back to article Hollywood: How do we secure high-def 4K content? Easy. Just BRAND the pirates

Movielabs, the R&D business for Hollywood studios, has just issued a new specification for securing 4K high-def streaming video content, and one of the things that it’s going to demand is forensic watermarking. This spec is being described as “recommendations”, but studios will need to adopt these overnight as the hard and …

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  1. Busby

    Because every other attempt at securing digital files has gone so well. CSS springs immediately to mind.

    Expect this to be cracked by the time consumer kit launches or shortly after.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      CSS was invented in 1996. Its successors were not quite so awful... HDCP and AACS weren't exactly trivial to crack for quite a while.

      But that's beside the point. As the article said, you know when you've stripped out the encryption. Knowing when you're removed watermarking is not nearly so simple, and the transformations required may well end up degrading the quality of the video.

      Of course, you still have to link a watermark on a pirated video file with an actual person or organisation to prosecute, and that's not a trivial task, so I fully expect watermarked content to be just as easily available. Making no difference isn't quite the same as being trivially cracked ;-)

      1. Busby

        Whether cracked or using a workaround I really can't see it preventing piracy. What I would expect is the usual consumer issues with equipment not playing back due to one of these systems not liking your set up.

        Surely I'm not the only one running into problems when my kit says it's not connected to a DCHP compliant screen when it is.

        Just see the whole effort as pointless. Wont impact on piracy but will inconvenience paying users.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Devils Advocaat (with ice)

          "Wont impact on piracy but will inconvenience paying users."

          I for one would like to see the movie studios come up with a way of completely eradicating piracy, just so we can see how it will affect their business.

          I predict that the methods will be so draconian for the average user that people will just stop bothering, it's not like there's a lot of decent material being produced these days.

          So, they will win the battle, but lose the war.

          1. andy 45

            Re: Devils Advocaat (with ice)

            If this gets any more draconian each film will come complete with its own security guard who will keep an eye on you while you watch the film to ensure you comply with industry standard audience guidelines

            1. auburnman

              Re: Devils Advocaat (with ice)

              Or they could prevent you from watching the film at all on the grounds that it would be making an unauthorised copy in your memory.

              1. tony
                Happy

                Re: Devils Advocaat (with ice)

                "Or they could prevent you from watching the film at all on the grounds that it would be making an unauthorised copy in your memory."

                They could make you watch a watermark prior to watching the film, and once you've seen it they erase memories back to the watermark.

                I saw a film about that once, but it's from an era Ben Affleck tries to forget.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Wont impact on piracy but will inconvenience paying users."

          Paying users won't notice. Heck, paying users might even be allowed to create a copy for their own use. Only the thieves will complain about this as it makes their life so much harder (i.e. they become accountable).

          Where I do see an issue is something like a MITM attack (or traditional robbery) where a user's marked content gets stolen. The user would be fingered by the studios rather then the perps. Maybe that's where this is more doomed to fail - plausible deniability.

          1. Juillen 1

            "Paying users won't notice"

            Really? That was supposed to happen with the current HD protections. And they flake out, causing all kinds of strife to people who just "expect it to work".

            " users might even be allowed to create a copy"

            There again, the probability is that they won't. Someone might decide to just hand me a million quid and a ferrari for the fun of it.

            "Only the thieves will complain"

            So, only people who break into your house and burgle it will complain? Oh, you mean people who copy it? So, you mean copyright infringers? That's a different legal context and an entirely different thing.

            With the valid point that you make (an attack based on duplicating a legitimate user's content, framing them), you overturn your point about copyright infringers becoming accountable. They're not stupid, and they will find a way to make sure it's not them that gets brought to book. It may, however, catch one or two people who home duplicate (you know, how home audio taping killed the music industry, and the VCR killed the movie industry; the people who did all that damage.. They need to be locked up and criminalise for all the damage they did to industry, don't they?)..

            1. HMB

              Send annoying colleagues to prison

              > They're not stupid, and they will find a way to make sure it's not them that gets brought to book.

              Yeah, alternatively the movie industry is pressing for a brand new tool for the ethically loose to send their enemies to prison.

              Competition tight for that job promotion? Successfully copy a colleagues version of the latest 4K movie, stick it on a torrent site and watch the cops take them away. Job Bingo!

              Sending someone to prison for the detection of their movie watermarking on the net? Did someone who wasn't a raging alcoholic really think that was a good idea?

              > So, you mean copyright infringers? That's a different legal context and an entirely different thing.

              Couldn't agree more. Calling IP infringement theft is just weasel wording. It doesn't take much thought to realise that actual theft requires you to deprive the aggrieved party of their item. I believe IP infringement can be harmful to new music, but it can also be beneficial. I've bought music from hearing it on shared youtube links before. The best of which was me buying directly from the artist via their website. Principally there needs to be balance, as in all things in life.

              If your fans really enjoy your work and respect you as an artist, they will support you.n At least I like to think that. :)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "So, you mean copyright infringers?"

              No, I mean thieves. If a book/film/whatever is on sale at £10 and you steal it; you just stopped the creators getting their cut of that £10. If you copy it - it's the same thing. (And I'll type this slowly so that you can keep up). THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID.

              If you don't like the price, terms of sale or anything else; don't buy. It's that simple. There is NO EXCUSE FOR THEFT.

              1. JoshOvki

                Charity

                "No, I mean thieves. If a book/film/whatever is on sale at £10 and you steal it; you just stopped the creators getting their cut of that £10. If you copy it - it's the same thing. (And I'll type this slowly so that you can keep up). THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID."

                What if I go and buy the book/film/whatever from a charity shop? Second hand. The creator doesn't get paid then, is that also wrong? Or what if I buy a physical item and pass it onto a friend, they then pass it onto someone else, and so forth, is that also wrong?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Charity

                  "What if I go and buy the book/film/whatever from a charity shop? Second hand. The creator doesn't get paid then, is that also wrong? Or what if I buy a physical item and pass it onto a friend, they then pass it onto someone else, and so forth, is that also wrong?"

                  Of course not - so long as the original purchase was legal. Doctrine of first sale and all that. You haven't increased the number of items in circulation without first acquiring the license to do so.

                  Why do you armchair lawyers feel the need to try and find any excuse for your thievery?

                  1. JoshOvki

                    Re: Charity

                    But with most DVD copies the original was purchased legally. I am just as likaly to get a copy from a charity shop as I am from a torrent site.

                    By definition it is not theft, just copywrite infringment.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Charity

                      Oh FFS - the moral relativism and hair-splitting that goes on here is disgusting.

                      "I am just as likaly to get a copy from a charity shop as I am from a torrent site."

                      OK - see a Torrent...do you know how they work? I'll assume not as you have managed to conflate a perfectly legal operation (charity shop) with a distribution and publication method (torrent). When you join a torrent swarm, you help distribute. So you may be aiding in further thefts. Also, you increase the popularity of the illegal source and reduce the legal market where the creators can ACTUALLY GET PAID.

                      When you buy a DVD, you buy one copy. That's an integer (whole number) between zero and two. When you give it to the charity shop, there is still one. When they sell it, there is still one. When you duplicate it and flog in from a street corner, there is now more than one and that is a crime (unless you have a license of course). Torrenting material you do not have a license to is exactly the same. It is theft, pure and simple.

                      If a creator prices themselves out of a market - THAT IS THEIR OWN FAULT! It is not an excuse for you lot to start stealing.

                      "copywrite"

                      face/palm.

                    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
                      Childcatcher

                      Re: Charity

                      By definition it is not theft, just copywrite [sic] infringment [sic]

                      How are these different? I know that copyright is governed not only bu national laws, but also by international treaties and is thus a very complex issue. However, isn't it based on the same laws that govern other property rights?* Yes, there are issues with who is profiting versus who created a given work. This is a matter of ethics, not of ownership. Likewise, saying a work has not been made available by its owner does not give another party the right to copy it, that much is pretty clear under any legal system.

                      Perhaps a better argument is that copyright law should set the balance between the good of the owner and that of the public. After a certain period of time, works revert to the public domain. In the US, this period has been extended repeatedly. I would argue that this has harmed the public good in favor of that of corporate entities. Perhaps a change to these laws is in order stipulating that if a work is held inactive barring pending legal challenge, then it reverts to the public domain even if the normal time for doing so has not passed.

                      * I am not a lawyer

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Charity

                        > By definition it is not theft, just copywrite [sic] infringment [sic]

                        > How are these different?

                        Well you just said it yourself. It's like suggesting that black is the same as white. They are different by definition.

                        If you wish to suggest that theft and copyright are similar in that they are "illegal" (and I use that term guardedly, one is a "criminal offence" the other a civil offence in many jurisdictions) then you might have an argument, but to suggest that they are the same is self evidently false.

                        The reason why they are often conflated is that many that would wish to represent the act of copyright infringement feel that mixing it up with theft, a crime that is more generally felt to be bad, makes it a more serious offence in the eyes of the populous.

                        The reality is that theft has a well defined victim (they cannot "enjoy" the use of their property) whereas copyright infringement involves the possibly potential loss of revenue of the copyright holder, and there is the key difference. If you steal, the rightful owner definitely loses. If you "infringe on copyright", the copyright holder might have lost a potential sale. To many there is no practical difference. However, if you think about it carefully, you will realise there is a world of difference.

                        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
                          Childcatcher

                          Re: Charity

                          Well you just said it yourself. It's like suggesting that black is the same as white. They are different by definition.

                          This is a false dichotomy. You have addressed several things that are different without demonstrating that they are completely different. A more involved answer might involve defining the differences between intellectual and physical properties... and their similarities. Yes, the way they are regarded by both law and general society as not identical, but at best it looks to me as though it is a difference of degree, not kind.

                          You make a good point about potential versus actual, though. To put it another way, most people feel that causing actual harm is worse than endangerment. Maybe it is that folks feel that unauthorized copying is is similar to unauthorized use of another's property rather than outright removal. I would guess that the biggest difference in most people's eyes is between a physical and an intellectual property. They are both classes of property and can be bought, sold, traded, valued, and so one in much the same manner, so I will argue that the difference is not as great as you have made out.

                  2. JEDIDIAH

                    Re: Charity

                    > Why do you armchair lawyers feel the need to try and find any excuse for your thievery?

                    Who cares about the law? We're talking ethics here. Remember ethics?

                    That also includes things like not lying or distorting the facts or the definitions of common words or legal terms.

                    As far as the law goes, you don't need to be a Harvard Law Professor to peruse a copy of Blacks Law. That is enough to refute some of the nonsense common on the web.

              2. Daniel B.
                Facepalm

                Oh not this again

                "So, you mean copyright infringers?"

                No, I mean thieves.

                Your retardedness is showing.

                If you copy it - it's the same thing. (And I'll type this slowly so that you can keep up). THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID.

                Neither does he get paid if it's bought at a second-hand bookstore. Or read in a library. Yet those who write books actually encourage the latter, as being put in a library means more people read their stuff, and can actually translate into more sales.

                If you don't like the price, terms of sale or anything else; don't buy. It's that simple. There is NO EXCUSE FOR THEFT.

                Agreed on the don't buy and I do NOT condone piracy. But equating copyright infringement with theft is retarded and only the MAFIAA believes that. And I say this as someone who makes a living from software, one of the very things that gets hurt by piracy.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Oh not this again

                  "Neither does he get paid if it's bought at a second-hand bookstore."

                  Yes, they did get paid. Someone made the initial purchase. You are trying to conflate the passing on of a good with theft. Don't.

                  "Or read in a library. "

                  You clearly don't know how libraries work. I suggest you learn. The creator does get paid for this.

                  "actually translate into more sales."

                  No - it's because THEY GET PAID!

                  1. Daniel B.

                    Re: Oh not this again

                    "Or read in a library. "

                    You clearly don't know how libraries work. I suggest you learn. The creator does get paid for this.

                    Um... another troll discussion occurred at a BBS about a year or so ago, with one person arguing that libraries were awful for book writers ... up until an actual author jumped in and basically told us that libraries may not pay per use, but they do pay for the book and it is still desireable to have many people read the book, because it either gives them more coverage, or actually translates into a sale by the reader if he likes the book.

                    So yes, I know how libraries work. I also know they can't actually pay for exact readership numbers. How do I know how many people grabbed the Harry Potter series, book 7? Or Moby Dick? At most, you might check the records on those books that people with library cards took home, but it isn't necessarily the same quantity of actual readers they have.

                    And how about bookstores? Some of them like Barnes & Noble in the US actually let you read the books inside the bookstore.

                    Anyway, it's treading off topic. The point is that copyright infringement is bad, but it isn't theft. There's a reason it is stated as something totally different by copyright law.

                2. TheVogon Silver badge

                  Re: Oh not this again

                  "THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID."

                  That still doesn't make it theft. They don't get paid any extra if I watch a movie round a friend's house either.

              3. The Mole

                "No, I mean thieves. If a book/film/whatever is on sale at £10 and you steal it; you just stopped the creators getting their cut of that £10. If you copy it - it's the same thing. (And I'll type this slowly so that you can keep up). THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID."

                Actually if you steal a book on sale then the creator has already been paid, the shop selling it actually looses the £4 they paid the distributor (who pays the creator), they also fail to gain the £6 profit they were hoping to get (net loss £4 to shop) though in the extreme case you may have actually saved them the cost to store and eventually dispose of the item at the tip when nobody chooses to buy it even when reduced heavily.

                In the second case the creator starts with nothing and gains nothing, but they also loose nothing (net loss £0).

                Whether the two are morally equivalent or copy right infringement is morally less wrong is another debate.

              4. chris lively

                Although I agree with you on premise you made a point that is simply false.

                "(And I'll type this slowly so that you can keep up). THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID."

                THE. CREATOR. TYPICALLY. ISN'T. THE. ONE. TO. PAY.

                In other words, the Creator typically signs over rights to the work to some distribution house. Doesn't matter if we are talking Warner Brothers or a record label. The work is almost universally not owned by the original creator by the time you can buy it. Oh, they might get dividends from sales depending on their specific deal for the work; however a better statement would be:

                THE. OWNER. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID.

                And that would be more accurate.

              5. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                why let insignificant details like legal definitions get in the way?

              6. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                you are giving voice to an argument that is not only transparently self-serving, but part of a persistent and potentially lethal threat to the functioning of western democracy and civil society, not to mention the advancement of human knowledge. nobody can own or steal an idea--they may only exercise an exclusive legal right to profit from that idea for a limited time. read the US Constitution sometime. the assault on basic human freedoms you advocate is the only real crime here worth talking about.

              7. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "If you copy it - it's the same thing"

                No it isn't. You have not deprived anyone else of it. Copying is not theft and it's not stealing. Sounds like you need a dictionary for Christmas....

              8. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                > No, I mean thieves.

                My dear fellow, you seem to be clueless rather than trolling, so I will reply to you, just once.

                > If a book/film/whatever is on sale at £10 and you steal it;

                That reminds me, I used to steal actual books from the shopping centre when I was a wee lad. I had no money to pay for them, but I enjoyed reading them. After I was finished with them I would give them away or take them to the local library. I got caught once or twice--they asked me if I was reading them or selling them and then they let me keep the books. :)

                > you just stopped the creators getting their cut of that £10

                Are you aware of how much that "cut of £10" is? Except for maybe a dozen of the biggest names (Rolling Stones, & al.) who control a significant part of their own distribution chain, that cut is effectively zero. That's right: creators often do not receive any of the proceeds from sales (e.g., school books, manuals, where the author gets paid a fixed sum to write the thing), and in the case that they do, their share is insignificant. As a case in point a friend of mine was a professional musician with a fairly popular band within their genre--the whole band received €0.20 (that was €0.04 for each of its five members) for every €20 CD sold. It is no wonder that the band were ripping their own CDs. They made their money from concerts, so the more they were listened to, the better.

                On the other hand, if you would like filling the pockets of the big corporations that control the distribution channels, as well as the rest of the manufacturing chain (for that's what it is), then it's fine by me, but please do not be so naïve as to think that you're depriving the artists of their sustenance.

              9. Alan Brown Silver badge

                "No, I mean thieves. If a book/film/whatever is on sale at £10 and you steal it; you just stopped the creators getting their cut of that £10. If you copy it - it's the same thing. (And I'll type this slowly so that you can keep up). THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID."

                If I sell or give a boook/film away the creator doesn't get paid either.

                Which is why there have been attempts to shut down the secondhand book and music markets (That's where the First Sale doctrine comes from).

              10. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: THE. CREATOR. DOES. NOT. GET. PAID.

                If you steal the physical disk, THE CREATOR DOES GET PAID, because he already WAS PAID when the shop owner bought his movies. The one who suffers when you steal is the SHOP OWNER - he lost his money, and he won't get a refund for the stolen copy.

                When someone downloads (an illegal copy of) a movie, nobody LOOSES any money. There's some chance the CREATOR WON'T GET PAID - about the same chance of you not buying the movie anyways. On the other hand, there's a chance the CREATOR WILL GET PAID - if you liked the movie enough to visit movie theater or advise your friends to do so.

                Besides, do you invite a girlfriend to watch a pirated movie at home or maybe perhaps take her to a cinema? :P Especially if the movie is good and you already know that.

                Let me reiterate: A POTENTIAL LOSS OF POTENTIAL PROFIT IS NOT THEFT. In fact, there's no proof of any loss of profit at all.

              11. John Savard Silver badge

                Copyright infringement is wrong and dishonest. The reason it needs to be distinguished from theft isn't in order to obscure that fact.

                Instead, it's to avoid losing sight of another fact: copyright is an agreement society entered into in order to encourage people to create content. It was not the obligatory recognition and respect of a natural law human right.

                Which means that copyright infringement is the dishonest breaking of a promise society made to people who write books, make music or movies... but it also means that society was not under any obligation to make such a promise to begin with. We made the promise because we believed it to be in our best interests.

                So if the studios come to Washington asking for the copyright laws to be expanded, the politicians have the right to say no.

          2. Law

            "Paying users won't notice."

            They will - the only time I ever have problems watching video is when using legal methods. I want to watch the Daily Show - region locked to US (fair enough I guess, but annoying as hell). I want to watch Netflix - device doesn't have the required hardware security chip to play it (WDTV Live Hub). There are loads of examples I can give, but why bother, these are ones that bothered me recently.

            The alternative? Type "Next Big Film Title* 1080p torrent" into a search engine**, wait 20 minutes, copy to WDTV box, away we go, and for free! The only people this sort of crap affects is paying users, and maybe the first wave of crackers who love the challenge of bypassing (if not entirely cracking) media security anyway.

            * Not an actual film title

            ** Google, as if you'd use Bing!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "I want to watch the Daily Show - region locked to US (fair enough I guess, but annoying as hell)."

              So what - it's still no excuse for theft. I'd like a Rolls Royce, shall I just go steal one?

              "I want to watch Netflix - device doesn't have the required hardware security chip to play it (WDTV Live Hub)."

              So what - it's still no excuse for theft. I'd like to listen to old gramaphone recordings but my CD player can't load them - I'll just go steal some shit instead.

              "The alternative?"

              IS TO NOT CONSUME WHAT YOU CANNOT LEGALLY ACQUIRE. Seriously. Are you lot so mentally deficient that you cannot get that through your thick skulls? "OK, Jimmy; you really, really wanted that PS4 o it was OK to steal it." SAME LOGIC!

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                it's still no excuse for theft. I'd like a Rolls Royce, shall I just go steal one?

                The major barrier between you and your Rolls is money. You get that money, then you can buy the Rolls, and do what you like with it.

                You can't do that with 4K films. You want em without DRM? Too bad.

                So what - it's still no excuse for theft. I'd like to listen to old gramaphone recordings but my CD player can't load them - I'll just go steal some shit instead.

                Why won't the rightsholders open up more of their back catalogue and sell it to us? People are keen to buy. But no-one is selling. It is a physical impossibilty to obtain that content legally no matter how much you're prepared to pay for it.

                "OK, Jimmy; you really, really wanted that PS4 o it was OK to steal it." SAME LOGIC!

                No. Jimmy can save up and buy it. This is clearly a possibility, or the future of that console will be looking a bit less rosy.

                Jimmy can't save up and buy DRM free 4K films, or get those things stuck on back catalogues and no longer purchaseable. It is impossible for him to ever obtain them. It cannot be done.

                The fact that you cannot tell the difference between a physical item that you can get hold of legally, and a non-physical item that you cannot is a little baffling.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  "Why won't the rightsholders open up more of their back catalogue and sell it to us?"

                  Because they don't want to? I dunno - go ask them.

                  "People are keen to buy. But no-one is selling. It is a physical impossibilty to obtain that content legally no matter how much you're prepared to pay for it."

                  Still no excuse for theft.

                  "Jimmy can't save up and buy DRM free 4K films"

                  So what - that is still no excuse for theft.

                  "The fact that you cannot tell the difference between a physical item that you can get hold of legally, and a non-physical item that you cannot is a little baffling."

                  The fact that you condone theft when it suits you baffles me.

              2. MrWill

                I'm gonna be rich!

                Okay, let me to put this in simple terms.

                I've invented a magic duplicator gun. Point it at anything and pull the trigger and it will make a 100% perfect copy of the item. I'll happily give you this gun (hey, I can make plenty more!) and tell you what, I'll even lend you my Rolls Royce for a few hours. Are you really telling me that if this was true, you wouldn't have you own Rolls Royce by the end of the afternoon?

                Assuming you did create a Rolls Royce using my gun, who have you stolen it off? Certainly not me, you gave me my one back. Rolls Royce? not really, you have possibly deprived them of a future sale but they have not lost any thing in this process.

                Let me be clear, I'm not saying that Copyright Infringement is morally right. I'm just saying it's definitely not theft.

              3. anthonyj207

                "So what - it's still no excuse for theft. I'd like a Rolls Royce, shall I just go steal one?"

                No, he is saying he CAN afford the Rolls Royce - he wants to give them his money, its just that unnecessary artificial restrictions have been put in place to make the purchase difficult, or not possible.

                He can COPY the Rolls Royce perfectly by building his own - that is an infringement of their design. He didn't steal the car and as such did not deprive the dealership of a physical item at their cost - i.e. Theft. It may however have cost them a sale - which was by their doing anyway since they refused to sell him one in the first place!

                I don't there is any mental deficiency with the OP - just a lack of understanding on your part?

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                I legally own, or rather my wife does as she is an American citizen and bought them when she lived in the US, a pile of Region 1 DVDs. Legally I am NOT allowed to play these in the UK - not even if I import a region 1 DVD player. Universal Studios seemed uninterested in swapping them for Region 2 DVDs ... So what am I supposed to do? Why should I have to buy them again in the same format when the existing copies are perfectly sound?

              5. JEDIDIAH

                Make them do hard time just for breathing the air.

                > So what - it's still no excuse for theft

                What theft? Nothing is being "stolen" based on any remotely moral point of view. This is stuff that's already being freely distributed.

              6. paulll Bronze badge

                LEARN. TO. SPELL. Or pipe down.

            2. davemcwish

              "The alternative? Type "Next Big Film Title* 1080p torrent" into a search engine**, wait 20 minutes, copy to WDTV box, away we go, and for free! "

              4Gb in 20 minutes really ? What are you on ? My crappy copper would* take ages....

              *haven't tried so is just a guess based on how long downloading large files from a single source as opposed to the overhead torrents have.

            3. Shoot Them Later
              Facepalm

              I just want to pay for content

              I actually quite like the idea of watermarks, if done right. And to me that means NO DRM. Just let me download a watermarked MKV or similar file with no DRM attached, for a fair fee. You know, just like I can now, but legally. I'll take good care of it; it certainly won't end up on bittorrent or wherever from me, but if it did, the studios could identify me as the transgressor and deny me any future content.

              If they had half a brain cell between them, they might see that watermarked content is a good way of allowing them to sell digital movies to all those people who don't want to put up with all that DRM crap - without compromising revenue.

              I have never bought a DRM-encumbered music track of any sort, but since Amazon started selling MP3s I have bought quite a few of them and have not illegally downloaded a single one either. The same would apply to movies etc., if they would let me buy them.

              But this is an old argument, much restated by many and much ignored :(

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Obvious troll is obvious

                However, he seemed so insistent that copyright infringement was actually theft I decided to put the terms together into a search engine to see if anyone, anywhere, anywhen had ever been charged, convicted or even to have been whispered as condoning 'copyright theft' and guess what...nothing.

                "criminal charge for copyright theft" = lots of articles on copyright infringement.

                So, brain-dead troll is obviously brain-dead.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I just want to pay for content

                > the studios could identify me as the transgressor

                Ermm... No, that they could not.

                > and deny me any future content.

                That they could, insofar as they are at liberty not to enter a contract with you (and vice-versa).

                Just pointing out that this type of approach does not allow one to identify the individual making a copy. It only allows, to a certain degree, to identify which copy is being looked at.

                Interested parties will probably be vague on or misrepresent this point, but that's just the standard FUD approach.

          3. sisk Silver badge

            Paying users won't notice.

            You mean like paying users haven't noticed the existing schemes that have rendered their own movies unwatchable more often than pirated ones? Or how the prices they have to pay won't be affected by all the money that the studios are pumping into Yet Another DRM Scheme That Will Fail (tm)? Every DRM scheme ever implemented has caused far more headache for paying customers than for copyright infringers. This one will be no different.

            DRM of any kind reminds me of one of those cheap padlocks you can get at dollar stores. You know the dang thing is going to rust and you're going to have trouble opening it with the key, but it's not even going to slow down someone who's opening it with a chopped up soda can.

            Heck, paying users might even be allowed to create a copy for their own use.

            You MUST be kidding. No one's dumb enough to believe the movie industry will allow backups.

            Only the thieves will complain about this as it makes their life so much harder

            First, as others have said, copyright infringement is a different beast all together from theft. Stop calling it something it's not and maybe we can convince the people doing it that it's wrong instead of having them laugh about it when you call them thieves. Second, it will make only their life harder for a few months until someone figures out a way to break it, just like every other DRM scheme ever concocted. After that it'll just mean headaches for legit customers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "You mean like paying users haven't noticed the existing schemes that have rendered their own movies unwatchable more often then pirated ones?"

              Correct. Because that is the case. The number of times the DRM has caused an issue is so low as to be non-existent. Certainly for film, TV and paper media. Games have had their ups and downs, but these were mostly teething issues caused by a lack of scale. Still no excuse for theft.

              "Or how the prices they have to pay won't be affected by all the money that the studios are pumping into Yet Another DRM Scheme That Will Fail (tm)?"

              If you cannot afford the thing, don't consume the thing. Price is no excuse for theft.

              "Every DRM scheme ever implemented has caused far more headache for paying customers than for copyright infringres."

              Citation required, peer reviewed study preferred.

              "DRM of any kind reminds me of one of those cheap padlocks you can get at dollar stores."

              Which is why new locks are being made (even though the current ones are well beyond your example).

              "Stop calling it something it's not"

              How about you start calling it what it is. It removes cash from the pocket of the creator - it is theft. End of.

              "it will make only their life harder for a few months until someone figures out a way to break it, just like every other DRM scheme ever concocted."

              Oh, I see your logic now. So when someone figures out a way to rob something (say a bank), it's perfectly OK in your sick little world for them to go ahead and commit that crime. Really? Do you actually read what you write? Are these the morals you instil in your children?

              You probably don't work in the creative arts, but maybe you work in IT. Maybe even in software (which shares a lot in common with the creative arts). How would you feel when you lose your job when the company you work for folds due to people stealing your software? How will you feel then?

              When that happens, come back here and tell me how "OK" it is for people to steal your hard work. Until that does happen - keep your ill-informed and clueless yap shut.

              1. Skyraker

                "Oh, I see your logic now. So when someone figures out a way to rob something (say a bank), it's perfectly OK in your sick little world for them to go ahead and commit that crime. Really? Do you actually read what you write? Are these the morals you instil in your children?"

                I can't have children you sick cunt.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  "I can't have children you sick cunt."

                  It's hardly his fault if you are a registered sex offender.

              2. sisk Silver badge

                Correct. Because that is the case. The number of times the DRM has caused an issue is so low as to be non-existent. Certainly for film, TV and paper media.

                Tell that to all the people who can't use streaming video services because they don't have the right operating system. Or to the people who want to import games or movies they can't get in their home country and are willing to pay for them, but can't because they're region locked. Or to the people who can't get HD on some of their movies even though their system supports it because they have the wrong monitor.

                If you cannot afford the thing, don't consume the thing. Price is no excuse for theft.>

                I never said it was. My point is that things are more expensive because the producers are spending money on DRM which doesn't work.

                Which is why new locks are being made (even though the current ones are well beyond your example).

                You clearly don't know much about locks, but whatever. The illustration was just that: an illustration. And, given that most locks are pretty lousy at keeping someone who really wants in out, a pretty fitting one. For instance, I actually know a guy who's taken to leaving his car unlocked because it's less expensive than replacing windows for the umpteenth time (disclaimer: when he told me this I did wonder where the heck he was parking, but the analogy stands).

                How about you start calling it what it is. It removes cash from the pocket of the creator - it is theft. End of.

                It does no such thing. Most infringement doesn't prevent a sale because the person infringing wouldn't or couldn't have paid for the content even if they couldn't get it free. There's no lost sale 90% of the time and thus no lost profit and certainly the content owner has the same amount of money they had before. Hence why I say it's not theft but a different crime all together. Call it what it is: copyright infringement.

                Oh, I see your logic now. So when someone figures out a way to rob something (say a bank), it's perfectly OK in your sick little world for them to go ahead and commit that crime.

                I didn't say that, but let's go with your bank robbing analogy. DRM is the equivalent of strip searching everyone who comes into the bank. The person conducting the search isn't going to be able to stop the guy coming in to rob the bank because the robber will just shoot them and rob the bank anyway. The strip search is both invasive and ineffective and will chase off legitimate customers. This is what DRM is like.

                The first step to effectively preventing copyright infringement is, and always will be, to convince people that it is wrong. DRM can't do that.

                You probably don't work in the creative arts, but maybe you work in IT. Maybe even in software (which shares a lot in common with the creative arts). How would you feel when you lose your job when the company you work for folds due to people stealing your software? How will you feel then?

                I am a web developer and have had my graphics and layouts ripped off more than once. I also found a poem I had written published and attributed to someone else once (the fact that it was actually published was more of a shock than seeing someone else's name on it). I know EXACTLY how it feels to be on that side of the issue, most likely better than you do.

                When that happens, come back here and tell me how "OK" it is for people to steal your hard work. Until that does happen - keep your ill-informed and clueless yap shut.

                How about you try actually READING what I'm writing instead of stupidly assuming that anti-DRM equates pro-piracy? Did I ever, anywhere, imply that copyright infringement was 'OK'? Here, let me answer myself for you: no, I didn't. DRM is expensive, invasive, and ineffective, which all adds up to it being counter productive to its own goal. That doesn't make copyright infringement 'OK', it just makes DRM schemes a bad idea.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                > How about you start calling it what it is. It removes cash from the pocket of the creator - it is theft. End of.

                I wasn't going to feed you because you are obviously a troll, but here goes.

                If a local shop sells DVDs and another shop opens up next door, are they stealing from the original shop for each customer that goes to them instead? Opportunity cost is not the same as actual cost.

                If I decide not the buy a DVD from a shop having previously decided that I would and thereby depriving the creator of potential revenue, am I stealing from them?

                You really are having a problem differentiating actual cost and potential cost. Nobody has a right to a living and income, it has to be earned.

                For your further education, I will explain it using little words: In the beginning, there were physical goods. People traded with each directly, exchanging goods for other goods or money. As commerce became diverse and geographically separated, this "contract of exchange" was maintained by the chain of the passing of a physical good. Because that physical good represented effort on the part of the original creator, the physical good becomes a representation of that original effort. Since breaking the link between that good and the effort is a bad thing, the law of "theft" came into being.

                Without a physical good, there is no token, which is why we have strange and unenforceable laws to try to perpetuate the myth of a physical good where there is none. Making my own copy of a film or music, I am performing the effort of manufacture. There is no effort on the part of the original creator so there is no implied contract and there is no loss in the effort/good balance. So there is no theft. It really is that simple. Because you feel sympathy for creators does not change the law or the basis of the concept of "theft" one jot.

                Copyright steps in here but even in this case, there is confusion on the part of those that would conflate theft with copyright infringement. Copyright is a sole privilege granted by the law to duplicate to the exclusion of others for a period of time. The copyright holder does not hold "property" and does not own the original work. That would be absurd and is the reason why I wince whenever I see the term Intellectual Property.

                You will hear from some that it *is* property because property is merely a manifestation of the rights of things granted by law and just because it isn't physical doesn't make it any different. The problem here is that the creator could indeed "own" the original but they don't own a copy, because it is not the original, just in the same way that a carpenter doesn't own all sofas just because he made one. Someone else who makes a sofa that is identical to the original sofa owns his copy, not the carpenter because this breaks the original tenet that goods and effort are linked. The effort for the sofa copy is not linked with the carpenter.

                If you cannot understand the above, then I suggest looking at some books on the subject. It really has been done to death to the extent that I really don't understand why some people just don't 'get it'.

              4. MrDamage

                "....no excuse for theft."

                You are right, there are no excuses for theft. No please go along and make it easy for film-goers to receive a refund on movies which were over-hyped, poorly scripted, acted, directed and produced which completely failed to live up to the expectations pumped out by the movie studios.

                Failure to comply with a simple refund request for false advertising, is STEALING, which you yourself claim there is no excuses for.

                If you dont give us what we pay for, and stop giving us a refund on failing to provide us what we paid for, then eventually, we are going to stop paying for anything you offer.

                Now go back to your MAFIAA masters, and tell them your pathetic shill attempts failed, and that they are going to have to actually produce something original, entertaining, and worth our time, instead of just a remake of a reboot of a reimagining.

              5. Chris Beach

                "How about you start calling it what it is. It removes cash from the pocket of the creator - it is theft. End of."

                Cept that is precisely what it doesn't do. It removes the 'potential' cash that might have at some point ended in pocket of the creator*. So its not theft. * as not all legit sales end up with money for the creator, and nor should they.

                You're making the same mistake the studios do, assuming that every pirate copy is a lost sale. Which is utterly illogical, as its assuming most people want to break the law, which has been shown many times is false. Its also assuming that their desire to want the content means they 'will' acquire it, which is also false.

                People have multiple sources, they might buy the bluray, or dvd, or maybe rent, maybe stream. They'll pay as much as they can afford, but if the producers have blocked one or more of these for their own narrow minded reasons then people might see piracy as an alternative. And that pirate market was created by the content producers themselves...

              6. beep54

                No wonder you're posting as a coward. Idjit!

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            having stared at a 4k demo unit in-store, I did not find it compelling enough to justify its outrageous cost. 1080p is already very good. if 4k comes with this added distrust, it's truly not worth it to me. I have to assume that the millions of ordinary users content to watch cat videos on their mobiles will agree with me. sayonara, Hollywood.

            1. P. Lee Silver badge

              Does not scale

              Can you imagine the traffic on the crl servers if this went mainstream?

              What happens when the server goes down or the studio goes bust?

              Are we really going to track every player against its owner, forever?

              What happens when torrents contain md5 sums of frames or frame fragments so that it is possible to compare with other people's versions to see which bits are different?

              Given the number of recent reboots, Hollywood's problem is providing original content, not protecting it.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Re: Does not scale

                I reckon the only way you could understandably conflate copyright infringement and theft is when someone is selling copied stuff at full price. They have *definitely* deprived the owners of a sale at that point.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Paying users won't notice."

            I find the unskippable adverts and messages at the start of discs accusing me of theft such a huge improvement in my viewing experience and not in any way incentive to go rip the content so I can watch it without being accused of theft...

          6. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Only the thieves will complain about this"

            Copying is not theft.

            If not clear, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM4

          7. JEDIDIAH

            Utter nonsense, obvious industry shill.

            > Paying users won't notice.

            That's a total lie. They notice already.

            That is why I prefer my own rips to using a sanctioned decoder.

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Do you think a pixel precise time based watermark will successfully survive the rip, resize and transcode to be able to successfully determine with reasonable certainty which source the transcode comes from? The purpose of transcoding is to throwaway "useless" visual information that cannot be "seen" (controlling what is "useless" and what can be "seen" are the codec parameters such as bitrate and size), and I would have thought "invisible pixel watermarks" are probably something that would get pruned quite high.

        I think you could have a field day in court arguing that their identification of you is a type I error, especially if not based upon the original media, but on transcoded versions of it.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "Do you think a pixel precise time based watermark will successfully survive the rip, resize and transcode to be able to successfully determine with reasonable certainty which source the transcode comes from?"

          The thing about watermarking systems is that they recognize the potential for mangling the watermarks through transcoding, so they go about it in different ways, using the codec system to create various artifacts that can survive transcoding, and many of them are block-based as well as time-based. That's why Cinavia's audio watermarking system is better than most: it's designed to keep its data above the noise floor so that it's more likely to be preserved in transcoding. Most watermarking systems like the Cinavia one also introduce plenty of redundancy, creating multiple gotcha points. The tradeoff for a system this robust is that you can't encode a tremendous amount of data in the stream, but if all you want to encode is identifying information, that's not that big a deal. A robust system spraying the ID information all over the stream, again and again and again in random intervals. It's gonna make for a very hard cleanup job. And you can forget about trying to mix and average two streams. Random intervals means you're more likely to MIX them together rather than destroy them (IOW, they'll be able to tell you used TWO sources in an attempt to mangle the data).

        2. Dave 150

          resize and transcode? why would anyone get a 4K film to resize it?

        3. paulll Bronze badge

          "Do you think a pixel precise time based watermark will successfully survive the rip, resize and transcode to be able to successfully determine with reasonable certainty which source the transcode comes from? "

          I imagine any working system would be locale- rather than pixel-based. e.g., on alternating keyframes, the 64 macroblocks around offset .75*.70 will have somewhat diverging average U and V values to encode a 1, or not to encode a 0. Compression would smudge out a preset value on an individual pixel but if the value is encoded in the smudge you're golden.

      3. Stewart MacDuff

        Don't remove the watermark, simply add more information and render it meaningless.

        Britain or Holland or a n other needs to take a stand and declare DRM illegal and blow down the entire house of cards.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or not even cracked. Wha bout people, for quicker downloads, taking not the HD version but the quicker to download low res. The watermark info would be lost would it not ?

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        "Or not even cracked. Wha bout people, for quicker downloads, taking not the HD version but the quicker to download low res. The watermark info would be lost would it not ?"

        This also opens up a quick-and-dirty approach to checking the pixels by creating a "pseudo 4k" image and looking for the differences between it and the 4k version. Tedious by hand but readily automated.

        The question is how much variance (in terms of watermarked bits per frame, frame sequenc, etc) can the systems support.

        My bet is once that's quantified pirates will zero in on a small number of areas and frames, cross compare between a few copies and hey presto mint 4k for flogging off "down the market."

    3. streaky Silver badge

      Compare copies from 2 different sources and erase the difference, easy life.

      Yeah I already did it.

    4. Homer 1
      Pirate

      Re: Expect this to be cracked

      If it can be read then it can be removed.

      This has always been the fatal problem with silly "security through obscurity" methods. Certainly it won't be trivial, but it will be done.

      But as others have noted, watermarks won't actually stop unauthorised distribution anyway, because correctly identifying the copier won't be trivial either, and taking legal action might be impossible, depending upon the legal jurisdiction, even if by some miracle they could identify the culprit.

      So basically the next generation of torrents will all be watermarked in the names of various temporary and untraceable Ukrainian iTunes accounts, or whatever other video distribution service, and no one will care.

      Perhaps the Content® manufacturing industry should consider spending its our money on a more pressing matter, like, oh I don't know, say improving the quality of their garbage Content®, instead of wasting it on desperate and greedy DRM measures that never work.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    To be honest

    This sort of thing simply points out the pointlessness of such high resolutions anywhere except in cinemas. Increase the frame rate, not the number of pixels to the size where they're less than invisible, if you want to increase the perceived 'quality'.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: To be honest

      4K has absolutely nothing to do with increased quality. The reason for it is to give them another "differentiators". Anyone can do HD nowadays; hell, lots of people are producing top-quality content using RED cameras without having anything to do with the major players. 4K is something you can only do if you are well funded. Even if you had 4K cameras, the file sizes are enormous, and the higher the resolution the better your makup/costumes/props/etc have to be. Today, 4K needs major studios to be done right.

      More to the point, they get to use 4K as a means to both attempt to ram through restrictive copyright measures and argue for another round of copyright maximalist legislation. They'll even use it to try to crush the competition (independent content producers) and go after copyright infringers in order to extend and then preserve their monopoly on content.

      I'd wish them luck with that - the genie of content competition is not going back in the bottle - but the major content companies are the epitome of what's wrong with our society. So instead of wishing them luck, I hope they all get cholera.

      1. Arctic fox
        Flame

        @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

        You are far too kind hearted Trevor, I prefer the following.

        .

        "3.1 1. Plague of blood (דָם): Ex. 7:14–25

        3.2 2. Plague of frogs (צְּפַרְדֵּעַ): Ex. 7:25–8:11

        3.3 3. Plague of lice or gnats (כִּנִּים): Ex. 8:16–19

        3.4 4. Plague of flies or wild animals (עָרוֹב): Ex. 8:20–32

        3.5 5. Plague of pestilence (דֶּבֶר): Ex. 9:1–7

        3.6 6. Plague of boils (שְׁחִין): Ex. 9:8–12

        3.7 7. Plague of hail (בָּרָד): Ex. 9:13–35

        3.8 8. Plague of locusts (אַרְבֶּה): Ex. 10:1–20

        3.9 9. Plague of darkness (חוֹשֶך): Ex. 10:21–29

        3.10 10. Death of the firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:1–12:36"

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

          Alternatively they could be made to sit in the same room as Trevor for a few days and made to discuss the varying potential of improving IO on eSata interfaces.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            @Khaptain Re: @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

            fry_narrow_eyes.jpg

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: @Khaptain @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

              >fry_narrow_eyes.jpg

              im_innocent-your-honour.jpg

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

            Or maybe explain to Trevor the difference between Hyper-V Server and Hyper-V on Windows Server...

        2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

          Re: @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

          "3.10 10. Death of the firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:1–12:36"

          Being the second child I can wholeheartedly agree with that one.

          1. VinceH Silver badge

            Re: @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

            ""3.10 10. Death of the firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:1–12:36"

            Being the second child I can wholeheartedly agree with that one."

            Downvoted because I'm a firstborn.

        3. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

          @Arctic fox

          Ah bollocks - even the righteous damnation is a bloody remake.

          1. Arctic fox
            Happy

            Re:Tom 7 "even the righteous damnation is a bloody remake."

            They are probably the first example of torrented distribution!

        4. John Sanders

          Re: @Trevor_Pott RE: "I hope they all get cholera."

          LOL, LOL, AND LOL!!!

          And there goes all the coffee in my screen.

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: To be honest

        Indeed; 4k is of no more benefit to 'quality' than the change from analogue to DTT was - everything is about selling more TVs or selling material for higher cost.

        But the simple fact everyone seems to miss is that most of those pixels you just don't see - even the best HD DTT is compressed from 3Gb/s to at best 12Mb/s... but that's just an old video engineer rant.

        It's all to do with control. And to be honest, who cares? They'll control it so far and nobody will give a damn, and then nobody will see it in spite of the expensive advertising...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To be honest

        "Anyone can do HD nowadays; hell, lots of people are producing top-quality content using RED cameras without having anything to do with the major players. 4K is something you can only do if you are well funded. Even if you had 4K cameras, the file sizes are enormous, and the higher the resolution the better your makup/costumes/props/etc have to be."

        RED ONE has always provided 4K, so those people producing top-quality content with RED hardware have 4K available to them.

        As for props and costumes - unless you're shooting at high frame rates you just end up with a larger blurred image than before, so they don't need to be that much better (unless your footage consists almost entirely of perfectly static scenes which don't get blurred by the slow exposures required to make 24fps look smooth).

        However, as you mention, it's a bit moot because it's all very well shooting in 4K with a rented RED ONE (which can be done on indie budgets) but you then need Heavy-Duty storage and compute to do anything useful with it, which is more industry-grade-workstation territory and not at all indie-budget-friendly.

        And yes, a pox on all their houses. LSE have done a report recently that found that piracy isn't killing the music industry (http://gizmodo.com/report-piracy-isnt-killing-content-1441055599). Recorded media is being hammered, but overall revenues are up, acts are just having to do more concerts (concert revenues rising from $10bn in 1998 to $25bn last year). I like to think this is encouraging a better quality of musician as anyone who wants to be rich and famous needs to be able to walk the walk in live performance and not just be capable of putting together a semi-decent record in the studio. Similarly the theatre industry has been innovating with the National Theatre broadcasting live performances to cinemas, so I can see London quality acting without having to actually go there (and pay for trains, hotels, etc, etc). I can see how it's harder for the film industry - them being the recorded portion of the visual arts - the studio album to theatre's live gig. I think it just compels them to produce good quality output that you want to pay for - I went to see Avatar in 3D at the cinema. I won't buy it on DVD/Blu-Ray, nor would I bother pirating it - it was a marvel of technology and I enjoyed it in the format it was to be designed for - a hoofing massive screen with better audio than the sound bar at home will ever manage. What would be the point in pirating a 720p 2D version? More of that please.

      4. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: To be honest

        Anyone can do HD nowadays; hell, lots of people are producing top-quality content using RED cameras without having anything to do with the major players.

        I had to look up that reference. Pretty nifty stuff though I had a chuckle out of the price difference between the Epic Red Dragon Collection at $45,720.00 and the Epic Red Dragon Pro Collection at $58,385.00. You have to be a pretty serious hobbyist to sink $45,720.00 into your kit... semi-pro at the very least.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @Robert Helpmann??

          You can rent RED cameras. We almost rented one for the NAS we're setting on fire, but went with a cheaper one instead. The cost difference wasn't that much, but we we'll be lucky if the Special Projects Bureau pays our costs as is.

          A RED is probably overkill for the web anyways. *shrug* In the meantime, I have to go produce new content. By setting a NAS on fire.

          Fuck you, hollywood.

    2. Suricou Raven

      Re: To be honest

      Sometimes more pixels is the way to go, sometimes more frames - it depends entirely on the content shown.

      Not that it really matters. Very few people can tell the difference between 720p and 1080p, and the same will be true for higher frame rates. Aside from a minority of people with exceptional perception, it isn't of any benefit. We've hit the limit of human vision on a screen of practical size.

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: To be honest

      They need the extra bits for the watermarking, encryption codes and some viriii-infested malware to authenticate the customers system. The actual "content" will be 1024x720 as always.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: To be honest

        It takes quite a bit to just perceive the benefit of 1080p. Going beyond that is a matter of greatly diminishing returns for most people. Screen size and the viewing environment is paramount here. Many people just don't care and/or don't bother with a setup where these larger resolutions manifest well.

        Industry simply got fat and happy off of the digital transition and want the party to continue.

    4. streaky Silver badge

      Re: To be honest

      "simply points out the pointlessness of such high resolutions anywhere except in cinemas"

      Remember that when you have a 20ft screen and massive pixels on 1080p - even 8k probably won't be enough.

      1. Rufusstan

        Re: To be honest

        The only issue with the argument of using a 20ft screen (assuming that you've got somewhere to place it) is that the optimum viewing distance is somewhere between 25ft and 50ft away.

        That basically IS a cinema; I've certainly been in smaller ones over the years.

        1. streaky Silver badge

          Re: To be honest

          Optimum viewing distance for a 20ft screen would be about the point it fills your vision - closer to the 10-15ft mark. Also your entire wall is the answer.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: To be honest

        > Remember that when you have a 20ft screen and massive pixels on 1080p - even 8k probably won't be enough.

        Where would you fit yours? I have a room pretty much dedicated to this sort of thing and anything much beyond 10ft is pushing it. Furthermore, I've yet to see a McMansion with a space suitable for a larger screen (sadly enough).

  3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    I'll buy content only when A) it's content I want to watch and B) it's reasonably priced. Otherwise, there's plenty of free content out there. Like just reading The Register instead of watching a movie.

    This isn't 1986. TV and movies aren't competing against a limited selection of books and the terribly dry newspaper. They're competing against Reddit, Steam and an entire universe of new content. If they make this too onerous - or expensive - then they are signing their own content-protected death warrants.

    If you don't let me run it on any device I want, when I want, where I want and for whatever reason I want then fuck you, because I've got better things to do than to fund the retirement of a bunch of geriatric douche canoes that can't grok their own irrelevance.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, Tabletop and House of Cards are on. What's that? They're always on, you say?

    That's king of my point, right there, innit?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      And there you have it

      @ trevor "This isn't 1986. TV and movies aren't competing against a limited selection of books and the terribly dry newspaper. They're competing against Reddit, Steam and an entire universe of new content. If they make this too onerous - or expensive - then they are signing their own content-protected death warrants.

      If you don't let me run it on any device I want, when I want, where I want and for whatever reason I want then fuck you, because I've got better things to do than to fund the retirement of a bunch of geriatric douche canoes that can't grok their own irrelevance."

    2. Handle This
      Thumb Up

      Worth the Wait

      "Geriatric Douche Canoes." That, my friends, is why I read the Register, and why it is worth wading through pages of troll comments (and even sage responses) to get to the real gold.

      It is now a part of my standard repertoire. You're never too old to learn.

  4. Arctic fox
    Thumb Down

    What a bunch of charmers they are to be sure.

    "The latter will mean that the guilty party customer can be identified from the source of any copy found on the internet."

    So little johnny borrows a film from his mate and plays it and the next thing Dad knows is that "the boys" are kicking his door in. They appear to be utterly ignoring the lessons from audio downloads and the like. Oh and I would be grateful if their apologists do not come out with the "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" routine*.

    *Attributed to Joseph Goebbels, ironically enough.

    1. NightFox

      Re: What a bunch of charmers they are to be sure.

      Not sure I even get how this is meant to work - so, they can work out that a pirate copy of Star Wars XII that's the most downloaded film on PirateBay originated from a Sony 4K BD player sold in Singapore... then what? Is there going to be a global Big Brother database somewhere that records who owns every single 4K device?

      1. Horridbloke

        @Nightfox

        Will there still be anonymously purchasable and playable physical 4K media as at present, or will everything be delivered online to named subscribers / UV account holders?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Nightfox

          "or will everything be delivered online to named subscribers / UV account holders?"

          and who says the "names" for the named subscribers will be real? I'd think the folks who are truly interested in pirating/disseminating these high-end movies probably aren't too far removed from the folks who have shedloads of stolen credit-card numbers handy with which to setup fake user accounts and download the streams. I can't imagine you have to show up at the local courthouse with drivers-license in hand and have a form notarized before they let you stream one of their movies.

          And, you know, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has fake accounts on websites like Facebook... If it's on the Web, it has to be real.

      2. rh587 Bronze badge

        Re: What a bunch of charmers they are to be sure.

        "Is there going to be a global Big Brother database somewhere that records who owns every single 4K device?"

        Presumably with the pervasion of "smart" hardware they're expecting everything to be plugged into the internet and registered to activate the app store for iPlayer/LoveFilm/NetFlix/etc (simply make it compulsory to register your warranty to unlock the smart functionality, which then ties your identity to that serial number). It's not an entirely unreasonable supposition either - I'm hardly likely to spill for a smart TV and then go to the effort of plugging a laptop in to watch iPlayer when the TV has it built in. Pretty easy to get a device-purchaser list together.

        Of course what happens on the second hand market is another matter!

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: What a bunch of charmers they are to be sure.

      You get the worst of both worlds. To be worth while, 4k video will be massive file sizes, and given the pitiful state of broadband in a lot of countries and daily caps of a few GB, downloading is not a serious option. Streaming, the media companies preferred option, will also be impossible for most (unless compressed to hell, again).

      So it will be on disk.

      But then you need an internet connection to make it work, so you can't use it anywhere on a remote holiday!

      As for catching the pirates, if 4k ever comes to a general purpose PC then I expect it will be malware that uses a stolen identity/credit card/ whatever to "purchase" the file, then torrents it. After a few cases of the police being called out to the obviously victim of this, they just will ignore it and so it achieved very little for a lot of consumer pain. And it will make consumers think twice about using such services if the papers report such false accusations.

      After all, it takes is one copy torrented per release and their plan has failed.

    3. Daniel B.
      FAIL

      Re: What a bunch of charmers they are to be sure.

      So little johnny borrows a film from his mate and plays it and the next thing Dad knows is that "the boys" are kicking his door in.

      The fun thing is that some of the things described in this article means that little johnny will stick the film into his player and will get a big fat "MOVIE NOT AUTHORIZED TO PLAY ON THIS DEVICE" error. Which makes it even more braindead, as that's what almost killed the XboxOne. Though the Xbox180 is probably doomed anyway, not everyone is going to buy the "we turned it off" gesture MS gave them. Especially if it can be turned on again...

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Digital signature conundrum

    Rather than removing the offending pixels, would it not be more advantageous to just add some extra pixels, thereby modifiying the signature. It would then become an unknown signature and not verifiable against one that already exists.

    In a court I would imagine that something is either an exact match or it is not...

    1. Graham 24

      Re: Digital signature conundrum

      But to modify the signature, you need to know which pixels make up the signature. If you just change a few random pixels in the stream, your now modified copy still contains the verifiable signature.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Digital signature conundrum

        If they are truly random pixels, they will be randomly scattered, but in known positions ( held within a secret database, woooooh), removing a few frames would then change the exact location of each pixel, the signatures pixels would then no longer exist at the known position.

        1. John Sanders

          Re: Digital signature conundrum

          Clever decimation plus some noise filters plus some re-scaling, plus some bit of sharpen and most watermark is gone.

          What they are after is Joe journalist leaking review copies.

        2. andy 45

          Re: Digital signature conundrum

          "( held within a secret database, woooooh"

          ...and there we have the Achilles heel. You can't base any protection on secrets.

          If someone makes something that does something on a computer, sooner or later someone's going to make the un-doer...

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Digital signature conundrum

            "You can't base any protection on secrets."

            Certainly not if those secrets are the evidence for the prosecution.

    2. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Digital signature conundrum

      Exactly. And you could add a few thousand bogus watermarks for kicks

      1. Horridbloke

        Re: Digital signature conundrum

        "Exactly. And you could add a few thousand bogus watermarks for kicks"

        Now somebody's suggested that I expect the watermark itself will be cryptographically secured...

        ... oh, and the technology licence to secure it will put another $5 on the cost of everyone's player.

        1. Great Bu

          Re: Digital signature conundrum

          I'm no expert but can't they just get the shop to write on the name of the person they sold it to on the disc with one of them permanent markers ? That would work........

          1. Frankee Llonnygog

            Re: Digital signature conundrum

            Great idea. They'll be able to catch every pirate who thinks copying a disc involves use of a Xerox machine

    3. Suricou Raven

      Re: Digital signature conundrum

      It's not a matter of 'offending pixels.' It's going to be something distributed. Perhaps a few seconds of video might be darkened by 0.5% - imperceptable, but detectable when compared to the original (Plus you could do it direct in the DCT space, very computationally efficient).

      But there's a big flaw in the plan. Watermarking is all very well for streaming, but the bulk of sales are still plastic discs, and the process of mass-production doesn't allow for them to contain unique versions. So as soon as one playback device is compromised, it all falls apart.

      As for streaming... eventually someone, probably one of the commercial pirates, is going to make a 'netflix4k stealer' trojan and just start harvesting the 4k goodies from innocent people so they can get the blame.

      1. dotdan

        Re: Digital signature conundrum

        So rather than one pirated original, someone obtains two. Compare the two versions to identify their respective watermarks, or alternate a frame from each to produce a unique third copy - add their own watermark and see how far it spreads.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Digital signature conundrum

          The techniques will be much more subtle and distributed in nature than this. If I was doing this (which I'm not), I'd start with multiple unique IDs (of varying lengths) that are either keyed together mathematically (also effectively encrypted) or in a database linking them. Some frames would include the entire of one or more of these IDs, other times parts of one or more ID, all encoded within the audio or video streams in various methods. In addition I'd add various white-noise changes to obfuscate the actual IDs within digital "noise".

          The kit required to embed all these IDs will not be pleasant for content broadcasters as they necessarily make a lot of bandwidth savings from using broadcast techniques (i.e. same version to multiple subscribers). Creating a unique version for each subscriber and transmitting each of these would increase the required bandwidth beyond the capability of most networks to manage, and definitely beyond satellite transmitters. The noted alternative would be broadcasting an encrypted version and having the local hardware perform the decryption and embedding further watermarks locally (the version supplied to the broadcaster would already by watermarked to identify leakage there). Having remote, user accessible systems is where the whole scheme will break down...

          1. Graham Marsden

            Re: Digital signature conundrum

            It seems to me that unless all consumer devices are also built to check/ verify these watermarks and thus refuse to play the content in the home, all this will do is (attempt) to stop re-broadcasting of the programmes by media companies who are using the requisite technology.

            Even then it seems to me that it would be simple to circumvent by cracking the digital stream and then adding/ subtracting a small but significant random amount to the data for each pixel .which would negate the watermark whilst not visibly affecting the colour/ brightness of the image.

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: Digital signature conundrum

            Seems to me that the techniques you describe (basically, inserting meaningful noise in the picture) will also play merry hell with every content-compression algorithm that depends on the majority of pixels being similar to those around them, and the majority of frames being similar to the one before them.

            So that's, basically, all compression algorithms.

            So basically, if you want to get rid of that sort of watermarking, all you'd have to do is convert it to an MPEG-4 or similar format.

            Which leads me to conclude one of two things must be true. Either we're all radically missing our guesses as to how this "watermarking" will work, or Hollywood's emperor is still standing there in his best birthday suit.

            I give it 50-50.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Digital signature conundrum

              "Which leads me to conclude one of two things must be true. Either we're all radically missing our guesses as to how this "watermarking" will work, or Hollywood's emperor is still standing there in his best birthday suit."

              Perhaps the information is stored in the I-frames. Those frames don't rely on adjacent frames and the most likely to remain I-frames or keyframes when transcoded, as the I-frames are typically chosen for being too distinct to use difference coding.

        2. This Side Up

          Re: Digital signature conundrum

          "So rather than one pirated original, someone obtains two. Compare the two versions to identify their respective watermarks, or alternate a frame from each to produce a unique third copy - add their own watermark and see how far it spreads."

          I think you'd need at least three independently downloaded copies. Then where there's a discrepancy if all but one agree you take that value otherwise you set a value based on the surrounding pixels. You still have a problem if the signature is based on the positions of modified pixels rather than their values. Adding extra frames won't defeat forensic examination there could be some pixels that are set to predefined values on all copies for synchronisation purposes. Just downscaling to HD would make it difficult though.

          But what's the point of UHD if you pepper it with random pixels?

        3. auburnman

          Re: Digital signature conundrum

          Or perhaps get a dozen, twenty or even a hundred legit watermarks from hacking, social engineering and or volunteers, then liberally paste ALL the watermarks into the pirate copy. Call it the " I am Spartacus" defence. How would the industry prosecute if they can't pin it down to one person?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Digital signature conundrum

            "Or perhaps get a dozen, twenty or even a hundred legit watermarks from hacking, social engineering and or volunteers, then liberally paste ALL the watermarks into the pirate copy. Call it the " I am Spartacus" defence. How would the industry prosecute if they can't pin it down to one person?"

            Probably with the Ring Sting technique: BUST EVERYBODY!

            Seriously, these watermark people aren't stupid, and you have to figure out which part is part of the watermark, which part is part of the real image, and which part is red herring, and odds are, due to the encoding technique, no two copies will carry identical segments, meaning fingerprints are smeared across the ENTIRETY of each individual copy. Plus, I suspect the watermarks could be encoded with some form of parity correction. Think instead of bits of the ID scattered across the movie, you have bits of the ID along with with perhaps triple or quadruple parity mixed in with it. WIth parity, all you need is some piece of the original and enough parity data to fill in the gaps. With that kind of setup, cutting and pasting probably won't be very successful in removing the ID (the pieces would probably contain at least one original chunk and enough parity) and may in fact result in revealing multiple IDs which can then be Ring Stinged.

      2. LaeMing Silver badge

        Re: "netflix4k stealer"

        Or lift random frames of audio and/or video from every infected system and recombine them into an untracable version.

        1. Paul_Murphy

          Re: "netflix4k stealer"

          Interesting - combine streams from a variety of sources, taking alternating frames from each source (hmm a BitTorrent/ BOINC cross-over?) and make a copy (sorry, create an idependant work) of the original.

          Some effort, but would there be enough information in a single frame to identify the source? if so then would combing each frame from various sources sort that issue out?

          I'm sure people much more cleverer than wot I am will find other ways around this - though as mentioned is it really worth the effort? just stick Fawlty Towers or Red Dwarf on.

      3. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Digital signature conundrum

        "But there's a big flaw in the plan. Watermarking is all very well for streaming, but the bulk of sales are still plastic discs, and the process of mass-production doesn't allow for them to contain unique versions. So as soon as one playback device is compromised, it all falls apart."

        BluRay shows a way around this: the ROM-Mark, which is stored in the Burst Cutting Area, the part of the media between the pits and the spindle hole. They can design the plastic media to have two areas: a pressed area and a burned area. The burned area would be processed with a quick technique to slap on a number of keys in some standard way. As for preventing them being read, perhaps they can only be read by a certified device built by a licensed and bonded manufacturer (like with the ROM-Mark devices) which invoked a trusted path technique to be sure the device hasn't been tampered. It's like the article notes: hardware-based tamper-evident roots of trust.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May work if pople want high quality

    High end people will always buy legit media to support yhe high end hardware they have bought, the mass market just want something early or for free. Look at how many people are happy to want VHS quality (or worse) copies from Cam's in Cinemas. They are not interested in the experience, just the bragging rights to say they have seen it.

    If the movie/music companies want to stop piracy, stop treating the customer as one. The harder it is to watch your legitimatly purchased product the more people turn to hacked copies, cost is some of the problem, but we live in a multi format world, if a company prevents you form format shifting your media purchases the market will turn to some version that will allow it.

    1. tkioz

      Re: May work if pople want high quality

      High end people will always buy legit media to support yhe high end hardware they have bought

      Ha! You don't know some of the people I know then. I know people on $200-300k a year who have massive pirate movie/music/game collections and wouldn't purchase a DVD if it was 1 cent.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: May work if pople want high quality

      I've just been doing some work with Blender - I find it a bit difficult but I've seen some 10 year olds making quite acceptable and original animations with it. You want higher resolution - it just takes a bit more procession but a modern PC can easily render 20 minutes of hi-def 4K (in 3d) over a weekend - and unlike hollywood the definition is not at the expense of content.

      Its not going to be long before someone knocks up a front end that makes creating photo-realistic animations a doddle and we will have an army of youngsters crawling out of art school with no limits but their imaginations - even though Makehuman seems to keep them a bit busy around puberty.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: May work if pople want high quality

        That's why we need to crack down now.

        Look what home recording studios did to the record industry, if we allow people to make their own movies without studio backing what are the coke and merc dealers in LA going to do?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personally I cannot see the point of 4k.

    All it will take to beet this is some cheap chineese hardware that does not have the checking built in. Or is easily turned off as a factory test of course

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lots of people are interested in 4k. It moves displays to 4k, which also makes people want to upgrade cameras, graphic cards (so in most cases new pcs), media, memory & storage...

      ... Oh you meant consumers?

  8. Steen Larsen
    Thumb Down

    No need to break the scheme to avoid jail

    You just have to lift the movie using a stolen identity - and do they really expect us to provide ID every time we rent a movie? Bye bye privacy.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: No need to break the scheme to avoid jail

      Yes. You need to give credit card details to pay for it, anyway.

      1. dotdan

        Re: No need to break the scheme to avoid jail

        Isn't that what all the prepaid Mastercards available at most newsagents are for?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: No need to break the scheme to avoid jail

          Don't most of them lock the card until you register it (as in submit your identity)? At least that's how I see it work in the US.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At this point I couldn't care for your "content". All we get is shit coated with shit and filled with shit. But yes, it's going to be fun when someone decides to create malware to rip off someone else's streams and send them to jail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Alternatively, someone might actually _want_ to write such a toolkit as expeditiously as possible, since with a known such toolkit widely available it would be impossible to prove involvement of the alleged "source". They did something like that with OTR ("off the record") messaging, where the spoofing toolkit is supplied officially on purpose, exactly to guarantee plausible deniability for every party (since with it anyone could trivially have forged the messaging session later).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're wrong

      If we judge by the number of people who are stealing from artists, you are very wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You're wrong

        Can't say I remember artists ever suffering from theft. They can usually afford nice houses with security.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When will they learn?

    They want to protect their ever shrinking pie at any cost. Who can forget the region coding imposed on hardware Mfrs.? Till the Chinese came along with cheap and cheerful players without the bully boys' interference.

    Same should be expected,again in this endless cycle of irrelevance. What has Hollywood really given us lately to be worthy of this drama? And why should people (the paying public) pay for THEIR drug fuelled lifestyles? Havent they run out of true entertainment ideas?

    These cocaine snorting bunch of RIAA and MPAA will never give up though, and as the earlier poster has mentioned above, there is good enough alternative content and entertainment available on the net to square off these attempts to control us and our viewing habits, for the love of 4K technology of Hollyboo idiots.

  11. jonathanb Silver badge

    Apple devices can't do 4k, however their retina and cinema displays do have enough pixels for someone to be able to tell the difference between an HD movie and a 4k movie. There's probably more greater than HD displays in the wild from Apple than from anyone else. Also, a 27" iMac with retina display could well be one of the first 4k displays out there in the not too distant future.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Learn the lessons lumpheads

    Blu ray has been something of a lack lustre launch - plenty of people stick with DVDs. And that's with everyone having a 1080p screen.

    You can track the lack of uptake to the lack of cracking of the blu ray format originally. It didn't really gain traction until the encryption was cracked - but that was too late to make it a 'replacement' format. I fizzled.

    Now, they have a format where nobody has a screen, at typical sizes and distances nobody needs it, and it's also got watermarks and cryptography splurged all over it. It's going to die on it's arse, isn't it?

    If they want to do any business at all, they need to go 180 degrees from their current path. No encryption ( so you can put it where you want), price equality with DVD and a focus on solving the download problem for such content (shiny disks are dead). Then, if they were very lucky, they might be able to sell their content again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Learn the lessons lumpheads

      Indeed, though it seems that real push behind this is coming from the technology providers. So they may not see any problem - whoever had the patent on CSS did just fine from licensing it, despite its use leaving their customers (ie DVD consortium, studios) with an aggravating and ineffective mess despised by their customers (us unwashed lot)

      Which is why it's a potpourri of every protection idea ever heard of, thrashed out in committees with probably will have too loose a specification (so terrible inter-op problems). The v1.1 draft will have a section on buggy whips (fingerprint reader built-in to their handle, user must touch every five minutes to reconfirm their attendance. Or how else will the advertisers know which dynamic adverts to inject into the stream?)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Learn the lessons lumpheads

      "a focus on solving the download problem for such content (shiny disks are dead)."

      Netflix, Hulu etc not enough? You are whinging about a solved problem. Just admit it - you'd rather steal (i.e. take for free) than pay. Stop using the creator's desire to protect THEIR WORK as an excuse for your amoral attitude to society.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Learn the lessons lumpheads

        > Netflix, Hulu etc not enough?

        These services are a big part of the reason that even BDs are selling for $5 a pop.

        Both serve to gravely devalue the market price of movies and media in general. You don't even need to pirate anymore. You can just wait for the latest blockbuster to get to the top of your queue and arrive in your mailbox (or be available to stream).

        Netflix pretty much single handedly did in the $5 per rental B&M store.

    3. CCCP

      Re: Learn the lessons lumpheads

      And worse, I find myself preferring an up scaled DVD (Toshiba player) on a first gen Kuro to a bluray on a Samsung D8000.

      Fiddling ad infinitum doesn't fix it, it's just too plasticky. 4K will make it worse.

      Lumpheads won't learn.

  13. kbb

    Watermarking

    Wouldn't re-encoding remove watermarking like this?

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Watermarking

      No. Watermarking can be more sophisticated than that. It doesn't need a high information density, so there's no need to work at the level of individual pixels.

  14. tkioz

    When will they learn... There are people out there in the wilds of the web that see any security system as a challenge, a big bunch of them don't care about piracy or anything of the like, they just want to beat it. Honestly it's like big business enjoys waving a red flag at the cryptogeek bull.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Thing is, challenge or not, some things just prove too hard a nut to crack.

      Take the Nintendo Wii's boot1 system. It's a tiny program encoded with an encryption key buried in the OTP memory only visible to one of the processors. The key never leaves the processor. in any way, shape, or form. After Nintendo fixed an exploit, the end result was that boot1 secured boot2, which prevented certain types of hacking. To date, no one's broken boot1 or found another way to access boot2 to restore the low-level hack.

      Many SoC systems that run things like tablets have similar hardware-based chains of trust. They rely on the same principle: the initial boot code is signed by a key unique to that processor (and it's a key pair--one of which is kept in the processor and can never be changed, the other is kept by the manufacturer under lock-and-key). To date, I don't recall too many of them having been utterly broken except by slips in implementation. Properly done, most hackers go AROUND the problem, which may not be an acceptable solution depending on what is needed.

      Shows that SOME implementations can be done right to the point that even the most determined hacker can't get through.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "piracy instances ... that number is sure to rise with the advent of 4K."

    It is?? How many people care about 4K in the home? My guess is less than those who care about 3D in the home.

    I have a TV with freeview HD. I watch BBC One in SD not HD, because the HD just makes the encoding artefacts more visible, and hence more unpleasant.

    A good movie is a good movie regardless of the number of pixels.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "piracy instances ... that number is sure to rise with the advent of 4K."

      "A good movie is a good movie regardless of the number of pixels."

      But I would prefer to watch any movie at 1080p rather than at 240p. If you value imagery as well as story, a good movie is an even better movie with more pixels.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: "piracy instances ... that number is sure to rise with the advent of 4K."

      Make me one of those who cares about 4K in the home...

      I may be in the minority but I have a very large lounge and even my 55" 1080p TV sometimes feels a bit small for the room, so 4K to me would work nicely with a larger screen (although I really would love a 4K projector so I can hide the screen when not in use.

      3D? I don't really care for it, I have plenty of films I've brought the 3D copy of but never watched, I just stick the 2D version on..

  16. Skizz

    I don't believe it!

    Couldn't you break the watermarking by taking two versions of the watermarked file and randomly choosing pixels from each source? Thus you mess up the watermark data without needing the unwatermarked original.

    Also, are they serious suggesting that content DRM is tied to a physical device? That would mean re-authorising content every time the playback device dies?

    1. itzman

      Re: I don't believe it!

      very interesting point. take two pirate versions and subtract them, and use that pattern to alter the pixels so defined to be something else - say a linear interpolation between them..

      rather the way I have been known to use a 'clone' tool to airbrush out water marks on digital pictures. before blending colorising and cartooning them to make them unrecognisable..

      I rather doubt that any digital watermark is robust enough to survive re-scaling re scanning, gamma/hue changes and so on. Let alone converting to an entirely different encoding format.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't believe it!

        The bigger challenge here would be to make sure you end up with a copy with NO recognizable watermarks IDs in it, instead of one with BOTH IDs recognizable. And the catch is, as they noted - you'd never know whether you succeeded or not.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even less reasion to buy

    ...even more to pirate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even less reasion to buy

      What? You justify theft simply because a creator wants paid?

      Moron.

      1. John Sanders

        Re: Even less reasion to buy

        """You justify theft simply"""

        It is not theft, no one has been deprived of anything.

        Not making a sale is not "theft", copyright infringement yes, but not theft.

        And people buy things they like if they are sensibly priced.

        Current cinema ticket prices for example are not sensible, nor the majority of films released lately things most people like (pointless remakes) .

        I liked "Pacific RIM" and I watched it at the cinema, but here is the thing I will buy it on DVD even when I do not own a DVD drive anymore. I will buy the DVD and not the Blueray because I can play the DVD anywhere I want to, and I can not do the same with the Blueray.

        Having said that, the copy I will be playing from time to time is a 1080p rip from the net.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Even less reasion to buy

          "Not making a sale is not "theft", copyright infringement yes, but not theft."

          Oh, so the creator not earning anything in order to cover costs, pay the mortage etc is perfectly OK. I must have missed the bit where banks and the economy at large if powered by love.

          Look; it takes money out of the creator's pocket - it is theft.

          "And people buy things they like if they are sensibly priced."

          And in your world then can just steal what they think is too expensive. Nice. In my world, they simply don't consume what they can't afford.

          "Current cinema ticket prices for example are not sensible"

          Well, don't go then. Simple. Although you can get a decent screening for around £5-£7. Not at a big multiplex, I grant you.

          "I will be playing from time to time is a 1080p rip from the net."

          How refreshing that somebody finally admits to being a thief. Thank you for the fresh-breath of honesty. So what justifies you in watching what you didn't bother to pay a license for? Other than "I want to"? Why not just be happy with the DVD you purchased? If you want 1080p; either pay for the stream or the BD.

          1. CCCP

            Re: Even less reasion to buy

            @ac 14:27

            Eadon?

            Is that you or have you been reincarnated? Different subject, but the tone is familiar. Maybe there are many Eadons...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Even less reasion to buy

            "Look; it takes money out of the creator's pocket - it is theft."

            NO IT DOESNT AND IT ISNT. It might stop money getting there in the first place, but it doesn't take something they have from them.

            Copying is not and has never been any form of theft or stealing.

  18. Davie Dee

    HDCP is a pain in the arse at best, I have a perfectly legit TV, and BR player and it keeps failing HDCP checks, I have to break the law to watch my legitimate BR discs!

    Its a joke, and I know im not the only one that has these issues, this new system of DRM seems ever more complicated and wrapped up in HDCP as well.

    Sorry, but no, they can shove their 4k up their arse, 1080p is more than fine for an average 42in TV at average distances, hell if im honest a GOOD film in DVD quality out rates any of other mass produced rubbish out there.

    and just before anyone says my gear is faulty, its not, at least in the sense of HDCP working as the TV works with other HDCP devices and the player works with other TVs, just together they wont!

    I predict 4k is going to take off as much as 3D did, and if it is plagued by issues because of DRM...well im sure the studies can leak how to remove the DRM then blame pirates for its catastrophic fail in favour of ever more draconian DRM methods

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Didn't Elreg run an article recently by a vision engineer on the problems of actually using 4K systems, which concluded that SD was as good, if not better than standard HD for moving pictures and particularly slow motion replays? I watch SD on a 50" HD screen from 8ft away and I can't tell the difference from HD shows. The beef I have is that sound quality on many shows is so bad that I prefer to read the subtitles! An experience also of my US friends. I don't buy DVDs unless the film is exceptional and then on special offer and would never pay for TV. My friends in the film industry point out that the picture quality after editing is so bad that nothing is in correct focus anyway.

  19. Velv Silver badge

    FAIL

    Watermarking is great - you can find the source of the pirate stream or copy.

    Which assumes the pirate has been stupid enough to obtain the source using a traceable identity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FAIL

      I also forsee a thriving black market in stolen end-user-terminals. Use each terminal just once to pirate a single movie, before it gets revoked. Original owner gets his newly-repaired-door kicked in - again!

      It'll never stop professional piracy, just inconvenience the end user.

      1. chris lively

        Re: FAIL

        I thought of this as well.

        Pirate goes down to the local electronics store and purchases a TV/player. Takes it back, rips a few movies and torrents them. Then takes the TV back to the electronics store saying he changed his mind. Grabs a second one. Rinse repeat. Around the third or fourth TV he just gets his money back and moves onto the next store.

        For people actually dedicated to ripping off movies and reselling them (ie: the entire Chinese marketplace), this isn't going to solve anything.

        Hell, just pay cash for a setup in one state/country and ship it to another. Buy the BR (or equivalent) disc somewhere and rip that way. No one would EVER find you from this scheme because they wouldn't have a clue on where to start. Cash is still king.

        Honestly, this is just another way to keep honest people honest... which is all any type of security can really do.

      2. Rufusstan

        Re: FAIL

        That is the exact point as I see it.

        There has been 10? 20? More? Years of ever more Draconian DRM introduced over a number of media and the long term effect has been to impact on the legitimate purchasers (price, accessibility, sometimes function), without stopping those who wish to watch/listen/play/read for free.

        Any DRM will either be broken or bypassed is there is enough interest, whichever route gets the pirates to their goal fastest. In this case if the DRM cannot be broken, then as an example, its more money for those dealing in Identity theft.

  20. Tromos

    Image quality is not the be all and end all

    For a first viewing, VHS quality is perfectly adequate if the movie is really good. Higher definitions come into their own for second and subsequent viewings where your attention can drift away from the main action and pick up all the little details. All of us must surely have experienced spotting something on a subsequent viewing that we totally missed first time around. My main point here is that I don't particularly care for a second viewing if the movie itself was crap. For an exceptional movie, I'm prepared to hand over a number of beer tokens to have my own high quality copy. For the merely good, a supermarket DVD from the bargain bin will do. The other 99.5% of Hollywood's output I can happily do without.

    I suspect the torrents and other internet sources will continue to supply avi/mkv/mp4 movie files of around a gigabyte or so in size that provide adequate quality with little chance of an identifiable watermark getting through. At least these provide an real idea of what the movie content is unlike the studio supplied trailers which cherry-pick snippets to give the impression that a movie is non-stop action/comedy/whatever when the reality is two fights/jokes/whatever embedded in 90 minutes of otherwise monotonous filler.

    I challenge the movie studios to make the first half of their movie releases available for free download so that we get a reasonable idea of what we're getting for our dosh.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    global energy wasted

    I really wonder what percentage of electricity globally will be wasted carrying out this crap. I do hope that a new legislation is introduced to curb this senseless stupidity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: global energy wasted

      I really wonder what percentage of limited global resources is wasted keeping the nitwits who come up with this DRM rubbish alive? Wouldn't these resources be more productively utilised on making more internet cat videos available or something?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: global energy wasted

        I really wonder what percentage of limited global resources is wasted keeping the nitwits who steal alive?

  22. Joe Montana

    Stick with watermarking

    They should stick with watermarking, and ditch the attempts at encryption and access restriction...

    Let me watch content on any device i choose, let me exercise my fair use rights, let me make copies for personal use, let me format shift etc...

    Stop screwing over the users, and the users will feel less inclined to screw you back.

    1. John Sanders

      Re: Stick with watermarking

      And produce content people like

      And stop pretending it is not 2013

  23. mjr

    “With encryption you know when you have broken it, because the content just plays, but in removing watermarks there is always an element of doubt, and you only have to get it wrong once, and you end up in prison.”

    Yes indeed; I want to buy my own sword of Damocles. Getting it wrong only once, of course includes any method of the material leaking out through you, whether you have an active hand in it or not.

  24. ziggyball

    What would be good...

    What would be good, would be to be able to buy something once, and watch it on *any* device easily and quickly, forever, with appropriate quality levels (e.g. 4K video, 7.1 audio on my main TV and ~720p stereo on my phone)

    When I say any device, I mean the sort of compatibility levels of MP3 for audio.

    If there is some DRM involved to allow me to lend it to family/friends but stop me re-selling it multiple times, then fair enough.

  25. damian Kelly

    <drumrole>

    And this years winner of the EA Sim City award for fucking up something where its easier to succeed goes too......

    </drumrole>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I brought a new CPU, it came with a FREE copy of sim city, I played it for a day... i gave up once I realised how tiny the cities were and how annoying the always on DRM was...

      If I had paid for it, I would have been pissed off...

  26. lglethal Silver badge
    Boffin

    I have to disagree with the premise of the article

    The premise of this article is that higher resolution of 4K will lead to higer piracy. I call bollocks on that!

    The vast majority of torrents out there have the movies available in around 1GB sizes. Thats only slightly up from the good ol' days of the burnt CD 600-700MB movie which we had back in the late 90's. This is despite the fact that Blu Ray files when ripped properly come in at around 4GB.

    The vast majority of users (which is an assumption I make based on the vast majority of torrents being 1GB) dont care about or want the larger size files to watch. They are more then happy to stick with the usual DVD rip of 1GB quality. People are HIGHLY unlikely to download a 4K torrent (20-odd GB if my memory serves correctly) in order to watch just a film.

    This is little more then an attempt by the security providers to try and force the studios and 4K set manufacturers into forking out cash for something which will have no use in the real world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have to disagree with the premise of the article

      Blu-ray 4GB? I get around 30GB when I rip them?

      I assume your talking when re-encoded?

      Its funny when every Blu-ray pretty much comes with a digital copy, yet it is easier to rip the film than use the supplied Digital copy (and higher quality I find)...

    2. John Sanders

      Re: I have to disagree with the premise of the article

      Nope, what will lead to more comfy piracy is H265.

      Designed to reduce the space the nice 1.2GB BR Rips in half it means that ~600mb will give you a quasi HD movie.

      Great for us poor souls with shitty Broadband ;-)

  27. Rich 2

    4K -> HD/SD

    So, if you take your 4K video, and re-sample it down to something more sensible like normal HD, or even DVD SD quality (which is still absolutely fine for most people) then that will blat the watermark, and you'll STILL have a decent quality pitated copy of the vid.

    The thing is, 4K isn't really of any practical advantage except in a cinima. Yea, I'm sure it looks stunning on 80" telly, but I don't know anyone with a 4K-capable 80" TV, so it's irrelevant, and most people can't tell the difference between SD and HD, so 4K is waaaay out thee in terms of pointless.

  28. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    My message to the movie industry

    You can 4K off with your four-Kay, I'm not buying any of it.

    C'mon, waste your money on pointless gimmicks, fool the shareholders. An industry dying because of piracy? More like a prospering racket...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My message to the movie industry

      And yet companies go to the wall because people would rather steal the game/movie/comic/song than pay for it.

      If you want the thing, pay for the thing.

      If the thing is too pricey/not available, do without. The thing is not life-essential (shelter, food, water).

      It's not hard, is it?

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: My message to the movie industry

        "If the thing is too pricey/not available, do without."

        You do realise that if I "do without", the company will also have to do without my money and the result will be the same for them...

        And in my post I did not say anything about me "pirating" stuff instead, either...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: My message to the movie industry

          "You do realise that if I "do without", the company will also have to do without my money and the result will be the same for them..."

          No, it won't. They'll see the drop in demand an no rise in theft; so they may begin to ask more pertinent questions about their sales strategy.

          "And in my post I did not say anything about me "pirating" stuff instead"

          You didn't have to. The fact that you dubbed a creator attempting to protect their work as "pointless" was evidence enough.

          People need *PAID* to make stuff. Like it or not, theft deprives the creators of the money they need to keep going. No money, they stop doing what they are doing. Then the thieves wonder why people stop making new stuff.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: My message to the movie industry

            "The fact that you dubbed a creator attempting to protect their work as "pointless" was evidence enough."

            Sue me then, let the judge decide if that is "evidence enough".

            "No, it won't. They'll see the drop in demand an no rise in theft; so they may begin to ask more pertinent questions about their sales strategy."

            Talking about clutching at straw in an argument...

            By the way, you can call your employers and complain to them that you have been misled - DRM is not for protecting against piracy, it is about charging law-abiding customers multiple times for the same product.

          2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: My message to the movie industry

            ...you still don't get it? Despite what your employers have told you, and the incessant lies locked on at the start of a lot of video media, piracy is not theft, it is copyright violation: i.e. making a copy of something without the copyright holder's permission.

            I'm not stating that piracy, is right, but your incessant (anonymous) protests that it "takes money from artists" does not help in any way. Your argument about "quality" vs "piracy" is flawed as most distributors rather than face up to the fact that they are charging too much for content of dubious quality in a period of massive financial hardship is not the reason for lessening profits, instead "piracy" is the problem. This approach is akin to sticking your head in the sand and with fingers in yours ears shouting loudly that everything is fine and that you can't hear anything and by the way, if anything isn't fine then it's not your fault anyway.

            Things change, the world and the financial dynamics that it too much relies on change as well. So rather than chasing one failing strategy time and time again, thus pissing off more and more of your customers that were happy to pay previously, how about thinking different? You may be surprised at how many people will voluntarily pay a fair price for something, sometimes even more, if they know that the money is going to the right place and for the right reasons.

          3. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            Re: My message to the movie industry

            > No, it won't. They'll see the drop in demand an no rise in theft; so they may begin to ask more pertinent questions about their sales strategy.

            I bet you believe in the tooth fairy too.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streaming. .

    ...given that either most of the broadcast companies in the UK, or the carriers, seem incapable of delivering SD TV without pixellation or huge numbers of artifacts what is the point in 4k at home? I suspect most of Virgins bandwidth us taken up with all those totally crap tv channels like QVC or more likely all the people on "100 Meg" pipes who seem to be trying to download the entire Internet.

    Im still confused by the adverts on DVD showing me how much better the picture would be if I upgraded to BluRay... if my DVD can display images that good then why isn't it?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When will these idiots realise

    I don't want any kit or media encumbered by this nonsense. They can keep it, preferably where the sun does not shine.

    If they want me to actually pay for 4K content, I want zero restrictions thank you, or I'll wait half a day for someone else to crack it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When will these idiots realise

      So you'll steal the content rather than buy it.

      And you wonder why they are pushing DRM.

      You are an idiot.

      1. Wade Burchette

        Re: When will these idiots realise

        To second AC:

        (A) It is not stealing, it is copyright infringement. There is a difference. You cannot steal something that does not physically exist. I can steal the physical disc the movie is on. See the difference?

        (B) Why do you assume the original poster wanted his content without paying? How do you go from "I want my content easy-to-use" to "YOU THIEF!!!!"? Why is it when someone wants to put the content they legally paid for on other devices without complications, it suddenly becomes one of the 7 deadly sins?

        And before you call me a thief, I am not advocating piracy. I am advocating that content providers stop treating everybody like a criminal. I am advocating that content providers treat their paying customers better. I am advocating that Hollywood stop using piracy as an excuse for people not wanting to see the tripe they put out. I would welcome a watermark, provided I can rip the movie, make a backup copy of the movie, re-edit the movie, re-encode the movie, and put the movie on other devices I own. Why should I have to pay for a movie again just to put it on my tablet? Why should fair use be shoved aside just because of a few lawbreakers? Treat me like a customer, and not like a bad person.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When will these idiots realise

          "It is not stealing"

          It *IS* stealing. The creator loses the revenue from the sale, end of discussion.

          "Why do you assume the original poster wanted his content without paying?"

          Because they said as much - here, I'll repeat it for you: "I'll wait half a day for someone else to crack it."

          So rather than simply not consume (as they don't like creators attempting to protect their income stream) the the AC would rather steal.

          You know there are small publishing houses (to make just one example) that only need to sell around 2,000 copies to keep going. You know what people do? They buy one copy, scan it, then create a torrent. These are not faceless mega-corporates; these are mom 'n pop shops and they go to the wall because assholes steal their stuff. If it's popular enough to torrent, it's popular enough to pay for.

          I am advocating that if YOU CANNOT LEGALLY ACQUIRE something then simply DO NOT STEAL, do without. If there was no piracy (yeah, right...) and sales were still dropping do you think that maybe, just maybe you'd get the change you want?

          As the thefts exist on an industrial scale by Occam's Razor, this is probably the main issue.

          1. John Sanders
            Windows

            Re: When will these idiots realise

            TROLL

          2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: When will these idiots realise

            No matter what your employer's repeatedly chant to themselves... and inflict on those of us that actually buy content... piracy is not theft. Piracy is copyright violation... as in making a copy of something without the copyright holder's permission.

            I'm not saying that piracy is right, but try to get things right rather than just mindlessly repeat the same old, tired and massively debunked, arguments.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: When will these idiots realise

              "Piracy is copyright violation"

              Actually "piracy" is theft (and rape, murder etc) on the high seas. Just in case you were confused.

              Is breaching copyright against the law? Yes, thus it is a crime.

              Does it, by intent, deprive someone? Yes, loss of revenue due to lost sale.

              Bingo - theft.

              The equation is so, so simple and yet you lot fail to grasp it. Well, I guess is isn't you job or well-being on the line, so why should you give a shit?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: When will these idiots realise

                "Does it, by intent, deprive someone? Yes, loss of revenue due to lost sale."

                That is where one of your many errors lies. Copying it does not equal would have purchased it if unable to copy it....

                Actually much research on the subject shows that those that copy films / movies also tend to spend a lot on buying them....

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: When will these idiots realise

            "It *IS* stealing. The creator loses the revenue from the sale, end of discussion."

            It *ISNT* Stealing. The creator never had a sale or revenue in this case to be deprived of, which would be required for theft.

            Because someone copied something also doesn't mean that they would have purchased it if they couldn't have copied it....

          4. kellerr13

            Re: When will these idiots realise

            It's NOT stealing. If they have exactly 10 copies on the shelf to be sold, and they sell every one of them, then you who have no intention of buying it anyways, decide to copy it for yourself, you have not deprived them of peoperty.

            Just because they call it theft in their little advertisements, does not make it so. In order to be theft, you must be depriving them of property. Making a copy of something is copyright violation, and that is a different definition under law.

            1. Davie Dee

              Re: When will these idiots realise

              Interestingly if I steal a DVD from a shop, the production company an all still gets all the money its due, since the demise of HMV and virgin and more importantly EUK (well done woollies!) most high street shops operate a system where they only pay for the cost of units they sold.

              so lets be clear

              shop X gets 100 units, they sell 60, and 40 get stolen, they only pay for the 60 they sold on the remaining 40 get wrote off by the company for nothing and the distributer takes a hit on the cost of MEDIA.

              THAT is the true cost of "stealing" sweet bugger all, in term of lost revenue it is exactly the same as if a DVD is copied and past about digitally

              Note that they may have lost REVENUE but it is NOT theft, nothing has been taken or lost in value other than the cost of the original media, in once case that's a fraction of a penny the other case its nothing at all

              Lets explore lost revenue. If I were to copy 3DS max, a product worth $3500, and use it to fart about with, how much revenue has Autodesk LOST? absolutely nothing, because there is no chance I would buy it in the first place.

              Now lets take another example, I download a torrent of some off the wall DVD that is amazing, how much REVENUE have they LOST? nothing, in fact they have gained revenue because I would then go buy it.

              You might say that's rubbish but it is the truth. In almost any other sector you find out what it is you want, BEFORE you buy it, in the world of Movies you cant, you are forced to buy in to something that was likely misrepresented by a shoddy 30 second preview. Im sorry but not, I refuse to pay money for crap, I refuse to reward a company for selling me something I DONT LIKE. that is what they need to resolve. But of course they wont, because every one of the legally abiding folk out there shells out their hard earned cash even tho they may hate it. and when they do decide that DVD was not worth the plastic it was crafted in to they sell it on to someone else,. How much money do the actors etc get from that sale, bugger all, they whole system is just messed up, but rather deal with it they will continue to screw over everyone and ,milk it for all its worth

      2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: When will these idiots realise

        OK, let me see...

        AC#1 says "I will not buy DRMed stuff, I'll wait for the DRM to be broken and get the free copy instead".

        The implication here is AC#1 might actually buy the stuff if it wasn't DRMed in the first place.

        AC#2 says "This is why they put DRM on" and calls AC#1 an idiot.

        The implication here is that the companies put DRMs on their product in order to ensure that customers don't pay them and resort to piracy instead.

        Alternatively, AC#2 believes that DRMs are the means of stopping DRMs from being cracked.

        In either case AC#2 is clearly the idiot here.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When will these idiots realise

          "The implication here is that the companies put DRMs on their product in order to ensure that customers don't pay them and resort to piracy instead."

          No, AC#2 knows that DRM exists to try and make piracy harder because people steal content and thus the creator does not get paid. It's not perfect, but it's the best option there is.

          If you cannot get a thing legally, do not consume said thing. It's really, really simple. Clearly you are another moron who can't grasp this simple fact.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: When will these idiots realise

            "No, AC#2 knows that DRM exists to try and make piracy harder because people steal content and thus the creator does not get paid."

            LOL! No. DRM is not to make piracy harder, it is to make paying customer pay multiple times for what he should only pay for once.

            "If you cannot get a thing legally, do not consume said thing."

            I do not "consume" music or video. That's one.

            Two, is if you don't make something available, don't complain when people use other channels to get it. Don't try to defend the cartel system your employers like so much - it's indefensible.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: When will these idiots realise

              "Don't try to defend the cartel system your employers like so much"

              Boom. "I wanna do it so ahmma gonna invent a big bad mans and make that the reason I do it. Wah!" Seriously, get a grip of yourself.

              When YOUR WORK that pays for YOUR HOUSE gets ripped off and you don't get to see a penny to cover your costs - come back and talk to me.

              You are pathetic.

              1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

                Re: When will these idiots realise @AC

                JupiterAC, you are angry, therefore you are wrong.

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        Re: When will these idiots realise

        > So you'll steal the content rather than buy it.

        It's all the same on the balance sheet.

        I am certainly not going to BUY something I can't crack. Media is only worth something to me if I can do what I want with it. It's no different than physical personal property in this regard.

        DRM just makes the product lamer and more annoying.

  32. 080

    Is it worth it?

    The content originators all assume that pirated copies will convert to paid for copies. Sorry boys but this is not going to happen.

    How often do you download a freebe but never bother to watch it? Make it too difficult to copy and the majority will not bother, reduce the cost of a legitimate copy to somewhere near cost + reasonable mark-up, improve the quality of the product and you might sell more.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Works 4 me

    Now if all civilized countries adopted Japan's mandatory minimum 2 year prison sentence plus large fines for piracy, we'd have a good start to proper punishment for piracy. If you're dumb enough to pirate then you're dumb enough to go to jail.

    1. FrankAlphaXII
      Thumb Up

      Re: Works 4 me

      <sarc>

      Yeah, because mandatory minimums work so well everywhere they're used, like here in the US for our "War on Drugs". I Haven't seen someone smoking crack or buying pills since 1989!

      </sarc>

      Get real, outside of NYC and the People's Republic of California, noone gives a damn about the film industry. And all the President has to do is say he's for it to ensure the Republicans oppose it.

  34. IGnatius T Foobar

    Movies still suck

    Hopefully all this extra security around Hollywood's crap will be the final push the world needs to simply set aside the garbage they produce and let the indie film scene do its thing. George Clooney needs to be shot into space and left there.

  35. Fihart

    Why bother with Hollywood ?

    Almost all US movies feature cardboard-cut-out characters, unbelievable plots, people shouting, car chases, too many resulting explosions. Mostly aimed at short-attention-span yoofs.

    These days I mainly watch stuff with subtitles -- fact is Iranian, Argentinian, Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, French, Italian, Spanish films that make it into the UK market have to be outstanding to make the transition. Almost always better than the Hollywood stuff forced into Europe by heft of marketing hype and distribution muscle.

  36. stu 19

    4k Even Worth Bothering With?

    I'm sure I read an article, right here on the Reg, that described the effects of delivering intrlaced video streams yada yada yada, that led me to decide - at least for me, that, "who gives a toss about 4K!" Was I wrong to think that, or does the whole raft of security on top mean it will just end up getting skipped over? I suppose as long as the consumer does not feel the bite, (which does not seem likely if non players have to license that tech) then they might give a monkeys.

    As for me wanting 4k on my tablet? I doubt my eyes can tell the difference my my nexus 7 screen!!

    I suppose "they" will make money as long as they persuade punters they need a 4k telly ?

    Someone correct me if I was wrong to think "who gives a toss about 4k, " I'll run out and but a 4k set immediately!!

    oh not to mention that "their" fabulous security plans have not fared too well in recent launches of ... er anything that I can think of.

    stu

  37. Mad Chaz

    4k is already pointless

    Consider this. Right now, on most big screen tv, if you show a modern DVD vs the BR version, most people can't even tell the difference in picture quality. 4K will be the same thing. We are already hitting a wall in term of TV screen quality. The difference between 1080p and 4k won't show, at all, in any living room.

    Not only that, but the 3D fiasco already showed people aren't going to flock to get a new screen anymore, as the perseived increase in image quality by going to HD was more then enough for most of them. Besides, who as a grand or 2 to spend every 2 or 3 years just to upgrade to the latest studio mandated fad?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 4k is already pointless

      How bad must peoples eyes be to not tell the difference, sure DVD's look amazing with a decent upscaling DVD player on a good 1080p TV, but no difference? no you can tell the difference...

      what pisses me off is when I watch something on a HD channel and the quality is NOT HD...

  38. MrXavia

    If watermarking means I can get DRM free 4K Video files, I would be very happy! there is no need to target downloaders, just the originators of the content.

    I don't mind paying for content, I am happy to support the production companies that make entertainment I enjoy, I would never use iTunes, but I buy MP3's all the time (I wish they did lossless audio files too)

  39. bigtimehustler

    This will make no different what so ever! If I buy a 4K movie from a shop and then rip it and put it online. They know its the same version thats spread all over the place online, but they have no idea who I am, I paid for this from a shop using cash. What a waste of time.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      How do you know they can't find a way to make physical copies unique?

  40. MacGyver

    Wow

    Firstly the only way that could work would be to have users register the serial number of their 4k player. A draconian challenge at best that is easily circumvented by the fact that you simply need to report your registered one stolen, then you could release all the rips you want, "It must be the robber that is doing it, not me.". Unless they are talking about a "phone-home" system, but then who wants some manufacture or studio knowing what movies you are watching? Hmm, I recall a similar system called DIVX that Circuit City tried to push, I wonder where either of those are today?

    If they can turn owning physical media into a Steam style system, then we're all screwed. If 4k BR are allowed to be network only devices a la Microsoft ONE, we truly will "own" nothing.

    Just sell the discs at a price that people are willing to pay. Only the poor would be pirates if things were made available in a timely manner and at a price people were willing to pay. But no, let's spend millions, inconvenience millions, and have it be broken in less than a month anyway. Rinse, wash, repeat.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Wow

      "Unless they are talking about a "phone-home" system, but then who wants some manufacture or studio knowing what movies you are watching?"

      Hmmm, if you have a BD player, that's pretty much what you've got already.

      1. MacGyver

        Re: Wow

        Well that explains it, I don't own a BluRay player (ok, my PS3 has one, but I don't watch movies in it). I own lots of DVDs and BluRays (like 500), and when I buy one, I copy it to a harddrive, then encode it to H.264, then delete the 35GB in temp files, then I can watch the H.264 file from any device anywhere around my house (The Bluray then goes on the shelf, never to be used again). I would never plug a BD player into the network or phone jack.

  41. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Death to Multicast?

    That's exactly what we humans as a species want to do. Move to ever higher demands for Internet bandwidth, and then cut the legs out from under one of the solutions.

    Crazy planet.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I being thick?

    (Maybe someone's explored this in all the comments - apologies if I'm suggesting something that's old hat).

    Would the easiest answer to defeat the watermarks be to rip the content at 4K then downscale to standard HD?

    Or perhaps ripping the 4K content twice and sampling the frames into one another, turning any encoded watermarks into complete nonsense? The process might take longer to encode, but the encoder probably wouldn't mind the extra safety this brings them from the feds...

    That's the sort of thing I'd do if I was in that situation. I'm not fussed with 4K. I'll quite happily stick with standard HD.

  43. clean_state
    Megaphone

    +1 for watermarking

    I'm all for the watermarking - if they could just remove all of the other encryption nonsense. If I look at my current movie consumptions, it's all pretty legal. Paying 4€ for a V.O.D. movie streamed directly to my house seems fair and it is more convenient than torrenting it. The same for paying 10€ for a children's film DVD that the kids will be playing over and over.

    And yet, are the various anti-piracy systems the reason why I bittorrent less and less ? Not at all. Convenience and fair price are.

    So please, big content studios, add watermarking everywhere, then remove all the artificial incompatibilities you introduced (you call it "security features" - as if it was making my life secure in any way) and let me enjoy my content on any device I want.

    (Loudspeaker, in hope the message reaches their ears)

  44. john devoy

    What about bought 4k discs?

    Does this mean they have no plans to sell a 4k bluray format? It seems this system would only work with online delivered content.

  45. john devoy

    They never learn

    If they came up with a sensibly priced system for delivering 4k content then piracy would drop, the media has reported that TV piracy fell about 50% with the introduction of Netflix. A lot of people only pirate tv/film because it's less hassle than official channels, give them an alternative and they'll use it.

  46. Luke McCarthy

    No need to remove watermark

    Just scramble it enough that it is unreadable.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: No need to remove watermark

      Well, if you decompress the video into full RGB and then compress it again, that alone should probably kill or disrupt any stego that was in the original stream.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: No need to remove watermark

        Well, if you decompress the video into full RGB and then compress it again, that alone should probably kill or disrupt any stego that was in the original stream.

        A good scheme would survive this as well. Data can be hidden into content in all manner of ways, and much of this would indeed survive the re-encoding process. Think about the basics - on a 100 minute movie running at 25 there's 150000 individual frames. If a 20 character (160 bit) watermark could be encoded in a single spot (not pixel, think screen location) with one bit per frame it could still be encoded over 900 times sequentially. That's just video, IDs can be encoded into audio as well.

  47. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "after you have compromised the quality of the output"

    HARHARHARHARHARHARHARHARHARHARHARHARgaspwheezechoke!

  48. tom dial Silver badge

    I find it interesting that of the first 50 or so comments, all those favorable to newer and harsher DRM are posted anonymously.

    It appears to me that the consortium is trying to bridge a gap between actually selling something concrete, as a DVD or BD disk, for instance, and a restrictive license to use, like Microsoft. However, the last I looked, Microsoft would sell a copy of Windows that could be transferred to another machine, at least. I don't use the product and didn't have the stomach to read the EULA to see if you could transfer the software to another user. It would be interesting to know what provisions the DRM has for evaporating in the unlikely case of copyright expiration or rationalization of the copyright laws, or for the much more likely case where the device with the TPM fails.

    You don't really own something you can't transfer freely, including the cases where a captive "store" exercises monopoly control over selling/reselling or you may not use it as you wish. The producers should be able to protect "their" content as a contract matter in whatever way they wish, including encryption and watermarking, and to enforce their contracts in civil actions, but it is not at all clear that they should be able to enlist the government's ability to use force and imprisonment to do so. They are few and we are many, and in a democratic regime that ought to count for something. And if the proposed methods approach the effectiveness the producers wish, there may no longer be any need for government granted copyright on this material - the technical means would allow the studios to prevent most unauthorized copying and identify successful contract violators so as to bring them into civil court. There would not be a need for governments to allocate public money for the private benefit of the private organizations that might (or might not) have been damaged by unauthorized copying of digital data.

  49. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Client side watermarking? So stupid.

    ""Jimmy can't save up and buy DRM free 4K films"

    So what - that is still no excuse for theft."

    You mean copyright infringement. If this were theft, the file sharing site would have deprived the movie company of the movie after they took it from them (wouldn't that piss them off!), and then Jimmy would have deprived the file sharing site of it after he took it from them. They are not, they are making copies. By using improper terminology you add nothing to this discussion. Edit: Forget it, I didn't read all the posts to realize I was feeding a troll.

    ---------------------------------------

    Anyway... watermarking seems like a good idea. Whether the movie company wastes money on yet more attempts at rights restriction or not, it's never proven effective in the long term. With the watermark, people will be able to make fair use of the video. But when it gets to mass distribution, they'll get pinched. Problem solved.

    Watermarking on the CLIENT DEVICE? Absurd. You ("you" being the movie industry..) still assume you will come up with an unbreakable rights restriction system (you won't), you assume if client devices are subverted you can disable them (you'll have so many pissed off customers you will not believe it, and devices WILL be subverted.) You assume that your watermarking will be to clever for anyone to figure out (server-side watermarking could be switched up as frequently as you want, whereas client-side will be built into the box and only updateable via firmware update, which the customer may or may not bother to do.) And finally, you throw away the chance to give the customer what they want -- plenty of potential customers get free movies because as it stands, they can either get the free movie and watch it on whatever device they'd prefer, or they can pay you for a movie then find out it won't actually play on some of their devices due to the rights restrictions you artificially threw in.

    I urge you guys, get a clue and do not waste time on client-side watermarking.

  50. chris lively

    I think Hollywood should apply whatever encryption they want. Make it as hard as possible to watch the crap on anything but an Approved Device properly signed for and gene encoded to the viewers.

    Then, maybe, we can dispense with all their bullshit and move on.

    Of course, what I'd like more than that are for the idiots on this site to get a couple things clear:

    1. Stop conflating content "Creators" with IP Owners. In the vast majority of cases these are completely different groups. Most creators get paid the moment they transfer rights to a studio / record label. They *might* get a residual from sales, but that's small potatoes and is often lowered even more through creative accounting. The real money goes to the studio.

    2. Copying a book, video or song is NOT theft using the legal definition of theft. It can be debated as being morally equivalent to theft but it is not theft. Until the laws equate copying a file with stealing we should call a spade a spade: It's Copyright Infringement.

    Both of these distinctions are critically important in order to have an honest discussion on the subject.

    However I'm not going to hold my breath. Industry schills have an absolute interest in using the wrong terms in everything but the actual written laws.

  51. Jeremy Allison

    Time to remind people of the real purpose of DRM.

    Everyone seems to forget - it's nothing to do with controlling pirates or users, it's to keep the device makers brought to heel to protect obsolete business models.

    Hicksie nails it here:

    https://plus.google.com/107429617152575897589/posts/iPmatxBYuj2

    Disclaimer (I work with Hicksie, when he turns up in the office :-).

  52. chris lively

    Simplest answer to all of this mess would be a subscription service to the studios.

    You pay $10/month and get access to all of that studios releases accessible on any device. As along as the studio continues providing content that you want, you'll be willing to pay.

    Oh wait, that's what Netflix and Amazon Prime are for.... Seems like a good model. Just go with it.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOL, this can be defeated by noise.

    Have some code which analyses frames looking for oddities which cannot be explained by the content, and log these as suspect, then re-encode the audio and video with appropriate amplitude noise, especially smudging the suspect sections. A lot of this processing could probably offloaded to GPUs, rather like Bit Coin farming, so does not have to be slow.

    This is an arms race which the media companies cannot win; they are not agile enough.

  54. Trollslayer Silver badge

    HDCP was broken

    Twice that I know of, it's just that this wasn't really needed to get at the content so it was an intellectual exercise.

    From the article I can see a couple of way to get content that is difficult if not impossible to trace, just there is a bit more effort involved.

  55. Zack Mollusc

    THIEVES!!

    OMG! I am sickened by the blatant stealing going on in this comments section. The Anonymous Cowards may like to hide behind weasel words and call it 'Quoting an earlier post', but it is THEFT, plain and simple.

  56. kellerr13

    Yoho

    Since the media industry have been so unfair, ruthless, openly hostile, injust, and downright criminal in their actions, many of us no longer recognize their copyright. SONY!

    Any artist, or studio releasing anything with one of those brands, forfet their copyright, and pirates everywhere will use whatever methods they can to crack, and distribute, and will ofen even place their own watermarks, or at least establish plausible deniability.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is even easier to get around that the reset with one simple sentence.

    No sorry officer I sold that player at a garage sale last month no idea who the buyer was.

    While I am sure it will be hard to get around in the first place when it is mainstream it will have to relax to allow distribution to masses. Plus do they really think everyone will connect their blu-ray player to the net just to be authenticated to watch a movie.

    What is to stop a PC doing a low level copy of the data or even someone making hardware that fakes the signing and adds no watermark.

    For every $ of motivation to add it there is another to remove it. (I remember when the only DVD burner capable of ripping secure-ROM DVD's that could be used on any player was made by Sony the same company that created the protection)

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Unfortunately as I read it, the player will (must) always be net connected and will check into a central database somewhere. If that database says that you have every copied a film, then the player will be crippled.

      Due process. Heard of it.

    2. Simon 33

      It can be way, way simpler than that.

      Fred lives in a backups-are-fair-use zone. Fred makes a backup for his personal use. He gets a virus/visits a dodgy website/opens a dodgy email, his PC is compromised, every rip he has made for fair use is copied and uploaded to torrent sites.

      All these 4k torrents attributable to Fred's device, and he is only guilty of naïveté.

  58. phil dude
    Meh

    noise and...

    The comment about noise may be the result ;-)

    Ultimately for this to be a deterrent someone has to turn up in court and prove defendant A had dodgy video B.

    Surely this will publish the watermark scheme, otherwise a good defence lawyer would argue they are just making it up?

    Once the scheme is known, copying it may not be possible (for the same reason that finding private keys is not easy) but removing it would, if only by averaging the surrounding area. I doubt your eye would notice that in a 4K moving image...

    Or as some others have pointed out, if it needs a database to check, that will get blown.

    Or another plausible approach is to downcode to regular HD but use multiple pieces of multiple streams, guaranteed to be a mix of at least 50 sources... not sure how this helps but it must muddy up the water.

    I think the guy on BBC's Click was being a bit sarcastic mentioning "we have just got over our 3D screens..."

    P.

  59. shovelDriver

    "A watermark has to be introduced in all 4K delivery, at the worst case at the server streaming the content (so that each stream is unique), or better still at the device. The latter will mean that the guilty party customer can be identified . . ."

    Seems like a good way to throw away customers if you ask me.

    After all, they can always get your content elsewhere. Surely you don't believe that something you can "protect" will not ever be decrypted?

    For "research", naturally. Why even Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 specifically acknowledges an exemption for research, and criticism . . .

  60. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    All this stuff and nonsense

    Just so they can put out more Adam Sandler films.

    Really?

  61. JDX Gold badge

    Is this DRM or a better alternative?

    Thinking about it, if watermarking is deemed secure then media providers don't need to be so paranoid about how they stream/deliver you the content. They can let you have the content to do with as you see fit, and still be confident they can identify you if you start distributing it.

  62. Piro

    Streaming?

    What's the point of "4K" (presumably in this context referring to 3840x2160, not actually "4K" which is a film industry term for 4096x2160) streaming?

    Who on earth has the bandwidth for this? Normal video connections that have ENORMOUS amounts of bandwidth have to be upgraded to cope with the sheer amount of data. Our internet connections, even the best domestic ones available, would make a laughably compressed mess of this!

    Between the bluray with a decent bitrate, and some massively compressed "4K" content, give me the bluray.

  63. CheesyTheClown

    This is such a dumb ass method

    I developed a watermarking algorithm two years ago which survived re-encoding, functioned over the broadcast network and actually managed to allow geographic location of who leaked a stream from broadcast to the local exchange. Best thing is, the viewers in the test group we ran it against couldn't tell the difference between the original sources and the watermarked video. We reencoded the files up to 10 generations and could still always identify the markings. It even survived HD to SD conversion and back. Even better.. survived qcif rescaling.

    This design was stupid since it's so easy to bypass. You don't need to compare against the original. What you need instead is to confuse the detection software. How? Get two copies of the same film from two different accounts and compare them together and find the differences and obfuscate them further.

    This is not rocket science... It's just math. Could my system be bypassed? Sure... but the way I marked the video made it almost impossible to do so without understanding the pattern of picture alterations I made. So even if you started mixing from multiple different sources, each source it was mixed from would be be identifiable.

    I am a huge fan of watermarking. I hate DRM. I like to be able to get content and use it however I'd like. I have no problem with people sharing videos with their friends and family. It's when people rent or borrow a movie and then put it on the pirate bay I don't care for.

    That said... the Pirate Bay has evolved into something we all need to some extent. It's a video archive. It's a place where almost all video and music can be found. I love that. Too bad there's no good official source for the material.

    1. Zack Mollusc

      Re: This is such a dumb ass method

      Bad luck when the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of your friend that you happily shared your Nicki Minaj video with puts it on Pirate Bay and they drag your ass to jail because the watermark identifies you as the guilty party.

  64. MacroRodent Silver badge
    FAIL

    Another reason not to "upgrade" to 4K

    Actually, I have still to upgrade to HD. I'll probably do that only when DVD:s get too hard to find, and/or my old PAL telly gives up the ghost....

    I suspect that with consumer-grade gear, it will be difficult to even see any significant difference between HD and 4K. The only initial customers will only be cinephiles with large home theaters (as usual), but I suspect this time they will remain the only customers. And the ever more Draconian DRM will help keep it that way.

  65. Truth4u

    You know they care about you

    They're investing heavily in tech to add distortion and imperfection to movies while you watch them. Because you're such a criminal you can't be trusted with a clean copy they actually make you pay extra for a device to fuck with the stream as you watch it. Like paying for the door in your own prison cell.

    1. Piro

      Re: You know they care about you

      Cinavia already does it for the audio stream, now it's basically time for Cinavia in the video stream.

      All bastards. They still don't get it.

  66. SpitefulGOD

    From the sounds of it.... take 4K video... create 3K video, problem solved.

  67. bexley

    I'll put the tinfoil hat on then

    this shill has successfully diverted the discussion away from the technical solutions tondeal with this new rrm issue and into a lengthy and largely unecessary 5 pages of why its not theft.

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