I have moved my blog to Wordpress at theunixgeek.wordpress.com. I will still be checking back periodically on this one as well, though. 19 April 2009

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

USB as an Anti-Piracy Measure?

After a bit of pondering, I found out USB could easily be used by companies as an anti-piracy measure. Here's why I think it would work:

  1. Today the industry lives off of DVD. DVDs get scratched easily. USB drives... not so much
  2. Companies are already used to hiding information on USB products (anybody say iPod?)
  3. More than just a serial number for anti-piracy protection: have a hidden file on the drive that counts how many times a file was accessed (such as a setup program). This isn't possible with DVDs.
  4. It's not as easy to copy the plastic of the USB drive as it is to copy a DVD label
  5. More environmentally-friendly: smaller packages since USB drives are obviously not as big as DVDs. For example, take a look at Vista's box... now imagine that wrapped up in a USB drive... much smaller!
If anyone has any other ideas or opinions, feel free to leave a comment!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it a good idea.

(1) What if your USB is lost or even stolen? Or just corrupted?

(2) Ok, let them count something. But how can I check this? Why should I just trust them (I want to check and be sure)if they do not trust to me?

(3) What if you don't have USB?

All you are talking about will not make any painfull for pyracy-gays. But will make A LOT OF DISADVATAGES for LEGAL USERS.

Robbie said...

Anonymous has some points - but the fact is, usb is a fairly simple system and it would be quite cheap to buy an adapter. Also, I'm not sure what anonymous means by why should I trust them if they don't trust me, considering that there is already DRM on mp3's and copy protection on DVDs, and if you're legal, that doesn't bother you. As for his/her first point, USBs are easier to lose, but that hasn't stopped anyone making other devices tiny. As for corrupted, it is much easier to damage a dvd than it is a usb key.

Also, usbs would be much more environmentally friendly. Instead of having a different key for each dvd, you could buy a large one and have movies loaded onto it at the store. With advancing technology, in the two or three years it would take to make this shift, keys would become small enough to be able to fit maybe 20 movies on one key. This could then be made easier by a program built into the adapter somewhat like front row, that also verified the protection software.

Awesome idea!

frem said...

This idea has been kicking around for years. The problem is, DRM doesn't work. It didn't keep people from pirating DVDs, BluRay, music files, etc, etc. At best, it presented a minor inconvenience for pirates and a headace for ligit users.

Virtualizing hardware means that not even "you must keep the CD in the drive" style anti-piracy measures are useless.

All DRM is broken rapidly, and simply publishing content on a different medium isn't going to change that.