A consortium backing the encryption system for high-definition DVDs has confirmed hackers have stolen "title keys" and used them to decrypt high-definition discs. Both the title keys and a number of decrypted films have been posted on peer-to-peer websites, a spokesman for the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) Licensing Authority said.
The large size of the files and the high cost of writable hi-definition discs made large-scale copying of high-definition DVDs impractical. But the attacks on the new format echoed the early days of illegal trafficking in music files, AACS spokesman Michael Ayers said.
"We want to make sure we address this now. It has a potentially limited impact now but some sobering possibilities," Mr Ayers said. The hackers did not attack the AACS system itself, but stole the keys as they were exchanged between the DVD and the player to strip the encryption from the film. A large-scale failure of AACS could be a threat to the $US24 billion DVD industry, which has started to cool and was counting on next-generation DVD sales to reinvigorate it.