Macrovision now owns BD+ for protection of Blu-ray Disc movies

Macrovision, the long-standing provider of copy protection for home video entertainment, will be jumping straight into Blu-ray Disc following its acquisition of SPDC (Self-Protecting Digital Content) protection technologies from Cryptography Research, Inc.

In a deal worth about $45 million USD in cash plus warrants for stock, Macrovision will own the patents, technologies and agreements of BD+, a small virtual machine technology embedded inside Blu-ray Disc hardware for the purpose of digital rights management.

“We are a research organization dedicated to solving difficult cryptography problems,” commented Paul Kocher, president and chief scientist of Cryptography Research Inc. “We developed SPDC to enable consumers to experience content across a broad range of devices while simultaneously providing content owners with the control to manage the security of content in this dynamic environment. Macrovision shares this goal and now that SPDC has entered commercialization, we are confident Macrovision will take it to the next level.”

“The integration of SPDC into our product portfolio will enable us to continue to provide innovative technology to our customers as they expand their distribution vehicles,” said Macrovision CEO Fred Amoroso. “Not only is BD+ critical for content security, but it also supports value-added features that enhance the consumer playback experience, such as potentially unlocking bonus content.”

BD+ technology allows content providers to include executables on Blu-ray Discs to perform specific, content protecting functions. For example, the BD+ virtual machine could run diagnostics on the host environment to see if the disc player has been modified, or to verify that the media keys have not been changed.

As part of the BD+ scheme, video may be deliberately corrupted or modified to prevent the ripping of the data stream for piracy purposes. The BD+ environment, once verified, will correct and descramble the content to render it viewable.

The BD+ protection technology is cited as a reason for Hollywood studios such as Fox and Disney to side exclusively with Blu-ray Disc over HD DVD.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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