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Friday, June 22, 2001
A preview over DVD protections themes


"...Macrovision's DVD copy protection process is activated during DVD authoring. The authoring facility sets certain digital-analog protection trigger bits to "on." When the disc is played back, these trigger bits activate a Macrovision-enabled digital-analog converter chip inside the player. The chip then applies copy protection to the analog output of the DVD player. This allows for transparent viewing of the original program, but causes copies made on most VCRs to be substantially degraded. There are, however, DVD-Video players available that style themselves "Macrovision-free."

In fourth quarter of 2000, TTR Technologies announced completion of its first DVD copy protection prototype based on the company's CD technology. TTR is in the midst of a development project to port its SafeAudio technology (for CD) to DVD. TTR chair Marc Tokayer says, "DVD has an advantage over CD in that there is one format for all types of content. This means that one technology can be used to protect software, audio, and video on DVD. Our proof of concept protects software, but we could have created a protected video DVD as well."

Sony Disc Manufacturing has expanded its SecuROM optical disc copy protection system for CD-R and pre-recorded CD-ROM to include anti-piracy encryption for DVD-ROM discs. SecuROM for DVD-ROM is similar to its CD-ROM predecessor, according to Johannes Stegfellner, director of SecuROM licensing. It works through the combination of a digital keycode applied to each disc, and an authentication technology that differentiates an original disc from an unauthorized copy–both are transparent to the user. The new product utilizes the SecuROM Online Encryption Toolkit just as the CD-ROM product does. "Just with a single mouse click, encryption via the Internet can be completed in literally one minute. Time to market is further reduced with the supported in-house testing process," Stegfellner explains.

SecuROM is aimed at preventing illegal CD-R burning, hard disk recording, Internet distribution, and piracy by mass replication. "Unlike other copy protection systems, SecuROM does not provide encryption through unreadable sectors on the disc. This method results in high compatibility rates with drives on the market," Stegfellner says. SecuROM also reportedly uses very little disc space. DVD-ROM mastering and replication with SecuROM are currently available only at Sony's plant in Austria.

Greenleaf Technologies has not only found a way to protect content, but, company sources claim, a way to save money, as well. Greenleaf's system places up to 10 games on a single DVD, but the data is scrambled into an unreadable format until a consumer pays to unlock each game at the publisher's Web site..."



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