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Macrovision Releases DVD Copy Protection 686

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the killing-celluloid-sharing dept.
msblack writes "The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the good folks at Macrovision have unveiled a new system that will thwart 97% of existing DVD copying software while maintaining compatibility with existing DVD players. Macrovision claims that DVD copying results in $1 billion loss for studios out of $27.5 billion in sales. With piracy resulting in only 4% loss, why are the studios making such a big deal? The article also reports (mistakenly) that the market is pressing 100s of billions of DVD annually. Who's buying all those DVDs?" I'm skeptical of their claims, since historically Macrovision's anti-copying measures have been little more than easily circumvented snake oil, but maybe this time they've got their plan down.
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Macrovision Releases DVD Copy Protection

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  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:22PM (#11678662) Homepage Journal
    The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the good folks at Macrovision have unveiled a new system that will thwart 97% of existing DVD copying software while maintaining compatibility with existing DVD players.

    Suuurrre.. Then come the artifacts, the quirky behavior, then you have to shell for a new DVD player to get it all sorted out, suddenly your old DVDs are now flaky so you have to keep 2 DVD players... Sigh. If only there were a way to copy them all to one format so you wouldn't have these problems...

    Macrovision claims that DVD copying results in $1 billion loss for studios out of $27.5 billion in sales. With piracy resulting in only 4% loss, why are the studios making such a big deal?

    Obviously not posted by a business owner of any sort. 4% loss may sound paltry, but if you choose to look at that 4% as being taken out of your net profit it'll look considerable larger, i.e. 4% out of $27B - expenses, assume a profit margin of 50%, and it's 8% Would you be happy buying a 12-pack at the corner store, but having to sacrifice one can/bottle to some guy at the exit door for no apparent reason?

    The article also reports (mistakenly) that the market is pressing 100s of billions of DVD annually. Who's buying all those DVDs?"

    Maybe they accidently included the AOL CDs.

    I'm skeptical of their claims, since historically Macrovision's anti-copying measures have been little more than easily circumvented snake oil, but maybe this time they've got their plan down.

    Hey, it's a consumer driven economy, gotta come up with some new angle that everyone's going to give you 4% of for no apparent reason...

    • by crayz (1056) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:29PM (#11678776) Homepage
      Obviously not posted by a business owner of any sort. 4% loss may sound paltry, but if you choose to look at that 4% as being taken out of your net profit it'll look considerable larger, i.e. 4% out of $27B

      Right. Because when someone buys a DVD, it's 100% profit for industry. There's absolutely no production or shipping costs on the part of the producer, because DVDs and their packages grow on magic trees in candyland, and are delivered to Best Buy by the volunteer video fairy
      • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:35PM (#11678848) Homepage Journal
        Right. Because when someone buys a DVD, it's 100% profit for industry. There's absolutely no production or shipping costs on the part of the producer, because DVDs and their packages grow on magic trees in candyland, and are delivered to Best Buy by the volunteer video fairy

        I worked in the logistics industry several years ago and it really got me thinking about the costs of packaging and distribution. Granted, per 1,000 of DVD's it probably wasn't much, but when you broke them out 5 to this store, 5 to that, etc. you had to pay the hands that did the work. Packaging, too as you allude, isn't free, though it's probably less than 50 cents per DVD.

        The producer needs to make a profit, the distributor needs to make a profit and the store needs to make a profit. All that considered, I'm moderately impressed that I can pick up some movies on DVD for $10. Which is a bit less than a matinee ticket, bucket of popcorn and a medium Cherry Coke.

      • The CDs/DVDs themselves might cost next to nothing to make and ship... but the ~$100M budget movies that go on DVDs do not make themselves up overnight.

        Blockbuster movies do easily recoup this initial investment. Although we often hear about movies raking in milions over the first week, marginally profitable or even loss-making productions also exist. For these, DVD/CD sales help fund future projects or limit losses.
        • The CDs/DVDs themselves might cost next to nothing to make and ship... but the ~$100M budget movies that go on DVDs do not make themselves up overnight.

          I haven't checked how these things work these days, but back in the time of Videocassettes, studios did all their financial balancing based on cinema sales alone.

          This means that they would project their releases and productions in a way that would guarantee a decent aggregate profit for any given year, without considering tape sales. Tape sales were looked on as an annual loss (people won't go back to the theatre to watch it if they own it), so most shows only went to tape after the projections had been met.

          So effectively, the only costs for the cassettes were in the cassette mastering, duplication, and distribution, and any profit above break even was an added bonus.

          The incentive to release movies in this way was mostly branding; if you saw that MGM produced these good movies, and certain celebrities generally gave a good performance, you'd be more likely to go see the next MGM film in the theatre that starred those actors.

    • by arkanes (521690) <arkanes@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:30PM (#11678785) Homepage
      Here's an intersting question. So piracy costs a bit less than 4% of annual income each year. What kind of royalties do you have to pay for a CSS license? And how much will Macrovision charge for licensing? Is the total more than 4% of sales (and thats assuming that the 1 billion in lost sales is legit, which is questionable).

      An amusing aside is the Google ads at the bottom of that article.

      • by badmammajamma (171260) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:26PM (#11679510)
        Actually the new copy protection will likely cost more than the 4% they lose from piracy. However, they are paranoid about anything that reduces their control over distribution. The 4% is a write-off. Distribution control is everything.

        Look at that russian mp3 website (can't remember the name) where you pay about 5 cents per song. They could start doing that with DVDs. That's what they are affraid of.
    • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:31PM (#11678786) Homepage
      ... and I'm sure that the 4% number is reliable. I mean, it's not like a company that makes a Leak-Patching-Putty has any incentive to overinflate the horrible dangers incurred by leaks. :)

      Seriously, though, the concept that if 4% of all movies are being copied across the internet that this is replacing an equivalent amount of DVD sales is ridiculous. They try to make these sort of claims with music. The reality is that the majority (not all, but most) of people pirating movies and music are penniless high school/college students and the like, who - if they couldn't download that latest Eminem album or copy of The Lord of the Rings from the net - wouldn't be headed out to the store to buy it any time soon.
    • by Lanoitarus (732808) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:34PM (#11678845)
      Maybe they accidently included the AOL CDs. Huge business opportunity for macrovision there.... the AOL cd copying business is probably singlehandedly responsible for AOL's continuing downfall.
    • by Maestro4k (707634) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:42PM (#11678939) Journal
      bviously not posted by a business owner of any sort. 4% loss may sound paltry, but if you choose to look at that 4% as being taken out of your net profit it'll look considerable larger, i.e. 4% out of $27B - expenses, assume a profit margin of 50%, and it's 8% Would you be happy buying a 12-pack at the corner store, but having to sacrifice one can/bottle to some guy at the exit door for no apparent reason?
      • While I agree from a business owner's standpoint, going with a solution like Macrovision is an absurd way to "fix" the problem. The pirates who are reallly costing the studios money will find a way around this in no time flat and continue to produce and sell illegal copies. In the meantime, the studios will be paying Macrovision a fee to use their new copy protection stuff on every disk.
      • Basically you'll now leave the corner store with one bottle missing from your 12 pack and 10% of the beer gone from the other 11 to cover the costs of the Macrovision stuff.

    • by Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:44PM (#11678968)
      100s of billions of DVDs annually
      $27.5 billion in sales annually

      If we assume that 100s only means 100, then that means that each DVD sold in America sells for an average price of $0.28. Now, I've personally never seen a new DVD sell for anything less than $10 on sale, so this must mean that there are billions and billions of DVDs being sold for $0.01 or LESS in order to bring down the average cost.

      Or else the people at Macrovision are idiots (DING, DING, DING! We have a winner!) and can't perform simple arithmetic.
      • 100s of billions of DVDs annually
        $27.5 billion in sales annually


        If we assume that 100s only means 100, then that means that each DVD sold in America sells for an average price of $0.28. Now, I've personally never seen a new DVD sell for anything less than $10 on sale, so this must mean that there are billions and billions of DVDs being sold for $0.01 or LESS in order to bring down the average cost.

        Two problems with that analysis:

        1. "Pressed" != "sales". I read awhile back that for every CD sold, so
    • by jrumney (197329) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:47PM (#11679020) Homepage
      Sigh. If only there were a way to copy them all to one format so you wouldn't have these problems...

      Don't worry, there will be by next week.

    • by ottffssent (18387) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:58PM (#11679170)
      "Would you be happy buying a 12-pack at the corner store, but having to sacrifice one can/bottle to some guy at the exit door for no apparent reason?"

      If the alternative is spending an extra $0.10 a can on beer that tastes funny, I'll toss the bouncer a bottle every trip.
    • Hey, it's a consumer driven economy

      Yep, and as a consumer I won't be buying any Macrovision protected DVDs until I see reviews from reputable sources that let me know they work correctly in all 3 of the DVD players I have.

      I have been bit so many times by copy protection that I regularly put off buying software I'm interested in until the issues get shaken out and I no longer buy new music in non-digital format.

      I guess it is too much to hope for that if this format does cause problems with existing D

  • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:23PM (#11678672) Homepage
    It would be a lot more humorous if they put "Nothing for you to see here, please move along" when you tried to rip it...

    On to the serious stuff:

    "If it takes a long time and the frustration level gets too high, you're not going to prevent 100% of it, but you can stop the casual user," Kaye said. "Why not try?"

    The "casual user" doesn't give a shit. They rent their mainstream crap movies on DVDs at the local monopolistic rental store and they bring it back three days late. They aren't ripping movies to share, save, etc.

    The technique confounds ripping programs without damaging computers, preventing the discs from playing or reducing picture quality, he said.

    Would it damage the drive if a computer DVD player tried to play the disc and was constantly hitting the false errors it was creating? If it isn't going to disable the players how will it stop the rippers? So what, it takes real-time to rip the DVD? Oh no!

    Consumer advocates said Hollywood had the right to put out unrippable discs. But such a move would ignore public demand for the ability to back up DVDs and take their movie collections on the road.

    Public demand? Public RIGHTS. We have the right to make backups of our owned discs and put them into a format that is portable. The media continues to fall for the tricks being implemented by the MPAA's PR machine. I suggest that they refrain from spreading the misinformation created by the corporations PR machine as it does nothing but continue to erode the freedoms we are entitled to.

    If they decide that we should not be able to make a backup of our media that is an identical copy then I should be reimbursed when the disc is no longer usable. Even if that means 25+ years from now. Don't like that and don't think it's realistic? Tough, it is realistic because I can ensure that right now by making backups.

    Discs that do not allow me to fast forward through FBI warnings, commercials, etc, get ripped and burned in a format that is immediately watchable from the time I stick it in the player. I don't care about animated menus, extras, features, commentary, bonus scenes. I want the movie to play w/o interruption the second I close that tray. If I paid for something I don't see what I shouldn't be able to do with it as I wish as long as it stays in my possession.

    If Macrovision and the MPAA want to end piracy they best do it in a way that doesn't affect my personal freedoms when I purchase a piece of media.
    • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:38PM (#11678879)
      You can sleep a little easier knowing that before they even manufacture the first disc with their anti-whatever scheme, a non-descript guy with glasses in his mom's basement somewhere will have crafted a patch that fully ignores it.
      • You can sleep a little easier knowing that before they even manufacture the first disc with their anti-whatever scheme, a non-descript guy with glasses in his mom's basement somewhere will have crafted a patch that fully ignores it. Apparently it foils 97% of DVD-copying programs. So whoever made the remaining 3% has already done that
      • by wasted (94866) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:06PM (#11679263)
        I am not a hardware/encoding guru by any means, so if this doesn't make sense, please educate me.

        Wouldn't it be possible to write a script that reads the DVD bit by bit and places those same bits in the same order on a blank DVD? Since we are talking about digital media, isn't a bit-by-bit copy the same as the original? I'm not talking about cracking code or changing the data while maintaining useability, just making a copy. Or is something going on that would make bit-by-bit copying impossible?

        If bit-by-bit copying is possible, what could keep a copy from working while allowing the original, other than watermarks on blank/non-blank media coupled with hardware that checks for watermarks? (Obviously, watermarking isn't what the article is about since they maintain that their system will work with existing hardware.)

        So, if the kid in the basement can write a bit-by-bit copying script, doesn't that defeat all anti-piracy checks on digital media that don't involve the blanks themselves?
        • by Ironsides (739422) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:21PM (#11679454) Homepage Journal
          A bit by bit copy would be idistinguishable from the original. This is how a disc copy works. And this is what the Proffesional Pirates use. Many commercial CD/DVD burners offer this, but first detect to see if the original is CSS protected (and if so, refuses to copy it). Also, making a bit for bit copy requires you to have the new disk the same size as the old. Dual layer disks are still expensive as compared to single layer, but they are coming down in price.

          The people who release these on the internet however, generally release them in a compressed form that requires decrypting the original and re-encoding it to some other format. (usually DivX).
        • by Nurgled (63197) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:28PM (#11679533)

          I don't know anything about this fun new scheme from Macrovision, but one reason you can't just make an exact duplicate of a retail DVD on normal consumer equipment is that the part of the disc where the CSS key lives is not writable on a DVD-ROM. Without this key, players cannot decrypt the content on the disc.

          If you've got the equipment you can, of course, press proper discs... but do you?

        • Sadly, it is. (Score:4, Informative)

          by WillerZ (814133) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:28PM (#11679534) Homepage
          The CSS title-key is in a fixed place on the disc. Commercial (re)writable DVDs have this section of the disc set to all 0s, and it cannot be altered.

          So you can't just do a bitwise copy, unless the source DVD isn't encrypted, you need to break the CSS encryption and write the unencrypted data to your destination disc.

          Phil
        • by pchan- (118053) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @09:41PM (#11684852) Journal
          Wouldn't it be possible to write a script that reads the DVD bit by bit and places those same bits in the same order on a blank DVD? Since we are talking about digital media, isn't a bit-by-bit copy the same as the original?

          Basically, no. CDs and DVDs have several layers of encoding for error correction purposes. The lowest level is 14 to 8 encoding. That is, every 8 bits are stored are 14 bits on the physical medium. Then there is the CIRC (Cross Interleaved Reed-Solomon Code), that is used to perform error correction on data sectors (a 2352 byte sector yields 2048 bytes of actual data). What Macromedia is probably doing is screwing with these values. They put in invalid 14-bit patterns that interact with RS Error Correction Codes, combined with some bad data here in there. Your DVD player, who's primary responsibility is to play at realtime, eats these errors with only minor glitches. Your computer DVD drive, who's primary responsibility is to deliver correct data, barfs on all this garbage and tries to read it again and again.

          Even worse, you can't get the 14-bit pattern from your drive without tapping into the laser mechanism. This correction is done at the servo level, and never passed out to the host system (not even on the IIS port). Besides, since the disc contains invalid "bits", you can never get a true bit-for-bit copy.
      • by Loconut1389 (455297) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @06:11PM (#11682601)
        The way I read the article, it sounds like theyre essentially going to fragment the disc so it takes a long time to seek around the disk.. If this assumption is correct, it sounds like this will wear out drives faster, fuck up fast forwarding, and probably bork out some old players that give up when they have to work too hard. Also, if this is the case, no patch will fix it. Youll have to read the disc slow, and reburn it unfragmented.

        The hong kong market will do this once, press a bagillion of the things at $.02 a piece and some schmuck on ebay will buy them for $5, and then sell them for $45 and tell you that theyre not bootlegged and just have chinese writing on the covers, and the mispellings on the case art/credits are just your eyes betraying you.

        Basically the guy who just wants a copy to watch and wouldnt have bought it anyway because he's broke will just have to wait a little longer, the people that mass produce the copies will have to wait longer but then have a straightened out version than can pump out at the same speed they always did.. and meanwhile the people getting punished are the ones with older dvd player whose motors just burnt out and the people who like fast forwarding.

        I don't see this changing anything, sure itll take you two hours to rip a movie, and a little time to clean it up maybe, but in the end, its no real problem to anyone who wants to make a copy.
    • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:42PM (#11678941) Homepage Journal
      The only way they could make it require real-time to "rip" the media (and this wouldn't work either) would be to make it somehow unplayable except through a closed hardware device. In other words, they'd have to reencrypt the data. A computer player would then be some sort of dongle, or perhaps you could get it on a chip. Either way it wouldn't go over well. However, if they did that, you wouldn't be ripping it, just capturing it. It would be a digital copy, but it would be post-artifacting, and reencoding it would reartifact it and reduce the image quality even as compared to transcoding to a lower bitrate will normally.

      The moral of the story is that there is no way they can make a protection scheme that will work without disabling software players, so this is just a waste of time and money. The industry is probably buying into it so that they can look like they're doing something.

    • Discs that do not allow me to fast forward through FBI warnings, commercials, etc

      Amen to that! I'm pretty lazy about this sort of thing and even I'm almost moved to action when I get "operation currently not permitted by disc." I mean, the nerve of a frickin' DVD to try telling me what I can and can't do. I'm surprised more people aren't pissed off about this.

      Anyone else have any Thomas the Train DVDs. I swear it takes me about 10 minutes to start one of those stupid things.
    • Actually, I see a LOT of piracy amongst the casual DVD crowd. A girl here at work passed me a list the other day.. $5 each for all the "latest" DVD releases, plus a bunch of stuff I recognized as poor-rips (telesyncs?) from the theaters (and music CD's, too.. She said he'd borrow from the library and rip those). I tried not being an asshole, but informed her I didn't agree with the practice. She quit showing me the list, but I see her bring in stacks of DVDs for the other folks that don't care. At a lau
      • by garcia (6573) * on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:05PM (#11679240) Homepage
        Actually, I see a LOT of piracy amongst the casual DVD crowd. A girl here at work passed me a list the other day.. $5 each for all the "latest" DVD releases, plus a bunch of stuff I recognized as poor-rips (telesyncs?) from the theaters (and music CD's, too.. She said he'd borrow from the library and rip those).

        At a laundromat I went to regularly, the attendent had a laptop setup with a firewire DVD-R and would burn movies for his "customers" while they did laundry for $5 each. And so on and so on.


        The people that you listed are not "casual". They are blatant theives. They are not only ripping and burning DVDs they are distributing and selling them. Just because they aren't what YOU consider to be "geeks" that were at the heart of the DVD ripping scene in years passed doesn't mean that they are "casual users".

        Please don't confuse these people with Joe Blow with the family or me and my personal DVD collection at home.
      • Couple of years ago there was a company that wanted to put Kiosks in Stores where people could burn their own Music CDs / DVDs.

        Guess what the industry said no and that was that.

        Now you have a guy in a Laundromat who is providing this service. Guess the people have spoken.
    • by ChibiOne (716763) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:59PM (#11679173)
      The "casual user" doesn't give a shit. They rent their mainstream crap movies on DVDs at the local monopolistic rental store and they bring it back three days late. They aren't ripping movies to share, save, etc.

      That may be in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Korea.
      But you have no idea what the piracy problem is like in, for example, Latin America or Southeast Asia. An original DVD will cost you about 15 USD. Why pay that, whan you can rent it for 3 USD, you ask? Well, why pay 3 USD for a rent, when you can own a not-so-shabby quality copy of it for the same price? Consider that average minimum wage in, say, Mexico, is about 5 USD PER DAY.
      Consider, now, that for a hit title, like Spider-Man 2, we are talking about thousands of [3-dollar] illegal copies sold, instead of thousands of [15-dollar] legitimate ones.

      Not that I favor Macrovision, tho...

      • Not that I favour Macrovision, too, since they take away my well paid-for right to watch them movies.

        I paid for it. I paid every single cent they asked for. Now I want to watch it, when I want to, where I want to, and on whatever device I chose to.

        Consider that average minimum wage in, say, Mexico, is about 5 USD PER DAY.

        [...]

        Consider, now, that for a hit title, like Spider-Man 2, we are talking about thousands of [3-dollar] illegal copies sold, instead of thousands of [15-dollar] legitimate ones.
  • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:23PM (#11678674) Homepage Journal
    will thwart 97% of existing DVD copying software

    So the 3% that survive will propogate the rest of the Internet. Or more likely the 3% that survive will propogate it's technology to the 97% of those that didn't. It's like antibiotics and resistant bacteria, the game continues. Until you find something that's 100% bulletbroof (MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!) it's hopeless Motion Picture industry....
    • by stupidfoo (836212) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:28PM (#11678762)
      That's what I was thinking to. The 97% number is interesting and is the type of number that would only impress those who are impressed by meaningless statistics. There are so many bugfilled and worthless DVD copying packages out there, killing 97% of them menas nothing. The 3% is most likely the few that are actually worth using.
      • by networkBoy (774728) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:41PM (#11678926) Homepage Journal
        "killing 97% of them menas nothing. The 3% is most likely the few that are actually worth using."

        Actually it means quite a bit. The buggy stuff will go away and we'll be left with good functional software. They just made the QA process better :-)
        -nB
      • by Lord Apathy (584315) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:57PM (#11679146)

        Hehe. That was my line of thinking. The rest of us will continue using the stuff that works.

        With DVD's pushing between 20 and 30 bucks and blanks under 50 cents each, you would be a fool not to make a copy general play. But that wasn't the real thing that pushed me over the edge to making a copy of every DVD I buy. It's the shit they pile on at the front of it.

        At first it was insert dvd, get main menu, watch movie. Then it became insert dvd, get previews for upcoming movies, press menu button to get to menu. Then it became insert dvd, fastward through god damn fucking previews, main menu. Now on some its insert dvd, wait through ads, threats, preveiws you don't give a fuck about, can't fastword, menu button doesn't do shit.

        GOD DAMN FUCKING BASTARDS!!! I KNOW WHAT FUCKING MOVIES ARE COMING, I JUST WANT TO WATCH THE FUCKING MOVIE!

        While backing up the movie, I simply rip the shit out. God Damn Bastards

        • Walmart had a bunch of 1940s movies on DVD for a dollar apiece, from some company I never heard of ("DigiView"). I bought one that interested me, took it home, stuck it in the computer, and was presented with a simple menu (which ran some scenes from the movie in the background) that lets me either just run the movie or pick major scenes. No FBI warning, no previews, no ads, no bullshit. And in a nice slimline case with a pretty printed cover.

          All this for only a buck.

          At that price, and with no garbage to
    • So the 3% that survive will propogate the rest of the Internet. Or more likely the 3% that survive will propogate it's technology to the 97% of those that didn't. It's like antibiotics and resistant bacteria, the game continues.

      Interesting analogy. You could also argue that less than 3% of the people on the internet are spammers, but we do tend to notice them, don't we?

      3 people our of 100 ripping discs is probably more than adequate to distribute a large number, depending upon how they're set up. Some

    • by Grym (725290) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:32PM (#11678817)

      Which brings us back to the real question:

      How much has (will?) this "copy-protection" mechanism cost to design and implement?

      If they're so strapped for cash, why even bother if it only works for 97%? As the OP stated, that 3% will just become the preferred method. This all just seems like a bunch of sound, fury, and wasted money, signifying nothing.

      -Grym

    • Exactly. This news item amounts to one minor step in this evolutionary arms race. In the natural world this'd be something like a butterfly becoming slightly more toxic in order to resist being eaten by birds...

      Except i this case, given that it's Macrovision, the moment's advantage would be more like orange coloration that implies toxicity -- like butterflies that don't get eaten because they just look like they'd taste bad.

      Who wants to place bets on this evolutionary race? Will it be the ponderous indu

  • by yetdog (760930) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:24PM (#11678681)
    With each more-complex layer of anti-copy protection, doesn't that make the discs less forgiving of scratches and smudges, given that the player has to use all this overhead to compensate for the enhanced security?
    • by RonnyJ (651856) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:46PM (#11679003)
      (ignore the above comment by me - I copied the wrong statement :))

      Also, according to the article on the BBC [bbc.co.uk]:

      Macrovision said the new technology will work in "nearly all" current DVD players when applied to the discs, but it did not specify how many machines could have a problem with RipGuard.

      (this is in contrast to the 'maintaining compatibility with existing DVD players' comment in the article linked to by Slashdot).

    • by Maestro4k (707634) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:50PM (#11679067) Journal
      With each more-complex layer of anti-copy protection, doesn't that make the discs less forgiving of scratches and smudges, given that the player has to use all this overhead to compensate for the enhanced security?
      • Most likely yes, but once that shrinkwrap has been opened, even an act of God probably won't get your money back. I was working at Wal-mart when they switched to a strict only exchange for same movie policy. Policy is also to remove the shrinkwrap from the new copy on exchanges so there's no getting around it (unless you're lucky).
      • Wal-mart actually isn't the bad guy on this one, the studios started refusing to credit Wal-mart for the returns unless they followed the above rules. Faced with eating the losses for the studio's moronic rules or implementing them what retailer is going to refuse? That's why you can't take a disc back that won't play in your player and get another movie. (And yes, they did this to all retailers at the same time, not just Wal-mart.)

        Basically this new and improved Macrovision will play in all DVD players, because if it doesn't your only option will be to buy a new one that will play it. From the studio's perspective I'm sure they think this is a fair solution.

      • "You won't accept my product back?" ....{leave store, call credit card company} "Yes they won't accept my product. Please handle it...oh and since i had to make a far journey to walmart i refuse to drive back there, again, to deliver the package. Inform them they can send me a pre-paid usps packing slip/box."

        And yes I have done this in the past, got my money back, and had the packing slip sent to me. It wasn't wal-mart (it was best buy). Their other option was to credit me my money, and I keep the pro
      • by RicoX9 (558353)
        Make a stink. Talk to a manager. I have a friend who was a department manager at Wal-Mart, another who worked there for 6 yrs. The company line (as I was told) is that they will give you your money back if it's less than $100. Customer satisfaction is a big deal. Costs less to keep you happy than lose your business.

        Sure, Joe-Wally-World might not be able to do it, but talk to his manager. You will get your money back.
  • by infinite9 (319274) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:24PM (#11678683)
    Because of the DMCA, sharpies were banned with that CD copy protection circomvention. I wonder what 50c piece of office equipment will defeat this one and end up banned?
  • by Torgo's Pizza (547926) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:24PM (#11678685) Homepage Journal
    In a just released survey, 97% percent of people who use DVD copying software have switched to software that can copy the newest Macromedia protected DVDs.
  • Now.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Valiss (463641) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:25PM (#11678700) Homepage
    ...where is my marker?
  • riiight (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crayz (1056) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:25PM (#11678703) Homepage
    "a new system that will thwart 97% of existing DVD copying software[as of today]"

    They're admitting that people existing cracks work on the new system! How long is it going to take for that 3% to become 100%? I give it about a month from the release of the first DVD with the new system
  • Movies... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TrippTDF (513419) <hiland@NOsPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:25PM (#11678706)
    Seriously... who IS buying all those DVDs? I go to the store to look at movies frequently, but more and more I'm just tempted to get stuff through NetFlix. There are very few movies that I actually want to own anymore. I just rent what I missed at the theatres.

    In 10 years, it's not going to matter, as On-Demand channels will start carying every movie under the sun.
  • Only 4%? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:26PM (#11678718)
    With piracy resulting in only 4% loss, why are the studios making such a big deal?

    Lol, go ask any retailer why they should care if their shrink is only 4%. They'll punch you in the mouth.
  • by NivenHuH (579871) * on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:26PM (#11678724) Homepage
    We can encrypt the content on the DVD! (oh.. that didn't work)
    We can automatically install a driver on Windows machines to make the disc un-rippable (oh.. that didn't work either!)
    We can add a special time-code that prevents ripping... (Defeated by a marker!)

    Seriously.. when will these guys give up? Go after the people selling the shit on the streets and leave the consumers alone..
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:28PM (#11678761) Journal
    Most people I know and know of tend to have 100% original DVDs. One person I know was tempted by the availability of heaps of cheap discs in China, but generally people are honest.

    Even people who don't have moral qualms about this tend not to run off copies for their friends for many reasons, because it's a hassle. It takes a long time when its easier to just lend a friend a disc.

    The people who actually cause most harm to the industry are the ones who sell the pirated discs. This sort of technology isn't going to deter them. If it can be circumvented, they'll find out how. The costs are insignificant against profits.
  • Analog Hole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaxQuordlepleen (236397) <el_duggio@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:34PM (#11678836) Homepage

    This is they key quote from the article, in my opinion:

    "We're always interested in another tool," said one executive who asked not to be named. "But until they fix the analog hole ... it doesn't solve the problem."

    For those of you who don't remember the '80s, the "Analog Hole" was all we had back then, we used audio and video cassette for backup and sharing purposes.

    This battle was fought two decades ago when fair use was upheld and we all got to keep our VCRs and double-cassette decks. I contend that the concern of the *AA is not only to protect themselves from the new threat to their business model that digital media represents, but to regain ground they lost twenty years ago.

  • by DingerX (847589) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:47PM (#11679015) Journal
    ...downloading the torrent now.
  • 97% (Score:3, Funny)

    by mapmaker (140036) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:57PM (#11679156)
    will thwart 97% of existing DVD copying software

    Either that's a Homer stat ("47.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot") or there are 33 DVD-copying apps out there and one of them is about to become much more popular than it was.

  • DVD-R/DL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by po8 (187055) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @01:59PM (#11679177)

    With piracy resulting in only 4% loss, why are the studios making such a big deal?

    Because double-layer DVD-Rs are just now hitting the market seriously. DL DVD-Rs have the same storage capacity as commercial DVDs, allowing them to be ripped directly rather than transcoded. DL media is currently $5-$10 per, which makes ripping not competitive with renting. In a few months we can expect to start seeing $1 media for the now-$100 DL burners: this is the MPAA's nightmare.

    In the longer term, home network bandwidth costs are still plummeting. I'm up to 1.5Mbps/1Mbps on my cheap home link. When bandwidths like these and larger become widespread, the other shoe drops. Then MPAA finds itself in a position that in many ways is worse than the current RIAA position. It is much harder for MPAA to cut the cost of content production to establish a competitive position. Also, paid movie performances (movie theatres) are struggling in a way that paid music performances (concerts) are not.

    I'd be grasping at straws like Macrovision too.../p

  • by punxking (721508) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:07PM (#11679269)
    Since I have several small children I have ended up purchasing a number of Disney DVDs, all of which I've ripped back up copies to use. Why? Because Disney likes to limit their release schedules and take movies out of print so they can aritificially drive up the collector market. It only took one time of an unhappy four year old who couldn't watch a DVD that had gotten scratched, that couldn't be replaced and I started backing up all the Disney DVDs. Let's face it, 4 year old whining is almost as grating as MPAA whining.
  • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:23PM (#11679475)
    So 97% of the current DVD rippers cannot touch macrovision protected discs (I expect buffer overflow problems). That just means that there exist rippers that work. Guess what those that don't work will disappear, those that do work will get more popular.

    Macrovision makes money, the ripping problem is not solved.
  • Ummmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rindeee (530084) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:36PM (#11679614)
    It's MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!, not MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! You missed that first A. MUHAHAHAH sounds very artificial. It's like you jump straight from the MU sound to the HAH sound without an AH sound to segue.
  • 25 cent DVDs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RandoX (828285) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @02:38PM (#11679645)
    If 100s of billions of DVDs are made, and the annual sales were 27.5 billion, doesn't that mean that the DVDs sold for less than a quarter on average? Make that happen and I'm pretty sure that would stop a lot of people from ripping and sharing...
  • by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @03:18PM (#11680096) Homepage Journal

    Um, how exactly is this going to affect those who already don't pay for movies?

    So Macrovision puts more copy protection on a DVD:

    • Consumers who bought legitimate copies can no longer make backups of their DVDs.
    • Downloaders don't care - they didn't pay for their movies before, and they're not going to pay now.
    • Pirates don't care - they're using bulk DVD copiers which do a bitwise copy, including the Macrovision protection. I'm sure both the studios and pirates are glad that pirated DVDs won't be copyable either.

    So basically, when it comes down to it, Macrovision affects only those who get their movies through legitimate means. It won't have any effect on those already breaking the law, and it will only further reduce any incentive of using the DVD format.

    Why do I watch downloaded movies? Why don't I buy many DVD's? Because DVD copy prevention sucks. It's that simple - I don't feel like buying something from an organization that regards me as somehow criminal because I have an interest in their product.

  • by yeremein (678037) on Tuesday February 15, 2005 @04:01PM (#11680590)
    Macrovision is not the first company to come up with additional copy protection (read: corruption) of DVDs. Some other companies have done so, and it typically involves putting unreadable sectors on the disk. Really, really unreadable areas, that make DVD-ROM drives churn for awhile before failing to read. The menu VM code skips over the unreadable sections, so the disc can be watched just fine in a DVD player or software player. But ripping software, which attempts to copy the entire disc, runs into the unreadable spots and grinds to a halt.

    Ripping programs such as AnyDVD and DVD Decrypter are already starting to work around this type of protection. It probably won't be long before they'll analyze the menu VM code and only copy sections of the disc that a set-top player could read, rendering this protection effectively useless. Or, looking from Macrovision's perspective, ripening the market for RipLock 2.0.

    After all, Macrovision is not in the business of preventing copying. They're in the business of selling copy-restriction technology to **AA fatheads who think they will improve their sales by crippling their products.

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