06:41 AM

Locking down content via chip technologies

Tom Yager, chief technologist of the test center over at InfoWorld (no more paper InfoWorld) wrote an interesting column recently about creating "an unbreakable link between media and its delivery end point."

During a visit to AMD, a representative said new chips "will “block unauthorized access to the frame buffer.”

In short, that means an unauthorized party can’t save the contents of the display to a file on disk unless the content owner approves it.

There is a short list of parties who will be unauthorized to access your frame buffer: You. There is a long list of parties who are authorized to access your frame buffer, and that list includes Microsoft, Apple, AMD, Intel, ATI, NVidia, Sony Pictures, Paramount, HBO, CBS, Macrovision, and all other content owners and enablers that want your machine to themselves whenever you’re watching, listening to, reading, or shooting monsters with their products.

The death of DRM might be a bit premature, as with all the iTunes and EMI coverage seems to imply. (BTW, DRM-free doesn't mean it is legal to share it.)

Mr Yager says that there will will be a distinct benefit to IT from the DRM efforts.

It’s easy to write off entertainment content owners and distributors as a money-grubbing cartel; for the most part, they are. But the technical work they do to protect what they own matters, even that work which we find distasteful given needless extremes of use such as pay-per-single-view. They’ve got the money to drive the science of data and content protection. If they perfect that unbreakable link between the media and the delivery end point, if there’s never another DVD image splattered all over the Internet, then IT will be able to make a promise that, to date, it couldn’t: Nobody can view or copy your data without authorization.

Link to Content in lockdown | InfoWorld | Column | 2007-03-28 | By Tom Yager