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,
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.