Blu-ray finally gets Managed Copy functionality

The Blu-ray Disc Association has finally got round to making good on its promise of allowing consumers to make a personal backup copy of content that they've bought. After demonstrating the technology at CES 2008, it's taken until now for the functionality to actually get a release date.

4 December 2009 is that date. From that point on, consumers will be able to make a DRM-encrusted "managed copy" of any disc. It won't necessarily be free, though. And there's a slight problem in that there aren't any Blu-ray players yet that will be able to make those copies.

A player has to have the ability to contact an authorization server across the Web, make the copy, then install the DRM required. Existing players can't be enabled with a firmware update, so you'll need an entirely new device. Those won't be on sale until mid-2010.

Of course, hackers long ago defeated the encryption on Blu-ray discs, and any Blu-ray movie can easily be found on filesharing networks for free. Besides, by mid-2010, will consumers still be using Blu-ray discs? Or will there be enough legitimate web-delivered HD content available from the likes of Sky Player and iPlayer that Blu-ray will go the way of the Minidisc and SACD?