AACS vows war over leaked HD DVD key

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Hollywood (CA) - The head of the Advanced Access Content Protection licensing group says the leaking of the HD DVD processing key goes beyond free speech.  Michael Ayers, chair of the AACS Licensing Authority (AACS LA), told the BBC that his group respects free speech, but bloggers who distributed the key stepped “outside of the realm of protected free speech”.

Ayers said his group has no intent of interfering with the people’s right to discuss copy protection, but added that his group has spent considerable resources tracking down the countless people who have spread the key around the Internet.

A few days ago the infamous HD DVD processing key starting with the digits 09 F9 spread like wildfire across the net.  Currently a Google search for the first two digits returns 2.6 million results.  Digg, one of the most popular websites on the net, was temporarily shut down after users revolted against management and began posting copies of the key.  While Ayers says his group is using “legal and technical steps” to prevent the spread of the key, it’s unclear how he can stop something that has spread so far and so quickly.

The AACS has already revoked the processing key and some HD DVD players will have a problem playing discs until a new key is downloaded.  This revocation was designed into the AACS copy protection system because their engineers expected the keys to be broken – what they probably didn’t expect was how quickly those keys were compromised.

Ayers still has faith in his copy protection scheme and told the BBC that it was “absolutely not broken”.