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Old Apr 26, 2005, 2:39 AM   #21
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I agree it would be nice for the manufacturers to publish their file formats, but I don't see any real obligation on their part to do that.

Encrypting the contents however is taking it to another level. That's saying that it's not just a matter of reverse-engineering their formats but actually potentially makes it illegal to get at YOUR data when not using their software.

P.S. I use Canon, but my brother and best friend are Nikon SLR people and I've been evangelising the benefits of digital and encouraging them to get a digital body to to with their lenses. This really gives one pause for thought though.
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Old Apr 26, 2005, 11:10 AM   #22
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Some posters on various sites have implied that if Adobe published versions of ACR that decrypted other manufacturers' files, then the manufacturers must have given them the algorithms.

I would not assume that Adobe had details of encryption from other manufacturers (although I understand that permission was obtained from Sony to decrypt their files, perhaps after the code was cracked). ;-)

There is more to this issue than meets the eye.

In the past, developers like David Coffin, Thomas Knoll at Adobe, Eric Hyman at Bibble, and others have reverse engineered the file formats (and the algorithms used to encode them) for many RAW file types.

Nobody has sued (yet), and everyone was happy (well, perhaps not happy). However, most end users were not aware of the extent of the problem, until now, since the press picked up on Thomas Knoll's post about the encryption of some data in the .nef files for some newer Nikon models.

However, Thomas has a handicap that Eric and David don't have.

Adobe strictly forbids employees to decompile other companies' software. If the data can't be deciphered by looking at it, and the manufacturers won't provide Adobe with their specifications, they can only look at code released to the public. Does dcraw.c sound like it meets this criteria (Open Source ANSI standard C)? ;-)

Food for thought...

Adobe's software is not cheap, and ACR is now a major selling point. So, users expect it to interpret the white balance information used by the cameras supported.

What if David Coffin had other priorities (versus supporting the camera's white balance information from the metadata in Nikon's newest models)? What if he was working on supporting a model that a major software manufacturer may find to be insignificant?

What if Adobe was under pressure to deliver a version supporting this information in their next release, and they didn't have a way to find out the type of algorithms Nikon used because of company policy against decompiling?

If you were in Adobe's shoes, and the decryption algorithms had not been published yet, what would you do (especially if their legal staff was becoming more concerned over public opinion, since Adobe has made use of DMCA)?

This "hypothetical" scenario is as far as I'm willing to go on this topic. Make up your own minds about what really happened here.

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Old Apr 26, 2005, 1:13 PM   #23
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One clarification:

Not all Canon models use encryption, but these do (parts of the metadata in the crw files are weakly encrypted (XOR, fixed 32bit key).

G6, S60, S70, Pro1

Edit for this addition:

David Coffin says that two separate blocks used for white balance (custom, preset) in raw files generated by the Powershot S60, S70, G6, and Pro1 are encrypted (xor, fixed 32 bit key).

Even though it's weak encryption, it's still encryption according to Dave Coffin.

These newer Powershot models are using the so called "older" .crw format.

After a closer look at the code, it also now appears that a block for Custom White balance was being encrypted in raw files from earlier Canon Powershot models.

Encryption of the preset white balance block is new to the S60, S70, G6 and Pro1.

So, this appears to be an escalation of the amount of metadata being encrypted in .crw files generated by these newer Powershot models (S60, S70, G6, Pro1), compared to earlier Powershot Models.

Again, it's not just Nikon.

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Old Apr 27, 2005, 1:25 AM   #24
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Itsthe legal issue of course that can cause problems for 3rd party vendors.

Remember that Sony used an encryption for all the Raw data. And Nikon just encrypts a setting. Haven't read anything about a complain from Sony that their schema is cracked but according to the DMCA it is not legal to do this.

It has no market value right now for a camera manufacturer to publish the Raw format. Markets sometimes doesn't follow logic and if one makes big buzz with publishing the format others will step in. Marketshares is the driving force behind this. Sites like openraw.org are good for customer awareness but camera manufacturer will ignore this. Canon doesn't make money from the supplied software. Its a must to provide a working software along with the camera because its listed in the box package. Review sites will complain if no software is provided. Any review sitescomplain that the Raw from recent models are not made public? Maybe in the future it will be important but for now the world lives without.
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 9:29 AM   #25
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Sinceinformation has surfaced to indicate that Nikon is not the only one encrypting at least some portions of theirRAW files,this thread was moved from the Nikon Digital SLR Forum to the General Forum

Jim C.

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Old Apr 27, 2005, 7:37 PM   #26
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Lexmark (the printer maker) added a chip to their printer cartridges which didn't do a heck of a lot, but it did "id" a cartridge as a Lexmark cartridge. The chip was reverse engineered and a 3rd party cartridge was sold.

And Lexmark sued them for "violated the anti-circumvention protections provided by the DMCA." And the courts threw it out. It was basicly shown that the chip was only added to make it harder to copy the chip and really didn't serve another purpose. Note, this is mostly from memory to learn more read here:

I certainly hope that Nikon didn't encrypt this field only to retain control and squash others with a DMCA suit. But if they did, I hope they get a right minded judge that sees this for what it is and throws it out.

Personally, this type of thing sickens me to no end. I'm a software designer by trade... this type of trick serves no good purpose to the people you are supposed to at least care some about. Customer. Compression is one thing (smaller space, faster writer times.) But encryption does the customer absolute no good.

I didn't realize that Adobe didn't use the Nikon SDK.

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Old Apr 28, 2005, 12:14 PM   #27
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Onew has to look at then entire question from the consumers point of view...

Case History
Ok, I shell out BIG BUCK$ for a Nikon camera. I find that the manufacturer's software is cumbersome and produces poor results. Their optional software is using the same plug-in as the free software. Well, life sucks.

I go out and purchase a third party software, results are much better, speed is ten times that of Nikon.

Would I have bought this camera if I knew that third party software was unavailable? Absoultely NOT!

I pay little attention to reviews of the included software, because it's never that good.

Is the manufacturer also guilty because they withhold information that it's their software or no software?

Obviously at the moment such is not the case, but what if it was? What if the ONLY software I could use was Nikons (or Canons or Sony, whatever) and this information was withheld from the buyer?

And can this happen?

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Old Apr 28, 2005, 9:23 PM   #28
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I have been working in the computer business for quite a few years. One big trend in the past few years has been, to use marketing-speak, "monetizing content." This means that after people buy a device they have to pay more to use it. And depending on how much they use it and what they use it for the price varies. This is where things are heading with iPods and the iTunes Music Store, Cell phones, Cable TV, etc.

To me the camera business is becoming more and more like the computer business. Certainly some of the same companies are involved. I suspect that right now camera manufacturers are hard at work trying to figure out how to "monetize" the content that you create with your digital camera.

Perhaps in the future you will buy your camera and load the software and use it for a while and then you will see a window pop up that says, "Congratulations, you have edited 200 images with our wonderful software. If you want to edit any more, type your credit card number here."

This, or something like it is the reason behind the Nikon RAW encryption in my opinion. Open source file formats are just about the only protection against schemes like this.
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Old Apr 28, 2005, 9:34 PM   #29
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As I (mis)understand it, one of the reasons this issue first came up was the heavy-handed way Nikon telegraphed their intents. In addition to encryption, the other "shot-across-the-bow" that stimulated the discussion seems to have been the bit of hubris in the Nikon pro e-mail letter sent out several weeks ago, including the paragraph:

"Where does Photoshop come in? As graphic arts software, it's great for removing a telephone pole, or adding a drop shadow, or affixing a caption to your photo. But if you're using it to crop or straighten an image, or adjust contrast, brightness, saturation and curves, or to apply filters, you simply don't need it. Capture does all that and more. And remember, whatever change you make to your image in Capture becomes not a change to the image file, but a set of instructions that goes with the image file. Because of that distinction, the original instruction set and RAW image data are never replaced or overwritten. Simply close the file and the original stays original. You can, of course, do a "save as" to TIFF or JPEG from the original NEF if you need to. So we're not saying you shouldn't use Photoshop, just don't use it first. Photoshop is excellent for graphic artists; Capture is designed for photographers. And Nikon engineers have designed Capture to work with the pure Nikon image, saved as a NEF, right out of the camera. Capture is as specific to Nikon cameras as a Nikkor lens or Speedlight."

In other words Photoshop isn't designed for photographers, and Nikon is signaling their intent to "capture" photographers, without alternative, into their Nikon Capture camp. When this was put into the context of the encryption of WB data, feathers flew.

I see the encryption issue as important because it would be like Nikon not only making a proprietary lens mount, but doing something that prevented your using any third-party lenses or flashes on the body, or making a body that would work only with Nikon-brand 35mm film.

It's a new ball game. Not only does Nikon make the camera, but they also make the proprietary lens, the proprietary flash, the proprietary film, and the proprietary developer--in sum, they know better than the photographer what his/her creative image should be and how to achieve it.

It should also be noted that Nikon has now removed the online page where that "pro note" was originally published.

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Old Apr 28, 2005, 9:41 PM   #30
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I'm still trying to get a grip with what is and is not happening with this, and have not yet come to a conclusion on what is the best solution in my mind. I'm reading a lot on this subject, and trying to look at it from all sides (manufacturers, camera owners, software developers).

In any event, I don't like the idea of encryption, period.

Any standard that is developed (or existing standard like DNG), could not anticipate advances that have not occured yet. So, I wouldn't want to limit a manufacturer's creativity. At the same time, there is a need for some kind of standardization.

If Adobe released control ofsomething like the DNGstandard to a standards body, it would still need to be a viable platform for growth (and I'm seeing reports of some perceived limitations with it at this point).

Of course, the manufacturers are probably not going to want to go along with this (as it stands right now).

I'm also still trying to get a grip on the *whole* story here. For example, are the models that Canon appears to use some encryption with (G6, S60, S70, Pro 1), fully supported by Adobe ACR (specifically, the "as shot" white balance information).

Although it appears the olderPowershot models supporting RAW may have had some metadata encryption related to custom white balance, the encryption of the preset white balance metadata appears to be new with these models.

This is the issue with the .nef files from the D2x and D2Hs. Even though these cameras will be supported, as of right now, Adobe is not going to support the as shot white balance from these models (because this metadata is encrypted).

I have just asked this question of Adobe via their forums:

According to David Coffin, the Canon Powershot G6, S60, s70, and Pro1 have portions of the metadata encrypted related to White Balance, using a weak encryption method (fixed 32 bit key, XOR).

It is my understanding that the encryption of preset white balance is new to these models.

In other words, previous models in the Powershot series that these replaced (for example, the g5, S40, S50), did not encrypt the preset white balance information from what I've been able to determine.

From reading through the supported cameras list for ACR 2.4, it appears that the S70 and G6 wererecently added.

The questions on my mind (especially considering the controversy over the Nikon D2x and D2hs) are:

Does ACR support the "as shot" White Balance from these models. If so, does Adobe have Canon's permission to decrypt this information?

Does Adobe agree that this information is encrypted in these models?

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