Ed Felton has posted a series of discussions on his blog about the high defintion TV drm system HDMI. In the final one he asks why is the system so weak? His answer?
"HDCP encryption exists only as a hook on which to hang lawsuits. For example, if somebody makes unlicensed displays or format converters, copyright owners could try to sue them under the DMCA for circumventing the encryption. (Also, converter box vendors who accepted HDCP’s license terms might sue vendors who didn’t accept those terms.) The price of enabling these lawsuits is to add the cost of 10,000 gates to every high-def TV or video source, and to add another way in which high-def video devices can be incompatible.
The second question is why they weren’t willing to spend an extra 20,000 gates to use a more secure crypto scheme. Doing so would have reduced, in the long run, some types of P2P infringement. They apparently felt this would not be a good investment, presumably because other infringment scenarios were more troublesome. Why spend money strengthening one link in a chain, when other links are already weaker?
The bottom line is clear. In HDCP, “security” technologies serve not to disable pirates but to enable lawsuits. When you buy an HDCP-enabled TV or player, you are paying for this — your device will cost more and do less."