New Tech Prevents DVD Copying, Kills Rippers

Macrovision says its RipGuard technology will eliminate the vast majority of DVD copying.

Content protection company Macrovision Corp. plans to announce on Tuesday that it has developed a way to eliminate the vast majority of DVD copying.

The technology, called "RipGuard DVD," will be licensed to the companys partners—studios who are part of the Motion Picture Association of America, executives told ExtremeTech. RipGuard isnt foolproof, but the hope is that it will cut down on mainstream ripping, they said. The software will simply block rippers from working.

Macrovisions technology evolved from its early work with VCRs, and the technology embedded into videocassettes that prevented them from being copied. The problem has become much more challenging in a world where content is stored on DVD and accessed through powerful personal computers that can edit video, aided by the Internet, which can disseminate tools and help to create collaborative solutions.

Although the Content Scramble System, or CSS, was put in place to prevent piracy, a program called DeCSS was quickly distributed and has found its way into 70 different software packages available as freeware and shareware on the Internet, according to Adam Gervin, senior marketing director for the entertainment technologies group at Macrovision.

"CSS encryption standards are binary," Gervin said. "Theyre great until you break it, and then its worthless. DeCSS made its way into the publics understanding, that perfect digital copies can be made in minutes. The cats out of the bag."

Once decoded, the content on a DVD is vulnerable as it is transmitted onto an analog display—the so-called "analog hole." Macrovision developed and licensed a Copy Generation Management System to block the hole. In a recent industry meeting, Gervin said, audience members could not tell the difference between a pirated "analog" version of a recent movie and its digital original.

RipGuard, however, is designed to eliminate an even easier source of piracy: the digital bitstream itself. According to Gervin, just over a billion dollars has been lost by people who "rip and return"—consumers who rent a movie, copy it to their own digital library, and return the movie the next day.

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