DECE has tapped Virginia-based Neustar to operate that digital locker.
It's also approved Adobe Flash Access, CMLA-OMA V2, the Marlin DRM Open
Standard, Microsoft PlayReady and Widevine as the five digital rights
management formats that can protect the files stored in the locker.
More than 800 comments have been submitted to the FTC in advance of hearings on the impact of DRM on consumers. Four of the major copyright industry trade associations have jointly submitted useful comments. The four are the the Association of American Publishers ("AAP'),the Entertainment Sofware Association ("'ESA"), Motion Picture Association of America ("MPAA"), and Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA). Their submission provides a good overview of all the different ways in which DRM is being used to facilitate business models and consumer oriented services. This document is well worth a read.
The document begins by considering the definition of DRM offered by the FTC in calling the hearing and how that definition should be improved or augmented (notes omitted, emphasis and paragraph breaks added).
[The FTC] has defined digital rights management, or "DRM," as "technologies typically used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, and copyright holders to attempt to control how consumers access and use media and entertainment content." On behalf of the wide range of creators, copyright owners, and U.S. copyright-based industries that are represented by our organizations, we believe this definition is at best incomplete.
DRM should also be viewed as the technologies that facilitate broader consumer access to copyrighted works, and that reflect the parameters of the bargains entered into between owners of content and consumers who purchase access to it.
ByteShield, the San Francisco-based software and game DRM company, submitted comments in advance of the FTC's hearing on DRM and the consumer. Submitted by CEO Jan Samzelius, the document provides a terrific list of DRM features, functions, and capabilities that would probably delight game and software publishers and provide a user-friendly experience for gamers and software users.
Samzelius provides a list of what I would call "best practices" at each stage of the relationship between a gamer, the publisher, and the underly DRM system. Here are a couple of excerpts:
An important question is whether competition exists (or is allowed to exist). DRM can be viewed as an artificial restriction on competition. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As we’ve seen in the U.S. it also helps if you manipulate the legal system to obstruct competition.
Even though I’m not a big fan of DRM, as the Chen article [on the demise / evolution of Web 2.0] suggests bad economic times will force changes. I think that we may see increasing emphasis on hardware and software lock-ins coupled with increased pressures from content industries for stronger “anti-copying” enforcement mechanisms.
Among the arguments presented by the CCIA is that legal restrictions on reverse engineering under the Digital Millenium Copy Right Act (DMCA) are too severe and are being used by some vendors to place restrictions on competitors and to prevent interoperability.
In a comment, Dave Sprogis asks about what happens to iTunes tracks that people have already purchased now that Apple has dropped its FairPlay DRM? In addition to lots of freeware software for stripping out FairPlay DRM available on the Internet, Apple will remove it for a fee (says Tom's Hardware blog)
And what about current tracks that customers have already purchased?
Yes, you can have DRM removed from them as well, but this too will cost
you money. iTunes will offer the ability for its customers to upgrade
their current library at a cost of 30 cents per song, for currently
qualifying songs – 60 cents per qualifying video.
That being said, it is hard not to think that this could be a
"snatch and grab" cash cow for bad times. The way the economy is right
now, everyone is looking for fast money. iTunes has been extremely
successful ever since its conception, so what sparked the DRM-Free
movement? Obviously not to make customers more happy, because the
numbers alone say that kind of movement isn’t really required at this
point in time. But the economy says otherwise. Something to think
Writing in Personal Computer World, Barry Fox has a useful article on the dilemmas facing both consumers, studios, and networks over protecting HD video from capture, copying, and redistribution. The studios would prefer that consumers use HDMI compliant connections, but there are extensive legacy devices that only accept analog inputs.
In addition, not all HD capable devices protect high value content:
In theory, the studios can foil devices such as the Hauppauge PVR by burying ‘Image Constraint’ or ‘Digital Only’ tokens in the HD signal. These force a compliant disc player or receiver to down-res analogue HD content to SD, or completely blank the analogue output.
The token systems are controlled by AACS, the shadowy body that provides the copy protection system used by Blu-ray. Although Blu-ray has been on sale for a couple of years, AACS has still not set a final standard and protection has already been hacked. I asked the Blu-ray Group whether ICT and Dot flags would be used to stop analogue copying by the sledgehammer method of crippling all analogue play. “No comment,” said a spokesman. “It’s a studio decision to set flags.”
Pretty good protection may not be good enough in the long run, especially as broadband speeds increase further. Verizon's FiOS' 20-20 symmetric service is a harbinger of things to come. While the video industry will continue to be well ahead of the music industry in content protection, failure to close all the holes may enable ongoing piracy and consumer file sharing.
The Boston Globe reports that Federal District Court Judge Nancy Gertner has agreed to allow next week's hearing in the RIAA's copyright suit against BU student Joel Tenenbaum to be televised. Tennebaum's legal defense team includes Harvard Law School professor Charles Nessom.
[Judge Gertner] dismissed as "specious" the recording industry's objections
that publicity will influence potential jurors and said she has
received assurances that the video stream will be unedited and
available to all non-commercial users.
Gertner also said streaming court proceedings online will also
serve the recording industry's stated objective of discouraging people
from sharing music online.
Writing on CNet.UK, Nate Lanxon says that all though DRM has been removed from iTunes tracks, consumers should be aware that these files do still have the email address of the iTunes subscriber.
Although iTunes Plus files feature no copy protection, files downloaded still contain the email address you have registered with iTunes. So although files can physically be shared with, and played by, friends and family, any of your purchases that end up on file-sharing networks, for example, can be traced back to you.
If you're interested in an easy way to check your own files, find an iTunes Plus file on your computer. Then choose to open it with a text editor (Windows Notepad works fine). It'll take a while to open and will appear to be full of nonsense text, but if you choose the 'Find' option and type in the email address you have registered with the iTunes Store, you'll find that your DRM-free music is not personal information-free.
EFF Activist Richard Esguerra has a useful blog posting on Apple's remainingDRM and DRM-related technologies, although I fundamentally disagree with the EFF and Esguerra on DRM outside of the music industry. Still, Esguerra's blogicle is worth a read. He points out that Apple still uses DRM:
Apple has dropped the use of its FairPlay DRM that restricted the number of copies that could be made of music tracks while adopted variable pricing and giving pricing control back to the labels. This Variety article has a good summary of the situation.
Since the labels are throwing in the towel on DRM for music, it's not so surprising that the RIAA appears to be shifting its focus as well. After all, FairPlay DRM was pretty effective in protecting music obtained from iTunes. It now makes even less sense for the labels to pursue individual file sharers and colleges and universities since eliminating FairPlay DRM can be interpreted as encouraging file sharing, or at least not discouraging it.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the RIAA has dropped MediaSentry (Safenet), an application that finds and documents copyrighted music on consumer and student PCs. The information is then used as evidence in the RIAA-instigated lawsuits against individuals. Instead, the RIAA will use software or servies from Danish software provider DtecNet.
The RIAA announced last month that it planned to curtail its
practice of filing mass lawsuits for copyright infringement. However,
it still plans to closely monitor people it believes are illegally
uploading copyrighted music, and continue with the legal action it
already has in progress. It says it will still file lawsuits for
In place of MediaSentry, the RIAA says it will use Copenhagen-based
DtecNet Software ApS. The music industry had worked with DtecNet
previously both in the U.S. and overseas, and liked its technology,
said RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy.
Obviously, this apparent change in strategy and technology doesn't do anything to fix the record industry's broken business model.
According to a report on Wired.com, the RIAA spokesman claims that the RIAA has not filed any new lawsuits "for months"; according to the Wall Street Journal report
the RIAA stopped filing mass lawsuits "early this fall"; and the
Associated Press was apparently told that the RIAA had stopped bringing
new lawsuits in August.
Being very familiar with the RIAA's penchant for "misspeaking",
even when under oath, I investigated the matter a bit, and learned that
a large number of suits have been brought by the RIAA quite recently,
one as recently as this Monday.
Turning ISPs into the content police won't work either. To repeat: the business model is broken. Unless and until the music industry figures out other ways to monetize, all of these efforts must fail.
Please bear in mind that this letter serves as an official notice to
you that this network user may be liable for the illegal activity
occurring on your network. This letter does not constitute a waiver of
our members' rights to recover or claim relief for damages incurred by
this illegal activity, nor does it waive the right to bring legal
action against the user at issue for engaging in music theft. We assert
that the information in this notice is accurate, based upon the data
available to us. Under penalty of perjury, we submit that the RIAA is
authorized to act on behalf of its member companies in matters
involving the infringement of their sound recordings, including
enforcing their copyrights and common law rights on the Internet.
It's unfortunate that the major labels do not recognize that their fundamental business model is substantially broken and that these rear guard actions will not put humpty dumpty back together again. The money spent would be far better used to work toward thinking through the challenging problems that come with business model change and then implementing a new course.
Seeking Alpha is a website devoted to investing and financial matters. (It's name is from the alpha coefficient in finance which can be understood as return on invested capital.) In a recent article, Bruce Everiss looks at Apple's iTunes and Nokia's phone-based music subscription model and suggests that subscriptions might be appealing to gamers.
You can see quite clearly here that this is a business model that can
be applied to gaming. Payment of a subscription which covers all your
gaming requirements. Instead of buying individual games. This is a formula that John Riccitiello has alluded to in the past.
Now we don’t need it for consoles but it would be really sweet for the
pirate riddled mess that is PC gaming. Maybe as an evolution of Steam,
or possibly as a totally new service. And as broadband bandwidths
increase it would be perfect for server based gaming.
Ars Technica reports that the MPAA has petitioned the FCC to enable Selectable Output Controls (SOC) on theatrically released movies distributed via cable and satellite prior to their release on DVD.
SOC lets video distributors close down analog or digital output on broadcasts, which could be used to force HD downscaling to SD and/or block output to devices such as DVRs, an option that MPAA says will allow it to more securely distribute early-run studio films on TV. "The Petitioners' theatrical movies are too valuable in this early distribution window to risk their exposure to unauthorized copying," MPAA wrote to the FCC in June. "Distribution over insecure outputs would facilitate the illegal copying and redistribution of this high value content, causing untold damage to the DVD and other 'downstream' markets."
The San Jose Mercury reports that Universal is attempting to get Pennsylvania mom Stephanie Lenz to take down a video showing her toddler learning to with the music of Prince in the background. Alleging copyright violations, Universal sent Lenz a "takedown" letter.
Calling it a "case of first impression," U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel on Friday considered Universal's attempt to dismiss Lenz's lawsuit, which maintains the media giant and Prince are abusing a 10-year-old copyright law intended to curtail movie and music thievery on the Web. Lenz is seeking unspecified damages and a court finding that she did not violate Universal's copyrights with the YouTube video.
Digital distribution a drag on DVD, Blu-ray? 'Taint so, says this article in Home Media Magazine.
Blu-ray Disc sales alone should amount to at least three times what
digital downloading is expected to bring in this year, studio
executives say. In the first six months of 2008, consumers spent an
estimated $194 million on Blu-ray Disc purchases, according to studio
estimates — a gain of nearly 350% from the $43 million that came from
high-definition disc sales the first six months of 2007, when growth
was stymied by a format war between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. The format
war ended Feb. 19 this year, when chief HD DVD backer Toshiba Corp.
officially bowed out.
Reuters and the New York Times report that Viacom and Google/YouTube have agreed to anonymize user information as part of discovery in the lawsuit between them over copyright infringement in user generated or uploaded content.
Earlier in July, a federal judge in Manhattan ordered Google to turn
over YouTube user data to Viacom and other plaintiffs to help them to
prepare a confidential study of what they argue are vast piracy
violations on the video-sharing site.
Google said it had now
agreed to provide lawyers for Viacom and a class-action group led by
the Football Association of England, a large viewership database that
blanks out YouTube username and Internet address data that could be
used to identify individual video watchers.
A survey funded in part by copy protection and DRM company Macrovision reports that home copying of DVDs in the US and the UK is up. Roughly a third of respondents in the UK (36%) and the US (32%) report copying DVDs in the previous six months compared with 25% in 2007.
Copying of movies declined slightly between 2007 and 2008 from 76% to 67% of respondents while copying of TV shows increased from 42% to 61% of respondents.
BetaNews reports that Sony Pictures and Divx have partnered to provide a movie downloading service.
DivX has a Digital Rights Management system that it claims can protect copyright holders, while not interfering with a viewer's ability to watch content. Viewers will be able to download Sony content's for devices other than just a PC, and DivX will partner with retailers to market Sony's content.
Something unique about DivX DRM is that content is tied to the user, rather than to the device, as is generally the case with other DRM technologies for protecting movies and music.
Allowing users to move content from device to device may solve one of the major irritations that have turned consumers against DRM.
Paul Sweeting, Editor of ContentAgenda, wrote recently that Toshiba and Kaleidescape are bringing to market players that up-vert standard DVD video to 1080p HiDef video.
"We have some customers who want Blu-ray just because it's the latest and greatest thing," Kaleidescape CEO Michael Malcolm told Media Wonk. "But believed all along that Blu-ray would not be a successful product because the difference is just not compelling enough compared to DVD. Some early adopters will buy it, but I never believed it would make the leap to the enthusiast or early mainstream market."
Ars Technica reports that in the face of consumer complaints, Microsoft has decided to maintain its MSN DRM servers.
The decision comes almost two months after the company announced that customers would have until August 31 to commit to which PCs and devices they want the music to play on. After that, the MSN Music authorization servers were going to go dark, meaning that users would no longer be able to authorize new machines or operating systems to play the music if they were to upgrade in the future.
David Savage reports in the L.A. Times that the Supreme Court is considering whether to take an appeal from Major League Baseball concerning licensing rights relating to fantasy baseball. MLB has claimed that it owns the copyrights and thus is exclusively entitled to license baseball names and performance statistics.
The legal dispute arose four years ago when Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which represents the players and owners, signed licensing deals for fantasy games with a few big companies, including Yahoo, ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Sportsline. At the same time, Major League Baseball ended earlier deals with dozens of leagues, games and websites that had offered fantasy games.
One of the jilted providers, C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing in St. Louis, went to court and last year won a double-header victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals there. The judges ruled that the fantasy game provider had a 1st Amendment right to use the names and statistics of major league players, and it was free to ignore the earlier licensing deal.
iTunes is the undisputed champ of paid-for downloads, but research
shows that iTunes users tend to be higher-income, most aged 30 or
above, and subscription service users older still. Of the more than 90
million 13-to-34 year-olds in the U.S., about one-quarter own iPods.
That means a lot of folks don’t have one. The Limewire set (those who
like their music “free”) is in high school and college.
DRM should be inobtrusive while doing the right thing at the right time. Various outlets including ars technica have reported that PCs running Vista Media Center software have refused to record certain NBC TV programs, providing an opportunity for some mostly deserved DRM-bashing.
[I've been off doing a crash project for a client. Catching up today.]
Several sources including this Ars Technica article by Eric Bangeman report that Direct TV has changed the rights management rules regarding the time to view recorded TV shows.
DirecTV DVR owners got some bad news from the satellite TV provider recently when the company announced that it will break some of the existing functionality of the DVRs. Effective April 15, subscribers will only have 24 hours to watch pay-per-view movies recorded to their DVRs. Once the movies are purchased, the clock starts ticking, and after 24 hours, the PPV movie saved to your DVR will become nothing more than an unreadable collection of zeros and ones.
Why the studios should care is beyond me. Another capricious act by content owners and distributors.
Writing in CNet, Declan McCullagh exposes the kinds of consumer behavior that can bring the unwanted attention of RIAA's sleuths and law suits. This useful article covers shared folders, large collections of tunes, open wireless networks, and choice of P2P applications:
The RIAA has focused on copyright infringement on the more visible, centralized services such as Kazaa, Morpheus, and Grokster. It hasn't focused on file sharing through instant messaging or closed P2P networks. The more obscure the P2P network, the less likely it is to be monitored.
Despite Blu-ray's triumph over HD DVD, it's far from clear that Blu-ray will become the sole--or even dominant--HD format around the world. Its high costs will remain a deterrent to consumers in many markets, some of whom will be open to lower-cost alternatives....
This morning's session boiled down to whether Comcast and cable operators can manage their network by discriminating against specific applications such as Bit Torrent. Some argued that such discrimination is OK as long as the application discrimination is disclosed to consumers. Others argued that in a duopoly, disclosure isn't sufficient. Therefore, Comcast and other, mostly cable ISPs, should be prevented from discrimination against specific apps.
It was also noted that the deep packet inspection technologies apparently being used to interfer with P2P traffic can also be used for content filtering and abridgment of speech not that anyone is doing that in the US.
The Standard (and other sources) reports that Apple has been able to shut down a site that strips FairPlay DRM from iTunes files. The open source Hymm project received a "cease and desist" order from Apple attorney's.
iTunes customers can legitimately lose FairPlay DRM in order to play
their music on other devices by burning a CD of their songs, and
ripping that CD into a different format.
Hymn has complied with Apple's legal letter, removing download links
to its software from its website and warning forum users not to post
links to alternate download sources within its forums, or risk a ban.
Variety and Reuters are reporting that Toshiba has officially given up on HD-DVD, now leaving the market open to Sony-backed Blu-ray. Quoting from a Toshiba release, Variety says:
“As a result of recent market developments, the company has decided to
discontinue sales and marketing of HD DVD players. Accordingly, Toshiba
will begin to cease shipments of its HD DVD products to retail
channels,” it said in the statement.
The issue of ad blocking has generated a few comments to a previously blogical on the topic. I've posted a quick poll on the subject which should appear at the top of the right column. In a few days I'll let Symantec know of the poll and the results.
CNET and Wired (and other sources) are reporting that a class action law suit has been filed against Samsung that allegedly refused to provide firmware updates to some Blu-ray players that do not play certain titles correctly. The Wired article speculates that the problem(s) may have something to do with firmware that cannot handle correctly the BD+ copy protection technologies.
I spent some time during the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with people from the Digital Freedom Campaign, a group of innovators, artists, students and consumers who know that they
also have rights in the copyright debate and who want to make
I spoke recently with Jake Ward, a spokesperson for the Digital Freedom Campaign. Our wide-ranging conversation addressed fair use, CD ripping, network neutrality, the MPAA and RIAA, and legislation pending in Congress.
While I believe that technical means can be useful in reducing piracy (e.g., Blu-ray's BD+ technology acquired late last year by Macrovision), I believe that the RIAA has been using litigation as a way of postponing the day when the major record labels are going to be forced significantly change their fundamental business models.
As reported here earlier, the RIAA has argued that ripping CDs is illegal. Not content to sue individuals for large sums of money, Ars Tecnica reports that the RIAA is now seeking through legislation to create a statutory penalty for ripping a CD that would add up to $1.5M for a CD with a typical number of tracks.
The change to statutory damages is contained in the PRO-IP Act that is currently up for consideration in Congress. We've reported on the bill before, noting that Google's top copyright lawyer (and the man who wrote a seven-volume treatise on the subject of copyright law), William Patry, called the bill the most "outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the US."
I'm reminded of the scene in Aliens when Riply and Newt have the following exchange:
Ripley: These people are here to protect you. They're soldiers. Newt: It won't make any difference.
Variety reports that the video game business, including both consoles and software, did $18 Billion in 2007.
The video game biz had what can only be described as an epic 2007, as
huge sales for the Wii, "Halo 3," the "Guitar Hero" franchise, and a
slew of other big sellers drove industry revenue up 43% to nearly $18
Earlier I suggested that it was too soon to call a winner in the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD SuperBowl of next gen optical formats. Last week, several outlets, including the Hollywood Reporter and ComputerWorld, have noted that HD-DVD player sales have plummeted following Warner's announcement that they would exclusively support the Blu-ray format.
Apparently in response to the Warner, Toshiba announced earlier this month major price cuts for HD-DVD players:
"While price is one of the consideration elements for
the early adopter, it is a deal-breaker for the mainstream consumer," said
Yoshi Uchiyama, Group Vice President Digital A/V Group. "Consumer sales
this holiday season have proven that the consumer awareness of the HD DVD
format has been elevated and pricing is the most critical determinant in consumers'
purchase decision of the next generation HD DVD technology. The value HD DVD
provides to the consumer simply cannot be ignored."
Although it appears that the Warner announcement has given Sony and the Blu-ray camp substantial momentum, the format wars may not be settled until next January when the 2008 results are known.
In a Reuters article, Adam Tanner reports that the adult film industry is being hit hard by piracy. Adult rated videos are being distributed by sites such as Xtube, a site for 18+ year olds apparently modeled after youtube.
"We're dealing with rampant piracy, tons of free content," said Steven Hirsch, co-founder of privately held Vivid, the best-known studio making sex films.
Vivid once earned 80 percent of its roughly $100 million a year from DVD sales, but last year that fell to 30 percent, Hirsch said in an interview.
[tip o' the hat to Bob Horn] Well, it's only satire, but great satire from NewsTarget.com. Written by Mike Adams, the piece begins:
On the heels of the RIAA's recent decision to criminalize consumers who rip songs from albums they've purchased to their computers (or iPods), the association has now gone one step further and declared that "remembering songs" using your brain is criminal copyright infringement. "The brain is a recording device," explained RIAA president Cary Sherman. "The act of listening is an unauthorized act of copying music to that recording device, and the act of recalling or remembering a song is unauthorized playback."
The RIAA also said it would begin sending letters to tens of millions of consumers thought to be illegally remembering songs, threatening them with lawsuits if they don't settle with the RIAA by paying monetary damages. "We will aggressively pursue all copyright infringement in order to protect our industry," said Sherman.
InformationWeek reports that another anti-trust suit requesting class action status has been filed against Apple. To promote interoperability, part of the suit demands that Apple open its platforms to other DRM standards and media formats. But in all these cases the first order of business is to assert that the company in fact has one or more monopolies:
The complaint against Apple claims that the company controls 75% of the online video market, 83% of the online music market, more than 90% of the hard-drive based music player market, and 70% of the Flash-based music player market.
As readers know, I'm favorably disposed to technical means such as DRM, watermarking, fingerprinting, conditional access, and encryption for protecting digital content provided that the technology is reasonably user friendly and that those who use it to protect content provide full disclosure to consumers.
As reported by Marc Fisher in the Washington Post, the RIAA is arguing in a legal brief in a suit against Jeffrey Howell (and elsewhere) that the mere act of ripping tunes from music CDs and storing those tracks constitutes making illegal copies.
The Howell case was not the first time the industry has argued that
making a personal copy from a legally purchased CD is illegal. At the
Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer
Pariser, testified that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for
himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you
bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' " she said.
NYTimes columnist David Pogue asked his college audience about various use scenarios for music and video. Few found any moral or ethical problem with violating copyright. Pogue concluded this piece with:
I don't pretend to know what the solution to the file-sharing issue
is. (Although I'm increasingly convinced that copy protection isn't it.)
do know, though, that the TV, movie and record companies' problems have
only just begun. Right now, the customers who can't even *see* why file
sharing might be wrong are still young. But 10, 20, 30 years from now,
that crowd will be *everybody*. What will happen then?
When you purchase a DRM ebook, it is locked to a single device. When
the device breaks or becomes outdated, you can no longer read your
ebook. You buy a lock, but you don't own the key! If you try to pick
the DRM-lock on an ebook so you can read your book on another device,
you break US Federal Law (The Digital Millenium Copyright Act).
DRM ebooks are bad for authors and publishers. The owners of DRM
technology get to decide which books, newspapers, and magazines can be
put into their DRM formats. The DRM technology owners can deny
whomever and whatever they wish from using their format. DRM allows
for digital censorship.
So their answer seems to be enable piracy and reduce the revenue of publishers. It's a point of view, to be sure, but not one with which I agree.
[Tip o' the hat to Dave Farber's IP list] A detailed and useful EFF report on Comcast's use of packet forgery and other techniques to interfere with P2P traffic is here. The report says that the consequences of packet forgery include:
Comcast's interference is potentially troubling as well to the extent it may hobble potential competitors deploying next-generation video distribution services. BitTorrent Inc., for example, now distributes films under license from Hollywood movie studios and thus competes with Comcast's cable TV products. Similarly, Vuze, which recently filed a petition with the FCC for rule-making regarding Comcast's interference practices, also sells downloads from a huge library of licensed content, using BitTorrent as a distribution mechanism. Other companies and products, such as Joost and Miro, also rely on P2P protocols that are similar to those that are being impeded by Comcast.... [footnote omitted]
Glickman also held out the hope that filtering technology would quickly
be adopted by many more ISPs. "The ISP community is going to be at the
forefront of this in the future because they have everything to lose
and nothing to gain by not seeing that the content is being properly
protected," he said, "and I think that's a great opportunity." It's not the first time he's asked ISPs to do more.
So the blogosphere is mostly jumping up and down enthusiastically over SlySoft's apparent compromise of BD+, the Blu-ray only virtual machine based security layer on top of AACS encryption key management. A more balanced view is Scott Fulton's blogicle on BetaNews.
The beta of version 18.104.22.168 is apparently not
without problems or exceptions, as indicated by a check of manufacturer
SlySoft's forums today. Users reported problems copying Fantastic Four, Live Free or Die Hard, Sunshine, The Hills Have Eyes, and Spiderman 3 - which collectively constitute the bulk of all BD+ titles currently available.... Exactly how BD+ equipped content knows it's being decrypted by a validated BD+ VM, though, is a little mystery.
I have no inside knowledge. Period. However, if I were the BD+ licensing folks or the consultants who developed BD+, I might not put my best version of the technology out there immediately. I might hold back some capabilities to see how pirates attack my security system. I might make several small improvements in order to get a better picture. I can then evolve my threat analysis and implement appropriate countermeasures while working my way toward the best implementation.
But it turns out that MLBAM can something after all. I just got off the phone with MLBAM spokesman Matthew Gould, who said fans who purchased games with the now-broken licenses will be able to get every game replaced free of charge by versions with the right license. (That doesn’t make up for the cost in time, and in some cases, materials like CDs. MLBAM might want to consider a credit towards one or more new downloads, too.)
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