Sony really sucks at DRM

Summary:Sony just keeps on running into all sorts of copy protection hassles. Now new DVDs such as Casino Royale and Stranger Than Fiction are refusing to work in certain DVD players - and at least one Sony DVD player is affected.

Sony just keeps on running into all sorts of copy protection hassles.  Now new DVDs such as Casino Royale and Stranger Than Fiction are refusing to work in certain DVD players - and at least one Sony DVD player is affected.

I've done a bit of investigating and it seems that one of these DVDs - Casino Royale - is protected using a Sony protection scheme called ARccOS.  This scheme was reportedly abandoned by Sony in February of 2006 but it seems that it's still in use on some discs.  ARccOS works by introducing a number of sectors on the DVD that are filled with corrupted data.  This data is usually skipped by DVD players because they follow instructions encoded on the disc to ignore these sectors but it causes some DVD copying software (particularly older utilities such as DVD Decrypter) to throw up errors because these try to copy the disc faithfully.

On the PC ARccOS present little trouble for those wanting to make legitimate copies of their DVDs as software such as AnyDVD by SlySoft can easily bypass the protection, so it's not as if this mechanism is some kind of magic bullet against copying.  Far from it, it's actually pretty poor stuff (despite the hyperbole on the official ARccOS website).

However, it seems that some DVD players manufactured by RCA, Toshiba, Phillips, Harman Kardon and even Sony (the Sony DVPCX995V 400-Disc DVD Mega Changer/Player) have trouble with discs that use this scheme.  These customers are left stuck with a disc that is unplayable.  They've paid their money for a product and heavy-handed DRM prevents them from making totally legitimate use of it.  They're not criminals and haven't tried to do anything illegal.  All they wanted to do was watch a movie.

DRM sucks.  This mass of third-party, non-standard DRM that companies are adding to content makes it suck even more.  Sony DRM takes sucking to a whole new level.

Topics: Security

About

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology -- whether that be by learning to program, building a PC from a pile of parts, or helping them get the most from their new MP3 player or digital camera.Adrian has authored/co-authored technic... Full Bio

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