The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced that following breaches of the security of the high-definition format's AACS security technology, it has brought forward the planned release date of the BD-Plus (BD+), a more advanced anti-copying system.
BD+ is an entirely different encryption system to AACS. Instead of each movie having the same encryption key, BD+ allows each disc to install a small piece of encryption software on a player, so that each disc has its own key.
A method for extracting Blu-ray keys was published in January (the rival HD DVD format, which also uses AACS, had already been cracked). As a result, the AACS licensing body last week released a security update that supplied new encryption keys for the affected discs. However this means that existing discs can no longer be played until the update is applied.
BD+ would avoid this scenario, by applying the DRM to individual discs rather than movie titles. This allows a single disc to be rejected if it is anyone attempts to play it in a second player or PC. This, says the association, effectively punishes the person stealing the content instead of everyone who owns that movie.
However, because discs are tied to a specific player you will not be able to sell them on once you have tired of them: no BD+ Blu-ray on eBay. It is also likely to make it impossible to create back-up copies of discs.
The Blu-ray Disc Association reports that player compatibility testing has ended and that studios have had test discs for the last few months. Once BD+ is available it will add between seven to 28 days per title to production time. 20th Century Fox is expected to be one of the firsts to implement this new technology, having slowed disc production since the attacks on AACS, and Sony Pictures is planning to be using it by the end of the year.
- Just as others start to ditch DRM the BD crowd start to pile it on - how clunky and unreliable is this liable to make things......and how much trouble will it spell for the earlier generations and those of limited internal memory (when the download firmware upgrade gobbles up all available - how 'sufficent' will the small amounts available be then, huh?)
I bet the rental industry is thrilled and folks at home unable to play a disc on a 2nd machine will love this, not.
There go any notions of 'fair use' or 'managed copy'.
Personally I have long held the view that BD ought to be avoided on the grounds of the DRM issue alone.