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Apple's New MacBooks Have Built-In Copy Protection 821

Posted by timothy
from the presumption-from-on-high dept.
raque writes "Appleinsider is reporting that the new MacBooks/MacBookPros have built-in copy protection. Quote: 'Apple's new MacBook lines include a form of digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-infused iTunes movies, from playing back on devices that aren't compliant with the new priority protection measures.' Ars Technica is also reporting on the issue. Is this the deal they had to make to get NBC back? Is this a deal breaker for Apple or will fans just ignore it to get their hands on the pretty new machines? Is this a new opportunity for Linux? And what happened to Jobs not liking DRM?"
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Apple's New MacBooks Have Built-In Copy Protection

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  • To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JYD (996651) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:49PM (#25825303)
    Built-in copy protection is a bag-of-hurt.

    Sincerely,

    Mac Fan who wants Blu-ray
    • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Funny)

      by Wowsers (1151731) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:09PM (#25825657) Journal

      Without seeming to flame (flame mode if you like), we've had experience of locked down platform with Apple's iPhone. Now Apple join Microsoft in having a locked down OS for media playback, nobody can feel smug or superior (apart from Linux users).

    • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:13PM (#25825727)

      Dear "Mac Fan who wants Blu-ray",

      Any major company making a Blu-ray player has 5 options:
      1) Do not support playback of copy-protected content. This means most Hollywood stuff won't play, so your Blu-Ray player is useless.
      2) Try to hack the copy protection. You may fail; if you succeed then pay big fines and get a court order preventing you shipping products, for violating the DMCA. Go bankrupt. Your employees might go to jail.
      3) License Blu-Ray. When playing back Blu-Ray, do not support external screens - restrict it to the laptop's internal display.
      4) License Blu-Ray. When playing back Blu-Ray, require HDCP for any external screens.
      5) License Blu-Ray, but ignore the license terms. Pay big fines and get a court order preventing you shipping products. Go bankrupt.

      Which do you want? You may not like any of the options, but unfortunately there's no other practical option. Apple's choice of (4) is probably the least bad.

      These options are due to the requirements of the Blu-Ray spec, and were demanded by Hollywood in exchange for their support. Short of government intervention, Hollywood are unlikely to support any HD format without DRM in the foreseeable future. And Hollywood own the US government (see Disney's perpetual copyright extensions to ensure that Mickey Mouse never ever leaves Copyright), so don't expect any action there.

      • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd o t .org> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:26PM (#25825913)

        You forgot the best of all options:

        6) License Bu-Ray. When playing back Blu-Ray, require HDCP for any external screens trough a updatable firmware. Then "leak" a "hacked" firmware (the original one) which does allow playback everywhere. And be sure, to make a big press release, that you will get "them" and sue "them", for creating such an incredibly well working "hacked" firmware *hint* *hint*.

        At least that's what I would do. And I'm pretty sure some companies already did similar things.

        • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Informative)

          by mollymoo (202721) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:03PM (#25826387) Journal

          BluRay has provisions for blacklisting players, so if Apple were stupid enough to do that, at some point in the future their users would insert a new BluRay disc which would revoke the keys for their BluRay drive, rendering it useless. I'm guessing Apple don't want that to happen.

          • Re:To Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

            by JWW (79176) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:31PM (#25826719)

            Forget my MOD points on this story....my goodness. I'm not a fan of BluRay, but wow. Why the heck would I EVER want a BluRay player when I have other options to watching HD video.

            Those above comparing this to prohibition are spot on. Let's make it REALLY hard for people to do what they want with their content when its REALLY easy for them to steal the content and do whatever they want to do with it. Brilliant!!

            What really bothers me is that it appears Apple fell for the same trap as BluRay with their on-line content. They could have really had a differentiation in their stuff vs. BluRay, but it appears they don't mind opening up "bags of hurt" after all....

          • by v1 (525388) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:17PM (#25827143) Homepage Journal

            The way that works (correct me if I'm wrong here) is that each title has a "title key" (randomly generated exclusively for that release) that is used to encrypt the content.

            Sony has created a set of "vendor keys", lets say 1000 of them, to give out to anyone that wants to make a bluray player and agrees to play by their rules.

            When a movie is pressed to bluray, the movie's titlekey is encrypted separately 1000 times, once for each vendor key, and is stored on the disc in a title key dictionary. As long as you know at least one vendor key, you can retrieve the title key. Now after apple signs on the dotted DMCA line, they are assigned and given one of the vendor keys. (lets say it's key #256) 256's private key is placed on the bluray player firmware apple ships with. The player uses that key to decrypt copy #256 of the title key from the title key dictionary on the disc. It can't decrypt any of the other 999 copes since it only has private key for #256.

            Lets say the firmware is hacked.

            Once sony figures out that key #256 is being used by a hacked player, they "revoke" it. This means that every title released after this point will no longer have an entry in the title key dictionary for key # 256. So anyone with an older apple bluray player will not be able to view the new movie because it cannot get the title key from the disc.

            Every disc they have that they bought up to the point of revocation will continue to work indefinitely on the older player, because the old discs will all still have a title key in position 256 in their title key dictionary.

            At that point if apple wants to get back into the game, the RIAA will force them to strengthen the security in their player firmware to make it more difficult to hack, before they give them a new vendor key. Apple will push this out as a firmware update and once again all their bluray players will work with all titles, old and new.

            If it gets hacked again, it's possible sony will just say too bad so sad and refuse to give them another key regardless of what apple is willing to do. At that point all the players with the vulnerable firmware will cease forever to work with new releases.

            I know I'm missing several layers of other nasties such as the bluray player vm, but this is the part that's relevant here. Sony can't remotely brick or otherwise damage your bluray player, and cannot prevent it from being able to play discs that it already can play. They can only prevent your player from working on discs released after they decide to drop the hammer.

            • by plasmacutter (901737) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:51AM (#25829939)

              a 2007 crack [arstechnica.com] is irrevocable.

              this is why we have things like anydvd HD, etc, and why they pushed out BD+, which was ALSO cracked.

              For further reference on the ease of ripping BLU-RAY for naive users, see this link [floppyhead.com]

              Game over, and once again, the MPAA loses.

    • by aqui (472334) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:30PM (#25826707)

      For all those slashdoters that work at apple: Make sure you let your Marketing department know that this has cost them a long time customer.

      I have a powerbook G4 and I recently bought a mac mini for my wife.

      I was planning to get a new Macbook for Xmas.

      However hearing about this has changed my mind. I will not let a company dictate what my fair use rights are. I'm disappointed, its so short sighted on Apples part. Technology companies should stick to technology and let our courts and elected members of government worry about our rights and rights of content producers (admittedly they haven't done a good job either).

      I moved away from Windows because of this (that and stability issues). I know from the Windows media player 10 or higher behaviour that it won't let me play is my own content (I created it, I own the copyright) and home videos over a projector...

      It's bad enough when I have to change software, in this case an open source player (VLC) solved the problem for me. If the "crippleware" is OS and hardware based the only thing at that point is to chose an uncrippled product.

      It's too bad. Apple does do a good job with hardware etc.. I've been very satisfied with the Powerbook G4 I have.

      I will now be looking at a nice small laptop with an AMD CPU running Linux (probably Ubuntu). If anyone has any suggestions let me know. :)

      Thanks.

      • by mr_zorg (259994) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:30PM (#25828213)

        And I suppose that you're similarly boycotting Blu-Ray discs, HDTV tuners, HD DVRs and anything else that uses HDMI? Because if not, that's hypocritical. This DRM is nothing more than HDCP and anything using HDMI has it.

        • by aqui (472334) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:59PM (#25828423)

          Actually I've avoided anything HD particularly for that reason (DRM)...

          I'm hoping that before I'm forced to change because normal DVDs aren't available anymore that the industry will have come to its senses (wishful thinking I know... :} ) and be producing technology without DRM crippling features.

          I don't know about you but "nothing more" than _not_ being able to use the technology I paid for the way I want to use it is a big deal.

          The next step after DRM is in place is to charge you again for every copy of a movie or song you already own. In other words you cant copy music from you CD collection to your MP3 player or your PC and listen to it. DRM will prevent that. You will have to pay again for each copy...

          After that... the next step is to charge "per play" 5 cents every time you listen to the song...

          Then the next step is to create cycle of new player technologies and the next generation player won't play the previous generations content and you'll have to pay for the music again...

          It's a slippery slope once you accept lock in...

          The only way to send a message is not to buy crippled hardware. If a technology won't sell then it sends a clear message.

          I'd rather give up some features in a product than my freedom to use it the way I want.

        • by KlausBreuer (105581) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @03:14AM (#25829801) Homepage

          Well, *I* certainly am.

          The switch from VCR Tapes to DVD Disks was well worth it. The movies look very nice and clear, the medium doesn't wear out, and takes up a lot less space - in addition to supporting several languages and the like.

          Tell me the advantages of HDMI again? Higher resolution? Don't really need that, DVDs pretty good. DRM out the wazoo? *Really* don't need that. Higher prices? Oh wow, how lovely.

  • by jbeach (852844) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:49PM (#25825311) Homepage Journal
    I don't think that's ever happened to me before.
  • Don't really care (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trillan (597339) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:50PM (#25825329) Homepage Journal

    I don't buy any videos from iTunes: I prefer to rip my own.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:50PM (#25825331) Homepage Journal
    in order to get Blu-Ray playback licensing
  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:50PM (#25825337)

    Is this the deal they had to make to get NBC back?

    It seems likely enough to me. I guess I have no proof either way, but I wouldn't be surprised in the least to find that this was NBC's idea.

    Is this a deal breaker for Apple?

    No.

    Will fans just ignore it to get their hands on the pretty new machines?

    Yes. Just like they always do.

    Is this a new opportunity for Linux?

    No, since it won't hurt Apple.

    And what happened to Jobs not liking DRM?

    Nothing. That was a lie then, and is still a lie. Apple puts DRM in their flagship product, and you actually believe them when they spout bullshit about disliking DRM?

    • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:06PM (#25825605)
      Sweet. Once MS put DRM in the OS layer of Vista, Apple felt the need to one-up them with DRM built right into the hardware. Take that, Microsoft.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      That was a lie then, and is still a lie.

      I hate taxes. I try not to pay them.

      Yet, in order to keep living outside of jail, I keep paying them.

      Am I lying about hating taxes? Or am I playing the game that needs to be played?

      • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:26PM (#25825903)
        Interesting point of view, but I don't think that applies to Apple. In the case of taxes, there is more or less a gun held to your head that forces you to do such a thing. Not so with Apple.
        • by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:36PM (#25826049) Homepage Journal

          Most of Apple's growth for years has been tied directly or indirectly to multimedia. It's what's most differentiated them from Microsoft in the eyes of the common computer user. All of the big content owners demand DRM. So the choice was between DRM and corporate growth or no DRM and Apple going nowhere.

        • by Moebius Loop (135536) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:47PM (#25826197) Homepage

          There's no gun to your head to pay taxes, just a financial threat (yeah, you can go to jail for tax evasion, but only because you can't afford to pay the taxes you owe).

          If Apple didn't support DRM in iTunes, few if any of the labels would have signed on at the time. Even now, it's clear that the majors continue to believe it's a requirement, and would quite possibly not sell their music through iTunes, thus impacting Apple's bottom line.

          I think it's an apt analogy.

      • by Draek (916851) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:35PM (#25826021)

        So, under which laws Apple will go to jail if they don't put DRM in their notebooks?

        Thought so.

      • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:40PM (#25826105) Homepage Journal

        That was a lie then, and is still a lie.

        I hate taxes. I try not to pay them.

        Yet, in order to keep living outside of jail, I keep paying them.

        Am I lying about hating taxes? Or am I playing the game that needs to be played?

        The difference is that you're describing something that you see as a disadvantage. You dislike paying taxes because you wish you could do something else with your money.

        Now describe to me why Apple dislikes DRM. As far as I can see, not only are they playing the so-called "game that needs to be played" but since they're the market leaders in that particular business, it also serves as a lock-in. If you've been buying your tv shows from iTunes for the convenience of buying stuff online, you know you can watch your stuff on the goal with an ipod. Better not buy a zune, your videos won't work there!

        Ok, that's going too far. Nobody would buy a zune either way. However, do you want to set up a media center that lets you watch all those videos in your living room? The AppleTV is the choice for you! You sure as hell can't set up a mythtv box. If you buy a windows media center box from dell, that won't play those videos either.

        So, I know why you don't like to pay taxes. Tell me again why apple hates drm?

        • by mstone (8523) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:16PM (#25828547)

          You're joking, right?

          Apple hates DRM because it takes a shitload of time, money, and effort to design and implement, and an even bigger shitload of time, money, and effort to show 'plausible efforts' to keep it working once it's deployed. Anyone who tries to do DRM simply agrees to climb on a treadmill of trying to stay a fractional step ahead of the people who will break the protection.

          Apple hates DRM because DRM is inherently futile. You simply can't build a system that puts both the lock and the key in the hands of the end user, then impose rules on what the user can do with those two pieces.

          Apple hates DRM because the longer DRM is allowed to exist, the longer the content cartel will continue to make this massive, futile investment a requirement for any access to content. Apple especially hates DRM because it puts the content owners in a position where they can say, "I don't have to know how it works, or whether it's even possible. I have the power to say what has to be done, and making it happen is your job. And thanks to the laws that we've bought and the contracts we've written, if you don't manage to do the impossible to our satisfaction, we can sue the shit out of you then nail you on criminal charges."

          Apple hates DRM because using DRM simply manufactures enemies with the technical knowledge to rip apart any technical measures Apple tries to build. And while defeating DRM may be a socially acceptable goal, a lot of that knowledge can potentially be reapplied to general malware.

          Apple hates DRM because it sucks for the user. Remember: Apple doesn't make money licensing its OS to a bunch of OEMs who then try to sell a product to consumers, or with massive, umpty-thousand-seat software licensing deals. Consumer dissatisfaction hits Apple in the pocket much harder than it hits Microsoft. On top of that, Apple sells in the premium-priced segment of the market, where people are willing to say, "if I have to put up with something that sucks, I can buy another product for a whole lot less."

          It would take Apple a hell of a lot less effort to make a product that users like a hell of a lot more if they could ditch DRM. Given that less than 1% of all the music on iPods was purchased through the iTunes store, the idea that Apple sees some kind of benefit from consumer lock-in just doesn't scan.

          The only upside of DRM is that it gives Apple access to the content cartel's catalog. And tens of millions of consumers voting with their dollars have said that they prefer devices that do have DRM and cartel content over devices free from DRM that don't have cartel content.

          So in the long run, it comes down to a question of philosophy versus economics. If you hate DRM so much you won't buy a Mac, iPod, or iPhone, so be it. The few thousand people who agree with you on that score are less valuable to Apple than the 15-20 million who will buy new DRM-encumbered Macs, iPods, and iPhones in the next quarter.

    • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:36PM (#25826039) Journal

      Apple puts DRM in their flagship product, and you actually believe them when they spout bullshit about disliking DRM?

      I believe any hardware maker when they say the don't like DRM. It's tedious to implement, it's expensive, it wastes battery time, and it annoys customers. The only reason anyone implements it is to placate the **AA.

      -jcr

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:50PM (#25825339) Homepage Journal
    If you remove the cloud of the the hipster-doofus lovefest for Apple you realize that Apple only has one obligation as a publicly traded company

    Making a profit for shareholders

    Why anyone is surprised that Apple (and Google) act like real companies is always a surprise to me.

    Apple needs to turn a profit and make concessions to satisfy stockholders.
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:58PM (#25825473)

      The problem is that, in a sane society, a company makes a profit for its shareholders by producing products that customers want to buy, and in general by treating the customer as king. Remember the old phrase, "the customer is always right."

      So how does screwing over your customers and making them angry equate to making a profit for your shareholders? The giant media companies aren't the ones giving money to Apple, it's regular people buying their hardware, software, and stuff on iTunes.

      • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:10PM (#25825675)

        The problem is that the obligation is getting twisted into "make a profit for shareholders soon", with an almost total lack of concern for the long term.

        Apple is actually one of the better companies in this regard, but a lot of companies are running into trouble because they think that shareholder value means pumping up their upcoming Q7 results no matter what.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:13PM (#25825717)

        Outside of Slashdot's readership, nobody cares about DRM.

        There are vanishingly few "screwed over" customers "angry" about HDCP. Most people never even see the "restrictions" on their "freedom." They subscribe to cable, buy their BluRay players, buy their disks, and it all works just fine. If they didn't, then these stories would be in Time Magazine (or, better yet, TV Guide) and not on Slashdot.

        • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:40PM (#25826101)

          There are vanishingly few "screwed over" customers "angry" about HDCP. Most people never even see the "restrictions" on their "freedom." They subscribe to cable, buy their BluRay players, buy their disks, and it all works just fine. If they didn't, then these stories would be in Time Magazine (or, better yet, TV Guide) and not on Slashdot.

          For a couple reasons:
          1) Consumers are retarded. I know of lots of people with HDTVs that watch the game stretched and distorted on an SD channel and think its the bees knees. Some of them even have access to the same channel in actual HD and don't even know it.

          These people wouldn't know HDCP had downsampled their blu-ray on their non HDCP compliant device unless it hit them over the head with hammer.

          And savvy people, the ones who know, mostly just buy compatible hardware.

          2) The reality is HDCP really isn't screwing that many people over... at least not yet. That shoe hasn't dropped yet, and it probably won't drop until its obsolete, and people start fuming that their blu-ray disks don't work anymore on anything. And that's not going to happen for a while.

          In my opinion DRM in general isn't going to hit people HARD until something MAJOR gets taken down while the DRM they use is in wide use. e.g. Apple closing the iTunes Music store is probably the only thing that would do it -today-. So far all the DRM hits have been minor league... Major League Baseball killing their drm format, or first generation blu-ray players not working with new discs... stuff that only hits small early adopter markets.

          Sooner or later though, something big will get taken down, and people at large will sit up and notice. Probably won't be for another 10+ years though.

        • by Gilmoure (18428) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:48PM (#25826211) Journal

          In this case, he hooked up his laptop to a projector and got the Not Authorized Display.

          D'oh!

        • by caitsith01 (606117) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:11PM (#25826503) Journal

          It's only a matter of time. Slashdotters are just the amphibians of the DRM-world, we are more sensitive to small changes in the climate than the average organism. The levels of idiocy imposed by hardware and software manufacturers has not yet reached its zenith.

          "Normal" people will start getting angry pretty soon, when they can't hook together ordinary AV hardware and have it just work, and when their seemingly physical media of various kinds mysteriously stops working under certain circumstances. The market for DRM-free gear will also grow, I predict (it already exists, and is a touted feature on some hardware and software).

      • by onefriedrice (1171917) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:22PM (#25825839)
        Probably because Apple's customers are not angry. Apple's DRM doesn't usually get in too many peoples' way. For example, most people don't have >5 devices where they want to have their music play at the same time, and if they do, they can always just burn it to CD. It's still the most liberal DRM that I know of.

        That's why consumers don't have a problem with it. The only ones extremely opposed to Fairplay are the idealists who are against the very idea that they can't be trusted to obey the law. Those types of people aren't in the target market for iTMS anyway, so Apple isn't hurting at all by making profit for shareholders, appeasing media content providers, and giving (actual) costumers what they want.
      • by MacDork (560499) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:48PM (#25826207) Journal

        So how does screwing over your customers and making them angry equate to making a profit for your shareholders? The giant media companies aren't the ones giving money to Apple, it's regular people buying their hardware, software, and stuff on iTunes.

        I'm sure I don't like DRM any more than you do, but before firing off like that, have a look at how Apple has made use of their DRM monopoly with Fairplay. They've consistently dictated prices over the RIAA monopolies and won. They are using their lock on DRM to act in their own best interest, which also happens to be their customers' best interest.

        Apple IS telling the giant media companies to go f*** themselves on price hikes and more oppressive DRM restrictions in favor of their customers needs/demands. I think the most magnificent/ironic aspect of the whole deal is that if it weren't for the DMCA, the RIAA could simply reverse engineer a compatible version of Fairplay and be done with Apple. The media monopolies cut their own throat by lobbying for a law and then allowing someone else to exploit it first. You have to find that at least a little bit amusing.

        Now if we could just convince Apple that locking developers out of the iPhone really IS a bad idea, I'd have nothing bad to say about them.

  • by duckInferno (1275100) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:51PM (#25825379) Journal
    I wonder if this will help jolt people towards reality: Apple's just like Microsoft. The only real difference is that Apple makes somewhat better gear.

    Oh, Steve Jobs is still an asshole [danstechnstuff.com].
  • Er, it's HDCP. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MetaPhyzx (212830) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:53PM (#25825411)

    I don't think you can buy a mid to high end vid card these days that doesn't have HDCP baked in; I'm not surprised.

    Note that I didn't say I was enthralled, just not surprised.

  • by klapaucjusz (1167407) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:54PM (#25825423) Homepage

    will fans just ignore it

    No. They'll start explaining why it's actually an advantage for the user.

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vanyel (28049) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @05:55PM (#25825439) Journal

    If you don't buy crippled content in the first place, it's just wasted, unused, hardware.

  • Two screen dilemma (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coxymla (1372369) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:03PM (#25825545)
    I think one of the most worrying things about this story is the claim that you can't watch your content while you have any non-HDCP device connected, even if you're not watching it on that screen!

    For someone like me who has a Dell 20" screen that supports HDCP, but also an Apple 20" screen that does not, we're expected to unplug one screen every time we want to watch something protected in this manner? Get real!

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:03PM (#25825557) Journal
    Steve, whose care for his children passes understanding, knew that many buyers of new macbooks yearn in their hearts to purchase new Apple monitors to go with them. He knew further that for the many crying out, oppressed by old Apple monitors that they already owned, following their desire would be difficult.

    And thus, by his hand, a gift was bestowed. His people would, with Him as a purveyor of protected premium content by day and by night, be led away from the old and to the new monitor of their desire.
  • Lies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:05PM (#25825585)

    This article is totally misleading. It's just HDCP. The media has to be HDCP aware in the first place.

    If you don't by defective DRM laden media, then you do not have a problem.

    In some ways, this is actually a GOOD THING. Now the hardware can actually communicate with other media devices that demand a HDCP connection.

    So to SUM UP, all the PIRATED MEDIA WILL STILL PLAY.

    • Re:Lies (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:18PM (#25825785)

      Now the hardware can actually communicate with other media devices that demand a HDCP connection.

      No such devices exist. HDCP is strictly transmitter enforced. All HDCP-enabled display and audio devices are fully capable of doing their job without HDCP being turned on.

      However, by enabling HDCP on their video hardware Apple has actually increased the opportunity for compatibility problems. If the Apple video hardware tries to do an HDCP handshake and fails - for any number of reasons, like data corruption or a bug in the implementation on either end, etc - then the end result is likely to be a completely blank screen (it should be obvious that if HDCP is turned on, but isn't working right, the only logical result is for the video hardware to stop transmitting, else it risk transmitting sooper-secret-video in the clear). There have been many reports of just this sort of handshaking failure with all kinds of HDCP-enabled devices like ps3's, blu-ray players, amplifier/receivers, etc.

  • DisplayPort (Score:5, Informative)

    by mpaque (655244) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:06PM (#25825595)

    This is all part of DisplayPort, the display connection. Like HDMI, the digital display connection for HDTV gear, DisplayPort includes an end-to-end encryption mechanism. (Take a look at HDMI/HDCP.)

    The end-to-end secure data path is something the HD content providers insist on.

  • by penguinstorm (575341) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:09PM (#25825661) Homepage

    Playback protection is part of a strategy of copy protection, but it's not the same thing.

    Playback protection can hurt me even if I'm *not* trying to copy the media in question, which is my main objection to it.

    Copy protection is arguably more legitimate, but it does depend on the specific copyright laws of your jurisdiction.

    Up here in Canada the fair use doctrine suggest that it *should* be legal for me to rip a copy of a DVD for my personal playback in another medium (it's roughly the same as making an audio cassette copy of a vinyl record.)

    I'm generally of the view that the companies that market media products should focus on improving the quality of those products in order to encourage us to buy them, rather than branding us as criminals. Then again, I still buy music whereas some people seem to not do that at all anymore.

  • *sigh* (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:17PM (#25825765)

    The more I hear about Apple, the more I like Microsoft because they did the same thing years ago, thus proving they have a better understanding of the business.

    I didn't really mind when Apple locked their hardware. After all, it's their hardware. I didn't really mind when Apple locked their iPods. After all, I could use a Creative Zen. I didn't mind when they refused to remove the iPod-only DRM on ITMS. After all, I prefer buying CDs and ripping them myself, since it's almost the same price, with virtually no hassle or copy "protection". But now, one of the best OS on the market will feature built-in, OS-level DRM? Fuck that. I won't be buying an Apple any time soon, which is a shame because I was planning to do just that with the Chrismas money.

    So Microsoft is barely starting to play ball. Apple is locking it's products more and more, and locking the users of the products. Google starts forking Open Source projects to proprietary code (OpenID). The IT world is becoming more and more confusing.

    I think it's time to read In the Beginning was the Command Line [shand.net] again.

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hennell (1005107) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:18PM (#25825769) Homepage
    if MacBooks have copy-protecion now, does this mean I'll no longer be able to copy and upload them to Pirate Bay?
  • It will never stop (Score:4, Insightful)

    by www.blogLinux.org (1401783) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:29PM (#25825963)
    Yet another example of the grip proprietary corporations will continue to impose on their users.
  • Questions (Score:3, Informative)

    by tobias.sargeant (741709) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:36PM (#25826051)

    1) I thought that it was permissible under the HDCP spec for the video to be played downscaled to 480p? If so, why isn't this happening? If not, what does Vista do/when did that change?

    2) Especially without wall-to-wall TPM, why on earth are we worrying about the display as a digital hole? Scraping frames as they pass over the display connection seems about the _worst_ way imaginable to rip a protected stream. There are issues with audio/video sync, dropped frames and recompression that are all avoided by getting at the decrypted but not decoded stream - something that simply can't be controlled without TPM (and probably not with TPM, either).

  • How is this news? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nabeel_co (1045054) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:38PM (#25826069) Homepage
    Vista compatible computers have had this for years. It's called HDCP and if you want to view HD content at an actual HD resolution, you need to have HDCP compatible hardware. Apple is obviously readying themselves to start offering Blu-Ray video, probably at Macworld this January...
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:40PM (#25826091) Journal
    Next week?

    Next month?

    Early next year?

    It's really kind of stunning how stupid they think people are.

    RS

  • A Modest Proposal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ewhac (5844) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:11PM (#25826507) Homepage Journal
    I'd like, if I may, to take a stab at recasting HDCP from an unqualified evil to a qualified boon for users.

    We've discovered that well-heeled snoops using sophisticated radio equipment can, from a non-trivial distance, pick off the EM signals coming out of your monitor and reconstruct the image you're viewing. HDCP would thwart this, protecting the user's privacy. So HDCP can be seen as a pro-user security measure.

    By re-casting HDCP as a system security feature, it then becomes obvious where control of HDCP should lie: In the user's hands. If HDCP were under my control, and didn't cost any extra in terms of CPU cycles or power consumption, I'd turn it on and leave it that way. Extra privacy for free!

    But more importantly, by re-casting HDCP as a data security feature, applications attempting to manipulate it are correctly seen as hostile. If J-Random-Videoplayer tries to flip the system HDCP settings one way or another, they should get smacked down with EPERM and go no further. Even better, a dialog should pop up and say, "An unprivileged application is attempting to discover the current settings of display encryption (HDCP). This is a system security setting which should be accessed only by administrative programs. How should the request be handled? ()Report as enabled ()Report as disabled ()Report current setting ()Reject request"

    Discuss :-).

    Schwab

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:14PM (#25826541)

    I'm a mac user. I've used Linux for 11 years now, I've used Windows back in the day for StarCraft or when it was neccesary for work (and on my jobs workstation) and I use OS X today whenever I want zero-fuss integration and need to run the Flash IDE to draw up some RIA components. I still use Debian and Ubuntu aswell, however.

    I'm typing this on my Mac Mini with Tiger - with the pricey but neat new aluminum mac KB attached - and my last computer purchase was the famous classic 12" G4 macbook, trusted subnotebook of hackers and geeks all around the world. The fluorescent light needs longer time to fully light up, but after 5 years it still is a piece of integrated hard- and software that I love to use on a regular basis. In a nutshell: I'm a computer expert and I like my macs and I can name solid reasons why I do.

    Apple has a rock-solid multiplier in me, as I - as most geeks - am the opinion-leader in all things concerning IT and computers for at least 50 people that know me well enough to know my profession. I can inmediately think of at least 3 people who have gotten macs also due to largely my influence on their decision.

    That aside I can only say: Get pissy with me and I'm right back to Linux on x86 only. As soon as I have to fuss around with media not playing on my computers I'm gone, mac mini and 13" unibody MacBook be damned. I'd rather fuss around with half-finished OSS projects or crappy printer integration on a dell laptop that looks and handles like a piece of shit than having some DRM scheme wasting my time. If Apple even thinks about pressing the lock-in game, I'm gone and I will stop recommending Apple instantly. And I'll start discouraging people from buying them.

    My 2 Euros.

  • So 1984... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kulakovich (580584) <slashdot&bonfireproductions,com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:55PM (#25826931)
    ... will be EXACTLY like 1984... Twenty four years. Oh well. They had a good run.

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie

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