Fragile DRM and AACS

Fragile DRM and AACS

Summary: As has been reported elsewhere on the web, the updated AACS DRM protection system (which includes revocation for previously compromised keys) has already been broken even before HD titles (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray) which use the update have appeared in sizable numbers on shelves.Ouch.

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TOPICS: Networking
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As has been reported elsewhere on the web, the updated AACS DRM protection system (which includes revocation for previously compromised keys) has already been broken even before HD titles (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray) which use the update have appeared in sizable numbers on shelves.

Ouch. This points to the possibility that AACS is now permanently broken, and that any attempts at closing previous holes will face a similar rapid workaround.

Granted, most people aren't going to take advantage of this ability, and if any of these files ever found their way onto the Internet, most aren't going to be interested in waiting on a 30-50GB download (assuming an HD disc filled with content) to get it.

Pieces of the content (say, just the feature) might be more manageable, however, and we all know how fast technology moves in this sector. In 10 years, will the size bottleneck still be an issue? Further, the longer a distribution mechanism exists - legal or otherwise - the more people learn about it, and how to use it. Music "trading" networks are experiencing record-breaking levels of users.

This is why the experiment with unprotected digital music sales is so critical. If users opt to purchase legal digital music, and if such files don't end up heavily "traded" on pirate networks, then I expect that movie studios will eventually opt to ship unprotected digital movies.

If, however, the experiment founders on the shores of human self-interest, more draconian methods might be in order. No, I don't mean stronger DRM. I mean advertisements inextricably woven into the fabric of the file. On the plus side, content might be cheaper. On the down side, there would be no way to escape companies trying to convince you to buy their product.

Piracy has ramifications. It creates economic incentives for content companies to find ways to make money even though their content is traded publicly on open networks.

Topic: Networking

John Carroll

About John Carroll

John Carroll has delivered his opinion on ZDNet since the last millennium. Since May 2008, he is no longer a Microsoft employee. He is currently working at a unified messaging-related startup.

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