Academy backs 'pirate-proof' tech for Oscar samplers

Hoping to avoid a repeat of last years movie piracy The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sanctioned the use of 'pirate-proof' DVDs. A company called Cinea has spent several million dollars on making DVDs harder to pirate. Hopefully this stuff won't make it into consumer DVDs.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sanctioned the use of 'pirate-proof' DVDs to allow Oscar voters to preview the movies they're supposed to have seen before choosing their favourite director, actor, gratuitous use of the word f**k in a serious screenplay, etc. If it wins the support of the studios, the move will see DVD content protection specialist and Dolby subsidiary Cinea shipping thousands of discs and players to voters.

In addition to a new hardwired encryption system, Cinea's S-View uses a watermarking system that writes a code identifying the host DVD player onto the disc every time it's played and even embeds it into key picture frames. If the disc is copied or the image grabbed using a camcorder pointing to the screen, Cinea can determine whose disc was used as the source for the pirate copies.

According to an Associated Press report, Cinea will have to spend "several million dollars" to send out the discs and the players they are linked to, which seems a tad pricey to us but undoubtedly the company believes it money well spent if it encourages studios and movie industry members to choose one of its other anti-piracy technologies, pitched at production systems as well as consumer players.

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