Analysts: DRM on music CDs deemed unworkable
By Matt Whipp
Posted on 21 Nov 2005 at 13:10
Analysts at research firm Gartner said they doubt music publishers will ever find a 'workable DRM scheme for music CDs'.
The company has been following the saga of Sony's ill-fated DRM technology closely, and pointed out that aside from the public-relations fiasco that this has become, the technology itself is easily overcome.
'The user simply applies a fingernail-sized piece of opaque tape to the outer edge of the disc,' report the analysts. 'The PC then treats the CD as an ordinary single-session music CD, and the commonly used CD "rip" programs continue to work as usual.'
Gartner points out that it neither endorses or recommends the method - it simply highlights the ease with which these expensive and complicated technological barriers can be hurdled.
'Sony BMG's DRM technology will prevent neither informed casual copiers nor high-volume "pirates" from doing whatever they like with the content the disc.'
But the price Sony has paid for using the software is immeasurable. As well as the public relations damage at one of the biggest CD buying periods of the year, the software has been found to contain security holes and Sony has been coerced into suspending use of the technology and rolling out a costly replacement program for the more than 2m CDs already sold, with more than that still in the channel.
Gartner recommends music publishers mount a legal campaign to ensure what DRM controls do exist are implemented by the hardware and software industries, rather than the content owners; it also says that such technology should only be used to track the use of its content, not block users from using it.
The analysis is available at the Gartner website.
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