Apple's new MacBooks have built-in copy protection measures

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple's new MacBook lines include a form of digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-infused iTunes movies, from playing back on devices that aren't compliant with the new priority protection measures.



The Intel-developed technology is called High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and aims to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across a variety of display connectors, even if such copying is not in violation of fair use laws.



Among the connectors supported by the technology are the Mini DisplayPort found on Apple's latest MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, in addition to others such as Digital Visual Interface (DVI), High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), Gigabit Video Interface (GVIF), and Unified Display Interface (UDI).



ArsTechnica reports that Apple has apparently acquired a license for the technology and is now using it across its DisplayPort-enabled MacBook lines to to prevent transmission of purchased iTunes content to devices that don't include support for HDCP.



"When my friend John, a high school teacher, attempted to play Hellboy 2 on his classroom's projector with a new aluminum MacBook over lunch, he was denied by the error you see [below]," writes Ars' David Chartier. "John's using a Mini DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter, plugged into a Sanyo projector that is part of his room's Promethean system."



The report adds that only a portion of Tunes Store video content is presently HDCP-aware, and in each case the protected files are wrapped in either version 2 or 3 of Apple's FairPlay digital rights management software.



Apple has said that it plans to adopt Mini DisplayPort across its entire product line, meaning that all future Macs from the Cupertino-based company are likely to include the same restrictions experienced by users of its latest notebooks.



iTunes denies playback of Hellboy 2 on a Sanyo projector | Source: ArsTechnica



As a licensed adopter of HDCP, Apple agrees to pay an annual fee and abide by the conditions set forth in Inte's HDCP License Agreement [PDF].



For example, the terms stipulate that high-definition digital video sources must not transmit protected content to non-HDCP-compliant receivers, as described above, and DVD-Audio content must be restricted to CD-audio quality or less when played back over non-HDCP-digital audio outputs.



Hardware vendors are also barred from allowing their devices to make copies of content, and must design their products in ways that "effectively frustrate attempts to defeat the content protection requirements." As such, the technology sometimes causes handshaking problems with older high-definition displays, which may explain the intermittent connection problems experienced by some other Unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro adopters.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 246
    Fail!
  • Reply 2 of 246
    ah great. here come the headaches!
  • Reply 3 of 246
    wow what a BS. such a tough choice , dowload movie for $20 and be able to play it only where apple / movie studios feel that's apropriate or pay nothing, download even better quality and do whatever i feel like doing. tough choice.



    better donate same amount to tracker than to throw it away on drm junk.
  • Reply 4 of 246
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple's new MacBook lines include a form of digital copy protection that will prevent protected media, such as DRM-infused iTunes movies, from playing back on devices that aren't complaint with the new priority protection measures. ...



    Boo Hiss!
  • Reply 5 of 246
    This is some of the ridiculous bullshit that I can't stand about Windows and MS. This means that i can't play back videos that I buy off of iTunes on my external monitor, if I attach it to my MacBook Pro. That's really going to keep me from pirating my movies now.



    EDIT:

    Wasn't it a few months ago that Steve was all "I am in favor of removing DRM on songs."?

    I wonder how he feels about this.
  • Reply 6 of 246
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JakeTheRock View Post


    This is some of the ridiculous bullshit that I can't stand about Windows and MS. This means that i can't play back videos that I buy off of iTunes on my external monitor, if I attach it to my MacBook Pro. That's really going to keep me from pirating my movies now.



    You can still display videos on an external monitor, as long as that monitor is HDCP compliant. The analog Sanyo projector in the story is obviously not HDCP compliant since it is an analog device. This is nothing new. Most HDTV's have HDCP restrictions as well.
  • Reply 7 of 246
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    You can still display videos on an external monitor, as long as that monitor is HDCP compliant. The analog Sanyo projector in the story is obviously not HDCP compliant since it is an analog device. This is nothing new. Most HDTV's have HDCP restrictions as well.



    That's the thing, though.. I don't want to have to go buy a new monitor just to watch movies. I already have a huge monitor that works just fine. I only have a VGA connection on it though.
  • Reply 8 of 246
    A simple and stark warning to Apple:



    YOU WILL LOSE SALES of your hardware with this BS.



    But much more importantly, you will lose the SYMPATHY AND GOOD WILL of users.



    That latter is devastating. For awhile, everything will seem to go well, and then, people will defect - IN DROVES.



    This is a deadly serious matter. Some things are non-negotiable. If this BS goes on, time to consider another platform. Thank god for Linux.
  • Reply 9 of 246
    If that is true, my last MBP was the last Appleproduct i bought. I have been Macuser since the first Mac 128, bevor that i used an Apple IIe. My first personal Mac was the IIci, thereafter was the Powermac 6100. I had 4 Powerbooks but THIS IS THE GREATEST BULLSHIT EVER. It REALLY keeps me away from Apple
  • Reply 10 of 246
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hillstones View Post


    You can still display videos on an external monitor, as long as that monitor is HDCP compliant. The analog Sanyo projector in the story is obviously not HDCP compliant since it is an analog device. This is nothing new. Most HDTV's have HDCP restrictions as well.



    You are missing the point though. The cause of frustration is that:
    1. It's totally unnecessary to have the "protection" in the first place (historical proofs abound)

    2. Some ridiculously high percentage of the time (99% plus?) the monitor is going to be analogue

    The whole HDCP thing just adds another point of failure for what is already a complex, frustrating process for many if not most consumers.



    This was one of the biggest complaints about the horror that is MS Vista, that these kinds of "protections" were getting in the way of normal law-abiding people with legal content to display. They also failed a certain percentage of the time even when the equipment was correct.
  • Reply 11 of 246
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Having copy protection support in the machines' DisplayPort hardware doesn't bother me so much--it's part of the DisplayPort standard. But what does bother me is that Apple is USING that copy protection in the movies they supply via iTunes! Obviously that decision is likely from the content owners, not from Apple themselves, but I'd sure be unhappy if I couldn't watch a movie on my big external screen!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Applecrisis View Post


    If that is true, my last MBP was the last Appleproduct i bought. I have been Macuser since the first Mac 128, bevor that i used an Apple IIe. My first personal Mac was the IIci, thereafter was the Powermac 6100. I had 4 Powerbooks but THIS IS THE GREATEST BULLSHIT EVER. It REALLY keeps me away from Apple



    Apple stands up against DRM all the time. They don't always win. What computer company are you thinking of switching to that does a better job than Apple at getting content owners to abandon DRM?



    It's bad news, but it's a stretch to think that it's Apple who drives the use of DRM. Apple OPPOSES DRM, publicly, and in some cases they get their way. Look at music--the Store couldn't have ever existed without DRM, but once it took off, Apple has gotten EMI to abandon it. Others may follow suit, or they may choose to keep punishing Apple's success, but either way, the DRM on those other songs is not Apple's choice. And looking at movies, it seems that SOME movies have this HDCP protection and some don't, so I think once again you can bet it's the content owner, not Apple, who is behind it.
  • Reply 12 of 246
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Presumably the studios have been busting Apple's balls about this as part of letting Apple have greater access to content. I wonder if we will see an expansion of movies to rent in coming months, perhaps towards Netflix levels? Not such a 'hobby' then if we see DisplayPort on a new AppleTV in January.
  • Reply 13 of 246
    Ah, well we can all thank the paranoid movie studios for this.



    @ JakeTheRock,



    The reason Jobs has called for the removal of DRM on music files is because the music labels already put out their artists' music in DRM-free form on CDs. It was totally hypocritical when they claimed (and still do) that legal, DRM-free digital downloads would lead to piracy when they were selling (and still are) millions of unprotected CDs.



    On the other hand, movies have never really been available in DRM-free form, so Jobs, nor anyone else, can make nearly as good an argument for removing DRM from that medium. At the end of the day, the movie studios hold the copyrights, so they can do what they want in terms of copy protection.



    With that said, I don't really get the point of HDCP, which requires an HDCP-enabled display. Why do they want to protect the output device? Anyone have any insight on this?
  • Reply 14 of 246
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 444member
    Edit: I'm keeping the below because it's kinda funny in retrospect... this is why I shouldn't write in the heat of the moment I suppose. I regret nothing! Enjoy.



    Absoultely, feverently stupid and totally unnecessary. I'll be recommending people download their movies off torrent sites instead of buying them thanks to this. Not only that, but I will no longer be buying a new computer from Apple.



    Well done studios, you now look more idiotic and backward than ever before.



    Jimzip
  • Reply 15 of 246
    We all know that there are a lot of silly lawsuits out there against Apple for stupid things, but this seems like a pretty reasonable one just waiting to happen--they do not make it clear that the new computers are only fully compatible with "HDCP compliant" displays, and this is clearly a serious limitation. I haven't yet tried connecting my new MBP to my HD projector, but one of these days I will need to, and if it doesn't work, I'm going to be furious (as will anybody who spends $29 on the adapter only to discover the restriction surprise).
  • Reply 16 of 246
    my bet : in less than a few months, we'l have $15 converters that are DHCP-to-unprotected-VGA flooding the market from some cheapo taiwanese factory. That or DVD-jon will break DHCP.





    dumbass users won't know it, but these dumbass users would not be pirating anyway

    pirates will know about it, get the tools and happily keep on pirating



    the net result ? millions of dollars invested in a technology that didn't do diddly squat to stop the target they aimed at. A bit like manufacturing a gun especialy designed to shoot fish that live in the sahara and piss in your oasis well.



    i'm not worried at all about this technology : they'll never learn





    this kinda reminds me of the DVD do-not-pirate-intro's : in singapore, you can buy DVD players for 15$ that automatically skip ALL dvd content that is marked as "not skippable". Talking about major LOL
  • Reply 17 of 246
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    You are missing the point though. The cause of frustration is that:
    1. It's totally unnecessary to have the "protection" in the first place (historical proofs abound)

    2. Some ridiculously high percentage of the time (99% plus?) the monitor is going to be analogue

    The whole HDCP thing just adds another point of failure for what is already a complex, frustrating process for many if not most consumers.



    This was one of the biggest complaints about the horror that is MS Vista, that these kinds of "protections" were getting in the way of normal law-abiding people with legal content to display. They also failed a certain percentage of the time even when the equipment was correct.



    While all true, this was inevitable. The only shocking thing to me is that it wasn't included earlier. However, if you didn't want to use ITS because of DRM then you aren't losing anything as this doesn't affect DVDs.



    PS: I wonder how many AI posters are against this HDCP, but also keep asking for Blu-ray.
  • Reply 18 of 246
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jimzip View Post


    Absoultely, feverently stupid and totally unnecessary. I'll be recommending people download their movies off torrent sites instead of buying them thanks to this. Not only that, but I will no longer be buying a new computer from Apple.



    Well done studios, you now look more idiotic and backward than ever before.



    Jimzip



    That's a very grown up response!
  • Reply 19 of 246
    Everybody seems to be pointing at negatives, here, but I thought us Mac users wanted this. Didn't we want HDCP compliant displays and the software and hardware to handle this, so that we could watch Blu-Ray movies???



    Edit: I see solipsism asks about this too...
  • Reply 20 of 246
    parkyparky Posts: 383member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post


    We all know that there are a lot of silly lawsuits out there against Apple for stupid things, but this seems like a pretty reasonable one just waiting to happen--they do not make it clear that the new computers are only fully compatible with "HDCP compliant" displays, and this is clearly a serious limitation. I haven't yet tried connecting my new MBP to my HD projector, but one of these days I will need to, and if it doesn't work, I'm going to be furious (as will anybody who spends $29 on the adapter only to discover the restriction surprise).



    Read more carefully.

    It will work, it will just play content from the iTunes Store.
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