Friday, September 17, 2010

Intel Confirms HDCP Master Key Is Out | Techdirt

Intel Confirms HDCP Master Key Is Out

from the oops dept

We were among the many folks who wrote about the supposed leak of the HDCP master key this week, leading to an interesting discussion in the comments -- including a comment from a big time DRM supporter (he's even written a book about DRM) who scolded us for getting the whole story wrong, insisting that there was no such thing as a master key and that Hollywood never would have agreed to HDCP if there were such a thing. This struck me and some others as odd, as many of us have followed the discussions on HDCP, and I tended to believe Ed Felten's explanation of how HDCP works, which indicated that there was, in fact, a master key. That was from a few years ago, but Felten also just posted another explanation about how HDCP works, and it still seems to involve a master key.

And, now, Intel is apparently confirming that the leak is, in fact, the master key. So, at this point, I'm going to have to assume that the DRM expert and the scolding were wrong, and that there is, in fact, a master key... and it's been leaked. Good thing the FCC gave the MPAA the okay to break your TV and DVR to release movies that would be "protected" by HDCP, huh? As Michael Weinberg points out, the FCC has now broken a bunch of TVs for nothing:

Today, it looks like HDCP -- the DRM that the MPAA insisted was required to allow them to securely distribute movies prior to DVD release -- has been broken.  As a result, anyone who is motivated can make an exact digital copy of a "protected" high definition movie.  Since all it takes is one motivated individual to make that first copy, this DRM (like every type of DRM before it) now serves absolutely no purpose but to inconvenience legitimate customers.

In May, I wrote that "Studios are asking the public to trade the use of any analog inputs on their devices for more magic beans."  The FCC accepted that trade.  At the time, it looked like those magic beans at least pretended to have some powers to slow down copying.  Today they have been revealed for what they really are -- worthless.

Nice work, FCC.

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