In general, the technology encrypts DVD content to prevent it from being copied to another disk.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

August 11, 2006

2 Min Read

The association responsible for copy-protection technology found in most commercial DVDs has finished an adaptation of the specification that could be used in burning to disks from the Web.

The DVD Copy Control Association is in the final stages of approving the changes in the Content Scramble System that were given the OK this week by the group's Content Protection Advisory Council. Approval by the CCA board is expected "relatively soon," spokesman Greg Larsen said Friday.

Members of the CCA board include an equal number of representatives from the motion picture, consumer electronics and PC industries. All the major players in each group are CSS licensees, Larsen said.

In general, the technology encrypts DVD content to prevent it from being copied to another disk. The recent adaptation would make it possible to provide copy protection to movies downloaded from the Web and burned to a CSS-enabled DVD. The same security spec would also have to be embedded in the DVD player, in order to play the movie.

CSS has been in use since 1996, and is found in nearly all DVDs, players and PCs. Its ubiquity positions the adaptation for widespread adoption, Larsen said.

"This is about enabling commercial vendors to distribute DVDs in ways they couldn't do before," Larsen said. "We want to make sure the DVDs are of the high quality and full-feature capability that consumers have grown accustomed to with legitimate DVDs."

Hollywood is moving cautiously toward the Web, delivering mostly older TV shows and movies. Most, however, still can't be burned to DVDs and played on a TV, the device most consumers prefer to watch movies, analysts say.

But recent announcements from online movie distributors CinemaNow and MovieLink indicate that movie studios are ready to move forward with DVD-burning services. CinemanNow is offering such a service for a small number of older movies, using copy-protection technology other than CSS. MovieLink has announced plans to offer a similar service, and is expected to adopt CSS.

The DVD CCA expects to see its latest spec show up first in commercial kiosks in malls or other retail areas. Consumers would be able to choose from a list of content, such as historical footage or old movies, that no longer are in mass reproduction.

Eventually, however, movie studies are expected to use CSS to distribute over the Web.

"How quickly it gets out is beyond the scope of the DVD CCA," Larsen said. "The marketplace will determine how quickly it gets out there."

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