Blu-ray BD+ gets another attack

SlySoft has been the first to crack Blu-ray’s additional layer of copy protection, BD+, with its commercial product AnyDVD HD, but for those who want a free alternative or want to watch Blu-ray discs directly under Linux, they have been out of luck until now.  This will change with several Doom9 hackers working on their own Blu-ray software player.  However, rather than create another product to strip away the copy protection measures, they are developing their own BD+ Virtual Machine that will play the encrypted Blu-ray movie just like with any Blu-ray set-top player.

The tricky part is making sure that the Blu-ray disc does not detect that it is being played where it shouldn’t be, as its code has several traps to try to detect unauthorised playback.  However, if they build the Virtual Machine well enough, it should even be able to overcome changes the studio makes to their BD+ protection.  The only thing the Virtual Machine would not be resistant to is if the studios try to force a major firmware update for players on new titles.  Should this happen, the team can overcome the issue by obtaining player-specific data for the new system.

While the studios will obviously see this attack as a potential loss of sales due to more piracy, it could actually benefit the studios by allowing consumers to purchase Blu-ray titles to play on otherwise unsuitable hardware and operating systems where the user already has a Blu-ray drive.  Also, with Blu-ray titles taking up 25GB or more disk space, consumers are much less likely going to try downloading HD rips from P2P, let alone share them out, especially with ISPs now enforcing caps on how much data one may transfer up and down each month. 

Finally, while SlySoft’s AnyDVD HD can already let users play Blu-ray titles on PCs without a HDCP-compliant graphics card or HDCP capable monitor, AnyDVD HD only runs on Windows and not everyone is willing to fork out €79 on the software either.