Sony really sucks at DRM

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.

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TOPICS: Security
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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.

Topic: Security

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20 comments
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  • Just buy it again

    If you bought a DRMed product in the first place, you shouldn't be surprised if it suddenly stops working. The whole point of DRM is to get you to pay over and over again for the same content. Perhaps this is more an example of Sony being really good at DRM than sucking at it. They're going to get more sales from people re-buying the discs in question. Mission accomplished.
    tic swayback
    • I agree in part

      DRM was originally started to try and stop pirating.

      Then the corporate great idea light bulb flashed on and big business thought:

      [i]With DRM we can control our customers and make them pay and pay and pay again![/i]
      dragosani
    • Not always

      swayback writes: "The whole point of DRM is to get you to pay over and over again
      for the same content"

      I only pay once for my iTunes content and get to keep indefinitely.
      YinToYourYang-22527499
      • Perfect example

        "I only pay once for my iTunes content and get to keep indefinitely."

        Yes, you get to keep it. But if you want to play your DRM'ed iTunes content on your new Zune, you have to buy the content again. That is, unless you break the DRM.
        Letophoro
      • You are not desired demographic

        This is not really iTunes specific since they have been very good at restoring licenses in general, but the DRM on iTunes is meant to be a dog and pony show, not actually effective. It is one of the few DRM schemes where customers are given the bennefit of the doubt instead of instantly locked out.

        You need to look more at MaybePlays, and other DRM when all consumers are guilty until proven innocent. There are thousands of blogs where consumers lost their content without any relief from the industry, and these are the tech savvy ones. DRM for the non tech-savvy is as often as not attributed to their own mistakes or pseduo-technospeak mumbo jumbo that leads to repurchase. It is a great racket in that sense. DRM goes wrong, emulates an obtuse computer failure and causes extra revenue.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Sorry, no, you don't

        ---I only pay once for my iTunes content and get to keep indefinitely.---

        What happens if you want to burn the album you bought onto a cd more than seven times? Oops, looks like you'll have to buy it again.

        What if you want to use the content on more than 5 Apple authorized devices at a time? Buy it again.

        Then there's this:
        "Apple reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of sale at the iTunes Store at any time."

        So at any time, Apple can decide your songs no longer work.

        There's a reason Apple is getting rid of DRM. It's really bad for customers. You should be a little more proactive in taking care of your own interests, and encourage Apple to continue their pathway to a DRM future.
        tic swayback
    • Was it hidden?

      Was this another example of shoving a corrupted technology down the consumer's throat? If so, it's another example of Sony's arrogance and contempt for it's customers. If the DVD did not state on the cover something along the lines of "This DVD contains a DRM infection that may cause compatibility problems", then the consumer is innocent of this one (like the RootKit infections).

      Now I agree, if someone saw the warning and bought it anyway, well, learn your lesson. Do many MaybePlays customers still purchase infected content?

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • almost every DVD has ARccOS by default...

        but the only way you'd know it is if you ripped it... Adrian has this wrong, almost every ripping software can remove the corrupted sectors of ARccOS protection... this issue with Sony's new DVDs is not due to ARccOS this is something new... the ripping software in many cases can't get around it.
        doctorSpoc
        • i.e. this is not a "Sony" thing... nt

          nt
          doctorSpoc
      • Are you kidding?

        How about a big red warning label: This DVD may not play in your DVD player. It is your responsibility to know if it will. Failure to play in your DVD player is not a valid reason for a refund.

        That should send sales through the roof.

        Seriously, I doubt this is about DRM. Sony must want their DVD's to work, right? I think they just screwed up. Again.
        donniebnyc666
        • I have never bought a DVD

          So I don't know what is on the label. If it has DRM that the user never agreed to, then Sony is 100% liable. They sold a defective product.

          BTW, that warning example you listed, that (type of thing) is now mandatory if they ever try to infect CDs with DRM due to the Rootkit fiasco. :-D

          DVDs are on my list. I have never, and will never purchase a DVD, DRM infected content, video, operating system, you name it.

          TripleII

          Yes, I can play DVDs in Linux, it's pretty trivial, but if the MPAA is going to label me a criminal for doing it, I am refusing the ever give them one penny.
          TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
  • Nah.. Sony has added something more than ARccOS

    most decrypters out there have been able to get around ARccOS for a while now. some of Sony's new discs have added something new that many of them can't any more... e.g. macTheRipper chokes on these new discs and has been able to remove ARccOS for more than a year.

    this is not ARccOS this is something new... guess DVD players are choking on it too... doh!
    doctorSpoc
  • have you tried dvdfab? :-)

    http://www.dvdfab.com/free.htm

    gnu/linux...giving choice to the neX(11)t generation.
    Arm A. Geddon
    • I am just curious

      Since you are such a GNU/Linux advocate, why are you pointing people to a Windows binary?

      Do they have open source code?
      dragosani
      • re: curious

        hmm, let me see? guess I prefer linux. too many reasons to list. wait, let me add this link...

        http://www.telusplanet.net/public/dgeddos/86reasons.htm

        the thing is, I use different OSes at home for different uses. hint...a lot of the things I do relate to beta testing. :-)

        unfortunately, dvdfab is not open source. :-(

        p.s. there's a good amount of software that's open sauce, oops I mean open source for windows, os x and linux.

        gnu/linux...giving choice to the neX(11)t generation.
        Arm A. Geddon
  • That's really a bullet proof system!

    See my small cartoon:
    http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/geekandpoke/2007/04/bullet_proof_co.html

    Bye,
    Oliver
    owidder
  • back it up

    just use RipIt4me..along with dvd decrypter and "good old" dvd shrink...and its all good....you will have non-encrypted disc (either dvd-r or dvd+r) that will play in any dvd player..be sure to use decent media....happy burning!!!! jerseybing
    cogsbing
  • Try this...

    Flash yr DVD player to RPC1 from the Firmware Page, download and install Region Killer from Elaborate Bytes website. This should take care of any DVD protection shit. Works all the time for me.Yr DVD player will play DVDs from anywhere in the world and you can view them on yr TV if you use a TV out type video card.
    Perhaps it's better to avoid the new Nvidia card until its problems re Vista are solved. Personally I'm staying with XPPro SP2.
    TokyoPete
  • RE: Sony really sucks at DRM

    There are thousands of blogs where consumers lost their content without any relief from the industry, and these are the tech savvy ones. DRM for the non tech-savvy is as often as not attributed to their own mistakes or pseduo-technospeak mumbo jumbo that leads to repurchase. So try to search some other before you give a decision.
    <a href="http://www.dvdfab8.net">DVDFab 8</a>
    makuro
  • RE: Sony really sucks at DRM

    Perhaps this is more an example of Sony being really good at DRM than sucking at it. They're going to get more sales from people re-buying the discs in question. Mission accomplished. There are many opotunities for you to choose what are good for you.
    <a href="http://www.dvdfab8.net">DVDFab 8</a>
    makuro