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Copy Protection Backfires on Blu-ray 378

Posted by Zonk
from the won't-wait-two-minutes-for-a-movie dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The first two Blu-ray releases to hit the market encrypted with BD+ (an extra layer of protection designed to stave off hackers) are wreaking havoc on innocent consumers. As High-Def Digest reports, this week's Blu-ray releases of 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' and 'The Day After Tomorrow' won't play back at all on at least two Blu-ray players, while load times on other players (including the PS3) are delayed by up to two minutes. 'The most severe problems have been reported on Samsung's BDP-1200 and LG's BH100, which are both said to be incapable of playing back the discs at all. Less catastrophic issues (error messages and playback stutter) have been reported for Samsung's BDP-1000. The discs appear to play back fine on all other Blu-ray players ... Calls placed to both Samsung and LG customer support revealed that both manufacturers are aware of the issue, and that both are working on firmware updates to correct it. Samsung promised a firmware update within 'a couple' weeks, while LG said an update is expected in 3-4 days.'"
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Copy Protection Backfires on Blu-ray

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  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:47PM (#20856775)
    The players are probably programmed not to play shitty movies
  • ...conceivably also create a firmware update to ALLOW playback? Or would this be too device-specific?
    • Don't you mean, 'allow copying?' ...I think being device-specific in that case wouldn't be too bad.
    • by jedidiah (1196)
      Yeah. Once you've gotten consumers used to the idea that it's even acceptable that they have to flash the firmware on a DVD player, that leaves the door wide open for hacks.

      If hackers wanted to be mean, they would release their own firmware versions just for the havoc that would be caused when players get their keys revoked.
    • by jon287 (977520) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:42PM (#20857829)
      Yep, welcome to the brave new media world. Each and every new disc will require a firmware update just to play. Think of it as a kind of 2 factor authentication, only it sucks.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:47PM (#20856787)
    Make movies so bad, nobody will pirate them.

    The thing that's so darkly amusing to me is that if I was interested in viewing these movies, pirating would be zero-hassle. It's only when I try to view them legally that I get dicked over.
    • by Cecil (37810) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:50PM (#20856843) Homepage
      It's true, it works. I doubt anyone pirated E.T. the game [wikipedia.org]... although anyone who bought it probably wished they had...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Make movies so bad, nobody will pirate them.
      Too bad it doesn't seem to work for the RIAA...
    • by TimothyDavis (1124707) <tumuchspaam@hotmail.com> on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:35PM (#20857717)
      FBI WARNING: DO NOT COPY THIS FILM*

      If you don't want to be forced to see this message everytime you watch the movie you purchased, then copy this film and edit this out.

      Or go to bittorrent - somebody has probably done this for you already. Otherwise, please wait for 30 seconds while we remind you (once again) not to copy this film.
      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @05:01PM (#20858151)

        FBI WARNING: DO NOT COPY THIS FILM*

        If you don't want to be forced to see this message everytime you watch the movie you purchased, then copy this film and edit this out.

        Or go to bittorrent - somebody has probably done this for you already. Otherwise, please wait for 30 seconds while we remind you (once again) not to copy this film.
        Honest to fucking Cthulhu, while I think the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is pretty kick-ass, I think the best part is how you put the disc in and you get the pretty menu immediately, no FBI bullshit. It's like the crew that put the DVD's together said "Ok, let's cut the bollocks, we're talking about some movie magic here. Let's not put in anything to detract from it." Those are the last DVD's I've purchased and I don't begrudge Peter Jackson a dime -- though I do begrudge New Line because they're acting like total dicks to Jackson and the actors by fraudulent bookkeeping practices.
        • It's like the crew that put the DVD's together said "Ok, let's cut the bollocks, we're talking about some movie magic here. Let's not put in anything to detract from it."


          Either that or there was no room left on the disc. ;-)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Eivind (15695)
          I always wondered about that. With digital stuff, the copy is (normally) precisely as good as the original.

          Somehow producers of movies, music and games have come up with the idea of making people copy the stuff less by making the copy *SUPERIOR* to the original.

          If you use copies you can;

          Listen to music on your choice of players. Take a backup of the expensive game you bougth. Burn a new copy of the kid-game after the children messed up one. Watch movies on your laptop -- even if you don't use Microsoft Wind
      • by pjt33 (739471) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @06:21PM (#20859317)
        As Roy from the I.T. crowd put it: "Man, these anti-piracy ads are getting really mean." [youtube.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Thank you for that. As a viewer in the UK, I particularly appreciate how considerate you were to include the FBI warning and DMCA-related advice on every DVD I bought for the past year, and the way you ensured that I, too, couldn't accidentally miss this important and highly relevant information by locking it on my screen for 30 seconds. Your standard of customer care is truly in a class of its own, and you can be confident that I will take that fully into account when deciding about future purchases.

    • Message to Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Morgaine (4316) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:39PM (#20857775)
      Dear Sony:

      Let me explain this to you by way of a simple 3-party model, since you are too clueless to understand the actual technical details:

      Encryption was designed to protect communications between Alice to Bob from the evil Eve. It was not designed to cope with the case where Bob and Eve are the same person. As a clueless DRM proponent, you are trying to give Bob access to an item without giving Bob access to the item ... which isn't logical.

      If you don't understand that then I have nothing else to say to you, and any brain cells you may have are entirely superfluous. I recommend eBay as a good place to sell them off.

      Kind regards,

      Joe Public.
  • by nrich239 (790194) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:48PM (#20856791)
    From the head of the MPAA: "I KNOW! Lets put so much protection on the new discs that people can't even watch the movie! That'll stop those pesky pirates..."
  • by MyNameIsEarl (917015) <assf2000@y a h o o .com> on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:49PM (#20856801)
    This just in: Sony now says playing a Bluray disc you just purchased is pirating. More to come.
  • by jacobcaz (91509) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:49PM (#20856807) Homepage
    Obviously Blu-Ray DVD owners should have bought an Intelligent Chip [machinadynamica.com] and this wouldn't have happened. The "quantum material" would have upgraded and fixed all of their problems! :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:49PM (#20856813)
    Preventing people from having to watch Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer should be commended as a public service.
  • by ktappe (747125) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:49PM (#20856825)
    Why is this on the drive manufacturers to fix when all previous discs played? Isn't this on the shoulders of the disc manufacturers, to produce discs that are playable? By promising firmware fixes, aren't the player manufacturers both diminishing their brand value in the eyes of consumers and also opening themselves up to a lot of headaches when other discs don't play a month or a year from now due to even more envelope-pushing protection?
    • by samkass (174571) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:57PM (#20856999) Homepage Journal
      These discs will presumably play on any player that correctly implements BD+. If a player has a bug in its BD+ implementation, it will need a firmware update to fix it. Since these are the first two discs released with BD+, they're the first one to really test it in the field.
    • With the vast majority of players being able to play the discs, it sounds like the players are at fault, not the discs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kris_J (10111) *
        I'm not sure "vast majority" is the right phrase to use when talking about the available range of Blu-ray players. There's, what, maybe a dozen different models in the market? And five of them have some sort of issue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nege (263655)
      I would imagine that the problem IS with the player manufacturer. It seems like they didnt fully implement BD+ in their players as they should have done. Probably due to a combination of rushing the market to product without fully testing and coding for the spec, thinking "ah, we can fix that in a patch later, it plays regular blu-ray fine for now".

      When all the other players except 2 work, it seems to point more to a problem with the players than the disks.

      Of course, this whole crappy thing could be avoid
    • by Tribbin (565963)
      I think they got an offer they could not reject.
  • thanks (Score:5, Funny)

    by syrinx (106469) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:49PM (#20856827) Homepage
    this week's Blu-ray releases of 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' and 'The Day After Tomorrow' won't play back at all on at least two Blu-ray players

    That's awfully nice of them. Maybe they'll extend the service to the complete works of Uwe Boll next.
    • by Tribbin (565963)
      I got a player you might be interesting in; it plays nothing at all.

      Against any reasonable offer.
  • Here's a thought (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:53PM (#20856893) Homepage
    Use regular DVDs to subsidize the cost of selling Blu-Ray disks at the same cost as a regular DVD. In this newest format war, the first company to do this may end up setting the standard because they would have the cheaper movies. Right now, every next-gen DVD I've seen costs about $30 new. If all new Blu-Ray suddenly hit $20 through subsidies from regular DVDs, HD would probably be up shit creek...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      I don't follow. Why couldn't the HD-DVD supporters use exactly the same tactic?
  • Interesting Timing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zjbs14 (549864) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:54PM (#20856907) Homepage
    Given the pace of these things being cracked, there's a good chance the torrents will be available before the new player firmware will.
    • by IPFreely (47576) <mark@mwiley.org> on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:23PM (#20857487) Homepage Journal
      This is what Sony really wants to know. The tech problems are only a side effect and a distraction. They can be fixed.

      What Sony desparately needs to know right now is whether BD+ is going to hold or fold. They are watching those torrents very closely.

      BD+ was one of their main selling point to the studios. If it fails it can't be fixed, and they could lose studio support. That would be crippling to their format.

      Don't call it until you can see it on your monitor. All else is rhetoric.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by GreyPoopon (411036)

        BD+ was one of their main selling point to the studios. If it fails it can't be fixed, and they could lose studio support.

        All in favor of calling a moratorium on cracking BD+ say "aye"! If we convince the studios that BD+ is better, we'll end the "format wars" a lot quicker. Once we only have one viable format, we can always end the moratorium.
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' and 'The Day After Tomorrow' won't play back at all[...]
    Wow, how awesome is that? I really hope that Sony continues to deliver this level of customer service. Now that they've begun blocking such "films", they need to work out how to make watching the worthwhile ones mandatory.
  • I'm not familiar with how these new devices work. How does the firmware get updated? Are you required to connect them to the internet just to use a Blu-ray player?
    • by nuzak (959558)
      > How does the firmware get updated?

      Typically you download it and burn a DVD (a regular non-HD one) with a standard filesystem and a magic filename (like FIRMWARE.DAT or whatever) in the root directory, then stick the DVD in the drive. If you don't have a burner, you have them mail the disc to you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nuzak (959558)
        Pardon, usually it's a CD and not a DVD. Seems to work with either on my player though -- it just looks for the magic file, regardless of what you stick in it. Most people with computers have CD burners, even my laptop burns CDs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        You know, if this happened to me, I'd have them mail me the CD. For free. Or cash back. Yes, I do have a computer, yes, I have internet, yes, I can burn a DVD, but when it starts being a money sink for them, they might reconsider supporting the content industry shackles.
    • How does the firmware get updated?

      Either the device downloads it over the Net or the vendor mails you a CD or you download a firmware file and burn it to CD, etc.

      Are you required to connect them to the internet just to use a Blu-ray player?

      No.
  • ...firmware update? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TruePoindexter (975295) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:55PM (#20856951)
    A firmware update? For my bluray player? Yeah because the average consumer will know how to do this or even be aware of the possibility.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      If they're remotely intelligent, a "firmware update" involves putting a disc in the player. It'll probably be included on new discs too, when it's ready. Kinda like my Wii tells me it'll update itself when I put in a newer game disc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtechie (244489)
      The parent poster has an excellent point. Current firmware update procedures involved downloading a firmware file from the manufacturer's web site, creating a burning a ISO CD, and then hoping the player recognizes the update when the disc is inserted. It's a PITA for an expert, I don't think most consumers would even consider it.

      Some new BlueRay players come with ethernet ports for the sole reason of connecting the player to the network to download firmware because the manufacturers have started to anticip
  • Small Consolation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camusflage (65105) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:56PM (#20856969)
    Samsung promised a firmware update within 'a couple' weeks, while LG said an update is expected in 3-4 days.'"

    I'm sure that will be of great consolation to folks who rented the movies and have four "nights" (which most people refer to as three days) to have the movie back before getting hit with PMITA late charges.
  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:58PM (#20857009) Homepage Journal
    Geez, it's at least ten times that at my local theater!
  • by SpecialAgentXXX (623692) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:59PM (#20857025)
    I really like watching movies and was excited about purchasing a BluRay and/or HD-DVD player when they came out. But I decided to wait and see and have the companies work out the kinks. Well it's over a year later and there are still problems. When the main focus is not on enhancing the paying customer's experience, but on padding the pockets of the media execs, this is what you get. I should be #1 in their minds. After all, it doesn't matter how much DRM they put in their product if no one buys it.

    So, these media firms have lost a faithful, paying customer. I refuse to buy all of their DRM'd HD crap. Since my HTPC upscaler looks almost as nice as HD, I'll just stick with regular DVDs until, if ever, the DRM crap is done away with. And since you can also record broadcast HD shows, there's no need to shell out another $30 to get the HD-version of a show compared to the regular SD DVD version.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Fezmid (774255)
      Well, while HD DVD does have some DRM in it, it's nowhere near as restrictive as Blu-Ray. For example, there's no Image Constraint Token (ICT), so you can actually watch HD DVD movies over component video (not sure if you can with Blu-Ray, maybe you can). Ironically, you need HDMI to upconvert SD DVD.

      In addition, while Best Buy charges MSRP for disks, you can get them on Amazon for far cheaper -- most in the $19.99 range, but some in the $27.99 range.

      While upconverting is nice, it's really nowhere near as
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by toleraen (831634)

        For example, there's no Image Constraint Token (ICT)...
        Not true. [wikipedia.org] It just hasn't been enabled by any of the studios yet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AnyNoMouse (715074)

        For example, there's no Image Constraint Token (ICT), so you can actually watch HD DVD movies over component video (not sure if you can with Blu-Ray, maybe you can). Ironically, you need HDMI to upconvert SD DVD.

        Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD have implemented the Image Constraint Token in hardware. No movies have implemented this feature and the studios have "pledged" not to use it at this time (at least not until they think they can get away with it, anyway). HDMI for upconverting SD-DVD is a requirement of t

    • by mpeg4codec (581587) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @07:32PM (#20860219) Homepage

      So, these media firms have lost a faithful, paying customer.
      Another poor soul deluded into believing he's the customer. Here's a tip: when you're sitting there forced to watch adverts on the disk over which you cannot skip, you're not the customer: you're the consumer.

      And by the way, that's just a euphemistic way of saying that you're the product.
  • Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dedazo (737510) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:59PM (#20857031) Journal
    Maybe I'm behind the times here, but how the hell do you flash an appliance to update the firmware? Do they have USB ports now or is it a special disc and some weird command from the remote?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Well, I caved and got an HD-DVD player for the Heroes Season 1 box set. In my case, it has an Ethernet port in the back. Once you hook it up and go to the settings screen you can download the latest update. While I had no problem with it, I was kind of surprised how difficult they made my player to setup online. It's not like a plug and play: you have to specify if you want DHCP or static, which right away screws over anyone not computer-savvy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jeffy210 (214759)
      Most systems check for a certain file when the disk is insterted. If it matches a certain string or name it will flash the firmware with the new version. So then all the company has to do is release the file or an ISO and say: "Burn this to a CD and pop it in the player". The player will then read the file and flash the firmware.

      I'm sure for people who don't have CD-R drives, they will ship them an upgrade CD probably just for the cost of S/H.
    • Re:Question (Score:5, Funny)

      by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @05:03PM (#20858189)

      Maybe I'm behind the times here, but how the hell do you flash an appliance to update the firmware?
      First of all, make sure to close the blinds and get all of the children out of the room.
  • ... crap like this just might upset enough people that change happens. Waiting two minutes to watch a movie on a $600 PS3 is ridiculous by anyone's standards, and I'm sure it will continue to get worse. Things might, just possibly, get bad enough that the MAFIAA throttles back a bit.

    On the other hand, two decades of DOS and Windows have taught most of the world that crashes, freezes, and data loss are just how computers work--when in reality, a properly-designed system will rarely crash OR lose data--and ha
  • by blueZhift (652272) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @03:59PM (#20857049) Homepage Journal
    Is it just coincidence that the affected players are from Samsung and LG, two Korean electronics giants that happen to be among Sony's biggest competitors? I'm just sayin...that's all...
  • by Jennifer York (1021509) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:02PM (#20857087) Homepage
    Why punish the people who actually pay for your product? The only way to suffer from this is if you purchased a copy, the people who are downloading this are free of the pain... It's like they _want_ you to pirate it. They are creating a system with incentives for illegal copying.

    This is one of the reasons I don't care about this format war, they both are wrong headed... I want content delivered over the wire (or wireless, you get the idea).

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:15PM (#20857307)
      That's exactly the crucial problem with DRM: It devaluates the commodity. From the user point of view, content that was stripped of DRM is more valuable than content still retaining it. If nothing else, content without DRM plays without a 2 minute delay. It plays in every player.

      It's almost like going to a store for a new computer and the clerk tells you "well, you could buy it, but only if you steal it you got warranty".
  • Why not just let us play our legally purchased content?

    That radical business method seemed to work just fine in the days of VHS and DVD (region encoding aside).

    Yours truly,

    Someone who pirates these days, because at least that WORKS out of the box.
  • by arkham6 (24514) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:06PM (#20857165)
    Dear God, what the hell is this crap? Are we now to allow manufacturers to produce shoddy equipment and promise 'firmware' fixes down the line? That is totaly unreasonable. I should not have to patch my DVD player, update my receiver, or flash my TV.

    I should be able to buy some equipment, plug it in and watch my movies. thats it.
    • Simply because as soon as they start "revoking" keys, yours could be amongst them, so you have to be able to somehow "upgrade" your ... waitaminute, isn't that key one of those things that can't be flashed?

      Say, what happens when a key from a standalone BluRay Player (or, let's play it out a little, the PS3 one) gets revoked? You have a rather expensive brick?
  • Well, maybe not (Score:2, Insightful)

    by androvsky (974733)
    I know this is slashdot, so if anything goes wrong we must blame any copyright protection schemes in place, but according to insiders, it's actually a problem with blu-ray's java, and the players that are having problems just need a firmware update. And according to people with ps3s and the movie, the ps3 plays them fine, note how the article says the load times are *up to* two minutes. Don't you just love it when people leave things nice and vague so you can make the situation sound much better/worse tha
  • if you treat everyone like a criminal, everyone will become a criminal

    if you make the lives of good decent people miserable, while not doing anything to effectively counteract the effort of pirates, then good decent people will resort to piracy, as the pirates are getting better more functional versions with less limitations of your product than good decent paying customers are getting

    wake up morons
  • Why don't these companies BUNDLE the encrypted Blu-Ray discs with ANOTHER disc that ACTUALLY WORKS! but the customer has to SUPER SUPER PINKY SWEAR not to use that one unless the other one doesn't work? Then you could build ANOTHER chip into the drive that BLOWS UP the consumer's HOUSE unless he tries the ENCRYPTED disk FIRST!

    That sounds like a great idea! Somebody patent it, quick, and let's make some money! :D

    *tries disc*
    *scree scree scree scree*
    *waits*
    *scratches head*
    *tries backup disc*
    *scree scree scr
  • Awful nice of them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Selfbain (624722) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:14PM (#20857285)
    The more they do stupid things like this, the better I feel when I pirate.
  • by Gadzinka (256729) <rrw@hell.pl> on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:17PM (#20857353) Journal
    Both the movies mentioned are long available as torrents all over the web. And HDCP protecting the transfer between various HD STB and HD TVs was broken [wikipedia.org] before it was even finalized and small boxes decrypting HDMI signal on the fly are available in various shady places.

    Meanwhile a paying customer cannot play the crappy, overpriced movies on his overpriced video player. And my national HD Sat operator's STBs still cannot authenticate via HDMI with my LG LCD. Which is not good, since HDMI/HDCP is a requirement for their VOD HD content...

    Screw'em, gotta go and see what's new on trakcers...

    Robert
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:29PM (#20857609) Journal
    You know, I understand how people complain that HD DVD isn't as open as DVD but to be honest, to me it is more open because I didn't have to worry about buying a region free player. On the other hand, BD is far more locked than DVD since there were region free DVD players available fairly early on but so far none for Blu ray. Until Blu ray is at least as open as DVD (ie can be made region free) then I will go with HD DVD all the way. Sure, it isn't currently as easy to rip them as with DVDs but it took years before DVD could be ripped.

    I just don't understand why people are supporting Blu ray......

    The other day I was looking at disc prices. The typical price for a BD here in NZ is close to $50. HD DVDs are about $35 and regular DVDs are $30 for comparison. Also, there are no discounts to be had on the PS3 and while the US looks to be getting a new SKU at $399US ($525NZ) we are expected to pay $1200NZ which works out at $910US. Think about that.
  • BD-J issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by heroine (1220) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @04:53PM (#20858009) Homepage
    This is a BD-J issue, not an encryption issue. They usually fix BD-J issues quickly. Notice no problem with the Pioneer/Sony player.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      This is a BD-J issue, not an encryption issue. They usually fix BD-J issues quickly. Notice no problem with the Pioneer/Sony player.
      How do you know that? My understanding is that BD+ does not use the BD-J virtual machine, it has its own (non-java) virtual machine.
  • Ding.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Z-Knight (862716) on Thursday October 04, 2007 @05:59PM (#20859037)
    Every time a DVD (Blu-Ray or other) fails, a new Pirate gets his wings.

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