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Saturday, February 20, 2010
Blu-ray's Managed Copy Is Finally Coming Next March

The managed copy requirement will finally go into effect March 2010, and movie studios will be required to offer consumers a backup copy of every Blu-ray disc they buy.

Managed copy offers consumers the ability to make at least one full-resolution, protected copy of the Blu-ray content they own. The feature is currently a requirement of the new licenses content owners who have sign with the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS-LA), the industry consortium in charge of licensing AACS copy protection used on Blu-rays.

The managed copy requirement was initially required to go into effect Dec. 4, as part of the final licensing agreement for AACS, the copy protection used on Blu-ray discs. However, the live date has since been moved to March 31, 2010 by AACS-LA. From March 2010, studios will be required to offer consumers a backup copy of every Blu-ray disc they buy. However, no Blu-ray players in the market yet have the capability to make the backups. This means that PC drives will likely to be the first products to support managed copy.

A disc ready for managed copy will essentially include a link on it directing the Blu-ray player to an authentication server. Once a user chooses the option to make a copy, the Blu-ray player connects online to an authorization server. Discs are serialized, and the authentication server will determine if a copy is allowed.

The authentication servers will be hosted at AACS-LA while studios and third parties will be also able to run their own servers. However, no such servers are currently available and accessible.

Managed copies will be able to be burned to recordable Blu-ray or DVD discs, as a download to a Windows Media DRM-compatible portable player or hard drive, on a memory stick, SD card or as a bound copy, such as a digital copy file on the disc, though AACS-LA can approve other methods going forward.

Some studios are expected to offer the managed copy option with their Blu-ray disc movies for free, while some others will charge for it. BluScenes have already released "The Classic Fireplace," "Coral Reef Aquarium," and "Journey Through Space" BD titles that have become the first 3 Blu-ray releases to utilize the Blu-ray Managed Copy feature. The company is not applying any extra charge for the feature.

Currently consumers are getting a digital copy included of some BD titles they buy for free. This copy is available in an extra disc, while managed copy will allow consumers to create the backup movie on their own medium. Extra charging for the managed copy feature may not sound a good idea for consumers, who may consider the digital copy included as part of the bargain with many of their Blu-ray disc purchases.

Managed copy is also not working with Apple products since there's been no AACS-LA submission from Apple, at least until now. However, some studios have worked with Apple to provide Digital Copy for iTunes, affording customers who purchase DVD and Blu-ray movies with an additional iTunes Digital Copy of the movie.

Just like movies purchased from the iTunes Store, an iTunes Digital Copy can be transferred to iTunes and then viewed on a PC or Mac, iPod with video, iPhone or on wide screen television with Apple TV.

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