Friday, May 18, 2007

HD-DVD 'uncrackable' encryption cracked, again...

Boing Boing reports: [edited]

AACS, the anti-copying system behind HD-DVD, has been cracked again before its next update was released. HD-DVD was cracked some months ago after the "processing key" for the discs was uncovered by a poster on the Doom9 message-board. In response, the AACS Licensing Authority "revoked" that key, so that new HD-DVD titles would no longer play on older players until they were updated.

The first DVDs with the updated keys ship on May 22, but the new keys have already been compromised - that means that HD-DVD has been broken again, even before it was actively patched.

The AACS key was the subject of an enormous amount of controversy earlier this month, when the AACS-LA sent legal threats to sites that had included they key in their reportage of the initial break. Although the key initially appeared on just a few sites, in the wake of the controversy, more than 1.3 million pages have now published the number. More people know how to break HD-DVD than own HD-DVD players.

This raises the question: what will AACS-LA do now? Key revocation doesn't work. Suing the Internet doesn't work. DRM doesn't work (this DRM took years and cost millions, it was broken in days, for free, by hobbyists).

Pirates who download movies don't ever see DRM. Honest customers who buy media are the only people who ever get restricted by it - and it's clear that a lot of people aren't willing to pay money for movies that are less useful than the pirate versions they can get for free.

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