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Old April 3rd, 2002, 10:16 PM   #1
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Defeating copy protection

(For purely legal purposes, naturally...)

I'm interested in capturing a few brief sequences from some DVDs for research/academic purposes, but the copy protection seems to work fairly well: When I try to capture the content through my Canopus DVStorm, the captured clip comes out mostly gray.

Has anyone had success defeating the DVD copy protection? Need I necessarily use the fabled DeCSS to crack the data stream, or is there an easier way?

I have access to an old DVRex system. I understand that copy protection wasn't implemented back when this system was made. Will this work to capture DVDs?
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Old April 3rd, 2002, 10:32 PM   #2
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Robert, your old Rex does not have the Macrovision detection feature that Storm does. Hope this answers your question,
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Old April 4th, 2002, 01:09 AM   #3
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For the last couple of years I've been battling the fact that I can pass a DVD player's signal through my DSR-30 deck and into the G4, work with the footage in Final Cut Pro and send the edited footage back out through the deck...but the deck would not record the signal going in or coming out. None of my DV devices would record from the DV. I just assumed this to be advanced copy protection circuitry within the deck to keep us from making digital copies of DVD's, a noble enough idea but a pain for me (I was just trying to master my demo reel using footage I've shot that have ended up on commercial DVD's, honest).

Recently I discovered that I owned a box that would make it all happen, a Panasonic WJ-AVE5 switcher unit. Cost about $250 on eBay, nominally for simple A-B switching and basic transitions, wipes dissolves etc. Sort of an old school device, but I was delighted to find that passing the DVD player through the switcher (SVHS jacks of course) and into the DV deck fooled the deck into allowing the signal! Much rejoicing.

I'm sure there are other similar units out there that do the same thing. Hopefully this isn't too delicate a subject gray-area-wise...I'm sure Chris will yank this post if it crosses the line into legal limbo!
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Old April 4th, 2002, 01:58 AM   #4
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I would suggest getting the signal digitally of a DVD disc for
best quality, if that is a concern. There are numerous ways
to achieve this. And do only use it when it is legal.
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Old April 4th, 2002, 02:25 AM   #5
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Hi Rob,

You say there are numerous ways to do this. I only know of one, and I've never actually tried it.

The way that I know of is to download DeCSS, which nabs DVD video clips and turns them into .MPG files. I believe this works in Microsoft Windows.

What other ways are there? And for those who have used DeCSS, is this the easy way to go about it?
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Old April 4th, 2002, 04:26 AM   #6
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DeCSS is a low level approach. It only decrypts a file. On a DVD
video is stored in MPEG2 system files (.VOB). These files contain
numerous streams: one or more audio streams, one or more
video streams, one or more subtitle streams etc. After you decrypt
such a file you need to de-mux (split) the file into its basic
streams.

After this you get files like .AC3 (dolby digital sound), .M2V
(mpeg2 video -> can have a different extension) etc.. This
requires more labour work than other solution. There are
programs around (no, I don't know what they are called
since I've never used these) that do all this in one go for
you. This saves time and hassle....

I suggest looking at the following sites to gather information
and some programs:

http://doom9.org/ (read the guides here first)
http://apachez.net/

Good luck
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Old April 4th, 2002, 08:05 AM   #7
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Considering that I know Robert K S personally and have met him on several occasions, and since I know him to be a fine, upstanding young man who wouldn't think of attempting to defeat Macrovision for ill-gotten purposes, I consider this thread to be a legitimate topic... but of course Charles is absolutely correct otherwise!

;-)

The new Canopus ADVC-100 analog/digital converter has an operating mode which ignores Macrovision, if that helps.
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Old April 4th, 2002, 10:24 AM   #8
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Maybe someone can clarify what the levels of copy protection are--I know that Macrovision causes the variable darkening-of-the-screen business, but what is the circuitry called that prevents the DV decks from recording any signal at all (they go into "record inhibit" mode? I had in the past been able to knock out the Macrovision but still couldn't record...
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Old April 5th, 2002, 07:24 AM   #9
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If you put an analog source into a DV camera I think it only
checks for macrovision. If it is a digital (DV) source though, I
think it can have copyright and generation control in the stream
too (not sure though)....

On DVDs you have four layers of protection:

1. region code. A disc should/is only allowed to play
in a certain region code (1=US, 2=europe etc.)
2. To access data on a DVD disc you need to authenticate
yourself through a publick / private key kind of algorithm
3. Data on the disc is encrypted using CSS (Content Scrambling
System). This works with company keys to decrypt the file
stream (each players company has its own key)
4. Macrovision. A bit in the MPEG2 system stream withing the
VOB file can indicate that the system should output a
macrovision compliant signal.

All DVD players SHOULD implement these security measures
(you cannot make a DVD player without implementing 2 & 3
at least)

I hope someone else has the analog knowledge to your
question.
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Old April 5th, 2002, 05:49 PM   #10
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OK, here's a related problem, not involving digital/DVD sources. Attempting to dub clips from VHS movies (strictly for internal training use, and these were legitimately purchased or rented movies, but it was totally impractical to use the tapes in the presentation, hence the copy attempt) I was feeding the signal into my Elura to first create a digital tape to be captured in FCP and converted to AVI files to drop into PowerPoint. The Elura would shut down with the "Recording Restricted" message. No evidence of Macrovision's variable darkening scheme. Then tried making a VHS dub of the VHS tape (yes, i know, YUKKK! but the ultimate image quality of the final file would be even lower anyway, so let it be) to see if whatever copy-protection signal would not get recorded, but still got the shutoff. This was with Panasonic AG decks marked "For Commercial Use Only" and I have been able to dub from one to the other (in VHS and S-VHS) just fine, since these are supposedly Macrovision-free and otherwise copy-protection-free. What is going on here?

BTW, I was looking to digitize little bitty one-liners from movies:
"Show me the money" from Jerry Maguire, "Hey Lil, do we serve water in this bar?" from Coyote Ugly, "I gotta get me one o'these" from Independence Day, the fake orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally etc.

Ironically, I have been able to record directly from a DVD player into the Elura from commercial disks of Hollywood movies, and have had no problem.
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Old April 5th, 2002, 06:35 PM   #11
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Your little Elura defeated DVD copy protection?

I haven't tried doing the same with my XL1S. I didn't think it would work. Will try now...

Nope, doesn't work. "COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DUBBING RESTRICTED."
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Old April 5th, 2002, 07:12 PM   #12
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Can't say I tried every disk, maybe the ones I tried weren't copy protected in that fashion (but I think they had Macrovision cuz I couldn't even pass the signal thru a VCR--which I wanted to do simply due to the TV not having enough input jacks and not wanting to keep unplugging to change sources--I kept getting the variable darkening and blurring).

Will have to try more disks to know for sure.

That little Elura is one handy gadget-- I use it to digitize promo tapes and aircheck tapes to be captured on my Mac in the absence of an analog breakout box (of course this takes twice as long as directly inputting the analog tape deck into the Mac thru a B/O box). I also use it to run around in the building to playback draft cuts to the clients without having to drag them down to my "grotto," and even to playback finals thru a full size TV in a conference room when I am interested in not degrading the quality by pulling a VHS dub and I don't have time to burn a DVD (and "loan" the room a DVD player). Plus I use it to pre-stripe blank tapes (which the old XL1 won't do cuz they "omitted" analog VCR recording function). I even have used it to digitize sound from analog audio tapes. It is my usual DV capture source for my NLE, I can keep it plugged into the Firewire and work while I leave the XL1 ready to run'n'gun at a moment's notice...to say nothing of the fact that the Elura takes up no space on my crowded edit desk unlike the XL.

Oh yeah, and don't forget, it is also a camera, so there's my spare cam/safety cam and B-roll/cutaway/reaction shot/stealthcam while I am shooting on location with the XL1. It is the size of a Walkman and weighs as much as a can of beer (without the extended battery and docking pod) and can be carried into a crowded nightclub or event as easily as a digistillcam. And it acquires shockingly good footage for a 1/4" single chip cam.

Still gotta figure out how to get clips off these movies without getting that pesky "restricted" message.
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Old April 8th, 2002, 03:22 PM   #13
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Yep, DVRex defeats copy protection

Thanks, Chris, for the heads-up; the DVRex did indeed help me to capture the clips I needed from DVD.
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Old April 8th, 2002, 03:59 PM   #14
 
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there's a little utility called DVDGenie available. A google search will probably find it.
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Old April 9th, 2002, 02:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Your little Elura defeated DVD copy protection?
Not on most of them, I have sadly discovered...ironically the ones with the sternest-toned warnings about "licensed only for home use and everything is prohibited" had the least copy protection.

Now to try the old Panasonic A/V mixer as Charles suggested. If that doesn't work out, maybe one of those "Video Stabilizers" I see on eBay.
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