SlySoft, the Antigua-based company behind AnyDVD HD, has claimed that it knows how to defeat the additional BD+ encryption available on Blu-ray devices and that BD+ movies will be cracked by the end of the year.
In a press release, the company appears to relish its outlaw status in Hollywood. "I should really think about hiring a bodyguard now, since this product won't please everybody," said James Wong, the company's head developer. He's certainly right about that.
AACS, the "advanced" copy protection system deployed on both high-def disc formats, proved itself to be something less than hacker proof when it was cracked in a couple of months. Back in April, hackers announced a set of "non-revocable cracks" and then promptly cracked AACS again a day after it was "fixed."
BD+ is a second layer of encryption that can be slapped on top of AACS. It wasn't used with initial Blu-ray releases because, well, it wasn't actually done. The specs and licensing arrangements weren't worked out until June of this year, and it wasn't long after that BD+ went to work annoying legal users.
The technology allows special code to run in a virtual machine that is created on Blu-ray devices. This code runs continuously in the background while a disc is playing and examines the player environment for traces of tampering or copying. The code is disc-specific and is deleted from memory once a disc is ejected.
Despite its complexity, BD+ may soon join AACS on the "PWN3D!" list. SlySoft has a good track record when it comes to handling AACS, and the company's newest release of AnyDVD HD includes a bypass for the recent upgrade to the media key block (MKBv4) that is used to protect new HD DVD and Blu-ray films.
SlySoft's CEO, Giancarlo Bettini, claims that his firm is really one of the good guys; in reality, it's Hollywood that is trying to shoot itself in the foot, and companies like SlySoft that want the industry to keep on walking. "I wonder when people will understand that more restrictions, pressure and protections that prevent things from working won't generate more but less revenue," he said in a statement. "Microsoft's revenue in the 90s proves us right and even Apple recently released a DRM-free iTunes version."
So it's all openness, ice cream, and puppies? Not quite. As a SlySoft dev recently noted in the company's own forums, "You must understand, that our research costs a lot of time and money—funded by customers who have or will buy an AnyDVD HD license—and we don't want other commercial software publishers to benefit from our work."
That's the explanation for why the company won't release parts of its decryption code, and it sounds an awful lot like the kind of argument advanced by another industry…