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Macrovision Attacks!
June 16, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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DVD copy protection software has become a bit of a running joke within the online community. It is a rare event that a DVD title is not available online for download - regardless of the associated copy protection. A key reason DVD piracy continues to run rampant is because CSS (Content Scrambling System) is still the copy protection standard.

While CSS may thwart the computer unsavvy, it has done little to stop those who know how to use Google. Most often, defeating the near-decade old CSS technology is a few mouse clicks away.

But Macrovision has a plan.

Macrovision has developed a suite of copy protection tools, aimed at upgrading the dinosaur technology currently associated with DVDs. Towards this end, Macrovision has developed two DVD copy protection technologies, RipGuard DVD and ACP (Analog Content Protection.)

RipGuard DVD is heralded as a major advancement in copy protection technology. It is being marketed as the silver bullet in preventing massive copyright infringement and unauthorized copying. Introduced in February of 2005, its fate is still unknown as the first DVDs protected with this scheme have yet to hit the shelves.

ACP is a copy protection technology designed to plug the dreaded "analog hole." ACP clandestinely scrambles the audio and video output, making poor quality analog duplication.

The analog hole has become worrisome for the movie industry. Their worries stem from the fact that no matter how much digital protection one places on a disc, it is difficult to prevent one from capturing the analog signal coming from one's video and audio outputs. Simply record the output and you have a near-exact duplicate of the original. While Macrovision felt it had plugged the analog hole with ACP, this appears to not be the case.

On June 15, 2005, Macrovision announced it has filed lawsuits against two small DVD firms - Sima Product Corporation and Interburn Enterprises.

Sima Product Corporation sells three very impressive pieces of hardware called Video Enhancers. These hardware devices exist between, for example, a DVD player and VHS recorder. Other configurations could be a DVD player and DVD recorder. Sima Product models CT-2, CT-200 and SCC-2 improve, if not remedy, the video and audio signal coming from a DVD for high quality replication.

Considering Macrovision cites its ACP technology was undermined, Sima's Video Enhancers in all likelihood defeat this copy protection and restore the original analog quality.

Sima Products Corporation did not immediately respond for comment.

Interburn Enterprises does not manufacture a product, however it is a reseller of DVD X Copy, Games X Copy, DVD X Maker, DVD X Show, DVD X Point, CD X Rescue, Audio Xtract Pro, DVD X Copy Gold and DVD Xtreme. Like Sima, Macrovision cites Interburn defeated their ACP protection technology. However, this appears to be vague, as conceptually any DVD copying software would, by default, defeat this protection scheme. A representative of Interburn spoke with

"Well, it is not very good news that InterBurn is getting sued by Macrovision. I do not understand what it is that I am doing wrong. I sell programs to people so that they can backup a DVD they probably paid 20+ dollars for to protect the original copy from getting too damaged to play. A DVD is a 20+ dollar piece of plastic and is far from indestructible, I see nothing wrong with selling a program that will backup a consumers investment like this."

"Unfortunately, the Multi-Billion Dollar Macrovision thinks they are losing revenue and their rights are being violated. I do not see why they would want to make such a big fuss over sales of a few programs to let the working consumer backup their entertainment investments. Only in America."

Although Macrovision is marketing their products from a position of strength, these lawsuits serve only to demonstrate how weak their position is. If their protection methods were so strong, surely two micro-companies such as Sima and Interburn pose no threat to the almighty Macrovision?

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: DRM

You can read Macrovision's press release here.

You can discuss this article here - 48 replies

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