Add Intel DRM to your product, pay $8m fine

If you cripple your products by adding Intel's DTCP-IP DRM to it, you could be liable for more than eight million dollars in fines if your implementation gets cracked. In this Intel Developer Forum presentation, Intel's Brett Branch explains everything you need to know about implementing Intel's DTCP-IP (including a complicated philosophical argument about why this isn't really DRM, even though it satisfies the primary definition of DRM: technology designed to give control of a device to someone other than its owner).

It's pretty creepy: you have to allow for "system renewability messages" that can revoke features and even disable the DTCP-IP when they're submitted. Ever wonder why enemy space-stations always seem to have a big red "press this to make the whole space-station explode" button in science fiction movies? I mean, wouldn't it be smarter to just not build "self-destruct" into your space-station? Well, that's what DTCP-IP demands of its implementers.

Scariest of all, though, is slide 25, shown here, which explains what happens if your DTCP-IP implementation results in a breach: $8m in fines, more fines from copyright holders (see update below), and revocation of your devices in the field (meaning potential lawsuits from your customers).

The presentation ends with a bunch of "call-to-action" slides for the people in the audience who are supposed to go out and add this to their products. But none of those slides says this: "If you subtract value from your products by adding our crippleware, we might reward you by bankrupting you when the inevitable breach occurs." It would also be nice to see this slide: "All of the 'premium content' crippled with DRM can also be downloaded for free from the Internet without any of these locks. Hey, entertainment industry cats -- do you think that adding DTCP-IP anti-features might provide an incentive to otherwise honest users to get their TV shows from Bittorrent instead?" 1.4MB PDF Link (via Hack the Planet)

Update: EFF's Fred von Lohmann sez,

Here's the accurate description of how the DTCP license works (all of this is in the public documents): 1) Liability to DT Licensing Authority for a material breach is capped at $8 million (DTLA has never sued anyone to date).

2) Liability to qualified third party beneficiaries (i.e., movie studios) for a material breach is limited to injunctive relief only (no monetary damages payable to movie studios for breach).

3) DMCA and secondary liability claims that a rights holder might want to bring for whatever reason are simply not covered by the contract one way or the other . . . they remain creatures of statute that the DTLA agreement does not affect.

So the DTCP license does expose technology companies to breach of contract damages if they fail to meet the relevant requirements (including robustness and compliance rules), but only DTLA can sue for money. Movie studios can sue as third party beneficiaries, but only for injunctions (e.g., stop manufacturing that tamper-friendly chipset).