My sister has given birth to beautiful Lily Alice! Obviously I’m using the word “beautiful” in baby terms, she’s all scrunchy and newborn, but probably one of the prettiest babies I’ve ever seen. And I’m relying on photographs to help me form these opinions because they’re 3000 miles away. Which is quite a sad thing. I miss my family. A lot.

On the subject of reproduction, I recently discovered some more malfeasance in the dubious realm of the music/movie copy-protection racket. We came across a DVD that refused to copy to our hard-drive. Copying a DVD to your hard-drive is not necessarily illegal BTW; deciding to watch something later is not a crime. Normally I use vobcopy because it is simple and reliable, but this time it got to 16M of one particular VOB and then hung.

A glass of Google later I had discovered some recent “advances” in copy protection called things like “RipGuard” and “ARccOS”. They sound pretty bloody impressive in the press-releases (Google it, I’m not linking to the twats) but of course in reality they are the same old shit that the industry has been trying to con the public with for years: breaking the DVD in a way that “most” DVD players won’t notice. Just like they tried to do with CDs. If you get one of these DVDs, make sure you inform the vendor that it is damaged and demand a refund.

A reminder to the faithless: this will only penalize the legitimate users. If you buy a DVD that won’t play then tough tits. Whereas if you buy an illegal DVD, the dudes who get paid to crack the crap protection will have rendered it perfectly usable. They have people who can crack this lame bullshit – because they can spend money to buy people who understand how it works. The purchaser doesn’t have these resources. So the legit buyer is being punished again.

It took a very short amount of time for me to work out how to defeat this “Advanced Copy Protection” and I was only doing it out of bloody-mindedness by this stage. I don’t even want to watch the fucking film. BTW, the magic word is ddrescue.

Macrovision, who are, in my personal opinion, an anachronistic bunch of impotent losers, claim that with this “Advanced Copy Protection”

95% of casual users lack the knowledge and/or determination to be able to copy a DVD

Now, this is bollocks in so many ways it’s difficult to know where to start, so I’ll go for two main issues: firstly, “95%” is one of the 88.5% of statistics that are made up on the spot – can we have some evidence to support this dubious claim? Secondly, casual users do not copy DVDs; they get them after the <1% of expert users have ripped them using the multitude of simple tools that are available to them. No-one needs to worry about casual users, they are totally dumb. You don’t need to be an expert to buy a DVD from a woman in the pub or download a rip. By the time it’s available to buy, a single “expert” somewhere has already copied it.

Again, the hackers and crackers are not hurt by copy-protection. Only the buyer. You are buying damaged goods. Watch the movie, then take it back and complain.

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