holy grail" of copy protection schemes is never going to be invented, because it's mathematically impossible. Not just supremely difficult (like factoring a multi-digit number) but actually impossible (like creating energy out of nowhere). If it can be rendered perceptible, it can be copied. Whatever tests it uses to check that it is being viewed legitimately, can be subverted. Even if the player contacts an outside agent for authorisation, the outside agent can be spoofed. Whatever process is employed to trick the copy-protection mechanism, it only needs to be done once. After that, an unlimited number of unprotected copies can be made.

          The only thing that might work as an unbreakable copy-protection scheme is to have the decryption performed within the brain of the viewer, so there is never an unencrypted version of anything anywhere. And I can think of only one way to do this: you would have to give the user mind-enhancing drugs and "train" them, with a short film, to perform the decryption. The movie itself would be displayed encrypted, and only viewable by someone trained to decrypt it -- which ability they would naturally lose as the effects of the drug wore off. For future watchings, or party viewings, more pills would be required. (This would suit the studios, as every instance of viewing must be paid for -- someone who watches a movie at a friend's house represents a lost opportunity to sell a movie. This creates a new business model: give away "unwatchable" movies for free and charge for the pills that make them watchable.) If you combined the psychotropic with another substance which reacts with growth hormone to produce nausea or other undesirable effects, you might be able to get enforced age-restriction into the bargain.

          One question nobody is answering: How much of the retail price of media is accounted for by copy-protection?
          And another: What if original media were sold cheaply enough that it would not be economically viable to make pirate copies?
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:03AM (#16484243) Homepage Journal
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongle [wikipedia.org]

    we don't need them back, they sucked originally..
    • by ottffssent (18387)
      Originally? They're still widely used. Pagemaker, Matlab; these aren't exactly fly-by-night outfits.
  • Heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by androvsky (974733) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:03AM (#16484249)
    Okay, this one's hilariously bad, to the point of hurting anyone that even thinks about trying to sell it. I can only presume this might be intended for some sort of distribution of classified... no, that doesn't make sense either. But it's just a patent application, a good example of people throwing every idea against the wall to see what sticks. Hint: This won't.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)
      Okay, this one's hilariously bad, to the point of hurting anyone that even thinks about trying to sell it.

      Obviously you've never worked in government procurement. [ducks] Seriously the product is bought usually isn't the best. It's the cheapest or the product whose company has the most influence.

  • dongles anyone? (Score:2, Informative)

    why don't they just ship a damn dongle with everything that can be possible used with a pc? rip the cd/dvd/game/movie all you want; it won't work without the dongle. as a matter of fact, give the fucking media away. charge for the dongle. been doing this shit for thirty years now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Slovenian6474 (964968)
      Hmm, i might have to invest in a huge usb hub then....
    • Couldn't the PC itself be considered the dongle? You might point out that "clones" (the term has pretty much lost meaning) break that consideration, but dongles can be cloned as well, can't they?
    • ...and it is the most convenient way to utilize iTunes.
  • by little alfalfa (21334) <pootmaster AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:05AM (#16484273)
    The market will dictate whether these things will be around for a while or not. Most likely, people won't buy them, and they'll go the way of the divx disc.
    • by blueZhift (652272)
      Absolutely! I think the market is going to send this to the trash bin pretty darn quick too. Tech people won't touch this stuff and those that aren't will likely flood the returns desk when they cannot play the disk after they lose the USB key. Making things harder for the end user will never sell. In the end, most consumers don't care about DRM or even know what it is, but they do know the difference between difficult and easy. Easy will win almost every time, except maybe where sex is involved.
  • by segedunum (883035)
    With irresistible consumer benefits such as this, I'm rushing out to buy one as soon as they become available.

    Funny that breathing new life into something that works means restricting it, and then packaging it up as a benefit.
  • by Scoria (264473) <slashmail.initialized@org> on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:05AM (#16484279) Homepage
    If the computer reads it, then it can be cracked. Probably with a seven-line PERL script, no less.
  • by RingDev (879105) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:05AM (#16484283) Homepage Journal
    Different organizations working to prevent the erosion of the distribution based market. I have a hard time that this will ever catch on.

    1) It adds no value to the content of the delivery.
    2) It makes it more difficult for customers to use the product.

    This might hit some nitch market. It might work acceptably for software sales (infact, the dongle trick has been used for years on software), where the interface and consumer expectations differ. But this will never work in the entertainment industry with out industry wide adoption (read: will never happen).

    -Rick
    • by davecb (6526) *

      And the dongle approach has failed three times: once with Apple ][, again with CP/M and once more with DOS.

      Only a few rare examples still exist in the wild: everyone else, including my former employers, found it was so expensive and worked so badly it was more expensive than the projected loss from merely-copyrighted softeware.

      --dave

      • by Splab (574204)
        I once heard from a guy working with 3DMax that it is common practise to buy the software, then get the cracked version so you didn't have all the hazzle of using the dongle.
  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:05AM (#16484289) Homepage Journal
    I know I want to buy a movie format that I:

    a. can't play on my existing PC (running Linux)
    b. can't play using my existing DVD players
    c. will lose the god damned dongle for
    d. will not obtain any benefit from. In fact, I'll LOSE my fair use rights.

    Thanks, but after thinking it over really hard, I decided to pass on it.

    Hint: drop the DRM.
  • 'Nuff said (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus (799657) * on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:05AM (#16484293) Homepage Journal

    Every once in a great while, something comes along that is such a mindbogglingly stupid idea that there's no need to even comment on it. I'm not even going to dignify this idea with an explanation of why it's so stupid; I think it speaks for itself. I will say, however, that anyone who actually buys one of these things should be shot in the head to make their death quick and painless, because at least that way, we won't risk their idiocy potentially harming one or more of the rest of us when they tell their friends, "Hey, watch this!"

    Mental note: Never buy stock in a company named Aladdin...

  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:07AM (#16484335) Homepage
    A DVD with a USB dongle. It's bad enough that I have to break open the shrink wrap, cut open the security tape on three sides, and undo the pair of latches on the case to get to the DVD. Now they want me to plug in the dongle?! I don't think so!
    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      I just tear off those stupid little latches on some DVD cases. The case stays shut without them just fine. Now if I can just get the DVD off the !*&@#^ nub without the DVD snapping in half, I would be happy!

      • by dynamo52 (890601)
        Now if I can just get the DVD off the !*&@#^ nub without the DVD snapping in half, I would be happy!

        Just push down on the nub with your finger and the DVD pops right out.

  • I'm gonna go trademark the term DVDongle right now!
  • Wow! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chas (5144)
    Another STUPID format that's going to crash and burn upon contact with the market!

    How amazing!

  • by LividBlivet (898817) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:09AM (#16484357)
    For about a second.
  • Media-less society (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:11AM (#16484383) Homepage Journal
    MP3 players, iPods, media centers (and the soon-to-arrive Apple "iTV")... We don't want to handle media. When I buy a DVD, I rip it in H.264/AAC and add it to my "movies hard drive". The last thing I want is a media that makes me handle it twice to watch its content, not to mention the software compatibility issues (I run OS X, not Windows).

    Another case of "just because you can doesn't mean you should".
  • by Palshife (60519) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:11AM (#16484391) Homepage
    Goddamnit. They've done it. They've ended DVD piracy.
  • by pembo13 (770295)
    Isn't the general idea of selling things to make thigns that people like? Seems like they are trying to sell people things that they themselves like, not necessarily the consumer.
    • by mlk (18543)
      sn't the general idea of selling things to make thigns that people like?

      No, it is to make money.
      Lots and lots of money.
  • by iSeal (854481) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:16AM (#16484499)
    "Hey Bob? I know how we spent millions of dollars developing this technology and all. But the cryptographic key that's in the USB part of the disc is data right?"

    "Yeah... and?"

    "Well... They can't change the key that's on the USB part, because the encrypted data itself on the disc will have to remain static right?"

    "What's your point?"

    "Then wouldn't we have saved ourselves millions and millions of dollars by just having that key on the optical disc part to begin with?"

    "..."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      RTFP [tinyurl.com]

      "[0024] Embedding electrical storage means with corresponding I/O means in a CD provides a unique device which may be implemented especially in data security field, i.e. a security device. For example, the XCD can be used as an ATM card, credit card, authentication card, and so forth. The owner of the XCD can open his office door by the proximity coil, use the embedded smart card or magnetic stripe and his picture printed on the CD as a credit card, use the XCD as an ID card on the Internet, as a securi
    • by s31523 (926314)
      "Then wouldn't we have saved ourselves millions and millions of dollars by just having that key on the optical disc part to begin with?"

      "Yeah, but now we have this cool Dongle thing"

      "And??"

      "And people will inevitable lose it and have to buy another one, which will give away for free but charge extra hefty shipping and handling!"

      "Brillant!"
  • by WED Fan (911325)

    Why not just bring in unemployeed people to distribute with each disk. They stand by your keyboard and slap your hand everytime you try to do something with the disk that manufacturer doesn't like. Bring them in on H1B.

  • by TheSpatulaOfLove (966301) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:19AM (#16484539)
    My company invested in the Aladdin dongle technology for one of our main software suites. It created a major support nightmare when the dongle failed, didn't release the proper license, didn't read the dongle during application launch, etc etc etc.


    It lasted about a year, when our marketshare shrank to the point of near death did they finally realize that people liked the software, but couldn't overcome the licensing problems that came with it. In my opinion, we haven't recovered from it since...
    • by ediron2 (246908) *
      Sorry to hear your story. I'm not generally a fan of litigation, but after reading your msg, I'd agree Aladdin deserved to be sued into oblivion.

      Of course, perhaps we'll get to watch Sony or some other megacorp buy this insanity. I can't see how it will end differently than Divx. Maybe that'll give you some consolation: it won't be the same as a juicy court settlement, but schadenfreude can be damn theraputic.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @11:42AM (#16487469) Homepage
      and you forget one small thing that dongles do.....

      empower disgruntled employees.

      the last job I had one of the production guys was getting fired, he was dating one of the HR girls so he knew it for a week ahead of time.

      so his last day there he grabbed every dongle he could find and swapped the plastic covers at random, then swapped all usb and PP dongles around on all the edit suites.

      next monday every editing suite was dead with an "unauthorized use" message. it took 2 weeks to discover what happened and only by a electronics savvy IT guy that looked at them very carefully before sending them to the software company.

      we could not prove who did it, but several of us knew who it was.

      hell stealing a dongle or simply pulling them out and tossing them in the trash would completely screw any company.

      as the asshat companies that use dongles on their software will not replace them without you buying them all new at $4500.00 per seat.

      Before I left I helped install dongle cracks on every editing station to avoid that issue in the future. To hell with the EULA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Technician (215283)
      they finally realize that people liked the software, but couldn't overcome the licensing problems that came with it. In my opinion, we haven't recovered from it since...

      Thanks for noticing. Many software houses did the toss it out and see if it sells. Having had to deal with a dongle that got borrowed and having the critical software die including any possiblility to restoring from a backup set my policy.. No dongles ever. Too bad you had to learn the hard way instead of asking your customer base. Some
  • New Tech! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Slovenian6474 (964968) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:20AM (#16484541) Homepage
    Now, to use this DVD, you must put it in your drive like normal, plug in a dongle, unplug it within 3 seconds and plug it back in again, type in a 50 digit code, then download an application to report back to the company to make sure it's a genuine dvd, then type in the 14th word on the back cover of the dvd case, scan your reciept and email it to the verification address, run around your house 3 times (to control stress levels), and then mail in your proof of purchase and you can start using the program in 6-8 weeks. ...or you can crack it.
    • Hey, atleast maybe this will get rid of the growing obesity? What with all the running around the house and all...
  • by techmuse (160085) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:22AM (#16484577)
    Wow. I really want to crawl under my desk and find a free USB port on the back of my computer where there is enough space for something the size of a CD not to run into the cables back there so that the disc can exchange keys, then undo it and stick it in my CD drive. That sounds like a lot of fun. Why didn't I request this feature before?

    Oh, and binding the disc to my computer that I'm about to replace is definitely a good idea!
  • The device is not really practical for the entertainment industry as millions of existing DVD players do not support it and next-gen Blu-ray / HD players are already loaded with all sorts of DRM crap. Could be used for sensitive / classified data - but why not simply encrypt? Might be used for software license management, but it ties up an optical drive, when a separate USB dongle would be just as good (or bad depending on your viewpoint).
  • Some experiments with DVD (then CD) drives from my younger years:

    1. put on top stickers of pokemons you obtained from chewing gums

    2. crack a disk and see if it plays

    3. stuff two disks at once

    4. have you noticed small cd/dvd-s are more expensive than full size ones !? what's with that. chop pieces of a large CD/DVD to create a home made small cd/dvd and record stuff on it

    Now, ... those seem stupid right.. Why do stupid shit and waste your drive. Well, look at this [newscientisttech.com] and tell me if you feel safe putting it in y
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:24AM (#16484599)
    because it will take no effort at all to hack it.
  • by OpenSourced (323149) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @09:27AM (#16484643) Journal
    Wouldn't be much easier to put the data in a RFID chip? That could be easily integrated in a reader, and from the point of view of the user the only difference would be that the "new-improved" DVD would simply only play in the "new-improved" DVD-Player. Enough of a hassel, certainly, but if they started selling all new DVD players with that RFID-reading technology some years _before_ they brought one DVD film with the protection, then they would certainly have a chance. Spceially if they do that with Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players. As the format is just-born, the people will just identify High-Definition-DVD with Copy-Protected-DVD.

    Of course all that is moot, because you only need one person with a compliant DVD reader to extract the film data and compress it into a 4 Gb MPEG-4 film that will fit in a standard DVD, and then share it away.

    • Wouldn't be much easier to put the data in a RFID chip? That could be easily integrated in a reader, and from the point of view of the user the only difference would be that the "new-improved" DVD would simply only play in the "new-improved" DVD-Player.

      That's someone else's patent...

  • So, it's a DVD with built in USB ports? So I can use it like a hub, right? Or is someone confused with the difference between a port and a plug?
  • That I can't help but wonder if some tech company wants to hire some seriously able encryption dudes and as a recruitement aid they shoved this crazy thing out to make everyone mad to inspire them to break the encryption. Whoever gets there first gets the job.
    Stranger things have happened..
  • This is pure genius! They HAVE solved the problem of DVD piracy for good! Here's why:

    1. Company sells a DVD that won't play in 90% of peoples existing players. It'll also be a major hassle to use in the players it DOES work in
    2. People will stop buying DVDs because they're a godawful waste of money, since chances are high you can't even play them.
    3. People start pirating, and thus depleting all of Hollywood's funds.
    4. Hollywood goes bankrupt, no more movies are produced and thus the problem is solved. If th
    • by kimvette (919543)
      Company sells a DVD that won't play in 90% of peoples' existing players.


      You misspelled 100%.
  • Although it breaks mass production, if I put my Dr. Evil hat on and I wanted to track who was copying CD's I'd have them burned custom at the place of purchase.

    In order to have this work. I envision the following system (as a brief thought experiment...there are holes probably)

    1. CD's/DVD's are encrypted using public/private keypair.

    2. When you buy your DVD player you stick a USB stick (which comes with the player) and a public/private keypair is generated (this is happening AT the store before you take the
  • My first thought when I read this was that this might be good for some kind of secure data transfer, but they can't seriously be considering this for consumers. Then I realized I was an idiot, and lots of games either are or will eventually be shipping on DVD, so maybe that's the target market. It'd probably still have to be PC-only games, though, as I can't see someone slotting a disk on their console and then standing there plugging and unplugging a dongle. Maybe if there was a USB port on the controll
  • a user needs to plug the disc into their computer to access a cryptophic key before being able to use the data stored on the disc

    ..as opposed to the way cryptographic CSS keys are stored on a DVD standalone player?

    What difference does it make where you put the key, you have to ship it with media or the player so people can actually watch the movie. It doesn't matter how many layers of bullshit you wrap it in...protected software layers... obfuscation...hardware decoders...dongles..the key is still there

  • I really have to wonder what the Return On Investment for these new Copy Protection schemes really is. About the only people these schemes will affect are the ones that copy the dvd's because it can easily be done. What percentage is this?

    The people that copy DVDs for a living will find a way to get around ANY protection that is created. They are the ones that tend to hurt the Business Model more than the other group of people anyway.
  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:06AM (#16485323) Homepage
    Okay, judging from that crude diagram, they've left, at best, 33% of the radius of the disc's usable media surface intact (the dotted line, I presume). Let's do a little geometry, accounting for the unusable portion in the center of the disc at around .4r, and the usable portion extending to, let's say, .6r.

    A normal disc:
    PI * r^2 - PI * (.4r)^2
    PI * r^2 - .16(PI * r^2)
    .84(PI * r^2)

    The new magical disc:
    PI * (.6r^2) - PI * (.4r^2)
    .36(PI * r^2) - .16(PI * r^2)
    .20(PI * r^2)

    So in other words, if my math is correct (and it's entirely possible that it's not), you'd be looking at .20/.84, i.e. about 24% the storage space of a normal DVD. Maybe a gig at best?

    And I'm sure these guys will go so much trouble to balance these things properly! Even a well balanced commercial disc in a very high speed DVD drive creates an unnerving amount of noise and vibration. I shudder to think of what would happen with the center of mass potentially thrown way off center from the cuts and the electronics, and the tremendous amount of air turbulence you'd end up with from the shape of that thing. You'd be lucky if it didn't destroy itself and/or the drive within seconds if the motor tried to crank it up to full speed.

    In short, there's no way in hell this will ever make it to market, for these reasons, and reasons others have already stated.
  • It won't work.

    The USB part is easy enough to replicate; you can just get a USB protocol analyser and work out what's going on. Also, the code that talks to the USB device ought to be easy to isolate. Since the disc can't be in both the drive and the USB port at the same time, the authentication must necessarily be a one-time process rather than a continuous process. This should not be at all hard to spoof.

    You have to wonder whether this wasn't deliberately invented on purpose in order to fool media c
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday October 18, 2006 @10:09AM (#16485381) Homepage
    That USB scheme really expensive... and quite likely to damage the drive if the disk isn't manufactured perfectly. Heck, I have some perfectly round CD's that make my entire computer whine and vibrate in a rather anxiety-provoking way.

    Why don't manufacturers take a look at the various systems deployed in the heyday of MS-DOS? Vault's PROLOK system involved a unique, laser-etched physical hole in the diskette. It was used by Ashton-Tate, IIRC. It would have to be a better idea than this one.

    Of course, if manufacturers really took a look at the various systems deployed in the heyday of MS-DOS, they might notice that all of them added a burden to the cost-of-goods, none of them worked, all of them were cracked, all of them created ill-will among honest customers, and all of them were abandoned after a few years.
  • "...plug the disc into their computer to access a cryptophic key..."

    'cryptophic' -- crypto~phic: (OS X Dictionary) No entries found

    They weren't secure enough in the raw marketing power of their product on its' own, so they tried to find a more traditional means of making it sound hi-tech and all...which indicates they went the 'Super-Duper Asstonishingly Boss!!!' route and elected to dazzle w/bullshit instead.

    If anything, 'cryptophic' seems redundant. 'crypto(phic) key' -- 'crypto key'...which is j
  • Anyone else remember the good old days of C64 games when copy protection was handled by a special page of codes that could only be read by placing a sheet of red plastic over them?

    Honestly that seems a lot more sensible than digging though a drawer full of probably identical looking dongles trying to find the one that works with your DVD.
  • If the USB-device gives the key to the computer, all the protection is gone and the contents of the DVD can be ripped. - Except when the computer is "closed", which means the user can no longer freely access the hardware. (Similar to a gaming console nowadays).

    However, if the hardware is closed, you no longer need the USB-scheme anyway, so what's the point?

  • What happens when you lose your dongle? Do you get a replacement or do you have to buy the set all over again? What happens when the dongle fails but the DVD still works? What if your DVD is lost or damaged but you still have the dongle. Will the dongle work with ANY DVD of the same title? If not that could be a nightmare for places like Blockbuster or Netflix that would be forced to keep up with matched pairs.

    Dongle systems work for expensive limited production software packages like autocad. The system is

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