That Was Fast

Boing Boing reports that the day after Vista is released a hacker in Canada has figured out how to break Vista's Blueray and HD-DVD DRM.

Vista launched this week, and it's already broken. As with previous multi-year DRM development efforts, this one disintegrated like wet kleenex on contact with the general public. Now that Vista, HDCP, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are all broken, it seems like the millions of dollars and thousands of work-hours sunk into these systems was mis-spent. The only benefit that these anti-copying systems confer to the companies that developed them is the right to sue competitors -- and that benefit could have been had by shellacking a one-atom-thick layer of token DRM onto their systems, just enough to be able to invoke the DMCA. Everything else was just gold-plating, wasted money.

Like other DRM hacks, this has significant implications for the future of media. If it is essentially impossible to protect Intellectual Property, how can copyright be protected? Many people think it can't and that media business models will eventually just have to admit that fact. My feeling is that all media will eventually revert back to an older model where media products can only be sold once, and then passed freely among users. If that means revenues are significantly reduced per product, then that is just a fact of life. But I doubt the powers that be today will go down without all sorts of litigation.