Antigua (West Indies) - SlySoft, a company known for its CD/DVD ripping software, is inviting the public to test drive its HD-DVD ripping program. Beta testers of AnyDVD HD can "remaster" the high-definition discs and, according to SlySoft, rip out first tracks and advertisements.
Interested consumers can freely download the beta program and begin ripping discs, but SlySoft has set some ground rules. Testers must have experience with AnyDVD and DVD copying and should have a good reputation in the ripping forums. They also, for obvious reasons, must own an HD-DVD drive and an original HD-DVD movie.
While we don't have an HD-DVD player in the office, we were able to install the beta program and look through the menus. Several checkboxes allow the program to remove menus, the first play title and parental restrictions from the HD DVD rip. In addition, user prohibitions can also be removed.
Of course it was only a matter of time before companies started selling HD DVD ripping programs. Throughout computer history there has been a constant battle between media companies that use strong copy protection and software companies that sell ripping programs.
Hackers on the Doom9 forums recently claimed success in breaking the encryption keys for HD DVD and Blu-Ray discs. SlySoft says AnyDVD HD will initially work with just HD DVD discs, but it probably wouldn't be terribly hard to add Blu-ray ripping in the future.
Media companies can't simply stop SlySoft from publishing because it is headquartered in St. John Antigua, an island in the West Indies and a legal grey zone for copyright law. SlySoft is mainly known for its Clone CD and Clone DVD programs.