Chapter 9. Piracy and Copy Protection

The magnitude of piracy committed on all kinds of digital content such as music, software, and movies has become monstrous. This problem has huge economic repercussions and has been causing a certain creative stagnation—why create if you can't be rewarded for your efforts?

This subject is closely related to reversing because cracking, which is the process of attacking a copy protection technology, is essentially one and the same as reversing. In this chapter, I will be presenting general protection concepts and their vulnerabilities. I will also be discussing some general approaches to cracking.

Copyrights in the New World

At this point there is simply no question about it: The digital revolution is going to change beyond recognition our understanding of the concept of copyrighted materials. It is difficult to believe that merely a few years ago a movie, music recording, or book was exclusively sold as a physical object containing an analog representation of the copyrighted material. Nowadays, software, movies, books, and music recordings are all exposed to the same problem—they can all be stored in digital form on personal computers.

This new reality has completely changed the name of the game for copyright owners of traditional copyrighted materials such as music and movies, and has put them in the same (highly uncomfortable) position that software vendors have been in for years: They have absolutely no control over what happens to their precious ...

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