back to article Four firms pitch hi-def DRM for Flash cards

Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba have begun licensing their new DRM technology for memory cards to anyone who feels the world needs yet another copy protection technology for HD content. They hope many content providers do indeed want a new DRM system, specifically one that secures content but doesn’t prevent content …

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Oh great

Yet another Digital Repression Mechanism.

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CPRM?

This all seems very familiar.

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Re: CPRM?

CPRM? Customer Punishment and Restriction Mechanism?

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Re: CPRM?

Content Protection for Removeable Media. A very, very similar scheme. It's present in all Secure Digital cards: That's what the 'secure' part indicates. It just isn't used by anyone. Ever. An abandoned DRM scheme. The demand wasn't there, as commercial sales of content on SD card never took off, and hardware players all went with competing methods based on tying files in some manner to devices rather than media. There was no interest in media-tying, because the only advantage that could give would be in allowing users to re-sell their purchased media second-hand. A feature content suppliers actively opposed.

If you remember a big panic a few years back about DRM being built into hard drives, CPRM was the technology being panicked over.

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FAIL

We need more DRM like a hole in the head.

As long as content providers keep thinking up this crap, people will just download the content off of a torrent site and use it on the device they want.

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How is this better?

So I download a film and put it on memory card. I can then watch that film wherever I like as long as it

1. Has a flash memory slot

2. Supports the DRM scheme.

So can I watch the film on a Google Nexus or an ipad? Doesn't look like it. Can I play it on my no name linux based media playback device connected to the PC? doubt it. Do I have to store all my films on tiny little memory cards? That seems to be the implication. Is this in any way better than buying a DVD or bluray? I don't get that impression.

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Interesting thinking going on, for sure, but let's give it a little time. I'm sure people with nothing better to do will take some time and tear into the scheme looking for chinks. For example, this scheme makes me think of DVD's CSS protection, which had to be offline and therefore impossible to update. So if a bunch of movies are signed by a particular key, and the key gets cracked, the box gets opened again, I would think. So I'll see how this plays out.

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Anonymous Coward

Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

The word "Fighting" is the key here. Keeping all these R&D departments going to produce DRM that will be broken in far less time than it took to produce. Lobbying governments to introduce new internet censorship. Paying firms to run honeypots and send out letters to those drawn in.

So, Is it working?

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Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

A few weeks ago I wanted to watch "Dark Knight". The DVD had been sitting on the shelf for quite a while. I don't have a DVD player in the lounge, I normally rip the DVD to a server and then watch it over the network (which lets me view it in the lounge, office, bedroom, garden etc). Could I get the movie on to the server? Only with a lot of frustration.

It would have been easier to torrent the movie or go for an illegal download.

So this thing I had given good money to purchase and done my bit to support the industry was actively trying to make my life difficult. I don't condone infringement, but sometimes...it's just easier even when you have paid for the blasted thing!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

DRM only hurts legal users.

Pirate copies don't make you sit through the 'don't pirate this film' messages and several trailers.

Pirate copies can be easily moved around.

No matter how heavily protected they make a film, a pirate copy will come out with the protection removed.

Even with a legal copy of a film, its tempting to download the unprotected version.

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Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

That anti-infringement stuff does my head in "You wouldn't steal a purse...."

And I won't infringe on your copyright either. Which is why I paid for the bloody film! Now get off my TV and let me watch my film!

ARGH!

Or use a player that skips it.

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Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

Goodness, you don't want to watch that on DVD anyway, partly filmed in IMAX, the bluray rip with the changing ratios is the only way you have in the home to get a half decent presentation!

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Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

Can't use Blu-Ray so, meh. Stuck.

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Linux

Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

> Could I get the movie on to the server? Only with a lot of frustration.

A DVD? Are you kidding? Push one button on a suitable ripping program and you're done.

Hardly a burden. Certainly not something likely to induce "a lot of frustration".

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Linux

Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

> the bluray rip with the changing ratios

...is probably moot unless he has a projector.

Check out those viewing distance versus display size charts. It's very hard to easily get into a "can notice a difference" zone unless you aggressively scale up the size of the display.

When it comes to a "proper presentation", the media is really the last thing to sort out.

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Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

@JEDIDIAH - Not with "Dark Knight" you don't, buy the DVD and try it for yourself. Or run a web search to see what others have said. e.g. Kubuntu forums.

Hell, this movie didn't even play on some distros when it came out.

The clue that "Dark Knight" is an issue might come from the fact that I said "I normally rip the DVD to a server". As in "I have done this before, I know what I'm doing".

Next time, do a little bit of research before posting based on ignorance and assumption.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

I watched it in the cinema and I doubt that it'd be any worse watching it on an old Galaxy S1.

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Linux

Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

> @JEDIDIAH - Not with "Dark Knight" you don't, buy the DVD and try it for yourself.

ls -altrh *vob

-rw-r--r-- 1 jedi jedi 6.8G Jan 4 2009 The_Dark_Knight.vob

Very few DVDs need anything more than mplayer. Most of those are Disney movies. Commercial products are available to handle those rare exceptions.

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Re: Fighting piracy is costing the movie industry millions.

I can't say anything about TDK specifically, but there do exist DVDs which use weird layouts - the movie stored in a non-linear order within those VOBs, and dependent upon transitions and scripting to make it play in the expected order. Either as a deliberate anti-ripping measure, or as an accidential effect of an unusual special feature. The Matrix DVD was well-known for the latter. They are still rippable, but take a bit more work to manually figure out what goes where - a task that itsself requires watching the movie, several times, out of sequence. It's a great annoyance for those who rip their own DVDs, but doesn't do more to the internet pirates than delay the torrent release by a couple of hours.

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Facepalm

When will the studios realise...

1) There stuffs effective value is 0, you can get it for free, from a torrent site and play it anywhere. (Stuff is worth way people are willing to pay for it.)

2) DRM is pointless, it just annoys people like me who are willing to pay something for viewing/listening to top quality stuff, on anything i want in any format i want. If i cannot get it how i want it for the device i want it on, see point 1

3) CD's in the 1990's made the prices too high, see point 1

4) Dont do any DRM, save the money on paying for it, make all your stuff available for a few pounds, and see lots more money come in. Lets face it would you rather sell 1 at £20 or 10000 at £2.

People in entertainment land need to realise there methods of payment / distribution died 10 years ago. No matter what you do its not coming back.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: When will the studios realise...

"1) There stuffs effective value is 0, you can get it for free, from a torrent site and play it anywhere. (Stuff is worth way people are willing to pay for it.)"

If I steal your car, its effective value is also zero, to me if not to you.

Your attitude is just a thieves charter; "stuff is worth what people are willing to pay for it" is only true where choice is available to both parties. When you infringe copyright you are deciding the value is zero, to you, and the people who paid for the content to be created don't get to negotiate any part of the transaction.

"2) DRM is pointless, it just annoys people like me who are willing to pay something for viewing/listening to top quality stuff, on anything i want in any format i want. If i cannot get it how i want it for the device i want it on, see point 1"

So you're willing to pay for "top quality stuff", but if it's not packaged exactly how you want it you'll get it for free anyway? What about stuff that's not "top quality"? Do you steal dented tins from supermarkets?

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Re: When will the studios realise...

"stuff is worth what people are willing to pay for it"

I think you'll find that's called "free market economics". If you don't like the price the market sets, you do not have the right to interfere in said market and create artificial barriers (e.g. region locks) to try and get the price you want (which is what the RIAA, BPI et al try and do).

"if it's not packaged exactly how you want it you'll get it for free anyway"

If it's packaged in a way that make it difficult for me to use, I have been driven very close to infringing. It's not always obvious that one is purchasing a what is in effect defective product.

"Do you steal dented tins from supermarkets?"

Infringement != stealing. Which is why we call one "infringement" and the other "stealing".

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Re: When will the studios realise...

@The BigYin

"If you don't like the price the market sets, you do not have the right to interfere in said market and create artificial barriers (e.g. region locks) to try and get the price you want (which is what the RIAA, BPI et al try and do)."

Region locks and regional licensing aren't there to stop me and you getting stuff at the "price the market sets", because the price we pay correlates very closely with the cost of production. Region locks allow the producers to make extra money by selling in regions where the price we pay wouldn't be viable.

Because "the market" is very different for people on a nice 20k+ a year wage and the poor sods who make our trainers for £1 a day.

Please please please don't believe that the price they pay for Spiderman Umpteen is the true value of Spiderman Umpteen. Maybe it's crap overhyped blockbuster sh!te, but it's still an expensive production. If there was no region locking and no ability to block parallel import of IP works, it wouldn't mean a reduction in film prices, it would mean an increase, because American film studios would not be able to afford to sell at the street price for Ougadougou the world over, so they'd be restricting their market to North America and Europe, and they'd have to make all their profits here.

(Of course, loosing out on Spiderman Umpteen might be good for developing countries as they could instead build their own film industries and stop exporting their cash to rich US conglomerates, but that's a different issue.)

And going back to "market forces", if you're not willing to pay, you're not forced into buying. That's the consumer's prerogative. The producer offers, the consumer accepts or rejects. Part of what they offer is the DRM, region locking etc, and that is the producer's prerogative.

But nobody seriously describes IP infringement as a legitimate "market force".

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Re: When will the studios realise...

"Region locks and regional licensing aren't there to stop me and you getting stuff at the "price the market sets" "

Of course they are. If I buy a region 1 DVD, it won't play in my region 2 player. This allows a different price to be enforced for different markets, rather than let the market determine its own price (and there will always be variation due to shipping etc).

"because the price we pay correlates very closely with the cost of production."

Except it when it doesn't. Which is why the UK (to name one) pays much more for good than (say) the USA, even thought they get made in China. Case in point, I import my own parts from the USA (even though they come from Japan); I save about a third off the UK price after freight and taxes. This is apparently "OK" and makes me a savvy shopper. But if I tried it with movies...OH NOES!...DOOM!...I am in breach of copyright!....I am by-passing technological measures!....The humanity!

"Because "the market" is very different for people on a nice 20k+ a year wage and the poor sods who make our trainers for £1 a day."

Quite correct, which is why the market should be allowed to set it's prices. Any artificial disparity will be re-set by people exploiting the differential. Oh wait, no it won't; that's now illegal. Ask CD-Wow. Also, if the local price turns out to be too high in some regions, the choice is quite stark; don't sell in those regions or improve the wages so the goods are be affordable (yes, this will raise prices here but that's OK, it means we won't be having our cheap goods subsidised by someone else's suffering; also, it will aid local producers).

"Spiderman Umpteen is the true value of Spiderman Umpteen. Maybe it's crap overhyped blockbuster sh!te, but it's still an expensive production."

So what? If you can't sell it at the unit price you made it you know what happens? You go out of business. Simple. Perhaps a few loses and bankruptcies might focus their minds slightly, and give the decent indy producers a chance.

"American film studios would not be able to afford to sell at the street price for Ougadougou the world over"

Umm...no. Because languages do vary, so there is a natural barrier right there. I have no issue with a DVD clearly having a "region" to declare what languages it contains. I object to the lock.

"Spiderman Umpteen might be good for developing countries as they could instead build their own film industries and stop exporting their cash to rich US conglomerates, but that's a different issue"

No, it's the same one, It's called "free trade". The current system, along with price fixing, tries to enforce the status quo. That's fine for us fat, white Westerners; it's a bit of a shit for the 6 billion other folks on the planet.

"The producer offers, the consumer accepts or rejects."

You have that backwards. The consumer offers. The seller has to choose whether or not they accept.

"Part of what they offer is the DRM, region locking etc, and that is the producer's prerogative.

So they next time I can't pull a movie off a DVD onto a HDD so I can watch it, I should return it for a refund? I'm trying not to infringe, I'm trying to support the products I like, they are making it harder and harder for me to do so.

And how can I tell in advance if I can use it? Looks like CD/DVD, says it's a CD/DVD...why it contains a rootkit or dodgy tracks that make is dangerous/near impossible to use.

"But nobody seriously describes IP infringement as a legitimate "market force"."

No one has. All I have moaned about are artificial barriers to free trade. i.e. market control, which isn't very capitalist. You know "capitalism", that thing that's supposed to allow us all to be free too compete?

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Re: When will the studios realise...

"I think you'll find that's called "free market economics". If you don't like the price the market sets, you do not have the right to interfere in said market and create artificial barriers (e.g. region locks) to try and get the price you want (which is what the RIAA, BPI et al try and do)."

And the price the market is setting is 0.00.

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Re: When will the studios realise...

The price the infringers are setting is 0.00, that's not the market. Just because there is theft we do not say the market has set a price of 0.00 for beans.

At least shops do not externalise their costs like the RIAA, what with new laws etc.

So what is the market price? Depends. That might be £15 for the latest Hollywood offering, or it might be £0.50. The cost of the movie is not the customer's concern. Me, I pay £5-£10 for a movie, but I don't buy on release day.

I deliberately pay more to people who play fair. So "The Tunnel" got £15.

Do not think for one second that just because I am pro-free market, pro-global market and anti-artificial barriers, anti-protectionism; that I in some way want things for nowt.

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As Wau Holland once said

"Es gibt keinen Kopierschutz nur einen Kapierschutz" (There is no protection from copying, but only protection from understanding)

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Has anyone worked out how decrpting this rubbish will affect battery life? Battery life is the biggest issue we all face with smart devices and this is a big step in the wrong direction.

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Copy copy

"For most folk, the real flaw with DRM is not copy prevention but the way the technology ties content to specific devices or platforms. A movie downloaded from Apple’s iTunes can’t be played on a TV without the presence of extra Apple-made kit, for instance, and it certainly can’t be copied to an Android tablet or a Windows phone."

In other words the real flaw with DRM is copy prevention!

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Megaphone

Yet another damp squib of fail.

Two examples of films I bought: Ink, indie fantasy, on signed Blu-Ray even though it had been released by the makers as a torrent. Four Horsemen, economic documentary, DRM-free download for less than £4. I also refuse to purchase any game that roots my machine in an effort to have me farting about for physical media. Both of those films are highly recommended by the way!

Moral of the story: don't dick us buying public about, an we'll happily drop a few coins in your guitar case.

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the problem with DRM systems

they are conceived by people who just have no concept of humans. no one who designs DRM systems has ever had to use one, that's for sure. They just sit in their cozy bubble pumping out this shit. "oh what if we scramble these few bytes here, that will really fuck with them!" "no i've got a better idea, lets write a new driver for windows to connect to our server and make sure everything is legal every 30 seconds"

it's like having a team of guys working on new types of cancer. "Hey guys, here's a new one! You're gunna love this: HAIR CANCER. When can we get it in production?"

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Re: the problem with DRM systems

The problem with DRM systems is that the entire concept is cryptographically flawed.

In any cryptographic scenario, you have at least three parties: the sender (usually called Alice), the intended receiver (usually called Bob), and the middleman attacker (usually called Mallory). Any given cryptographic scenario is then based on Alice encrypting a message to transmit to Bob, and Mallory tries to intercept and decrypt the message without Alice or Bob knowing.

Where DRM fails in all this is that the receiver is, ipso facto, the attacker. DRM is built entirely around this contradiction: the presumption that the receiver simultaneously should and should not be able to access the message. In this scenario, Bob and Mallory are the same person. The logical flaw in this then becomes self-evident. The customer is also the criminal.

What this amounts to is, if the message can be seen or heard, it can be copied. No amount of copy protection, no matter how sophisticated, can prevent this: what the human eye can see, a camera can photograph; what the human ear can hear, a microphone can record. If you're worried about quality, the unencrypted video data going to a screen or audio signal going to a loudspeaker can easily be captured. And once the recording is made, subsequent digital copies can be made ad infinitum. Even if you need specialised equipment to capture the video feed from within the monitor, or a tap on an audio cable, it only needs one person to make a copy, and all the DRM in the world is useless.

For this reason, DRM is snake oil, and nothing but. I'm frankly stunned at the blindness of copyright holders in not understanding this utterly simple, obvious and inescapable flaw underscoring all DRM. They've been trying for better than 30 years, and they still haven't realised that the whole concept is completely fraudulent.

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Re: the problem with DRM systems

That's the old "Screeners" scenario (taking handycams to theaters). It may be ugly, but if you really just wanna watch the movie, then it'll do. The movie companies concede that point because camera tech is already too far ahead (What you gonna do? Strip-search everyone on entering? And did you know video cameras can now fit in eyeglass frames?)

The current movement in DRM is to limit the quality of these ripoffs, as a screener copy may not be to everyone's liking. OTOH, if someone were to present a 1080p/7.1/multi-language rip of the latest blockbuster, unencrypted, that's gonna get some attention. That's why high-definition content has to many authentication mechanisms: to try to make sure only trusted channels get access to the high-def content on BluRays and so on. That's also why BD+ was developed: it's a virtual machine with the codes on the discs: a moving target for the crackers.

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Re: the problem with DRM systems

That's why I made the point about if you were worried about quality. If the movie is still only in the cinemas then yes, cams and screeners are all you can hope for. But once the DVD or BD comes out - it's fair game.

Suppose your playback device (say a PC or set-top box) keeps the video signal encrypted even through the monitor cable, and so the monitor itself has a revokable key to decrypt the signal. At some point between the encrypted video-in port and the screen, the signal has to be decrypted so it can be displayed. A competent cracker can open up the monitor and patch in an intercept circuit that captures this unencrypted signal as it's hitting the screen. This captures the video in the original quality.

Likewise, even if the audio going to a loudspeaker is encrypted and the speaker box itself has to have a key, at some point inside that box, the signal gets decrypted so it can actuate the coil that drives the speaker cone. A cracker can capture that signal, again in its original quality, and combine it with the video to create a near-perfect copy of the original. There may be some loss depending on how he does it, but using these methods it's perfectly feasible to produce a high-quality HD copy that's visually and aurally indistinguishable from the original. And this holds true regardless of the depth and sophistication of the DRM system used.

And it is also true that this requires some technical knowhow, and so may be seen as being beyond the means of the average Joe to achieve. This is the stated object of modern DRM - to make it difficult rather than impossible to copy. But this is where Bob being Mallory comes in; the encryption only needs to broken once. As Mallory, Bob has cracked the message and can now distribute it - via bittorrent, bitlockers, USB sticks, or the P2P system du jour, whereby the average Joe can easily get a high-quality, unprotected copy. And the more the DRM imposes limitations on what Joe can do with the file, the more he will continue going to P2P to get himself a DRM-free copy - even if he's done the right thing and bought a restricted original.

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Re: the problem with DRM systems

Indeed, then the best the RIAA can hope for is watermarking in the waveforms presented to the output devices (loudspeakers, cells in LCD screen) that might uniquely identify a playback device.

Yellow dots on print-outs from colour laser printers has been done for exactly this purpose for years.

The point about DRM being cryptographically flawed is a good one though. Talk a presumption of guilt!

Personally, if I make one copy, or one million copies, how does this hurt the producer? It only hurts them if I distribute any of those copies to a third party. If they're just for my own personal consumption, let's face it, I can only listen to one CD at a time, who am I hurting really?

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Re: the problem with DRM systems

Not necessarily, if the drive circuit (the thing that actually turns the pixels on and off) contains the encryption kit, which is kept internal to the chip so that unencrypted video feed never leaves the device, then you have encrypted video data on one end and already-diffused pixel data going out to the LCD array along tons of wires: much more difficult thing to capture. And since the signal is all digital: even down to the display on the LCD array, there's no "analog gap" to exploit. That's why most efforts have been into cracking HDCP (which they pretty much have done): breaking the trust chain elsewhere.

Now, the audio data is much more basic and just about impossible to keep encrypted because it's easy to analog-record from the speaker wires. But trying to do it across 8 speakers and keep the timings exact (due to speed-of-light and clock skews) is trickier.

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Re: the problem with DRM systems

The Steganography angle. Thing is, stego has two competing goals. It has to be robust or it can be destroyed by signal manipulation, and it has to be hidden or someone will detect its presence and either avoid it or remove it. The goals clash against each other because they both apply to signal alteration. A subtle signal hides it but also makes it vulnerable while a robust signal is harder to erase but easier to identify.

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FAIL

This Quote sums it up nicely for me

"They hope many content providers do indeed want a new DRM system, specifically one that secures content but doesn’t prevent content consumers from moving files from device to device, and even lending content to others."

So which is it is this meant to stop this kind of Freetard-ism or is it not?

Impling the above this seems to be more of a joke the the Secure Digital DRM which also doesn't do what it says on the Tin...

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