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DVD-Audio And The Internet
Article by Steven R. Rochlin
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  Virtually everyone reading this knows about Napster, yet many of you might not be aware of the recent news about DVD-Audio and yet another factor that may yet again delay its release. For those of you who read Enjoy the Music.com's Hi-Fi News & Record Review and also the Ultimate Audio sections have surely read their Editor's most recent comments about the DVD-Audio problems in their recent issue. It all stems around the Verance watermarking system. You see, the major labels know some people copy CDs onto CD-R discs for personal use. Yes, there are also those pirateers making illegal copies for sale as well. The Verance system was going to watermark a DVD-Audio disc so that subsequent copies could not be made. If they were made in the analog domain, the copies could be pinpointed back to the original disc to assist for tracking and possible legal purposes.

Fortunately a major get together of various recording label executives came about to truly hear in the Verance system was sonically transparent. The outcome? The Verance system was indeed not transparent and in fact interfered with the music! This means that all the hard work to provide top quality music would be reduced because of the audibility of the Verance watermarking system. Therefore many labels decided to not use the watermarking technology but...

But the problem now is that the major labels are yet again delaying their DVD-Audio releases until they can insure the protection of their copyrighted software (read: music). Of course there are some labels, such as Telarc, who have decided to use no watermarking or security technology at all and will release their software regardless. To me this makes sense as anyone who knows about so-called watermarking and protection schemes also knows that they can broken. Microsoft released their "protected" music downloads months ago. Within a day of releasing their first generation of this protection scheme it was broken. This meant that even the likes of Microsoft, with all their technology in protecting data, was rendered useless in a day's time! Of course no matter what type of protection is employed, the internet will find a way around it

i am sure virtually all readers of this article are familiar with Napster. Napster allows file swapping over the internet between users. Within a relative short time Napster has logged over 20 million users who are actively uploading and downloading copyrighted music via the MP3 compressed audio format. While MP3 may not equal "CD quality" sound, it is a way for millions of people to get, for free, copyrighted music for which they have not paid for. Recent lawsuits have almost shut down Napster. Meanwhile Napster has asked its 20 million users to boycott the RIAA and the major recording labels they represent. If they do succeed to shut down Napster they are only putting their proverbial into the leaking damn.

Other software such as Freenet and Gnutilla. Both of these systems, unlike Napster, make the uploading and downloading of files anonymous. Furthermore, there is no central servers to be shut down as the software uses every logged on user as a type of networked server. Therefore there is no one for the RIAA to track... or to sue! This type of file sharing could spell the financial decay of not just music labels, but also software providers as virtually any file or files can be uploaded and downloaded. Imagine how upset Apple would be if their new operating software (OS) was made available for free over the internet. No one would need to buy it on disc. Of course this also leads to how honest we are.

While i personally have never joined the Napster service, i know folks who are. Many people feel that the younger generation have little respect for copyrights and furthermore do not feel that stealing music is a bad thing. They seem to justify and rationalize things so remove any wrongdoing or guilt. This is a sad state of affairs when we have such a determination of morals. it is bad enough hearing about 12 year old children shooting their classmates with guns, it is also horrible to hear a 12 year old rationalize how music is free and they have a right to get all the music they can without paying for it.

While some people put the blame on the major labels for not making their music via "pay for play" in a more timely manner, just because an industry is slow to react does not mean you can simply steal their products. In the end the industry is so busy looking to protect their software with DVD-Audio watermarking and "pay for play" downloading that their key consumers are already bypassing them to fulfill their desires. It is time for the major labels that the RIAA represent to wake up and take note. If you do not release it soon, there are others who will find a way. Sony is already ahead of DVD-Audio with their SACD format. Soon Freenet and Gnutilla will be unstoppable unless something is done. The ball is in the hands of the RIAA.

Enjoy the music,

Steven R. Rochlin















































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