Tuesday, May 01, 2007
I've blabbed a bit about DRM here before, mostly in the context of music. However, it's also a problem with movies. I don't know if any non-geeks noticed this, but the controversy over DRM came to a hilarious climax over the last few days. HD-DVDs, one of the new high-definition versions of DVD, are all protected by a form of DRM. Unlike, say, CDs, smart people can't just write software or hardware that can play an HD-DVD. In order to do so, they need a special software key, which is really just a series of letters and numbers.
Well, some very smart person managed to find that series of letters and numbers. Then they posted it on the internet. And like the great philosopher Joe Rogan once said, trying to take something off the internet is like trying to take pee out of swimming pool.
That didn't stop them from trying, though. Any web site that posted (09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0) this key (09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0) was ordered to take it (09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0) down. Even the user-driven news site Digg censored stories containing the key, which lead to a revolt where, for about a day, every story on Digg contained the key (story).
Now the key is on any web site even remotely related to technology.
The funny thing is, this key has been available for months. It only spread and became common knowledge when idiotic lawyers tried to stop it from spreading. I find it especially funny because it's just a number - nothing physical, not even a complicated file like a movie - just a number. Anyone can memorize it, or tattoo it on themselves, and there isn't anything anyone can do to erase their brains or their skin. It also demonstrates the futility of trying to protect content like this. Any protection can be hacked through, and no information can be taken back once it's out there. The only way to make sure people buy content is to make it worth buying.
And people think that there are grand conspiracies involving covered-up assassinations and aliens. If one company can't keep a simple number secret, it's unlikely that a large government could keep anything more serious secret.
Oh, and this reminds me, I never told my blogfriends what I had engraved in the back of my iPod:
P.S. 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0