Music Protection Alternatives

It all starts with a few good intentions

    In light of the millions of songs being stolen every day (and $1,000,000’s being lost to the music industry each hour!), several media protection companies have emerged within the recent years. Despite a history of lackluster, oftentimes highly-expensive solutions, these companies all agree on one important point–something urgently needs to be done to stop piracy. Costs of album production and marketing are going up, while CD sales are going down. The last thing music fans want is for their favorite artists to be forced to stop making new songs.
The pros and cons of current technology

All of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies that exist at present, offer both advantages as well as drawbacks.

For example, the most commonly used DRM technology at present is the Content Scrambling System (CSS) developed by the DVD Forum and which is currently used to protect DVDs. The data on the disc is encrypted so it can only be decoded and viewed using an encryption key that DVD player manufacturers can only obtain if they sign a license agreement that restricts them from including certain features in the player that could be used to make high-quality copies. However, as the vast number of pirated DVDs show CSS has been easily exploited and has failed to protect movies from piracy.

An alternative to such certificate-based encryption is physical protection of the content whereby it will only play on certain players that have the correct hardware installed. Conversely, product activation techniques require the purchaser of the content to register it before they can use it in its entirety, something that has commonly been employed with software. Digital watermarking and fingerprinting on the other hand does not prevent illegal copying but allows copied content to be traced through the use of hidden data, such as unique content IDs.

None of these techniques offer a perfect solution at present, however. Some are flawed in their ability to prevent piracy, some restrict consumers’ rights to fair use while others raise the prospect of encroachment into users’ privacy.




Definition: Watermark –

Also referred to as simply watermarking, a pattern of bits inserted into a digital image, audio or video file that identifies the file’s copyright information (author, rights, etc.). The name comes from the faintly visible watermarks imprinted on stationery that identify the manufacturer of the stationery. The purpose of digital watermarks is to provide copyright protection for intellectual property that’s in digital format.


MusicTrace Watermark Embedding For Audio Signals

This system also offers watermark solutions in addition to broadcast monitoring. This includes the product family ContentMark that permits embedding a digital watermark in audio signals. Depending on the product, this can involve either uncompressed or compressed audio signals.

Automated Monitoring Of Watermarked Material

From Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute (IPSI), a new system that automatically examines files on a network according to predefined criteria such as file type or file name. Unlike many other measures to prevent illegal use of file-sharing networks, individual users do not need to be identified.


Software that off capability to create Watermark – text or small graphic file laid on every frame of the produced movie. Putting watermark over a movie’s part rather then a whole movie is possible as well.

MPEG Video Watermark Tool

PixelTools’ patented MPEGEscort™watermarking software slightly alters a compressed MPEG video to insert a visually indiscernible digital data file.

Audio Watermark Protection For HD DVD

Hollywood has unveiled a new technology which it hopes will help kill the pirating of movies. The system relies on sound – not vision – and was unveiled at a conference held by the international DVD Forum in Paris, France last week..

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Definition: Encryption –

The reversible transformation of data from the original (the plaintext) to a difficult-to-interpret format (the ciphertext) as a mechanism for protecting its confidentiality, integrity and sometimes its authenticity. Encryption uses an encryption algorithm and one or more encryption keys.



A Digital rights management (DRM) technology created by Apple Computer, built in to the QuickTime multimedia technology and used by the iPod, iTunes, and the iTunes Music Store. Every file bought from the iTunes Music Store with iTunes is encoded with FairPlay. It digitally encrypts AAC audio files and prevents users from playing these files on unauthorized computers.

Content Scramble System (CSS)

A protection system that has enabled the owners of movie content to provide consumers access to high quality DVD movies for home viewing on their video systems and computers. CSS prevents movies from being illegally duplicated, protecting the intellectual property of the manufacturers, producers and writers from theft.

Import/Export And Play Windows Media On Your Mac

Telestream’s Flip4Mac WMV Studio and WMV Studio Pro advance the cause of an all-Mac production workflow by bringing Windows Media encoding and decoding to Mac OS X. More than this, the components that make up these suites are truly professional tools, with high-quality encoding to Windows Media 9 formats (Standard and Advanced); support for resolutions up to HD; support for Windows Media Audio 9 Standard, Professional and Lossless; and superb integration with any QuickTime-based workflow.

Windows Media Video (WMV)

Windows Media Video is the Microsoft implementation of the VC-1 SMPTE standard. It supports Simple, Main, and Advanced profiles.

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Quote: Steve Lohr, New York Times

“THE recording industry’s long-running battle against online music piracy has come to resemble one of those whack-a-mole arcade games, where the player hammers one rubber rodent’s head with a mallet only to see another pop up nearby.”