Wednesday, July 06, 2005

DVD-Audio copy protection "cracked"

DVD-Audio's CPPM can be got around with a WinDVD patch - CD "but instead pipes the decrypted audio output to the hard drive instead of the sound card"

That's part of the fundamental problem with trying to secure bits. They must be available for playback, which means the customer has to have the key to unlock the bits available to them. This isn't a very sophisticated crack from what I can tell, but it's effective.

(Side note: Part of what is so frustrating about this is that this method is very inefficient for everyday users that would like to copy their music onto their computer for convenient listening, but mass "pirates" will have no problem waiting an hour for their one perfect master that they can stamp thousands of copies from)

I've wrestled with similar problems before, and what I've seen is that this false sense of security tends to be worse overall for the producer of the content than the removal of all barriers.

When there is a weak security system in place, those that don't understand the technical limitations tend to think "This solution is so great, I don't understand how it works but I feel secure". This false sense of security tends to make them take more risks because they think they're covered.

Perhaps those in the content industry actually think that the copy protection they've put in place is working. "We" all know (anecdotally) that copy protection doesn't stop hard core pirates from stealing and distributing illegitimate copies of content. But do the executives in charge of these decisions (like including macrovision protection on a DVD) know that it doesn't actually "work"? Do the technical people at those companies have a voice?

Has somebody stood in front of the leaders of the major labels and said "Here is what copy protection is doing for us and here is what it is not doing for us." I'd love to work with anybody in that kind of position on putting together a presentation of the costs/benefits of a copy protection scheme. :-)

I think it's very important for artists to be compensated for their work. I'm an artist, as is my wife, and I like getting money for the work I do. The more money I make the more time I can spend on my music and the more inclined I am to make more of it. But I also recognize that the old model is broken. That's why we released our music under a creative commons license.

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