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Friday, July 16, 2004
Japan, US Firms Team Up to Make Next-Gen DVDs Harder to Copy


Eight major consumer electronics, information technology and film companies from Japan and the United States have agreed to develop a standard copy protection technology for next-generation DVDs that will be tougher to circumvent.

The eight firms are Toshiba Corp, Sony Corp, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd, Microsoft Corp, IBM Corp, Intel Corp, Walt Disney Co and Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. They plan to start licensing the technology this year.

The technique will feature an encryption using a 128-bit key. More than three times longer than the encryption key used in current DVD copy protection technology, the new method is touted as virtually impossible for lone bootleggers to crack because it would take a personal computer 10,000 times 1 trillion years to decipher it.

The HD DVD format pushed by Toshiba and NEC Corp as well as the Blu-ray Disc format promoted by Sony and Matsushita are currently vying to become the next-generation DVD standard. Despite their differences, both parties have agreed to support the new copy protection technology.

Illegal copying of DVD software is a major problem for film and electrical machinery companies. One estimate even suggests that around 30% of the DVD software currently on the market consists of illegal copies.

Portions of the specifications for the current DVD format will have to be modified to accommodate the new copy protection technology.

From NEAsia Online



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