Managed Copy on Blu-ray is optional
Reports of AACS LA not including Managed Copy in the final specification due later this summer emerged from a Consumer Electronics Daily report this April. However, chairman of the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) Business Group Michael Ayers came out to say, “AACS LA continues to work toward a set of final specs and licenses that includes Manged Copy, just as it has been since the beginning.” If this was not clear enough, he went on to say, “There are no plans to drop Managed Copy, and reports to the contrary are in error.”
Even Richard Bullwinkle of Macrovision – who is a leader in fighting digital copies of even legally purchased DVDs – commented to Home Media Magazine saying, “I think failure to allow for Managed Copy would be a mistake.”
In 2005, before Blu-ray and HD DVD had reached the market, Microsoft and Intel pushed for Mandatory Managed Copy in AACS. This was one area that Microsoft broke with Blu-ray over (the other was HDi). HD DVD accepted Mandatory Managed Copy and Blu-ray did not. Later, Blu-ray and HD DVD were equal with a mandatory system. HD DVD claimed (at the time) this was backwards compatible and all discs would work. However, AACS LA had not completed the specification for Managed Copy.
The AACS specification is still not complete, but the latest revision (0.921) released in June does include Managed Copy in Chapter 5. This does look like the Managed Copy Machine is optional. It is not explicit but does say the “BD-J Application can know the availability of Managed Copy Machine and request to invoke a Managed Copy Machine.” This does sound like the Managed Copy Machine does not have to be present.
Certainly we will know for sure once the 1.0 specification for pre-recorded content is available. But studios such as Fox and Lions Gate have already provided digital copies of movies on Blu-ray (and DVD) already without the use of the AACS system.