Alex Halderman has published an interesting technical report analyzing the newest CD “copy protection” technology. Alex, who is a graduate student here in Princeton’s computer science department, also wrote the definitive paper on the previous generation of CD copy protection.
Alex’s paper explains how the SunnComm technology works and why it won’t help the record labels fight copyright infringement. Despite the usual claims by the vendor (SunnComm) that the technology provides “an incredible level of security for the music”, Alex found that it is quite weak.
This technology is going to end up in the hall of fame beside the previous Sony technology that was famously defeated by drawing on the CD with a felt-tipped pen. This time, the technology can be defeated completely by holding down the computer’s Shift key while inserting the CD.
Is this the end of the road for CD copy protection? It ought to be. At the very least, I hope people in the industry will learn to ask for proof before they believe the next DRM vendor peddling “an incredible level of security”.