New DVD formats with "copy" protection (April 30, 2006)
Fundamentally, it is necessary to copy a DVD in order to view it. The
computer in your DVD player must first copy the data from the DVD into
memory before it can even display the contents. Of course, once there
is a copy in memory, nothing stops a computer from saving it back out
to a new DVD. Thus, making a copy of a DVD is approximately the same
work as playing the DVD.
Since copy-protection is fundamentally impossible, the mere attempt
becomes intrusive. Sadly, it looks like the
next generation of DVD's are going to have even such efforts, not
less. Thus, we will continue to have the same basic problems as now:
- Linux users like myself will face legal charges if we
play a copy protected DVD for personal viewing.
- Many basic operations will not be possible even on Microsoft
Windows and on OS/X. For example, users will not be able to make
backup copies of a DVD, nor will they be able to make mix DVD's
for their friends.
- It will be impossible on legal players to skip those annoying "FBI
blah blah blah" warnings at the beginning.
- Legal DVD players will be more expensive, because they must pay
for a license to decode the new content.
Blah. Times are changing, and copyright-based protections are just
not practical any more. It is time for the media
industries to move on and find a new business model. Meanwhile, Americans
should revert enough of
DMCA that our Linux users can legally watch DVD's on their computers.