Since February, when the hacker Arnezami posted the code to crack the primary security DRM at the heart of every Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, the industry has been scrambling to “safeguard” their copyrighted materials from HD pirating. Despite, watermarks, the additional BD+ encryption system, and the randomization of Volume ID’s, the ever-expanding Asian-Pacific pirating ring has been producing knock-off HD discs.

These pirates have been cracking HD encryption codes, ripping new discs, and re-encoding them with a new format. While these HD rip-offs can actually be burned to regular DVD discs, and do not exhibit quite the same quality as true Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs, the pirates are dressing them up well enough to full the average consumer.

According to the International Motion Picture Association, the pirated discs, which are encoded in AVCHD format, are the first of their kind to be seized. In my opinion, this should not come as any surprise to the film industry. From floppy discs, to cassette tapes, to VHS, to CD’s, to DVD’s, the pirates have always found a way.

It doesn’t seem as if there will ever be an unbreakable code that can be used for a commercial, mass-distributed form of saved information. The entertainment companies will always have their teams of programmers, but they will always be trumped by the vast network of hackers and pirates who both intentionally and unintentionally collaborate to tare down the walls.

While these failed security measures and the prosecution of the pirates responsible should certainly remain a focal point of industry executives, companies could also learn a lesson or two from operations like Apple’s iTunes. In this way they could begin to develop a network of systems, products, services, and accessories that can be paired and packaged together to create a kind of value that can’t be cracked.

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Steve Tatum

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