Thursday, May 03, 2007

Illegal Numbers?

Is 09 f9 11 02 9d 74 f3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 99 bf an illegal hex number?

Nope. I made a transcription error.

So what is all the excitement? Inquiring minds want to know.

THE MPAA is having a go at erasing the fairly public HD-DVD processing key number from the Interweb.

The key, Hex 09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 77 gg,
[not the real number - ed.] was discovered months ago and has been distributed amongst netzines everywhere.

However stories where the key is mentioned have been attracting the attention of MPAA spooks. DMCA take down notices have been issued to sites like Spooky Action at a Distance and Digg.

The Digg users who published them have even had their accounts closed by mods.

But this has created a bit of war between users who have been working to keep the number in the public eye.

In the case of Digg, the entire front page comprised only stories that in one way or another were related to the hex number. You can also find HD-DVD song lyrics, coffee mugs, and shirts.

Google reports that there are 283,000 pages containing the number with hyphens, and just under 10,000 without hyphens. There's a song. Several domain names including variations of the number have been reserved.

That looks like a lot of take-down notices that the MPAA is going to have to issue.
This is all about keeping secrets which can't be kept and making copies which are not copies.

It is all about preventing copies from being made where copies must be made. It is all about violating the laws of nature. I discuss some of that and have links to a lot of good information on copy protection schemes in New Vistas which is about the copy protection schemes in Microsoft's Vista operating system.

Well any way it has the folks at digg up in arms.

It has Charles at Little Green Footballs up in arms about "theft" of intellectual propery. How is it theft if you figure it out on your own or some one tells you? I'm still working out that one.

As one commenter after another has pointed out encrypting an object and then decoding it on a given machine makes the encryption key vulnerable to the owner of the machine. The key will be somewhere on the machine. Even if it isn't, comparing the encoded data with the decoded data allows the key to be teased out.

The system has more holes than swiss cheese. In addition in order to make the software distributable you have to have the same key for every disk if the disc is not coded for a specific user. You have to wonder how the MPAA or the RIAA or any of the other royalty collectors hoped to get away with this one.

Let me leave you with the music maker's lament about coyright:

"Why should I let my fans steal from me when the record companies already do such a good job?"

Here is a band doing something about it Stuck Mojo. You can listen to one of their tunes "Open Season" for free on Youtube. They are giving their music away. Not just one song either. A whole album. The Stuck Mojo link above explains how to get free music without risking a lawsuit.

I might note, as a long time Dead Head, that the Grateful Dead pioneered free music. Going so far as to provide those with tape recorders live feeds from their shows in an area called the "taper's section".

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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