DRM is Dead, Watermarking to Replace It?
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2008/01/sony_music' target='_blank'>http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2008/01/sony_music</a><br /><br /></div><em>"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. 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."</em><br /><br />This might be an unpopular opinion, but I say bring on the watermarking technology. If it means getting DRM-free audio files that I can use on any device I want without the hassle of authentication, I'm more than willing to put up with watermarking that says I bought a song. In fact, to protect the work of artists from theft, I think personally identifiable watermarks and ISP filtering of P2P traffic based on detection of watermarks isn't such a bad idea. I strongly suspect the people that purchase content are generally not the types to turn around and put their paid content up onto a P2P network, so the people complaining about this probably aren't the ones who buy content to begin with.<br /><br />Where do you land on this issue? Would you shy away from a watermark that identifies you as having purchased a song or movie?