Image Processing Reference
While this situation persists, the organized criminals will be prepared to invest far
more time, resources, and effort into cracking a system than the content providers are pre-
pared to invest in protecting their systems.
The current climate is a no-win situation, so a new kind of strategy must be devel-
oped, one that offers the content in a way that can be purchased legitimately at a more rea-
sonable price but also makes each copy of a movie unique in some way and therefore
If consumers feel that they are somehow accountable, then maybe they will be less
willing to offer casual copies to their friends. If a pirated copy can be traced back to the
person that purchased the original from the supplier or the official that was responsible
for the safekeeping of a master copy, then this might make people pay more attention to
the rights of the content provider.
But if this continues to prop up artificially high prices for the media, it is more likely
that the pirates will work out how to remove this tracing data in order to protect their own
Bolting Stable Doors When the Horse Is Long Gone
Some experts are beginning to argue that stopping people from copying the material is a
wasted effort. Arguably, the content providers are ignoring the status quo—the fact that
every household capable of watching digital content probably has an analog VCR.
Connecting up the equipment such that the digital box is routed through the VCR and
then to the TV set allows an analog copy to be made very easily.
Some analog protection mechanisms might impede this but techniques for circum-
venting that have been in existence for a long time and are well known.
Some rights-protection proposals suggest that keeping the signals digital all the way
to the loudspeakers and video display will secure the content. They fail to realize that you
simply have to impedance-match and attenuate the level of the speaker drive signals and
feed them into your recording apparatus. Then you can make a perfect analog copy of the
audio. The process is not much harder for the video. The industry is in some kind of denial
about the fact that the human sensory organs are all analog. But these protection systems
are all a waste of time and effort because they won't stop the pirates.
All of the broadcasters and movie-content owners become concerned about the potential
reuse of their footage. This also applies when segments are extracted and used for other
This is a difficult area to police because some content is intended to be reused. Stock
footage from video libraries and now the BBC creative archives initiative make available
a vast quantity of historical material.
The rights-control system must determine whether a particular fragment of video is
allowed to be copied or must be prohibited from being used as part of another program.