Sunday, October 19, 2008

AACS Challange

Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is an encryption technology for HD DVD and Blu-Ray Discs. The purpose of this technology is to restrict the ability of the consumer to copy the content and to allow the disk manufactures to control the use of the digital media. Since the purpose of this technology is to limit the consumer; how is it a benefit to the consumer?

website lists consumer "benefits". Among the so-called benefits: 1) A superior viewing experience, 2) Greater flexibility in managing the content, 3) Enabling groundbreaking home entertainment choices, and 4) Platform independence.

I fail to see how the use of an encryption technology can provide any of those "benefits". The whole purpose for using an encryption technology is to enhance the ability of the content creator to limit consumer control. For example, one can have a superior viewing experience without the use of this technology. In fact this technology has the capability to degrade your viewing experience if it does not like the disk that you are using. Ed Felten at Freedom to Tinker wrote: "My lab, for example, has an HD-DVD drive and some discs, which we have used for research purposes. But as far as I know, none of the computer monitors we own are AACS-approved, so we have no way to watch our lawfully purchased HD-DVDs on our lawfully purchased equipment." Furthermore, with an unencrypted disk one can directly access the data and manage the content. The assertion by AACS that the consumer will benefit is Orwellian Newspeak. A shameful abuse of the English language and a disingenuous marketing practice.

My challenge, will AACS provide real concrete examples of consumer "benefits".

Updated: 10/24/2008

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