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SVP : More Video Anti-Copying Technology 391

rkroetch writes "NDS, STMicroelectronics and Thomson have announced they will develop a new anti-piracy technology called SVP (Secure Video Processor). This will require a special SVP processor in the box to play the encrypted video signal. All those licensing fees for our DVD-ROMs for nothing?"
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SVP : More Video Anti-Copying Technology

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  • by Mold ( 136317 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:24PM (#10231790)
    Why they always have to call it piracy. Why not something like, "Copyright Control Device/Software".

    Oh well, I suppose I do understand why. I just don't like it.
    • It wouldn't even be "Copyright Control", it's closer to "Copy prevention"...
    • by zaxios ( 776027 ) <> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:28PM (#10231813) Journal
      Why they always have to call it piracy... Oh well, I suppose I do understand why. I just don't like it.

      Yup, the implication is that copying movies and music is a lot like blowing up homes with cannonballs, plundering villages and raping the governor's daughter.

      Maybe it's not an entirely fair term.
    • I don't understand... Why they always have to call it piracy.

      I know, it's hard to RTFA. I didn't read it, and I don't plan to. But really, let's at least RTF-Headline:SVP : More Video Anti-Copying Technology.

      Looks like a euphamism for piracy to me. Now, they could have used "piracy" there, but they didn't.

      So. Let's try not to mod the parent "insightful" or anything for that matter. Actually, ignore this post too. Really just nitpicking. I'm an asshole for it.

      Oh, and piracy sounds more adventurous. Arr

      • I did read it. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Mold ( 136317 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:46PM (#10231942)
        Both the summary here, and the article, call it anti-piracy technology.
        • Sure, but the title of the article says "anti-copying". As I said in my other response, it's nitpicking. Waste of time for me, really. But, while I'm at it again, seeing as I didn't RTFA, how am I supossed to trust that you're telling the truth, and the article actually says "piracy"? You already knew from my last post that I didn't RTFA, so you could just be preying upon my ignorance. You evil, evil person.

          Honestly, I'm just in a mood today- read some of my other posts and you'll see. Bored mostly, I suppo

      • by arose ( 644256 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @12:52AM (#10232570)
        I guess it would be more acurate to call it Anti-Monk Technology, pirates aren't really famous for copying.
    • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:46PM (#10231943) Journal

      In "ye olden days" pirates were people who would go to great lengths, working against heavily armed opponents and risking incarceration or worse in order to obtain something that, nine times out of ten, wasn't worth having in the first place.

      Thus their ledgendary rum consumption.

      Now-a-days it's closer to ninety-nine times out of a hundred, but the principle is the same.

      -- MarkusQ

    • Normally (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:05PM (#10232059)
      I'm one to say "suck it up" when terms change, like with hacker becomming a bad term. However this is one I say the media industry should get nailed for. Why? Because piracy is still very, very real. In North America and Western Europe we tend to forget about it since we have powerful navies/coast guards that keep our waters essentially free of it.

      Well that's not the case in much of the world. There are still real pirates that really do raid ships, rape, kill and steal. We also aren't talking like once every 10 years or something, we are talking about a reasonably common occurace in relation to other violent crime.

      Thus I think it is quite stupid, and unfair to those that suffer from real piracy, to equate digitally copying a song to violence on the high seas. When real piracy is dead and gone, then maybe I'll accept the transformation of the term.
      • Re:Normally (Score:5, Informative)

        by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @12:06AM (#10232343) Homepage
        Well, the first known use of the word 'pirate' to describe this sort of activity was in 1668, back in the 'golden age' of piracy, when it was much more notorious, and probably more common, than it is even now.

        In fact, if the word were only being coined nowadays, it wouldn't be piracy, because that's not bad enough. It would be terrorism, because the coiner, one J. Hancock, really wanted to villify people who were selling his books without paying him. (Never mind that copyright law hadn't been created yet)

        What he said, by the way, was: "Some dishonest Booksellers, called Land-Pirats, who make it their practise to steal Impressions of other mens Copies." It's in 'Brook's String of Pearls.'
    • by polecat_redux ( 779887 ) <spamwich@gm a i> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:58PM (#10232303)
      I always thought the "reason/excuse" for piracy is simply the discontent of a large number of people with the cost of the BS that the media producers insist on shoving down our throats. To make matters worse, the erosion of fair-use rights caused by increased efforts to combat piracy serves only to devalue the product even further. These companies should really be working to make the general population *want* to give up their money by giving them something at a fair price rather than trying to resort to mob tactics by attempting to eradicate the "competition".

      For a lot of people, piracy is only a supplement to a healthy media budget. Some simply cannot afford to purchase all that they are interested in, and if prices don't drop, piracy seems the way to go. And no, copyrigt infringement is not stealing. No one is losing anything but a potential sale, and if "random pirate" doesn't have the money to buy that movie/game/whatever, there really isn't any harm done.
      • I can agree on many of your points but not on the issue that its ok for someone to copy a copyrighted work if they cannot afford it but those that copy and can afford it are the real people doing the harm.

        The harm being done by copying is the collective responsibility of everyone doing the copying. Whether its through the downloading of copyrighted works or buying cheap copies form Asia. If someone does not have the money to purchase or rent the work, then that doesn't give them rights over other people t

    • This, despite protestations to the contrary, is NOT a new usage. The OED gives usage examples of piracy / pirate in the context of written works going back to the 17th century, with indications that usage existed even earlier.

      Piracy as applied to radio goes back to at least 1913.

      This is one term you CAN'T blame on the RIAA :-p

      (and I'd be happy to provide citations if you'd like)
  • hmm...yea.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by caino59 ( 313096 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:25PM (#10231794) Homepage
    tv out anyone?

    fuckin' bastards....

    i'll be sure to avoid anything that has this in it until it's easily bypassed.

    of course, given past techniques, that shouldn't be too damn long...

    someone's probably already hatching a plan..
    • Re:hmm...yea.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Nykon ( 304003 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:27PM (#10231808) Homepage
      so, how long till a SVP VM is written that will make the actual chip obsolete ;)
    • someone's probably already hatching a plan..

      The password is: "Analog Hole".
      • Re:hmm...yea.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MikeXpop ( 614167 )
        Well... yeah, but how does that ensure Mr. Honest doesn't have to go out and buy a new DVD player just to play his new DRM'd discs? Or playing it on his laptop during flights? The only way they could do that is to pirate it.

        Which is just what this is trying to prevent.
    • Re:hmm...yea.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 )

      Used Scanning Electron Microscope on ebay - $4,000

      Googling for the works of Markus Kuhn - free []

      Watching free TV just for the challange - Priceless

      • Re:hmm...yea.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tftp ( 111690 )
        This study is awfully obsolete. It applies only to simplest, manually routed designs. A modern synthesis tool will make the RTL of your design completely unreadable, and you will have a lot of trouble even if you can see it. For example:

        // 128-bit secret key generator
        module KeyGenerator(clk,reset,out);
        input wire clk, reset;
        output reg out;
        reg [127:0] state;

        always @(posedge clk) begin
        if (reset)
        state <= 128b'1100101010...0101; // Secret
        else begin
        out <= state[127];
        state <= {state[126:0],1b'0}

  • It's crazy... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OneDeeTenTee ( 780300 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:26PM (#10231804)
    ...but people don't believe me when I say that we currently have the technology to create a total lockdown of digital content.

    Sure, the analog hole is still there, but we don't want to be limited by that, do we?
    • by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:53AM (#10232833)
      ...but people don't believe me when I say that we currently have the technology to create a total lockdown of digital content.

      That is because we dont and we never will. The basic premise of cryptography is that a sender (Bob) sends an encrypted message to receiver (Alice) so that an attacker (Neo) wont be able to read it no matter how hard he tries. Forgetting for the moment the discussion of our ability to encrypt hard enough for a really, really clever Neo, in this case (TV and DVD's), Neo and Alice are the same person. This "only" breaks the whole foundation of cryptography. Not to mention it also presents a gender-bender conundrum.

      • Re:It's crazy... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alsee ( 515537 )
        in this case (TV and DVD's), Neo and Alice are the same person

        Actually no. I read their docs, this scheme amounts to Trusted-Computing-on-a-chip. I'm a bit of a self-trained expert on Trusted Computing. The entire goal of it is that Alice is a self-destructing tamper-resistant chip you have. Bob sends the encrypted data to Alice - your chip - and Alice refuses to tell you her key and she refuses to let you use the content or do anything else except as specifically directed by Bob or by Alice's maker Satan
  • From the Web Site (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:27PM (#10231810)

    Satisfies and exploits the proven consumer demand for high value content that is accessible and distributable over a variety of media

    Thanks, but no thanks. I don't buy from people who exploit me.

    • by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:32PM (#10231838) Homepage Journal
      "I don't buy from people who exploit me."

      Now leaving Capitalism. Welcome to denial.
      • Re:From the Web Site (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:40PM (#10231907)

        Okay, how about: "I don't buy from people who try to squeeze out every last bit of producer surplus, forgetting that customer goodwill generates repeat sales and word-of-mouth advertising"?

        • by mynameis (mother ... ( 745416 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:57PM (#10232297)
          Okay, how about: "I don't buy from people who try to squeeze out every last bit of producer surplus...

          Erm, how about: Okay, how about: "I don't buy from people who try to squeeze out every last bit of comsumer surplus..."

          Hehe, sorry about that, but I'm sure none of us mind minimizing the producers surplus. Refresher:

          1. Consumers Surplus - The area under the demand curve, but above the price
          1. Producers Surplus - The area above the supply curve, but below the price

          What makes the whole discussion stupid IMHO is that we're all this anti-'piracy' crap is by definition not talking about internal market features. Attacking 'fair use' on the other hand is, if anything, going to lower the demand curve- we are talking about reducing the marginal utility of the widgets here.

          If you were not willing to purchase the product at the 'market clearing price,' then the producers are not losing revenue.

          People downloading free copies of various titles does not directly affect the relevant portion of the demand curve**! Nor does it cause translation along the demand curve! Think of it as 2-tier price discrimination, where a subset of the people who exist to the left/below the market get it at marginal cost :) Crap, that means some consumer surplus. I highly doubt there is a significant cross-elasticity of demand between .torrent's and movie tickets/DVD sales.

          Bootlegging is an entirely seperate discussion. IANAL, but isn't there already a body of legislation that addresses that?

          ** The market externalities involved can in fact shift the demand curve. The marketing exposure can be priceless (bandwagon effects, knowing the product exists, being familiar with a product/brand, etc.), however it also has the [perhaps all too oft] effect of lowering the percieved utility of a product to it's actual value... If you know how much that InternetPrivateDick software [or the-other-12 tracks-on-the-cd, CuteNFuzzy-Jedi-Episode-2 1/2, etc...] suck, you're less likely to pay as much for it
          Naturally, anything that causes consumers to act more rationally or with more complete information might make Economics more workable, much to the distress of all those other social sciences... And likely most politicians... ;)

          And I won't even mention the fact that most restrictions that insulate producers from the market are bad for both society AND the producers, nor that these markets are already far from perfectly competative... Ok, I guess I did mention them...

          • The real issue (Score:4, Insightful)

            by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @12:49AM (#10232558) Journal

            The marketing exposure can be priceless (bandwagon effects, knowing the product exists, being familiar with a product/brand, etc.),
            This is of course the real reason they are so up in arms about P2P, etc.: not that stuff they control is being distributed "by word of mouth" but that stuff they don't control will be. If a band can make it without ever signing with a label, if an independent film can reach the audience without a distributor, a lot of middle-meddlers are going to be very, very unemployed.

            -- MarkusQ

          • Attacking 'fair use' on the other hand is, if anything, going to lower the demand curve- we are talking about reducing the marginal utility of the widgets here.

            Yep. And I'd just like to add that any attempt to offer a crippled product almost always drops this particular consumer's demand curve to zero.

            I vote with my dollars. I simply refuse to buy DRM crippled crap.

  • A waste (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zinic ( 780666 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:27PM (#10231811)
    Yet another waste of resources that could of gone in to making the technology better.
    • waste 2x (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zaxios ( 776027 ) <> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:39PM (#10231900) Journal
      Yet another waste of resources that could of gone in to making the technology better

      Don't forget the roughly equal amount of effort that will go into cracking it.
    • Re:A waste (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheGavster ( 774657 )
      From the perspective of the content controllers, this is a better tech. Who cares if the user can actually *use* the stuff, as long as they buy it and can't transfer it?
  • So (Score:5, Informative)

    by thegoogler ( 792786 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:29PM (#10231818)
    How long is it going to take for some malaysian company to make a PCI card with the required chip on it?
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:29PM (#10231819)
    From the article...

    NDS, 78 percent owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, has developed the anti-piracy software component for SVP. Beginning next year, Thomson will embed SVP-enabled chips developed by STMicro into its video playback devices and set-top boxes.

    American satellite TV operator DIRECTV, a News Corp affiliate, is the first to use the new technology, the companies said.

    Now, let's think about this for a second. Even though DirecTV has about millions units in circulation now, the actual decryption part of the operation is done in the form of a single smart card that is very easy to swap out. Therefore, DirecTV doesn't have to make everybody get new boxes to apply this tech, they just have to send out new cards.
    • by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <`john.oyler' `at' `'> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:35PM (#10231867) Journal
      Can they afford another card swap so quickly? I was suprised to see the P3 die so quickly after the P2, but P4 and P5 are already out... to retire those even a year from now seems insane.
      • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:44PM (#10231935)
        Swapping cards BEFORE they're widely hacked is the only way to prevent hacking from ever recurring as badly as DirecTV used to have to deal with.

        Sure, spend all the processing resources you can muster, if the solution to the codec isn't descovered until the card generation is already retired, then it'll be a successful hack but too late to cause any money problems.
        • by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <`john.oyler' `at' `'> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:13PM (#10232097) Journal
          I'm not disputing that this might be their philosophy, but no one can argue that it's cheap.

          Even at their quantities, a card is still a non-trivial cost. Let's say it's only $5. Times 10 million subscribers, thats $50 million dollars. Then, logistics for shipping all of them. Double that. Add to it people who have older recievers, that just won't work, despite extensive testing. They'll spend $150 per subscriber there, and they'll do it because they don't want to risk losing that customer. I have no way to estimate how often this happens, but my guess is 25,000-100,000 for the p3-p4/p5 swap alone.

          And in truth, what does it gain them? The conversion rate from satellite hackers to paying subscribers can't be that high, even when hacks are unavailable. And those conversions will only remain loyal as long as hacks remain unavailable. If they converted 200,000 such people with the last swap, I'd be shocked. And I would think that's the minimum necessary, to even break even.

          From an accounting standpoint, this can't be justified on dollar amounts alone. You have to start figuring in other factors... such as strategy. If they can use high piracy numbers to get lucrative legislation passed, maybe you can make up for it in the long run (something that corporations are notorious for ignoring). But even if that is the case, this runs things in the complete opposite direction... at the moment, DirecTV has reduced their "piracy" problem from a high of maybe 400,000 at its peak, to no more than 5-10 (serious number). At the moment, no one who doesn't have access to a million dollar lab is completely locked out, and I have my doubts that even a proof of concept hack exists.

          But it gets even weirder. of that 400,000 number, I'd say close to half were canadian... completely unavailable (by law) as customers. For them, there is no conversion possible.

          None of it makes any sense, so I'm obviously missing pieces here and there. However, that only makes me suspicious that they're *really* up to something stinky.
  • encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abes ( 82351 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:31PM (#10231828) Homepage
    I am curious as to how they will manage encryption with this, and if it will be yet another encryption through obfuscation.

    It seems the smartest approach is to publish and patent the encryption scheme, but make it so time consuming, that you will need hardware to do the decryption properly. That way any one who tries to get around the protection scheme and not pay royalties will be easily sueable.

    The upside for non-mainstream OS users, is that it will most likely mean non-OS dependent solutions (maybe).

    Of course programmable logic chips could potentially be a threat, but not a major one, as most people don't have that type of hardware.
    • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:00PM (#10232026)
      the smartest approach is to publish and patent the encryption scheme, but make it so time consuming, that you will need hardware to do the decryption properly.

      With Moore's Law still in effect and multi-core processors coming, what requires dedicated hardware today may easily become software doable in three years. Which would be about the time it hits mainstream, given that the public buys into it.

    • Re:encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @06:20AM (#10233702) Homepage
      I am curious as to how they will manage encryption with this

      It is pretty much a Trusted Computing system on a chip.

      How does it work? Well the ultra-simplified explanation is that every chip has a different random secret key locked inside. The chips are tamper resistant and designed to self-destruct their secret key if they detect you attempting to rip the chip itself open to read the key.

      The chips use some cute mathemagical tricks that allow them to use those secret random numbers recognize other genuine secure chips while refusing to speak to any fake chip you try to make yourself. The real random keys come with a signature. You could always make up your own random key, however you cannot fake the signature for it and it will be rejected.

      The chips then use some more mathemagic to be able to send encrypted messages to each other. They can read those messages, but no matter how much you eavesdrop on their conversation you can't read or alter anthing they say to eachother unless you know one of their secret random keys.

      They can re-encrypt and store files locked under their secret keys. Without knowing that secret key you can't read any of their files and you can't do anything that they do not specifically permit you to do.

      If you *do* manage to dissect one of these self-destructing chips and manage to read out its secret key then you have broken free and can do whatever you like. However if you give a copy of that secret key to anyone else they will probably dectect that multiple key use (every key is supposed to be random and unique, so if they see the same key twice they know you copied it), and they will revoke that key. Dead key. They will also revoke your key if you do not adaquately conceal the fact that you have free and unrestricted control of your own machine.

      Unless they seriously screw up somewhere, there simply will not be any possible software attacks. The only way to beat the system is with a special lab ripping chips open and reading keys out one by one. Depending on how they set up the system each chip you rip and each key you extract can pretty much only only be used by one person. One rip, one person.

  • by neiffer ( 698776 ) * on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:31PM (#10231829) Homepage
    " A rise in piracy has accompanied the explosion of digital video players. Crafty programmers have discovered ways to crack into DVD players, for example, to make copies of Hollywood movies quickly and cheaply." Yup, and this will be cracked too. It's a game of cat and mouse. Remember how DVD's were supposed to be iron proof? And they certainly haven't locked down CD's. Create whatever technology you want but in the end, unless we change the greater system of licensing media, none of this will matter and piracy will continue.
    • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:16AM (#10232938)
      This is partially correct. However, the main problem with a copy protection schemes is always the key distribution problem. A crypto system (assuming that the algorithm is strong) is only as safe as its key distribution system, which presents a paradox:

      The fewer people who have access to the decryption key(s) the less vulnerable the system is to attack, but in order to make money the crypto system must be widely distributed, including the decryption keys, which makes the system more vulnerable to attack.

      The business models of the content creation industry are often in direct conflict with the realites of secure cryptography. There is really no good way to reconcile them at this time without some sort of compromise. For the time being the content industry has seen fit to compromise the crypto in the hopes that at least Joe Sixpack will be foiled in his attempt to record his favorite TV show, but as any rancher will tell you it only takes one smart horse to open the gate and the rest of the heard will follow...
    • Remember how DVD's were supposed to be iron proof?

      I always thought they were supposed to be bullet clad.

  • by asdfghjklqwertyuiop ( 649296 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:32PM (#10231833)

    All those licensing fees for our DVD-ROMs for nothing?"

    What licensing fees? We didn't license anything. We bought copies of copyrighted works. Those copies are our property.

  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <> on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:33PM (#10231846)
    ...and not the technologically adept.

    That's because people who are technologically adept and who have sufficient resources are quite rare. Only someone who can hack the hardware would be able to grab the original digital content from a properly-designed black box.

    I suspect that hardware like this will, in time (if not immediately), be used to enforce pay-per-view or something like that for permanent media. From the info page:

    The basic control paradigm for SVP is "Content X for Device Y in Time window Z. " This means that content X can be viewed only on the target (approved Y) device and only during the broadcaster-specified time window (which can range from 'immediate view only' until 'forever' Z).

    Yep, sounds like pay-per-view to me.

    It really is only a matter of time before everything that's available falls under the control of something like this...

    • by rokzy ( 687636 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:43PM (#10231930)
      the day it becomes pay per view is the day I stop buying.

      make things a hassle for me (the legitimate customer) and I won't bother any more.

      lets see who needs who's money the most shall we?
    • " ...and not the technologically adept."

      Which is why there's a black market service industry springing up to help, surprisingly not backed by organised crime, but generally of people helping out other people. In fact, the black market has rapidly become the 'real' P2P network.

      However, I'm hoping that they do this, then it removes the excuse of 'piracy' from the crappy DVD sales of 'Gigli'.

      "Yep, sounds like pay-per-view to me."

      We knew it was coming. Hell, even the idea of closing the analog loop
  • I don't mind... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NetDanzr ( 619387 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:37PM (#10231884)
    The new technology is fine with me. As long as its presence is clearly marked on the DVD box, so that I don't accidentally purchase such a protected DVD.
    • The new technology is fine with me. As long as its presence is clearly marked on the DVD box, so that I don't accidentally purchase such a protected DVD.

      Is it really fine with you?

      Do you really think individual buyers have anywhere near as strong a position in the purchase negotiation as the corps do? Will you still think that if all units from all manufacturers contain the unwanted "feature?"
  • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:38PM (#10231890) Homepage
    When we finally do get those implanted Nikon eyeballs, they'll probably come with anti-piracy chips. (The country-code would be a bitch on business trips.)
  • by rel4x ( 783238 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:42PM (#10231921)
    ....that the only difference between this processor, and the old style processor, is that they put "secure" in the name...
  • who cares... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:53PM (#10231991) Journal
    The companies hope enough SVP-enabled video playback devices and TV set-top boxes will hit the market in coming years so as to allow consumers to transport the encrypted content to specially equipped SVP devices for playback.

    i won't buy anything like that. i doubt you will see anything new with drm for tv outside of the next 10 years. nothing is going to replace the dvd players. it would take some device that can play with even better resolution like the dvd did with repsect to vhs. the only reason people purchased dvd players is because they are very cheap, and the resolution is considerably better than vhs. for a new device to take off, they will have to make it cheap and so much better. i doubt that anything which is superior to dvd will come out at a cheap enough price that people will buy it in large enough quantities to make a differance. plus, if there is any company that could dominate such a protocol, it would be microsoft. unless they get involved, any other company will not be able to get widespread enough approval from the industry.

  • by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:57PM (#10232007) Journal
    Sure, they can have make the media unplayable without the chip, but:
    If you can see and hear it, you can copy it.
    If you can make a raw copy of the media, you can pirate it without loss of quality, even if you can only play the copies in an SVP device.

    This sort of technology has no use in preventing piracy, only in making money and killing competition. Manufacturers must license the "technology" or else they can't make devices that will play the latest media. Consumers must purchase new DVD players to replace their perfectly functioning old players (most won't, you can bet). There will be no interoperability with other devices. And PC users will simply be out of luck, unless they decide to license it for software use to companies like Microsoft, which will completely defeat the cryptographic advantages of embedding the DRM in hardware and make it as useless as DSS.
  • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @10:59PM (#10232021) Journal
    if only people could protect their private data from corporate databases, like banks selling customer information to marketing firms or third parties. too bad nobody wants to protect people the way the movie industry wants to protect their content. :(
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:12PM (#10232086) Homepage
    Think of how low they could cut the costs of production and distribution which would allow them to sell their products at a lower price, which would make them more attractive to the groups most likely to pirate their goods. I guess I just don't understand why the MPAA's members would rather sit around and piss and moan about piracy instead of trying to defeat it. It's not like it's impossible to make a good deal of extra money off of it.

    Personally, I blame the fascist culture of "right to profit" that has developed. If I build a house that looks identical to yours, have I stolen your house? Do you have a right to tell me to pay you a royalty on the sale of my house? How about the original developer, does he/she?

    If corporations affected by technology would invest their money into researching the new technology and finding ways to update their business model, they'd do well for themselves. But that would require effort and a pretense of competition. It's easier to make the small companies earn their place in the market than make the big ones justify their size and reach.
    • Personally, I blame the fascist culture of "right to profit" that has developed. If I build a house that looks identical to yours, have I stolen your house? Do you have a right to tell me to pay you a royalty on the sale of my house? How about the original developer, does he/she?

      If I contracted with an architect for an original design, and the rights to the design, then, damn right I would be demanding royalties on production and sale of a copy. If I were really pissed off I might sue for demolition.

  • Screw 'em. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by robpoe ( 578975 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:13PM (#10232095)
    With the advent of cheap memory, cheap drives, cheap screens and nifty cool players, WHY is hollywood still stuck in 1989?

    Why do we have to have obsolete 8 gig plastic discs, when our movies (I dont give a shit what they say about you're only licensing it .. I paid for it, it's MINE to do as I please .. are they going to give me my money back when I want to de-license it? No? Piss on them) could be on a little teeny little drive that isn't going to fail because the "shiny disc looked pretty" as a mirror.

    Piss off, Hollywood - I paid you my ransom money now leave me the hell alone.

    Oh yeah, and for that BS copy protection? As long as my eyes see it I'll find a way to get past your POS scheme.

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:22PM (#10232141)
    All those licensing fees for our DVD-ROMs for nothing

    Simple solution - stop consuming the 'property' of these robber barrons.

    Its not like this is food, shelter or clothing.
  • Come on...I can stop complaining because this week I got a satnd-alone DVD player, and when I went to watch a _legal_ movie on it, because it was connected to an old TV-set, and the only way to do that is to have a VCR to modulate the signal, Macrovision Protection(tm) kicked in, and I could not enjoy the movie at all.

    We are _already_ slaves to the Media companies. Perceive that none of this crap will stop some "Pirate Cappo" who cashes in 100.000 East Asia Bootleg Disks a week - this guy can pay people to bypass wahtever protetcion they put in it.

    It just stop us - ordinary people - from making perfectly legal things, like quote some seconds of a video to a lecture, or whatever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:34PM (#10232196)
    Back in the 80's, a lot of people were hyping copy-protection schemes for software. It was basically snake-oil; none of it did any good, and any software which used it soon died because copy-protection doesn't help the consumer.

    Now, here in the 00's, we have the reincarnated version of this. The ONLY people who care about it are the Media conglomerates. Again, not the consumers.

    Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    So, my big question is this. Does anybody have any actual numbers on how much money has been dumped into these snake-oil schemes?

    A fool and his money are indeed soon parted. It really beats me why spends their time developing this stuff, let alone funding it. Clearly it is self-delusion.
  • by ryanvm ( 247662 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @11:39PM (#10232220)
    Okay, how about this time we wait until AFTER they start using the algorithm before we tell them it's been hacked. I'm looking at you Edward Felton []. ;-)
  • by tsm_sf ( 545316 ) * on Monday September 13, 2004 @12:00AM (#10232320) Journal
    Crafty programmers have discovered ways to crack into DVD players, for example, to make copies of Hollywood movies quickly and cheaply.

    You can crack a DVD player to burn discs? That's gotta be one of the sweeter hacks I've heard about. Or maybe by 'crack' the reporter means 'buy professional DVD duplicating equipment'.

    It's almost a peaceful feeling to watch the heat death of one's society.
  • Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @12:07AM (#10232357) Homepage Journal
    Great! The more incompatible "standards" there are, the less likely this stuff will catch on.
  • Don't panic! (Score:3, Informative)

    by belgar ( 254293 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @01:08AM (#10232633) Homepage
    If the Thomson hardware is as crappily shitacular as the Thomson DVD drive in my XBox, we have nothing to worry about -- either it will fail to enable the copy protection scheme correctly, and movies will be watchable, or it won't let you watch *anything* -- in which case, the machines will be yet another failed technology on the trash heap.
  • by r6144 ( 544027 ) <> on Monday September 13, 2004 @02:23AM (#10232978) Homepage Journal
    Demand publishers make a new movie/novel/whatever easily available to people in a sufficiently uncrippled format at a reasonable price, and any copying during the time by the people to whom the thing is unavailable will not be counted as infringement, though the publishers are allowed to demand unauthorized copying to stop, and (possibly) ask people who has obtained these copies to either destroy them or buy one at that reasonable price (no fines), when they make the thing available.

    Here an "sufficiently uncrippled format" should be a format that allows users to enjoy the work in perpetuity, with no further obligation to the publisher, possibly by using backups and/or software (not applicable if such things are precluded by DRM, patents or whatever). For example, software in ordinary CD-ROMs without timebombs in them is included, so are paper books (you can scan them) and non-crippled music CDs (you can rip them and backup them forever, and you will always be able to play the PCM data). DVDs should also be included, especially when related patents expire and DeCSS is legalized, so that you can rip the bits and play it on the computer anytime in future, when hardware DVD players and DVD-ROMs may be no longer available. In contrast, any time-limited or player-limited versions, such as those using that SVP technology mentioned here, will not count (unless it can be legally hacked), and the publisher had better make it available in some other less-crippled format at the same time. This rule can be loosened for new kinds of copyrightable works for which no such perfect backup mechanisms are available yet, but these should be special cases.

    As for a "reasonable" price, I think up to twice the normal price would be acceptable at first, for example up to $40 for a DVD. If the publisher want higher prices, they should make every buyer sign an agreement with them promising that they will not copy the thing they have bought, i.e., it should no longer be of the copyright law's concern.

    And if movie publishers want to stop people cameraing their movies and making bootleg copies, they'd better either release the thing in DVD at the same time, or sign an agreement with everyone watching it (no children allowed).

    In short, I want to respect your copyright, but if you make your thing public (i.e., not a trade secret or privacy-related stuff), and you don't want to accept my money, you still have no right to prevent me from enjoying it.

  • by Deorus ( 811828 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @03:22AM (#10233215)
    I wonder if all those people do not have principles. What are they seeking for? World domination? I think people with such invasive ideas should be publicly humiliated until they learned.

    Usually I feel compelled to follow the rules and not copy stuff, but this kind of protection makes me kinda think about doing the oposite, not because I need, but because of their intentions to limit my freedom, 'cause I HATE to be forced!

    I like to be told what the rules are and what can happen if I don't follow them, but I also appreciate my freedom to choose not to follow them if I wish.
  • The issue on copying (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Johnny Hardcore ( 812958 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @03:34AM (#10233253)

    The issue of copying music isn't IF you can copy it, it's HOW WELL you can do it. No matter what you do to protect your media content, it has to be playable on your standard TV, stereo, or whatnot. I mean, I can easily copy any movie you give me with a camcorder, right? :)

    The industry would be better off figuring out how they should be selling their products instead of how to gouge the general public. Ventures like this have always proven to end in failure, and always make things more inconvenient for the people who actually pay for it (usually the less technically-savy too)!

    Isn't it funny how you can copy an Aerosmith CD and steal from Sony Music, with your Sony CD burner and CD-R and support Sony Electronics? Who really loses? ;)

  • Slow death? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pfriedma ( 725399 ) on Monday September 13, 2004 @06:21AM (#10233711) Homepage
    As previously mentioned, with each copy-protection system tried, they are broken, worked around, or otherwise caused to fail. The recording industry (and collective associates) have spent big money on bigger/better ways of troubling their coustomers... I can't imagine suing all of your [potential] customers is good for business? Personally, I could see myself downloading a song that I might have heard a bit of on the radio or something, likeing it, then buying the CD... but if I were to be sued for the mentioned download, fscked if I'm gonna give them any *more* money. I really wonder how long it will be before this industry spends all it's money on troubling their customers and none on actually producing/marketing worthwhile media, and simply dies.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `'> on Monday September 13, 2004 @12:36PM (#10236700)

    Copy prevention which permits legitimate use whilst denying "other" uses is impossible. Not just supremely difficult, actually impossible. That is not a limitation of present technology that will be resolved by a sufficiently clever invention; it is a limitation of the Universe, like nothing being able to exceed the speed of light or a system never being able to put out more energy than is being supplied to it. Human beings will walk naked upon the surface of the Sun before copy-prevention is made to work.

    The Secure Player is designed to render digitally-encrypted content into a form that humans can appreciate. In other words, analogue audio and video. Such signals can always be copied and re-recorded in an unencrypted form, and there is no way for the Player to be certain what is happening downstream of itself. Any form of distortion applied to the signal in a blanket attempt to prevent recording must be imperceptible to humans watching the signal. Any attempt to detect the presence of a recording device {time domain reflectometry?} can be defeated, since we have the advantage of knowing what measurements are being made.


    The publishing industry -- and whether that be books, records, movies, CDs, videos or DVDs, the rules are the same -- has always depended for its very existence upon a simple idea: that the initial cost of the wherewithal to package-up content in a form that will be acceptable to consumers is great enough to prevent anybody from entering the industry. It should have been obvious that this situation would not persist forever. The moment that the printing-press had been invented, someone had already begun work on making a portable version.

    Now let us compare and contrast the situation of the publishing industry with two other almost universally disliked industries: the fossil fuel industry, and the meat industry. The fossil fuel industry continues to extract coal and oil from the gaping wounds in the flesh of Mother Earth. One day there simply will not be any more oil or coal left down there. Even before that day dawns, there has to come a time when non-fossil fuels are the cheaper option. At least the meat industry has the foresight to breed enough animals to replace the rotting corpses upon which its supporters gorge themselves. There is nothing inherently unsustainable about feeding an animal and using its body to rearrange amino acids. With careful management, it is perfectly possible to obtain a supply of meat which is limited only by the amount of fodder available; and turning plants into burgers this way is less wasteful of resources than artificially texturising proteins (though it does rankle with the prevailing creed of mortality-denialism).

    It is my contention that the publishing industry today is in the situation that the fossil fuel industry will face very soon. Everything that the publishing industry depended on for its business model to function has been annihilated. Today, the cost of the equipment required to manufacture DVDs, CDs, books and so forth is close to negligible, and entry into the market depends only on the willingness of customers to buy the wares you are selling.


    Copyright violation is not the same as theft. If I steal a CD from a store, the store no longer has that CD to sell. If I make a copy of my friend's CD, my friend has their CD back once I am done. The store cannot sell that CD to me, because I already have another copy of it; but so what? There might be a million and one other reasons why a store might lose the ability to sell me a CD, not the least of which is that I might not even like it.

    I see a CD recorder as being somewhat analogous to a breadmaker. I buy my own blank CD-Rs [flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water] and use my own effort, together with electricity I have paid for with money I earned by my own graft, to make bread for my consumption [CDs for me to listen to].

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors