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Blu-ray Adopts AACS Content Protection

9 Aug, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As expected, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has agreed in principle to safeguard its next-generation DVD format with Advanced Access Content System (AACS), the cross-industry supported copy-protection and digital rights management (DRM) technology for prerecorded and recordable optical media.

The copy-protection software is under development and licensed by IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, the Walt Disney Co., and Toshiba and Warner Bros. — the latter two backers of high-definition rival HD DVD.

The BDA — which must still approve final AACS specifications, license terms and conditions — has supplemented the software with two additional layers of security: BD+ and ROM Mark.

BD+ is a proprietary safeguard designed to upgrade breached security systems in Blu-ray DVD players. ROM Mark is an embedded identifier that disallows mass production pre-recorded Blu-ray media, including movies, music and video games.

The latter is seen as crucial to Blu-ray attracting widespread studio support at a time when large-scale international piracy costs the movie industry more than $3 billion in lost revenue annually.

“The level of unauthorized copying and industrial piracy associated with DVD not only jeopardizes studios and other content creators, but also results in increased costs and limited flexibility for consumers,” said Maureen Weber, GM of Hewlett-Packard's Optical Storage Solutions. “It is good news for everyone that the BDA has adopted a series of measures that gets it right for the disc format.”

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