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DSL Gateways to Fight Piracy by Marking Video

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the movie-dna-testing dept.

Movies 337

Stony Stevenson wrote with an article about home gateway devices being set up to identify video pirates. The article reads: "Home gateway manufacturer Thomson SA plans to incorporate video watermarking technology into future set-top boxes and other video devices. The watermarks, unique to each device, will make it possible for investigators to identify the source of pirated videos. By letting consumers know the watermarks are there, even if they can't see them, Thomson hopes to discourage piracy without putting up obstacles to activities widely considered fair use, such as copying video for use on another device in the home or while traveling to work."

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GNAA announces switch to Windows Vista (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370497)

GNAA announces switch to Windows Vista

fellacious (GNAP) Intercourse, PA - Windows Vista appears to finally be taking off, at least within one Fortune 100 company. The GNAA had for the past 13 years been using Red Hat Linux and it's successor, Fedora Core, but growing discontent with the free software operating system forced CTO Jmax to declare on Wednesday that the company was to be switching its entire infrastructure to the new version of Windows, effective immediately. "I'm not going to theatrically claim that I wasn't expecting to have to do this," Jmax said. "This has been coming for quite some time." The GNAA's troubles with Red Hat's Linux system included chronic governance problems, a persistent failure to maintain key repositories, a complex and undocumented submission process which has kept the GNAA's free trolling utilities off the Red Hat-based desktops of thousands of would-be trolls, inability to keep RPM up to date, and a failure to address the problem of Firefox not crashing a entire computer when the user loads Last Measure. "The deal-breaker, though, was when a key Last Measure server remained down for four hours while our entire Intercourse development team tried desperately to bring it up despite not having statically-linked package manager binaries." What had happened was Dikky, visiting from Norway, wanted to play the child pornography mod of Doom 3 on that server- which had to drag several libraries with it. "In addition," said Jmax, "several key software applications used in the GNAA's corporate workflow are proprietary software- which means that they had to be run in an Ubuntu compatibility environment anyway." However, being as those unnamed applications were written in C#.NET, "We expect that our transition to Windows Vista will come off without a hitch."

About Jmax:

The CTO of the GNAA, Jmax also has a seat on Microsoft's board of directors. His resume can be accessed at http://goatse.fr/ [goatse.fr] .

About Windows Vista:

The fastest-growing desktop operating system on the market, Windows Vista combines the legendary security of Windows 98 with the legendary ease of use of those computer interfaces you see in the movies into one ultra-fast, ultra-stable computing platform.

About Red Hat:

A failure of a computer company, Red Hat burns through investor money while giving its products away for free. It is currently under investigation from the SEC for misuse of invested funds, and being sued by the GNAA for breach of contract for sucking more than specified in the GNAA's contract with Red Hat.

About the Linux community:

Trolled.



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Re:GNAA announces switch to Windows Vista (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370569)

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-Penisbird

Re:GNAA announces switch to Windows Vista (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370885)

I just went by Steve's office, and he's angrily shaking his miniscule genitals at you for not using the superior homosexual operating system Mac OSuX.

I'm not buying. (5, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370499)

Suppose I recieve a DVD that I honestly believe is legit. And - due to my error, or someone else's error or someone else's falsehood - it is not. Or the baby- or pet- sitter makes a few copies on my machine while we're away.
So copies go out with my ID attached? No, thanks. I'll buy brand X. Or Y. But not Thompson.
A tool is supposed to do things my way. Not the manufacturer's way.

If Thompson wants to help prevent copyright infringement, there are better ways to do it, such as financial support for civil lawsuits against pirates.

Re:I'm not buying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370537)

Yes, because more lawsuits are always the best answer. Way to toss out some easy to remedy issues with the technology though.

Re:I'm not buying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370581)

Suppose I recieve a DVD that I honestly believe is legit. And - due to my error, or someone else's error or someone else's falsehood - it is not.

Oh please. Give me a break!

Re:I'm not buying. (5, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370619)

A tool is supposed to do things my way. Not the manufacturer's way.

      What you fail to understand is that it's so much easier to find a way to screw you over than to actually come up with something new and useful.

      I started getting pissed when I found out the video card that I had bought specifically with a TV-Out port wouldn't let me watch DVDs I had purchased on my TV (despite this being fair use) because surely I was a pirate and wanted to copy that DVD. Well fuck them, now I rip movies that I rent and/or download movies, and watch them anywhere I want in my house. Call me a thief. They are bigger theives - I don't remember a label on my video card saying "Hey, the TV Out port you want and paid an extra $100 for won't actually WORK due to something called Macrovision".

      Come and get me, no DMCA in THIS country. Let's see, which movie should I download tonight?

Re:I'm not buying. (3, Interesting)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370659)

Come and get me, no DMCA in THIS country. Let's see, which movie should I download tonight?

Do you think they really care if you download a movie? Of course, they pretend to, but in the end it just helps them 1) spread their movies and 2) claim that everyone's a pirate and they're losing 100 trillion dollars due to piracy. Go watch an independent movie instead.

Re:I'm not buying. (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370631)

Suppose I recieve a DVD that I honestly believe is legit. And - due to my error, or someone else's error or someone else's falsehood - it is not.

Huh? This isn't reporting you when you put a black-market DVD into your hardware; it's allowing a mechanism for investigation when you put a movie or show this hardware rips up on BitTorrent or YouTube.

Personally, I think this is an outstanding compromise; it leaves legitimate fair use rights in place, but provides a means for large-scale-distribution violations to be prosecuted. It's certainly a far better deal than mandatory DRM, which in all seriousness is the other contender. I'll take watermarks over DRM any day.

Re:I'm not buying. (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370673)

It's certainly a far better deal than mandatory DRM, which in all seriousness is the other contender. I'll take watermarks over DRM any day.

Since when is it up to anyone except the owner of the content to protect their interests? There is only one reason that a third party would want to get involved with this bullshit -- kickbacks from the MPAA and other media conglomerates.

Re:I'm not buying. (5, Interesting)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370761)

There is only one reason that a third party would want to get involved with this bullshit -- kickbacks from the MPAA and other media conglomerates.

No, no, no. The reason for a hardware manufacturer to get involved (and I think it's a damned compelling one) is avoidance of contributory infringement suits.

Mod parent up (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370837)

I don't know if he is right, but someone pleae mod him 'interesting', at least.

Re:I'm not buying. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370901)

You're a shill. Go away.

Re:I'm not buying. (0)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371021)

Yup, a shill. Uh-huh. Look at my UID again.

What I am is a realist.

Re:I'm not buying. (2, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370923)

Do you not see the perfectly logical conclusion in your post? The content producers want to protect their interests so they pay a third party to provide a harware solution. Duh. You do know it's completely legal for a company to do business with another company? "Kick backs" my ass.

Re:I'm not buying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370691)

I'll take watermarks over DRM any day.

I'll take neither. I will not accept a product which is designed to be turned against me, no matter the circumstances. So what if my own video clips or fair use excerpts won't get me prosecuted? There will still be a unique ID in them. Hardware which betrays me, whether it denies me fair use or compromises my privacy, is unacceptable.

Re:I'm not buying. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370839)

Some of us don't live in the utopia where we happen to get that option -- if we're buying consumer-grade "solutions", anyhow.

Hardware manufacturers are necessarily pragmatic, and if you're making a consumer-targeted all-in-one solution with features that aid in redistributing copyrighted content, you risk getting shut down via a contributory infringement suit -- and the relevant laws are getting harsher and more restrictive all the time.

Now, for cameras I can see your point -- folks have a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to being able to create content anonymously. On the other hand, if content is being recorded off the airwaves, a DVD or cable TV, there's a reasonable presumption (not always true, but pretty darned close) that someone holds copyright in it. You want hardware manufacturers to stop taking defensive measures like this? Get Congress to reinforce Betamax as the law of the land, clarify safe havens from contributory infringement suits for manufacturers making potentially misusable devices nonetheless clearly intended for noninfringing or fair-use purposes, and generally roll back the clock to pre-Napster. Good luck.

Re:I'm not buying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370783)

Ok, but if I create a home movie of my kids and put it up where my parents can download it, why should some fascist bastards get to "watermark" (ie. modify and probably degrade) my (highly compressed MPEG4 AVC) video?

Why the assumption that every video on the net is pirated DVDs? This assumption is wrong! If I want to anonymously put my own video creations out there, why not? That's what YouTube is all about!

Or how about if you're a whistleblower trying to anonymously release a video of government wrongdoing? Nice to know they'll be able to track you down and silence you quickly.

Re:I'm not buying. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370857)

This isn't about watermarking everything; it's about watermarking content recorded using this "home gateway" device. If you record something with a camera you own (rather than recording it off the airwaves using your home gateway/media router), that's an entirely different deal -- so the home movie of your kids or the evidence of government malfeaseance is completely unimpacted.

Re:I'm not buying. (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371127)

Pirated DVDs, heh, most of my torrents are off-the-air TV rips :P

And once in a while I distribute my own content, RIAA and MPAA, so fucking deal.

-uso.

Re:I'm not buying. (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370821)

it leaves legitimate fair use rights in place, but provides a means for large-scale-distribution violations to be prosecuted

Yeah right. It allows the OP's scenario to result in his bankruptcy while doing fuckall to stop real pirates, since they just rip the DVD and copy the cover art (or make more DVDs in the same factory). This is only good for harrassing morons who upload dvd clips to youtube and the people they live with.

Re:I'm not buying. (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370869)

It's also about helping YouTube avoid massive liability by giving them better support for detecting ripped content before putting it up in the first place -- which also stops the moron in question from being sued into bankruptcy, at least unless he's moronic enough to then go and find a different hosting service which doesn't look for watermarks.

Re:I'm not buying. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370959)

Isn't the DMCA enough? They've got an out if they remove the videos upcon receiving a complaint. Anyway, good luck watermarking the sucker - I'm no videohead, but I could probably strip or render useless a watermark that's going to youtube.

How would these even work? (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370649)

Much of the video on the internets is highly compressed and would therefore destroy and kind of subtle watermarking technique, thinking that the watermark was just spurious noise that doesn't need to be recreated.

Re:How would these even work? (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370933)

I don't think it's that robust overall, but this kind of stuff is usually robust to compression, even with heavy losses. The idea is that the message is only a few bits, so it's embedded with a *huge* amount of redundency. To get rid of a watermark, you generally have to specifically attack it, not just throw in noise/compression/whatever blindly.

Of course... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370865)

"If Thompson wants to help prevent copyright infringement, there are better ways to do it, such as financial support for civil lawsuits against pirates."

Of course if Thompson REALLY wanted to help prevent copyright infringement, they could lobby to have copyright lessened or repealed. Repealing copyright would instantaneously stop 100% of copyright infringement.

Re:I'm not buying. (-1, Offtopic)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371067)

And this sort of technology is going to be hacked: Honey, why does the TV have this little circular icon with rotating "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes" on it instead of the show?

Well, no more Thomson devices in this household. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370507)

End of story.

Re:Well, no more Thomson devices in this household (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371147)

Keep in mind the names RCA and GE. I believe they're owned by Thomson.

-uso.

compression/encoding (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370523)

Is a watermark that's so insignificant that you can't see it likely to be preserved in any useful form by DivX/XVid encoding?

Way to kill your sales, bitches! (3, Insightful)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370531)

I don't typically steal, but I also don't typically buy products that worry that I might be a thief either. Hell, stealing might become the 'in' thing someday!

Re:Way to kill your sales, bitches! (1)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370557)

agreed. As long as people keep pushing for more anti-piracy technology...the more people will just stop buying their products. When the general consumer starts to get inconvienced is the point where they start losing sales. More people will start pirating in this case or moving on to other products.

Oblig Star Wars (0, Redundant)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371167)

"The more you tighten your grip Gov. Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers"

-uso.

Brilliant! (5, Funny)

Telecommando (513768) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370533)

Brilliant! Just Brilliant!

Now all those nasty, evil video pirates will suddenly be forced to... to...

Buy someone else's gateway???

Re:Brilliant! (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371059)

Thomson sells its gateways and STBs to network operators -- one of its biggest customers is Orange, the Internet access subsidiary of France Telecom, which packages the devices as the LiveBox, an all-in-one terminal for telephony, television, Wi-Fi and Internet access.
Orange is giving the LiveBox away with service.

Thomson &/or the MPAA (or their euro equivalents) can pressure/bribe the big network operators into only giving out free watermarking sets.

What a coup that would be for them. Each media company offers exclusive content to a network operator for whatever conditions they usually agree upon + the requirement that the network operator only offers/gives away hardware with Thomson's NexGuard chip.

The media companies win, the network operators win, Thomson wins, and the consumers win, in that they get access to their ISP's exclusive content. The only people who lose are those who use the freebie hardware & care about the NexGuard chip.

I give it a month, tops. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370549)

That is assuming of course, that enough of these devices get sold for anyone to care about stripping the watermarking.

-jcr

Re:I give it a month, tops. (3, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370905)

Seriously, what ever happened to making stuff people actually want?

yawn (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370553)

How long until someone writes a small app to scan each video frame for the watermark?

Re:yawn (1)

Ghostalker474 (1022885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370573)

Firmware hack coming in 3....2....

Re:yawn (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370637)

Probably never.

Who the fuck is Thompson? I've never even heard of them, much less seen any of their routers.

I don't think that this is the strategy you use when you want to take on Linksys/Cisco, Netgear, and D-Link.

Re:yawn (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370687)

They used to be behind RCA(apparently they sold the brand).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomson_SA [wikipedia.org]

They are about a quarter of the size of Cisco(based on revenues), but they dwarf Netgear and D-Link.

Re:yawn (2, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370899)

The article title is sorely misleading; this isn't about DSL gateways; rather, it's about settop boxes, "home media routers" and the like.

They aren't trying to take on Linksys, Netgear or D-Link -- at least, not with the products in question.

Well, it'll give the hackers something to do. (5, Insightful)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370561)

How hard is it to understand that if your product does something your customers don't like, they'll either circumvent it, or go elsewhere?

Way to alienate the general public, guys.

Can we (5, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370571)

just wrap the file in a zip archive or similar?

Re:Can we (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370867)

I don't think they are talking about network gateways. 'cause you know, if so, they are insane.

Altering user's data? (1)

techmuse (160085) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370579)

It's unclear to me from the article whether these devices would be watermarking video provided by the ISP, cable company (or other TV broadcaster), etc. so that they would know, for example, that you're retransmitting video broadcast to your set. Or does this mean that if you transfer a video file (which might or might not be something that you own the copyright for), and it happens to pass through the wrong DSL modem, the modem will alter the bits in the file to embed the watermark. If it is the second, I can't imagine why I would want to buy or use such a device. I expect my network equipment to pass my data unaltered. It has no idea what I'm actually sending, and altering my files is essentially causing data corruption!

Suppose that I send my family home video. Does it watermark that? What if I send a large file of important non-video data that it thinks is video. Does it corrupt my file?

Re:Altering user's data? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370743)

Or does this mean that if you transfer a video file (which might or might not be something that you own the copyright for)

Didn't the Cleanflix case make it illegal to alter video without the consent of the copyright holder?

LK

Re:Altering user's data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370779)

Not so much. FTFS, this looks not so much like a router as something that is going to eventually going to be built into the DVR that your cable company provides. Worst case scenario, this will also be incorporated into DVD players etc. and required by law after MAFIAA lobbyists have their way with legislators.

Sounds like "data corruption" to me. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371101)

... does this mean that if you transfer a video file (which might or might not be something that you own the copyright for), and it happens to pass through the wrong DSL modem, the modem will alter the bits in the file to embed the watermark[?]

If it systematically alters the bits of a user's payload at all (especially if it's in a way that passes the usual redundancy checks) it's "data corruption".

I'd be interesting to see what happens if somebody sues an ISP who provides one of these modems with their service for willful failure to provide the advertised "internet service".

Meanwhile:

  - I bet we're seeing a downside of ownership of ISPs by media conglomerates: The "content" section driving a degradation of the ISP section's services.

  - Watch for tweaks to the transport protocols to detect this sort of tampering and abort it.

If the video stream is encrypted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370583)

...won't that defeat any snooping and manipulation by the gateway?

Assuming they can do this, couldn't they make all information non-anonymous?

Learn something new... (1)

oldgeezer1954 (706420) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370593)

I am honestly quit shocked.... I always assumed that something along these lines was done. Not only to digital set top boxes but with audio/video processing software as well as cd/dvd burners. Not that it altered my behavior one way or the other. This may be new tech but it's hardly high tech. While I believed it was being done it certainly was a bit silly. It ranks up there with the asinine counterproductive drm schemes. What man makes, man can break.

This is *ALMOST* the right thing (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370621)

The trouble comes when someone 'borrows' your recording and then puts a copy of it on the Internet... there is still no accountability in the correct manner.

When you buy a car (yes, car analogies might not be perfect) you have a title and registration that you keep with the car for proof of ownership. When you buy a CD, you have the physical media as proof. The entertainment industries need to have something as simple, and usable as these examples.

Sure, as an idea there are holes in it, but the premise is good. DRM is not a registration that works as it is too limiting, just as the EU! When someone steals your CD, you just go without it and have to buy another one unless you have insurance that covers it. If they steal your car, same again. If either is used to commit a crime, you are not complicit but that is not how the current music industry is looking at things.

Individual watermarks in the content might sound good, but they can be stolen, and if its anything like DRM, it will get cracked in no time. The only sound answer is to make it not worth pirating by making the cost reasonable, the usefulness of the media robust, and the ease of use to the consumer no more difficult than toasting bread in an electric toaster.

Time again to mention that a CD sharing club of you and 20 of your friends can pirate music and videos indefinitely without being caught in order to reduce the cost of music and videos to a level that is acceptable. Its the Internet part that gets people caught. The entertainment industry is hell bent on fscking the consumer, and those people will continue to take back from the industry as long as they are being ripped off, or feel that they are.

Even opportunistic piracy is going to continue, has always been around, and cannot be stopped. They only thing they can stop is the online wholesale piracy. This 'watermarking' won't stop you and your CD club from your activities as long as nobody posts a copy to the Internet and gets caught.

Until they get these criteria right, people will pirate music and videos because they have enough reason to dismiss the minor chance they will be caught. The 'industry' will simply have to figure out how to make money while providing what the consumer has overwhelmingly demonstrated that they want... or just go out of business.

Personally, I vote for them going out of business. Let newer, better business rise from the ashes of the current entertainment industry!

Re:This is *ALMOST* the right thing (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370715)

The problem with your analogy is that Volvo and Toyota have sold me unique cars that they haven't sold to anyone else. The entertainment industry wants to eat it's cake and have it too, they want the convenience of digital distribution, but they don't want the headache to make it truely secure.

To make DRM truely work, they have to sell a unique version to each consumer and manage unique keys. If someone shares their keys, those keys get revoked, and that consumer is forever shuned. Queue the movie nazi shouting "No movies for you!!!" If you had unique keys, and someone stole your DVDs, they wouldn't be able to play them, because they wouldn't have the password. You could call up the MPAA and ask for the flying pigs to deliver brand new DVDs.

Re:This is *ALMOST* the right thing (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370757)

The car analogy actually isn't a bad one. If someone borrows your car and uses it to commit a crime, it'll be impounded, and you're responsible for it. It's your car. If you can't trust your friends, don't give them access to it. You can always pursue reimbursement from them in civil court, but it's the exact same scenario.

You're also responsible if you leave an axe in your yard and a kid falls on it. You can certainly argue that the kid shouldn't have been on your property and that the parents should have enforced that rule, but unless you put up a fence or a sign, you didn't really try very hard.

Same thing if you have an aggressive pet and a friend leaves your gate open and it attacks someone. Your responsibility.

Yes, like all things, you can be "framed." But if potential for abuse is a non-starter, then there would be no laws and no products in the world.

Re:This is *ALMOST* the right thing (3, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370875)

Your comments have just reminded me of the one thing more scary than the **AA stupid ass business model... the possibility of seeing 'copyright infringement insurance' advertisements on late night television! Yes, don't let it happen to you, you go to the grocery store and while you are shopping someone steals your entertainment property from your vehicle and posts it to the Internet. What are you to do? With a copyright policy from bigassInsurance Inc. you won't have to worry... blah blah blah

Yes, if all entertainment media was serialized, it might work, but then the insurance vultures would have a toe hold on a new kind of policy: insurance against copyright infringement 'accidents' just as you can get them to insure against loss of employment, sickness, and autotheft etc. Then we would have to pay 50 times what the content is worth, and it could never be given to anyone else free of encumbrances.

The other implication that comes with serialized media is something the **AA cannot live with: Ownership! If it is serialized, its my copy and I can sell it, loan it to friends, and all the other things that come with ownership. Currently, the entertainment industry is leaning toward the rental business model rather than ownership. Yeah, yeah, I know it's a copyrighted work, but the car I drive has patented materials in it too, but I still own it!

There are a lot of ideas, but none of the good ones include the current **AA business model.

Too bad it doesn't work (1)

Beached (52204) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370623)

All this will do is catch the little guy. The pro's and geeks will just remove the water marks or not use their product.

Unencrypted digital video (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370633)

Does it mean they'll let me capture video through the Firewire port on a cable TV set-top box free of 5C protection? I'd happily use something that watermarked the video I captured, since I only make legal use of the stuff I record from TV.

I'm guessing no, though, which means that this is just another example of the huge consumer electronics industry kissing the ass of the much smaller content cabal, while making meaningless overtures to consumers.

Hidden benefit (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370641)

1. Steal somebody's decoder box.
2. Make and distribute pirated videos.
3. Profit !!

And there is a hidden benefit here. You know how Thomson is saying "if consumers know the watermark is there, they'll be disincented to pirate videos"? Well it works the same way in reverse. If media companies know the watermark is there, they'll be disincented to commit further acts of DRM.

Media companies have already demonstrated writ large that they are too stupid to grasp the implications of (and hackability of) software and media technology. So even though this Thomson scheme is obviously stupid to us, it may be enough to calm down the media companies.

Of course there's a price to be paid here. Like sacrificial lambs selected randomly from the herd, the occasional John Q. Couchpotato is going to get slammed by a MAFIAA lawsuit when his decoder's ID got cloned by a pirate. But hey, no more DRM!

A better solution than DRM (4, Insightful)

for_usenet (550217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370645)

I've wondered and bounced the idea off a couple of other people that would water-marking be a better solution than DRM ? With the watermark and no DRM, you can do as you please with your music/movie/media, and if it gets out onto the file-sharing networks - you'll be responsible ...

I know it's not a perfect solution - but I personally would not mind such a scheme, if it lets me do what I want (personally) with digital files I purchase and record.

Won't work with BitTorrent (1, Offtopic)

Emnar (116467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370675)

The .torrent file you use to start downloading a BitTorrent file has checksums for all chunks of the file. If a chunk is altered in transit, the BT clients receiving it will detect this and discard it (and intelligent trackers will eventually kick you out of the P2P cloud).

The only possible application for this is tagging files transferred as unencrypted streams, such as HTTP or FTP.

Re:Won't work with BitTorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371081)

I think you've misunderstood what they are trying to do here.
They aren't watermarking files already in distribution, they're making devices that watermark the original as it is ripped so they can trace files on bit torrent back to the original device.
Obviously, it still isn't going to work but that has more to do with the fact that nobody who wants to rip and distribute video is going to buy one of these.

Re:Won't work with BitTorrent (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371103)

it doen't track downloads, it marks files sent to it specifically to be watermarked

Re:Won't work with BitTorrent (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371107)

If a chunk is altered in transit, the BT clients receiving it will detect this and discard it (and intelligent trackers will eventually kick you out of the P2P cloud).
Don't most clients ban a seeder/peer who's spewing out corrupted chunks?

I guess what I don't know is how that information get reported back to the tracker.

Fake watermark generator (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370677)

Fake watermark generator in 5... 4... 3... 2

You people are absurd (5, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370683)

After all the DRM warpaint and hysterical tirades about fair use, a company comes along and says "fine, we can protect our content without putting usage restrictions on it." What's the result: a handful of rabid Slashdotters attacking the idea.

Wake up and face the fact that fair use is dying, and if you want to save it, you've got to stop the tide before you can reverse it. All the fantasizing in the world about "starting from scratch" is never going to happen. If you continually indicate that you're not willing to work with content providers at all, then don't expect content providers to have any consideration for your interests. Of course, this is Slashdot, so maybe correcting problems is less desirable than bitching about them (but Slashdotter hypocrisy protects us from the same derision we give to politicians and executives for doing the same thing).

I know, I know, "they" started "it." Whatever. If you can't endorse someone taking a positive step toward a fair and equitable compromise between content providers and consumers, at least recognize the fact that one of those "evil corporations" is reaching out, even just a little.

And before the privacy nutjobs come out of the woodwork, do you think that your cable box and/or ISP don't already have the capacity to track what you do? Having watermarks is no more an invasion of privacy than having a Safeway club card or a commercial DVR. All that matters is what you DO with that information.

Re:You people are absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370747)

Wake up and face the fact that fair use is dying

You can pry it from my cold dead hands. If anything, the idea that data can be sold more than once to someone whom you don't trust is dying. Some people who are oblivious to the digitally networked world just haven't caught up yet.

Re:You people are absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370785)

The idea of selling data is dying? Like how the consulting industry has exploded and the software industry posting massive profits quarter after quarter? Maybe you mean how people merrily buy DVDs and CDs even though they're available for free on torrents? Gee, I guess you're right.

Where does the content come from if it can't be made available in low cost copies to reimburse the author (and his greedy agents)? More importantly, where does that content GO? If only the wealthy and the government can afford to commission works of art and music and no one wants to pay taxes for the arts, where does the general public get its material?

Re:You people are absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370919)

buy DVDs and CDs even though they're available for free on torrents?

DVDs and CDs are not available for free. You can't download pizza. It is important to be precise about what the product really is. Consulters don't sell information, they sell expertise (that's a service, not just data.) The software industry is the perfect example for my point: While commodity software still makes good profits, it is being attacked left and right by free (and often open source) software. The games market in particular is moving from a sell-a-product model to a sell-a-service model, with subscriptions to online game worlds.

How this is going to turn out, I don't know, but I know what isn't going to work: Selling data for more than the price of the convenience of not having to look for it in illegal channels. Convenience is the product, not the data. This means one thing: Legitimate customers must not be required to jump through hoops in any way, shape or form. The convenience advantage over getting a torrent is what's being sold, so that needs to be maximized and priced accordingly. Unfortunately the industry is killing itself by making that advantage negative all too often (ever wonder how many pirates have to sit through FBI warnings and trailers before they can watch a movie?)

No. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370845)

This country was not founded on the Articles of Confederation. It was not founded on the Constitution. It was founded on the Boston Tea Party. A bunch of guys went onto a ship carrying the wares of a state-enabled, repressive trade federation and threw their shit in the water.

You can call them hysterical too if you want but they gave birth to a great Republic with great ideals. I spend four hundred dollars a month to run the highest bandwidth Tor exit node I can. I don't filter BitTorrent. I know that this encourages piracy; this is why I do it. I consider it patriotic. I consider it as much my duty as an American as I consider gun ownership a duty. And I will continue to throw their fucking tea in the water, because it is the right thing to do.

Watermarking schemes are ludicrous, as is DRM. Their continued failure to read and comprehend the Microsoft Darknet paper is the only reason this scheme exists.

You know a few weeks ago at Blackhat in DC some guy from a RFID card company, HID, came out to tell the crowd why they had sued one of the presenters off the floor. He got up in front of a podium and told everyone that America is founded on patent law. Some funny little guy with glasses stood up and said "um, I'm from the ACLU, and I just want to say that, um, America is founded on freedom".

His approach was a bit lacking, it would have been better with a megaphone and a shotgun, but then the ACLU doesn't believe in gun rights. The point is that you can preach your corporate ankle-grabbing to people till your face turns blue. You won't stop people like me.

And we're going to keep dumping tea in the water.

That's especially ludicrous... (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371191)

You know a few weeks ago at Blackhat in DC some guy from a RFID card company, HID, came out to tell the crowd why they had sued one of the presenters off the floor. He got up in front of a podium and told everyone that America is founded on patent law.

That's especially ludicrous since American industry was actually founded on the VIOLATION of English IP law - breaking the mercantilist system that attempted to limit the colonists to producing raw materials for, and buying finished products from, British companies.

Re:You people are absurd (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370891)

If you continually indicate that you're not willing to work with content providers at all, then don't expect content providers to have any consideration for your interests.

If they want to sell anything at all, they'll listen to congress - all we have to do is fight for our rights. Compromising with these people will only result in them coming back later asking for another compromise that pushes the line further in our direction. What we need is legislation explicitly protecting our rights to enrich the public domain. No fair use, no copyright.

Oh, brother! (5, Informative)

xigxag (167441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370689)

I hate it when the editorial team tries to sound smart but totally messes it up. This has nothing to do specifically with "DSL Gateways." It's about videos coming through your cable or slingbox-like set top box (STB) being watermarked as they are being played or displayed. So that if you attempt to record said video, it will go out with your box's personal watermark on it. This is to discourage people from uploading TV shows or stuff they get off cable. It won't do jack shit to stop you from bittorrenting DVD rips or files you've gotten from other people.

Re:Oh, brother! (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371139)

And I would expect it would be a trivial matter of simply running a single program against a mpeg file to strip out the offending bits before seeding.

I *suspect* it would take about 24-48 hours from release of this technology for it to be worked around.

Same old excuses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370693)

"The idea is to slow down piracy without limiting the use of the consumer. They should not be upset about this unless they are widely redistributing content," said Pascal Marie, responsible for strategic marketing at the company's content security division.

Ahh yes, the old "If you aren't guilty, then you have nothing to worry about" excuse..

Watermarking cannot work this way (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370741)

LOL, I hate to point this out to the Einsteins who are making this but all you would need to do is run two of these boxes on two different accounts and diff the resulting output of the two fixed length videos, eliminating any element that are not common to both. Wa la, no more watermark. It does not matter where they put the watermark. If you remove anything that is not the exactly same in both streams, it may still leave a sign a watermark was there but anything that is unique about them by definition must be removed so they will not know who it belonged to. Even if they modify the length of the videos each time it plays slightly, you will just need more copies. If the signal is digital it becomes so much easier. It is relatively simple to write a pattern recognition algorithm that will sync the videos, diff, and remove the watermarks perfectly. In addition if they do try to warp the videos in someway each time they play and you can watch them more than once you may not even need two boxes because The slight variance between to nearly identical copies means that if you watch the same file say three times you can purge it yourself as each version will have a watermark slightly out of sync with the other. This last method assumes no portion of the watermark is always fixed, but even if it was, the fact it is fixed would give you a target to be removed. What more each time this was done more and more information would be gathered about how they are watermarking it. In time you would be able to write an program that would detect and remove the watermark with no need to have multiple copies at all. Why this seems to be so hard for people to understand seems to be failure of understanding basic mathematics in the US. On a final note, the one thing this method would have trouble doing might be to remove any sign that some form of watermark had been on the video at some point. It would not say who did it but it might say it was done so it would tell the MPAA one thing, that this company's product was failing and exactly how often. Seems really bad for their business if you ask me.

AKA this is milarky, another company trying to make money off stupid movie industry execs. When will they get the fact they are being bilked by these guys. This one is not even clever.

Re:Watermarking cannot work this way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370823)

run two of these boxes on two different accounts and diff the resulting output

Hate to break it to you, but that way they will not only know which two boxes were used to "eliminate" the watermark, they will also have rock-solid proof that you know you were in the wrong and tried to evade the law. The only thing you can achieve by comparing the output of two boxes is finding if there is an individual watermark.

failure of understanding basic mathematics

of which you are a shining example. You obviously have no idea what is possible.

Re:Watermarking cannot work this way (2, Insightful)

darkreaper00 (978543) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371047)

I hate to point this out to the Einsteins who are making this but all you would need to do is run two of these boxes on two different accounts and diff the resulting output of the two fixed length videos, eliminating any element that are not common to both. ...
This one is not even clever.
You mean to tell me you expect to rip from two sources and the only difference will be the watermark? You are dreaming more than the company hawking the technology.
 
If their watermark is something persistent in every frame, seems like it would be trivial to remove, but I wonder how clever they actually are. My guess is that it won't be visible to the eye, and it'll be dynamic -- the bits they're adding might be in different locations throughout the feed (so that you can't just add a bit of your own noise of a similar sort to muck it up).

This is actually similar to the "invisible spots" made by your inkjet printers.

Anyway, I'm sure some of the geeks employed to implement this stuff are smart enough to deserve a bit of credit.

-1 Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371061)

all you would need to do is run two of these boxes on two different accounts and diff the resulting output of the two fixed length videos


Since monitors can display more detail than the human eye can see, it is trivial to introduce lots of small random differences which a human won't notice but a diff will. You'll just end up discarding most of the video itself, and you won't even get rid of the entire watermark.

Re:Wa la is cute (1)

umeboshi (196301) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371199)

I think you really mean "voila"

Re:Watermarking cannot work this way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371203)

um, don't the big guys intercept and decrypt the satellite broadcasts to the local station so as to get the broadcast before it is aired, or get it in some other cool way before the thing is shown on TV? oops, I may have just spoiled their secret...

so how does watermarking help when good pirates get the broadcast before it has aired?

Compromise? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370773)

How about making it legal to download copies? It would still be illegal to sell someone else's copyrighted material. However, in addition to making it legal to download copies, the government would make them a tax-exempt organization.

Now, tell me, would the companies supposedly losing money to piracy end up having more money if they were tax exempt as opposed to going around suing people (which makes them look like a bad guy) and such?

ssh(oot) (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370807)

I guess ya got us there, buddy.


No way to get around that security, by golly.

WARNING (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370815)

The DVD you got from Netflix has a watermark, so if it is pirated, we will KNOW that it is either you or one of the other 412 people who got the same disk!!!

Why Pirate? (1, Troll)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370835)

Why is piracy so staunchly defended in the tech community? I know rationalizations like fair use are quoted but the truth is people want free movies and music. The piracy on this scale and technology are a recent thing. I know it was the stone age but when I was growing up people saved up for a record album, yes I mean vinyl records. If they couldn't aford it they just listened to the radio. There's nothing in the Constitution about free exchange of copyrighted material, if I record a song you don't own it I do. I know this is a troll post because it's not bashing copyright holders but at the core this is about people wanting to avoid paying for music and movies.

Re:Why Pirate? (2, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370975)

---Why is piracy so staunchly defended in the tech community? I know rationalizations like fair use are quoted but the truth is people want free movies and music.

It's simpler than that. The rest of us apply for a job, and then do the work required for money delivered. Muscicans and such do things backwards: they do the job then whine when somebody uses the service already performed without paying for it. Then they want "protections" so they can do things backwards.

Well, reality recently caught up with content makers. Either switch to a "Agree to pay, do work, then pay" like everybody else does, or shut up.

---The piracy on this scale and technology are a recent thing.

It's not MY problem their business model is being outdated as we speak. Perhaps when the fat cats are out of business or whatever, smaller guys who're willing to change will take place.

---I know it was the stone age but when I was growing up people saved up for a record album, yes I mean vinyl records. If they couldn't afford it they just listened to the radio. There's nothing in the Constitution about free exchange of copyrighted material, if I record a song you don't own it I do.

The law is on their side. Precedent is on their side, as are much money in the politicians' pockets. But the majority of the people in the US isnt on their side. Because of this, they must change to a position that is supported.

---I know this is a troll post because it's not bashing copyright holders but at the core this is about people wanting to avoid paying for music and movies.

Well, I AM a troll and this doesnt even come close to a troll post. You're spot on WRT copyright law.

free shuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370999)

because we like free stuff. We are not going to buy everything we might like, not enough money for starters.

it's kind of like if you had a machine that could materialize food out of nothing, and then telling poor people they can't pirate the food.

same deal. digital data is infinitely reproducable at little to no cost. There is no moral grounds for hording it.

Re:Why Pirate? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371011)

Techies understand the nature of information, especially how a world wide network affects its proliferation. If people want to get paid for making movies, they need to find a way to get paid that doesn't rely on working against the nature of information. There will be no copyright in 50 years.

Anti-piracy technology undermines fair use (2, Interesting)

ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371111)

Do you use a VCR? There's a show that you really want to watch, but you have another appointment. The broadcast flag is designed to prevent people from recording television shows for personal use. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcast_flag/ [wikipedia.org] VCRs were declared legal by the Supreme Court, which the content providers want to overrule. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Corp._of_America _v._Universal_City_Studios%2C_Inc./ [wikipedia.org] The purpose of this is to make you pay for the episode which you already paid your cable bill for. The cable company pays the television channel for access and you paid the cable company. This is even more warped in countries like the United Kingdom which have a television tax.

If I own a DVD, I think I should be able to rip the video from it so I can watch it on a portable device. I paid for the DVD, the company which made the movie received its cut. The DMCA prevents me from legally ripping the video. This is to make me pay for a second copy of the same movie.

The nature of mandatory DRM hurts open source audio/video players (read more about this in the broadcast flag link). This closes the market to companies with innovative ideas and makes manufacturers follow the draconian rules of the RIAA/MPAA. The heart of a free market is the ability of new competitors to enter a market.

This is very similar to treating every Arab as if they were a terrorist. Imagine if you wanted to watch a movie and a permanent record is kept on a corporate server. If it's porn, I hope you never want to run for public office. If it's about a medical condition you have, I hope your insurance company doesn't find out. Why would you want to give up your rights so that a few companies can continue to enforce their cartel?

As far as the economic damage of piracy, Microsoft has admitted that when someone pirates software, they hope that it's their software http://techdirt.com/articles/20070312/165448.shtml / [techdirt.com] . A pirated copy is compared to a demo copy which might lead to a future sale. Windows has been frequently pirated, has Microsoft gone out of business? Several of the richest men in the world (including the richest) have made their fortune from this company which has been "victimized" by piracy.

I believe that stiff efforts need to be in place to stop the selling of pirated material. I just don't want to be monitored, digitally handcuffed or otherwise screwed over because the RIAA/MPAA wants to blame a bad year on someone other than themselves.

Consumers or pirates? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370847)

Sorry, but he's talking about discouraging consumers from making copies by letting them know the watermarking is there. Consumers are not the same thing as pirates. Fuck them for constantly trying to portray every example of fair use or innocent sharing as some sort of fucking international mafia ring conspiracy to exploit their content for billions of dollars. Keep treating us like shit so I can enjoy it when I cancel my cable subscription forever.

Re:Consumers or pirates? (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370913)

So the consumers find something ostensibly "off-limits" to them because of magic invisible watermarks, while for the pirates it's business as usual as soon as they figure out how to strip the identifying data. This isn't about fighting piracy at all, it's about quietly taking a slice of Average Joe's rights as a consumer away, and having him pay for the privilege.

Re:Consumers or pirates? (1)

quick2think (833211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370987)

First off, I am a privacy freak, and I see nothing wrong with this. If you copy and share, you are a pirate. Watermarking is a fair weapon to use in copyright infringement. They are honest about it, claim to allow fair use, and have not taken the "tool" away. What "fair use" becomes in time is the real issue, and as I see it the battle to fight. Also,in comment to the first post, last I knew, the set top box belonged to the cable/satellite company. It is no different than a rental car company putting a governor on your rental car to make sure you abide by the law. With your argument it would be like complaining about the license plate to identify the car you rent. Any step towards not crippling the hardware is a step towards a fair policy. Computers don't copy music, users do. Once a proper watermark is agreed upon, then more automated controls can be put in place to identify and take actions as necessary if you have copyrighted material to protect. The real trick is to make the technology available to everyone, not just the big companies companies involved with most media. I agree with you though, you should cancel your cable and spend more time on /. or buy a book.

no thanks (1)

mrtexe (1032978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370915)

No thanks. I don't want the electricity I'm paying for to be used in greater quantities than otherwise by an Internet router that is using the extra energy to work semiconductors harder to accomplish that which does not benefit me, only someone else (to wit, movie owners). If the MPAA wants to help pay my electric bill, however, I would be glad to adopt this new technological advance.

problems with this (1)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370917)

How does a file passing through one of these devices get tagged? I would assume that they would attempt to modify some of the bytes in the stream. This is going to be detected on one end by doing a md5sum and the hashes not matching up. Also, if they modify bytes in transit, they could mangle a file easily if done incorrectly. They may even be liable for damages by purposely selling broken hardware.

fucking theives (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18370971)

go fist fuck yourselves. you're fucking it up for those of us who are honest customers. you're nothing more than a bunch of rump roasting faggots sucking dicks in dirty alleyways. fucking faggots.

Unenforceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371007)

Watermarks can be broken. The same video from 2 different units can be analyzed to find the watermark signature and reverse engineer it. Suddenly you can put any watermark you want on the video to frame someone, or you can remove it. Or someone can reverse engineer the unit that adds the watermark.

You can't enforce with law something that can be forged. Its kind of like what they say about timecode in strange brew...those are very difficult to fake...

I have a solution to this copyright problem (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371027)

You replace all the FBI warnings, pre-movie adverts and anti-copying technology with a single screen which says in large letters:

"If you copy this, you are a poopy head."

The stigma alone has the power to stop ALL piracy worldwide, even in asia, because once you call someone a poopy head, there's no way you can save face...

Easy to Unmark (0, Redundant)

Deewun (1059450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371123)

1. Copy the original video stream to your hard drive.
2. Re-encode the video. There will be a small loss in quality, but the end result will be acceptable. The watermark will be altered or obliterated.
3. slashdot meme
4. Profit!

TV over IP? MultiCast? Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18371155)

Any data grabbed from the local DSL providers TV service that I legally subscribe to is multicast, I can capture the data straight from the DSL line, without it ever going through the "decoder box" and subsequent reencoding by the tv tuner ... as for would I put this stuff on the internet? Hells no, it's not full resolution.

Right
DSL(multicast IP, mpeg4)->PC (MPEG-4)

WRONG
DSL (multicast mpeg4)->Decoder box(Analog)->Capture card(Mpeg2)->Transcode to mpeg4 storage.

FYI, the TV boxes have nearly the same specs as the first gen xboxes.

Compress b4 Upload (1)

ZeroNullVoid (886675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371197)

This is exactly why once implemented in every gateway we will compress the videos and password protect them. We will then have web services or use shell to extract the videos using the password provided, thus bypassing the ability to watermark out videos we upload. Gee, this technology seems like a swing and a miss. Not that I would distribute pirated media.
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