Cinavia – The beginning of a new age of dangerous copy protections?

By: PRLog
The makers of “CinEx HD Utility”, the world’s first Cinavia removing software found out an very important security leak in the Cinavia copy protection.
SAN FRANCISCO - Jan. 28, 2016 - PRLog -- Only recently, more exactly in December 2015, a company called Pixbyte Development SL showed that it is possible to add Cinavia to any movie at will. But what is so special about that?

The important detail lies in the fact that Pixbyte Development SL does not have anything to do with the creators or licensors of Cinavia and that implies that there is neither a need for a license nor for an NDA in order to be able to use the technology. In other words, everyone could use it to prevent playback on Cinavia-enabled players.

If we think about how Cinavia works, it must become clear that it is an outright scandal that Pixbyte Development SL, which is an independent company, is able to use Cinavia to this extent. If everyone can do it, then it follows that Cinavia has a substantial security flaw: someone might be able to make a virus which adds Cinavia to all the files of your PC, thus making them unplayable anymore. If we think even further, we can see that it is then quite simple to use this malware to ask the user to pay money for every watermarked video to remove Cinavia. And keep in mind that Cinavia can be added to any video, also to those which may have a high emotional value like videos of your young children.

From this point of view, it has become questionable why the AACSLA (the licensing authority responsible for Cinavia) still forces player manufacturers to implement costly watermark detection hardware for an unsafe security mechanism. In the end, the customer has no other option but to pay for such copy protection mechanisms, right? But does Cinavia justify the elevated production costs for the player manufacturers? No. It simply does not make sense because there are enough software products like e.g., CinEx HD, which can remove Cinavia with very high quality or simply deactivate the watermark.

The security flaw in Cinavia basically opens the possibility for customers in the US to file a class-action lawsuit in order to put an end to this dangerous copy protection. It remains questionable whether the flaws were introduced by error or intentionally, especially as Cinavia has not been the state of the art in watermarking, even at the time it was introduced. In the end, those wanting to make big money in the content protection market might end up having to protect themselves from frustrated customers, especially considering the high damage values they might be confronted with.

But will it end here? Will this be the last flawed copy protection? Or has the copy protection become a false god for the content industry to which even the security of the customers has been sacrificed? We sadly remember the rootkit from Sony which was once distributed on their Video-DVDs and was eventually used by third parties for malign attacks on the PCs of the unsuspecting movie-watchers … Will the content industry ever learn?

Pixbyte Development SL invites the worldwide press to verify the claims of the company by sending videos in with an appropriate license and without Cinavia. As a proof, those videos will have Cinavia added by Pixbyte Development SL and then be sent back.

Ingo Förster

Photos: (Click photo to enlarge)

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