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More On Hard Drive Copy Protection 192

rabtech writes: "I contacted one of the head guys working on the ATA specs [Kent Pryor of Quantum] about the 'copy protection' thing, and what that may mean for the hard drive industry. He responded, and I've posted his letter on our front page. I did point out the issue between copy protection and copyright protection: 'Yours may be the only one actually giving a rational reason for opposition.... I will pay special attention to the difference between copyright protection and copy protection. Thank you for pointing out that legal distinction. In general, we support copyright protection. The amount of copy protection that would be allowed under this proposal would not be determined by the standard, but by the software that controls the licensed devices.'" It sounds like a royal mess to actually implement hard-drive copy controls, since they require so many groups to cooperate, but the seed has been planted.
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More On Hard Drive Copy Protection

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  • Will our boycott really matter?

    We're boycotting Winmodems, remember.

  • it is quite legal for me to buy a game cd and then copy it so long as I don't give anyone else access to the copyrighted material I have purchased the right to use.

    Copy protection is the mechanism that prevents me from exercising my legal right to fair use (in the USA).

    The system says :
    Copyright violation is illegal in most parts of the world. We pay our taxes to finance the police to protect us from law breakers such a this. The state has failed us so we must take the law in to our own hands. All users are criminals so we'll make them pay in cash and then pay in time fucking about with whatever shit we introduce to the arms race.

    Remember Spiradisc?
  • What about countries where there are no such laws as the DMCA?

    Specifically, what happens if I live in France, and I want to buy a new hard dive? Well, the hard drive I buy 10 years down the road may have the capacity to be copy-protected, but I can't see how the industry leaders could force the drive to have such a system enabled, especially in a country where such measures may be illegal. I can't imagine any one manufacturer choosing to loose the sales of an entire country just to please the US Media Cartel.

    So, you could simply order hard drives from, say, France. Unless the Cartel decided to bribe some more legislators, and then... I can just imagine it:

    In the year 2010, the United States' War on Drugs was replaced by another, even more sinister game...

    The war on Hard Drives
    Then again, if something like this happens, you may only be able to read about it in that foreign country.

    Akardam Out
  • What exactly is to stop me from revving up my debugger and NOPing out the handshaking code in both the downloader and the player? At which point it'll look just like a normal data transfer when saved.

    That's why I mentioned the part about some of the functionality being server side. The stream would come to the downloader encrypted. The downloader becomes a middle man itself, and doesn't have the opportunity to dictate the final key (or lack thereof). Anything the downloader can do, the server can do with the downloader as an intermediary.

    It can still be hacked, but somebody has to grab a copy of the server to even begin analysis. (or, you're back to cracking a tamper proof chip).

    As someone else pointed out above, the last easy hack is the stream going to the soundcard. It's only a matter of time before that gets closed up.

    Of course, there is the problem (for RIAA, not for me) That most people will find a recording made by sending the output of the sound card (or USB speaker amp) directly into another soundcard and re-digitizing to be of acceptable quality. You would have to cut into the USB speaker and intercept the signal between amp and speaker since there's ALREADY been talk of encryption the stream over the USB.

    Keep in mind that having done that, you are STILL guilty of a felony in the U.S. unless/until the DMCA is overturned.

    Ultimately, the best answer is to kill all of this by educating the masses that this is just another DivX and their $1000 music collection could disappear overnight if the operators of the 'service' fold up like DivX did.

  • My experience is that it is a bit more difficult than this to actually destroy data on a HD with an external magnetic field. Thought the suggestion is an awful lot of fun to contemplate :-)
  • I once had a .SIG line back in 1997, when Apple looked like it really was doomed: "I love my Mac but I fear Apple stupidity."

    I fear that Apple is going down that same road again. OS X's window manager, Aqua, is just different enough from the classic MacOS interface to trip up people who DON'T have an xNIX background. The Cube should have been a bargain-basement iMac that can use inexpensive SVGA monitors instead of having a built-in (and crappy!) monitor. Instead, it's an useless high-end model...completely outclassed by the G4 dual-processor minitower.

    Apple needs to introduce some REALLY INSANELY GREAT STUFF at MacWorld in a week, or they are indeed cruising for a bruising.

    ---- Hey Grrl Geeks! Your very own geek news site has arrived!

  • Once upon a time I did proof outlines for a secure single-level workstation, with an encrypted disk drive. One of the nasty problems was backup: either I left the directory structure unencrypted or I couldn't do file-by file backups.

    I suspect the magic key block corresponds to the directories in this case: unless you can back it up and restore it to the new drive, you can't recover from media failure. Alas, leaving the directories unprotected broke the effort to demonstrate the system was secure: it allowed me to prove it was insecure instead!

    If we assume the vendor wants you to fail to restore the data, then it opens questions about suitability for the purpose sold...

  • Part of that bottom line is how much bitching there is from the customer.

    As this hard drive will cause more inconvenience to the customer, there will be more people "below the line" of intelligence required to understand how CPRM affects them.

    These people will download something and try to copy it to a disk for a friend. It'll fail. They will get some backup software and lose all their protected downloads. Then they'll post:

    "HELPP ME11 MY comput3er is NBROKEN I lose files "

    to a bunch of website forums. They'll then learn why they can't copy their stuff and will BITCH and WHINE to CompUSA (or wherever) until they get their money back.

    When these constant returns start eating into their profits, they'll do something. Just like FutureShop 'round here advertises the Apex DVD as a "CD-R MP3 playing machine!". I'll bet it was because of people like me that _expected_ a DVD player that can play Audio CDs to be able to play CD-Rs. I ended up returning the models that didn't. Told 'em why too (actually the sales guy even said they play CD-Rs, so it isn't all my fault).

    Or so I hope that's how things will work... :-)

    [BTW: Has anyone else noticed slashdot restricting their freedom of speech lately? I've not often (actually, IMHO never) posted spam here, but keep hitting the lameness filter for lame reasons. You wouldn't beleive the MAJOR PAIN IN THE ASS it was to get those exclamations to appear Ho hum.]

  • Consider the propogation velocity of a PC virus that did nothing that the user would recognize as damage... until long after it had spawned its next generation. A virus that smashed the key block, for example.
  • No doubt.

    What are the things that have prompted you to expand your hard drive? For me, it was the following in succession:

    • Collecting GIFs and JPGs (back in the BBS days)
    • Collecting pirated games
    • Collecting tons of MP3's
    • Collecting movies
    I'd bet that most large home hard drives are filled with similar things. The conclusion? Piracy is good for the hard drive industry.

    Heck... P2P is good for the hard drive industry. Instead of having the songs stored on a few central servers, you have them stored in many locations, and the cost is spread out over lots of people.

  • Actually, at least at one point (and possibly even today) Adobe's programs looked over LANs, if they were available, to see if other copies of the programs were running and had identical serial numbers. But I do think that it's not a big secret that MS and other big companies, though they would prefer everyone to buy their software, tolerate large scale piracy because at least it harms their competitors in the mindshare arena.
  • "Yeah, right.
    No self-respecting server administrator will use IDE drives in a RAID array. Why? IDE drives are much less reliable than SCSI drives.

    I don't think Enterprise or larger servers would ever use IDE RAID. What I'm talking about is the average workgroup-sized office server. You know, the most common server that is sold...

    When given a choice between no-RAID SCSI (because of expense), and buying a RAID-5 IDE setup with a hotspare drive at the same cost, I think it's obvious that IDE RAID is going to make it into servers.

    IDE is not THAT much less reliable than SCSI. It's also not THAT much slower. Sure SCSI is faster, more reliable, and better. But IDE drives dominate the PC market because of cost. It costs a TON more to get that 5% edge SCSI offers over IDE.

    I AM a Network Administrator, and I would never use IDE drives in a mission critical application. But IDE-RAID is better than NO RAID, so I see it invading the lower-end of the server market that currently does not use RAID.
  • USB has something that's purely layered. I've not looked at it: Content Security [] (scroll down a bit), by folk from Intel, Microsoft, and Philips; dated summer Y2K.

    That's not "part of USB" but I sure hope we don't start to see it show up in products. Like USB disk drives or MP3 players, for starters.

    I have serious reservations about such attempts to remove the discretionary/social control aspects from copy control policies. This whole gig about criminalizing behaviors that have traditionally been civil issues or non-issues just sends shivers down my spine.

    Remember: When government gets smaller, that means the abuses are only going to be committed by even less accountable organizations.

  • Until a way to destroy the watermark is found, that is.

    The same may be said for copy prevention.

  • Maxtor basically uses IBM as its R&D department. As goes IBM, so goes Maxtor. Oh yeah...Maxtor bought Quantum's HD division.

    ---- Hey Grrl Geeks! Your very own geek news site has arrived!

  • What about a BUYCOTT?

    Instead of screaming at hard drive producers about how we won't buy from them if they implement this copy/copyright/whatever protection, why not send them letters stating that WE WILL GIVE THEM OUR PATRONAGE IF THEY DO NOT IMPLEMENT IT?

    It's less threatening, but it gets the same point across.
    63,000 bugs in the code, 63,000 bugs,
    ya get 1 whacked with a service pack,
  • "I don't doubt that the biases of may be better than that of the moneygrubbing RIAA members, but there will *always* be a system of elites who decide what to push and what not to push, and the vast majority of people who don't have a lot of idle time to "shop" for music will be more than happy to accept RIAA marketing. "

    For one thing, there are a TON of websites out there. There is at least one to serve your own particular music taste and bias. And you would be able to at least listen to the music before buying it.

    Sure there will still be Britney Spears even in the Internet music age. Face it, Darwin hasn't yet come up with a way to kill off those who let their lives be dictated by slick marketing. It's a fact of life that the masses listen to crap, watch crappy movies, because they are satisfied with it.

    I'm posting this right now on a PC that contains not a BIT of Intel hardware, or Microsoft software (AMD Athlon/Linux). Not much marketing out there for what I chose is there? Yet, AMD and Linux are the two fastest growing forces IN the PC market.
  • "I dont understand the "IDE RAID is coming" thing, I have been using IDE RAID for 4 years using a under-$150 card, it isn't exactly new technology."

    IDE RAID is jst now coming into wide use. Like everything, it starts out with the expert enthusiast crowd (like us), then goes mainstream.

    Wouldn't everyone like to have their PC data protected by a nice fast, redundant RAID-5 array? You can if you use IDE.

    Unfortunately, the Microsoft/RIAA/MPAA crowd wants to get between you and your storage media. They don't care about what you want, just their bottom line. The corporatist mentality.
  • That's why version 4 fucked up all vertex on saving if it saw the dongle had been cracked ?
  • The computers in the US have already reached the point of market saturation anyway. The rest of the US has said that a computer is not in their life style. Now who are you going to sell the
    new crippled HD's to? It is just like VC players no body wants them, even tho most people dont do much recording anywhy, Why ? because people dont see the value. Their friends come over and tell them how stupid they were for buying a crippled VCR. Consumers have to feel that they got a good deal, and they do not make the same mistake twice. On WWW time Information moves too fast to sucker the public, you tell anyone that these HD's are a crippled POS they wont touch em, and they will tell their friends just to show how smart they are. Its not like the supply of REAL HD's will just go away. No this is the analog World losing control over the digital World and not taking it too well. IBM should be reminded of MCA and PS2.

    On the real front......

    This pirate crap is just book cookin anyway, most of the people would not have/use the games or programs if they had to pay for it all. Now if a person is really into a product and sees an added value in really buying it they will. Pirate use of software is better marketing then any thing else in the industry. Do you really think that we
    would be here right now if every software package was purchased outright. Hell NO! How are we going to learn and get trained if we are not students fork out mega bucks for the top end apps? I cant afford to do that and not all of the things I would like to learn about are at work or ever will be.

    Music and Video might be another issue but I still think that bands should make money on proformance not album sales. Movies, well most of em suck anyway, and if they are good people will go and see them in theaters even if they can get an regionless DVD. If people are not going to the theaters, that is a social change not because of priate DVD's. That is what this is all about, a social change, with growing pains. Trends come and go and maybe some of the "establishment" will go too, might not be a bad thing really.

  • Some say Clinton played into the hands of Hollywood and that Gore would have done the same. NEWSFLASH: If you think Bush is going to come down on the right side of this, THINK AGAIN

    His advisors - and Jack Valenti - will have him believeing that this is GOOD for consumers and, in fact, most of them WANT it. Bend Over.
  • by Zaxo ( 60646 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @02:57AM (#1427231)
    How about thousands of class action suits, one in each local jurisdiction? Especially places where judges are elected.

    Plaintiffs are everybody with such a hd, purchasers of content with such protection, maybe more. Local governments and school boards buy a lot of that sort of thing. I think they would jump at a chance to rake in punitive judgments of some deep pocketed defendants.

    Spreading the suits over many jurisdictions simultaneously would spread the defendants leather-winged legions pretty thin. Each would need to spend tens of millions a day just to have legal ears in all those courtrooms.

    Any lawyer could come up with dozens of complaints starting fom denial of fair use, damages to unrelated data by failure of backup utilities, digital wiretapping (digital sounds more sinister to joe public), quartering of their agents, the list goes on. They don't need to be that sound, legally, there just needs to be lots of them -- enough that each suit is a little different from the others.

    Fight politics and greed with greed, sympathetic juries, politics, and votes. The public won't be jawboned into protecting its rights, but it will jump right in if there's money to be had.

    Maybe this is a general method for knocking the zaibatsu out of their roost.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 30, 2000 @02:58AM (#1427232)

    Have a look at what those industry morons are up to:

    The proposal to enhance the ATA-spec with copy protection extensions is an enhancement of CPRM.
    CPRM itself is just one of several technologies which are part of the so-called "Content Protection System Architecture" (CPSA).

    [ /c psa081.pdf []]

    Enter CPSA, servants, attendants.

    CPSA is an attempt to define a technological framework in order to fulfill the entertainment industry's (RIAA, MPAA etc.) demand for complete control of distribution and copies of audio/video content. The idea is to create a secure end-to-end chain from cable-station/satellite-receiver/settopbox/DVD etc. to the enduser's speaker/digital-display etc.

    CPSA is supposed to include the following content protection technologies among others:

    Content Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM)
    - protected exchange of audio/video on DVD, FlashMedia, (ATA-hdds planned)
    - encrypted storage of content
    - protected storage of content management information (CMI)
    - system renewability
    - methods to prevent playback of bit-by-bit copies

    developed by: 4C (IBM, Intel, Matsushita (MEI), Toshiba) []

    Content Protection for Pre-recorded Media (CPPM)
    - robust protection of DVD-Audio content on DVD-ROM media
    - encrypted storage of content
    - protected storage of content management information (CMI)
    - system renewability
    - methods to prevent playback of bit-by-bit copies

    developed by: 4C (IBM, Intel, Matsushita (MEI), Toshiba) []

    Content Scrambling System (CSS)
    - protecting DVD-Video cotent via authentication and content scrambling

    developed by: DVD Copy Control Association (CCA) []

    Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP)
    - robust encryption of content passing between digital devices in the home e.g. IEEE 1394, USB
    - copy control information
    - authentication and key exchange
    - digital encryption [sic!]
    - system renewability

    developed by: 5C (Hitachi, Intel, Matsuhita (MEI), Sony, Toshiba) []

    High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP)
    - encryption on high-bandwith interfaces to digital displays e.g. DVI

    developed by: Intel []

    4C/Verance Watermark
    - technology for creating/reading watermarks (Content Management Information - CMI) in audio content

    developed by: Verance Corporation []

    Finally, a video watermarking scheme (to be selected by the DVD CCA)

    All information above taken from: sa081.pdf []
    (Dated February 17th, 2000; revision 0.81) Absolutely recommended reading!!!

    So much for the overall framework.

    Some interesting details on the technologies described above:

    Content Management Information (CMI)
    - additional information added to the content in order to establish rules and conditions restricting its usage

    Copy Control Information (CCI - a subset of CMI)
    - copy restrictions through data flags: copy free, copy once, copy nomore, copy never

    There is an enlightening presentation on DTCP (warning: horrible layout): []

    A preliminary version of the DTCP specification (v1.1) can be found here: .pdf []

    A few buzzwords to wet your appetite:
    - content encryption, supported ciphers: M6, Blowfish (modified), DES
    - authentication: Diffie-Hellman key exchange, PKI
    - cryptographic functions: SHA-1, random number generator
    [cf. Chapter 4.4 Cryptographic Functions]

    The next document makes for another interesting read: ter/interim_CPRM_CPPM_agreement.pdf []

    let's have a look at some excerpts:


    Section 3. Encoding Rules for individual parameters of prerecorded DVD-Audio disc
    - specifications for control of copy permission (3.2)
    - specifications for control of copy numbers (3.3.1)
    - specifications for audio-quality control of copies (3.3.2):
    The Audio Quality Parameter (Q) consists of 2 bits and defines the number of channels (ch), sampling frequency (fs), and quantization bit level (Qb) of permitted copies.

    another example:
    section 4. Playback and output control rules for participating player devices
    - playback control by audio watermark: unencrypted content with CCI bit of Audio Watermark set to any other state than "copy freely" will not be played (4.1.1)
    - player devices built after Dezember 31, 2000 have to respond to the Verance/4C Audio Watermark (4.1.2)
    - as soon as a method is determined players shall, through media type detection, prevent playback of recordable media with CPPM protected content(4.1.3)

    An interesting tidbit on HDCP can be found in an article at []

    a quote from that article:

    (...) Intel has proposed the High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection encryption spec. Using hardware on both the videocard and the monitor, HDCP will encrypt data on the PC before sending it to the display device, where it will be decrypted. The rub is that only new DVI-equipment will have the feature, which creates a slight risk of obsolescence for those who invest in DVI early on.

    Intel officials have downplayed that issue. They claim that any DVI monitor will be able to display protected content, because the HDCP-equipped DVI card will simply sense that an older DVI monitor lacks HDCP features and will lower the image quality to keep the content protected. Of course, no one has accounted for consumer acceptance. Will people embrace a standard that reduces image quality on their older equipment? Intel officials say the loss won't be enough to irk people.

    how about this one: []

    "HDCP uses a 56-bit key, with individual keys distributed to the various vendors. A violated key could be tracked down and revoked over a satellite broadcast network, for example."

    Apart from the documents obtained from the specification websites referenced above a search on the manufacturer's websites (Panasonic, Sony, etc.) for keywords like DTCP, CPRM etc. yields further information such as press-releases and other documents.

    A couple of devices that already make use of these technologies have already been announced and/or gone into production such as:
    Matsushita (Panasonic) DVD-RAM recorder DMR-E10
    Panasonic D-VHS VCR PV-HD1000
    Silicon Image SiI 168 PanelLink transmitter chip for DVI hardware
    Silicon Image SiI 861 PanelLink controller chip for DVI hardware chip

    And you guys thought CSS was the only thing to be worried about.

    ---Police Line - Do Not Cross !---
  • Will our boycott really matter?

    Yes, although it probably won't change much. It will however make them think, and here is why.

    Do you ever get those free industry papers and magazines sent to you? In the UK there are ones like Computer Weekly and "Computing" (imaginative titles, eh?) and I get one from the US called ""... I suspect most people who read /. do get these things at work. Why do you think they get these things at work? Purchasing power. They know that you probably have the influence of perhaps several hundred thousand or maybe even millions of dollars of purchasing power over the next few years. In other words, there are some people on slashdot whose spend on disks (RAID arrays, etc.) are going to be equivalent to 100s of ordinary home users. I'm likely to spend to have influence over around $1 million worth of RAID arrays and disks over the next few years on my own... and that's just me...

    Let's suppose that IBM introduce this system for their drives. We all decide to boycott IBM and buy Matrox instead. We end up with crappier drives, but we feel good inside. IBM may possibly turn around and say "Hey, where did that $20 million worth of RAID business go?" and we can all turn around and wave at them saying "Over here! We're with the nice boys from Matrox who haven't put copyright-protect on..." and IBM may just possibly re-consider.

    I agree with another poster that in a day and age when you can't make a disk read-only in hardware that manufacturers should be considering protecting the "copyright" as laid down by an institution that exists in another country to my own (I live in the UK), and telling me what I can and can't have on my disks.

    There is also the whole can of worms about how this is actually going to work, and as to whether it could all get a bit Big Brother down in the firmware...
  • In other words, there are some people on slashdot whose spend on disks (RAID arrays, etc.) are going to be equivalent to 100s of ordinary home users. I'm likely to spend to have influence over around $1 million worth of RAID arrays and disks over the next few years on my own... and that's just me...

    I could toss similar numbers around too, but the fact is that I don't get to tell Sun, EMC, or Hitachi what brand of disks I want in those servers and arrays. I just tell 'em how big.

  • by phaze3000 ( 204500 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @03:38AM (#1427235) Homepage
    From The Register [].

    Copy protection hard drive plan nixes free software - RMS By: Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco Posted: 23/12/2000 at 01:07 GMT

    Richard Stallman says that plans to put content control into industry standard hardware pose a threat to the adoption of free software.

    Proposals have been made to add CPRM (Content Protection for Removable Media) into the ATA hard disk specification, we reported on Wednesday. CPRM originates from the the 4C Entity and licensing is administered by License Management International, LLC, which also administers the CSS license.

    "This resembles CSS and e-Books: it is another plan to impose additional power over people who use published information, on behalf of those who hope to control the power," he writes in emails to The Register.

    "This plan seems to pose a threat to free operating systems. We will surely not be authorized in the US to implement free software to access any of the centrally-controlled data. So a free GNU/Linux system won't be able to do it."

    "If users accept the domination of centrally-controlled data, free software faces two dangers, each worse than the other: that users will reject GNU/Linux because it doesn't support the central control over access to these data, or that they will reject free versions of GNU/Linux for versions "enhanced" with proprietary software that support it. Either outcome will be a grave loss for our freedom."

    "We must hope that some countries refuse to pass laws to prohibit free software such as DeCSS, so that some part of the world can publish the software that will keep freedom alive, underground, in the rest of the world."

    Stallman also highlights the term "copy protection". "The word 'protection' ... tries to disguise obstructionism and rampant power as an attempt to keep a program or book or song safe from harm. It is a propaganda word."

    Indeed: it's a euphemism as incongruous as down-sizing or friendly fire. As an alternative, we quite like "copy control". But if you have snappier suggestions, we'd like to hear them.


  • No, but as well as telling them how big, is it not also possible to specify "non copy protected HD"? Then either do not buy systems with copy protected HDs or if you find the drive is copy protected then return it as being "unfit for its purpose".
  • That's just one more challenge for the crackers.

  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @04:26PM (#1427238)
    Individual boycotts are unlikely to have a discernible effect --- there just aren't enough disk buyers around who are aware of this issue.

    However, there is an easy way of amplifying our insights and making the companies take note: use the extremely active investors' networks, and offer the view that investing in hard drive manufacturers is inadvisable given that their sales will be taking a huge downturn owing to the incorporation of copy protection on drives. Names names if you can: we know that Quantum supports the scheme, and at least 3 of the 4C companies make drives --- IBM, Matsushita and Toshiba.

    In the UK, investors' information exchange sites like this one [] seem to have dozens of thousands of very active customers (we see their mailing lists spew out an incredible torrent of investors' comments every day). Advice offered here is likely to have a significant effect on share prices far beyond the number of people providing the advice, at least in the UK.

    Does anyone have a list of equivalent sites in the US and the rest of Europe?
  • If ATA goes this way, use SCSI or FireWire. My main box has no ATA at all (BTW, "ATA at all" is very fun to say repeatedly and quickly :-).

    Of course SCSI and FireWire could be polluted with such CP crud.


    Oh, anyone else notice what a sad shit site [] Rabtech runs? Intense ignorance! If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny. Maybe it is a parody?

  • I think this is a really optimistic view through rose colored goggles. I have yet to hear a good fair use complaint from all of this. When I watch the tonight show they show clips of movies and play songs by artists. When I listen to reviews on NPR, I hear clips from movies and songs. My library has DVD movies and CDs that I can checkout. What part of fair use is being denied? I have yet to hear a complaint from somebody trying to excecise fair use that has been stopped or denied. Now if you think that bootlegging whole movies and songs in fair use then you're full of shit because it has never been. I have yet to hear from a professor that hasn't been able to show his class a movie or play them a song. Now, profs can't distribute stuff, but they have always had problems with that, they always have to ask permission and they usually get it.

    Here's one for you from an Australian's point of view. Im about to relocate to the States for a few years (job requirement). I'll be bringing a nice set of region 4 coasters with me. Just because you cant think of ways that this is hurting people, doesnt mean they arent there.

    Thanks a lot MPAA, you bunch of pricks...

  • Mod this up...this is funny as hell!

    ---- Hey Grrl Geeks! Your very own geek news site has arrived!

  • Sounds like you're advocating something illegal under the DMCA, namely circumventing copy protection used to protect a copyrighted work.

    Not really. I only want to store GPL or public domain stuff (or my own stuff) on the hard drive how's that circumventing copy protection? I have the perfect right to make copies of what I'm storing.


  • Chris, I don't think that we can really just ignore the traditional channels and support the independent artists like yourself exclusively.

    The migration of established musicians away from the studios (for which we had hoped) just doesn't seem to be happening, and music consumers aren't willing to abandon their favourite bands. Unfortunately, this means that some sort of accommodation will have to be reached with the studios eventually, because their demise and hence the release of artists from their contracts seems most unlikely to occur. Ditto the abandoning of copyrights on countless thousands of works gathered over decades and treated as financial assets --- it just won't happen, yet people will still be wanting access to this material over the new medium.

    I guess it's still a possibility that the traditional music industry will continue its present extreme myopia and in due course all CDs will be available unofficially over the net and the RIAA member institutions will die, but I doubt it. Their shareholders would force a re-org as soon as there is any real downturn in profits, should it ever happen --- but there's no sign of it happening yet of course, quite the opposite, so it seems that the "piracy-as-advertising" brigade is right.

    In any event, MP3s aren't going away as they're now part of the music culture and also widely supported by hardware player manufacturers, so initially begrudging acceptance and then finally real exploitation of online distribution by the current detractors is bound to happen eventually, in my view. The result may not be a flat-rate scheme, but something new will arise! :-)
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @08:57AM (#1427244) Homepage Journal
    Would you be willing to go with a flat-rate scheme on the mp3 format in general, that caused you to pay for _my_ mp3s []... which I am trying to provide at no cost?

    If so, you are consenting to being taxed on independent work, the money of which goes directly to my worst competitors. It effectively negates my attempts to undercut the majors via mp3, if you decide to pay this flat tax like you propose.

    It's kind of like 'music CDRs': as an indy guy I would kind of like to see people outright boycott that stuff: all it's doing is adding X amount of surcharge, which goes straight to the RIAA as if it were some government authority, which then turns about and uses that money to try and shut me down or impose taxes any way they can. Please don't give them _more_ ideas :P :)

  • Let's just make sure we're not giving Quantum credit for anything here. Given the opportunity, I'm sure any manufacturer (eg. IBM) could give the same lip-service.

    It costs nothing to flatter a concerned letter writer, claim ignorance of any devious agenda, and play down the danger by saying "revisions are 2 years apart" and "vendors are free to implement their own extensions to the standard". Blah blah blah.
  • In ten years, they will not sell anymore CDs, everything will be encrypted, you can't make anymore mp3s (beside awfull analog recording... but that's another story).

    Even so, with a recorder I can always put a microphone in front of the speaker and record the sounds. Then I can convert that to MP3 if I want.

    What if I want to give away my own recordings? Is it going to be illegal to put an MP3 file up on the internet, if it contains music that I wrote, performed and recorded?

    We can hope that this sort of manuvers by the recording industry will kill the job of a "pop star". I wouldn't be too upset...


  • Is a one-page, easy to understand flyer that explains to Joe User why this is BAD for HIM RIGHT NOW. Not why future historians will be pissed, not why his rights are being trampled on, and not why it means Linux has problems. It needs to explain clearly and concisely (don't tell him it has 8 different crypto keys and is hard to break -- he doesn't care) why it will prevent him from doing what he does already every day, or why it prevents hime from doing things he knows he should be able to do but probably doesn't (backups). Then, we all need to whenever we're in Best Buy or whatever and see someone looking at hard disks, hand them a copy, and answer any questions. That will do more than any amount of griping on slashdot or in newspapers ever can. So, is there such a flier that can be printed off, and if not, and you're interested in helping, send me an email. If there's support, I'll help.
  • Excellent. It's nice to see someone in the know take notice of the little guys, and the response was quick. Quantum will be getting my business...
  • Phase 1 - Design standard that makes installed software impossible to copy on other machines.

    Phase 2 - For each software you release, separately bundle two "editions". One only works on copy-protection-enabled machines, and costs half as much as the other. Meanwhile, pressure HD companies to make copy-protection-enabled drives. Tell people how easy it is to upgrade to the new standard.. And how much money it'll save them.

    Phase 3 - Stop making software that works on normal HDs.

    Phase 4 - Implement new functionality in the copy-protection standard which disallows installation of unapproved software. Such as non-microsoft OSes..
  • Here's the problem with that scenario that I see:

    Let's say that you get your 10$/mo subscription to this service, and can download all you want. What's to stop you from being a "nice guy" to friends (perhaps to get them hooked, or perhaps they don't have a fast connection) and getting songs to them?

    Unfortunately, with an "unsecured" format, the RIAA would never get into a business like this. They'd shoot themselves in the foot. People could pay for the service, then fire up napster on their machine, and then what would happen?

    A lot of people could technically get good mp3's for free (granted, only the ones you downloaded, but I could see where you could build a request program etc... you see where I'm going with this)?

    At least, that's the thought that runs through my head. If it's unsecure, the RIAA doesn't want any part of it, and if it's secure, most (if not all) intelligent people wouldn't want it either (because of copy "protection" or not being able to use the file in all places etc...)

    Just my 2c
  • Microsoft has more money than God. What do they care about a bit of lost revenue here and there?

    They care quite a bit.
    Less revenue means less power. Wall Street doesn't care how much money there is in the bank. That a result of what has already happened. Wall Street cares about what is going to happen, and one important indicator of that is revenue, both current and projected.

    Why does MS care so much about what Wall Street thinks? It cares because a steadily rising stock price allows them to dangle stock options to hire and retain high-quality engineers, which not only helps them but ups the ante for the competition, who in turn have to spend a disproportionate amount of money for their own engineers.

    Without a rising stock price MS suffers from brain-drain, while at the same time its competitors have an easier time finding and retaining good help.

  • Hate to dissapoint you, but if you'd looked at the article, the guy in the letter says that the new SCSI standards already have such measures in place.


  • by while ( 213516 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:10AM (#1427255)
    (which appears to be in the /. submissions killfile, but that's a different story)

    Anyway, The Register (the site that also broke the story) has posted a very good FAQ [] on the subject:
    (for the goat sex paranoid)

    (end comment) */ }

  • It seems that the lynchpin of this lunatic idea is the "megabyte or so of key" located in a hidden, presumably read-only, area of your drive. Software will use this key to encrypt or watermark your data so that if you send copies to all your friends, they can be traced back to you, O unique individual HD purchaser.

    It is obvious that this won't work without cooperation between the HD, controller, and r/w software, presumably including the OS if this is to prevent simple copying.

    How this would bind you is, content would be released in a form which could only be read by a fully compliant system. It would not matter just what your key is, but you would have to have one in order to install what you had legitimately purchased. (Obviously, there ain't squat they can do about media formats that don't support their scheme, except make them illegal. News at 10.)

    I see the hack for this as being a software hook to intercept the commands which retrieve the key block. Hey, I'll have a key, it will just consist of a megabyte of zeroes. At worst, such a hack might have to be a hardware dongle on the IDE cable. People will do this if they feel it will benefit them. Just look at the flap over DVD encryption, or even the third-grade half-assed XOR scheme used by Digital:Convergence.

    The bait for getting you into this new straitjacket will be some new improved quality (doubtful in music, but what got DVD's off the ground for video), improved content (DVD's again), or simple failure to release content in uncontrolled format (software industry). I sincerely doubt that this scheme would prevent you from backing up or making n copies of uncontrolled content of your own origin, including .mp3's and legacy content released outside of the standard. It would only be this controlled content, which you voluntarily bought (right?), which could not be copied from one drive to another and expected to work. Unless, of course, you arranged through a hack for the new drive to have the same ID as the old one.

    Of course it's fine to voluntarily boycott such controlled content, but what do you do when it's the only content available? I've been told repeatedly that VHS is on its way out in favor of DVD, and there does seem to be a gradual trend in this direction at the local Blockbuster. (After all, excepting the copy protection scam^H^H^H^Hscheme, DVD's are clearly superior to analog videotape.) So as soon as you want to use anything at all that relies on this dubious technology you will fold up, buy the software and the compliant hardware and grumble while it does its thing. And you will lose that content when you buy a new PC or hard drive -- unless you get the hack for it.

  • ...because all "copyright protection" mechanisms give the distributor full control over everything recorded -- what is a kind of "copy protection" that is infinitely higher than anything allowed to him by copyright laws. It's a way to strip users from any rights, protected as fair use, and put content distributor in charge of policing itself.

    No possible technical "copyright protection" measure can't be reduced to limiting what distributor can do, therefore all of them -- claiming to be "copy protection", "copyright protection" or anything else, should be fought against.

  • I don't know about "surreptitiously participate": I think it's more an issue of pragmatic acceptance. Stamping out individual "file sharing" (to avoid that loaded term, "piracy") is virtually impossible, without a world full of things like CPRM and CSS. If you try to stamp it out, it's not good for PR and you look like an evil bloodsucking corporation. You also don't achieve much, so the hit to your PR is probably not worth it.

    [Case in point: I'm currently helping a company install various Linux servers in their NT network, the decision for which was significantly helped along by the threatening letter they received from Microsoft about reporting their current licensing status. Way to go Microsoft, threaten legitimate customers who've just begun to have a viable alternative to your monopoly...]

    Added to this is the fact that the unauthorized users of your software don't all represent paying customers. Many of them either can't afford the product, don't really need it, or don't think it's worth the price, and if forced to pay would rather just stop using it. The numbers that software industry groups report as being "lost to piracy" are overinflated by orders of magnitude, in the sense that while copying may nominally add up to those kind of figures, under no conceivable market or legal conditions would that money actually ever be collectible.

    Finally, yes, copying is a marketing tool, and one which companies don't have to spend any time, money or other resources on. Since companies can't easily control copying of their products, it makes sense to allow it to occur and judiciously play the heavy every now and then - especially indirectly, through an industry organization - to make sure that potential customers remember that they're supposed to be paying for this stuff.

  • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @05:05AM (#1427272) Homepage

    from what I saw the site was more of a "we like the Mac, but hate apple" type thing. All their articles were about either cool Mac stuff, or screw ups by Apple (as a company, not so much related to the quality of the actual machine). This is somewhat understandable attitude. As an outsider looking in, it has always seemed to me that Apple delights in tormenting it's loyal users, who keep coming back because they like the product.

  • by AirSupply ( 210301 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @05:11AM (#1427273)
    5. So why is Microsoft against this, if it prevents wholesale "piracy" of its software in developing nations?

    Um, can you ask us another...?

    Gee guys, you don't play strategy games like Civilization enough. When your society is pulling in an excess of 10,000 gold per turn, you don't care about small expenses, you use your money as a weapon.

    If Microsoft had a really effective way of stamping out piracy, wouldn't they jump at the opportunity? My guess is hell, no! What does piracy cost Microsoft? Money. Well, lost potential revenue is a more accurate way of putting it, but it's not like piracy results in actual stuff being taken from their warehouse. If you're going to be a victim of theft, this is the absolute nicest kind of theft to cop, because you haven't lost anything that you actually had in the first place.

    And anyhow: Microsoft has more money than God. What do they care about a bit of lost revenue here and there? They'll go after counterfeiters with gusto, but as for ordinary piracy, they'll stick to big fish and let the little ones go.

    But why not solve the problem if a technological solution exists? Why go after individual fish when you can poison the water? Because, my friend, every machine running a Microsoft OS helps Microsoft whether it was paid for or not. Bill's no dill: he knows how important ubiquity is.

    Think about it: assume for a moment that China has a 90% piracy rate on Windows (a figure I'm pulling out of the air). If Microsoft were able to make that piracy impossible, what would happen? People would either pay up, give up, or go elsewhere. From Microsoft's perspective, pay up is good, give up is undesirable, and go elsewhere is really bad news.

    In the "give up" option, people stop upgrading. After all, there are zillions of copies of unprotected Microsoft OSen out there -- just use an old OS. I think Microsoft would prefer (even if they wouldn't admit it) that people would migrate to newer versions of their OS and not pay for it than stick with the old ones. Notice how cheap "upgrade" packs tend to be relative to the "full version"?

    But in the "go elsewhere" option, people start taking desparate measures like using Linux or something! Imagine if, say, 50% of the Chinese market suddenly decided that switching to Linux was a better option than paying way too much for Windows. With that kind of market, people might write software for Linux, and then more people might start using it, and Microsoft would lose their monopoly!

    "God forbid!" thinks Bill. "Let them pirate it, but just don't let them get the idea that we condone it!"

    Or maybe I've let Civ-playing go to my head.

  • by Veteran ( 203989 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @05:16AM (#1427275)
    The most unfortunate part of the entire attempt by the RIAA MPAA etc. to control everything is that the people who make all of the actual decisions - the politicians - have no clue what is actually going on. Here are the things that the politicians need to understand:
    • Copy protection is not about commercial piracy.

      No copy protection scheme prevents commercial pirates from turning out identical copies of the 'copy protected' material.

      All 'copy protection' schemes are about preventing people who have legally purchased material from using their material in ways which the law has always allowed.

    • Copy protection is not about protecting artists or writers.

      Copy protection is about allowing current industry companies to maintain control of artists and other people who create copyrighted material.

      'Copy protection' is about the current industry companies attempts to continue to be dominant in the recording and publishing fields.

      Current companies are terrified of the Internet because the Internet allows artists and writers to publish their works without going through a publishing company .

    • There is a difference between 'Copyright protection' and 'Copy protection'.

      'Copyright protection' is the responsibility of government to protect material which is copyrighted from theft or other illegal use.

      'Copy protection' is a scheme by companies in the recording and publishing industries to control how legitimate purchasers of copyrighted material use that material . 'Copy protection' is an attempt by the recording and publishing industries to eliminate 'fair use' of copyrighted material such as LIBRARIES .

    • Recording and publishing companies don't vote . The people who are affected by the schemes these companies are pushing do vote .

    The only encouraging thing about the copy protected disk situation is that it is the first time that I have been able to get across to non technical people why the DMCA affects them . That is a very good thing - we need to let the non technical people understand why these things are so important to all of us.

  • Nice idea, but I think you'll find there aren't enough people who think like you do, to make a difference. You might succeed in creating a bit more awareness, but most people will remain disinterested until the issue bites them in their own ass.
  • I find it interesting that the various content industries are willing to go through all of that for a 90% solution in order to strip away fair use rights rather than use much simpler watermarking techniques....

    Watermarking is a MUCH WORSE thing than CPRM. Watermarks are audible. [] Thus the music is degraded. The only good thing about watermarks is that they can be removed--that's what the SDMI hacking challenge [] was all about!

  • It would take a long time to track down songs that have your "watermark" on napster, because you need a large enough chunk of the data to get it to work reliably.

    It would take a while. That's why they would need to prioritize and just go for nabbing a percentage of offenders. It wouldn't take all that many to have a decent chilling effect. Of course, if it were really about the piracy, they would mostly focus on the mass duplication schemes which dump many thousands of bootleg copies on the market. Instead, even before Napster, they have been focusing on individuals giving a few copies (often of dubious quality) away. I don't deny that they have the right to do that, but logic, their claims, and reality put together reveal a hidden agenda. We may know the shape of that agenda by the way the other pieces fit together around it.

  • How will they manage to prevent a single raid-array disc to be copied ?

    How will they ensure the raw /dev/hdxx (or sdxx) volume is not rot13-uuencoded / rot13/uudecoded on the fly ?

    Either the stuff will refuse to install on your disk in the first place (e.g. "This content is optimized for CPRM drives, please upgrade.") or your driver will have to implement a MITM attack.

    It all really just depends on how popular it gets. If it doesn't take off, then people who write stuff that depends on CPRM will have little market for their products. And if it does take off, then everyone's drivers will just fake it, so there won't be any copy protection anyway.

    If you own stock in any of the companies who are developing this stuff, you might want to ask the management why they are flushing your money down the drain...

  • Sounds like you're advocating something illegal under the DMCA, namely circumventing copy protection used to protect a copyrighted work.

    I think the DMCA can be worked around in this case. The only thing that made DeCSS illegal is that no copyright owner of a CSS-protected DVD has (so far) ever granted authorization for the system to be bypassed. The reason for this is that (so far) every CSS-protected DVD has been owned by MPAA members and published with a license from DVD CCA. Why there hasn't been an exception yet, I'm not sure. Probably something to do with the expense of producing DVDs and movies.

    But DVDs are still a lot less common than hard disks, and the number of people who write and distribute software that runs on hard disks, is immense. All it takes is for one programmer to write a program that uses this form of copy protection, and then explicity grant authorization to everyone to bypass the copy protection.

    That's one of the weak points in DMCA: it doesn't really outlaw bypassing copy protection. It just outlaws bypassing copy protection without the authority of the copyright owner. If the copyright owner grants that authority, then technically by DMCA's definition of "circumvent", circumvention has not occurred.

    If software that uses this copy protection scheme (but grants users authorization to bypass it) were to become widespread, then it would become necessary for drivers to bypass CPRM, and yet no one would be able to credibly say that the purpose of the driver is to bypass CPRM without authorization, since it would be easy to demonstrate that the driver is, more often than not, used with authorization.

    Any copy protection scheme can have its DMCA protection removed, not by hackers cracking it, but by hackers adopting it.

  • You have to make sure that the OEMs and the "mom 'n pop" chop shops in Taiwan get the message that you don't want to buy these drives.

    The MnP chop shops are so used regulation they won't even see it as rolling you over in pig manure. And if they don't see the point, (like it costing them more,) YOU are so screwed.

    You may all be buying Apples to run OS X to hang onto your rights or using aging, fragile and perishable drives. If you think Jobs is going for this, you're nuts.

    Oh and I hate Mac haters. To the people stupid enough to name their site that way, I can only say: LUST AFTER MY UNENCUMBERED MACHINE. I'll be able to back it up.
  • Stallman also highlights the term "copy protection". "The word 'protection' ... tries to disguise obstructionism and rampant power as an attempt to keep a program or book or song safe from harm. It is a propaganda word."

    Exactly. Just like the Nazi Exhibition of Degenerate Art in Germany [].

    Using words to create associations is a powerful and seductive form of lying, because it is often too subtle to be noticed by the listener. The word "protection" can activate a person's needs for security, which is a very primitive and base need, which operates prior to any rational thought.

    This is most worrying (to me), as it moves IT debate away from rational arguments about function and specification, and into the realms of pre-rational belief, tribalism, herd mentality, fear, etc.

    These subtle tricks can be exposed by asking; exactly WHO is being protected from WHAT? Under WHICH conditions?

    To which a VALID answer might be: The existing large music distribution companies are protecting their current level of control of the existing distribution media.

    ie. it has nothing to do with protecting the existing buyer of music media from any sort of 'danger' -- "Oh boy, I'm in danger of paying less for music... I'm really scared"

    No. The internet is a new digital distribution medium. The knowledge producers, like scientists and artists, can ensure the survivability of information by storing it digitally and maintaining copies. Let us not forget that we have a problem with the deterioration of paper records []:

    "Within the last year, an increasing amount of publicity has been given to the fact that we are facing the loss of an enormous part of our historical, cultural, and scientific record because of the self-destruction of the acidic papers on which books and other publications have been printed since the mid-lath century.

    Digital media can be used to great benefit exacltly because it can be copied.

    But some power groups wish to "disable" this very feature intrinsic to it's nature.

    Content 'protection'? More like knowledge destruction.

    This chapter will self erase in 60 minutes...

  • CPSA is an attempt to define a technological framework in order to fulfill the entertainment industry's (RIAA, MPAA etc.) demand for complete control of distribution and copies of audio/video content. The idea is to create a secure end-to-end chain from cable-station/satellite-receiver/settopbox/DVD etc. to the enduser's speaker/digital-display etc.

    From the POV of preventing "piracy" this whole thing simply isn't going to work. For two reasons, the first one is that "Cable-station/satellite-receiver/settopbox/DVD" and such like are actually the mid point of the distribution. The "input" to these is something unencrypted. (Or are there plans to make Hollywood an independant state with a border tighter than the Berlin wall? With the only thing to leave data already encrypted.) The second reason is that in order to be useful the "content" has to be converted into sound and video, at which point it can be copied. There is no possible way that the "player" can know that it's outputs are driving a speaker or a CRT...
  • I could toss similar numbers around too, but the fact is that I don't get to tell Sun, EMC, or Hitachi what brand of disks I want in those servers and arrays. I just tell 'em how big.

    Sure you do! Explain to them that the copy prevention mechanism is considered a DEFECT and that if they can't promise defect free HDs, you'll have to go with an Alpha. NOBODY produces a platform with unique capabilities these days.

    What it really comes down to is the issue of solidarity. If one tech at a company refuses to touch such a drive, he (or she) is fired. If NO tech period is willing to touch them, the drives go away. Sadly, it will probably take an actual wide scale abuse from an entrenched system to make enough techs realise what they should have done when they still could.

    Note that economics could work in our favor. Drives that provide little or no support for copy prevention will intrinsically cost less to make. If capitolism is still somewhat functional after the under the table dealings, those drives will cost less.

  • Good lord, I'm not demanding to be supported- that has to be earned.

    All I'm saying is- be wary, don't get tricked into a music biz situation that is like Windows per-processor licensing- in which, just because you DL lots of RIAA mp3s, you agree to pay RIAA .001 cent for every mp3 you download, no matter whose it is. These bastards are quite capable of setting up such a system if they try, and making it sound quite reasonable: it would just, in effect, raise the price of 'free' mp3s by making them conform by default to a flat tax, possibly even some form of legal taxation to take effect on the transmission of mp3s to consumers. Who gets paid on that? Certainly not _me_. Instead the cost of my distributing music to people gets raised, I keep none of the money being charged, and it goes straight to my arch rivals there. Hardly equitable!

    I'm not arguing that average people will turn heavily to indie music, or begin making it themselves, or abandon the media machine. All I'm saying is be aware, OK? I think the 'Windows per-processor licensing' is a _very_ good analogy for what could happen, puts it in terms instinctively recognised by most linux people as 'not good'.

  • Here at
    we use WindowsNT machines
    to host our website. That
    is why is was so easy for
    this site to get hacked. We
    are currently still hacked
    and chances are, won't figure
    it out. Why you ask? Because
    we are lame and tried fucking
    with the platform that Bill
    Gates stole. Any way, you will
    be redirected to
    shortly. Learn from us, don't
    host your website on a Windows
    machine. It's not smart.

    r00ted by -> NewWave

    (poster's note: I hope they didn't destroy the data, I kind of wanted to read the response to his letter!)
  • It seems rather shortsighted for the hard drive manufacturers to be trying to help put in place copyright protections, because, and let's be frank here, 'illegal' media has fueled their industry for years.

    If people didn't have gigs of mp3s, pr0n, and pirated software, the market for huge hard drives would be much, much smaller. (Yes, there are plenty of legitimate reasons for needing a 80G drive, but 9 out of 10 people walking out of Best Buy with a 80G hard drive are going to use it for mp3s.)

    Fortunately, I still believe that most corporations value $$ over everything else, and it will eventually dawn on them that even attempting such protections is against their bottom line.

  • As many others have said, unrestricted copying is a huge boon to the HD world. Now they wanna stop that and cut a thick portion out of their revenue??? This new method requires tons of 'compatible' components and is very difficult to implement in a new setting, let alone an enstablished one.

    I think the HD manufactuers got pressured into doing SOMETHING by the big record/movie people, they came up with this idea. They'll trot it around release a few HDs with it, let it fail, then go back to the record/movie people saying "We tried and it didn't work, sorry"

    For this to work you need compatible HDs, Motherboards(controllers), and software. People wont want to use the software. The controllers/motherboards come from asia manufactuers (we've all heard about piracy in asia) that have a lot to lose by implementing this protection. And there will be suppliers of HDs without this 'feature.' THis is gonna flop like DIVX and I think the HD guys know it.
  • I've long heard that there are some applications vendors who surrepitiously participate in the piracy market.

    The idea is that the user base for your application is broader than the paying market can ever be, but the paying market is as swayed by the ubiquity of a product as it is a software application's price or features. You may have a better application, but if "everyone" is using your competitor's product the paying customers may choose it to guarantee better collaboration or portability for their documents.

    By flooding the non-paying market with copies of your application you help insure that you have this kind of influence.

    I think this is a believable idea, especially in the freelance market where there's a lack of centralization in terms of the workforce but the exchange of electronic files is pervasive and made much simpler by a common document format. Think of designers and Photoshop* -- ad firms use freelance talent all the time and even lame apps keep getting used because they're ubiquitous.

    Of course I have no evidence that applications developers actually participate in this or how they would participate, but to some degree its a compelling idea.

    * Disclaimer: I'm not accusing Adobe, Photoshop users or anyone else of participating in the illegal duplication of software. Photoshop was used stritcly to illustrate a particular example of market standardization.
  • by Morgaine ( 4316 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @05:47AM (#1427327)
    I can't figure out why the hard drive manufacturers are giving this scheme the time of day. If it works, it will dramatically reduce the amount of copying being done (perhaps 95% of all non-corporate copying I'd guess), and so it's absolutely inevitable that the number of drives bought will plummet. This is not to the advantage of disk manufacturers at all.

    Given the profit motive, the drive manufacturing sector of the free market should be dismissing/ignoring these proposals altogether. What's happening here, what's pushing them to support it? They're definitely not addressing their customer requirements.
  • Note that the submission did not have any links to the register and were added by the editor (Timothy). Anything submitted with a register link is robo-killed.
  • On of the most current high-profile examples of this is Kinetix (sp?) - the manufacturers of 3D Studio Max. I have it off the record from a senior exec that he doesn't care about end user piracy since it increases the skills base. More skills means more hires from companies needing those skills and consequently more licenses - since companies are the ones they make sure pay up.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @07:28AM (#1427335) Homepage Journal

    I don't see any. The only way to effect copyright protection you need to have copy protection, right?

    Nope! Copyright protection can be effected by watermarking the content. Then, if you see your copyrighted material on Napster (for example), you track it down to the person who is offering it for download. You can get some idea of how many people downloaded it based on having the same watermarks. Now, you tell them to pay up or prosecute. You don't have to catch them all, or even most. Just a few examples will do.

    None of that would have any impact on me making a copy for use in the car or for backup, or even making a copy for a friend (small change!), but it would prevent mass abuse.

  • They DO have a watermarking scheme.

    I was aware of the watermark. I should have been more clear by saying rather than just using much simpler watermarking.

  • by Cmdr. Marille ( 189584 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:14AM (#1427338)
    From the e-mail:
    but by the software that controls the licensed devices
    SO what does this mean? AT what level would that be implemented?
    BIOS; HD Controller; OS?
    I actually think you would have to have a carefully crafted cooperation between the HDD, the Disc Controller na dfinally the OS. So does that mean that once on of those links doesn't work the whole CP Scheme will not work? I still don't quite get it how this stuff could work, even with appliances like tivo.
    However it's scary seeing you rights fading out more and more each day.

  • That's a pretty good description of how it'll work...

    I wonder though where they're going to get an embedded CPU capable of doing realtime decryption of data at a speed anywhere near what the hard-drive can read at. If they can't, and this is a moving target, they're going to end up with a crippled product where protected media is read at a crawl, imagine trying to seek in a large movie this way... Ugh.

    And this protection assumes that someone isn't going to crack it once and distribute the resulting unprotected media. Especially because 'cracking' in this sense means using something akin to 'Play to Disk' in your MP3 player, or recording the data it sends to the audio out disk.

    This just prevents basic copying, but as soon as one of the readers gets compromised and distributed, anyone will be able to make unemcumbered copies with ease.

    It'll be just like now, except that people like me (bored sysadmins with an OC3 available) will have a personal grievance with the media companies.

    Once again, the stupid media companies are the weakest link in their own chain. They'll never get anything right and they'll piss everyone off trying.
  • I think Chris makes sense.

    Paying a flat fee for Napster access regardless of downloading big-business music like the Backstreet Boys or indie music like Chris's subsidizes the studios by penalizing the independants.

    It's as if you were buying MP3s on a CD from Napster, and they charged $5/disk for special music CDs (like in Canada) on which the tax goes to the MPAA to distribute to artists. But they distribute it to their artists, not to the independent artist whose music you actually filled the CD with.

    We will invent new payment methods, but we need to make sure that we end up paying the artists, not a hold-over company that doesn't do anything.

    If Napster does go with a flat fee, they need to track whose music was downloaded and pass the correct percentage of that along to the artists who made the music that was downloaded.

    We need to make sure that nobody tries to enforce a mandatory MP3 sales tax even on free music. That would be a barrier to people trying new music, and it would drive independant musicians out of business with the management costs. (If every artist who distributed their work on the net was required to collect an MP3 tax, they'd all have to support some approved payment method, and then pass that money on to the government (and thus to the MPAA) at the end of the year...)

    So whatever payment method is developed needs to be one that directly rewards the artist, if they choose to accept it, and if not, is completely free to the consumer.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:18AM (#1427341) Journal
    Good work.

    Now, we need to make it very clear to the CEO's of every disk manufacturer that we can reach, that we will boycott any copy-protected drive.

    They can't even be bothered to make drives with a real hardware write-protect anymore, so the security of MY data is apparently unimportant. I'll be DAMNED if I'll buy a disk that secures the MPAA's data, but can't be configured as read/only so I can keep the script kiddies from messing with it.

  • > Did the register do anything to provoke this?

    Probably just because they're the only news source less reliable than /. itself...
  • That is extremely interesting, something more than just speculation. And if Kenetix - (it Discreet now that owns 3D studio) didn't care about it, you can bet that Adobe doesn't. What kind of protection does Adobe use? serial numbers? Like that's going to stop anyone? And windows too, copy protection by serial numbers and forced upgrades by not allowing the installation of another full OS might circumvent some people but to people who severly detest the idea of paying for a Microsoft OS (like me) so much that even if I was a millionare I wouldn't pay, its not going to stop anything. If I had to pay for windows, I would never use it. Knowledge base is everything. Think about it, if everyone knew everything about every OS (hypothetically of course) which one would be the most common?
  • by mirko ( 198274 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:18AM (#1427347) Journal
    How will they manage to prevent a single raid-array disc to be copied ?
    How will they ensure the raw /dev/hdxx (or sdxx) volume is not rot13-uuencoded / rot13/uudecoded on the fly ?
    And btw, doing this will have an ethic impact : what about fellows who want to backup their ext2fs or reiserfs volumes ?
    Does this mean we will have to pay for specific backup software with NSA backdoors (who said "MS" ?) ?
    I believe there's something rotten...
  • The reason that you haven't noticed the effects yet, is that they've just started. But there are already college texts that depend on an included CD-ROM to make sense. Add a bit of DMCA and justified encryption, and a disk crash. Your text is dead.

    Or without a disk crash, you can't upgrade your computer.

    Etc. These effects are already visible. And it's been less than a year.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Copyright protection can be effected by watermarking the content

    Until a way to destroy the watermark is found, that is.

    Put your feet out and stop ... climb out and hang ...
  • by Helix150 ( 177049 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:29AM (#1427350)
    This whole copy protection scheme (as all others are) is pointless. You can make downloaded songs triple-encoded with different 4096-bit keys, require a hardware dongle that has to be kept locked in a safe that is welded to the computer, and this still isnt going to stop people from swapping pure good ol' american FREE MP3S!!. When I say free, I mean free of copy protection and other impurities. Not free of cost.

    You can secure the secure stuff all you want and unless you can find a way to un-invent MP3, you're right back where you were.

    If they want to stop 'piracy' (By this I mean people gaining posession of a song without paying) they should SELL MP3s. And I mean all of them. Every song by every artist. Available for download in MP3 for $10/month. I would get that in an instant. That $10/mo would get you a guranteed good rip with a good download speed would be worth it.

    People dont use Napster because they dont want to pay any money. They use Napster because they dont want to have to go to a store, pay 100x what the CD is worth, and then find out they dont like it. If I could pay $10/mo for unlimited downloads IN UNSECURED MP3 FORMAT I would never use Napster/openNap/PowerNap/etc again.
  • Copyright laws aren't mutating into anything -- there was no changes in copyright laws except some ridiculous extension of the duration of protection. DMCA is a kind of legal garbage that has nothing to do with "copyright laws" -- it's an exception from general laws made for particular kind of distributors, legalizing practices that amount to extortion and illegal terms of contract.
  • Probably because the SCSI change came before the DMCA, and folk hadn't been alerted. This is just a guess, but it seems reasonable.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Any unauthorized access to the media is illegal. It doesn't matter if it takes place through deliberate action or inaction.

    We are not at that point yet. However this is certainly the direction we are going odds on the next WIPO treaty will be an attempt to get the whole world to use US style "copyright" (i.e. holder of original copyright also holds copyright of any "derived works") as well as to broaden the definition of "copy" far beyond it's original meaning.
  • what is a kind of "copy protection" that is infinitely higher than anything allowed to him by copyright laws.

    It certainly isn't "infinitly higher" also copyright laws are at present mutating into "useright".
    Nor do any of these things actually stop "piracy" in the first place.
  • If/when this gets implemented how long do you think it will take for some bright lad to circumvent it.

    Could be short, or it could take a LOOONNGGG time, depending on the quality of the implementation.

    The big deal is that under the DCMA, whoever does the cracking, and distribution of the crack is going to get thier pants sued off.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @06:38AM (#1427361) Homepage Journal

    How will they manage to prevent a single raid-array disc to be copied ? How will they ensure the raw /dev/hdxx (or sdxx) volume is not rot13-uuencoded / rot13/uudecoded on the fly ?

    Neither of those things would matter in the least. The idea is that the instalation software (let's say a music download app) performs a handshake with the drive using crypto techniques perhaps it opens the out of band channel and sends a challenge encrypted in the drive manufacturor's public key. The drive decrypts it and sends a response in the public key provided to it in the challenge. The response consists of part of the challenge (possably convolved) along with a serial number. The download software applies a blackbox function to that serial number (possably with other information such as the location of the first block of the file) and encrypts the data stream using that key and a secret encryption algo.

    In order to play the music, the player must handshake w/ the drive in the same way to get the serial number, and apply the same blackbox to produce the key for the stream. If the stream has been copied to another disk, the wrong key will be generated and the stream is worthless random bits.

    An effective MITM attack will require that the manufacturer's secret key be extracted from the drive somehow. It would probably be stored in a tamper resistant chip similar to the ones on a smart card. That chip would handle all crypto internally to avoid logic probes on the buss. Note that the key pair could be different for each drive with the right server side design AND if the whole .NET thing takes off (the player would only work if it could transact with a server side function).

    Other possable approaches involve tracing the downloader to determine the challenge or to extract it's secret key. It would also be necessary to determine the blackbox function and the encryption algo. Note that all of that might be kept in the server side software and thus be difficult to access at all.

    None of that makes the system absolutely secure. It CAN be broken given enough determination. What it would do is raise the bar quite a bit higher.

    Begin editorial: I find it interesting that the various content industries are willing to go through all of that for a 90% solution in order to strip away fair use rights rather than use much simpler watermarking techniques to make actual copyright infringement traceable while leaving fair use intact.

    If this sort of thing actually takes off, the early 21st century will be seen by future historians as a dark age since they will have no evidence of any literature or culture, In the event of an upheaval of civilisation, a great deal of knowledge will effectively disappear along with the copy prevention infrastructure (much like DivX disks) for the simple reason that textbooks will be inaccessable. New ones will have to be written by those who have the knowledge to do so. Literature will have to be re-copied from memory (like Fahrenheit 451) or lost. All that because a few multi-millionares childishly declared "If *I* can't have it, NOBODY can have it!".

    Others will, of course, call the above silly. No doubt they believe that the current societal structure will go on forever. I say tell that to the Roman Empire (go ahead, try to find a representative today). No doubt they also believed that the empire would always be there. If that's too far back in history for you, tell it to the Tsar of Russia or the current president of the USSR.

  • IDE has been steadily catching up to SCSI in speed, reliability, and usefulness.

    While not a scientific study of reliability, there was an interesting article (The Art of Massive Storage: A Web Image Archive, IEEE Computer magazine, 2000-11) that found big differences between the reliability of IDE and SCSI drives. Over an 18 month period, 6 of 24 IDE disks failed (25%), 7 of 368 SCSI disks failed (1.9%).

  • this letter feels more like a public relations than anything worth while. first it spends no time talking about black and white quantum policy - whenever he talks of policy he uses terms like "will pay special attention to" and "In general, we support." can you get anymore wishywashy. Then he dedicates almost a third of the letter to complimenting to complimenting Russ and how Russ the "only one actually giving a rational reason." the author may be saying that you're so smart but he's thinking how your so gullible. anyone who goes through the trouble of writing this letter without actually saying anything solid has something to hide. I'm not saying blackball quantum because of this letter but please don't praise them either.
  • by yem ( 170316 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @01:59AM (#1427374) Homepage
    Is this whole CPRM effected by the filesystem (fat,e2fs,etc) or OS used to store the data?

    What if I use an encrypted filesystem?

    How might this work with non-ms software?
  • by gantry ( 180560 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @02:02AM (#1427376)
    Can't any copy-protection mechanism be defeated by using an encrypted filesystem? Or am I missing something here? An encrypted filesystem would slow down disk access, because encryption and decryption consume CPU cycles, but CPU is cheap.
    The proposed standard will not prevent organised copyright theft, or even a knowledgeable hacker; user-friendly software for installing an encrypted filesystem will quickly become available, so that even ordinary users will be able to copy whatever they want, just like they can now.
  • To really protect their music, the RIAA also needs to get sound card manufacturers to help out by placing decryption/decoding hardware on the cards.

    Absolutely. I fully expect to see that rear it's ugly head in the near future. In the mean while (for a length of time dependant on the reluctance of sound card manufacturers, I fully expect to see players that try to verify signatures on audio drivers and attempt to determine wheather or not they've been virtualized.

  • Correct me if Im wrong, but wouldnt an afternoon and a few determined /. Social Engineers be able to walk into the local computer store and wave a large magnet over these HD's -- destroying their keys?

    If there is in fact a key "located in a hidden, presumably read-only, area of your drive" wouldnt that be on the HD media itself - which would get rather annyoed at my running it through a de-gausing coil or setting a 6" magnet on top of the drive... I would advocate we simply destroy a few thousand of these drives on the shelves... that should peek the ear of Joe ConsumoBot who needs another HD for his porn and killer MP3 collection. Or simply buying them ourselves - bring them home and run them through our de-gaussing coils unopened and returning them - XYZ Compiant Drives failure rates might shoot up enough to make it appear people are destroying them on the shelf...

    I think our friend Joe might just tell people "Dont buy that XYZ CPRM-Compliant HD because they suck - and oh yeah, did you know what CPRM actually does?"

  • Market forces could clearly win out here

    I wholy agreed - except this bit.

    You assume there is competition - there is none, therefore the 'market' you look to correct this problem dosnt exist. Americans need much stronger monopoly laws - especially the ones regarding COLLUSION ... correct my Economics101, but wouldnt the RIAA/MPAA clearly demostrate a oligopoly - and collusive behaviour? WTF is wrong with this picture - I thought we had all agreed we tolerate capatalism because it breads innovation through competition... every time I pick up a browser or a paper I read about another industry setting restrictive standards/license terms/leases etc etc because there is virtually no competition in 99% of the modern marketplace (this would exclude ordinary chattle (dishes, plastic knick-knack-garbage, furniture))

  • Will our boycott really matter?

    I was wondering about that... At the risk of going off-topic, how many people opposed to RIAA/MPAA/DVD-CCA and CPRM wanted/bought/got/own Playstation2's for Xmas?

    Congratulations. You just broke your boycott, and supported Sony, a member of RIAA, MPAA, and DVD-CCA.

    Now watch my karma drop through the floor.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @08:17AM (#1427393) Homepage

    Of course it's fine to voluntarily boycott such controlled content, but what do you do when it's the only content available? I've been told repeatedly that VHS is on its way out in favor of DVD, and there does seem to be a gradual trend in this direction at the local Blockbuster. (After all, excepting the copy protection scam^H^H^H^Hscheme, DVD's are clearly superior to analog videotape.) So as soon as you want to use anything at all that relies on this dubious technology you will fold up, buy the software and the compliant hardware and grumble while it does its thing. And you will lose that content when you buy a new PC or hard drive -- unless you get the hack for it.

    We are all sheep. We all know that slashdotters and the like have effectively no voice in the world-- that we are either portrayed as whiny losers who whine to each other on Slashdot (there's a whole lot of truth to this) or renegade hackers who have nothing but damage to others' rights on their agenda (there's very little truth in this). But with DVD's we aren't even using what little voice we have. Indeed, the technophilic nature of the sort of people that are drawn to slashdot probably means that a higher percentage of them than the common public have DVD players.

    What we *should* be doing is boycotting the DVD standard, and loudly. Some of the few respected speakers among the techno-nerd crowd from which slashdot draws its audience should be echoing these boycotts. The message should be, we're not interested in a format that has a central patented control (i.e. DVDCCA) on the very format. We will boycott it until manufacturers and content providers come up with another format not so encumbered-- and buy *that*. Market forces could clearly win out here, but all of us techno-geeks are too drooling in awe of the capabilities of DVDs that we've just jumped lemming-like over the cliff rather than have the willpower to take whatever insigificant steps we could to harenss those market forces.

    Market forces killed DIVX. The manufacturers are getting more canny, though. With DVIX, it was obvious to every consumer that they were getting a bum deal. Now, the manufacturers are getting better at slipping things in, things that only techno-geeks notice, which they can then use to provide DVIX-like controls on the hardware and software that everybody already has bought. There will not be market forces against it until the computer illiterate notice what they're losing, and by then it may well be too late.

    (What's happening is that the massive entities who control distribution in the analog world are trying to enact legislation and such that will allow them to continue the same sorts of controls on the digital world. In the analog world, they were a little more natural. Joe Average making a copy of content would degrade it in quality; only the big entites had the resources necessary to really provide quality content. In the digital world, this is not true; anybody can make full quality copies. What should really happen is that as the digital world takes over, there should be a paradigm shift, and whole new models of distribution should come in. (Much as the very presence of recording technologies introduced new paradigms.) However, the people who have all the power in the analog world don't want it. But it really is unnatural, and eventually something that really uses digital technology to its full effect will take over and send the analog power brokers the way of the dinosauar. It will happen. Unfortunately, I fear it may take 50 or 100 years (pessimistically speaking), and those of us who live in the interem will have to suffer for it. Especially since those few who understand the issues don't do anything about it, but either just whine to each other (as I am doing now) or give up and buy tainted technology (as all of you have done with your DVDs).)


  • by Myself ( 57572 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @02:05AM (#1427395) Journal
    From the beginning of the second paragraph:
    FYI, SCSI and IEEE1394 have already approved something similar without controversy. It's still hard to say whether the CP proposal will become part of the ATA standard

    Anyone have details about this?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, if this thing is software-controlled, and Linux is open-source, then all we have to do is create Linux drivers that create a workaround to defeat it, right? I mean, either that, or they just don't give us the spec so we can write drivers, but Linux has a decent foothold in the server market, and at least some hardware manufacturers would want their newer, bigger, better hard drives to be marketable to work with those servers.

    Just my two cents.

    --- I'm not a real anonymous coward, I just play one on TV.

  • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @02:18AM (#1427397)
    Well, if this thing is software-controlled, and Linux is open-source, then all we have to do is create Linux drivers that create a workaround to defeat it, right?

    Sounds like you're advocating something illegal under the DMCA, namely circumventing copy protection used to protect a copyrighted work.

    It's decss all over again. They encrypt software, music, you name it onto a CD, DVD, Installer disk, whatever. You can't get it off there because that's a DMCA violation. Then they make a Windows-based installer to transfer it securely to the Hard Drive. You can't get it off the HD either-- it's another DMCA violation.

    Boom. There goes your right to use any of that content in Linux, unless they feel like giving you a Linux installer.


  • here will be understood now. From the letter;

    An optional set of ATA commands has been proposed by IBM that could support the CPRM method from the 4C entity or other methods. After implementing these commands, a hard disk (HDD) supplier wishing to install CPRM keying information and support that particular key management method would need a license from 4C entity

    This observant post at open law [] might give you a better idea of who 4C entity is.

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