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JVC Announces Technology To Prevent Software Copying 536

Posted by timothy
from the sounds-better-than-dongles dept.
An anonymous reader writes: "JVC and Hudson soft Co. of Japan have created a technology that they claim to have tested on 200 CD-ROM devices that prevents users from copying software CDs. They plan to have special encryption keys hidden in software and which are pressed onto CD-ROMs and which can not be read with ordinary procedures. They claim that the location, length and number of embedded keys can vary making it more difficult to hack."
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JVC Announces Technology To Prevent Software Copying

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  • So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @04:55PM (#4158945)
    ... what about my right to make a backup copy of my software? Nobody's ever described a CD as durable.
    • Misprint (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:07PM (#4159090)
      There was a misprint:

      This is actualy a system to prevent users from BUYING CDs.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by matman (71405) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:12PM (#4159132)
      Hah! I have actually read some EULAs, and many state that you may KEEP your CD as a backup, not make a copy of your CD as a backup, unless the original media is required in order to actually use the software. Arguably, you may make a backup copy of something like Office or Windows, as they often ask for the CD to support new things (especially office now adays).

      Relevant spot from W98 license:

      After installation of one copy of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT pursuant to this EULA, you may keep the original media on which the SOFTWARE PRODUCT was provided by Microsoft solely for backup or archival purposes. If the original media is required to use the SOFTWARE PRODUCT on the COMPUTER, you may make one copy of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT solely for backup or archival purposes. Except as expressly provided in this EULA, you may not otherwise make copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT or the printed materials accompanying the SOFTWARE PRODUCT.

      (from http://nl.linux.org/geldterug/license.html)
      • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rob Kaper (5960)
        do most software companies ship you a new CD at production cost when yours breaks but you can show them you have a license for the product?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jace of Fuse! (72042) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:35PM (#4159322) Homepage
      what about my right to make a backup copy of my software? Nobody's ever described a CD as durable.

      You have that right. They also have the right to try to PREVENT you.

      This is basically a race, and I WELCOME this before I welcome litigation.

      Let them make schemes to keep us from copying their work. As long as we're allowed legally to reverse engineer these schemes so that we can either provider ourselves with working backups OR make the software compatible with our systems (suppose the copy protection breaks the software on my system?) then I'm not at all against them attempted to stop copies from being made. It won't do any good -- but far be it from me to try and take away a software developers right to protect their investments.

      Now where I have the biggest problem is that with the DMCA it --IS-- illegal to try and circumvent this sort of scheme, and that is one law that should have never been allowed to come about.
    • You have the right to make a backup - if you can. They have no obligation to make it possible for you to.
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by junkpunch (514143)
      You have a right to make a backup copy of your software, IF you are capable of doing so. The manufacturer does NOT have to provide the software in a medium which you can copy.

      Think about when software first became available on CD. CD copying technology was not widely available to the consumer, and was very expensive. Were your rights being violated? Of course not. Same thing with software on DVD.

      People should take this into account when purchasing their software. Can I make backups of the software, to prolong its life? Yes? That's a feature and a positive for buying it. No? Perhaps you should look elsewhere.
  • Just curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sheepab (461960) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @04:56PM (#4158955) Homepage
    But how does this differ from the keys on a dvd you have to circumvent when you rip them? I dont think any company can possibly safegaurd their software with a system that is up against millions of users....eventually there will be a way to get past it.
    • But how does this differ from the keys on a dvd you have to circumvent when you rip them?

      It's more like the old software which requires the original floppy disk. Which uses some non standard format.
      Thing is that the hardware much be capable of reading whatever this format might be. There is also the problem of how do you put what amounts to a serial number on a random part of a pressed CD, which is rather harder to do than with a recordable CD.
  • All we'll need to do is hack up Wine [winehq.com] to report (But still perform) "strange" CD-ROM accesses. Then we'll know just what the program is looking up on the CD, and we could even get a traceback of the code (EIP, registers, etc). Then, just make a crack that swaps a JMP instruction for a JZ/JNZ...
  • Yeah thats was probably just enough time...
    I'll expect first proof of concepts compies of the Hack on source forge by morning...

    Thanks...to who ever it was that just hacked it....
  • by Sabalon (1684) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @04:57PM (#4158970)
    sounds like it is designed not to allow a cd-cd copy.

    Why can't I just rip an image, or at least open the cd and copy the files to my hard drive?

    Why can't I patch the program after the above not to decrypt?

    I seem to remember that DeCSS came about cause of these "no one will ever get our keys" security.

    What about older CD drives?
    • Lol, yea, my thoughts exactly, a simple rawrite may be able to defeat this technology... Of course your average cd copy tech can't do it, but bit-bit copying sounds like it may very well defeat this... However a simply X-Copy will not work, as the keys are most likely hidden and un-readable by average software (read MS). Course I could be wrong, but we'll see what happens... I really wouldn't mind seeing something like this actually work, I don't mind paying for GOOD software, (of course I would much rather get good software for free, assuming it's legal) and if something like this works, the price of the software may very well go down in response to the impossibility to crack/hack/copy/warez it, as companies account for the losses and pass it on to the end user in price... Of course the same force that keeps them raising the price to make up for lost piracy also has the tendency to not allow them to price-gouge, as they also realize that if the price is too high no-one will pay for it except the first user, after that everyone will simply make copies to avoid out-of-mind pricing. So the piracy actually works to the consumers' benefit and also hurts the consumer by raising the price..... Hmmm, well now I'm not sure that it's a good thing to make something copy-proof. Not to mention how the hell do I make a backup? Maybe the companies should start to offer a low$$ copy service for licensed users. Either way, I'm not too sure there is anything that will ever be invented that won't be defeated by the computer-savvy out there.
  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @04:58PM (#4158983)
    Wow... that makes this stuff as secure as, say, SSL or something! We'll never be able to backup our warez agai... oh, wait a sec...

  • *Sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Knife_Edge (582068) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @04:58PM (#4158988)
    Why do people think that it is possible to make bits uncopyable? Have we not been over this before? Has this changed since the last time we went over it? I am not even going to bother reading the article for this 'technology.' A design for digital copy protection is like a design for a perpetual motion machine - It may be interesting to look at, but you know from the start it is impossible to build.
  • I think they're calling it 'root technology' because of the effect it's going to have on its consumers.
  • by Lysander Luddite (64349) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @04:59PM (#4159005)
    Why not make CD copies have this instead of the original source discs?

    For example, making backups of your software or music files. At least then you can guarantee copies of the original you own and prevent multi-generational copies of copies.

    I would think both the software barons and the customer would find this win-win.
  • Legacy Drives (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sjgman9 (456705)
    If one of these discs dont adhere to the ISO cd rom format like those audio CD's that dont adhere to the red book audio cd format, I wont risk my equipment on something that pretends to be what it isnt. I would feel much happier if CDs with this scheme came with a warning label similar to the ones on cigarette packs.

    "Warning: This CD does is not a standard data cd and could disrupt your hardware. Caveat Emptor"
  • how long (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jonny Ringo (444580) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:00PM (#4159010)
    They plan to have special encryption keys hidden in software and which are pressed onto CD Roms and which can not be read with ordinary procedures.

    So how long will it take to come up with "unordinary prodedures". :-)
  • by buffy (8100)
    You keep setting these "proprietary" schemes up, and we'll keep knocking them down. Only after these companies have lost enough money will they learn the basic tenet that information will be free.

    Silly rabbits..

  • Here we go again (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rupert (28001) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:02PM (#4159046) Homepage Journal
    If I can read the contents of the disk, I can write it to another disk. If I can't read it (with my existing hardware and software) then it's broken.

    Besides, how many warez d00ds are actively swapping copied CDs, anyway? Isn't it all ISO images in these days of broadband?
    • by mpe (36238) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:22PM (#4159226)
      If I can read the contents of the disk, I can write it to another disk. If I can't read it (with my existing hardware and software) then it's broken.

      Not only that you can probably quite easily find parts of the data which are readable, but which break the relevent specs in some way or other.
      This sort of thing has been tried before, it's more likely that crackers will just treat such software in the same way as that which uses a hardware dongle.
      From the user POV having to always have the CD in the drive is far more hassle than something which simply plugs into parallel, USB or even PCI. This is the second "CD dongle" idea posted to /. in a week.
  • Thank goodness (Score:2, Insightful)

    by secondsun (195377)
    It is about time some one comes up with an unhackable security standard. I am tired of having to make back up copies of all my games and apps (esp VS. NET academic, 7 fucking cd's). Now with this technology deployed I can simply ask for a replacement disk when one of mine fail.

    Wait, companies don't offer that protection even if my media fails? You mean I will have to pony up another 50-300 dollars for a piece of software?

    Damn damn damn, I hope it gets cracked faster than IIS on a bad day.
  • I wonder if it is really worth all the trouble to get people not to pirate. Sure the industry comes up with numbers in the millions or billions, but the real question is would these people really buy a legite copy if they had to? Or would the reaction be similar to what is going on with the RIAA and "un-copyable" CD's? Has anyone actually proven that making a CD uncopyable will do anything good? Or will someone just figure out how and get put in jail (a la DVD and DeCSS).
    • but the real question is would these people really buy a legite copy if they had to? Or would the reaction be similar to what is going on with the RIAA and "un-copyable" CD's? Has anyone actually proven that making a CD uncopyable will do anything good?

      With quite a bit of the "warez community" having software is about status. Quite likely some crackers want these kind of schemes, because when they crack something like this they get lots of kudos. Quite likely the selling price also affects the warez value.
      But they probably never would have bought the program at any price.
  • by ArcSecond (534786) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:03PM (#4159056)
    Whenever I see these claims of "better, stronger, faster" anti-copying schemes, I wonder if these guys are noticing that the counter-anti-copiers develop new tactics faster than a bacterium can split in two.

    What would this scenario look like if we translated it into WarCraft 3?:

    "I AM THE MIGHTY THRALL! SEE THE INPENETRABLE WALL OF TURRETS THAT SURROUND MY BASE! I AM INVINCIBLE! NO-ONE WOULD DARE... HEY! STOP THAT! NOOOO!! PLEASE!! STOP!! ARRRRRGGGH!"

    • by mblase (200735) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:17PM (#4159190)
      "The Root encryption deserves to be called fourth-generation encryption. It is different from existing, so-called third-generation encryption, [in that] the encryption keys can not be located easily," said a spokesman for Hudson Soft.

      Translation: "The encryption can't be beaten by current software. Consumers will have to upgrade to the next version of their CD-copying software to beat this."
      • Tomorrows news today:

        "The Root encryption deserves to be called fifth-generation encryption. It is different from existing, so-called fourth-generation encryption, [in that] the CD carrying the encryption keys can not be located easily," said a spokesman for Vapor Soft.

        -
  • When will these people get it?! First, you can't copy protect something. It will be hacked with 48 hours of release, if not sooner. Second, all it takes is one person to put it on Kazaa and it's everywhere.

    Meanwhile, millions of honest, law abiding people will have to deal with the bullshit problems that this will create. I use no-cd hacks for most of my games. With data storage going for close to $1 per gig, who the hell wants to insert a CD every time they want to play a game? Copy the whole CD to the hard drive and throw it in a box. Saves time and effort every time I fire up the latest version of (insert game here).

    "All CD-ROM drives could read software with the encryption keys without any trouble," a JVC spokeswoman said.

    Yeah, we'll see. Trust me, this time will be no different than the last eight times they've said this.
  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:05PM (#4159073) Homepage
    This reminds me of the 3D Studio Max hardware dongle issue. To protect the software from piracy, the authors of 3DS Max had the program check for a dongle on the serial port of the computer. The dongle would return a unique key requested by the program, depending on the activity you were doing in the program at the time. The thought was with all the combinations that the dongle/software combo could possibly have, it would be impossible to emulate with software, thus keeping 3DS secure.

    What happened?? 3DS was one of the fastest-cracked pieces of software I've ever seen. Instead of trying to emulate the dongle, crackers simply went through the program and removed all the calls to the dongle! 3DS was circulating around the internet in less than a week after it's official commercial release, paired with a fully-functional crack.

    I expect this technology to be no different. People won't try to copy the original, they will figure out a way to get around the checking mechanism, then copy the cracked version. As the saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way.
    • It's worse than that. The key to decrypt the software is on the disk, just in a "non-standard" location. Obviously, despite it being non-standard the software can read the location. All the cracker has to do is find out where on the disk it is, and read the key off themselves, and viola.

      A better example would be the old floppy-based copy protection schemes where they'd use weird track steppings or other floppy controller timings to try and hide the data. If I recall correctly, all the copy protection schemes based on this failed as well. In fact, I seem to remember "perfect copy" programs that would copy said disks anyways. The only thing new here is that they've add cryptography. Not that it helps.

      Of course, now I've gone and violated the DMCA. Hmm. Since the information is stored in a "non-standard" location, I wonder if documenting how to access that location aka documenting the hardware interface to the drive is now a DMCA violation?

      Brian
    • You're missing the point. No one cares about pirates. Pirates bulk-copy CDs, and a bulk copy is going to contain these odd keys. The target here is the guy who backs up his software. That guy is hurting business because we know that if he loses his copy of a piece of software, he's going to march right back into Best Buy and pay for it again. That's revenue, and we all know that revenue is a good thing!

      The anti-consumer attitude that the software and hardware industry is pushing is just beyond belief.
    • by Sebastopol (189276) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:47PM (#4159401) Homepage
      However, if that smae 3DSMax today was running in a Palladium-enabled machine, you couldn't edit the source code otherwise the key wouldn't match and the OS would reject the application.

      be afraid.

  • by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:05PM (#4159074)
    ... I'm gonna start scanning my CD's. Eventually the DPI will be enough to make it work.
  • From the Hudson Soft release [hudson.co.jp]: " The new technology developed by Hudson and JVC uses a special technique to keep the key hidden"

    I wonder if this special technology is security by obscurity :)) If the magic can be read by the cd-rom drive, I really don't see what would be so hard in developing a "special technique" for recording the disc while playing back data from the original to create a new record without this silly copy-protection.

  • prevention (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Satai (111172) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:09PM (#4159099)
    Ok, if anybody here knows more than what the article says -- presumably, the key will be accessible through direct-level calls to the CD-ROM to read specific tracks; what is to prevent the user from either intercepting these calls or monitoring usage of the CD-ROM, in order to determine where the keys are placed on the CD? I imagine an API implementation like WINE would be able to intercept these calls, with parameters, to find the specific locations.

    But, I assume, this has been thought of by JVC. Why wouldn't it work?
    • Re:prevention (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shrikel (535309)
      It would work.

      From the post:

      They plan to have special encryption keys hidden in software and which are pressed onto CD-ROMs and which can not be read
      with ordinary procedures. They claim that the location, length and number of embedded keys can vary making it more difficult to hack.

      The data _must_ be accessible, in order for any normal CD-ROM to be able to read it, but you have to use, like you said, low-level access to the device. It's not impossible, but it's more difficult. First, there's the difficulty of determining where the software looks for the information. Presumably, it's reading the disk, and sorting out that one line that it's requesting the key from is difficult. I'm not saying it's impossible. But it would probably have to be done on a CD-by-CD basis. So likely, you'd have to either develop a very sophisticated program to determine, given a copy-protected CD with its program running, which data contains the key, or crack each CD one at a time.

      It's not foolproof, but it at least is a new thing. When are producers of products going to learn that they CANNOT STOP people from ripping off their product until people have the MORALS not to do it? Face it, there's no unbreakable copy protection except for a populace who refuses to copy copyrighted works!

      So the producers just have to keep coming up with new measures which will be either less or more effective than past ones, and hope that the crackers will be inconvenienced enough that they'll just wait for someone else to crack it and use the other person's crack. The more difficult the protection is to crack, the fewer people will be able to crack it, and (hopefully) the fewer people will be disposed to take the TIME to crack it.

      Crackers will find a way for anything, if they feel like the rewards (free (as in beer) software, the pride of having cracked something, or whatever else motivates them) compensate for the trouble of finding a crack.

  • ...sniff the IDE channel and dump the data from it somewhere on a hard drive?
  • "special encryption keys which are hidden in software that's pressed onto a CD-ROM and cannot be read with ordinary procedures."

    "The development team has already verified the compatibility of the Root encryption key system with about 200 models of CD-ROM drives on the market."

    Unless those CD-ROM drives are using abnormal means to read those little 0's and 1's these statements are mutually exclusive. All one would have to do is a raw device dump and burn the resulting disk image on their favorite CD burner.
  • It certainly won't be profitable in the game biz. Show me a game that can't run without [gamecopyworld.com] the CD and I'll show you a game no one wants to buy.

    I have an 8x DVD drive that takes about 2 years to spin up, there's no way in luserland I'm going to wait for that delay anytime during game play, or application use for that matter.
    • This raises another question for me: CD servers. I have a 7-disc changer connected to my fileserver for CDs I use frequently and I'm sure that this scheme won't be able to function correctly when it's accessing a network share rather than a local drive.
    • sorry bud, but the majority of games released today require the CD in the drive in order to play. Of course there are cracks for most of them, but most people who buy the games and play them aren't running the cracks.
  • Backups (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:11PM (#4159124)
    Well, at work we make backup copies of our software then store the master copies in a safe place, that way we can send the copies out with our techs so if they get scratched and stuff it's no big deal.

    Fair use is a nice thing, and it actually saves us money because we don't have to buy new copies when one gets scratched.
  • They call it... The baseball bat.
    • They call it... The baseball bat.

      Hey, encoding programs on a baseball bat, that would be a tough copy. Would likely break off my CD-ROM tray...

      I guess bat-drives will start appearing now, maybe they can capitalize on confusion by releasing flying-mammal bat drives to throw evil h4x0rz off the trail.
  • "the location, length and number of embedded keys can vary making it more difficult to hack."
    • So that means it'll take like two days, instead of one?
  • Right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AugstWest (79042) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:15PM (#4159173)
    They claim that the location, length and number of embedded keys can vary making it more difficult to hack.

    "more difficult" != copy protection.

    The copy protection arms race has continued unabated for what, 20+ years now?

    No matter what they build, it will be circumvented. If a human can design it, another human can dismantle it.

    It's sad, really, watching these companies dump millions of dollars into useless protection schemes while watching their profits and stock values shrink day by day.

    Look -- it's not the pirates that are hurting your businesses. They have always existed and will continue to exist.

    It's your stubborn unwillingness to admit that you cannot recoup every single penny from every single installation of your software throughout the world.
    • What's the big deal? Seems to me they have the same grasp of the issue that you do.

      What's wrong with this thought process:

      1) We can spend $600k making this new technology
      2) It will, of course, be cracked
      3) However, it will make it harder for the average person, who is technologically clueless, to pirate our stuff
      4) Because of #3, we will sell $3M more to users who would commit casual piracy before easy-to-use cracks and tools become available
      5) We bank an extra $2.4M

      What's so stupid about putting in copy-protection to make piracy harder even though you can't completely eliminate it? If the costs work out the right way (obviously my own numbers are made up), why not do it?

      You seem to be saying that pirates are hurting the bottom lines of content-creators less than their copy-protection budgets. I disagree. I have a feeling most businesses' people can handle a simple ROI check.
  • patent 5,809,545 (Score:2, Informative)

    Optical disc for a master key, and a method and apparatus for optical-disc information management which inhibit and permit reproduction of main information from an illegal copy disc by using physical and logical security information

    Inventors: Ozaki; Kazuhisa (Yokosuka, JP); Kayanuma; Kanji (Hadano, JP)
    Assignee: Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (Yokohama, JP)
    Filed: September 12, 1995 Issued: September 15, 1998

    nobody
  • I doubt this would be the way to defeat this cp scheme. The "keys" appear to be used to encrypt data the disk. Presumably, this data will need to be decrypted in order to get the SW to work.

    Also, these are "special" keys. As we all know, "special" keys cannot be broken by anybody. Otherwise they wouldn't be "special".

  • They tried 200+ CD drives. So what? They didn't try 200+ CD drives, *with all the different software* that is available, in every permutation.

    I'm afraid a Copy-protection Lab with 50 (maybe?!) employees can't compete against 200 million people with time on their hands.

    Bzzzzt! Try again. Or, don't.

  • by phriedom (561200) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:24PM (#4159242)
    Me: So you've got this new CD that can't be copied, but I guess it sounds as good as a regular CD, right?
    Them: Yes, thats right, just as good as a regular CD, but you can't read it without our special proprietary hardware/software that knows how to decrypt the special key and read the music. Its safe that way. And if they break it, we can change the key and update the players.
    Me: So I can't use the equipment I know and love to listen to your music?
    Them: Well, no, but our music...
    Me: Hey look over there, music that doesn't make me jump through hoops. Bye.
    Them: wait...
  • NWN just dumped safedisk copy protection because it caused more support headaches then it was worth. I remember Diable 2 whenever they tweaked safedisk(or whatever copy protection it was) they ended up release usually path,patch.a,patch.b etc because there were always some large minority of people that got screwed by the safedisk changes. Basically most people are honest, and other copy protection mechanisms (cd key in the case of NWN) will get the majority of the rest. You will NEVER be able to stop the hardcore hacker (witness MS's Xbox key fun).
  • I'm not sure I follow....

    A PC that looks for but cannot find the keys on an illegally-copied disk returns an error message.i>

    If they tested this on CD-ROM drives already on the market, how would those know where to look for the keys in the first place ? Doesn't that imply that some sort of software needs to be installed to

    a) tell my CD drive to look for encryption keys
    b) tell my CD drive where to look for them

    Huh ?
  • At some point the data gets unencrypted so it can be read... Wouldn't people just copy this information to disk rather than the encrypted information on the CD?
  • Yup. One of these will work for sure. I already have Hard Hat Mac, Diamond Mine, Autoduel, Gemstone Warrior, and Rescue Raiders. Took about 5 minutes a disc, and there you go.

    My friend is coming over with Mario Bros., Spare Change, Pinball Contruction Set, and Archon II. I'm going to trade him Appleworks, and Leather Goddess of Phobos for those.


    Oh, wait. That was twenty years ago.

  • This really doesn't sound any different. As always, someone will use CloneCD to burn a perfect copy of the CD. Or they'll create an image of it, which I'll download and run on Daemontools.

    The only possible way I could see them thwarting a raw copy is if the CD's they're pressing at the factory have extra areas that can be read by existing drives but aren't on (current) CD-R(W)s. I don't know if that's possible though. It wouldn't matter how good a burner you have; you can't burn it if there isn't a spot to burn the critical bits of data.

    Of course, they'll still be able to read the original and create an image which can be run in Daemontools. That's how I run all my software anyways. Create an image from the original CD and I never have to go hunting for it again.
  • These will not play in a car stereo or a portable MP3 player, only in a computer and likely only in a Windows box. Not Mac or Linux since they have the SOFTWARE player located on the disc.

    That completely eliminates most people's desire to buy a CD. Who wants to pay $21 for a CD which you can't take in your car or on vacation without lugging along a Windows laptop?

    Given that I also use a Macintosh at home, yet another reason I won't buy this shit.

    Of course the most overriding reason is I am simply sick of the RIAA and they havee lost my buisiness forever, even if they fell on their knees before me and wept and tried to get the DMCA revoked.
  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:48PM (#4159404)
    I have to keep reinforcing this to everyone who mistakenly calls this Copy Protection.

    This is not Copy Protection, because it doesn't protect your "copy" at all, and in fact they're trying to mislead you into believing that making a copy is forbidden. There is nothing at all wrong with copying a music CD. Your purchase price INCLUDES the right to make a copy.

    Please begin to call this by it's proper term.. Copy Prevention .

    Companies like Sony, JVC, and others who are implementing these technologies want to take back the right you've paid for at the register, to make a legal copy of the music you've bought. These companies are taking your rights away, not giving you more rights.

    If you want to retain the rights to the music you've already purchased, don't support companies who support or develop technologies like this. This includes going to see movies in the theaters that are sponsored by Sony Pictures and other companies who back or support these restrictive technologies. This is not a joke. Let them realize that their "decrease in revenue" is not because of piracy, but because people are getting annoyed with this stuff, and are boycotting the company's products (not to mention this economy thing these companies seem to ignore in their marketing reports on how piracy has quintupled in the past year).

    Once people start using the right terms en-masse, awareness is sure to increase along with it.

    Copy Prevention , not Copy Protection . Just remember that.

  • by wytcld (179112) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:54PM (#4159454) Homepage
    the location, length and number of embedded keys can vary

    If they vary on different copies of the same CD, it's trivially easy to run diff and isolate them. If they're the same across all copies of the same CD, they're a bit harder to find, but someone finding them can distribute a patch for the disk image to disables them. There should be a map to where the keys are, and if that's hidden, its address needs to be kept somewhere. Do they plan to rewrite the codes that handles this for each CD, so that its fingerprint can't be simply found and the rest unravelled?

  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:55PM (#4159464) Homepage
    I've seen lots of posts that start with "sigh -- data is data and if i can read it, i can copy it".

    These people assume that the busses will always be interceptable, which is not true. MS and other hardware vendores are hard at work at their secure OS which would effectively halt any attempts to read anything but encrypted bits. From what I've read, I feel the secure platform is a reality and will very easily stop cracking/hacking dead in it's tracks.

    However, maybe when pirating is 100% eliminated, microsoft windows XP will cost $30 and not $300.

    • by Reziac (43301) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @06:43PM (#4159798) Homepage Journal
      I think it will go the other way: without the threat of people being able to get Windows for free, the price will go UP, because without warez it's either pay for it or do without. But so long as it's possible to warez a software title, major retail publishers have to consider the price point at which the average consumer will buy, vs. a point beyond which they see the item's pricing as a ripoff and would rather steal it.

      And this growing presumption that the consumer is the ENEMY is self-defeating. Look what happened with the price of WinXP (with its activation sca^Hheme) -- it retails for roughly double the price of previous versions. And an awful lot of people who'd bought legit copies of all versions before XP, said "if that's the way they're going to treat us, I'll just warez the damned thing and serves 'em right."

      If software publishers want this to become the prevailing attitude, hey, go ahead, protect away!

      Not to mention that the risk of breakage in some situations (LAN parties, technicians' use such as someone mentioned above, etc.) and the unwillingness of some publishers to provide replacement media, are now incentives to break the protection if only so you can make a legit backup.

  • by Myco (473173) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @09:04PM (#4160545) Homepage
    Everyone's already pointed out the obvious flaws in this scheme. So try another one on for size:

    CDs containing commercial software have a key written in a special area of the disc, which is designated "read-only." Through legislation or industry standards, it is enforced that no CD-RW available to consumers can be permitted to write to that area of a disc, but they can all read it just fine.

    Ignoring the problem of legacy hardware and legal issues (who gets the privilege of owning a CD-writer that can write to the special area?), how would this scheme be cracked?

    • how would this scheme be cracked?


      Patch the code that reads the key off the CD to instead return a known valid key. As long as the user controls what software runs on his computer, any scheme like this is doomed. This control is of course what Palladium and the CBDTPA seek to eliminate.

  • by randomErr (172078) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [hcsok.nivre]> on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @09:34PM (#4160697) Homepage Journal
    Remember when you had to use Copy ][ plus to copy 5 1/4" floppies on an Apple ][?

    Remember when you brought copyrighted software that had purposeful holes punched into a diskette? Those holes emulated bad sectors and if you copied that data of the disk to another disk the sectors when be reordered. The new disk didn't have any bad sectors so it just tried to save space and compact the sectors. The pirated software would read the reordered sectors and go into a nasty recursive loop.

    It took about 1-2 months for hackers on BBS's and FidoNet to find ways to create programs that locked out corisponding sectors and created new security sectors on the floppies.

    How long do you think it will take for the internet community to find a similar loop hole on CD's?
  • by defile (1059) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @11:21PM (#4161082) Homepage Journal

    Wager time. I'm betting...

    One week before researchers have produced code that can completely compromise all of the copy protection.

    One point five weeks before the elite technical community can get over the annoyances.

    Two weeks before software pirates can make copies without skipping a beat.

    Eight months of legitimate users being annoyed before the tech is pulled.

    Sprinkle random DMCA arrests and intimidation.

  • by PsyQ (87838) on Thursday August 29, 2002 @03:45AM (#4161908) Homepage
    Well, at least in Switzerland they can't legally prevent you from copying software. I'd be amazed if other countries didn't have a similar law.

    Rough tanslation of Swiss copyright law, article 24/2:

    "Whoever has the right to use a computer program may make backup copies thereof. This privilege cannot be revoked by contract."

    Awesome, huh? So we can just blast through any copy prevention legally, I guess.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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