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  • Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

    I just read this article and found it pretty interesting. I know I post a lot of new threads about DRM and the breaking of it, but it's not for any nefarious purpose. I've been looking to develop a homebrew media entertainment/storage network at home similar to the stuff that Kalidescape is making, but DRM always seems to be getting in the way.
    Believing in a DRM business model is like joining Star Fleet security, putting on your red shirt, and volunteering to beam down to the new unexplored planet with Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Someone will be coming back from that mission, it's just not likely to be the security guard. Always a true engineer, Scotty had the good sense to stay safely on board the ship.

    Read the full article here.
    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

  • #2
    Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

    Good article; now you just need to convince the ignorant, and it'll disappear.
    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. ~
    I have a tendency to key out three or four things and then let them battle for supremacy while I key, so there's a lot of backspacing as potential statements are slaughtered and eaten by the victors. ~
    Feel free to quote me. ~

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    • #3
      Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

      Originally posted by article
      trying to obfuscate and hide the fact that the consumer possesses all the information needed to decrypt the file they've just been given
      I believe that it is possible, in practical terms, to hide the compressed/encoded content from the user. However, this requires complete security starting at the physical layer. Consumer blue-ray players will eventually use one tamper-resistant chip for decryption and decompression/decoding. If properly protected at the board level I don't see any way for hackers to deal with this.

      Of course it only takes one software player or one consumer device with an open JTAG port and the whole system is cracked. Also, I can't imagine any way to protect the decoded content which could be digitally captured and re-encoded with minimal quality loss.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

        I'm not sure it has much to do with "the ignorant". A quick googling of "DRM" shows that DRM is popularly held to be a combination of the worst traits of Microsoft and Paris Hilton (take that analogy as you will - suffice to say that it is not well liked).

        I think the persistence of DRM simply shows how far a determined industry can push what appears to be a failed product, in spite of market demands. Maybe consider it a sort of cognitive dissonance that is tracking towards a market correction.

        The underlying problem, as I see it, is that the "business models" that are predicated on DRM have much more to do with selling the same product multiple times to the same consumer than actually doing anything to add value for the consumer. Why would someone want to pay for that?

        Originally posted by New Strategies for Property Rights
        In the past, developing new property rights for digital goods was costly. This is because it entailed coordinating and enforcing massively multilateral contracts among a huge number of buyers. So producers attempted to obviate such costly contracts by imposing property rights through mechanisms like copy protection and EULAs.

        Consumers derive negative value from these kinds of property rights producers of digital goods have imposed on them. When such property rights are bundled with digital goods, consumers have little incentive to consume the rights, but large incentives to consume the good.

        In the past, even when sellers have been able to separate rights and goods, high transaction costs have blocked markets from forming efficiently. But the Net slashes transaction costs, enabling such buyers and sellers to contract with one another, in effect forming parallel or gray markets for unbundled goods without property rights. In these markets, the value of property rights is arbitraged away.

        The existence of such gray markets implies that consumers will only consume bundles of goods and rights from which they derive at least the same value as equivalent goods without bundled rights. In other words, bundled property rights must provide consumers some value. Such value might be provided by side payments or other mechanisms.

        Furthermore, The Net changes the dynamics of digital goods markets, by slashing the transaction costs of massively multilateral contracts. In essence, it offers producers a strategic opportunity to define new kinds of property rights based on providing consumers additional value when bundled with digital goods.
        Source: http://www.bubblegeneration.com/?a=a...ce=proprights1

        [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
        [ma-c2][taw-c1]

        Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
        Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

        Treat others as you would have them treat you

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        • #5
          Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

          Originally posted by RandomGuy View Post
          I believe that it is possible, in practical terms, to hide the compressed/encoded content from the user. However, this requires complete security starting at the physical layer. Consumer blue-ray players will eventually use one tamper-resistant chip for decryption and decompression/decoding. If properly protected at the board level I don't see any way for hackers to deal with this.

          Of course it only takes one software player or one consumer device with an open JTAG port and the whole system is cracked. Also, I can't imagine any way to protect the decoded content which could be digitally captured and re-encoded with minimal quality loss.
          If there was a way to compromise Quantum Key Distribution and read its encrypted cargo.. without alerting the parties or damaging the data integrity, I don't think anything will be tamper resistant. Granted, the QKD phantom photon was fixed - and that version of QKD is outmoded now, but for how long?

          m'eh.. just an extreme example that physical layer protection is not the end-all.
          sigpic


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          • #6
            Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

            Originally posted by RandomGuy View Post
            I believe that it is possible, in practical terms, to hide the compressed/encoded content from the user. However, this requires complete security starting at the physical layer. Consumer blue-ray players will eventually use one tamper-resistant chip for decryption and decompression/decoding. If properly protected at the board level I don't see any way for hackers to deal with this.

            Of course it only takes one software player or one consumer device with an open JTAG port and the whole system is cracked. Also, I can't imagine any way to protect the decoded content which could be digitally captured and re-encoded with minimal quality loss.
            At some point they have to provide the key to decrypt the content, as long as they are providing that key and that key is processed, there will be a way to get at it. The current method of key retrieval involves hardware modification of an Xbox 360 HD-DVD player, but it will allow access to the current key and any future processing keys used. Alternatively, IDE HD-DVD or Blu-Ray players are connected via USB through external drive housings and the traffic between the drive and the PC is logged and analyzed. As soon as the key is exchanged for decryption, it's compromised.

            The only method I can think of to protect against this sort of key retrieval would be to build the player's motherboards the way they build HSM devices. In some HSM devices if you even attempt to OPEN the device a charged capacitor dumps enormous amounts of electricity across a spring-loaded metal plate that slams into the back side of the circuit board, permanently destroying all the circuitry on the board. Some HSM devices self-destruct if they are turned more than a couple degrees on any axis once they have been activated. Either of these solutions would render normal warranty repair impossible and only allow for warranty replacement.

            I don't think this level of security in protecting digital content is feasible considering the number of hardware manufacturers and the total level of security needed at the software, and physical layers to protect the key.
            Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

              Originally posted by Diceman View Post
              I think the persistence of DRM simply shows how far a determined industry can push what appears to be a failed product, in spite of market demands. Maybe consider it a sort of cognitive dissonance that is tracking towards a market correction.
              That statement kind of reminds me of DIVX and the persistence of Circuit City to force that format down everyone's throats. That technology ultimately failed as consumers simply weren't buying what DIVX was selling. I think we'll see DRM take this same route.
              Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                Originally posted by Apophis View Post
                That statement kind of reminds me of DIVX and the persistence of Circuit City to force that format down everyone's throats. That technology ultimately failed as consumers simply weren't buying what DIVX was selling. I think we'll see DRM take this same route.
                I was under the impression that Divx is just starting to enter the mainstream. They recently went public and looking at their latest quarter it appears they are still growing their revenue. http://www.divx.com/company/press/pr....php?pr_id=237

                Perhaps the next attempt at DRM will overcome the shortfalls mentioned here, mostly via online interaction to allow decryption. This article about Intel's Viiv strategy speaks about DRM as well as MovieBeam.

                http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1942273,00.asp

                MovieBeam must have some appeal to Hollywood since most of the movie studios have signed up for it.

                I have been planning a multimedia system in my home for about a year. About the time I get settled on what I want - something new pops up that "almost" does everything I want - so I reconsider what I want to do, and the process repeats itself!

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                • #9
                  Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                  DivX has been out for many years now in commercially available units (usually DVD players with DivX compatible decoder chips). The main problems they faced however was that DivX encoded DVDs were generally made on a PC, and it's much simpler (and cheaper) to get an S-Video lead and hook it up to your existing TV.


                  It is an interesting debate, and I can't disagree with either Apophis or Random. On the one hand Apophis is correct that it is theoretically possible to crack any security based on encoding - you just have to find the right key to decode it. On the other hand Random is correct that it is realistically possible to protect it from the mainstream by making it so hard that it is not worth anyone's time.

                  It reminds me of the PKZip encryption method, where a 64 bit key back in the mid 90's would take a company an investment of something like $10million to crack a single key within 10 days (so they claimed). The problem with this system is that you have to make the keys non-unique and widely available (in order to maintain compatability in the many units that you hope to shift).

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                    I was talking about DIVX and not DivX.

                    DIVX, also known as "Digital Video Express" was a proprietary DVD format thrust on the world by Circuit City and a bunch of attorneys. DIVX came out shortly after DVD players hit the mainstream right around 1998 or so. The concept behind DIVX was that you would purchase a DIVX disc for around the same cost as a rental movie and after playing it, you could only watch it for 48 hours before it was deactivated by the player. Additional viewings cost additional dollars.

                    DIVX owners had the option of paying more money to upgrade the disc to DIVX Silver status which gave them unlimited viewing. DIVX Silver wasn't all that great either, because if you loaned the disc to a friend, they would get charged the per-view rental price if they watched the movie. So it was only unlimited play on YOUR player. In addition to DIVX Silver you also had the option of upgrading to DIVX Gold for even MORE money. DIVX Gold offered unlimited play on any DIVX player, but as far as I know DIVX never actually released any DIVX Gold movies.

                    DIVX only lasted for about a year or two before the whole thing was scrapped. Circuit City sales drones were trying to push these DIVX players on consumers saying they were far better than normal DVD players because of all the "flexibility" you had with the DIVX format.

                    Consumers that bought DIVX players now have a big pile of junk and the discs they bought, even if they upgraded to DIVX Silver, are now smaller piles of junk.

                    The whole thing was an enormous flop and cost Circuit City and numerous hardware manufacturers (not to mention consumers) millions and millions of dollars. It was a technology that wasn't really wanted or needed and died a well deserving death.

                    I've heard some people in the past compare DIVX to Sony's Betamax format, but at least Betamax took a VERY strong foothold in the professional and broadcast markets even though it didn't hold its own in the consumer market compared to VHS. DIVX was just a complete flop all around.
                    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                      I was wondering about DIVX, back in 1999, or 2000, I acutally had the movie psycho on divx. Back then I knew nothing about the format, but I knew it had a 48hr pass once you inserted it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                        Originally posted by UnDeaD77 View Post
                        I was wondering about DIVX, back in 1999, or 2000, I acutally had the movie psycho on divx. Back then I knew nothing about the format, but I knew it had a 48hr pass once you inserted it.
                        I absolutely loathed DIVX. It seemed to me that Circuit City and that pesky law firm that were pushing this product were just trying to cloud the minds of consumers who were just starting to adopt the DVD format. They were going after the Blockbuster's and other movie rental companies and trying to provide an alternative format that created a HUGE amount of waste and a reliance on Circuit City for the DIVX formatted disks themselves.

                        I would routinely be in Circuit City and listed to their sales drones pushing DIVX players on consumers and would actually start conversations with some of the consumers and steer them away and towards normal DVD players. I was asked to leave more than once, but I also managed to successfully convince numerous people to go with normal DVD players instead. They didn't need to shell out an extra $100+ to get these DIVX "features".

                        When DIVX finally collapsed, they ended up refunding consumers $100 if they bought their DIVX players within some certain timeframe. I feel bad for the ones that got roped into all that sales BS and bought the damned things.
                        Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                          I just spent the past two days dealing with the DRM crap.

                          The situation, my daughters and wifes computers are reaching usefully end of life. They are about 5 or six years old and I have slowly upgraded them over time. But now there isn't much more I can do. So I am building new ones for them.

                          The only major problem I have encountered is the DRM crap. Combined they have about 2000 songs. About 1200 from iTunes and the rest in some kind of Windows Media format.

                          The iTunes is the better but it still sucks. I am locked into that crap fest. I can't export them in any meaningful way. I tried to burn to CD then rip them back but there is no track information! I am not going to sit down and enter mp3 info for 1200 tracks.

                          Added to the pain is that two of the allowed computer authorizations are lost. Those computers died years ago. I have contacted apple multiple times but they say they can't de-authorize the broken computers. So now I have to de-authorize either my home computer or my work computer. This isn't a big deal for me since I don't really listen to music that much. But still sucks.

                          But at least I can still listen to iTunes on the new computers. With the windows media crap I can't even back up the music licenses! There is no way that I can find to do it. That is simply crap. I can't even burn them to CD's because of some cryptic WMP 11 error. Can't find help about it. So those song may very well be lost. I tried to simply use the drive they are on in the new computers but no luck. Some other cryptic error crops up.

                          Personally I think both are useless and have canceled all the accounts. Nobody can buy music on line any more. Period.

                          In addition I have started torrenting music like crazy. Bite me RIAA. You wanted this you got it. Since I cannot preserve my purchases I will download, illegally, the music I have purchased legally. Since I have canceled the accounts my wife and daughter used to buy music on I am sure they will start getting it illegally. Before I told them not to do this. I told them that it was wrong and that I set up the accounts so that they could get the music they wanted legally. Now, I don't care.

                          Not any more. If they download stuff from nefarious places, so bet it. Your fault.

                          So back on topic. The ignorant masses probably haven't run into this problem in mass yet. Their computers are still running. But when they die, and that time is coming, you will see the death of DRM.
                          Im not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                          - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                          - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                          - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                          - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                          - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                          - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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                          • #14
                            Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                            I think you'll like iTunes better now.

                            They've essentially ditched DRM, or at least begun the process. It's called iTunes Plus. You pay $0.3 extra, but get double the bitrate on the song (for those audiophiles who loathe 128kbps) and DRM-free content.

                            I'm guessing that they're doing this with the content whose owners are allowing Apple to do this.

                            Games: GRAW, BF2142, Oblivion, FarCry, Empire At War, R6:RVS, KotOR, KotOR2, MW4: Mercs, FEAR (XP)




                            *Hiss* "Oh...crap!" *BLAM* "I'm down....MEDIC!!"

                            DirtyLude: "If we kill him and eat his heart, his magic will be ours."

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                            • #15
                              Re: Why DRM Won't Ever Work...

                              Originally posted by Sir_Brass View Post
                              I think you'll like iTunes better now.

                              They've essentially ditched DRM, or at least begun the process. It's called iTunes Plus. You pay $0.3 extra, but get double the bitrate on the song (for those audiophiles who loathe 128kbps) and DRM-free content.

                              I'm guessing that they're doing this with the content whose owners are allowing Apple to do this.

                              I saw that yesterday and I thought "Thank you APPLE!" but then I saw the selection. It is pretty small.

                              And 30% more? Maybe. But for the music my daughter listens to? I thought 99 cents was to much for that stuff.

                              It is the right direction but only 120 songs of the about 1200 in the library are upgradeable. And that would cost me about 36 bucks. For music I have already paid for.

                              Still nothing but crap.
                              Im not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                              - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                              - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                              - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                              - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                              - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                              - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                              Comment

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