Saturday, January 12, 2008

DRM Is Dead, But Watermarks Rise From Its Ashes

Wired reported With all of the Big Four record labels now jettisoning digital rights management, music fans have every reason to rejoice. But consumer advocates are singing a note of caution, as the music industry experiments with digital-watermarking technology as a DRM substitute. Watermarking offers copyright protection by letting a company track music that finds its way to illegal peer-to-peer networks.
So what.
At its most precise, a watermark could encode a unique serial number that a music company could match to the original purchaser. So far, though, labels say they won't do that: Warner and EMI have not embraced watermarking at all, while Sony's and Universal's DRM-free lineups contain "anonymous" watermarks that won't trace to an individual.
Who cares if they can trace it to an individual. At least if you buy a CD or just one song, you can copy it to any mp3 player you have. I don't mind them shutting down peer to peer exchange of music, although I doubt they could track a song to the particular purchaser.

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