Cinavia is one of the things that the “universal backdoor” of forced software updates is capable of imposing.
So, I noticed this new-ish form of DRM, called “Cinavia”.
It’s basically an audio watermark that can be embedded into the soundtrack of a movie in theatrical release, or on Blu Ray and DVD discs.
Yes, I said DVDs. It can be “backported” onto the DVD format without changing the specification, and Blu Ray players or playback software that recognizes the Cinavia DRM will recognize it.
DVD players, Blu Ray Players that have not been “updated” to recognize it (yet), and software that does not know what Cinavia is will just ignore it.
If the firmware/software does recognize what Cinavia is, and thinks that you’ve pirated the movie, it will let you get about 20 minutes into the movie file, and then it will either stop the movie or tell the device/software to forcibly disable all audio outputs. Don’t bother trying to remove it, as it is resilient to added noise, as well as popular audio compression codecs such as Ogg Vorbis, AAC, and MP3.
Right now, it seems that only some individual Windows software programs recognize Cinavia and comply with its order to cut the audio outputs, but eventually this could easily be made global through the Windows audio subsystem itself. If you try to use open source media player software, such as VLC or Media Player Classic on Windows, the audio subsystem could still detect Cinavia and comply with the request to disable the entire audio framework. I suspect that this is coming to Windows, and that when it does, it will be trivial for Microsoft to backport it to previous releases of Windows as a non-removable Windows “update”.
The real bitch of this is that they won’t even have to tell you that’s what it does. They have been known to lie and call things like this a high priority “security” or “reliability” update in the past, and then they can make it so that you can’t remove it later. (And even if you do, it will be in the next Service Pack or version of Windows, so you’ve just bought yourself a little time.)
It’s just as likely that Apple will do this as a global operating system “feature” as well at some point.
In fact, part of the reason for the War on Free (as in freedom) software is because they can’t reach into your computer and force it to do things like this when you run a Free Software operating system.
I have a feeling that in five or six years, after ancient crap such as Windows XP goes out of support, that “Secure Boot” will be fiddled with to remove the ability of the user to turn it off. From that point, when you buy a PC that runs Windows or Mac OS, that’s what you’re stuck with, DRM and all.
Where this Cinavia DRM is the worst at the present time is Blu Ray Disc players with firmware that supports it. Since regular firmware updates are essentially forced on the user to enable the new DRM keys that ship with new Blu Ray Discs, it’s probable that Cinavia will eventually be retroactively added onto your existing player, even if it does not know what Cinavia is right now.
There’s no real way to “refuse” firmware updates when you use a Blu Ray player. Either you apply them, or you start running into new discs that will refuse to play.
That’s what got me thinking about when Richard Stallman called Windows (and all proprietary software with automatic forced updates) a “universal backdoor”.
“This means that any malicious feature which is not in Windows today can be remotely installed tomorrow by Microsoft. So Windows is not just malware, it is a universal malware.” -Richard Stallman
Just replace “Windows” with “proprietary software/firmware” and “Microsoft” with any company that sells proprietary software/firmware or “consumer electronics” that utilize them, and you get to the root of malicious anti-features such as Cinavia.
So, the first thing that many people will do when they hear about malware like Cinavia, is to search to see what hardware is affected, but that is irrelevant now that the malware can be grafted onto systems that shipped without it.
The only way to avoid things like this is to only use Free (as in freedom) operating system software with Free (as in freedom) media playback software, and to avoid any computer hardware that comes about, which will not let you run it.
If you would like to read more about the Cinavia malware, Anandtech wrote a very detailed article, titled “Cinavia DRM: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Blu-ray’s Self-Destruction“, which is very informative.
Well, that settles it. I’m not going to see the new batman movie.
You might remember Senator Leahy, he’s still trying to resurrect SOPA. He’s calling it IPAA now as a sort of policy laundering.
The IP Attache Act would use your tax dollars to try to change the copyright, trademark, and patent laws of other sovereign nations to favor the MPAA/RIAA scumbags here at home, and then eventually these laws would make it back to the US in the form of a treaty or “Congressional-Executive Agreement” later on.
The US government won’t stop trying to take over the internet. They don’t want you listening to people like me, they want you to go listen to fake news that they control. Cable TV news channels don’t mention things like SOPA, CISPA, and IPAA, and they lose credibility when they refuse to cover real news stories.
People are finding out just how badly Fox News, NBC, and CNN are lying to them and tuning out. This puts pressure on the US government to shut down sites like Wikipedia and WordPress, and to censor Google.
Back to the MAFIAA (MPAA/RIAA), you shouldn’t give these labels and movie studios any of your money. The more money you give them, the more money they can use to hurt other people and buy laws with.
I’m going to vote for President Obama this year, but I really wish he’d get rid of Joe Biden. It’s obvious why he chose Biden as his VP., because Biden is buddy/buddy with the big Hollywood criminals that want to ram internet censorship laws down our throats.
Obama already had more than enough support in Delaware, and they only have four electoral votes anyway. He could have picked a VP that would have shored up his support in states that were competitive. Evan Bayh from Indiana was on the list.
Obama only won Indiana by about 1% of the vote in 2008 (including mine), but he would have gotten more support here, and maybe even won the state again this year (which is now unlikely and could help cost him his re-election) with Evan Bayh as his VP.
He chose Biden because Biden can go pump campaign donations out of the MAFIAA. Unfortunately, that means they control the Obama administration. Things would not get better in this area under Romney, so I just have to deal with the “yuck” factor when voting for Obama/Biden.
Worth mentioning: That raid on MegaUpload’s file locker site? Joe Biden told them to do it.
The uEFI Forum is largely a bunch of SOPA promoters hoping to turn your PC into a locked platform using DMCA anti-circumvention laws.
Unfortunately, the next generation boot firmware for the PC not only fails to completely replace the PC BIOS (which will continue to be used for power on self test and hardware initialization). Those in the know, beyond the corporate media spin doctoring, know that uEFI is just a layer of DRM and corporate lock-in that rides on top of the 30 year old legacy BIOS that starts the computer in real mode just like it did in the 1980s.
uEFI is not a next generation PC boot firmware, we’re being sold a bill of goods. The biggest particular problem is “Secure Boot”. Users are being mislead into believing it has something to do with securely booting a computer while its true purpose is to lock the user into running whatever corporate-sponsored OS that came with the computer, and turning them into a criminal by forcing them to commit a US federal felony by circumventing it to install free software as the computer’s operating system instead.
For the latest lies from the corporate-sponsored media, we go to The H Online which has declared that “Securely booting Linux [is] a “difficult” proposition”. The H is becoming less of a legitimate news source about free and open source software, and becoming more like just any other anti-free and open source rag that mindlessly recites anything that Microsoft pays for. The Register is another example of such an occurance. Over time, Microsoft starts writing their Linux news and you get libellous headlines instead of information. It’s not like the Red Hat employee that they cite is helping dispel this propaganda. (more in a moment)
uEFI “Secure Boot” (which should be called Restricted Boot since it is designed to lock you into an ISV’s operating system software), is is a complex specification. It relies on a nebula of assumptions about the state of the hardware and the bootloader that are not necessarily true and are easily forged. Even if that was not the case, it relies on an assumption that there are no firmware bugs which can be used to subvert and bypass it. It will not provide any meaningful level of additional security to users of any PC operating system, even if it agrees to boot the operating system that the user is trying to use at all. It is designed to turn anyone who cracks it into a criminal, by forcing them to violate Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and being liable to be sentenced to prison for trying to use their computer in freedom.
Cited in the contemptible malarkey is Matthew Garrett, a Red Hat employee. Red Hat is a member of the uEFI forum so that they can sign RHEL and won’t be stopped by Restricted Boot on any workstation or server that comes with their software. I’m pretty sure that this is why we won’t be seeing the GRUB 2 bootloader on RHEL any time soon. GRUB 2 is licensed under the GPL version 3, which protects users from what the FSF refers to as “Tivoization”, which refers to the practice of using free software in a manner that locks the user out of their system with free software, by using DRM in that software.
If Red Hat shipped GRUB 2 and did not disclose their signing keys as teh GPL 3 requires(to protect the user from exploitative hardware/software vendors), they would be in violation of the GPL. The Free Software Foundation could revoke their rights to use the GRUB 2 software. Red Hat has a lot of resources and can probably maintain their fork of Grub 0.97 indefinitely so that they can cooperate with hardware makers to restrict the user. Red Hat benefits from user lock-in just as surely as Apple and Microsoft do if only their signing key is in the uEFI Secure Boot implementation on hardware that ships with their operating system, because there won’t be any of that pesky competition on any system that comes with RHEL.
So right off the bat, I don’t think Matthew Garrett can be a trusted source of information because he is obviously tainted by his employer, and has the same reasons to lie and mislead you as Stevan Sinofsky of Microsoft.
Canonical (Ubuntu) is also a member of the uEFI forum and can probably use Secure Boot on embedded ARM systems to trap people in Ubuntu. They can’t use GRUB 2, but there are bootloaders for ARM, some of them proprietary, which can be used instead. They can probably also sign Ubuntu LTS releases and get their signing key into workstations and servers that ship with Ubuntu, for much the same end result as the RHEL situation I described above. They could even use Grub Legacy in that situation. It didn’t just disappear, it’s still being carried by them if you look up “grub” in their software repository.
A better news flash would be that there never was, is, or will be a way to securely boot a PC, and that corporations are salivating at the prospect of using it to lock end users into their operating system software, to keep the user trapped with whatever their computer happened to come with. The headlines designed to smear Linux are just paid for by Microsoft. The “bootloader attacks” that Secure Boot is supposedly meant to deal with are mostly attacks on the Windows Activation system that rely on bootloader exploits to make Windows believe it is an OEM copy that came with the PC so that the user may use a copy of Windows without paying for it.
Microsoft isn’t interested in stopping the malware of the week from stealing your identity or subverting your system and using it to display (sometimes pornographic) advertisements, which are just two of the things that Windows is known well for. They are interested in stopping the user from being able to run their own software on their private property and from getting away with using a less crippled version of Windows than what came with their computer without forking over more money through the Anytime Upgrade scam.
I don’t believe the corporate ambitions of Red Hat or Canonical are any different.
This work by Ryan Farmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
(This is made up of a set of email I sent to some of the contacts on my address book. I figured I might as well post it here too.)
A good deal of the major web sites have blacked themselves out today in protest of SOPA.
Many of them would not exist at all if SOPA/PIPA (also known as the Internet Blacklist Bills) were to go into effect, or had it been in effect at the time they had started out.
The list of sites includes Wikipedia, Google, and Facebook, some of the most popular sites on the internet. They, and other productive businesses, are under a coordinated attack from large and entrenched companies who distort the news, promote proprietary closed source software and DRM, and troll innovative companies with bogus patents issued by the United States.
SOPA/PIPA doesn’t just threaten “pirates”. SOPA/PIPA threatens free and open source software, and free and open content. It gives the US government, without any court order, the ability to remove sites from the internet. Not just in the US, but worldwide. It must be stopped.
In my personal opinion, it would blow up in the face of the proprietary software companies that are promoting it, and possibly lead to a mass exodus to free and open source software (at least until the rich business criminals at Microsoft and Apple figured out a way to shut them down with unfair legal tactics). As tempting as it would be to otherwise just not care about SOPA/PIPA because it would likely cause these companies to choke on their own greed, gloating at the prospect that the government thugs will take sites distributing this proprietary software down is not the right thing to do. An act of repression is not a good thing, even when it is likely to backfire and cause a revolt. (Besides, you’d think ICE actually had a job to do that isn’t getting done. Hint hint.)
The protest against SOPA/PIPA has forced the mainstream media to (sort of) do their jobs. They were silent on it before because many of the larger ones like MSNBC/CNN/Fox Noise actually supported it.
With sites like Wikipedia and many others gone black or having had large protest banners today, they had to come out of hiding.
The protests have done at least some good. They have raised awareness of this repressive piece of Anti-American legislation, and chased some of the supporters away from it. It lost at least three co-sponsors today as a direct result of the protests.
Many of them gave the MAFIAA (MPAA/RIAA) people a chance to attack the grassroots protests with rhetoric and smear.
Says former Senator, turned MAFIAA shill, Chris Dodd,
“Some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem,” says Chris Dodd, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, which supports the bills. “A so-called blackout is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently.”
You might remember Senator Dodd, he resigned because the MPAA offered him a truckload of money to be a lobbyist working against the American public, and for the rich business criminals who make up the MPAA.
SOPA was largely written by members of ALEC. Most people don’t know what ALEC is, but ALEC is actually the government of the United States. The real one. It’s made up of corporations, lobbyists, dirty money, and private lawyers that hand off finished bills for the shills in Congress to introduce and pass. They probably figured SOPA/PIPA would simply sail through like the rest of the US laws they write, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Normally, their attacks on education, the right to read, and the right to share and help your friends goes unnoticed. Indeed, the DMCA was mild compared to SOPA/PIPA. It managed to get rammed through back when the “social” media phenomenon of the internet was not as vibrant as it is now, or it too may have been shot down by overwhelming public outrage.
ALEC has written a number of state level laws and passed them off to their shills in state governments across the United States, including in Indiana. The “Right To Work” bills are largely their doing. An attack against living wages and jobs with good benefits. Companies wish to deal with workers on an individual basis so that they are expendable and, unable to bargain with their employer, have to accept whatever lousy pay and benefits they’re offered.
Wal-Mart (a member of ALEC) in particular is supporting that one, because it likes to hide the true cost of their merchandise. By avoiding unions, paying their employees minimum wage, and giving most of them no health insurance or benefits. You may think you’re saving money when you shop there, but those employees who work 40 hours a week end up in the line for food stamps and Medicaid. Wal-Mart shifts the difference onto state and federal tax payers, who must foot the bill regardless of if they even shop at Wal-Mart.
SOPA/PIPA is only a symptom. In fact, I’d say that we’re fighting the wrong thing. The disease of bad government remains. You can’t fight a cancer by treating only the symptoms and hoping it goes away.
Finally, I notice that Chris Dodd speaks of middle class jobs being destroyed by “piracy”. I wonder what middle class jobs a branding company full of lawyers and former US senators actually produces. Are they talking about the Mexican cleaning crew that goes over their restrooms or something? (As for Microsoft, they employ very few Americans. Most of the development on Windows and IE is done in India and China.)
Our government has been taken over by these people. When Ben Franklin was asked whether we had a monarchy or a republic, he apparently answered “A republic, if you can keep it”.
Fighting off theocrats and big business interests who want to subvert our freedom, by fighting individual acts that they commit against us, is like trying to cure malaria by swatting at mosquitoes (to borrow part of a Richard Stallman quote about fighting off software patents).
We no longer have a republic, we have a Corporatocracy.
This work by Ryan Farmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.