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Old 01-14-2008, 08:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default DRM is Dead, Watermarking to Replace It?

"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."

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.

Where do you land on this issue? Would you shy away from a watermark that identifies you as having purchased a song or movie?
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