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Online Users Break Into TVNZ’s DRM

Within few days that TVNZ formally introduced its Ondemand site providing content for download, users have found out how to take away the Digital Rights Management (DRM) from the site, the television company admitted. The DRM stops visibility of certain material, seven days after its download.

Ondemand puts its programs on sale at $2 for 30 minutes. But it would be possible to watch them for a week only from the time that the download is complete and before the site locks the file. For this TVNZ uses PlaysForSure, a copyright technology that Microsoft developed.

PlaysForSure is, however, not infallible because in August last year a hacker created software to circumvent it and he even released the program online. Although Microsoft had repaired the problem, still the hacker was able to modify the software within a short period to break the copyright technology again. There has been no resolution of the situation yet and the software remains on the Internet.

Ade Krzyzewski, the principal creator behind TVNZ's interactive technology confirmed the possibility of removing the DRM in the way described above. In a statement by Krzyzewski that Computerworld published on March 26, 2007, he said that such was the present age technology. Even before the introduction of the Ondemand site TVNZ knew about the removal feature of DRM, Krzyzewski said.

Another person, Megan Richards - spokeswoman for TVNZ, said the television company was aware of the existence of the glitch before the launch of Ondemand but did not bother if some people exploited it. Stuff.co.nz published Richards' statement on March 29, 2007. She said the company did not consider the issue significant enough for its Ondemand service. For, there was a minute number of New Zealanders able to break the DRM built in the site.

On asking what measures TVNZ was planning to take in order to counter the vulnerability, Krzyzewski said the broadcaster was waiting for Microsoft to develop and issue a patch for PlaysForSure that would prevent the exploitation.

Although TVNZ could adopt other measures to stop the cracking of DRM, Krzyzewski described them "draconian for viewers" and so the company was reluctant to apply them.

Related article: Online Card Fraud Shows Greater Tendency Than Chip and Pin

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