Hollywood 'burns' as DVD encryption hack surfaces

Film industry under threat as DVD hack hits public domain

It was only a matter of time. DVD film encryption has finally been broken, opening up the standard to a new fleet of software pirates.

A utility called DeCSS, that is purported to be able to read any DVD disk and save those files unencrypted to a local hard drive, is all over the Web like a rash.

Two "programmers" calling themselves Canman and S0upaFr0g credit themselves as original authors of the hack. Using the easily downloadable utility, data can be stripped off any given DVD disk and stored on a hard drive in .vob format, the hackers claim. All the kit a user requires is a PC with as fast a processor as possible, a fully compliant DVD drive, and sufficient local disk space -- usually 4.7GB per layer or side of a standard film release. Just like any audio CD ripped to MP3, the resulting file can then be replayed with numerous downloadable multimedia players.

The readme.txt file that forms part of DeCSS 1.2b downloadable .zip file -- the version of the hack ZDNet News UK found to be most prevalent on the Web today -- provides a number of guidelines for use as well as additional .dll files for Win98, Win2000 and NT support.

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