Arguments against digital rights management (DRM) systems frequently claimÂ that they inconvenience legitimate customers, while not offering the media owners any real protection because those who want to get around the protection will do so (usually sooner rather than later).
To reinforce this point there have been 2 interesting pieces of news recently.
Firstly someone has shown a way to bypass the content protection on both of the next generation DVD formats (HD-DVD and Blueray). These had been touted as being highly secure so that people could not backup/copy/use inÂ anÂ “unaurthorised manned”Â the movies they contained, but for all their efforts they are back to where they started, having secured nothing, and inconvenienced legitimate customers (there are frequent reports of people not being able to play HD movies they had legitimately bought, because the DVD’s DRMÂ didn’t consider their hardware setup sufficiently secure).
Next is a report that almost as soon as it had been released, someone has managed to bypass the much vaunted “Protected Media Path” (PMP) within Microsoft’s new Vista operating system. As I understand it, PMP is supposed to stop other programs from listening in on and recording audio and video content between the processor and the speakers or the screen, thus eliminating another way that popular software commonly copies digital media. There are no specific details at the moment of exactly how this hack works, but you can bet that it will either be released shortly, or someone else will take up the challenge and release their method. Between this, several other reported hacks, and a number of viruses already spreading that effect Vista, Microsoft’s “Most secure OS ever” is starting to look not that secure after all.