Alexander Wolfe writing on InformationWeek's blogs has published a scorecard of DRM vs. Hackers which he characterizes as Hackers 1000, Industry Zero.
All DRM systems will be eventually broken. No big. When resilience is a design criteria, as in AACS and Blu-ray's BD+, I believe it is borderline disingenuous to say that industry should give up because DRM technologies have been compromised. This just seems like another song for the Anti-DRM chorus.
DRM has several properties which make it useful to rightsholders even if there are lapses. Let's consider some of the criteria that might be used to evaluate DRM implementations. The evolution of DVD copy protection is an interesting case in point.
- Can the cryptographic information be refreshed if hacked? AACS was created with this capability; Blu-ray's BD+ does it better. The pathetic Content Scramble System used with first generation DVDs had no refresh capabilities.
- Can the system detect that it is / has been attacked and if so, can it turn itself off or take other appropriate actions? Again, CSS had no capabilities; AACS has some; Blu-ray BD+ provides a more sophisticated set of capabilities.
- Is the work factor required to break the system sufficiently high to keep most honest people honest? Probably.
- Can the knowledge of professionals be easily transmitted to ordinary users via software? CSS was such a disaster because it's single key was quickly disclosed and exploitation software promptly followed. Yes, a few AACS keys have been disclosed, but that system includes countermeasures going forward. So how much knowledge can be transferred with software is not yet clear because of lack of experience. Since BD+ is supposed to ship later this year, we don't know yet, but it offers what appear to be strong protections against simple attacks instantiated in user software.
The music battle is almost certainly lost. But the movie studios are determined not to repeat the mistakes embodied in CSS. And given the dollars involved, I do not believe they will throw in the towel any time soon on Hi Def video.