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AACS is better than CSS for consumers

Ben Drawbaugh

Bashing the latest DRM is all the rage, I hate DRM as much as the next guy, but I supposed I have already dealt with the fact that it is a necessary evil. Part of the reason I don't mind it that much is because most DRM is cracked fast enough that it doesn't bother me too much.

CSS is the encryption used to protect DVD content and has been cracked since 99, which is only two years after it was released. The funny thing is that CSS is actually more restrictive than the latest DRM; AACS. Among other features AACS supports managed copy and over 480i output via analog. CSS didn't support either of features and this is a major reason that people were motivated to crack it. It seems that content providers are starting to get the hint when it comes to DRM, they realize that DRM that is too restrictive will not be adopted. With any luck a new bill will be passed that will allow us to bypass DRM when it violates our right for "Fair Use".

One of the biggest fallacies about AACS is the requirement to "phone home". This may have been considered early in the AACS development, but it didn't make the final cut. According to a AACS rep an Internet Connection will never be required for normal playback. On the other hand it MAY be required to utilize the "Managed Copy" feature. The Managed copy feature is the part of the AACS that is up in the air until all the details are worked out. In the end managed copy will probably require a connection to the clearing house. This is not cool, but worth the price. We will be able to put a AACS protected disc into our PC and save it to the hard drive to playback later or watch it in another room. If they didn't require a connection to the clearing house, how else could they tell I just didn't rent the movie and copy it to my PC?

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