Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hex 09 f9 11 02 9d 74 e3 5b d8 41 56 c5 63 56 88 c0

The hexadecimal number in the title is really quite remarkable. It is a widely distributed example of an AACS "processing key". As noted by Ed Felten on Freedom to Tinker,

"Together with a suitable computer program, the key allows the decryption
of video content on most existing HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs".

The AACS Licensing Authority has been desperately trying to eliminate this string from the Internet, by sending out "cease and desist" letters to websites. Their campaign is doomed to failure, because the key is now so widely available that for every desisting site, there are hundreds more who will post it. See the Digg blog for Kevin Rose's explanation of why they're no longer attempting to suppress the publication of "09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0".

I don't own a HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player. I own no HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs. I have no interest in pirating HD movies. I have no need for this key. However I think that it should remain available. DRM has failed as a technology. Using legal antics to prolong the futility of DRM is of no benefit to consumer or copyright holder. The sooner we move on to more sensible models for digital content distribution the better.

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