BluRay Replication – Paying For Nothing

In a previous post I lamented the high costs of BluRay replication for short runs (less than 5,000 pieces).

These costs can be attributed directly to the mandatory copy protection scheme (DRM) for the BluRay specification. Not only will a company like my wife’s (Dubs by Pam) have to pay a one-time fee to place orders on behalf of her customers. Her customers will have to pay a per-title fee. And these fees are non-trivial for these types of short runs, $5500 for the duplication house, $1900 for each title (according to Larry Jordan on Digital Production Buzz).

Why, I ask myself, must they (the AACS) keep ringing us up for copy protection when almost none of our clients want to pay for it now or for the foreseeable future?

Ars Technica has the rather in-my-face-now-that-I’m-looking-for-it answer: The AACS needs to keep paying for continual development of new DRM schemes because they know they’ll be cracked every few months. I betch’a if my accountant took a look at their books, that line item on their Income Statement is probably the budget for creating new “uncrackable” codes.

What a joke.

The only way the large motion picture distributors will ever be able to keep their content from being illegally distributed is to implement DRM directly in the human optical system. Otherwise, if they want us to buy their DVDs to watch a movie at home – at some point the signal must be decrypted for the digital-to-analog conversion and that will always be the point of attack. You can’t have mass distribution while having a lock-solid distribution method – then it’s not mass distribution.

So. The AACS maintains the fiction of DRM for the movie studios and the rest of us have to pay. Literally.

I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining too loudly – it makes services such as those offered by Dubs by Pam that much more economically feasible…

Still – the short-sightedness of the whole DRM racket is stunning.

– pi

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