kNOw Future Inc.

law, technology and cinema, washed down with wine

Myths of Our Time: Technology Can Protect Media Against Reproduction

For twenty five years the software industry in its various forms has tried to engineer away the ease of reproducibility of bits. Sadly, for them but not for the heaving online masses, they have never succeeded. Back in the 80s dongles were employed so as to prevent the copying of programs, but they often malfunctioned and were largely done away with – ironically the US military was amongst those demanding their disappearance. Next up in the 90s was the music biz who, having succesfully killed D.A.T. with the Audio Home Recording Act, set about the massively expensive and ultimately pointless Secure Digital Music Initiative. Fruit of this program were systematically defeated, and the RIAA ended up dirtying its bib (again) threatening academics, who had tested the systems, under the DMCA. Then of course there was the Content Scrambling System for DVDs, which didn’t last long under the scrutiny of fifteen year old Jan Johannsen and his unknown colleagues. Voila DeCSS, the famous ‘back-up’ software that allows you to do just that (and just might perhaps be responsible for a certain high proportion of the movie rips on the web…).

Now we have the new media-format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray which were both to be uh…. very secure. Except that even a cursory browse of torrent sites like the Pirate Bay demonstrate that movies from that media are showing up already, so at least one part of the edifice is crumbling although the system as a whole has not yet been defeated. The brain ostensibly behind this latest hack is muslix64, who developed BackupHD-DVD and describes himself/herself as “an upset customer” involved in “fair use enforcement“. Fair play! You can read an interview with him/her at Slyck, and follow a detailed technocal analysis of the systen and its deconstruction by Ed Felten (the academic once under the RIAA’s baton) and Alex Halderman at Freedom To Tinker. To top it all off rumor ventilated in the New York Times has is that we’re now on the brink of an ironic u-turn, and that at least some of the labels are considering distributing music without DRM.



January 31, 2007 - Posted by | copyright, enforcement, social cooperation, technology

1 Comment »

  1. Very prescient!


    Comment by Michael Walsh | February 9, 2007 | Reply

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