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Flash Memory with Copy Protection 365

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the please-help-me-to-behave dept.
Castar writes "Mercury News is reporting that SanDisk has created a new type of flash memory with copy-protection logic built in. From the article: "Today, much of a consumer's digital content is held hostage on a particular kind of device, such as an iPod or a PC, because that is the only way to prevent massive piracy. But with the SanDisk flash memory card, a consumer can move the digital content to another device. If the music company insists the data can only be copied five times, the memory card itself enforces that policy in the new device, be it a cell phone or music player." Rejoice that your data can be "liberated" from the confines of your PC or iPod!"
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Flash Memory with Copy Protection

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  • Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrainInAJar (584756) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:06AM (#13665400)
    I was getting sick of all that freedom, good thing sandisk's taking care of that, so i don't have to
    • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by catwh0re (540371) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:41AM (#13665512)
      Hooray! They'll also figure out a way that I can pay for it in my next device! (obviously a product that should be avoided.)

      Hooray! One day we'll pay for "advanced" devices that let us do novel things such as "Duplicate" and "Read" (more than 5 times, and over my 30 day limit, and without a $14.95 a month license until the end of time aggreement.)

      • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:58AM (#13665732)
        Hooray! One day we'll pay for "advanced" devices that let us do novel things such as "Duplicate" and "Read" (more than 5 times, and over my 30 day limit, and without a $14.95 a month license until the end of time aggreement.)

        What's next in your silly little worker's paradise... buildings full of books, DVDs, and CDs you can borrow for free? A system like the one you describe would cause our entire economy to collapse.

      • Re:Hooray! (Score:3, Funny)

        by Quarnage (16115)
        I think SANdisk has come up with a crippled version of this old technology:

        Write Only Memory [triticom.com]

        Just think of the DRM possiblities!!! No copying out of this device, ever!

        BTW if you want to convert any RAM you have into WOM... just scuff you feet on the carpet a few times and then touch your fingers to the chips. ;)
    • Orwellian madness (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simonetta (207550) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:42AM (#13667331)
      This press release is filled with double-talk and flat-out Orwellian nonsense. Like: Preventing people from backing up their data 'gives them more options'.

          We get a bad feeling about all this because so much money and resources is going into developing a technology that no one who is actually buying the technology actually wants. The chip designer firm is working with the chip manufacturer who is negotiating with the global entertainment corporation who is linking with the agent who interfaces with the artist who toots up with the liaison of the technology company.

            So who's missing here? How about the people who are actually putting out the money to actually pay for this stuff. One person buys an entertainment product and a little while later discovers that they can't do the simple and obvious things that they had come to expect that they could do with it; like backing it up or moving it to another medium like the car stereo. Suddenly the perceived value of this entertainment item drops to half or less of its previous value. So the consumer is only willing to pay $8 for the same CD that they were willing to previously buy at $16 when the CD or CD player has copy prevention technology built into it.

          Now the entertainment corporation is raising the price to pay for the development of this new technology and also raising the price because the competition (from easy copies) is now restrained. So the perceived value (and price) is going down at the same time that the price for the entertainment product is shooting up. How exactly is this supposed to be good for the entertainment company or the artist? It must be that they fundamentally assume that because they are so cool and beautiful that the vast dork masses will buy the product regardless of how much it costs or difficult it is to use. This is what happens when entertainment people start talking business with computer people. The greed goes recursive and you end up with the worst mentalities of both industries in one package.

          In the long run (10 years plus) this mentality will only act to reduce the importance and viability of the entertainment corporations. The board of directors will look to spin off the entertainment divisions in the way that everyone is now trying to dump their record companies. Maybe DRM is nothing more than a long term plan on the part of the technology companies to seriously depress the value of the entertainment companies so that ten years from now (when all the ultra-fast download-entertainment-directly-to-the-home technology is in place) they will be able to buy the entertainment companies for a tiny fraction of what they are worth now. Or maybe it's just the fantasy of immature greedheaded yuppies with too much access to other people's money.
      • Re:Orwellian madness (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ivan256 (17499) * on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @02:35PM (#13668894)
        discovers that they can't do the simple and obvious things that they had come to expect that they could do with it; like backing it up

        Would you please stop using this example?

        Most people don't make backups. It's a fact of life, and it's well known. That means every time you break out the "backups argument" it's automatically parsed into the piracy argument by practically everybody. From the point you mention backups on, you've lost all credibility with everbody except for the people who already agree with you.

        When you're talking about music, talk about using it in your car. Talk about mix CDs. Talk about the iPod... Don't talk about backups!

        When you're talking about images or video, talk about watching them in the car. Talk about watching them on your computer. Talk about getting a print made at the local photo shop. Talk about sharing home video made on your camcorder with the family. Don't use the word backups!
  • Whooo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lachlan76 (770870) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:06AM (#13665402)
    Today it's held hostage to your PC or iPod! Tommorrow, it's held hostage to your USB drive!
    • Re:Whooo (Score:5, Informative)

      by typical (886006) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @09:46AM (#13666342) Journal
      I really don't like the increasing complexity of devices that don't need to be complex. Complexity tends to decrease reliability.

      My last motherboard, an ASUS, had an in-BIOS MP3 player. That qualifies as "unnecessary, reliability-decreasing feature", in my opinion.

      As for the latest sky-is-falling-on-copyright-infringement alarmist crap from Slashdot, pay no heed. This whole thing is a lot of horseshit that companies are using to extract money from the publishing industry. Many, many companies try to do this. If you make a commodity device (Flash storage, for instance), you're desperate to do *something* to make more money on it.

      So, let's take a look at what this system is probably going to do.

      Assume that the engineers *really* knew what they were doing and made *no* errors (and that security in hardware is pretty hard to do and there isn't much of a culture of that in the hardware world).

      It's a pretty good bet that if properly designed (*not* necessarily the case), each device has some sort of embedded public-private keypair. They use this to transfer symmetric keypairs to do bulk data transfer between each other.

      This means:

      * Everything is on one IC, and there is no inter-IC bus involved. Tapping busses between ICs within a DRM-using device is a good way to break the protection. bunny broke the X-Box by using the fact that not everything is on one IC. Probably reasonable for the Flash world, where this is already the case.

      * The hardware's pseudorandom number generators (that symmetric key has to come from somewhere) are secure. An attacker can twiddle power to screw up PRNGs...maybe zero them, induce current, screw with the power lines at just the right frequency, whatever. This is not trivial to avoid.

      * There are *no* diagnostic interfaces left in the hardware. Trying to make every hardware engineer lose their diagnostics in the release product is like trying to convince a fish to jump out of water and stamp around on land for a bit.

      * The crypto algorithm involved doesn't get broken (once it is in lots of products, you are irrevocably committed).

      Remember that this is a system that relies on *zero* breaks. Maybe the manufacturer can have an "update key" and release new protected content with hidden "updates" to invalidate existing compromised keys, but this takes a while to propagate around the system. Once such a system is released, the manufacturer is gambling that not a single person, in any lab, with microscopes and the works, anywhere, can break the thing. Once it gets broken, that person can distribute all the protected content (and possibly even create a "modification" to disable the protection on other devices, if the break involves the compromise of a key). The math is *wildly* against the publishing world here. It's a safe assumption that the publishing world will make dire legal penalties, heavily watermark content (and probably tag with the IDs of devices that it passes through) to try to track down any such break, but it's still a seriously long-shot gamble for them -- and a break is likely to happen after they are widely deployed and are committed to the scheme, as happened with DVDs.

      And remember that nobody gives a damn about simple data transfer. That data has to go somewhere -- the Flash drive. So now every device that *consumes* this data (sound cards, video cards, etc) has to also be similiarly secure, and not have any breaks. That is a *huge* undertaking. If one consumer is Windows running under Palladium (e.g. a trusted software MP3 player), then you have to secure a vast software system, as well as much of the hardware in a computer system, against any breaks. That means *Windows local kernel security must be airtight*. Every bluescreen you see is a violation of that! Even better, you can't use a single good prepackaged solution, because then you run into the bus-attacks-across-multiple-ICs problem -- every single device needs a custom chip, and that chip has to perform *all* the t
      • Oh, yes. And remember that for media presented to the user in an analog format (currently the majority of content that people want to protect), there's always the analog hole. After all that work, money, time, effort, crypto PhDs, vendors, promises, advertising and getting the public to buy into it, pissing off your hardware guys, outcompeting cheaper competitors, forging agreements with slippery people who are out to stab you in the back, and dealing with dubious governments and consumer advocacy groups,
  • by Peeteriz (821290) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:07AM (#13665404)
    So, the only difference between this new flash and ordinary flash is that this one can do LESS ?
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:07AM (#13665405) Journal
    Step 1) Copy once
    Step 2) Remove protection from your new copy
    Step 3) No more DRM.

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:17AM (#13665444) Homepage
      This is the beauty. They can't decently propose music for sale without allowing you to burn a CD with it. So it comes down to:
      1. Burn a CD
      2. Rip the CD
      3. Enjoy!!!!

      They just don't realise that a mere recording from line-out to line-in in any half-decent sound card will sound as good as the original to 99.% of the users. So they should try and prevent that as well.

      But I think what they are really up to is to try and prevent users to enjoy their music. Next thing to come, you won't be able to play it either, so there! No more copy protection problems.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kfg (145172) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:45AM (#13665529)
        They just don't realise that a mere recording from line-out to line-in in any half-decent sound card will sound as good as the original to 99.% of the users. So they should try and prevent that as well.

        They understand that perfectly well. They also understand that sound cards and speakers can be chipped to refuse to reproduce the sound of a file that does not have a valid license code. See DVD players. See the current issue of the broadcast flag.

        They're working on chips for your ears and brain. I think they're just going to duct tape mittens on your hands and a super ball in your mouth. Don't even think about nose flute, if you know what's good for you. You won't like the solution with mittens on your hands and that super ball already in your mouth.

        KFG
        • The thing is, they have to allow two things:

          1. People have to have the ability to play a recording they made themself
          2. People have to have the ability to play a recording somebody else made

          With those two requirements, it's just a matter of piping, really.
        • You also forget that one of the reasons RIPping files is so common and easy is that it can be done at 50x normal playing speed. RIPping with a line out / line in system can ONLY be done at 1x speed. It'll take you an hour to RIP one CD. This alone would limit the use of such a system, so that it's not a major threat to the copyright holders.

          MadCow.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:58AM (#13665568) Homepage Journal
        That's exactly what they'll do. If you want high definition video out of Windows Vista, you need to use the copy-protected output, cables, and rendering devices. That's a fact. Once people are used to it, they'll do the same with audio. And sure, you guys will all use XP, or linux... Until you want to play WOW2...
        • Using XP or Linux isn't a way to solve the problem with DRM'ed content.

          Vista will support it via all sorts of restrictions.

          XP and/or Linux will have to as well, or not support it at all.

          It's not exactly like XP and Linux will freely be able to play the negatively affected content in Vista.
        • I have to disagree with you here. My wife and my mother both want stuff to "just work." They can't understand why playing a CD should be more complicated than playing a tape. It try to explain, but really what am I talking about? It should be.

          If you make it complex, you will have to make better music/movies for someone to want to jump through these hoops. But they want to make cheaper movies and sell you junk music.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:04AM (#13665593) Journal
        They just don't realise that a mere recording from line-out to line-in in any half-decent sound card will sound as good as the original to 99.% of the users. So they should try and prevent that as well.

        Uh, they do [microsoft.com].
        • Very interesting. Actually, Microsoft will have protections for video but they are still researching ways they can protect the audio. All of this has reached a level of complexity that the consumer will never understand.

          Recently, I tried to play some discs on a JVC mini-stereo and some media refused to play. While they won't play in my computer they will play on other CD players in the house. At this point, as far as I can tell the JVC player is "broken" and it should be replaced - but the replacement syste
          • Re:Sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

            At this point, as far as I can tell the JVC player is "broken" and it should be replaced - but the replacement system will need to be able to play these CD's. Maybe it's okay that the discs won't play on my PC, but they should work in my stereo systems.

            I think there is a flaw in your logic here. If the JVC system plays standard CDs just fine, then its the new CD that is broken - not your hardware. Return the CD and let them know exactly why - because its broken as far as you're concerned. If they refuse
      • you haven't been listening to the crap the recording companies have been releasing lately, have you???
    • You, sir, have just violated the DMCA by circumventing a technological measure for copy protection.
      • quick, everyone paypal me money so I can take refugee in sweden with the fiber internet access and hot swedish chicks everywhere. infact, screw the refugee.
    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Erris (531066) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @08:10AM (#13665768) Homepage Journal
      Step 1) Copy once

      Try again. This memory won't work in a nuTrusted(TM) device. You might be able to rig up a recorder to your headphone jack, but you are going to get a really crappy copy. Worse, any computer capable of playing this trusted crap will then refuse to play your crappy copy. Welcome to the lock down [slashdot.org].

    • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Informative)

      by Technician (215283) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @08:29AM (#13665852)
      Step 1) Copy once
      Step 2) Remove protection from your new copy
      Step 3) No more DRM.


      The way I've seen it work for some digital marine charts is;
      1) Copy once
      2) Strange unrecognised binary file
      3) copy to second device
      4) works in original device but not in another device.

      The chart is married to the card. Copying to a PC is OK. Copying back to the original card is OK. Copying to a second card is rejected by the boat nav. Original card only please.

      You can use the chart in another boat, but only if it is on it's original card. This is hardware level DRM.

      Notice almost any GPS you can buy that uses a map will only take a SD card?
      That is for in the future when you buy your boat or aircraft charts, they will come on a card and won't work if copied to another card. The chart and card are married and won't work without it's partner.

      Charts for a local waterway won't be shared by a group of fishermen. Each will need to buy their own chart card. That's how the SD feature works.
      • Direct from the article;

        With the TrustedFlash chips, music studios can release albums or whole collections of musical groups on a single memory card that consumers could buy at stores and insert into their phones, MP3 players or laptops.

        This is not a buy a blank and burn your own compilation. This is buy a pre-recorded and it is tied to the card. I'll play in your future cell phone, laptop, CF music player, but only from the original card. The file without the card does not work.

        This is like old floppy
  • Copied? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:08AM (#13665408) Journal
    What does `copied' mean? From the perspective of a storage device, the data being read and put on a CD, which is then duplicated a million times, is exactly the same as the data being read, decoded, passed through a DAC and fed into someone's ears. It seems that these constraints are either unenforceable or just plain silly.
    • Re:Copied? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pieroxy (222434)
      It seems that these constraints are either unenforceable or just plain silly.
      Or both? But shhhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone. Screwing up regular users (let's get real, they will be the ones screwed with ill-devised devices) seems to be their credo these days, so I say let them do it and we shall see if it proves to be a good business model.

      History will tell.
    • What does `copied' mean? From the perspective of a storage device, the data being read and put on a CD, which is then duplicated a million times, is exactly the same as the data being read, decoded, passed through a DAC and fed into someone's ears. It seems that these constraints are either unenforceable or just plain silly.

      Sure, it's silly, but that does not mean it won't work. If everything in the chain is non free, you won't be able to do what you think you will be able to do. There will be a differen

      • Bzzt. Wrong.

        You see, it only takes ONE person to crack the protection and distribute the file in an unprotected format, and then the genie is out of the bottle.

        If Windows won't play unprotected music, I'll run Linux. Oh waaaaaaait, I already run Linux; I haven't owned a Windows box since 2003.

        Nice try!

        -Z
      • When the world's three music publishers only release in DRM form, you will buy it or not have current popular music.

        O nos! What will I do without new Tittney or Chrislutna Ogle-ara? I think popular music sucks, and I don't think I'm alone. The decline in music sales isn't due to rampant piracy, it's because most new music sucks.

        If musicians don't care enough to make sure their product isn't compromised by the distributor, then I don't care to support them. I'll keep listening to the music I already own,
      • As long as that sound comes out of analog speakers, I can take two microphones, one mixer board, and a tape deck (Or an on the fly line-in cd burner from Sony) and make a copy of that music nearly perfectly. Gimme a break. Anyone with half a brain for making music could figure this one out. So there's the audio aspect taken care of.

        As far as video goes, I don't know what to do about that. Data? There are programs out there that can copy everything, bit-for-bit, and burn to another DVD/CD. Therefore the l
  • by InitHello (858127) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:11AM (#13665415)
    To quote Edward E. 'Doc' Smith:

    Anything physical science can research and synthesize, physical science can analyze and duplicate

    What they apparently don't get is that anything can be cracked, given enough time to research the protection scheme.
  • Oh, the freedom! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hanok (581838) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:11AM (#13665416)
    I feel so much more free now that I no longer can copy my own files. Thank you!
  • But does it run... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lowrydr310 (830514)
    I'm not a linux (or Mac) nerd by any means, but I wonder if this fancy protection scheme will only work for Windows files.

    When SanDisk starts manufacturing DRM-protected thumb drives and PNY or other manufacturers continue to sell unprotected thumb drives, I think the market will do the talking.

  • by jettoki (894493) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:11AM (#13665418)
    What will they think of next? DRM fruit? Apples you can only take five bites out of!
    • by Linker3000 (626634) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:01AM (#13665581) Journal
      No, YOU can take as many bites as YOU want, but will only be able to describe the experience (good or not so good) to 5 other people.
    • They ALREADY have DRM grain. Monsanto has grain that is genetically altered to resist Roundup pesticides. This is copyrighted so that you must buy new seed grain every year - you are not permitted to reuse any grain from previous years as seed grain (i.e. make copies). This grain has been introduced into Iraq, and the new constitution enshrines American-style copyright restrictions, so Iraqi farmers who have been keeping thier own seed grain for many thousands of years will no longer be permitted to do so.
  • Yeah! More expensive, less freedom... I can't wait to buy one!
  • by ReformedExCon (897248) <reformed.excon@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:11AM (#13665420)
    The industry seems bound and determined to put copy protection on everything, whether it be ringtones or MP3s. Flash memory makers are doing their best to help them, and OS makers are doing their best to take advantage of those features.

    We speak of Freedom as if Linux could provide it, but the question is gradually becoming whether it is better to be the canary in a gilded cage or the crow eating garbage in the snow. Having an isolated "free" system that can't interact with other "non-free" systems is not really how we expected things to turn out, I bet.
    • by ettlz (639203) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:17AM (#13665439) Journal
      A crow eating garbage in the snow, definitely. Unlike his canary friend, he does not have to rely on an owner. Nor does he have to sing for his dinner.
    • by putko (753330) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:42AM (#13665518) Homepage Journal
      The way easy, low-cost hackability and freedom is disappearing fast.

      It the old days, processors with DRM, on board boot flash and encryption didn't exist, because it would have cost too much, the theory wasn't known and it wasn't so obvious that schmucks would pay so much for fucking ringtones.

      In the last decade, it has become clear that:

      * hardware encryption is key
      * schmucks (by the millions) will pay for ringtones
      * downloading music is the future
      * encryption works -- you can build a good cryptosystem for DRM
      * hacker-types are the small, small minority of computer users (as opposed to 1977 -- when they helped make Apple the DRM-king that it is today)

      So why would a businessman cut off 99% of the market, just to please a bunch of fat, bearded GNU/Linux fans, or a bunch of old, crabby BSD guys? Billions want their ringtones and pop tunes -- what do they know from freedom anyway? What is freedom, when you live in China/Africa/India and are bascially poor as dirty anyway?

      More and more the question is just -- "why not" load it with DRM. The hacker types can either A) use other hardware or B) have a reduced-content experience.

      Which makes me think hackers have had it pretty "easy" all along.

    • ``Having an isolated "free" system that can't interact with other "non-free" systems is not really how we expected things to turn out, I bet.''

      Which is why we need to protest the use of proprietary formats and protocols. Just having the right to reverse-engineer them for interoperability reasons (as we have in the EU, AFAIK, IANAL) is not enough. We need the information required for interoperability to be freely available, or there will be no level playing field, no healthy competition, but rather vendor lo
    • and hundreds of thousands of end-users are bound and determined to believe that everything should be 'free as in beer' - and act upon this by taking things, and often sharing things, as if they were indeed 'free as in beer'. Whether it be ringtones, MP3s, movies or software.

      And I say they can have them be free as in beer.. as soon as my apartment is free as in beer, my utilities are free as in beer, my food is free as in beer and my water is free as in beer.

      Until such a time, most of my products are 'free a
  • "confined??" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by akhomerun (893103)
    i don't understand how i'm confined. makes no sense at all.

    if i use my PC or iPod, that's not really confining. plus, any idiot can get their music off of their ipod, it's as simple as viewing hidden folders. not to mention the availibility of free (legal) software that has that ability.

    so how does this new flash memory free me up when i can just get current flash memory and copy my stuff as much as I want? i'm not really being confined at all. even with DRM, i can still play it on my ipod, my PC, and
  • NO Mention of iPod (Score:2, Informative)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315)
    The copy protection is between Sandisk->sandisk compatible transfers (from what I can tell)

    Otherwise I assume the data will be an encrypted blob and be unusable.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:19AM (#13665449)
    This whole "Copy protection management" thing is getting ridiculous. What I want to know is how they can check for DRMed content without some kind of massive database.

    Speaking of which, what on earth is next? Will we be having DRM scanners next to virus scanners and spamassassin? Will W32.Boyband_somecrap be part of a new wave of definition file? Will we need to upgrade our servers to deal with the extra load on DRM scanning?

    Oh who cares anyway? As long as it all makes money for somebody.... ..... oh wait :)
    • What I want to know is how they can check for DRMed content without some kind of massive database.
      Speaking of which, what on earth is next?

      Mmmm... seems to be a work for Google [managingrights.com]
    • I'm just waiting for the first DRMed virus which will be well protected against reverse engeneering, but of course allows copying freely, as long as the destination system is "trusted" as well.
  • Damn... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'd been lead to believe that Flash (woah-oh) was the Saviour of the Universe.
  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:30AM (#13665478)

    But with the SanDisk flash memory card, a consumer can move the digital content to another device. If the music company insists the data can only be copied five times, the memory card itself enforces that policy in the new device, be it a cell phone or music player."

    Er, so if I copy a file from the memory card onto, say, an iPod, the memory card alters the way the iPod works? Huh? This makes no sense whatsoever.

    One of these days, I wish there'd be an article about copy protection that protected the ability to copy.

  • Makes Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by putko (753330) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:34AM (#13665489) Homepage Journal
    Cheap and secure DRM -- looks like San Disk has done it.

    There needs to be integration with the processor (e.g. processor starts up, decrypts and runs a boot program using a special key) -- but that's already been done. Secure storage makes those two things work better. Note: if your processor is old school and non-DRM, you just snoop the bus and get the secrets.

    Looks like a real home run: this is the "right place" (from an economic standpoint) to put the DRM. It will be cheap and secure.

    However, it then becomes a juicy target for attack: if they are selling these chips by the millions, and they are protecting IP worth billions, then it is time to break out the acid and electron microscopes, and figure out how to deactivate it. And then it is busted.
  • by NigelJohnstone (242811) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:36AM (#13665497)
    It's sounds the same as Sony's MagicGate:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagicGate [wikipedia.org]

    The copy protected memory stick from Sony they did as part of the failed SDMI system.

    In other COMPLETELY UNRELATED news, Sony plans 10000 job cuts after poor product sales:
    http://us.ft.com/ftsuperpage/superpage.php?news_id =fto092220051313320477&referrer_id=yahoo&utm_sourc e=Yahoo&utm_medium=OrganicSearch&utm_campaign=URLC rawl [ft.com]
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:37AM (#13665498)
    Trying to make bits uncopyable is like trying to make water not wet.
    The sooner people accept this, and build business models that take
    this into account, the sooner people will start making money again.
            - Bruce Schneier
    • It seems that is exactly what Sandisk is doing. Their product makes the bits harder to copy. You bet they're going to make money off of it. However, this product won't be the final frontier, so later they can release one that does an even better job, and make more money again.
  • by el_womble (779715) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:43AM (#13665522) Homepage
    RIAA: So it makes us, I mean out artists, richer?
    Microsoft: Sure.. why not?
    RIAA: Let me get this straight. You line all these ones and zeros up and it makes music.
    Microsoft: Yep, on a little disk we like to call a MicroDisk TM.
    RIAA: And this can be done for 100th of the price of pressing a vinyl record.
    Microsoft: Sure can. And its easy too. The whole point of digital technology is that you can make zillions of 1s and 0s line up for no money whats so ever. Anyone can do it!
    RIAA: Anyone?
    Microsoft: Err.... I mean anyone who can remember these magic words (which are a big secret) whilst waving this MicroWand TM can do it.
    RIAA: Ah! Theres the catch!... How much is the wand?
  • New Freedom. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by P2OG (918497) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:49AM (#13665541)
    That's the New Freedom(c). Get used to it. Flash drives that can't copy, cameras everywhere (London), not owning your own house (eminent domain), being held without charges indefinetely (patriot act). It's all part of the New Freedom (c). See everything is turned upside down. It's easy.
    • ...cameras everywhere (London)...

      Spelling pedant: dude, you mis-spelled "the entire United Kingdom except maybe a bit of Shetland, oh wait, they've got that covered too." Happy to help!

      As an aside, UK residents have the right, under the Data Protection Act, to request any video footage of themselves taken by a private body (cost £10). Anyone tried this?

  • by surprise_audit (575743) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:51AM (#13665549)
    They spent 3 or 4 years working on this thing, and the best name they could come up with for the chip is gruvi. Someone needs slapping really, really hard.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:58AM (#13665570) Journal
    These news reminded me of the oxymoron of the day:

    "We think it's a great consumer win, and it's a great industry win, to be able to ensure that with good copy protection, you can have so much functionality for the user", Jordi Rivas, Microsoft Director of Technology. (source) [tomshardware.com]

    Would be sig-worthy if it wasn't over 120 bytes. :-p
  • The market will show manufacturers what users want.
    Bye-bye new copy-protected flash memory.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceeam (39911) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:05AM (#13665596)
    Anyone care to explain how this is any different to "protection" scheme used (or rather, un-used) in SD/Secure_Digital cards?
  • Fahrenheit 451 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by obender (546976) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:09AM (#13665606)
    You can't have full copy protection until you get rid of the analog version. I wonder how long it will it be before the *AAs start burning books?
  • Laws of DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acid_zebra (552109) <acidzebra@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:09AM (#13665607) Homepage Journal
    Some thoughts I am still mulling over:

    a) Any device encumbered by DRM will fail if there are alternatives available on the market. If there are no alternatives the product might enjoy a limited success until the product becomes so successful that alternatives/clones/ripoffs become inevitable.

    b) All forms of drm can be corrupted/broken/negated, and most will be broken within a matter of days or even hours.

    c) Most new technology will be used in ways the inventors never imagined. Trying to restrict this behavior with DRM will surely kill your product.

    This 'Gruvi' (what a horrible horrible name) probably falls under cat. A, and will disappear soon.
    • Re:Laws of DRM (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ediron2 (246908) *
      Nice post. I utterly agree with A. Maybe I'd cross out 'limited' and change inevitable to 'viable'. And b and c are also quite close to my opinion. That said,

      b: bypassing is the key weakness here, since hard crypto can create a mechanism that isn't easily broken. XBox discs and satellite TV are two examples that come to mind. A crypto arms race goes until the crypto becomes unwieldy enough to deter all but the most-dedicated hacker. A side thought: the UMD drives for Sony PSP are an interesting/comm
  • RTFA Please (Score:5, Informative)

    by thebdj (768618) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:39AM (#13665680) Journal
    Seriously guys did any of you read the full article or instantly just post here whining. I usually don't take the time to read them because I spend most my time responding to others people. However, in this case it helps to actually read, for if you did you would see that the talk from SD is that they would sell this devices in stores pre-loaded with the content you want to purchase or with content that would be 'unlocked' later.

    I do not think, this device is meant for direct marketing to the public in anything resembling the way current flash drives are currently marketed. You would not be buying these and loading the DRM content onto them, the DRM content comes on them when you purchase them. The idea of this is that it will probably allow a set number of devices to read the media. When you insert it into the one device too many you get the cannot read message.

    This is how it liberates the 'standard' user from music being stuck on their iPod. Most consumers (and trust me the slashdot community IS NOT most consumers) have no idea how to remove DRM from their iTunes purchases or know how to get the songs on their iPod back off. They have not had the great fortune of hearing about things like ephpod. So now they will have their DRM content on a flash disk that can go into their cell phone, PDA, PC, mp3 player and so on.
    So put the foil hats away, and stop contemplating about the demise of SD because this IS NOT targeted for straight sale as a consumer media and WILL NOT replace all the drives and memories that they presently sale.
    • Not the point at all (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tony (765) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @10:53AM (#13666915) Journal
      This is how it liberates the 'standard' user from music being stuck on their iPod. Most consumers (and trust me the slashdot community IS NOT most consumers) have no idea how to remove DRM from their iTunes purchases or know how to get the songs on their iPod back off.

      That's all well-and-good, but does it accomplish the stated objective of detering massive piracy? I submit it does not. As you imply, the people who *can* circumvent the DRM (and there will always be circumvention) will initiate the on-line propagation, and these "regular" citizens of whom you speak will download and continue to further "piracy."

      In that case, they are merely providing another inconvenience for the "average" citizen, while not stopping, or even slowing, the massive "piracy" they are constantly whinging on about. As the average citizen can now download the songs they want (and *only* the songs they want, rather than a whole crappy album for a single good song), what is the benefit to the average citizen? What does it gain us, as society? Anything? Anything at all?

      It is disingenuous to claim they are doing this to combat piracy. If anything, they are doing it to regain control of the distribution channel, and in the process to further their control over what a citizen can do with the music they lawfully purchased, essentially circumventing the doctrines of fair use and first-sale, two bugaboos of the music industry.

      This is a blatant attempt to shore up the industry's control, and nothing more.
  • Doublieplusgood! I've heard that the chocoration has been increased to 20 grams per day! ...hey, wasn't it 50 grams before?
  • by shudde (915065) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:47AM (#13665698)

    As a fan of the music industry but not music itself, I wait with great anticipation for the day when we are finally rid of the antiquated notion of personal rights.

    I propose a mandatory tithe of 10% of each individual's monthly earnings, that would be put straight into the coffers of music industry to stamp out music piracy once and for all.

    Obviously to accomplish this worthy goal we'd have to make some sacrifices, the ability to purchase music online would be one of the first to go. As many slashdotters have pointed out in the past, DRM and similar technologies are always beaten and thus are unenforceable in the long term.

    Instead of listening to music in the privacy of your home, I suggest RIAA-run facilities allowing a selected number of people to listen to carefully selected 'Top of the Pops' singles in a structured environment. Obviously a strip-search with full body cavity check, careful screening, drug-testing and metal detectors would be necessary to prevent unauthorized reproduction of the music. Needless to say, RIAA goons would be on hand with truncheons and electroshock equipment to assure proper relaxation and enjoyment.

    This utopia can only come about with the help of right-minded individuals such as yourselves. I ask slashdotters to delete their mp3/ogg collections, turn themselves into the RIAA for re-neducation and fight for this glorious future.

  • 101 Ways to Promote Piracy
    written by your favorite friends at RIAA and the MPAA.

    Reason #88 - Copy Protected Memory

    Not only will we be able to control the crappy music we're selling you, but we'll be able to limit your own works as well. We at RIAA do not like to encourage the creation of actual music and must take steps to protect our artists from such actions. This technology allows us to treat our customers like they are two-bit thugs and limit the creation of new works through our special filter software
  • by Zemplar (764598) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @08:13AM (#13665777) Journal
    I just deposited my 1Gb Sandisk Cruzer Mini in the mail yesterday for replacement since I can no longer write to, or even format, the device.

    Apparently that's not a bug or flaw, it's a feature!
  • Today, much of a consumer's digital content is held hostage on a particular kind of device, such as an iPod or a PC...

    This is, without doubt, one of the stupidest things I've ever read. It's storage folks; hostage is something completely different. This is what you get for letting sales try to figure out technology.

    ...because that is the only way to prevent massive piracy.

    This is one of the other stupidest things I've ever read. If I never even opened the CDs from the wrapper, that would reall

  • Dear SanDisk Corporation,

    Go fuck your selves.

    Sincerly,

    -turtleAJ + all the people with at least 0.07brain
  • The best FlashROM format, "SD" is " Secure Digital": secure as in DRM. SD is exactly the same as MMC, but with DRM included. SD is priced the same as MMC, though it surely costs more to produce. And we haven't heard much at all about its "security" features, though every shipped part includes them. I expect that's a strategy to get us all to accept a format with DRM, then switch it on "for our protection".
  • To all those who say this is a win for DRM, it isn't really. This doesn't take away your freedoms. I, like the next linux zealot, have a somewhat obsessive preference for freedom. I don't support DRM, nor would I like to see it used on a wider basis. What people seem to fail to understand is that this technology gives you more freedom, not less. All of us freedom-loving folks need to get used to the fact that media companies see the world in a vastly different way, and that we will probably never agree
  • Money Pit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WolfZombie (918513)
    Have these corporations involved in this "protection" ever seen "The Money Pit"? They lose money from people copying their music (even though it becomes widely distributed and popular, and we pay a gazillion dollars for a concert), then spend billions coming up with new ways to keep people from copying their music... which is then broken and copied again. This will be an infinite loop of copying and then hacking. Not every single person who comes out with a cd can make a million dollars. Period.

    If the
  • by yeremein (678037) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:21AM (#13667140)
    Has SanDisk ever heard of Secure Digital? Sony MagicGate? They ought to have, since they manufacture both...

    Or is Sandisk just giving a lot of fanfare and hoping their me-too solution will actually be used by someone?
  • by Hosiah (849792) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @11:29AM (#13667191)
    Probably an urban legend, but I remember reading something about "the first light bulb", or one of the first, that's still burning in a firehouse somewhere in the US. It was one of Thomas Edison's earliest. I think about that every time I change a light bulb that I just changed this month. I also think about cars I used to own like a Ford Fairlane and a Dodge Dart, that kept running well past the odometer rolling over, and compare that to today's cars that you're lucky to make it all the way off the lot before they break down.

    It seems that computers "work too well" and are "too cheap" by everybody's standards, and they can't jump all over themselves fast enough to break them in every concievable way. One day, you'll hear people saying "Of course you lost your data! That's a USB drive, you only get five uses out of it and it wears out!" Doubtless, they'll only hold 10 Mbs at a time, as well.

    All the more reason why I've resolved to never buy anything that's electronic new if there's a used/discarded item available. I have simply gotten too good at fixing old hardware...I never see the time when I'll need to buy a new computer, just spare parts, and even those I usually get used. I'm glad I already did my USB flash drive shopping, while I still had choices.

  • by i)ave (716746) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @03:39PM (#13669412)
    At least record albums were a media standard for a long time, but FLASH MEMORY?

    Not considering other media storage formats like Iomega ZIP, this is just a list of flash-memory media formats that 'I' am aware of to have come out in the 10 years since 1995 when Compact Flash Type 1 was introduced:

    Compact Flash Type I
    Compact Flash Type II
    Compact Flash Type III
    Smart Media
    Multi Media Card
    Secure Digital Card
    MiniSD
    Memory Stick
    Memory Stick Magic Gate
    Memory Stick Duo
    Memory Stick PRO
    Extreme Digital Card

    That's an average of more than 1 new flash-memory format/year, and I'm sure there are others that I have missed.
    If someone buys a Rolling Stones album on a DRM'd SD card, they're making a bet that from now on, every .mp3 player, car stereo, computer, card reader, entertainment system and cellphone they purchase will have built-in support for that particular flash-media storage format. And with an average of more than 1 new flash-media format introduced/year that's just a pipe-dream. That makes the 8-track look like it had a pretty fantastic run.

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