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Pirates of the 21st Century Unite!
The Secure Digital Music Initiative Moves Forward.
By Ben Ohmart
(more articles from this author)
2000-11-15
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The music giants are finally DOing something about Napster, the newsgroups, and all other forms of digital music trading. Rather than outlawing the many underground webs of trading activity, they're hitting the music itself. And more importantly, the music players. The advent of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) means corporations will finally catch up with the hi-tech pirates of the internet seas. CD players, radios, even mobile phones will soon be SDMI-compliant, allowing these devices to play Protected Music.

"The SDMI specification allows people to make an unlimited number of personal copies of their CDs if in possession of the original CD," explains SDMI Executive Director Leonardo Chiariglione. "What will be affected is the ability to make large numbers of perfect digital copies of music, and distribute them instantaneously on the Internet without any compensation to the creator or copyright holder." But don't worry. You'll also be able to play the old stuff on these new SDMI devices, even if your CDs are filled with non-protected tracks.

But how do you 'protect' digital music? There has been much argument about the addition of a 'watermark' to digital tracks which could mar listener appreciation of the music. Talks are underway to decide how best to present the music so that the protection is undetectable to the naked ear. Professionals around the globe, from AT&T to Yamaha, are cueing up in various laboratory environments, using hi-fi speakers, state of the art digital audio workstations, and other costly tools. Only 1 of the 5 proposed technologies have since been criticized for degrading audio quality.

Hackers were asked to break into the technologies submitted, with a $10,000 prize going to each successfully hacked technology. It's going to take a while to sift through the 447 submissions received, but it will be well worth it in the end, having consumers, artists and businesses alike ALL happy with the new MP3 and etc. media.

"SDMI compliant devices will permit consumers to access more music than they currently can over the Internet," says Chiariglione, "because copyright holders will be able to distribute music online without fear that it will be distributed instantaneously worldwide on the Internet." And that's something that's been needed for years now.

But I firmly don't believe SDMI will solve anything permanently. If a 6 year old hacker can get into NASA computers, someone will find a way around these new codes, using an upgraded computer of the future; like a disease that finds its cure, only to be outflanked by a stronger strain. Still, it's a step in the right direction. Everyone's so tired of standing still for pickpockets.

Linkography

AT&T - www.att.com
SDMI - www.sdmi.org
Yamaha - www.yamaha.com

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» The Digital Economy: How Digital Goods are Reshaping the Rules of Commerce - The Role Of DRM (2000-11-01)
» SDMI: Boom or Bust For The Music Industry - Introduction (1999-07-13)

Related News from Mi2N:
» SDMI Continues Evaluation Of Proposals For Phase II Technologies
» SDMI Approves Expanded Functionality


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