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IP: more ondvd encryption cracked
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 15:42:00 -0500

Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 12:38:04 -0800
From: Seth David Schoen <schoen () loyalty org>
To: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>

An important issue which Wired News didn't go into: the DVD CSS
scheme prevented the development of open-source DVD video players.
The recent crack has immediately resulted in the availability of a
working open-source player, which was previously an impossibility.
(You had to sign an NDA to write an approved player, and you had
to agree to limit that player to certain functionality.  So a
player with complete and functional source code released to the
public was right out.)

The copy-protection schemes based on trusted hardware have a very
strong requirement.  _Every_ device capable of digital playback has
to function as a sort of remote agent of the copyright holder (never
exposing the digital data for an unapproved use or to any untrusted
device or medium).  These days, the devices in question include
your desktop PC; many people consider the "copyright-holder spy in
the PC" a scary thought, and would like their PCs to work for _them_
rather than for a third party.

So now one can watch movies from DVD without proprietary software.
This is a significant benefit of the recent crack, and suggests
that most uses of this technique for the time being will be for
simple home viewing rather than copyright infringement.

An inevitable series of news articles will suggest that the only
application of breaking CSS is enabling piracy; they will be
way off base.  Most importantly, it allows the development of
player software outside that sanctioned and licensed by the DVD
powers-that-be: thus, players with additional features, players
in open-source, players for minority platforms, players for
experimentation, research, and development.  Illicit copying
(though eminently possible) should be a footnote.  Let 100 DVD
players bloom -- but, if you're in the US, ask your lawyer about
"anticircumvention" and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Seth David Schoen <schoen () loyalty org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
     http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/    | have leisure; for perhaps you will
     http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)    | not have leisure.  -- Pirke 
Avot 2:5

David Farber
The Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems
University of Pennsylvania
Home Page: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~farber
Email: farber () cis upenn edu

Home: +1 610 274 8292; Cell and Office: +1 215 327 8756; Fax:  +1 408 490 2720

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