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RFID Tags for Digital Rights Management 277

Posted by Zonk
from the gone-tracking dept.
mathemaniac writes "RFID Journal is running a story about a group of researchers at UCLA working on a new RFID application that would provide consumers a means of watching DVDs of movies as soon as they hit the theaters. It could also be used to address one of Hollywood's biggest concerns: piracy of digital content. The group is researching a method of using RFID as a tool for digital rights management (DRM), wherein technologies are employed to protect media files from unauthorized use."
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RFID Tags for Digital Rights Management

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  • Pr0n example (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fembots (753724) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:45PM (#12538926) Homepage
    I'm surprised that movie industry is not following up how pr0n industry can be so successful and profitable.

    Being sophisticated and innovative in member management is one thing, but more importantly is the undeniable fact that pr0n industry actually produces something that viewers want to watch, maybe that is why people are paying to watch it. Pr0n is probably one of the most pirated product known to mankind, yet it's still a feasible business living through printed to digital materials.

    There's a story about movie slump [usatoday.com], the article mentioned that the industry needs something that can get people excited about going to the movies.
    • Pr0n==cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alaren (682568) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:59PM (#12539001)
      While I don't disagree with you in principle--I think that companies like Pixar, for instance, demonstrate that making good movies is not "hit and miss"--I think you're missing one of porn's biggest advantages over other movies.

      Porn is cheap.

      You need CGI? No. You need expensive sets? No again. It costs very little to make, especially if you find attractive actors and actresses who just want to turn a quick buck to pay for their college textbooks or a new car or something. When you spend a hundred million making a movie, it takes a lot of ticket sales to make that up. When you spend ten thousand bucks, suddenly you only have to sell DVDs to half the frat boys in Wyoming before you break even.

      However, I do think porn can teach the movie industry a valuable lesson regarding how much actors make compared to everyone else on the set. If Hollywood would stop using celebrity actors and actresses to sell movies, instead relying on scripts and directors and the like, I think they would save a lot of money. Imagine if you didn't have to reserve half your budget for one single person's involvement...
      • Using unknown actors is hit and miss...

        Take the Star Wars series for example.

        In the original series, some unknowns became big names, while some other main character actors didn't do much else.

        I'm curious to see who, among the previously unknown actors in Episodes 1-2-3 are going to go back to obscurity relatively quick...
        • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:3, Informative)

          by toddestan (632714)
          I don't think the point of using unknowns is to help them launch their hugely successful acting career. It's about making movies cheaply. And Star Wars (atleast the first one) did this very well.
      • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:3, Insightful)

        This is very true. I never understood why, rationally speaking, should a movie star (or a pop singer, a soccer player etc) get such ridiculous money. Is it how much their contribution to society really worth? I very much doubt it.
        • I'm not sure about the country you live in but in most of the world the amount of money someone gets paid isn't a measure of the worth of their contribution to society, and nor is it meant to be.
          • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:3, Insightful)

            I'm not sure about the country you live in but in most of the world the amount of money someone gets paid isn't a measure of the worth of their contribution to society
            I know; not in capitalist society, at least. And that leads us to the next question...
            ... nor is it meant to be.
            Why not?
        • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:2, Insightful)

          Same reason you get fined $1000 for littering on the highway. It's not that your litter costs $1000 to clean up (more like $0.10), it's that you have to pay for the 10,000 other people who littered and didn't get caught.

          With actors, sure, if you hit it big you make lots of money. But for every Brad Pitt there are 10,000 Nic Wegener [imdb.com]'s. It's not really fair, but for now it's the best we've got. At least we've got the freedom to choose whether to hack code for a decent living or to risk it all trying to b

          • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Justin205 (662116)
            Bad analogy. If you pay that $1000 for the litter, at least the rest of the litter will be cleaned up.

            For a movie star, if one gets $0.10, and the other gets $1000, then it's not even split up. The one with $1000 gets the (almost full - minus agents, etc.) $1000, and the one with $0.10 is stuck with $0.10.
        • Simple. Because someone is willing to pay them that much. Welcome to the world of economics.
        • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Secret Agent X23 (760764) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @11:26PM (#12539908)
          This is very true. I never understood why, rationally speaking, should a movie star (or a pop singer, a soccer player etc) get such ridiculous money. Is it how much their contribution to society really worth? I very much doubt it.

          The real question is, how much is someone's work worth, in purely economic terms, to the person writing the check? If I were a producer and thought that Brad Pitt's name on my movie would be worth an extra $50 million in revenues, I'd be happy to write him a check for $10 million (numbers are pulled out of the air; I don't know what Pitt typically gets paid).

          Yes, the $35,000-a-year teachers who teach kids to read are making a far greater contribution to society, but the fact is, their jobs aren't generating any "cash flow."

        • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:4, Insightful)

          by oldwolf13 (321189) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @11:59PM (#12540033) Journal
          it's a catch-22 system.

          If we pay the movie star less, where does the rest go? To the producer? Director? Company? They're not going to do something nice, and responsible and maybe make it so joe sixpack and his family can go see a movie without being gouged.

          Personally, I think a lot of those people should be paid less, and let the money trickle down more to the lowest paid. if they're making sufficient funds, then they can maybe do things like make it so I don't have to spend $50 or so to go see a movie with my girl.

          This is what gets me with movie stars, singers, HOCKEY PLAYERS... sure they thank their fans.. say they owe it all to them... yet their hands are in our wallets every chance they get.

          Out here in Vancouver, Canada, they did some awful things to the projectionists... rolling back wages, lessening the staff... etc. They ended up striking. Now projectionists made GOOD money, so I met a lot of people who thought they were overpaid anyways, so they should just take what they could get... they figured it was such an easy job they shouldn't be paid what they were.

          i find this way of thinking to be very similar to brainwashing. Instead of wishing the poor projectionist and his family to be paid less, they should be wishing themselves to be PAID MORE. Why do people always have to drag others down, instead of trying to boost themselves up?

          I asked them where the money should go if they succeeded in doing this to the projectists. Back to Sony and their ilk so they can have yet another dump truck full of money sitting around collecting interest?

          I'd much rather my money went to some poor joe sixpack with a wife and kids busting his ass to support them, then to some already stinking rich guy.
      • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

        by brogdon (65526) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @09:13PM (#12539347) Homepage
        "You need CGI? No. You need expensive sets? No again."

        People used to be able to say this type of thing about good movies. Maybe the reason the studios are so worried about losses due to piracy is that it might cause them to have to worry about silly things like artistry and solid writing. :)
      • Animation is even cheaper. Now you only have to pay some geeks pizza and coke to make a movie. Eventually, animation will be so realistic, that warm blood actors and actresses will be obsolete.
      • Re:Pr0n==cheap (Score:3, Insightful)

        holywood movies are expensive because theyre adicted to big budgets, actors are adicted to large pays, so they have to spend half the budget of the movie in advertising to make sure enough sreens are showing the movies and that people pay to watch it.

        blair witch project was a damn good movie and it was shot with only US$35 thousand and made more than US$200 milion in the box office. OTOH titanic was budgeted in what ? US$ 200 mil ? and made 1 bilion. 5 times the investiment. blair with multiplied the inves
    • by Omega1045 (584264) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:00PM (#12539008)
      I'm surprised that movie industry is not following up how pr0n industry can be so successful and profitable.

      The pr0n industry is successful because guys like tits.

    • Re:Pr0n example (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chris Kamel (813292) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:03PM (#12539025)
      pr0n is probably still profitable because of the ridiculous profit margins involved.

      You could pay $20 for a pr0n DVD whose production cost something in the order of thousands of dollars.

      Compare that to a multi-million dollar budget needed for a top (non-pr0n) movie and you've got a pretty different deal there.
      • Compare that to a multi-million dollar budget needed for a top (non-pr0n) movie and you've got a pretty different deal there.

        Maybe that says more about the efficiency of the non-pr0n movie industry than anything else.

        I find it strange that Hollywood needs big budgets to put colored dots on a screen. Some of my favourite movies cost next to nothing to make. e.g. Aardman animation's The Wrong Trousers [imdb.com] was basically a one man operation, every bit as entertaining as the big budget movies and better than t

      • You could pay $20 for a pr0n DVD whose production cost something in the order of thousands of dollars.

        Clearly you've never bought pr0n. Try $60 average for a DVD.

    • Re:Pr0n example (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Deanasc (201050) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:08PM (#12539042) Homepage Journal
      Why should I go to a movie theator if it's just a giant screen TV set? I'll wait for it to hit HBO or rent the DVD and get the same experience with my 10 foot screen and PowerPoint projector. I remember when movies were a lush fusion of colors on the screen and not a bunch of pixels you can count by the foot. That's really what's behind the movie slump. The TV set really did kill off the theator chain.
      • I'll wait for it to hit HBO or rent the DVD and get the same experience with my 10 foot screen and PowerPoint projector.

        Don't forget that the popcorn costs 50 cents for a tub and the soda is a dollar for 2 litres.

    • Re:Pr0n example (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SYFer (617415)
      This is an excellent point, actually. There is much to learn from the porn industry and its amazing resilience. Hollywood has long played the game of deciding what people want to watch (and sometimes they do get it right) and then carefully policing people's access to it.

      In my mind this is analogous to the old "security through obfuscation" argument in that when you try to defy the inevitable and control the situation through brute force of regulation and procedure, you you actually lose control--you lit
    • Re:Pr0n example (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:16PM (#12539078) Homepage
      I'm surprised that movie industry is not following up how pr0n industry can be so successful and profitable.

      The porn industry is a completey different beast. It is profitable because they don't pay their actors millions of dollars for each film, especially when they make a dozen "films" a week. They don't pay millions to the producer. They don't pay tens of thousands for a script, and don't worry if they use the same script over and over again. They don't pay millions on advertising blitzes before the release. They don't pay millions to build sets, but reuse sets over and over and over and over again.

      The only reason the porn industry is "profitable" is because they don't have anything like the budget requirements for a large box office movie. Porn manages to survive rampant copying only because it's so cheap to produce, the only need a few thousand people to buy the product to make it profitable.

      Because the difference in the number of movies made, the budgets for each movie, and the number of copies that need to be viewed/sold to make a profit, there's no way the film industry can model itself after the porn industry.

      • Re:Pr0n example (Score:2, Informative)

        by SYFer (617415)
        Well then maybe they've evolved a model that is not sustainable given the realities of the world. Perhaps they need to deflate the budgets a bit and focus on making good content. I remember watching them film "The Hulk" in my neighborhood and, as someone who exists on the low-budget fringes of the film world, I was astonished at some of the insane largesse. For the scenes on Telegraph Hill where the military stormed the poor Hulkster, they actually placed additional potted plants up on the Vallejo street
      • Because the difference in the number of movies made, the budgets for each movie, and the number of copies that need to be viewed/sold to make a profit, there's no way the film industry can model itself after the porn industry.

        Sure they could. They could make more movies, have smaller budgets, and release on cheap media like DVD.

        Netflix has 3 million subscribers. HBO has 30 million. People are willing to pay for movies, just not the $10 or whatever theatres are charging these days (I wouldn't know, I

        • Re:Pr0n example (Score:2, Insightful)

          by dickrichardv8 (711495)
          I am not convinced that the bugets for films are based on how efficent they want to be. The accounting can be skewed for different reasons. An actors contract based on profit can make profits undesirable as can the good ole' IRS. Make sure the extra's wardrobe includes a fur coat the same size as your wife's size and make the coat an expense and not a wardrobe department investment. Order real pizzas for props at snack time etc. Other businesses don't do that do they? The local Self Help business in my to
      • Re:Pr0n example (Score:2, Interesting)

        by suitepotato (863945)
        Because the difference in the number of movies made, the budgets for each movie, and the number of copies that need to be viewed/sold to make a profit, there's no way the film industry can model itself after the porn industry.

        Of course they could. Is Ron Jeremy doing Heather Hunter really any different from Bill Bob Thorton slamming Halle Berry? Only if you note the fact that you don't see the goods with the latter unless you freeze frame the latter's performance in Monsters' Ball.

        All we need it highe
    • 73% gave up on 1st day in iCLOD city. Can you survive there?


      Most likely they figured out it is really not a nice game. Tried it, could not figure out what to do, dumped it.

      I would not be boasting about 73% not liking your game, but that is just me...
    • ...the article mentioned that the industry needs something that can get people excited about going to the movies.

      The Movie Industry says that due to lukewarm sales at the box office, ticket prices have to go up. Some say the turn out is low because it's more convenient to watch movies at home. I say this is BULLSHIT.

      People do not go to the theaters anymore because it's not worth $10 a crack to see a movie on a screen that is not much larger than a big screen TV. Why spend $30 to $50 for a family to go o

    • by Simonetta (207550) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @09:19PM (#12539387)
      All this DRM technology will fail its intended purpose because the MPAA companies are trying to protect a 20th century marketplace that is fading ever more each day.

      20th century film marketing was based on the pay-per-view model where a central facility (the movie theater) charged each person a fixed fee (the box office admission) for each showing of the film. It didn't matter which film was showing; customers paid the same entry fee. Unpopular product would not collect as many fees as a more-popular title.

      In this model there is no price flexibility for the consumer. It's strictly take-it-or-leave-it. This model works when there is a limited number of viewing openings available (the seats in the theater) and limited product (one print of the film per theater and only a dozen copies of the film in the metro area).

      This model fails when there is nearly unlimited product (all film titles from the past 50 years) on DVD or unlimited view openings. What happens in this type of market is that the consumers get to bid on what they will pay and the terms that they will pay for the product. The new technology has changed the marketplace by removing most of the previous restrictions. The new technology is not going away.

      DRM is an attempt to force the previous market conditions onto the new business environment. The MPAA companies (the film studios) want to have the highly profitable previous marketplace conditions with the greatly expanded marketplace made available by DVD. Beaucoup bucks if you can make it happen.

      But it won't work. What will happen if the MPAA companies actually get DRM to work is that the market for film product will shrink to a small percentage of what it is today.

      Successfully integrating DRM into film industry product is not going to bring back the old way of presenting film entertainment product. It's just going to drive the current film consuming public into some other form of entertainment.

      One of the reasons that parents are encouraged to read fairy tales to their children is that it is an effective way to get the collective wisdom of the ages passed on to the adults of the modern age who are too vain to listen to good advice coming from any other source. The fairy tale that the MPAA should pay attention to the story of the goose that laid golden eggs. This goose would lay one egg a day of pure gold. The villagers got greedy and decided to kill the goose, cut it open and get all the golden eggs that must be inside. This they did. And they found no gold inside. And they never got any more golden eggs.

      Like the villagers, the film studios don't understand the new film market. Adding DRM to the product that is providing their golder eggs will be like killing the goose.
      • by Queer Boy (451309) * <dragon,76&mac,com> on Sunday May 15, 2005 @11:53PM (#12540005)
        It's just going to drive the current film consuming public into some other form of entertainment.

        It already has. Have you seen the ratio of money made between video games and movies? I remember in the 80's the idea that one day you would be able to interact with movies. That day is here.

      • This model fails when there is nearly unlimited product (all film titles from the past 50 years) on DVD or unlimited view openings. What happens in this type of market is that the consumers get to bid on what they will pay and the terms that they will pay for the product

        Disney has sold about 23 million copies of "The Incredibles" in two months. Most studios would be estatic if a backlist title sold 200,000 copies in ten years.

        But it won't work. What will happen if the MPAA companies actually get DRM to

    • Being sophisticated and innovative in member management is one thing, but more importantly is the undeniable fact that pr0n industry actually produces something that viewers want to watch, maybe that is why people are paying to watch it.
      Did you have to discuss 'member management' and 'pr0n' in the same sentence? I get the visual of some PHB using an OpenOffice spreadsheet to keep track of... ouch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:45PM (#12538927)
    I don't see what's in this for the consumer. More DRM, less fair use? Great, sign me up.
    • It's DivX [wikipedia.org] all over again!
    • The "promise" is that you get to watch the movie the day it hits the theater. So on June 20th, you head over to Target and plunk down your $24.99 for your "advance copy" of "The Silmarillion" (starring Tom Hanks as Sauron), but you can't watch it until June 30th (or whatever.) If you pop the RF-DVD in the player, you'll get a commercial or twenty, the theatrical trailer, and probably a pre-release demo of "Shelob, the video game".

      No waiting in lines at the theatre, you can just hit "play" at 12:01 AM if

      • >but you can't watch it until June 30th

        And the point of selling something but setting a "can't be used until later date" is? I really never understood it. Since all those getting it are the ones who won't see it at the theatre (hence why they bought the DVD), I really can't see a point. Just typical market control which is of no benefit to the customer. If they don't like people watching it, don't sell it.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:47PM (#12538939) Journal
    They shouldn't spend more than 5$ on copy protection, as thats what it costs to rent a movie at blockbuster, and create infinate copies.

    If they really cared, they could slap together an encryption technique in an hour, and have an internet delivery system so you could watch movies on your computer. It doesn't matter that the encryption system is crappy, it'd take longer to break than it would to simply pirate the movie in conventional ways. And if the crack becomes widespread, spend 1 more hour and change the system around.

    So in conclusion, they could create a content delivery system and boost their revenue on movies with code from a system that could take a good programmer less than a month to develop.
    • by Chris Kamel (813292) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:13PM (#12539062)
      slap together an encryption technique in an hour
      and have it broken in half an hour, Sony developed a technique that was broken with a marker pen. And I think that took them much more than an hour to "slap together"
      • Again, the point is not whether it can be broken by people who are willing to look into it and carry it out. Why? Because people who want to can already download it via p2p anyways. Look at the music industry, which is finally being dragged kicking and screaming into distributing music online. All their concerns about distributing files that could be cracked have been irrelevant the whole time, since anybody could go to Wal-Mart and buy a completely unprotected CD, and make unlimited copies if that's wh
  • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:47PM (#12538941) Homepage
    Hopefully, they'll use 40-bit encryption and rely on a proprietary algorithm as the principal means of ...

    What do you mean it's already been done [slashdot.org]?

    Oh well, back to the drawing board.
  • by Lifewish (724999) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:50PM (#12538962) Homepage Journal
    RFID and DRM? Are they trying to send every geek on the planet apopleptic or something?

    • MOD parent \/ (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:00PM (#12539003) Journal

      Why do you assume that RFID is "evil" or unwanted by geeks? I use it at work to track pallets in conveyor lines. You can't imagine how much easier it is to track pallets with parts on them rather than track parts on a rolling conveyor using prox sensors.

      Now, DRM is another story. I think that you've simply seen too many RFID articles on /. that link DRM, personal product, or human tracking with RFID. Those are completely unrelated to RFID in general, and are mere uses of the tool.

      Overall, I think your opinion is as blindingly focused as those of the MPAA, RIAA, and all the similar organizations that you despise.

      • Re:MOD parent \/ (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lifewish (724999)
        It was a joke. I fully understand that every technology has beneficial effects, including RFID. I understand that the majority of privacy issues are overstated, although things like chipped passports still worry me. I am well aware how useful RFID can be in a number of situations, such as the one you described.

        I understand that DRM, while being problematic for privacy advocates and those of us who like complete control over our own computers, is, when properly applied, one plausible way of encouraging mo
      • I wish i could work with RFID, i stock shelves and it REALLY sucks funding cheese on the shelf that expired over theee months ago (yes this has happened before) with RFID i would just walk down the aisle with a wand, it would beep frantically if there was something expired already, then display the item(s) it found by name, a hich beep would sound if there was something expiring today, tomorrow, or the next day, and a low beep if there was anything this week but not within 3 days. (this is the system i am e
    • Actually, the idea is a good one.. the thing all DRM needs is "uniqueness" which is exactly what digital technology strips away. In the era of records there was a "barrier to entry" simply because equipment to make records was so expensive there was no "non-commercial" middle ground.

      The idea of an RFID tag makes perfect sense. With the new and shiny DMCA, it could be illegal to produce copies of the RFID tags. You could put the key on the RFID tag and manufacture some "proprietary" format with the emb

      • As far as I can tell, this system is no more resistant than any other to the simple expedient of piping the dvd output to a file not the monitor/speakers.

        Additionally, every extra layer of difficulty they add to the usage of DVDs just encourages more piracy. I can't play DVD x on my computer? Fine, I'll just go on the 'net, someone there will have it, and I won't even have to feel guilty.

        I honestly can't see how the MPAA can continue to exist in its current form for much longer.
    • RFID and DRM?

      The missing pieces for my sock drawer! I'm going to RFID my socks into pairs so I can track them, then DRM them out of compatibility with my flatmate's feet.

      Sorted, now to work on biological DRM for my milk

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:45PM (#12539217) Journal
      Sounds like a schema to get rid of piracy to me:
      1. Release a DRM scheme based on RFID
      2. Announce it on /.
      3. All geeks (including those pirating movies) suffer heart attack and die
      4. Profit!
  • Networking required (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:52PM (#12538964) Homepage Journal
    At first this looks like DECSS all over again but with the key on an RFID tag. The difference is that in the UCLA proposal the player has to phone home to verify the RFID tag.

    This technology could conceivably be used for good. Imagine a player with a hard disk as well as a network card. It could auto-download interviews, making-of documentaries and so on as they get released after the DVD ships.

    Of course this is the end of privacy. The RFID tag has to be unique to each copy of the disk, otherwise you could copy it wholesale. When the player phones home with the RFID info, they know who bought the disk and maybe even how often it gets played. Ick.
    • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:11PM (#12539056) Journal

      At first this looks like DECSS all over again but with the key on an RFID tag.

      DeCSS could have worked years ago, when writable DVDs were expensive. But now that I can get a dual layer writable DVD for 3 or 4 bucks, it's too easy to just bit copy the whole damn thing.

      RFID tags are even cheaper, more like 30 or 40 cents. The writers themselves are expensive, but if this plan actually goes into action I bet you'll see the price of RFID writers come down real quick, which, hey, at least there'll be good to come out of it.

      This technology could conceivably be used for good. Imagine a player with a hard disk as well as a network card. It could auto-download interviews, making-of documentaries and so on as they get released after the DVD ships.

      You don't need RFID technology to do that. And without tamper-proof hardware, which is allegedly physically impossible, you're not going to stop piracy, because it only takes one person to break into the device and reverse engineer it.

      Of course this is the end of privacy. The RFID tag has to be unique to each copy of the disk, otherwise you could copy it wholesale.

      I seriously doubt the RIAA is going to be able to outlaw paying for DVDs with cash.

      When the player phones home with the RFID info, they know who bought the disk and maybe even how often it gets played.

      I also doubt they're going to force DVD manufacturers to build players that "phone home".

      • DeCSS could have worked years ago, when writable DVDs were expensive. But now that I can get a dual layer writable DVD for 3 or 4 bucks, it's too easy to just bit copy the whole damn thing.

        I'm not sure you understand how DeCSS (or, more appropriately, CSS) works. The contents of the DVD are encrypted, so "just bit copy[ing] the whole damn thing" doesn't help you at all. You still need to be able to decrypt the content to view it. The decryption key for pressed DVD's is stored in the innermost track of
    • by cait56 (677299)

      Networking Required is exactly the weakness here, as it was with the original DIVX. The RFID is not really a real improvement over the original scheme of "marking" the DVD with some flaws out of the normal reading range.

      I see nothing inherently wrong with DRM schemes, but they need to learn from iTunes. The market has shown that a reasonable DRM that does not interfere with how honest people will want to use the content they are buying, will not meet with market resistance.

      One of the legitimate thing

  • by garcia (6573) * on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:52PM (#12538965) Homepage
    The UCLA research group is developing the software and hardware components of a system
    that would embed DVDs with an RFID tag and DVD players with an RFID reader so that the tagged
    DVDs would play only in RFID-enabled players and only if the reader could authenticate the
    DVD's tag. In order to authenticate, the player would also need to link to some type of
    online network, similar to the EPCglobal Network, that would associate the DVD with a legal
    sale. Through this system, the copyright owners (the film production company and any other
    license-holders of the content) would have digital rights management over the work. But
    viewers would not be able to play the DVDs without an RFID-enabled player because the tag
    would essentially lock the disc.


    I don't see anything there that allows me to exercise fair-use. I need to use some special
    DVD player (the market has already proven they don't like this), I need to have an Internet
    connection, and I need to buy some special DVD...

    I apparently can't make a backup copy for myself, move the content to portable formats, etc.
    Hey UCLA Research Team, remember this is necessary. Oh wait, you aren't being paid by the
    consumers, you're being paid by the content providers...

    The Motion Picture Association of America, a trade group that represents major Hollywood
    studios, estimates that the U.S. motion picture industry loses more than $3 billion annually
    in potential worldwide revenue due to piracy.


    LOL. This is difficult to prove and we all know why. Thanks for the blantant bullshit
    though.

    This sounds more like advertising to the content providers than it sounds like some sort of
    press release of what hey have/can do.
    • The old adage is often true. In an RFID industry journal, you'd expect to see some outlanding ideas about what you could possibly do with RFID. I'm sure the industry would love to sell a RFID reader with every DVD player and an RFID with every DVD. That this is currently entirely impractical and unacceptable at present is not important

      History shows us that people are subject to the tyrrany of small increments. Huge increments in cost , restrictions and rights are generally unacceptable, but people don't see

    • The Motion Picture Association of America, a trade group that represents major Hollywood studios, estimates that the U.S. motion picture industry loses more than $3 billion annually in potential worldwide revenue due to piracy.

      Scratches head ...

      Hey, I can play that game too ...

      I lose more than $10K every year in potential revenue just because I didn't get that raise ...
      I lose more than $1M every year in potential revenue because I wasn't selected to be CEO for any of several Fortune 500 companies .

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:53PM (#12538967)
    Release the movie on a regular DVD as soon as it hits theaters. There's a guy down the street from me who is already using this business model, and it seems to work.
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:54PM (#12538973)
    Play the CD in a DRM player, and record from the speakers....
  • by Valacosa (863657) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:54PM (#12538974)
    "Rajit Gadh, professor in UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of WINMEC, says that the research going into the project is targeted at determining whether the concept is technologically feasible. `We're in the very early stages of this project--the first research stage'"

    Someone care to explain to me how putting a RFID chip in a DVD could prevent a computer from reading the raw content of the disc and cracking that? I think it's been shown time and time again that DRM will be cracked, especially when the new technology can be attacked with conventional hardware.

    Basically, reading the article this both seems technically impossible and a far way off.

    On another note, if the MPAA really wanted the DVD to be available when the movie was in theatres, they'd just make it so now. But they're smarter than that; they know people won't pay twice for the same movie if both options are available at the same time.
    • It would only work with the new "blue ray" players.. they could be made to only play RFID'd discs... after all, we've all got DVD players already so it's not an inconvenience. We have HDMI too, that will soon effect all HDTVs and could probably be used in computer monitors too. again, the combination is unique proving that at least consumer devices can't "cheat".

      It's a genius idea frankly. something Unique is needed to be part of the the next spec...RFID is the simplest thing to use. mold it right into

    • From the article:

      But viewers would not be able to play the DVDs without an RFID-enabled player because the tag would essentially lock the disc.

      Obviously the article is not very technical, as it is geared toward a non-techincal audience. However, I would imagine the tag would contain some sort of encrypted key [that theoretically only MPAA-licenced players would be able to decrypt] that can be used to decrypt the contents of the disc. It wouldn't have to be anything too complex, maybe something like a

  • ...they want consumers to completely replace their current DVD players, and require the new ones to connect to the net when you want to watch a movie? I really don't think this is going to fly with the average Joe. They might be able to piggy-back it onto the next-gen HD/Blu-Ray discs, but for now it's just another MPAA pipe dream.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You will immediately be reported to Homeland Security and the White House.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @07:55PM (#12538983) Homepage Journal
    This proposal is exactly backwards. Hollywood's only advantage over the Internet in content distribution is the physical reality of premieres in theaters. Even if the movie has been leaked, lots of people want to go to the theatrical premiere.

    Hollywood has relied more and more on the opening weekend, with unprecedented simultaneous premieres on many screens across the land. They could invest more glitz, making every premiere like the Golden Age fantasies, with skytracking spotlights, red carpets, celebrities and other hype that leverages their control of the unique spacetime event. They might hold advance ticket sale lotteries which draw stars to winning venues. They could cover the whole thing on TV, making 15-minute stars of attendees. And raise the ticket price, sell event merchandise. Ultimately, they'd have economics which demand seeding the "pirates" with copies linked to premiere sales.

    The movie becomes the ad for the event, merchandise and access to the stars. They're already headed there; desperate DRM schemes like this one from UCLA just get in the way of a workable business model that exploits the Internet, rather than fighting their best customers and partners.
  • If this ever makes it to market I hope it goes the way of the dinosaur, just like DivX (the DVD technology, not the codec).
  • by Monkeman (827301) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nameknoM.> on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:00PM (#12539007)
    [obligatory "Big Brother" reference] [obligatory out of place Microsoft flame] [obligatory Soviet Russia Joke] [more 1984 references] [link to funny picture] [link to Goatse] [gung-ho "revolutionary" idea] [flaming MPAA/RIAA] [more Microsoft flaming]
    • [obligatory reference to lameness of above post] [pedantic criticism of minor points] [withering sarcasm] [general complaint about /.] [attempt to stay ontopic] [implies poster is 15 and lives in basement] [failure to understand humor in any of its many forms] [stupid sig]
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:03PM (#12539023) Homepage
    This just sounds like DIVX with some buzzwords added.

    I imagine if they try to productize this, they'll fail for the same reason DIVX failed; the technology demands far too much of and is far too restrictive on the consumer while offering no benefits to anyone except the producer.

    If movie companies want DVDs available at the same time the movie comes out they can just bloody well sell them. It's amazing how much proposed technology serves no purpose except attempting to overcome corporate insecurity*.

    * Corporate insecurity. "Insecurity" not as in "Inadequately guarded or protected; unsafe" but "insecurity" as in "Lacking self-confidence; plagued by anxiety".
  • Not to be confused by DivX [wikipedia.org]
    I'm refering to DIVX [wikipedia.org] the format sold at Circuit City and failed.

    You buy a disc... DIVX, RFID enabled or otherwise, and you gotta wait for network authorization to play it. So no chance of the kids watching it on the road in your SUV, no chance of watching the flick on that flight with your laptop. I can only suspect loss resale rights assuming the RFID tag is locked into your DVD player.

    DIVX at least had the added benifit that it was like a rental but no late fee. Cool in tha
  • Every time I see studios or the RIAA/MPAA try to impose further restrictions on fair use I think it is about time people started standing up to protect their fair-use right by boycotting content.

    I practically stopped bothering with 'entertainment' more than a decade ago and personally think worthwhile entertainment is increasingly few and far between, getting thinner each time.

    Instead of trying to produce really good stuff, studios go for the quick bucks and stretch them with DRM. From my point of view, t
  • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:10PM (#12539048) Journal
    You have an object that transmits information to the player via two methods: optical disk, and RFID. What is the point? Why not just put the data from the RFID onto the disk instead? Is it just a techinical issue that it is easer to add a unique ID to each disk by gluing on an RFID than to write it to the disk?

    Meanwhile, people will get one of the new players, record the movie off the video output, redigitize and distribute. It is easer than smuggling a video camera into the theatre.
  • Bullshit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Loundry (4143) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:24PM (#12539110) Journal
    Gadh believes consumers would be interested in purchasing specialized early releases of DVDs, as well as the specialized DVD players needed to play them

    "Specialized" DVD players that play "Specialized" disks to go along with the other 9, big, ugly boxes collecting dust on top of your TV (along with the other "normal" DVD player which plays only "normal" DVDs).

    It won't work. History says so. [wikipedia.org] Gadh believes consumers will be interested in purchasing this moronic system because it's in his interest to believe it. He's paid to believe it.
  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:34PM (#12539161)
    This is an absolutely absurd and annoying piece of technology. You can bet that this thing will be cracked very quickly, or tools will develop that capture the digital output stream of the DVD player. Then presto, it's in the wild, or at least copied onto another DVD without this stupid RF tag protection.
  • ST (storm trooper): Halt there citizen!

    Me: AAAhhh, where did you come from?!

    ST:From a land far far away and a....never mind that. Hand over that DVD.

    ME: Why, what did I do, I just wanted to watch the latest flick that came out.

    ST: Yes, but you forgot to register your DVD with the Empire Media.

    Me: Ohhh nooooosss! So will I get fined?!

    ST: No, you just die.

    Me: AAhhhhhrrhrrrghhhhh nooooooooo.
  • by Mother Sha Boo Boo (883424) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:44PM (#12539214) Journal
    I still think that business should adapt to technology, and not the other way around.
  • I recall awhile ago some radio stations were given demo CD's inside a portable CD player that was glued shut and the headphones were glued into the jack (or something like that). The fact that any device whether it be a RFID DVD player or whatever has to output to a display device of some sort. This is great if the consumer has a newer VCR or TV that's aware of the broadcast flag or whatever the latest fad is, however all it takes is one person with a first-generation VCR to record the movie and then captur
  • IIRC, Nintendo had considered putting a very small passive RFID imbedded in the hub of their disks for the Game Cube (I'm assuming that they did not do this). It seemed at the time to be a great way to stop game priating. Granted, the simplest way to defeat would be a hardware hack to get the console to ignore the lack of RFID which would make duplicating the RFID moot. Anyone else recall this, or am I dreaming (I have taken a great deal of cold medicine today).
  • Completely Screwed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 15, 2005 @08:49PM (#12539237)
    In 25 years, when either a large asteroid or WWIV decimates civilization, we will be back to caveman times.

    You have a laptop with a manual which explains how to operate the local fusion power plant...but, you cannot authenticate with a Media Protection Regime server.

    Ditto for the manual on agricultural methods, repairing that '69 Chevy, treating that bacterial infection, et cetera.

    And besides that, all of society is headed towards renting everything: your home, your car, your movie collection, your books, even your underwear.

    You buy Star Trek: TNG with RFID. You go to let your kids watch it in fifteen years, and guess what: Paramount decides that you thieving bastards watching those old episodes are cutting into the ratings of Star Trek: Braga Does Not Suck so they shutdown the authentication servers thus rendering your $5,000 collection of Star Trek history worthless.

    Ford is really hurting in 2010, so, they stop authenticating the ignition sequence in your 2006 Ford Craptang that you have kept in spectacular shape.

    Fruit-of-the-Loom wants you to buy new underwear, so, they turn off the authentication for your year old undies. Now, your washing machine will not run with these undies present.

    You have been warned.
  • The MPAA still puts out their bogus estimation of lost monies that never would have being paid to them in a world of perfect DRM because the IP was total horsesh*t to begin with. Anyone remember the transition from cheap matinee movie houses to VCRs in the 70s to early 80s? Once, we had no choice but to listen to word of mouth of early victims or go see how bad it was ourself.

    Then, cr*ppy movies got shunted to lower echelon theaters with lower ticket prices. Then to VCRs with the straight-to-video phenom
  • by raventh1 (581261) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @09:12PM (#12539345)
    If they just stopped trying to ruin the product, and get it out faster than pirates. They control the product, they can also get it out to the market faster than pirates. I know several people who never bought Doom3 that had it preordered, but got a pirate copy because it was out first.

    The best way to defeat piracy is make no need. By creating more obstacles for the consumer, they make it easier to justify piracy (because Pirate copies don't have to call home to verify authenticity.)

    Instead of spending money in court they should spend it on distribution. Napster only happend because it was the fastest way to get the product. If they were to release DVD videos at the time they premier in theaters they would stop camera piracy, and the motive for most casual pirates.
    • They could stop all piracy if they just released everything for free. Of course they wouldn't make very much money that way, and no, they could make up for it with volume.

      I think you overestimate the number of people who used Napster because it was the fastest way to get the product vs. those who used it because they didn't have to pay for the product. I certainly fell under the latter, and most people I knew at the time did too.

      A whole lot of people don't care about seeing every movie the instant it is

  • I never understood why movie industry doesn't release movies on DVD at the same time they show up in theater?

    I don't go to movie theaters, so why do I have to wait months before being able to see the movie?

    Could someone explain it to me?

    Thanks.
  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Sunday May 15, 2005 @09:37PM (#12539449)
    Maybe if the motion picture companies focused more on making the content worthwhile, there would be less motivation to copy movies.

    The digital format of most films and music released today has led to its increased piracy. The quality of video and audio recordings based in analog technology, such as cassette or VCR tapes, decreases each time an original version is copied.

    No, a crappy movie is still a crappy movie, whether it is the first copy or the 1000th copy.

    When digital recordings, such as CDs and DVDs, are copied, however, no quality is lost.

    You can't lose what you don't have to start with.

    The group will also need to develop a system for writing to the tags, a platform for associating DVDs with their purchasers or owners and a means of encrypting the tag data.

    Associating a DVD with a particular owner? Right there is baaad news. What is it called, First Sale doctrine or something? I ask because I don't recall the actual name, but you get my point.

    Past anti-copy technology has been foiled by simple tricks with markers and clever people cracking weak encryption. I'd bet a dollar or two that this will be no exception.

    Note to the **AA: focus more on making the content/experience worth the price of admission/sale/whatever, and people will purchase it. If the public can't enjoy entertainment on their own terms, one of two things will happen:

    (1) WE (as in the public) will stop paying for content, or

    (2) The aforementioned clever people will break your protection and get the content for free and enjoy it how they wish.

    Either way, you lose.

    (BTW...the MPAA [mpaa.com] website is "temporarily unavailable.")
  • Actually, the RFID aspect of this is incidental. What they're really talking about is requiring network authorization to play a disk. The MPAA can fantasize about that, but it's not going to happen. Not in a world where DVD players cost $29.95.

    Imagine Xmas morning, when the authentication servers are overloaded, it takes hours to get a new disk authorized, and new DVD players won't play old disks until you contact the call center for an upgrade authorization.

  • This is more about control over things they've already sold than about stopping piracy.

    Just think. Now there's nothing stopping Lucas Films from releasing 20 copies of the same movie, and FORCING you to buy them all if you want to continue to be able to watch it.
  • by dfm3 (830843)
    I can't see the film industry or consumers going for this. As the article states, this technology would be used to produce DVDs that can be played at home as soon as the movie is released in theaters. Sounds nice, but the MPAA makes money off of movies twice- once when it is released in theaters and again several months later when it is released on DVD. Their hope is that the same person who went out and already paid to see the film on screen will buy a copy once it comes out on disc, effectively paying twi
    • I was browsing for this post before I made it myself. This article from 'RFID Journal' is complete bunk.

      There is actually a 4-Tier income stream from Movies:
      Theater->Rental->PPV->TV

      This is done for a reason. As stated in the parent, they are not going to release a movie on DVD at the same time it is released in theaters regardless of some fancy RFID encryption. When we go to the theater we pay ~$7.50 or more Each Person. There is no way to control how many people view a DVD release, even on

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