A small group of dedicated researchers over on the Doom9 forum have successfully defeated BD+, the Blu-ray copy-protection system. This was the copy-protection mechanism that Richard Doherty, a media analyst with Envisioneering Group, claimed wouldn't likely be broken for 10 years.
The thread on the Doom9 forum is very (very) heavy going but what's happened here is that the researchers have recreated BD+ virtual machine, similar to that which resides inside a normal Blu-ray player. The forum posts are highly technical in nature but fascinating to follow - it's quite amazing to see this mechanism being unraveled over the course of a few weeks
The real weakness for BD+ has been that Blu-ray works with both hardware and software players. This break, while not easy by any stretch of the imagination, would have been much harder if it had to be carried out on hardware.
Some random thoughts:
- Will this make Blu-ray more appealing to consumers? I doubt that many even notice BD+.
- Will this bring open-source Blu-ray playback to Linux? Maybe, but not yet. From what I gather the Blu-ray drive needs to be flashed and the whole decryption process is far from straight-forward.
- Anyone want to tell me what Blu-ray really offers beyond what DVD already gives us? OK, slightly better picture, but I must admit that when I compare Blu-ray to my cheap DVD upscaler, I really can't see the difference. Also, disc prices are too high compared to DVD.
- This might cause the studios to push out new keys to both hardware and software players, which might mean that some players won't be able to play certain discs. What that means is that we once again send up with DRM inconveniencing (punishing) the ordinary end user.
Yet another demonstration of how DRM just doesn't work.