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Microsoft DRM Code for Netflix Streams Hacked 154

reddburn writes "Macworld has posted a story by IDN News Service about a hacker who posted instructions for saving streaming movies from Netflix, defeating Microsoft's DRM code designed to prevent users from saving the content. From the article: 'A hacker who calls himself Dizzie wrote late last month on the Rorta hacking forum that "Netflix doesn't easily allow you to save the flicks and watch them at your leisure because the films are entrapped in some ... Windows Media DRM wrapper," referring to Microsoft's DRM system. Word of his hack spread more widely this week in various blogs and Web sites...He writes that the process for removing the DRM could take a few attempts, and the process does not remove the time limit imposed by Netflix on viewing the content. The Netflix site was down for maintenance early Thursday, although it was unclear if it was related to the hack. The site was back up later Thursday morning.'"
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Microsoft DRM Code for Netflix Streams Hacked

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  • Thursday?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vigmeister ( 1112659 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @03:45PM (#20173867)

    The Netflix site was down for maintenance early Thursday, although it was unclear if it was related to the hack. The site was back up later Thursday morning
    Is it still not Thursday? Wonder if the hack still works.

    Very depressing that people are now hacking content they paid for :(

    Cheers!
    • Very depressing that people are now hacking content they paid for :(

      What's the difference between this and breaking DRM on a music CD so that you can rip it to MP3 to play on your iPod? Or do you enjoy being ass-raped by the media companies?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by _14k4 ( 5085 )
        What's the difference between this and breaking DRM on a music CD so that you can rip it to MP3 to play on your iPod? Or do you enjoy being ass-raped by the media companies?

        Easy: With the music CD you pay for the physical media - and even though you are "renting" the ability to play the music, the media is yours. With Netflix, you are only paying for the ability to rent, at their terms, the movie you are streaming.

        I would argue, however, that once the data hits my machine, stored in my cache, or travels t
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pegr ( 46683 )
          and even though you are "renting" the ability to play the music,
           
          Have you read one too many EULAs? You do not rent anything. As long as you are consistent with copyright law (including fair use provisions), you are free to do whatever you want with what you bought and paid for! These is no license, there is no contract, and there is no "renting", regardless of what the media companies might want you to think...
          • Re:Thursday?? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by FLEB ( 312391 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:22PM (#20174353) Homepage Journal
            No... this is pretty much out-and-outright a rental, presented as such in both the overt advertisement and the fine print. It's up-front explained that you get timed amount of ephemeral streaming video, monthly, as part of your contract with Netflix. To say they're selling you anything is like saying that because you can get a video from Blockbuster for a night, you've "bought" it, and you've got the legal and moral rights to rip a copy-- after all, the ones and zeros are in your house... and if you have gone that far, why not just discard all pretense, fire up BT, and rip them off directly.
            • Sonny, I've been duplicating rentals since before there was a Blockbuster :)

              Before that, we just taped movies off of HBO. Until the re-release in theaters back in the '90s, I thought Star Wars started with the droids in the desert.
            • If you're going to reply to the comment chain, at least read the parts you're replying to. The discussion above was about CDs that you purchase and those most definitely aren't rentals. The subject changed, please keep up.
              • Woops... looks like I should've been up a level there or something.
        • by Skapare ( 16644 )

          ... even though you are "renting" the ability to play the music ...

          Where does it say that I am merely renting the music (or video or whatever)? If they had 2 separate prices, one for renting and one for buying, I might believe you.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by westlake ( 615356 )
            Where does it say that I am merely renting the music (or video or whatever)? If they had 2 separate prices, one for renting and one for buying, I might believe you.

            LOS GATOS, Calif., January 16, 2007 -- Netflix, Inc., the world's largest online movie rental service, today introduced a new feature that allows people to immediately watch movies and television series on their personal computers...
            Subscribers will continue to receive DVDs by mail from the company's catalog of over 70,000 titles and will ha

      • Umm.. maybe emoticons didn't convey my tone correctly, but I am indignant at the MEDIA COMPANIES that force us to hack content to be able to get what we paid for :(
        • by _14k4 ( 5085 )
          How slow are you? When you *stream* something, you are paying for the ability to stream it - a single use license. Did you actually read the terms of service? When you record a stream, you are now "upgrading" that single use into a multi-use license. Oh and playing a stream twice does not make it a multi-use stream... it is simply two copies of the same stream, in terms of licenses.

          • Jsut because I CAN doesn't mean I AM... Kinda like modchips. What if I want to watch it offline again? Doesn't the time limit take care of the permanent copy issue?

            Cheers!
            • by _14k4 ( 5085 )
              If you want to watch it offline, have it mailed to you via Netflix - that is what that portion of the service they offer is for. If you want to stream a video and save it, and that is ok with them, then go ahead. Except for the part where saving streams is not ok with them. Which is why it is DRM'd... why is this so confusing? Am I missing something with what you are upset about?

              I don't accuse you of actually saving streams or breaking DRM, but I do accuse you of not seeing the bigger picture. No not
              • Actually, the netflix model seems weird in that you can only watch 6 hours a month. I assume that when the guy says the time constraint is still there, you lose from the 6 hours. On one hand, there is the agreement you sign. But what I am complaining about is the restriction on fair use that these agreements force you to accept.

                For the record, I use Blockbuster purely because I can return the game in store and get another movie then.there.

                Cheers!
                --
                Vig
                • If you can only view 6 hours a month, you only pay Netflix $6/month. I'm on the 4-disc plan, pay $24 a month, and get 24 hours of streaming time.

                  Personally, I'm not sure why one would bother breaking the streaming DRM anyway; the quality is pretty bad considering. If you want to store it for a long term, just rent the DVD and rip it from there.
                • by Sancho ( 17056 )
                  Of course, they're nerfing this, too. Pretty soon, they'll be limiting the number of times you can get a free movie in-store by returning one of the BBOnline movies.

                  Pretty lame.
                • Actually, the netflix model seems weird in that you can only watch 6 hours a month. I assume that when the guy says the time constraint is still there, you lose from the 6 hours. On one hand, there is the agreement you sign. But what I am complaining about is the restriction on fair use that these agreements force you to accept.

                  Actually, it's an hour for every dollar you spend on your subscription a month. So if you have a pricier subscription, say 4 movies-at-a-time, you're getting 16-20 hours a month.

              • by Skapare ( 16644 )

                Why do you have trouble with the idea of downloading something that will only be playable for a limited time frame via DRM tools? The concept of the internet does not imply one must watch it at the time it is downloading (and be subject to network burps and such), The only thing that implies that are the dumb people at the sites like netflix that can't grasp the concept of download now, watch later, and DRM prevents it from being watched beyond some date or number of plays. So I hereby accuse you of not

              • to paraphrase:

                However if I wanted to watch something offline, I'd buy it or wait until Netflix mailed it.

                so you want to wait, even when you don't have to.

                "white hat just because I can"

                but why not see if you can do it now.

                Like most online comments about the service, netflix streaming doesn't interest me, because I don't like to watch TV on my computer, when my TV is setup better for that.

                I do have a network attached linktheater DVD player, and all my DVD's are ripped to a hard drive and streamed to this play

          • by Skapare ( 16644 )

            Recording a stream may well mean I can just watch it at a different time than when it gets streamed ... which is important for people who have low bandwidth and queue 8 hours of downloading overnight to grab a 2 hour movie to watch the next day.

        • by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
          I'm indignant when I walk out of the cinema and I'm not handed a set of 35mm reels and a projector!
      • Re:Thursday?? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @03:55PM (#20173995) Journal

        What's the difference between this and breaking DRM on a music CD so that you can rip it to MP3 to play on your iPod?
        The fact that with a CD, I pay for the ability to listen to it an unlimited number of times, while with this service, I pay for the right to watch the movie a limited number of times (or a limited timespan in which to watch it).
      • by dabraun ( 626287 )

        What's the difference between this and breaking DRM on a music CD so that you can rip it to MP3 to play on your iPod?


        There IS NO DRM on a music CD.

        Does that clear up the difference?
        • There IS NO DRM on a music CD.

          Does that clear up the difference?

          After years of internet research, I have come up with this link:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_manage ment#Audio_CDs [wikipedia.org]
          • Re:Thursday?? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sancho ( 17056 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @05:19PM (#20175077) Homepage
            Not the original poster, but I share his sentiment.

            The Wiki article is simply incorrect. If you have an optical disc that plays in an audio CD player, but it has DRM on it, it is NOT an audio CD as it does not follow the Red Book standard for audio CDs. It is a different beast which happens to work in some audio CD players.

            At first glance, it sounds like a horribly semantic difference, and the two of us seem to be locked in hopeless pedantry, however it's an important difference when it comes to sales of the discs. If the packaging and marketing promote the disc as an audio CD, but it doesn't follow the Red Book standard, they are guilty of false advertising. They have tricked me by calling it an audio CD when it is not one, and may not play in players which expect to find the format of a Red Book audio CD on the disc.

            So no. No audio CDs have DRM.
            • So no. No audio CDs have DRM

              The original statement didn't say "Red Book standard audio cd", so it was ambigious. Thus, I'm assuming he meant what people usually mean when they refer to an audio cd, which is an audio cd they play in a cd player.

              On a side note, there are cd's you get with data stream containing music video's/extras. Though I don't know if these are part of the Red Book standard or not, most people would also consider these to be audio cd's.
              • There's a certification mark that confirms something is an Audio CD. No silver disk that's not Red Book standard can legally carry that certification mark. The music and tech companies behind the Red Book format themselves made it that way, so that incompatible disks from other parties could not be labeled as compatible. Now guess who wants to sell you things contrary to the agreements they signed on that format?
              • by dhalgren ( 34798 )
                Most people might consider any piece of soft tissue for snot removal a Kleenex, but that don't make it so.

                Torben
        • There IS NO DRM on a music CD.
          Only for strict definitions of the term "CD" -- there are many shiny disks available for purchase that contain music and DRM, but don't meet the requirements to be a "CD". Nevertheless, they play in most CD players.
      • ass-raped? Last I checked rape wasn't voluntary.
    • by nmrs ( 591104 )
      I wouldn't really call this hacking content they paid for... Assuming that they would disable the netflix time constraint if they could, then they are simply attempting to steal content they rented. While I am all for being able to rip a DVD that you bought, this is more akin to ripping a DVD you rented or video taping a movie in a theater. You have essentially paid for a single use and are trying to convert that into a multi-use license...
      • Re:Thursday?? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vigmeister ( 1112659 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @03:55PM (#20174003)
        Until I break the time constraint, how does it matter? Why do they need DRM in the first place?
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by kamakazi ( 74641 )
          I think people are missing what is meant by time limit. Once you crack the DRM you can watch the movie forever. The dizzie guy (I hate to call a guy that just runs other people's programs a hacker) was talking about the time limit from NetFlix that determines how many movies you can download, for example an $18 subscription allows you 18 hours of movies a month. Once the DRM is removed you do indeed have full and complete access to the movie.

          Jeez, doesn't anybody actually read the source of these stories
          • My impression of the NetFlix service is that it tracked how much of each movie you actually watched. That is, if you only watch the first 5 minutes of a movie and decide it's crap, only 5 minutes of your 18 hours gets deducted. And if you watch the movie twice, you get charged twice.

            So the question is how much time do you get charged with this scheme? Can you download the entire movie without "watching" it?
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Oh... You mean like storing content that you 'paid for once' on your TiVo and watching it over and over?
        • Broadcast TV is a horse of a different color. This is a rental; The rules are different.
        • by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
          My grandparents and parents and I paid for them to make programmes and transmit them into our homes. That it was subsequently decided that I can't record that signal and repeat it at my leisure is an odd notion. The signal is mine, I paid for it. Everything other opinion is wrong.
      • by Skapare ( 16644 )

        So tell me why it is that Netflix wants to force people to only watch a movie at the same time they are streaming it? Why is Netflix wanting to subject their viewers to the blips and burps of the net? Why is Netflix limiting their customer base to only those with high enough bandwidth for live streaming? Why not use the DRM to let people download and save the movie and watch it only within 3 days? If I hack it so that all that I change is to give me 3 days to watch it, sure, maybe I'm stealing a little

    • by morari ( 1080535 )

      Very depressing that people are now hacking content they paid for :(

      I've been hacking legitimately purchased video games for years because I don't like the hassle of inserting discs. It's nothing new, and certainly nothing new when it comes to people that want to watch films or listen to music on devices that they may not "legally" be allowed to, regardless of how they acquired them. In the case of NetFlix though, I can't see a lot of theoretical work around for pirates to argue. It's not as if someone goes through the trouble of downloading a film just ot watch it and the

    • Except you really didn't pay for it. Netflix is primarily used for movie rentals, including the streaming service. All you are paying for is to access the content for a limited amount of time. It's actually somewhat unfortunate this occurred as this was sort of a value-added service, and I'd hate for them to get rid of it entirely.
    • Re:Thursday?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:15PM (#20174253) Homepage

      Very depressing that people are now hacking content they paid for :(

      Didn't you mean to say:

      Very depressing that people are forced to hack content they paid for :(

      • This is assuming that rental prices went up since the introduction of this service, which hasn't happened. The prices are the same now as they were before, so technically, they're not paying for it.
        • In fact, with netflix, the prices have -DROPPED- since.

          Netflix hasn't always been all that consumer-friendly of a company, but in the movie rental business, they're light years ahead of everyone else in service to the consumer.
    • by Suicyco ( 88284 )
      The site goes down regularly in the wee hours of the morning. Has been doing that for years. Nothing to see here.
    • by shark72 ( 702619 )

      "Very depressing that people are now hacking content they paid for :("

      My understanding is that they pay to stream, not to download. A download version would presumably cost more, as it has more value. This hack lets you download and save to your hard drive and only pay the price for streaming.

      Pay less, get less, pay more, get more. I see that there's a fair amount of outrage here; it's billed as a streaming service but I suppose that we feel that should be getting more for our money -- thus it's our p

  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @03:50PM (#20173927)
    But then, I wonder if anyone cares!
  • Sounds a lot more like 'bits can be saved'. The *real* DRM, the time limit, is still in place.
  • Reeltime is cool (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm a happy customer of Reeltime [reeltime.com]. Streaming online movies, no fuss no crap. They're expanding their library of movies all the time.

    Check 'em out.
    (not an employee, just a satisfied customer)

    • The company's president has been filling both the Wikipedia article on the company, and the article about himself, with adcruft for months now. Forgive me if I sound suspicious of the parent post.

  • by ilovegeorgebush ( 923173 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @03:54PM (#20173983) Homepage
    The more you restrict it, the greater the desire to break it.

    Open up, please.
  • by blowdart ( 31458 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @03:55PM (#20173999) Homepage

    This isn't new at all; the DRM crack is still FairUse4WM, which has been around for years, all the "hacker" has down is document how to discover the file URL and download it, nothing more.

  • DRM hacked? *yawn* (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    DRM gets hacked all the time. Then repaired, then hacked, then repaired, then hacked, ...

    Do we really need a story every time this happens?

    Slashdot's story quality is going down the toilet fast.
    • you forgot to make the "becoming like digg" comment. at least then you would have got modded for flamebait.
    • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

      Slashdot's story quality is going down the toilet fast.


      People have been saying this for years now...are you folks really trying to tell me that slashdot was once so awesome and amazing that not even god could have handled it?
  • Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WidescreenFreak ( 830043 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:03PM (#20174103) Homepage Journal
    Okay, if this is to watch the videos on a non-Windows system or if you have being forced into Windows/IE, fine. I'm okay with that as long as you manually adhere to the rental terms and delete the file. I know the reality of that, but on principle I agree that the DRM stripping can be a viable option for fair use for those who don't have or like Windows/IE.

    But if anyone wants to do this to download and keep the file, I really have to question WHY?? The only way to do this is if you have a Netflix account. So, if you're hell-bent on keeping a copy, you might as well go through the whole process of having the DVD sent to you and then do a rent-rip-return. At least that way you'll get the whole thing in full DVD quality with all of the bells, whistles, commentaries, and additional material.

    Not only do you need a Netflix account, but you also obviously need to have a broadband connection. In that case there are plenty of other outlets from Usenet to P2P to IRC to obtain copies of movies that already have any DRM stripped off.

    And if it's a movie that you really would like but don't want to pay $20 for a new DVD, why not just pay $5 for a used DVD from Netflix from whom you already are paying $xx per month for the subscription? I did that for a movie that my wife wanted, and the movie was in our mailbox in three days, complete with Amaray case and cover art.

    I honestly don't see why this is a big deal. There are so many other outlets to get movies illegally, even the complete DVD images. I know very well that the Linux crowd would love to make this an example of how people don't want DRM in order to enforce Fair Use with non-Windows systems and I agree with that. But we all know that the conspiracy-loving media, the studios, and the only-pirates-talk-about-removing-DRM-under-the-dis guise-of-Fair-Use crowd (you know who you are, and Slashdot unfortunately has a lot) are going to only look at this as a method of piracy even though there are lots of other ways to do obtain pirated media, including just getting the DVD from Netflix.
    • I suppose "because it's there" is too cliché?
    • to watch the movie offline? laptop on a plane, train, whatever?

      there are plenty of reasons to want a clean file on your hard drive instead of some streaming BS.
      • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )
        If you want to watch the movie offline, or on a laptop, just get the DVD.
        • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
          That's a huge waste of battery...

          Besides, how do you play a DVD on an iPod for instance? You can't!
        • yeah, aside from the battery thing, the whole point of this online distribution is that media is moving off of physical mediums. there are a litany of advantages to downloaded files vs. dvds, not the least of which is vastly reduced power consumption.

          I understand that this particular system was designed with streaming in mind, but that sure as hell isn't because streaming is more convenient than downloading. streaming content is harder (but clearly not very hard) to pirate, etc. in this case the streaming
      • Look at my first two sentences, emphasis mine: "Okay, if this is to watch the videos on a non-Windows system or if you ha[t]e being forced into Windows/IE, fine. I'm okay with that as long as you manually adhere to the rental terms and delete the file."
        • this is a silly spat, but here goes:

          "Okay, if this is to watch the videos on a non-Windows system or if you ha[t]e being forced into Windows/IE, fine. I'm okay with that as long as you manually adhere to the rental terms and delete the file."

          "that" makes the statement only apply to those on non-windows systems, as per your first sentence. I am talking about a windows user that wants to rent a movie or two for a long trip. if this kind of DMCA shenanagins is ok for for a linux user, it should be ok for a
    • I'm confused why you would bother to use sooo many words to make both sides of an argument... Are you asking a question? It sures seems like you answer your own question... But, I'll take a crack at why this interests me.

      I have a netflix and I often rent DVDs from them, however I am also entitled to 17 hours of their streaming service as part of my membership. I have many machines which are not capable of of playing nicely with windows DRM, also my machine which is capable of doing it the way netflix inten

    • by Skapare ( 16644 )

      As long as some content provider makes sure that their content can only be viewed (or listened) via a Microsoft OS, then I, a use of only BSD/Linux software (well, OK, I have a couple Solaris machines, too), see this as a case where the content provider has no expectation of any revenues from me. Since they have no basis for expecting any money from me, then how does it matter if I view (listen to) the content and don't pay them? I didn't deprive them of anything ... not even an expectation of revenue. I

    • Hypothetically (I'm not on the service), because I can get the video right away, even if it's popular enough to cause a backlog in the regular DVD que, which itself is still going to move at the speed of the Post Office at best?

      How about because I just rented the movie via the subscription service, and didn't know I'd like it enough to keep it until after a viewing? Why would I want to wait for the DVD (unless I really care about the extras) or go find it on a P2P service where my IP address can be tracked?
    • Excellent points all around.

      I'm one of those people who think that making permanent copies of material without paying for them is theft. On the other hand, I am one of those people who refuse to pay for the same (or inferior versions) of the same content for different machines/media players. Yes, if I want a BlueRay version of a movie I bought on DVD, I should have to buy it. If I want the extras and extended scenes on some super new special edition versions, I should have to pay for it. If I want to watch
  • Seems like I see articles like this every other day. Don't these people realize they're going to pay a $2 billion file and go to prison for 1700 years??

    Did something happen while I was asleep or is there still a DMCA?
    • Don't these people realize they're going to pay a $2 billion file and go to prison for 1700 years??


      $2 billion for a file?! Woah. No wonder Vista is so expensive. There's lots of files in there!
  • macworld? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gravis777 ( 123605 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:26PM (#20174403)
    Does it strike anyone as strange that the article is on Macworld about how to exploit a Microsoft DRM in an application that only works on Windows?
  • misleading title (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scapermoya ( 769847 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:30PM (#20174467) Homepage
    The DRM code wasn't hacked for the site. they simply found a way to download the encrypted movie, and then proceeded to use an existing program that strips the WMP DRM. there isn't a specific DRM for netflix.

    netflix needs to control their streams better.
  • by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @04:53PM (#20174755)
    As FairPlay has proved, DRM technology does not have to be perfect in order to be effective. If DRM prevents 99.99% of users from pirating movies, then it is a success.
  • ...if these morons cause Netflix to have to shutdown this service before they even get the good content on it. Good fucking grief... just learn to quit stealing shit. It isn't that complicated.
  • Good DRM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pkulak ( 815640 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @06:04PM (#20175649)
    I understand that people here think all DRM is always bad, but I don't have a problem with Netflix DRM, apart from it making me boot up Windows in a VM. I don't want to buy the damn movie, I just want to watch it once. Now if I was paying $10-20 for the thing I'd be pissed and want to hack it, but I'm paying 13-something a month for DVDs and these downloads. Why someone thinks they are entitled to own a movie they paid about a buck for (depending on how much you value these "free" downloads as part of your account) is beyond me.
  • DRM doesn't work?!? STOP THE PRESSES!!!!

    This is the part of the post where I defeat the lameness filter that doesn't allow me to post my +1 Funny comment in all caps.

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