DRM body tackles Blu-ray and HD DVD hack linkers
By Simon Aughton
Posted on 2 May 2007 at 11:56
The organisation responsible for the AACS copy-protection system used by both Blu-ray and HD DVD has sent 'cease and desist' notices to websites that link to a software key that enables the DRM to be cracked.
Google was among those that received that letter, since it owns the Blogger service hosting number of the sites that linked to the code. The letter accused Google of 'providing and offering to the public a technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof that is primarily designed, produced, or marketed for the purpose of circumventing the technological protection measures afforded by AACS [Advanced Access Content System]'.
The offending links have since been removed from the four blogs listed in the letter, to comply with the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which forbids the dissemination of DRM hacks.
The AACS key has been in circulation since the end of last year. The successful hack resulted in both Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition movies appearing on peer-to-peer file sharing network and prompted the AACS Licensing Authority (AACS LA) to issue a patch that expires the key.
Subsequently, the Blu-ray Disc Association announced that it was accelerating the introduction of a second-layer of DRM that applies copy-protection on a disc-by-disc basis.
Ed Felten, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and a specialist in DRM technologies believes that the AACS LA is pursuing a futile strategy.
'Their end goal is (or should be) to stop unauthorised online distribution of high-def video files ripped from HD-DVD or Blu-ray discs,' he said. 'The files in question are enormous and cumbersome to store and distribute, containing more than a gigabyte of content. If you can't stop distribution of these huge files, surely there's no hope of stopping distribution of a little sixteen-byte key, or even of decryption software containing the key.'
Certainly any search engine - including Google - will locate dozens of sources of the key in seconds. It remains to be seen whether the 'cease and desist' campaign can do much about that, given that many of them are outside the US.
As Felden notes, 'Now the key is spread so widely there's no point in sending any more letters.'
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