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Caribbean firm circumvents BD+ copy protection

Blu-ray bitchslap poses problems for Hollywood

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Software developers based in the Caribbean have thrown down the gauntlet to the movie industry with a product that can copy Blu-ray discs protected by the latest high definition disc copy protection technology.

Version 6.4.0.0 of AnyDVD HD allows users to make backup copies of Blu-ray discs protected with BD+ ahead of the widespread use of the technology, developer SlySoft claims. AnyDVD works in the background to automatically remove copy protection of a DVD movie, allowing users to back up a movie using a DVD backup tool. Users can also remove the RPC region code, allowing a movie to be viewed on any DVD player and with any DVD player software regardless of region-related restrictions.

BD+ is a component of the Blu-ray Disc Digital Rights Management system. BD+ creates a virtual machine within authorised players that allows the execution of "applets" on Blu-ray Discs. Some studios, such as Twentieth Century Fox, have stated that the incorporation of the technology is one of the reasons they preferred Blu-ray over HD DVD.

Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats support a copy protection technology called AACS, which has already been defeated. Blu-ray also supports BD+ which is more resilient because it is capable of being patched. Most Blue-Ray discs currently in circulation do not include BD+.

SlySoft, which is based in the Caribbean islands nation of Antigua and Barbuda, claims that it is ready to deal with possible enhancements to BD+ designed to protect the technology from being circumvented by tools such as AnyDVD.

"Blu-ray titles released up to now have not fully exploited the possibilities of BD+," said Peer van Heuen, head of high-definition technologies at SlySoft, in a statement by the firm. "Future releases will undoubtedly have a modified and more polished BD+ protection, but we are well prepared for this and await the coming developments rather relaxed."

Giancarlo Bettini, SlySoft chief exec, claimed the firm's backup technology could give HD-DVD players a new lease of life. The tech was consigned to apparent oblivion after losing out to Blu-ray in the format wars. ®

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