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  • ARCHIVED DVD NEWS For : 3rd November 1999


    DeCSS making DVD piracy easier? Official statement from DVD DIGEST regarding this issue...

    From the headlines of to the news pages of, the issue of DVD piracy has become top news for the day. But is it all just hysteria, or is there some truth in it after all.
    DVD movies are encrypyted by a technique called CSS, a sort of content scrambler, that if attempts were made to duplicate the DVD disc in question, the resulting content would be garbage - thus preventing piracy. Up until recently, this technology had been relatively safe from being cracked, until DeCSS showed up - and the safe has been opened. The truth is, it was bound to happen anyway, CSS was asking to be cracked simply by being there, and tempting the creativity of hackers around the world.

    And this isn't the first time a DVD anti-piracy measure was cracked...
    DVD Region control has been cracked for a long time now, with even some "respectable" electronic stores offering to "short-circuit" the region control chip found in most DVD players, for a minimal fee of course. "Macrovision" technology, which is used to prevent analogue copies of VHS and DVD movies to be made, had been cracked for years now - with commercial "macrovision remover" machines available at many electronic stores. So DeCSS certainly wasn't the first step, albeit a big one, towards DVD piracy.
    And has piracy stopped major studios from committing to the format? History certainly shows that even with non-macrovision protected VHS tapes, back in the 80s, studios were more than keen to commit to the format. The reason why many studios have not been so keen on stepping on to the DVD bandwagon, is not because of piracy, but because their VHS sales have been too lucrative. And I would doubt that even with software like DeCSS around, they would stop supporting the DVD format, which has turned out to be also quite lucrative (not to mention much cheaper to manufacture than VHS tapes).

    So what can the studios do to prevent DVD piracy from taking off?
    Most pirated "DVDs" are not actually DVDs, but down-converted VCDs, which will play in any CD-ROM or DVD machine. This is because DVD-copiers are still out of reach of most people, even pirates. VCD's picture resolution is about half of DVDs and their soundtrack does not contain multi-channel digital audio. VCDs also don't contain any of the extra features and interactivity found in most DVD titles. What the studios have to do is to make their DVD packages a little more attractive, by having better interactive material, and more extras. Take for example, the DVD movie Titanic, which was released without any extras, which is prone to being pirated. Compare it with the likes of The Matrix, which is feature packed with extras. It is no surprise then that The Matrix has been the number one selling DVD disc, 4 weeks running. And the most pirated VCD is history, Star Wars : The Phantom Menace, isn't even on DVD, and I bet if it was on DVD, the pirated VCD version wouldn't have been as popular. What the studios have to do is to offer us something more attractive, more features, more interactivity and more extras. Consumers want a DVD disc that offers much more than it's pirated VCD counterpart and one that they will keep as a collector's item. In the end, a pirated VCD will still cost around $US10 or hours to download the 1+GB files, and if the official DVD version is only a little more at $US15-20 and if it's packed with extra features, there will absolutely no point in going for the pirated version.

    DVD Digest, whose name was mentioned in the article, does not promote DVD piracy. In fact, we do not even have a "DVD Ripping" page/site, but merely features links to it on our download section. This was done because many people had requested such links be made possible. Although DeCSS and other ripping software may seem like the right tools for DVD piracy, it also has many other uses. Making back-ups of your favourite DVDs to VCD, and letting the kids have the VCD version, so that the DVD version is not damaged is one such use. Also, since DVD-ROM drives are still relatively rare, you can make VCD copies of your DVD movies so that it can play on an old Notebook computer, or at work. Once again, please use DeCSS and other related software for personal backup use only.


    News Archive
    JANUARY 28th, 2000
    DeCSS in court - Part III

    JANUARY 18th, 2000
    DeCSS in court - Part II

    JANUARY 12th, 2000
    DeCSS in court - Part I

    NOVEMBER 30th, 1999
    CNET vs MPAA - clash of the titans
    Anamorphic DVDs - do we need them ?
    DVD Pricing - too high ?

    NOVEMBER 19th, 1999
    Buying DVDs @ ...
    Special Editions - What's so special about them ...

    NOVEMBER 13th, 1999
    Saving Private Ryan storms the DVD Top sales lists ...
    More closures of DVD Ripping and conversion sites ...

    NOVEMBER 4th, 1999
    MPAA starts closing down "DVD Ripping" site. Illegal bullying tactics used ...
    RPC-2 Hacked? Make your Pioneer 114 drive region free at last .... but there are a few catches!!
    DVD Piracy - WHY it will never take off
    What makes Saving Private Ryan so good - technology and visual wise

    NOVEMBER 3rd, 1999
    DeCSS making DVD piracy easier? Official statement from DVD DIGEST regarding this issue...

    NOVEMBER 2nd, 1999
    The Matrix makes makes way for Blair Witch...
    New Nvidia Drivers makes DVD playing even better ...
    Hollywood+ v1.8 Drivers - many fixes and improvements...
    Read about DTS Music CDs ...
    Saving Private Ryan Limited DTS version DELAYED ?!? ...
    30-50% off DVDs - they don't last forever ...

    Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited. (C) DIGITAL DIGEST - DVD 1999 - 2005