September 27, 2007 In a move designed to help combat DVD piracy the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA), the group responsible for the licensing of the Content Scramble System (CSS), has cleared the way for commercial vendors and individual consumers to be able to legally create CSS copy-protected DVDs for playback on existing DVD players.

CSS is a Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme introduced around 1996 and is used on almost all commercially produced DVD-Video discs. The system utilizes a proprietary 40-bit stream cipher algorithm to protect the content from unauthorized duplication, but the system was cracked in 1999 resulting in illegal DVD piracy.

The Board of Directors of the DVD CCA gave final approval for this new application of the CSS late Wednesday recognizing the shift from renting and buying movies to downloading them. Individual consumers will also be able to legally record a variety of content at home, including select movies, as offered by the content owners. The decision also paves the way for vendors to create DVDs in custom runs at new on-demand factories or on store-based kiosks and opens the way for consumers to obtain unusual, historical or special content that, up until now, has been unavailable on DVD because existing demand does not economically allow the mass reproduction today’s market requires.

Industry officials have welcomed the DVD CCA’s decision to allow content to be burned to one disc but not copied to others. The process will use special blank DVD discs with CSS encryption, producing copies that will be compatible with millions of DVD players in homes and businesses today. “This important change is in direct response to industry and consumer demand for new legal alternatives for the creation and digital distribution of secure DVD content,” said Chris Cookson, Chairman of the DVD CCA Board. The success of Apple’s iTunes Store has shown that people want to download content and are looking for ways to do so legally - even if it means paying for it. It is hoped this decision by the DVD CCA could help cut online movie piracy by providing consumers with a legal means to obtain movie content online.

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