HD DVD processing key discovered, AACS LA not happy

The AACS LA have resorted to the desperate last-ditch action of issuing Cease & Desist notices to websites publishing the simple sequence of numbers:

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

This is the Processing Key which is the keystone to the encryption used to prevent non-licensed players from accessing encrypted data on HD-DVDs, and potentially on Blu-ray discs too. As with the CSS key from standard DVDs, this will allow free software players (such as mplayer, VLC, or xine) to be able to playback these next-generation discs – something that would not previously have been possible.

More to the point it shows that no matter how much money you pour into trying to prevent consumers from using the products that they buy or how clever you think you’ve make the obfuscation of the keys, there will always be enough determined people out there to render the scheme worthless: any usable DRM system is inherently trying to achieve the opposing goals of allowing certain disconnected players to playback content whilst blocking others.

The fact that the AACS LA can only sue sites which relay this information demonstrates that their scheme is in tatters – a fact that should be celebrated by all consumers who think that they should be treated as people with dignity and rights rather than merely as criminals to whom units are shipped.