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[FYI] (Fwd) IBM&Intel push copy protection into ordinary disk drives
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- Subject: [FYI] (Fwd) IBM&Intel push copy protection into ordinary disk drives
- From: "Axel H Horns" <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 09:42:49 +0100
- CC: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Comment: This message comes from the debate mailing list.
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To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: IBM&Intel push copy protection into ordinary disk drives
Date sent: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 13:16:03 -0800
From: John Gilmore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Register has broken a story of the latest tragedy of copyright
mania in the computer industry. Intel and IBM have invented and are
pushing a change to the standard spec for PC hard drives that would
make each one enforce "copy protection" on the data stored on the hard
drive. You wouldn't be able to copy data from your own hard drive to
another drive, or back it up, without permission from some third
party. Every drive would have a unique ID and unique keys, and would
encrypt the data it stores -- not to protect YOU, the drive's owner,
but to protect unnamed third parties AGAINST you.
The same guy who leads the DVD Copy Control Association is heading the
organization that licenses this new technology -- John Hoy. He's a
front-man for the movie and record companies, and a leading figure in
the California DVD lawsuit. These people are lunatics, who would
destroy the future of free expression and technological development,
so they could sit in easy chairs at the top of the smoking ruins and
light their cigars off 'em.
The folks at Intel and IBM who are letting themselves be led by the
nose are even crazier. They've piled fortunes on fortunes by building
machines that are better and better at copying and communicating
WHATEVER collections of raw bits their customers desire to copy. Now
for some completely unfathomable reason, they're actively destroying
that working business model. Instead they're building in circuitry
that gives third parties enforceable veto power over which bits their
customers can send where. (This disk drive stuff is just the tip of
the iceberg; they're doing the same thing with LCD monitors, flash
memory, digital cable interfaces, BIOSes, and the OS. Next week we'll
probably hear of some new industry-wide copy protection spec, perhaps
for network interface cards or DRAMs.) I don't know whether the movie
moguls are holding compromising photos of Intel and IBM executives
over their heads, or whether they have simply lost their minds. The
only way they can succeed in imposing this on the buyers in the
computer market is if those buyers have no honest vendors to turn to.
Or if those buyers honestly don't know what they are being sold.
So spread the word. No copy protection should exist ANYWHERE in
generic computer hardware! It's up to the BUYER to determine what to
use their product for. It's not up to the vendors of generic
hardware, and certainly not up to a record company that's shadily
influencing those vendors in back-room meetings. Demand a policy
declaration from your vendor that they will build only open hardware,
not covertly controlled hardware. Use your purchasing dollars to
enforce that policy.
Our business should go to the honest vendors, who'll sell you a drive
and an OS and a motherboard and a CPU and a monitor that YOU, the
buyer, can determine what is a valid use of. Don't send your money to
Intel or IBM or Sony. Give your money to the vendors who'll sell you
a product that YOU control.
Stealth plan puts copy protection into every hard drive
Hastening a rapid demise for the free copying of digital media, the
next generation of hard disks is likely to come with copyright
protection countermeasures built in.
Technical committees of NCTIS, the ANSI-blessed standards body, have
been discussing the incorporation of content protection currently used
for removable media into industry-standard ATA drives, using
proprietary technology originating from the 4C Entity. They're the
people who brought you CSS2: IBM, Toshiba Intel and Matsushita.
The scheme envisaged brands each drive with a unique identifier at
The proposals are already at an advanced stage: three drafts have
already been discussed for incorporating CPRM (Content Protection for
Recordable Media) into the ATA specification by the NCTIS T.13
committee. The committee next meets in February. If, as expected, the
CPRM extensions become part of the ATA specification, copyright
protection will be in every industry-standard hard disk by next
summer, according to IBM.
However, what's likely to create a firestorm of industry protest is
that the proposed mechanism introduces problems to moving data between
compliant and non-compliant hard drives. Modifications to existing
backup programs, imaging software, RAID arrays and logical volume
managers will be required to cope with the new drives, <I>The
Register</I> has discovered.
The ramifications are enormous. Although the benefit to producers is
great - - bringing the holy grail of secure content one step closer -
the costs to consumers will be significant. For example, corporate IT
departments will be unable to mix compliant and non-compliant ATA
drives as they try to enforce uniform back up policies, we've
discovered. Restoring personal backups to a different physical drive -
a common enough occurrence when a disk has failed - will require
authentication with a central server. Imaging software used by OEMs
and large corporates to distribute one-to-many disk images will also
need to be modified.
And the move casts a shadow over some of the hottest emerging business
models: the network attached storage industry, which relies on
virtualising media pools, the digital video recorder market currently
led by TiVo and Replay, and the nascent peer-to-peer model all face
<B>How it works</B>
Today, CPRM is implemented on DVD and removable SD disks. But the SCSI
and ATA/ATAPI proposals incorporate an extension of the scheme to
allow the encryption to be used on hard drives, in addition to
removable drives and ATAPI devices such as CD-ROMs and DVD drives.
The proposal makes use of around a megabyte of read-only storage on
each hard drive that isn't usually accessed by the end user for a
"Media Key Block". According to research scientist Jeffrey Lotspiech
of IBM's Almaden Research Lab, this is a matrix of 16 columns and some
3000 rows. A static "Media Unique Key" in a separate, hidden area of
the drive, identifies the individual drive. Making use of broadcast
encryption and one way key algorithms, would-be hackers face a
daunting number of keys to break. CPRM adds new commands into the ATA
But because the system makes use of the physical location on the
device of the encrypted item, software designed for non-compliant
drives will break in some circumstance when encrypted data files are
"It requires both drives to be compliant when data is to move from one
disk to another," says Lotspiech. "And a compliant application to get
all that data to the new drive".
So a hard drive containing small individual containing non-copyable
files of say, Gartner reports, will essentially be unrestorable using
existing backup programs.
Similar problems arise with RAID arrays using IDE disks, acknowledges
IBM. "This may help IT managers when auditing for copyright
compliance," suggests IBM spokesman Mike Ross.
However the decision to make an organisation CPRM compliant. Free
copying is no longer an option:-
"It's not up to us to determine or guess what the content provider
might permit," says Ross. "Nothing will handcuff proper backup and
restoring provided the content provider permits it. Some may not
permit it - but what will the customers reaction be then?"
Well, quite. Clearly key management becomes an urgent priority when
CPRM-aware drives are introduced next year, as CPRM-aware content will
surely follow. The decision to go with CPRM in an organisation is also
an all or nothing proposition - it can't be introduced gradually.
But for home users, the party's over. CRPM paves the way for
CPRM-compliant audio CDs, and the free exchange of digital recordings
will be limited to non-CPRM media.
<I>The Register</I> understands there is fierce opposition to the plan
from Microsoft and its OEM customers. Generating hundreds of thousands
of images each week, the PC industry relies on data going from one
master to many reliably and smoothly. Imaging programs face the same
problem as restore software: the target disk isn't the same as the
originator disk. Microsoft Redmond already has put in a
counter-proposal that eschews low-level hardware calls.
<B>Where were you when they copy-protected the hardware, Daddy?</b>
The intellectual property is owned by the 4C Entity, and administered
by License Management International, LLC - a limited liability company
based in Morgan Hill, California. Company founder John Hoy told <I>The
Register</I> that "LMI,LC holds no intellectual property. Entities are
granted a master license."
Per-device royalties are payable to LLI,LC. License fees of between 2c
and 17c have been mooted for each device, according to documents
circulated to the T.13 group. 5c is the current rate for a DVD device.
Three possible paths lie ahead. CPRM may be bounced out of the T.x
committees. Or manufacturers may choose not to implement it, and opt
for an incomplete ATA or SCSI specification. This is deemed unlikely.
Or thirdly, manufacturers may choose to implement the new command set,
but not activate it.
Although it hardly has a prominent media profile - yet - CPRM in
hardware is the most comprehensive mechanism for enforcing rights
protection the industry has seen, and is likely to be viewed by
content producers as a magic bullet. Its progress depends on whether
its proponents can overcome industry and consumer opposition. Which
might be brewing right about ... now.
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