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New Blu Ray Copy Protections to Watch Out For

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At BurnWorld my team and I rate and review the best DVD software for Mac & Windows. We also maintain a product review site at where we invite guest bloggers to add their product reviews.

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With the advent of a new disc based format (BD) or Blu Ray which offers larger storage capacity (up to 50GB per disc) comes a new breed of copy control.  This digital rights management is a way of keeping the general public from casually making copies of discs and handing them out to their friends.

Digital rights management (DRM) is the term that is used to describe a protective mechanism that is used by copyright holders and disc based manufacturers to limit the use of copyrighted digital content. It is standard practice to include one form or another when authors

burn Blu Ray discs and this is supported by all of the major movie distribution companies to prevent you from being a distributor of their works.  This is good practice to limit pirating and unauthorized  selling of digital movies, but in reality these schemes are usually cracked within days of being released and for the most part people only want to be able to make a duplicate for backup reasons since this type of media is prone for damage such as scratches and breaks.  And let’s not forget one of the kids accidentally misplacing it.

For the more technically inclined and for those of you with a curiosity on how disc are protected here are some terms to watch out for the next time you buy a Blu Ray movie.

  • AACS – The Advanced Access Content System is the most widely used form of protection found on nearly all Blu Ray discs manufactured today.  Backed by large media companies like Warner Bros., IBM, and Disney this protection was designed to cryptically encode the video contents on a disc and are set to only play back when an authorized player which contains the ‘unlock’ key can decode the encryption and play the movie as it was meant to be viewed.
  • BD-ROM Mark – Is an authoring process used while putting the disc together before the final cut is sent to the press.  Basically the digital sequences are put in a random order and by providing the ’Mark’ in this the playback devices will construct the correct playback sequence and play in the correct order.
  • Region Codes – Just like what you would find on DVD discs, region codes are still used on Blu Ray movies to prevent discs in one country from being played in other counties.   Manufacturers make hardware players specific for regions or counties and discs must be produced for these players.  Studios like Universal Studios release their movies on region free discs as do a few others, but the majority add regions to their discs.
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How Can One Remove Copy Protections?

Ever since the blank cassette tape was introduced people are always wanting to make a copy of their media, whether it’s an audio CD, downloaded MP3, or Video disc.  With DVD’s this was the first time we saw a preventive measure put in place so we could not do this easily.  The same is true for Blu Ray.  But like all good technology there are ways around it and that is where Blu Ray Copy software comes in handy.  This software just like its DVD sister is built with the decryption keys built in to handle all the form of copy protection found on today’s Blu Ray discs.  Most applications run in the background looking for these keys and when found apply the decryption so you can freely use the video on the disc or to make a bit for bit copy.

So is using Blu Ray Software Legal?

The laws are a bit fuzzy when it comes to consumers bypassing copy protections.  I’ll just say this, copy protections are added to discs for a reason and bypassing them is illegal in most countries. But the Millennium Digital Copyright Act gives some freedom to those that are the original purchasers of a disc that want to make a personal backup, so be sure that this is the reason you want to use while using a Blu Ray copy app.  There is no need to get mixed up with the law.  So now you are familiar with the latest Blu Ray protection terms, hopefully you also know your rights when it comes to using content on Blu Ray discs.


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