April 11, 2007 | By Fred von Lohmann

AACS Key Revocation: The Future of DRM?

As everyone knows, the AACS encryption scheme that restricts Blu-ray and HD DVD discs was thoroughly cracked several months ago. These vulnerabilities had their roots in several software players, including Corel's InterVideo WinDVD. Now Corel is doing what the AACS regime requires them to do -- revoking the existing keys, fixing the vulnerabilities, and requiring existing users to upgrade or be disabled when they insert a new disc that "blacklists" their existing software.

LA Times reporter Jon Healey has done a nice summary of what this will mean for consumers on his blog, Bit Player (and it's worth reading the whole thing):

The process of revoking software is a blunt instrument; everyone using WinDVD and PowerDVD will be affected, regardless of whether they traded bootlegged high-def movies, made back-up copies for personal use or merely played the high-def movies they bought or rented on their PCs.

Because this "revoke and blacklist" approach is a standard feature of next-generation DRM systems, legitimate consumers are increasingly going to have something to fear from "upgrades" and "blacklists" hidden in the media they legitimately purchase (of course, no blacklists are embedded in the versions downloaded from P2P, giving consumers yet another incentive to prefer the Darknet).


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