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TTR Anti-Piracy DVD Prototype To Be Available This Summer

by Debbie Galante Block

June 02, 2020 | A DVD anti-piracy technology prototype is expected to become available this summer from TTR Technologies, Inc. with commercial product expected by spring of 2001. Marc Tokayer, chairman and CEO of TTR, says that it will be the first technology on the market specifically focusing on copying from one DVD to another. Currently, the only technology available to prevent illegal copies of digital content are designed to prevent piracy from DVD to VHS.

Up until now, DVD piracy has been a non-issue, partly because of the market penetration, but also because DVD-recorders and media are simply much too expensive to make copying a viable enterprise. Industry analysts expect that will change in the next year or so. The CPTWG (Copy Protection Technical Working Group of the DVD Forum) has not ignored the potential problem and has been considering technology to recommend for standardization. TTR, however, is not prepared to wait for that recommendation to begin marketing its product.

TTR's Chief Scientist, Baruch Sollish, has developed technology that incorporates a digital signature as well as content encryption which will affect DVDs much in the same way the company's MusicGuard technology protects CDs. (Although not in use as yet, two independent record labels, Warlock and Strictly Rhythm have announced their intent to incorporate MusicGuard into their releases). Unlike most other anti-piracy technologies, TTR involves the replicator in implementing the solution.

With the addition of a circuit board to the mastering machine, this signature will be applied by the replicator during the mastering process. "In the first version of our yet unnamed product," Tokayer says. "We will not need firmware, but in subsequent releases, there will be firmware in the playback devices which will check the digital signature of DVDs and be able to play the content if it is found, in fact, to be authentic," says Tokayer. "The nice thing about DVD is that it is the same format regardless of the disc's content (audio, video, or ROM). If we have a signature which works for one format, it will work for all, which is not the case with CDs," he adds.

Although software piracy is a real issue, particularly in areas outside the United States such as Asia, CD-ROM publishers have been resistant to anti-piracy technology solutions because of their often prohibitive cost. Tokayer says that it is too soon to quote the specific costs of TTR's DVD product, but he did say that after installing the circuit board in the mastering device, there is no further cost of goods. "Of course the publishers will need to pay a royalty for the protection, but the idea is to prove to them that they will get that money back in increased sales. My feeling is that because content on DVDs is more expensive, we will be able to get a higher royalty."

Real-world testing of the product is going on at Media Morphics, a subsidiary of replication equipment manufacturer Toolex International NV, Veldhoven, the Netherlands. As with its MusicGuard technology, TTR intends to work out a deal with Macrovision to do its marketing. Macrovision is a leading marketer of DVD-Video and CD-ROM copyright protection products. "Initially, we will focus our product on video because we feel that will be where the growth is. From there, we will have to see how the consumer electronics industry develops the format," Tokayer explains.

TTR, with offices in New York, and an R&D; center in Kfar Sava, Israel (www.ttrtech.com), is by no means a new company, nor has its philosophy changed. Established in 1994, TTR has worked to commercialize several anti-piracy technologies including MusicGuard and its original DiscGuard (EMedia Professional: CD, DVD Piracy, The Replicator, The User, and The Technology-December 1997). Making the replicator part of the solution has always been key. In 1997, Nimbus CD International (now Technicolor) had the exclusive rights to manufacture DiscGuard-protected CD and DVD discs on a worldwide basis for six months.

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