Bitchy, bitchy, bitchy

Did you hear that the music industry held a hack-off? You were explicitly invited to hack the so-called Secure Digital Music Initiative. Linuxites called for a boycott.

John Lettice, writing in the Register, viciously attacked SDMI. Confirming a Salon report, Lettice declares that SDMI has been broken, full stop.

SDMI says that tests will check “whether the proposed technologies were affected in such a way as to avoid the intended effect, whether the results can be replicated, and whether in attacking the technology the music quality was degraded.” That opens a crack which could potentially be wide enough for a truck to drive through, because it exposes (appropriately enough) the analogue sliding scale factor that has to be built into the tests. Technologically the watermarks (which include an audio component intended to survive in analogue recordings) could be ripped out, but in doing so you may degrade audio quality unacceptably. Therefore, it is perfectly possible for SDMI to have 450 hacks, all of which successfully break the protection, but to bluster about Salon being “completely off the mark.”

The future’s looking bright for secure online music, isn’t it?

We agree with the skeptics: The only way to conclusively protect copyright owners’ rights will involve inventing an entirely new technology so tightly controlled that it extinguishes existing copyright law worldwide. Very simply, the conglomerates will own everything, and you will pay for each listening, viewing, or reading.

Posted on 2000-11-01