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

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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  • Er, it's HDCP. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MetaPhyzx ( 212830 ) * on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @06:53PM (#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.

  • Re:Don't really care (Score:5, Informative)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:00PM (#25825497) Homepage Journal

    "I'm sorry Dave, but I can't let you do that."

  • FYI? (Score:2, Informative)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:04PM (#25825573)

    Vista has the same kind of so-called "protection". Just so we're clear on that. Thanks.

    In other, unrelated news, it should be easy to crack []. The ghost of Bruce would also like to say "Software copy protection doesn't work"... and since this is a download... well then. So there you go. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • DisplayPort (Score:5, Informative)

    by mpaque ( 655244 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:06PM (#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 StarManta.Mini ( 860897 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:08PM (#25825633)

    ....buuuuuuut..... they don't HAVE Blu-Ray drives....

  • by penguinstorm ( 575341 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:09PM (#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.

  • by Seakip18 ( 1106315 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:13PM (#25825721) Journal

    Wow. This got knocked down as a troll pretty quick. While his comment about Steve Jobs being an ass is uncalled for, I don't see the need for a -1.

    Anyways, I think Apple is starting to think that they're island of a system is going to be brought into contact with more competition, like ragnarok and other software. This is one of the preemptive measures to assure that Apple's flagship software stays that way.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:13PM (#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:Lies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jherek Carnelian ( 831679 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:18PM (#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.

  • by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:24PM (#25825879)

    Would you please just STFU about Google already, you little karma whore..

    Below are the parents previous posts...

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

    Once Google became a publicly traded company their only obligation transitioned to making a profit for their shareholders.

    Honestly why anyone is surprised at Google acting like a real company is a mystery. Since Google became a publicly traded company they only have one obligation.....

    Do no evil? Hardly,... when Google became a publicly traded company their obligation became one thing..

    and finally, from your own words...

    Seriously is there anyone on /. that isn't a "me too, me too" Microsoft sucks, Linux is good person?

    Why don't you eat them and STFU about Google in stories nothing to do with them.

  • Questions (Score:3, Informative)

    by tobias.sargeant ( 741709 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:36PM (#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 @07:38PM (#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...
  • Re:Sensational Much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PoderOmega ( 677170 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:42PM (#25826133)

    This is NOTHING like the all-pervasive DRM that infests Visturd(TM) at every turn

    I run Vista and I'm not really sure what you are talking about. What extra DRM does Vista have that XP does not? Whatever it is, it is definately not "all-pervasive", or I would have noticed.

  • by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @07:48PM (#25826211) Journal

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


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

    by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:03PM (#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:Sensational Much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:09PM (#25826463)

    Just ignore it, it's a Slashdot myth that Vista has some magical form of DRM that "slows down" everything on your computer. That's as specific as it ever gets. If you ask for evidence of it, they always link to the same one article that refers to MP3 playback on a beta release as "proof."

    I've asked about this about a dozen times, and I've never gotten a satisfactory reply. I've also asked for repro instructions for a series of actions that would result in the magical DRM blocking a user action. The simple fact is that the only DRM in Vista is in WMP; the same way the only DRM in OS X is in iTunes. There's no horrible conspiracy, and your computer isn't being "slowed down".

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:26PM (#25826669) Homepage

    More and more cable boxes complain about HDCP handshake failures. the latest Comcast box complains about "INSECURE VIDEO PATH!" and will shut down.

    I have several customers pissed about that one.

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

    by roguetrick ( 1147853 ) < minus threevowels> on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:27PM (#25826673) Homepage Journal

    Cry me a river, you fanboy. It is only insightful because it fits with your broken little worldview. Read the god damn article; it has nothing to do with Blu-Ray and everything to do with the iTunes Store FairPlay Version 3 DRM.

    They implemented this crap because if they say no and stick up for their consumers they know they'll get passed by other parties as a content delivery method. They decided to be evil because it grants increased profits. Deal with it.

  • by aqui ( 472334 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:30PM (#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. :)


  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @08:37PM (#25826801)

    It is much easier to use VGA for home theater and conference rooms than DVI (just need a balun on either end and you can use CAT-5 structured cabling with VGA). VGA supports the same resolutions as DVI and HDMI. This alone is a huge reason why the whole HDCP issue is a pain in the ass.

    It is a battle that we, the customers, should not have to put up with.

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

    by jaxtherat ( 1165473 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:15PM (#25827127) Homepage

    downloading HD rips off any of the following:

    - usenet
    - thepiratebay
    - isohunt

    is a viable, serious option.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @09:17PM (#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.

  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Informative)

    by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @10:30PM (#25827777)

    no such luck for mac users........yet.


  • by Bynds ( 1411317 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:28PM (#25828197)

    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).

    Linux users can feel superior for not being able to legally play HD Blu-ray titles or for not being able to buy HD video from iTunes?? Yes Linux users can use software employing AACS and BD+ hacks, but so can Mac OS X and Vista users - even on HDCP enabled hardware. So what's the advantage of Linux regarding this now again?

    With Linux I don't have to pay a few hundred dollars for the privilege. Pay 300 bucks and still have to hack it? No thank you

  • by tiny-e ( 940381 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2008 @11:30PM (#25828209)

    Yes you can -- just not with cmd-shift-3 or 4..

    Try this: (it's posted all over the place, this one came up first in google) []

  • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @12:54AM (#25828753) Homepage
    Your solution is right, but your reason is wrong. If you press the screenshot key combo on OS X while DVD Player is running, you don't get a screenshot with a blank spot where the video is- you get an error dialog. It's a deliberate lockout.
  • Re:To Steve (Score:3, Informative)

    by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:15AM (#25828899) Homepage

    It's not a locked down OS. People need to get this in perspective. If it were a locked down OS then I wouldn't be able to just run a different media player to get around it. This is one application, locking use of a specific type of drm-encrusted file.

    The solution is exactly the same as on windows or linux - just use mplayer.

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @01:30AM (#25828989) Homepage Journal

    So what happens if the "hacked" firmware switches Apple's key with, say, the PS3's? Would Sony be stuck?

    Part of their agreement to get a key is certain steps must be taken by the vendors when writing their firmware and making their hardware, to make the private key difficult to extract. Any vendor that "loses control" over their key simply requests another one. Sony revokes their old key, causing all new disks to not work with the old firmware. The vendor pushes a firmware update to their players (either by download/usb thumb drive or internet download) to get the new key which is embedded in the new firmware. This is why practically all bluray players have internet connections. It's not a convenience for you so much as it is to make it possible and practical for vendors to recover from getting their key revoked by Sony. No vendor wants their vendor key publicized, but they have to take that into account. If it does get released, and you don't have a way to update all your customers after you get a new key, you've essentially "bricked" all your previously sold units. (at least in the eyes of the consumer, being unable to play new content) And that may be enough RMAs to pull you under.

    In your example, if someone managed to extract the PS3's key and embed it in a free bluray ripping software, (unlikely because they "wrote the book" on steps you should take to protect it, but certainly not impossible) they would simply revoke their own key and push a software update to your PS3, required for viewing new movies, like any other vendor.

    The only way to beat sony at this game is to reverse engineer or otherwise break the encryption to recover en-masse the entire set of vendor private keys. If that list were to be made public, then Sony would have two options. (1) revoke ALL keys and start from scratch, (requiring all bluray players in the world to receive a firmware update) or (2) give up on it. Right now if a key is compromised, they have hundreds (thousands?) of as yet unassigned vendor keys in the dictionary on every disc being made, so revoking one and handing out another is not a problem because it's already on all the existing discs. But if you have to start over, it makes a bit of a mess because all the old discs only have the old dictionary, and so players would need to have two vendor keys, an old one to play old discs, and a new one to play new discs. I suppose they wouldn't mind that all so much but it may be enough deterrent to make them consider option (2).

    That's why the vendors have to sign the agreement and take certain steps to protect their keys. There's a limited number of vendor keys available to be assigned from the start. (anyone happen to know the exact number?) So they can't just go revoking keys every week, they'd run out too soon.

    I've read some recent information about "processing keys" being discovered, I don't know if that means someone has found a way to break the entire dictionary. Being able to break the entire dictionary is of course the best thing to see happen. It doesn't bring the whole system crashing down, but drags it down to the effectiveness that is presently on DVDs. (which is essentially non existent now with apps like Mac The Ripper and Handbrake out and about) - meaning open apps can be written to break any disc currently in production.

    Ya I guess I am a bit behind the times [] here. Not sure if I'm getting this right but it appears that the "processing key" is the ONE key that encrypts the content of any bluray disc. The title key isn't actually required to decrypt the content if you know the processing key. Gee that stinks for them I guess. Makes pretty much all of the above a moot point. I'm surprised the bluray ripping apps haven't been popping up like dandelions already. Guess not enough people have bluray drives in their computers yet. Funny how THAT is what's causing this to not hit the fan very fast.

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

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 20, 2008 @05:30AM (#25830097) Journal

    What I don't get about the cloud computing thing is this: Folks seems to be missing the big "Oooops" written on the wall. You see,cloud computing can only work when you have bandwidth to burn,which thanks to the lovely telecos who let their networks and backbones fall down while in pursuit of the ever higher profit margin we simply won't have.

    So I am making a prediction,and the prediction is this: That 5 years from now any mention of "cloud computing" will be strictly in a past tense. As will most likely Youtube,Netfix on demand,etc. Because the telecos will scream "we have to save the record profits!....errr we mean network,yeah that's it!" and will keep making the caps shittier and shittier until you won't have enough bandwidth to think about such things. Believe me,I know of which I speak. Here in northern AR we have the choice of 20Gb(DSL) or 36Gb(cable) and that's it. You even want to get 100Gb it'll cost you over $300 a month. Which of course the average household can't afford simply to enjoy things like cloud computing,Netflix,etc. Oh,and if you are lucky they'll give you a way to monitor your bandwidth,around here they don't. Helps to make sure folks use less than what they pay for to avoid the $1.50 a Gb they charge if you go over. Enjoy the future!

  • Re:To Steve (Score:4, Informative)

    by Weedlekin ( 836313 ) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @06:21AM (#25830301)

    "The fact that the same video will play fine on a 2007 Mac but refuse to play on a 2008 Mac proves that the copy protection is not necessary -- if it was necessary it would be applied to all computers equally."

    What it actually proves is that older Macs don't have DisplayPort connectors, and therefore also lack the chips that implement the VESA DisplayPort specification, which has always incorporated DPCP, and added HDCP in the DisplayPort 1.1 specification.

    Any hardware which has a DisplayPort connector incorporates at least one form of DRM in its hardware, and two of them if it implements version 1.1 of the standard. This will of course only be an issue if one is (a) using that port for connecting to a non-conforming display, and (b) trying to view media which invokes its DRM capabilities.

    NB: because the VESA-specified DRM systems are part of the DisplayPort controller hardware, they do not require any OS or driver support to prevent protected media from playing on non-conforming displays, which means that they can't be bypassed by the OS or drivers either.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 20, 2008 @09:48AM (#25831387) Journal
    The correct address is Emails sent there do get read and replied to, although (obviously) not all (or even most) by Steve himself.

Help! I'm trapped in a PDP 11/70!