It should be common knowledge by now that digital copy-protection is a futile endeavor. Even if you ignore the analog hole, the fact is that viewers will always be in possession of both the encrypted content and the complete method to decrypt that content. Security experts will point out the fundamental flaw in this arrangement. Short of moving to some form of one-time pad system, commercial copy-protection will always have this flaw.
Additionally, the challenge in breaking these encryption systems is interesting enough that it will draw entire communities into the process. One community – Doom9 – has recently announced the crack of BD+. BD+ was the poster-child of copy-protection schemes, lauded as practically unbreakable. Reality bites.
The ironic result of this crack will be its affect on legitimate users. Sony and others will be forced to update the copy-protection scheme on new disks, new players, and old players that have update-able firmware. Early adopters will find that new disks won’t play on their Blu-ray players. In case that previous sentence wasn’t clear enough, I’ll spell it out in bullet points:
- Legitimate users who don’t copy Blu-ray disks will be adversely affected by the BD+ copy-protection scheme.
- “Illegal” users who copy Blu-ray disks for personal or nefarious purposes will not be affected.
Tell me again what DRM and copy-protection are intended to achieve?
I’ve used this quote before, but I’ll use it again because it is just so succinct. The context is computer game copy protection, but it applies to all forms of digital copy-protection:
Someone needs to emphasize this in such a way that the right people see it: people who pirate software enjoy cracking it. The game itself is orders of magnitude less amusing. And their distributed ingenuity will smash your firm, secure edifice into beach absolutely every Goddamn time. There are no exceptions to this rule.