Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Encryption Intel The Courts

Intel Threatens DMCA Using HDCP Crack 373

mikesd81 writes "Intel is apparently threatening to use the DMCA against anyone using the HDCP crack under the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause. 'There are laws to protect both the intellectual property involved as well as the content that is created and owned by the content providers,' said Tom Waldrop, a spokesman for the company, which developed HDCP. 'Should a circumvention device be created using this information, we and others would avail ourselves, as appropriate, of those remedies.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Intel Threatens DMCA Using HDCP Crack

Comments Filter:
  • Bring it on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:18AM (#33635286)

    You know hackers will win anyway.

    • Re:Bring it on (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mattcelt ( 454751 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:51AM (#33635842)

      All that has to be done is for a company to make a module with a flashable keyspace. Then the end-user can add the master key to the device themselves, and nobody gets in trouble (unless they start sharing the content).

      • Re:Bring it on (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Joebert ( 946227 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:17AM (#33636254) Homepage
        What would be the devices "primary" use?
        I find it hard to believe you could just create a device solely for this purpose and not run into some kind of legal trouble whether you're including the key or not. If the device has no other "primary" function, technically you're facilitating whatever crime is being committed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by scrib ( 1277042 )

          "HDMI Noise Filter and Signal Booster."
          You know, for all those people who need gold-plated, name-brand cables for perfectly crisp, clear transmission of digital data. I think "noise filter" would be a perfectly apt description of the secondary function, too!

      • Re:Bring it on (Score:5, Insightful)

        by julesh ( 229690 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:42AM (#33636676)

        All that has to be done is for a company to make a module with a flashable keyspace. Then the end-user can add the master key to the device themselves, and nobody gets in trouble (unless they start sharing the content).

        Nope, sorry, still a device designed to enable breaking "effective" technological measures, whether it requires end-user modification or not.

        No, the *real* answer is to market *two* devices, one of which enables a perfectly legal non-copyright-violating use (i.e. an HDMI->DVI adapter that converts standard monitors to HDCP-enabled ones) and one of which doesn't circumvent the DRM (i.e. a DVI video capture board). Plug one into the other and you have an apparently legal means of capturing encrypted video streams.

        Problem is, I assume HDCP is patented. You won't see such devices being mass marketed because they would necessarily infringe on those patents. So maybe another approach is required: just a device with an HDMI port, an ethernet port, an FPGA and a memory card reader to provide the design for the FPGA. Legitimate use: can be programmed to display stuff on your TV. Memory card distributed with it has a simple photo-viewing application. Alternative memory card you can download from somewhere apparently unconnected to the manufacturer has the HDCP-cracking application.

  • Barn Doors (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsalmark ( 1265778 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:20AM (#33635308) Homepage
    After the horse has left the barn it's too late to close the door.
    • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:27AM (#33635416)

      Unless you can shoot the horse down, hang the horse thief and buy another horse.

      The problem comes when you forget about all that happened and put the new horse in a new barn, which is open.

    • Re:Barn Doors (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AusIV ( 950840 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:18AM (#33636288)
      The thing is, the horse hasn't really left the barn. At this point HDCP isn't really about preventing piracy - there are much better ways to rip most HD content. The value of HDCP to Intel is that it forces anyone who wants to build an HDMI compatible device to license HDCP if their users want to get the full HD experience. Thanks to the DMCA, the leaked master key doesn't mean much on that front. There may be some Chinese manufacturers putting out a few cheaper devices, but anything the average consumer will buy at Best Buy still has to license HDCP from Intel. In this statement, Intel is making it clear that they intend to use the DMCA to enforce licensing requirements against any manufacturers who might think this means they don't have to license HDCP anymore.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Can you license a big number?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sjames ( 1099 )

        Exactly, this is just Intel's way of using the law to force people to pay them for a broken technology nobody wanted in the first place. Some might say the MPAA wanted it, but note that they're not the ones paying for it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mounthood ( 993037 )

        There may be some Chinese manufacturers putting out a few cheaper devices, but anything the average consumer will buy at Best Buy still has to license HDCP from Intel.

        Only a handshake is needed so just like the video splitters of yore, a small, cheap device on the line can authenticate as a proxy for any device you want. They won't be sold in Best Buy, but they'll swamp the market once people realize a $20 "adapter" makes all your HDTV equipment work right.

        Personally I can't see how HDCP is not prosecuted as restraint of trade. I understand that corporations have the money, and money rules the politicians, and the politicians control the administrators, etc... but rea

  • by anUnhandledException ( 1900222 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <dlareg.sivad>> on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:20AM (#33635312)

    With DMCA hell I could protect something with 2 bit encryption. There is only two keys. 1 and 0. Pretty easy to crack right? It doesn't really matter. No matter how easy to crack doing so opens you up to the DMCA.

    If they win expect more "paper tiger" encryption and content protection systems. The teeth isn't the weak flawed crypto. The teeth is in the lawsuit potential.

    • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazzt&gmail,com> on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:22AM (#33635332) Homepage
      This post is protected by ROT13+ROT13 encryption and the DMCA!
    • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:22AM (#33635336) Homepage

      Which would explain why DRM schemes rarely last any significant amount of time...they want people to hack them, so they have a legally binding way to go after them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by somersault ( 912633 )

        I thought that was what copyright law was for? This is just about trying to stop people copying their stuff, without understanding how stupid and virtually impossible that is.

      • Agreed.

        The encryption system is only there to show due diligence in attempting to protect themselves and thus give the authorities a tidy rationalization for putting people in cages for no good reason. Though I doubt the intention of turning people into criminals, (criminalizing humanity?), is an Intel or even a DMCA objective. They're both just tools, I'd say, reacting to the installed mind control systems, ie, the belief that information and knowledge itself are property.


      • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:32AM (#33635488)

        they want people to hack them, so they have a legally binding way to go after them.

        ...and drink their blood!

        What! My theory is as sound as yours.

        And much better for a movie.

    • by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:37AM (#33635574) Homepage

      The EU version of the DMCA specifically only provides protection for effective encryption measures. So for example the first time the CSS wast taken to the European Court the ruling was that it was not an effective encryption measure and the case was thrown out. The fact that due to flaws in the scheme an ordinary PC can crack the CSS encryption in less than a second makes it ineffective and thus not eligible for protection.

      If HDCP simply required gathering 40 public keys from 40 different bits of hardware to work out the master key then it is highly likely that it would be ruled and ineffective encryption measure and thrown out.

      Similarly your two bit scheme would also fall foul of the requirement to be effective.

    • If you're willing to risk a lawsuit, you'd probably win, at least if all you were doing was decrypting something you owned "on the fly" (i.e. not saving).

    • by MadJo ( 674225 )

      But, this key is the master key, who is Intel to say who can use that key and who can't?
      Will Intel sue Sony for use of this key in their BluRay players under the DMCA? (Yes, please?)

      It's the correct use of the key, there is nothing being circumvented.

      I'm sure they'll tout the list of "approved" hardware manufacturers. But right now that list is made of companies that are willing/stupid enough to pay the extortion money (If you pay us this amount, we won't sue you for use of this key).

      The DMCA can only be us

  • Oh Yea? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aavqan3009 ( 1714764 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:21AM (#33635316)
    Maybe I won`t use Intel....
  • by CowboyBob500 ( 580695 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:21AM (#33635324) Homepage
    So good luck with that Intel...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ... not if ACTA gets signed.

    • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:45AM (#33635716)
      There may be no DMCA outside the US as the DMCA is an American law, but the WIPO Copyright Treaty [wikipedia.org] upon which it is based has been enacted in many other countries. For example there is the EU Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC [wikipedia.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Pofy ( 471469 )

        "There may be no DMCA outside the US as the DMCA is an American law, but the WIPO Copyright Treaty upon which it is based has been enacted in many other countries. "

        Key phrase is "upon which it is based". This doesn't mean everything that is in the DMCA is in the WIPO treaty. For example the protection that controll access is not part of the WIP treaty (and not the EU directive either) but is something some countries, even in Europe has added. But many countries doesn't include protection that controll acce

  • by Apatharch ( 796324 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:23AM (#33635348)
    You've found a foolproof way to protect your obsolescent DRM. After all, it worked so well for DVD/CSS.
    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      Hey, that's not fair. CSS had a hard time catching on because of weak support from IE5.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )
      CSS wasn't DRM, CSS was about shaking down hardware and software providers for a licensing fee. It didn't do a damned thing about copy protection, just ensured that the pirated media was played using a licensed player. Well, up until somebody cracked it.
  • Okay (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:24AM (#33635364) Homepage

    What about those people in countries that don't have a DMCA, don't have software patents and have "interoperability" clauses in most things?

    Can't I just buy my HDCP stripper from them, instead? Fortunately, that tends to be the same countries that make lots of cheap electronics. Surprising, that, isn't it?

    (Not that I care - I don't own a single piece of HD equipment, and don't feel like I'm missing out either)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by omnichad ( 1198475 )

      The DMCA itself has an interoperability clause. And there's plenty of people with older DVI monitors who would love to simply use them for viewing of legally purchased HD movies. But we all know that Intel will file suits and win anyway.

  • Backward Headline (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#33635390)

    Who wrote the headline? Shouldn't it be "Intel Threatens HDCP Crack Using DMCA"?

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:25AM (#33635394) Homepage

    I wonder if it's possible to make a hardware HDCP to DVI converter without having to make a custom ASIC. That way there wouldn't be the need to depend on a lone (probably chinese) supplier.

    I'm sure more than a few people would be willing to donate for it to be developed.

  • LOC vs DMCA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spikenerd ( 642677 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:26AM (#33635406)
    So if the Library of Congress says jail-breaking is okay, and the DMCA says it's not, which one takes precedence in U.S. law?

    (You do not need to point out that this is Slashdot, not a legal firm. I do not expect all responses to be from lawyers. I will not take any responses to be authoritative. Heretofore therefore nonesuch nevertheless notwithstanding and yadda yadda.)
    • Re:LOC vs DMCA (Score:5, Informative)

      by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:34AM (#33635534)

      So if the Library of Congress says jail-breaking is okay, and the DMCA says it's not, which one takes precedence in U.S. law?

      The Librarian of Congress has been empowered to create DMCA exemptions, so the Library of Congress would win.

    • The Library of Congress is given authority by the DMCA to determine exceptions. So it takes precedence.

    • The Library of Congress. That's their role as part of the DMCA. Every 4 years they review and make a ruling on exemptions to the DMCA.

      You could already unlock your phone.

      And, in Apple's case the encryption on the phone wasn't to protect them from copyright abuse. Apple was using it to control access to their product. That's not the purpose of the DMCA.

    • by Teancum ( 67324 )

      It isn't the Library of Congress that determines what copyright laws are.... that is the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court. While the Library of Congress may have a few people who know a thing or two about copyright and that the Library of Congress is responsible for copyright registrations (where you send the checks and materials for that registration), it isn't the final word for what is legal or not.

      The precedence is the DMCA... as awful as that law is. Or perhaps the 1st Amendment is the real f

      • The DMCA takes precedence being an actual law, but part of that actual law says that the Library of Congress has the power to grant exemptions.

        So by the very text of the DMCA, if the LOC says it's ok, then it's ok.

    • by thijsh ( 910751 )
      From a non-lawyer point of view you can still apply logic and reason to find out this answer. Just ask yourself the question: "which law will benefit the party with the deeper pockets?", in this case the big corporations. Statistically the laws that benefit them have precedence over laws that benefit the consumer with a fairly large margin, so you can assume that this time won't be any different. This is no legal advise, just a layman view of how these things commonly play out...
  • DMCA Lutero (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tei ( 520358 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:26AM (#33635410) Journal

    I remenber there was once a ban in europe to read the bible, other by sanctioned sources. So a dude ( Lutero ) made a version in a language (german) that everyone can read.

    I don't remenber how the DMCA back then worked. Did the pope stopped him?

    • Re:DMCA Lutero (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:34AM (#33635532)

      Well, no. But the legal proceedings against him (or more rightly, customers using his work-around) were costly: at least 3 million people dead.

      Let's hope Intel shows a little more restraint than that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      if you are talking about luther, he started a major offshoot of the christian faith, sending wars across europe destroying many catholic churches and killing thousands (even very recently in north ireland)

      sounds like a plan to me, burning record stores, MPAA/RIAA executives crusified or burned at the stake.. where do i sign up?

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:28AM (#33635436) Homepage

    Does this mean the industry will rally around a replacement for HDCP? Will we all need to buy new TV's again? New blu-ray players? New video cards and laptops? Or do they think they can keep this genie bottled-up forever? This here could be exactly why DRM should be illegal and why the DMCA should be repealed. Imagine that every 5-10 years -- every protocol, every connector, every player -- has to be replaced because the industry won't back it unless it has a new unbreakable DRM system. This would be bad for everyone except the select few at the top of the industry who are collaborating to profit off of re-selling new devices to everyone. It half-way makes me suspect that they collude to release these systems, then crack them just as the get adoption to force everyone to buy new systems.

    But this is a worst-case scenario. Time will tell...

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      This would be bad for everyone except the select few at the top of the industry who are collaborating to profit off of re-selling new devices to everyone.

      Well, duh... who do you think bought the DMCA?

    • Once there ceases to be any tangible benefit for the consumer in an upgrade (no, I don't need 2160p, or 32-channel surround sound, or 4-D goggles LOL) then people will more strongly resist the upgrade cycle. Ideally, the only people buying the new equipment would be hackers who will redistribute everything so the old machines can play it.
    • by Nikker ( 749551 )
      Ya I doubt getting the millions of people who have already bought a HDTV/BluRay Player will just go back to the store and buy another one. If the crack goes mainstream there will just be another format all together and Sony will / does look like dumb asses after their latest iteration of 8 track / beta / BluRay. Funny they finally win a proprietary format and it proves to screw them, the irony is too sweet.
      • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

        It's not blu-ray that was cracked: it was HDCP. So the new players would still play blu-ray disks, they just would use a different content protection on the way to the television. It won't make Sony look dumb since Intel made HDCP.

    • Come on, this is the industries version of the stimulus package. You buy more and more overseas workers get jobs. Come on think of their kids. Oh and yes the kids of the executives that need that extra tuition for the Ivy League school they want to go to. The extra tuition being needed to open that back door.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:13AM (#33636198)

      Remember that the only reason these devices have DRM is because the content producers want it and consumers will tolerate or in most cases not notice it. The electronics industry has no particular stake in this, other than to sell the most devices. They don't care what the devices do so long as people buy them.

      So when HDMI was created, Intel put in copy protection because they knew it would help market the thing. If it was unprotected, the media industry might balk at putting content out on any device that had it. Status quo with old devices would be maintained, electronics industry doesn't make more money. They also knew it would be almost a total non-issue to most consumers. While there were some early adopters that got fucked, or people doing something fairly non-standard, most people aren't even aware of HDCP since more or less all HDMI devices have it. You switch to the new connector and that is it.

      This also works because people are moving to a new format anyhow. They are replacing old NTSC TVs with new ATSC TVs. They want the new electronics for the features, they don't stop anything they already have from working, etc. Content producers are happy, consumers are happy, the electronics industry is happy.

      Well the problem with something new, if you tried to mandate it, is that people wouldn't buy it. You roll out HDCPv2 on new Blu-ray players. They don't work with your HDCPv1 TV. People will not want these players. They'll buy one, it won't work, they'll take it back. Well stores aren't going to be interested in stocking something like that. Because of that, electronics companies won't make something like that. Also because of that, content producers will be forced to support older HDCPv1 devices to make any money.

      You can offer up a completely new format with new restrictions to consumers, but it has to be something they like to bite. As an example of a failure look at DVD-Audio. The idea was to increase the fidelity of audio, but also to get some copyprotection. It features CPPM, which is better than CSS and of course way better than the nothing CDs feature. Problem is that they couldn't move it. Only audiophiles bought the hardware so even though the content industry liked it, they had to keep making CDs, and in fact very few DVD-As were made.

      So a new DRM could potentially come out with a new connector and format, but it has to be something you can convince people they want to buy. Just trying to say "Nope, you need HDCPv2 now," would do nothing. Nobody would buy it, since it would work less well than the HDCPv1 stuff on the market.

  • BD not cracked (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scharkalvin ( 72228 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:31AM (#33635480) Homepage

    If I understand this correctly, the BD encryption has NOT been cracked. THIS hack only opens the communication over the HDMI cable between the BD player and your TV. Cracking the encryption on the BD disks themselves is another matter that has not yet been fully cracked. However, this exploit should allow reading the digital data flowing out of the BD player to be captured and saved to disk. This might require some hardware hacking, I don't think there are any PCI video cards that have HDMI INPUTS available.

    Even if China or someother NON-DMCA country builds such devices they will (eventually) be destroyed by customs and whoever smuggles them into this country will be treated the same as a drug dealer.

  • Im currently availing myself, since appropriate, of my middle digit facility.

  • Grammar? (Score:3, Informative)

    by supersloshy ( 1273442 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:46AM (#33635736)

    I don't mean to be a grammar nazi here, but "Intel Threatens DMCA Using HDCP Crack"? Really? The DMCA must feel so threatened because of Intel threatening it with the HDCP crack... More like "Intel Threatens HDCP Crack With DMCA".

  • I don't need to point that:
    a) DHCP is been defeated using hardware removers for a long time already
    b) Despite how some USA companies believe, DMCA is not valid worldwide and in many places rip a DVD or BluRay is perfectly legal as long it's for your personal use at least.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @10:56AM (#33635904) Homepage Journal

    Unlike DRM which is present within media upon its receipt, HDCP does not exist on a BluRay or cable/satellite TV transmission. HDCP is something that is added by the user's machine. DMCA says:

    a technological measure “effectively controls access to a work” if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

    And since we're talking about a process/treatment that occurs after access, it's not something that is needed to gain access.

    Just an idea. (Probably won't work.)

    Another tack here, is: how easily can you tell your equipment to use HDCP even when it's not playing DRMed media? Can you have your computer use a HDCP connection to its monitor all the time even when you're surfing Slashdot, typing your great novel, etc. Is this something that is happening all the time, anyway? (I just don't know.) If so -- if non-DRM-colluders can enable HDCP -- then 99.999999% of the time that someone uses a HDCP cracker, they would not be doing to circumvent a technological measure that controls access to a work without the authority of the copyright holder, since the user is the copyright holder. Likewise, the intended market and primary use of such a device, would not be to remove HDCP without the authority of the copyright holder. It would be legal to use and traffick.

      (This is why there can never be a real standard for DRM, because you have to prevent non-colluding parties from being allowed to apply that DRM, lest they authorize access.) Cracking HDCP and distributing cracks, is only prohibited if HDCP is normally only used when a copyright holder demands it.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:08AM (#33636098)

    bd is breakable (slysoft.com) and so who cares about BD anymore.

    but for the mythtv guys who want to timeshift cable (non-clear qam) or sat-tv, you really only have hdmi now. the s-video is a joke and they won't give you component since its analog and is a 'hole' (lol).

    if the hdmi sniffers/importers start hitting the shelves, that would enable us mythtv guys to FINALLY consider coming back to pay-tv again.

    this could be a GOOD thing for the content guys. right? RIGHT??

    of course they'll never see it that way. I currently don't have a pay-tv sub and have let mine lapse for a few years, now. my myth-tv setup only picks up OTA and what is tunable by my hdhomerun box. if, though, it was possible to easily import the hdmi/dvi streams from the cable boxes, that would actually put the pay-tv back into consideration again.

    if I can't record it to MY system, I don't want it. but let me timeshift my way and I can open my wallet.

    intel and the rest of the industry: hear me, please. I'm a revenue stream that you refuse to tap because of your silliness.

  • Interoperability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:31AM (#33636516)

    The DMCA allows for reverse-engineering for interoperability. So, eat a dick Intel.

  • by seeker_1us ( 1203072 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:50AM (#33636844)
    You obviously don't need them. All you have to do it say "it's illegal."

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982