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Appeared on: Thursday, January 18, 2007
Pirated HD DVD Movies Appear on P2P Networks

The first pirated HD DVD movies have surfaced on file-sharing websites, as a result of the recently released software claimed to bypass the HD DVD copy protection system.

A couple of weeks ago, users of DVD back-up site Doom9.org's forums found a method of decoding the title keys. Within 24 hours over 50 title keys were available on the site. Last week, the first screen captures appeared online, claimed to be taken of some HD-DVD titles available on BitTorrent servers. The screenshots displayed download information for a 20GB copy of HD movie Serenity, while more screenshots have been posted on the site showing listings for Batman Begins, The Chronicles of Riddick, Pitch Black, The Mummy, Superman Returns and Miami Vice.

In case the HD-DVD content begin to widely circulate online, the demand for HD DVD hardware may also increase. As a result, this may offset any victorious claim that Blu- Ray has in the format war. But currently, we have to wait the reactions of the HD DVD camp - if any.

Possibly the most popular avenues for online distribution - The Pirate Bay, has also announced the arrival of the first HD DVD torrents. The Pirate Bay had been forced off line by the movie industry, only to reappear three days later. The web site is currently in negotiations to relocate the base of operations. Their primary location of interest is Sealand, the supposedly autonomous World War II base off the coast of England.

Some years ago piracy fueled the broadband revolution - currently it seems that it could also help the HD DVD format.

HD DVD Hack Inverstigated

The Advanced Access Content System (AACS) group, the authority behind the AACS copy protection scheme in HD DVD discs is aware of the situation.

"There are reports that indicate success by a number of hackers. We're still evaluating and determining what the most appropriate course of action is," said Michael Ayers, chairman of the AACS group.

Although Ayers declined to say which DVD-viewing software had been targeted by hackers but, he noted that vulnerable versions of the software were no longer available. According to the Doom9 forums, the DVD playback software is InterVideo's WinDVD. InterVideo was acquired last month by Canada-based Corel.

"We look at it as an attack on one particular (DVD software) implementation," he said. "It doesn't breach the security of the AACS technology as a whole, because that one implementation can be fixed. Once it's fixed, then that attack no longer works."

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