Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards

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Hello,

I hope you can help here.  I've just started working for a new employer and
one of the first projects I have is to develop and interface/reader for
Sony's memory cards.  CF and SD cards, IDE and SCSI I've done before and the
information was pretty much readily available.  In this case however, Sony's
protocols for communication with their cards at an embedded level is a bit
obscure and non-existant.

The MG technology I believe is an encryption algorithm applied to the cards
to 'lock' them, it was originally pushed with the Playstation 2 as allowing
the storage of online customer information, bank account details, passwords
etc.

Is the MG function always enabled?  Because if it is I'm dead in the water
from the moment go without that algorithm.

Would anyone have any experience in interfacing with these cards, please any
info?  It'd help me out loads as I'm just sitting here doing all of the
other background work surrounding the project in the meantime.

Any help very much appreciated,

Aly :-)



Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards
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Hi again Aly...

Did a bit of a search, but the news doesn't look good.

http://forum.dbpoweramp.com/showthread.php?t23%77

Not strictly related to your issue, but contains discussion on the
encryption system, which seems to fall into the "pay as a million in
licence fees, or we sue you to death" catregory.

Sorry...

Pal

Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards


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It's not in the least obscure; it's merely unavailable without signing
a license. You also cannot use the Memory Stick compatibility logo
without such a license.

History: In 1999 or thereabouts, when Memory Stick was emerging, Sony
made 85% of the interface documentation public and a license to use
Memory Stick was free for the asking. A few years later, they clamped
down and made it something like SD - you had to pay a lot to get in the
club. At that time they hid all the public documentation (though if you
want a copy, I can give you one).

I don't have the MagicGate specification and couldn't disclose it if I
did. But the specification for vanilla Memory Stick is written in such
a way as to imply that the DRM feature isn't turned on until you use
it. As further evidence in support of this, modern Memory Stick media
work with cameras designed for pre-MagicGate sticks.


Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards

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That was certainly uncalled for Rich.

What in the posting smells of bullshit to you?

But now that I review your posting, your signal to
noise ratio is less than 10%

Is this a pot-and-kettle thing?

Rufus





Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards
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That you got the job and now you seem unable to perform the job you
were hired for.

And I really, really wanted to use the word, "bullshat". ;-P

Good Luck!
Rich


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So you don't have the information I'm looking for then?  You're welcome to
come round to my house and go through my redundant chips drawer and get them
all working without datasheets.

Actually, my company would just love to employ someone like you who can
solve all of the open tickets.  Send on your resume.



Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards
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Really.

Would you expect to hire only people experienced with the specific parts
you intend to use? That would make it pretty hard to develop anything new.

Maybe that explains why 8051s are still so common.

In most of my work, I'm hired to find out what I need to know. I've even
asked questions on usenet, though the answers often resemble this one.

--
    mac the naf

Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards
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Agreed.

A logic analyser was one of the best bits of kit I ever bought, in that
usually I can solve a puzzle with an equal amount of personal energy as to
requesting information via usenet/forums with a load of hassle from people
who are still bemused by flashing LEDs.

The rule of thumb regarding usenet (and which a few of the engineers I work
with advise on) is simply to never post, never answer questions.  Simply not
to get involved.  The majority of our ideas and methods of doing things are
thrashed out in a continuous yahoo conference which does seem to work well.
As for the Sony thing, without that algorithm it aint going nowhere, I can't
implement full compatiability without it.  It would have generated about
10,000 units with the dies etched in China, and it's the company's decision
not to sign contracts with Sony so therefore it's a management decision.
ABS braking anyone???



Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards

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They should be thankful you haven't found a way into the algorithm.
Poking about in Sony's DRM schemes without a license is a guaranteed
way to a lawsuit. I don't recall for sure, but I think there are patent
considerations - I am QUITE sure there are DMCA problems.


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Yep, the US side of the company had initially thrown $100k figures about for
a full licence.  Also while researching this it's become clear that
certainly in the US it's a criminal act to try to disect something such as
an algorithm.

While I haven't tried to unravel the algorithm I'd hope that it's
sufficiantly secure not to be able to do so.  My 3rd year thesis was about
cryptography, with the main danger pointed out that sensitive highly
encrypted data (military for example) could be captured today and revealed
in 5 years time when processing power has evolved.  So while the bad guys
might not have access to the data now, in time they will do.  Equally so,
the Sony MG algorithm will come out in years to come.



Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards
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Wow, welcome to the land of the free. There's precedent set in English
law IIRC that specifically enables you to reverse engineer (Mars vending
and coin mechs) a protocol, I think you'd have to be able to prove
'clean room' techniques via documentation to be safe though. Can't quite
believe that you can't take a logic analyser and scope to equipment that
you've paid for without risking getting your butt fried. Hopefully we'll
be able to hunt lawyer instead of foxes if they ever become that much of
a nuisance over here.
--
Clint Sharp

Re: Sony Magic Gate Memory Cards


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DMCA trumps interoperability if you are building a "circumvention
device". It requires a lawsuit to determine what is and is not a
circumvention device. So you might win, but it will cripple you
financially.

Walt Disney bought the land of the free. Soon there will be a tax on
PIC12* series micros because they can be used to make PlayStation
modchips.

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Doesn't matter how clean your room is:

a) If you're infringing on a patent (lawsuit will determine yes or no
to this) then you have to negotiate a license, no matter how you worked
out how to implement it.

b) If you're delving into DMCA, be prepared for a long and agonizing
battle regardless of where the merits (if I can use such a word) lie.

The best US case law on this is a case of Lexmark vs. someone who was
making refurbished ink cartridges. Lexmark had some kind of crypto
protocol between the printer and the cartridge to prevent people from
doing this (the cart becomes useless once it is empty and the printer
won't print unless it can talk to the chip in the cart). Lexmark sued
someone who worked out the details and faked the chips. The defendant
won. But it was not an easy victory and this particular situation (MG
cards) is not the same by a long shot.


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and as we know, datasheets have all the information you need to get the
part working...

--
    mac the naf

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