HD-DVD Copy Protection Cracked

by on December 31, 2006 · 22 comments

Someone has figured out how to bypass the AACS copy protection scheme on the new HD-DVD format. HD-DVD players have been on the market since March, so this encryption scheme survived for approximately 8 months. The only thing that’s surprising about this is that it took so long.

I believe that in theory, the HD-DVD format allows the cartel that controls the format to blacklist compromised devices so that they won’t be able to play future releases. The story I linked to above doesn’t mention if this is likely to occur in this case.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Without a published key (or at least a publicly described method of getting a key) this is less a crack and more a poor-man’s player- not a bad thing to have, but not a crack in and of itself. That said, the comments in the original discussion thread suggest that there is a known but unpublished cracking method for the keys- which again suggests that this DRM method, like all others, is again preventing legal fair uses while not stopping criminals.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Without a published key (or at least a publicly described method of getting a key) this is less a crack and more a poor-man’s player- not a bad thing to have, but not a crack in and of itself. That said, the comments in the original discussion thread suggest that there is a known but unpublished cracking method for the keys- which again suggests that this DRM method, like all others, is again preventing legal fair uses while not stopping criminals.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Good followup post here- suggests that there are still a lot of open questions about the crack that have to be answered before we really understand the ramifications.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Good followup post here- suggests that there are still a lot of open questions about the crack that have to be answered before we really understand the ramifications.

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    Yes, DRM was not effective in stopping criminals here. Sounds like time for the DMCA to step in.

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    Yes, DRM was not effective in stopping criminals here. Sounds like time for the DMCA to step in.

  • http://www2.blogger.com/profile/14380731108416527657 Steve R.

    Noel: If you want the DMCA to punish “criminal” behavior by the consumer; what about punishing the criminal and unethical behavior of corporations?

    The law should not be one-sided, as it is now in “favor” of the corporations. If our legal system is to work, it must be unbiased. Unjust laws lead to disrespect and eventually to non-compliance.

    Muslix64 is quoted as saying: “when I realized the 2 software players on windows don’t allowed me to play the movie at all, because my video card is not HDCP compliant and because I have a HD monitor plugged with DVI interface, I started to get mad… This is not what we can call “fair use”! “

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14019452 Steve R.

    Noel: If you want the DMCA to punish “criminal” behavior by the consumer; what about punishing the criminal and unethical behavior of corporations?

    The law should not be one-sided, as it is now in “favor” of the corporations. If our legal system is to work, it must be unbiased. Unjust laws lead to disrespect and eventually to non-compliance.

    Muslix64 is quoted as saying: “when I realized the 2 software players on windows don’t allowed me to play the movie at all, because my video card is not HDCP compliant and because I have a HD monitor plugged with DVI interface, I started to get mad… This is not what we can call “fair use”! “

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    SteveR, what is the criminal activity on the part of corporations that you’re talking about? I don’t believe making non-interoperable products, and leveraging DRM, constitute criminal behaviour.

    Preventing *fair use*? I’m not sure the fair use doctrine applies here. If you’re talking about something broader, like lawful personal use, then please clarify.

    By the way, corproations are not off the hook when it comes to the DMCA. They are as bound by it as you and I, consumers.

    Looking back at Luis’ posting, I’m actually not sure if the intent of the DRM was defeated, although it may have been cracked. Thus my comment about the DMCA may have been premature.

  • http://weblog.ipcentral.info/ Noel Le

    SteveR, what is the criminal activity on the part of corporations that you’re talking about? I don’t believe making non-interoperable products, and leveraging DRM, constitute criminal behaviour.

    Preventing *fair use*? I’m not sure the fair use doctrine applies here. If you’re talking about something broader, like lawful personal use, then please clarify.

    By the way, corproations are not off the hook when it comes to the DMCA. They are as bound by it as you and I, consumers.

    Looking back at Luis’ posting, I’m actually not sure if the intent of the DRM was defeated, although it may have been cracked. Thus my comment about the DMCA may have been premature.

  • http://www2.blogger.com/profile/14380731108416527657 Steve R.

    Noel: The statement that the corporations are bound by the DMCA, while true in a simplistic literal sense, is absurd since it is a pro-industry law written by the content industry for their protection designed to eliminate freedoms previously enjoyed by the consumer. For example, I and many consumers have invested quite a bit of money in computer technology that can play high definition content irrespective of any DRM. Now, through the use of DRM technologies, this equipment has now been made “obsolete”.

    To use the ye-olde automobile analogy. What would your recreation be if you take your one-year-old car in for service and find out that your car is now obsolete because the manufacturer has changed the vehicle specifications, disables your “unsafe” car, and now demands that you buy a new car??????

    Additionally, the DCMA gives the content industry the unjustifiable “right” to trespass onto your computer to “monitor” your use and “disable” your equipment. Again, would you allow the manufacturer of your car to install a GPS/video system that would report everything you do with the car. Better not run a red light, your engine may be disabled until the police show-up!!!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14019452 Steve R.

    Noel: The statement that the corporations are bound by the DMCA, while true in a simplistic literal sense, is absurd since it is a pro-industry law written by the content industry for their protection designed to eliminate freedoms previously enjoyed by the consumer. For example, I and many consumers have invested quite a bit of money in computer technology that can play high definition content irrespective of any DRM. Now, through the use of DRM technologies, this equipment has now been made “obsolete”.

    To use the ye-olde automobile analogy. What would your recreation be if you take your one-year-old car in for service and find out that your car is now obsolete because the manufacturer has changed the vehicle specifications, disables your “unsafe” car, and now demands that you buy a new car??????

    Additionally, the DCMA gives the content industry the unjustifiable “right” to trespass onto your computer to “monitor” your use and “disable” your equipment. Again, would you allow the manufacturer of your car to install a GPS/video system that would report everything you do with the car. Better not run a red light, your engine may be disabled until the police show-up!!!!!!

  • eric

    “SteveR, what is the criminal activity on the part of corporations that you’re talking about?”

    Oh, probably only little things like stealing millions of dollars from stockholders through stock option backdating, to name one “minor” example. Surely that is not as serious a crime as copying a movie, but still there are some people out here in the cheap seats who will make a fuss over it. Imagine that.

    If you want an example specifically dealing with the motion picture industry, how about the kind of accounting they use — remember the story about how the movie Forrest Gump, years after massive ticket sales and home video sales, had not earned a “profit”? Record industry accounting is similar. Oh, it might even be legal, but most people would consider it morally criminal.

    I have no dog in this fight. I have downloaded a grand total of one television program from P2P — a news show — it wasn’t HiDef, nor do I care. Still, between the little robbers and the big robbers, it is hard not to root for the little ones.

  • eric

    “SteveR, what is the criminal activity on the part of corporations that you’re talking about?”

    Oh, probably only little things like stealing millions of dollars from stockholders through stock option backdating, to name one “minor” example. Surely that is not as serious a crime as copying a movie, but still there are some people out here in the cheap seats who will make a fuss over it. Imagine that.

    If you want an example specifically dealing with the motion picture industry, how about the kind of accounting they use — remember the story about how the movie Forrest Gump, years after massive ticket sales and home video sales, had not earned a “profit”? Record industry accounting is similar. Oh, it might even be legal, but most people would consider it morally criminal.

    I have no dog in this fight. I have downloaded a grand total of one television program from P2P — a news show — it wasn’t HiDef, nor do I care. Still, between the little robbers and the big robbers, it is hard not to root for the little ones.

  • http://www2.blogger.com/profile/14380731108416527657 Steve R.

    See the following spoof article: “MPAA Lobbying for Home Theater Regulations” @ http://www.bbspot.com/News/2006/11/home-theater

    When articles such as this begin to appear it implies that the public consiouness has become aware that the content industry is acting increasingly in their own self interest at the expense of society. It is also unfortunate that the industry can “buy” legislation.

    BBspot spoof: “Los Angeles , CA – The MPAA is lobbying congress to push through a new bill that would make unauthorized home theaters illegal. The group feels that all theaters should be sanctioned, whether they be commercial settings or at home.” …. “Just because you buy a DVD to watch at home doesn’t give you the right to invite friends over to watch it too. That’s a violation of copyright and denies us the revenue that would be generated from DVD sales to your friends,” said Glickman. “Ideally we expect each viewer to have their own copy of the DVD, but we realize that isn’t always feasible. The registration fee is a fair compromise. … The bill also stipulates that any existing home theaters be retrofitted with the technology or else the owner is responsible for directly informing the MPAA and receiving approval before each viewing.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14019452 Steve R.

    See the following spoof article: “MPAA Lobbying for Home Theater Regulations” @ http://www.bbspot.com/News/2006/11/home-theater-regulations.html

    When articles such as this begin to appear it implies that the public consiouness has become aware that the content industry is acting increasingly in their own self interest at the expense of society. It is also unfortunate that the industry can “buy” legislation.

    BBspot spoof: “Los Angeles , CA – The MPAA is lobbying congress to push through a new bill that would make unauthorized home theaters illegal. The group feels that all theaters should be sanctioned, whether they be commercial settings or at home.” …. “Just because you buy a DVD to watch at home doesn’t give you the right to invite friends over to watch it too. That’s a violation of copyright and denies us the revenue that would be generated from DVD sales to your friends,” said Glickman. “Ideally we expect each viewer to have their own copy of the DVD, but we realize that isn’t always feasible. The registration fee is a fair compromise. … The bill also stipulates that any existing home theaters be retrofitted with the technology or else the owner is responsible for directly informing the MPAA and receiving approval before each viewing.”

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Yes, DRM was not effective in stopping criminals here. Sounds like time for the DMCA to step in.
    This makes it sound like the DMCA is the only tool available to attack large-scale criminally motivated piracy, which is of course not true. The existence of an underground key source implies large-scale, profitable copyright violation, which would be criminal copyright violation, whether or not DRM and the DMCA were involved.

    Additionally, the choice of law isn’t really relevant here- whether or not the law used to punish criminals is the DMCA or ‘just’ traditional copyright law, the DRM has punished law abiding citizens (who can’t do things like make backup copies of their movie collections) while failing to prevent the substantive economic damage caused by organized copying rings.

  • http://tieguy.org/ Luis Villa

    Yes, DRM was not effective in stopping criminals here. Sounds like time for the DMCA to step in.
    This makes it sound like the DMCA is the only tool available to attack large-scale criminally motivated piracy, which is of course not true. The existence of an underground key source implies large-scale, profitable copyright violation, which would be criminal copyright violation, whether or not DRM and the DMCA were involved.

    Additionally, the choice of law isn’t really relevant here- whether or not the law used to punish criminals is the DMCA or ‘just’ traditional copyright law, the DRM has punished law abiding citizens (who can’t do things like make backup copies of their movie collections) while failing to prevent the substantive economic damage caused by organized copying rings.

  • http://www.uglyshz.com/blog Jon

    TLF Readers, as this “war” between the content industry and the consumers heat up, I’d love to ask a favor and ask that some people may have a hard time figuring out.

    I’d ask that people differentiate between the filmmakers, producers, and writers of content and entertainment, and the companies that purchase the distribution rights to that content.

    I’m an avid reader, and for the most part, subscriber to TLF and to EFF and most of the other progressive movements that deal with copyright in our country.

    I’m also a film and television producer and make my living by making content. I believe strongly in fair use. In order to make my living as chosen, everytime we make a distributor-financed (as is often the only way to finance producing a show), or sell a property to a distributor – it’s the proverbial deal-with-the-devil. In order for us to return at least break-even to our distributors (which often takes years and years for stuff that is independently financed), we have to sell it to *somebody* and there’s often not many choices out there.

    The distribs that DO provide an honest accounting, for the most part, and are fair to the content producers and creators and their investors, are few and far between… in fact, I would have to say it’s less than a dozen companies worldwide in the majors.

    Our only other choice is to simply *not* make the show or film – and a lot of us love this business and love being storytellers and entertainers.

    Personally, if more viable, direct sale channels become available to content producers that generate meaningful revenues and recoupment of investors dollars, I’m all for that in the future. But I’m not yet convinced that’s the way it’s going to go.

    The current DRM schemes are those that are 99.9% implied by the content distributors who are trying to save their own businesses where the middlemen are increasingly unnecessary.

    It’s an interesting time in the business.

  • http://www.uglyshz.com/blog Jon

    TLF Readers, as this “war” between the content industry and the consumers heat up, I’d love to ask a favor and ask that some people may have a hard time figuring out.

    I’d ask that people differentiate between the filmmakers, producers, and writers of content and entertainment, and the companies that purchase the distribution rights to that content.

    I’m an avid reader, and for the most part, subscriber to TLF and to EFF and most of the other progressive movements that deal with copyright in our country.

    I’m also a film and television producer and make my living by making content. I believe strongly in fair use. In order to make my living as chosen, everytime we make a distributor-financed (as is often the only way to finance producing a show), or sell a property to a distributor – it’s the proverbial deal-with-the-devil. In order for us to return at least break-even to our distributors (which often takes years and years for stuff that is independently financed), we have to sell it to *somebody* and there’s often not many choices out there.

    The distribs that DO provide an honest accounting, for the most part, and are fair to the content producers and creators and their investors, are few and far between… in fact, I would have to say it’s less than a dozen companies worldwide in the majors.

    Our only other choice is to simply *not* make the show or film – and a lot of us love this business and love being storytellers and entertainers.

    Personally, if more viable, direct sale channels become available to content producers that generate meaningful revenues and recoupment of investors dollars, I’m all for that in the future. But I’m not yet convinced that’s the way it’s going to go.

    The current DRM schemes are those that are 99.9% implied by the content distributors who are trying to save their own businesses where the middlemen are increasingly unnecessary.

    It’s an interesting time in the business.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Yes, DRM was not effective in stopping criminals here. Sounds like time for the DMCA to step in.

    Hmmm.. well, yes I never liked the first Amendment anyway…

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/ enigma_foundry

    Yes, DRM was not effective in stopping criminals here. Sounds like time for the DMCA to step in.

    Hmmm.. well, yes I never liked the first Amendment anyway…

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