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Pirates of the Caribbean? Antigua Firm Cracks Blu-ray DRM

By Chris Maxcer
Mar 21, 2008 11:24 AM PT

A small company based on the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua in the West Indies has broken the highly vaunted BD+ copy protection scheme for Blu-ray discs.

Pirates of the Caribbean? Antigua Firm Cracks Blu-ray DRM

The company, SlySoft, produces software that helps customers rip DVDs, HD DVDs, and now, of course, Blu-ray discs into a digital format that's not hindered by copy-protection shackles. Ostensibly, the company says, its AnyDVD HD solution is for making backup security copies -- as opposed to say, copies for piracy.

The company was quick to point out that analyst Richard Doherty of the Envisioning Group was wrong about his prediction of the strength behind the Blu-ray BD+ protection. Back in July of 2007, he told Home Media Magazine that BD+ wouldn't likely be breached for 10 years.

Eight Months Later

"Admittedly, we are not really so fast with this because actually we had intended to publish this release already in December as promised; however, it was decided for strategic reasons to wait a bit for the outcome of the 'format war' between HD DVD and Blu-ray," noted Peer van Heuen, head of High-Definition technologies at SlySoft.

"We are rather proud to have brought back to earth the highly-praised and previously 'unbreakable' BD+," he added. "However, we must also admit that the Blu-ray titles released up to now have not fully exploited the possibilities of BD+. Future releases will undoubtedly have a modified and more polished BD+ protection, but we are well prepared for this and await the coming developments rather relaxed. ... The worst-case scenario then is our boss locks us up with only bread and water in the company dungeon for three months until we are successful again."

A Cat-and-Mouse Game

> Is any digital rights management or copy-protection scheme unbreakable these days? Or is copy protection simply akin to a locked door, where anyone with enough time can learn to pick the lock or simply break a back window?

"One of the things, theoretically, that's supposed to be good with Blu-ray, from the perspective of the content owners and the vendors, is that they can repair it, allegedly, remotely," Mike McGuire, a vice president of research for Gartner, told TechNewsWorld.

"But the point is, this is likely to be more of the same, a cat-and-mouse game that goes on and on. Nobody has seen DRM (digital rights management) do much of anything in the music space except annoy a lot of consumers," he explained.

"We've been arguing that encrypted DRM that tries to control post-acquisition behavior is never going to work because there's always going to be somebody with incentive to crack it, and there's a lot of very smart people in this world with a lot of time on their hands. The future is about removing the need and the demand for removing this content," he added.

The Specs

AnyDVD HD decrypts both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs and lets a user watch movies over a digital display connection without an HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) compliant graphics card and without an HDCP compliant display, SlySoft says. The company targets the product as a must-have utility for the serious home theater enthusiast using a media center or home theater PC.

AnyDVD HD runs on almost any Windows-based PC with a minimum 2 GHz Pentium-class microprocessor -- as long as it has a Blu-ray or HD DVD compliant drive. It costs 30 euros (US$46.35).


Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
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Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide
Salesforce Commerce Solution Guide