Wow, from my perspective the net has had one heck of a crazy week.
So as soon as I read about the HD-DVD processing key being hacked I ordered up a new domain name because I thought it would be a neat way to spread the word about HD-DVD liberation. That was April 30th. I had no idea what was in store for us all on May 1st, the day of the so called "Digg Revolt". That was something that took me by surprise. And what a wonderful, crazy surprise that was!
Yesterday, I got an email from Alex Pham from the LA Times asking for an interview, so I called in. Alex and I talked for 10 minutes about my views on the AACS DRM, the digg revolt, and my new domain name purchase. I tried to make it clear that I was not advocating piracy, but rather about awareness of the horrendous piece of legislation called the DMCA.
However, the story got it wrong. Discovering the HD-DVD processing key is *NOT* about piracy. Professional pirates don't gain anything by the discovery of a processing key. You don't need the processing key in order to make a bit for bit copy of an HD-DVD to sell on the streets. Although it's true that the key can be used for piracy, its main intrinsic value remains movie playback. So if this isn't mainly about piracy, what is it about? It's about licensing. The movie industry wants full control over which movies I watch, when and where I watch them, and what 'approved' players I use to view them with.
I use Linux. Exclusively. I don't even own a copy of Microsoft Windows. Since Linux is composed of free software, do you think that there is some free software that can play HD-DVDs (before the DRM was cracked)? Nope. If I want to watch a movie that I legally purchase from Wal-Mart on my laptop, who's the MPAA/AACSLA to tell me that I can't? By encrypting the contents of the disk, they are essentially telling me that they don't want me to watch the movies I legally purchased from them. And yet, do they have that right? I don't think so. They haven't made me sign any licensing agreement. When I buy an HD-DVD from Wal-Mart, I buy it like I would buy a case of Coca-Cola, and there's absolutely no implied licencing agreement for that. With movies, you don't even see the shady tactics that computer software uses, such as "Shrink-Wrap" licencing agreements, where you don't know what you're agreeing to until after you purchase the software and unrwrap it.
If I pirate a movie, and the MPAA or whoever the rightful owner is catches me, then prosecute me for stealing your work. That at least has the resemblance of legality, but don't tell me that I can't tell people how to play the movies that they rightfully own. I'm not stealing anything from anybody by doing so.
At any rate, THE Number is literally yesterdays news. There's a new, undefeatable method for decrypting HD-DVDs now.
13256278887989457651018865901401704640, or as programmers might write it 09-F9-11-02-9D-74-E3-5B-D8-41-56-C5-63-56-88-C0, is a great number that has so many different meanings.. For instance:
- 4.3357393 billion tonnes of gold, which is precisely how much gold I would like to have, contains 13256278887989457651018865901401704640 gold atoms.
- 13256278887989457651018865901401704640 E-22 seconds ago there were primates living in Texas
- The total amount of sediment needed to maintain the deltaic wetlands in coastal Louisiana is 13256278887989457651018865901401704640 yoctograms
And now the AACS is claiming that they own the number. Sorry AACS, like most numbers, 'your' number has a long history of prior art.