Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ok, now I'm pissed. And it isn't Dubya this time.

Macrovision has announced a new DVD encryption program called RipGuard™. The claim -- and this is from their own goddamn engineers and PR people -- is that it will prevent 97% of all software from ripping DVDs.

Christ, where do I begin...

First, encryption is not copy protection, encryption is not copy protection, encryption is not copy protection. Maybe someday the world will wake up to this fact.

Short illustration, and I'll keep it strictly non-techie. Suppose I have a coded message such as:

    T4%J0 B1&#XP9

Now, you can't understand that message, can you? No. But you sure as hell can copy it until your eyes bleed, eh? You won't be able to understand the copy, granted, but that's reading, not copying. If we both have reading decoders then we can both read the message. So encrypted DVDs protect against unauthorized players, not copying.

Second, suppose you're a world-class, uber elite haxx0r type and you want to rip a DVD and distribute it on the net. How would you do this? Hmmm. Well, the first step would be to find the program that falls in that 3%. Then you'd get a pirated copy of that ripping software, rip the DVD, then distribute it.

Macromedia specifically state that since their software prevents 97% of software from ripping a DVD, then their software will prevent 97% of ripping. What a complete load of horseshit. It takes ONE person to rip a DVD. Once it's ripped into a distributable format (take your pick, AVI, MPEG, etc), then nobody needs to rip it again. You can view the resulting file in Windows Media Player, WinDVD, whatever.

I don't know what the flying !@#% is wrong with the industry these days. Is the MPAA taking an extra large dose of stupid pills? Ok, ...maybe that one is obvious, but don't they have a single nerd kicking around to explain precisely why they're going to spend a few million on a scheme that won't even begin to stop piracy. They could cough up $40k in salary and feed a starving IT guy and save themselves a whole lot of trouble, money and embarrassment.

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