back to article DRM on steroids controls backfires on Blu-ray

The introduction of a new form of encryption control for Blu-ray discs last week has been accompanied by playback snags and worse, on a number of players. 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer and The Day After Tomorrow are the first two Blu-ray releases to feature BD+, a virtual-machine technology which allows content providers to …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Serves you right...

    If you were dumb enough to buy a product with DRM. Sony and the MPAA are doubtlessly laughing as they stole your money and now get to screw you up the arse as well.

  2. Dan
    Thumb Down

    Hacked for what?

    Virtual machine technology to check if the machine has been hacked, but hacked for what? Region coding (thought this didn't exist on one of the two HD formats?), pirate copies or what? DRM is doing my f***ing head in. Just as with Vista etc, the biggest headache isn't using it, it's licensing the f***ing thing...

  3. Morely Dotes
    Thumb Down

    Blu-Ray == Sony == Rootkits

    Remember the Sony/BMG audio CD rootkit? Remember the Sony USB thumbdrive rootkit?

    Why would anyone be thick enough to believe that Sony hasn't boobytrapped Blu-Ray with some kind of rootkit?

    This version of Technology Users' Rights Denial System (aka DRM, but more properly known as TURDS) is just more proof that Sony wants to control all your technology - with or without your permission.

    Be smart; don't buy anything with TURDS in.

  4. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    Could be worse...

    "4: Rise of the Silver Surfer and The Day After Tomorrow are the first two Blu-ray releases to feature BD+"

    Is it possible this DRM glitch is actually doing people a favour? I mean, who'd want to actually watch that shite?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet again

    All this anti-piracy crap customers are being forced to deal with when buying the 'latest and greatest' media playback technology is yet again pissing off the legitimate buyers, those who pirate generally have it easy, no "would you steal a handbag?" unskippable intros on DVDs (man I hate waiting a few minutes to watch the film I paid for, I want to put it in and immediately start watchnig the film), no problems playing your audio file on almost any mp3 type player as there's no DRM restricting which device(s) the audio file can be played on, CDs that don't play properly on your PC because they screwed with the error bits in a bid to stop copying etc. etc.

    This continual and escalating annoyance turns legitimate buyers into pirates because they're sick of the constant battle they have to deal with to watch/listen to the media they paid for.

  6. B Gracey

    Let it come

    Let the DRM come in full force on Blu-Ray; let the consumers rise up in arms and stop buying the garbage; let us put Sony in their rightful place for trying to force their shabby schemes upon us.

  7. b166er

    Hardware hacked

    Does this mean that a firmware upgrade from the manufacturer will be seen as a hardware hack? If not, surely all hardware hackers have to do is emulate the function by which a manufacturers firmware upgrade passes and bingo! Bit like the Vista BIOS hack? This cops'n'robbers game is getting a bit long in the tooth, eh?

  8. Nano nano


    So if the DRM causes inflammation, you put it on steroids ... that makes sense.

  9. Glenn Amspaugh
    Thumb Down

    Customer Serve-us

    Man, I've always bought my movies and songs but shit like this is just about enough to make me turn to bit torrent. What a bunch of fucking shit peddlers the media companies are.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...Pain in the arse stuff. Punishes the legitimate consumer whilst causing next to no inconvenience for the standard pirate. I wouldn't cry if it just vanished off the face of the planet.

  11. Mark


    So how long until some movie comes along and bricks a $500 player?

  12. Rick Brasche

    just what I needed!

    yet another reason to not consider ever buying a PS3. It's a sad sad world where a Microsoft product (the X360) is the demonstrably superior product over Sony. My PS2 is ashamed of it's child, and hides under my Wii. Most likley a 360 will be handling any hi-def jones I might suffer from next Spring.

    Drat, the icons only show a thumbs-up. Wrong finger!

  13. Ryan Stewart

    Saves me money

    I was going to get a dual format player but I am going to wait it out. I dont want to have these guys keep coming out with new DRM crap that makes their stuff unplayable in my player to the point where every few months I have to drag it from my TV room, plug it in, and update it so I can play the new movies.

    Instead I will just stick to downloading off of the internet. Id much rather wait a day or two for it to download than deal with spending lots of cash on potentially useless stuff.

    They are eventually going to make buying it so hard that people will just steal to save themselves the trouble.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Jim


    Sorry, where are you going?

    OS: One that doesn't ring home before I can use it.

    DVDs: Plenty, many regions, regionless player/ripper.

    Media Players: Most of them, you know they play non-DRMed media too?

    MP3 Player: Yup, plays certain DRMed content plus 100% of non-DRMed content (though not all formats).

    So, yes, I do live with devices that support DRM but they are also quite happy playing stuff that hasn't been DRMed. Only a frickin idiot would buy/use a player that ONLY works with DRM.

    And there appears to be no problems with the disks, the problem is with software on said disks that screws the consumer's player. I'm sorry, but it is up to the supplier to provide media that works on my 'standard' player not for me to waste my time playing catch-up to 'fix' my player.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was in a shop today and noticed "300" on Blu-ray was £26 ($52)

    I thought Sony was supposed to be in a battle to establish Blu-ray as a technology? What kind of idiot is going to invest in a Blu-ray movie collection at £26 a movie? And with (even more) DRM trouble too after thier CD fiasco last year!

    It seems like commercial suicide to me. Just glad I don't own Sony shares...

  17. heystoopid
    Thumb Down

    Ha! Ha!

    An excellent reason , why not to spend money to repurchase the existing licence fees , one has already paid for , for a minor improvement in picture quality , which in turn requires major capital expenditure to show the same !

    And as the geek TV show , did point out it was an exercise in futility to squeeze a large display unit in today's tiny shoe box size living rooms where a 14 inch CRT unit is more then adequate !

    Sadly DRM problems will dog this format , in it's short life on the retail shelves !

    With apologies to both Nelson Muntz and Ginger Rogers , Ha! Ha!

  18. Danny


    <sigh> yet another case of self-inflicted foot in mouth disease. Anyone who wants to rip the movie will have done so. Punishing the users who are *actually paying money for the stuff* will end up with them return the crap for a refund.

    To Sony: remember this at your peril. Destroying customer's expectations will be rewarded by them being scared away from making furthur purchases. And in this market there is competition. Remember the Memory Stick incompatibility fiasco? I do.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just keep complaining

    You have to keep the heat up on these weasels with attitudes they think they have the god given right to rip you off don't buy it and they will stop or they will be down on the street dealing blow jobs for beer money.

  20. Graham Lockley

    Blu-Ray ready for mainstream ?

    How can they consider this medium as mainstream when you have to hook up your player to a broadband connection to get a disk to work ? Guess what ? NOT EVERYONE HAS AN INTERNET CONNECTION.

    Even if they did, do they imagine that the average joe would realise they need a firmware update ? How many 'man-in-the-street' types would actually understand what firmware was ?

    Come back in a few years when you have sorted this sh*t out and Joe Soap can buy a player that just works.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where this is leading....

    If you're familiar with complex industrial software such as FPGA design tools then you'll know that the poor engineers usually spend about as much time fussing with the various licenses and library and program versions as the spend actually doing the work. They have to put up and shut up because its the only way to get the work done. BluRay, though, is supposed to be a consumer product, and the idea of inflicting this kind of BS on the mass market is laughable -- there's so much to test, so many combinations, that stuff isn't going to work. When it doesn't consumers are going to be more than a little inconvenienced -- they're going to be really annoyed.

    I'm avoiding this technology for the time being. HD is a bit of a con anyway -- its a nice picture but for most people the extra resolution on the screen is more than their eyes can handle.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy the disks and....

    then take them back for a refund stating they are not fit for purpose. This will cost the the manufacturers/distributors money and might actually result in them doing something about it.

  23. A J Stiles

    No HD for me

    I don't need any sort of HD player anyway ..... I'm too short-sighted to be able to distinguish 625 lines, never mind 1080.

  24. Paul Stimpson
    Dead Vulture

    Who thought this one up?

    Assuming this is true then BD is a joke. Graham Lockley is right on the money. Early DB adopters are likely to be tech savvy but do Sony really expect the average consumer to understand what firmware is and to update it? It's not going to happen. We all know that firmware updating is not a risk-free process. Will I get my player fixed for free if an update goes wrong and bricks it? What happens if a firmware/DRM update renders some of my existing discs unplayable?

    Sony's rootkit last year phoned home every time you played a disc. Do/can BD movies do that? I bet they could as there is a VM and arbitrary software can be included on the discs. I'm not connecting my player to the internet if it's going to do that. What I watch in the privacy of my own home is my business.

    I can't be the only one that thinks I would be insane to buy a top-price player when I don't know if it will play any new disc that comes out and if it can't how long I will have to wait before it might, if it ever does. Manufacturers can't test their firmware against every disc. Eventually an update will render a player unable to play one or more discs it used to play fine. I'm not even prepared to consider spending over £500 ($1000) on a player and £25 ($50) a disc if there's even the remotest possibility this might happen.

    This is another case of the content providers using a new format to add "bonus" material so they can increase the "value" of media and jack the price up. They did the same when DVD was new. I have some bad news for them. I've never watched the special features on 99% of my discs and I regard the new interactive pop-up junk as an annoyance. I bought that disc because I wanted to watch the movie, plain and simple.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't buy Sony

    It's easy enough - simply don't buy ANYTHING Sony makes. Never mind DRM, Sony treats European customers like third-class customers so anyone in Europe who buys something made by Sony is a moron. No ifs or buts you ARE a moron because you are enriching a company that doesn't give a shit about you and charges you more for the privilege than they charge anywhere else in the world.

    Sony customers should be taken around the back and shot as it would improve the quality of the gene pool :-)

  26. Christian Berger

    There are alternatives you know

    It's not like you have to buy HD-DVD or BR-Disk to get movies in HDTV. There's still videotape. HDV is even sensationally cheap (only 2500 Euro for a complete recorder) and HDCAM offers considerably higher quality than any disk-based format.

    As HDCAM is used as master for many HD formats it obviously is the format with most movies available. :)

    Ohh, and did I already mention that both formats are DRM free?

  27. Moo

    I would better watch

    I would better watch the free movie recorded with a handycam. Oh, wait ,is there one? I'm in!...

  28. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Well, that saved me a bob or two

    That's decided me: I was going to buy a nice shiny BD player, but now......................

    No thanks.

  29. Misha Gale

    re: There are alternatives you know

    €2500 is sensationally cheap? Lend us a grand then mate.

  30. Pete "oranges" B.

    RE: Okay

    "For those who have said they won't buy anything with DRM..

    1>What OS are you running?

    2>Do you own any DVD's?

    3>What media players do you have installed?

    4>What MP3 player do you own?

    5>Anyone else see where this is going?"

    1. SUSE 10.0

    2. Maybe 50 or so. Only about 5 of those are commercial ones, the rest were made with a stand alone recorder.

    3. Amarok, XMMS, and a few others, the only commercial one is Real but its only their because I forgot to remove when the distro was installed, it's never used.

    4. Creative Zen Stone

    5. Not really....

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Software update on Blu-ray

    No worries, just download the patch...


    ...the initial Blu-ray spec doesn't require players to have a network port.

    Ah, time for Plan B then.

    Score another plus for HD-DVD then.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps The Registers article should be updated...

    According to this site, not mine,, it is not BD+ to blame, but actually the Java part, and therefore an update is required.

    As much as I like Java, I do not necessarily think it was a good idea to implement it in the BD spec, and the 3 different profiles is not helping either, but last time I read about it, it was still the better selling format, despite some peoples feelings about it.

    On the DRM side of Blu-ray: since the general population runs Windows, resulting in a mighty marketshare, I would venture the guess that people do not care about DRM as much as people here do. I am not saying DRM is good, but perhaps in general, people have better things to do with their lives than to complain about DRM - perhaps they just want to watch the movies - just a thought.

    The DRM system on DVDs was accepted gladly by the consumer, and everybody hated CSS back then - today nobody speaks about CSS because it was broken - it also happened with AACS and that was earlier in the game than with CSS and AACS is a more complex algorithm, on the paper. Since a Blu-ray is static, I would guess that it will not be long before BD+ is broken also - since these 2 Fox releases were the first discs known to utilize it, the hackers have not yet had anything material to work with, and now they got it.

  33. Alex Hawdon

    re:Software update on Blu-ray

    also, is there a 'Blu-ray owner spec' that specifies that owners must have an Internet connection?

    If they really wanted that much control then why not do a deal with the mobile phone networks and have it phone-home that way? It's hardly going to cost very much to put GSM-ness in each unit and it would make the consumer control so much easier...

    The whole thing is laughable, but unfortunately inevitable.

    I'm just praying that something good rises out of the ashes of the media giants' empires. Sadly I fear this may not be the case as they refuse to die quietly and instead are determined to piss as many people off as possible in the process; driving people toward free, pirated media. Once people are used to getting something for free it changes their mindset and devalues future work.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony Formats

    Teach these idiots a lesson and boycott this format.

    Let's hope it goes the way of Betamax, MiniDisc. SA-CD etc.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sony Formats

    "Let's hope it goes the way of Betamax, MiniDisc. SA-CD etc."

    Nowt wrong with MiniDisc, although the fact that its now effectively an audio-only format was a result of Sony insisting that some sort of 'firewall' exist between the MD recorder and the host machine for data use (a bit of a pity - could have killed the Zip drive stone dead in its time). Currently I'm using minidisc for audio mastering as its cheaper than a 4 or 8-track recorder and you can put together a righteous mix on an LP4 MD.

    It would be nice if they'd open the ATRAC format up, but I can't see it happening. As it stands, I've got an MD-LP walkman which will effectively stop me from purchasing any of the overpriced bits of tat collectively known as 'MP3 players' until such time as it shuffles off to silicon heaven.

    It would also be nice if the people responsible for inflicting SonicStage on the world were dragged into an alley and shot. Repeatedly.

  36. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Feet annihilation

    Take a gun... No, belay that! Take a .50 cal Browning heavy machine gun. Aim at one foot. Shoot a long burst. Aim at the other foot. Repeat.

    Tracer and incendiary rounds can be added for greater enjoyment.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    BD involves more than just Sony, is something like 140+ companies. I'm sure you've also noticed that its not actually any of the Sony players nor a Sony Pictures title that have problems playing this disc, but hey, why let the facts get in the way of an anti-Sony rant.

    Whilst DRM on audio content may be on its way out, DRM on video content is here to stay and an unfortunate fact of premium content sourced from Hollywood.

  38. Luke Wells
    Thumb Down

    What is the point of all this DRM rubish?

    DRM doesn't seem to do annything to stop pirates (you can get pretty much anything you want pirate) yet is causes endless problems for consumers (you know the people who actually legally buy the products) Why do people put up with DRM? Why are people buying blueray?

    I thought the RIAA MPAA were using the argument that you are not buying a song/movie.... you are buying a licence to listen/view it. If this is true then why are people paying DOUBLE to get another licence for a film that they might already have a licence for, just becayse it has a higher resolution and also various bits of software/rootkits to try and ruin your player.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anon V

    "Let's hope it goes the way of Betamax, MiniDisc. SA-CD etc..."

    Betamax (in the form of BetaCam, DigiBeta etc) is one of the most used media for recording at boradcast quality in the world.

    MiniDisk, although it didn't take off with pre-recorded music, is used throughout radio and the music industry by sound engineers. It was for a fair while the de facto choice for home recording.

    SA-CD hasn't been spectacularly popular but has carved itself a niche with pre-recorded Classical music.

    Not one of these technologies could be said to be dead.

  40. SImon Hobson Bronze badge
    Jobs Horns

    I'm with Anonymous vulture on this ...

    IF I had a BD player (which I don't, and I'm not likely to until I know that the TURDS is well and truly broken for good), then I'd make a point of taking the disks back OPENED and insist on a refund. Of course, I'd probably get offered an exchange first since it could be a bad disk - so that would mean two disks to go back. Just the same way that if I ever buy a new PC I'll make a point of getting my money back for the Vista virus it'll probably be infected with.

    Ultimately, the TURDS is destined never to be used in anger - no studio is powerful enough to blacklist a major CE manufacturer because they KNOW (though I think they'll never admit) that if they produce a title that doesn't play on a load of machines, then the disk will be blamed and they'll get a load of them back.

    Mind you, can't wait for the clueless twits at the top to try - then we can sit back and watch the fireworks (aka class action lawsuit) !

  41. Mephistro
    Thumb Up

    The best news I've read in days :-)

    This DRM thingy seems like a death sentence for Sony and other DRM backing companies. So I purchase a 40 € BR disc from Sony and there is a big chance it won't work in my 500 € player? That it even could brick it? Screw Sony, and their products. I'm not giving them a single cent of my money. And most people will think the same after suffering this kind of problem.

    Customers won't like this, neither will do video rentals nor BR player resellers.

    BluRay is as good as dead. Cheers.

    A few years ago I had to clean the mess left by the infamous Sony rootkit in several of my customer's machines.

    A few months ago, Sony did the same trick with one of their usb memory sticks.

    They sell their crapware in Europe with a big overprice.

    I'm not giving them my hard earned money. Full stop.

  42. Mectron
    Thumb Down

    Sony and the rest of the crooks

    will never get a penny from me. The motto is: don;t buy anything that have DRM that cannot be cracked. Sony is a criminal corporation that have lost all credibility and no sane person will buy any of their products. The Sony story is now at chapter 11 (bankrupt). The HD format that will win is the one that will be cracked period. beside DRM is illegal by definition as it punish legal users for a crime it did not commit. All my DVDs have been played only once.., to rip them, why will i trust a flimsy shiny plastic disk that is made weak and easly breakable/scratchsble by companies who business model is based on STEALING money.

    There is only one way to get ride of the (c) thiefts. Shutdown the fellowing: MPAA, RIAA, Sony, Macrovision and all company involve in devlopping DRM (and sue them multiple billions for illegally crippling consumer hardware for 25+ years)

    Only when those illegal cartels will be whipedout and only then the real crooks whould be punish and justice will have been served.

    Only in america a company can have: Sueing your own consumers as a business model!

  43. AndyB
    Thumb Down

    A pirates dream

    Why are these dickheads incapable of understanding that DRM actually ENCOURAGES professional piracy.

    Do they not understand that by making home copying all but impossible they are, actually, creating a bigger market for the pirates.

  44. Karl Lattimer

    re: yet again

    "unskippable intros on DVDs man I hate waiting a few minutes to watch the film I paid for, I want to put it in and immediately start watchnig the film"

    I have Freevo ( with a magic button called the "REAL ROOT MENU" button, which skips those crappy ads... After all I'm not the kind of person to kill a police officer, steal his helmet, go to the toilet in his helmet and mail it to his grieving widow, so I don't need to see those ads.

  45. Joerg

    Maybe no one noticed but AACS is DRM just like BD+ ...

    .. you know ?!

    The fact that they "leaked" the crack for AACS just like they did with CSS on DVD previously, it doesn't mean that it's not DRM. Also, AACS has been partially cracked, it will remain cracked as long as the industry wants to, "hackers" will keep appearing here and there with "cracks" if and only if the industry wants to. BD+ could get partially cracked as well in the next few months/years, the fact is.. until they decide to make all the functionality public both DRM systems are not completely crackable by normal people and only those in the know will have the option to decide when,where and how much the systems can be avoided. Remember that both are DRM systems and can be updated if they want to...

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Jacob

    "On the DRM side of Blu-ray: since the general population runs Windows, resulting in a mighty marketshare, I would venture the guess that people do not care about DRM as much as people here do. I am not saying DRM is good, but perhaps in general, people have better things to do with their lives than to complain about DRM - perhaps they just want to watch the movies - just a thought."

    Did you even read the article? People are complaining about DRM *because* they "just want to watch the movies" and the DRM is stopping them.

    The general population isn't complaining about DRM on their PC because they don't really understand it and the fact that a bunch of people who couldn't install a new OS are using what came preloaded is not an endorsement of DRM. Also, people *expect* their computer to crash now and then but they don't expect that from their TV/Hi-Fi set-ups. If this happens with more widespread technology then there will be an outcry.

    If this sort of thing happened with the DVD release of a Disney film, there'd be pictures of crying children on the TV with vox-pops from disgruntled parents.

  47. Tony Peters

    Please play fair

    RTFA. Nice one! How to put a spin on something:

    The Register: 'with loading times on other players (including the PlayStation 3) taking as long as two minutes'

    HighDefDigest: 'The discs appear to play fine on all other Blu-ray players (including the PlayStation 3), although there have been varied reports of lengthy load times of up to two minutes on some players. (We experienced no issues with playback at all on the Sony PS3.)'

    As someone mentioned previously, it seems to be a problem with the java implementation and not the DRM as such. Surely the makers of the drives which have problems (ie. Samsung, LG) should be berated and not Sony? These drives obviously have problems with their software.

    Please stop spinning stories just to get a heated debate. I am not defending DRM in this, I am just wanting a fair article.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    gave up on these disc things along long time ago -

    In fact the other day I went to buy a DVD (Visitor Q and Aliens Special Ed) and I got ID'd, I'm 26 - I don't drive - I don't carry ID O.o Suffice to say I went home and downloaded it safe in the knowledge that in a few hours I would have the movies I wanted - saving me some money in the process and not having some snotty nosed teen blocking my way to entertainment.

    Seriously though, with a good enough connection you can just get content. Wake up saterday think "gee I'm bored" Start downloading a cracked game, watch a movie you downloaded last night. Game downloads you play a bit go "hmm getting boring, best make sure I have something to watch tonight" so you download a few episodes of whatever it is you watch. An other hour and your fed up of the game - but knowing the episodes you're gonna watch are only gonna take you to about nine pm you start downloading some more episodes of something else (there's always something retro to watch, or something foreign.) Basically it's all real convienient - now to do the same with normal media you need to buy hard copies of media, get it posted to you. Wait a few days. Watch. In the case of some stuff you can have a few years to wait until it gets released in a convienent format.

    All the stuff is DRM free, all the stuff just works, hell if you like you can rencode the stuff and burn it (when it isn't in iso form) watch it on the TV or use a media server.

    If these media companies want to make life more difficult at one end they're welcome too. People will just rip the raws and seed them up. Job done. You can rencode anyway you like and watch it on anything you desire.

    Anyway just another reason in a long list of reasons not to bother buying media.

  49. Law
    Gates Horns

    RE: Okay

    1>What OS are you running?

    Ubuntu and Windows XP..... your point?

    2>Do you own any DVD's?

    None of you god-damn business, but for the sake of it I have just over 100, but I stopped buying them when I found I had to watch the same 5 minute piracy warning EVERYTIME I stuck in the disk.

    3>What media players do you have installed?

    Well, aside from the OS defaults, I normally stick in mplayer/VLC/WinAmp. Again, whats your point??

    4>What MP3 player do you own?

    Samsung player, Samsung phone, erm.... my laptop, web-based streaming via MP3Tunes.

    5>Anyone else see where this is going?"

    Yup - to a revolution in the way people own their films and music. There is only so much people are willing to take before they snap, and when they do - the companies wont be able to do shit to save themselves.

    At the end of the day - they work for us... not the other way round!!

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