Next MP3 format to have 5.1 AND copy protection,1759,1573041,00.asp

Expected this summer, the MP3 Surround format is based on Agere Systems’ technology. “What we do is take the original surround-sound signal,” explains Peter Kroon, Agere’s chief multimedia architect, “and we down-mix that from 5.1 channels to stereo.” Rather than capturing all the additional channel information, however, the encoding uses psychoacoustic techniques to capture only spatial and speed information for additional channels, thus preserving compact file size. The MP3 Surround files are backward-compatible, so they play back as stereo tracks on existing players; updated hardware and software will play the files back as surround sound for 5.1 speakers.

The Fraunhofer Institute is also adding copyright protection. Dubbed Light Weight Digital Rights Management (LWDRM), when added to MP3 files it allows copying files, provided the user is willing to mark files with a digital signature—and register it. So when a file appears on Kazaa, the culprit could be swiftly found. Some will surely contend, though, that the whole appeal of MP3 files has been their flexibility—and lack of restrictions.

Uh, Funk dat. Time for an open source alternative? Ogg?

It says if the user is willing to register a digital signature – I assume that means the person doing the ripping.

What’s the problem with that?

I’ll be damned if I fooking register my hard earned store bought CD’s that I made rips of. Fair use, baby!

Fucking Bush did it again.

If I’m reading the article right, it means that any files encoded in this new mp3 format can’t be copied unless you are willing to register the digital signature. I agree that I’m not jumping through hoops to rip my store-bought CDs and listen to them on my ipod.

Possibly dumb question: Why can’t we just continue to rip files in the OLD mp3 format? It’s not broken, why fix it? 5.1 sound is nice, but not that nice for what I use mp3s for.

Cause nobody will produce a plugin to winamp that plays the file whether the signature is attached or not.

DRM technology is pretty much useless because there’s always a helpful college student willing to break it.

Right now the most messed up thing about DRM is the lack of a standard. How do you know you’re going to be able to play the crap you’re ripping 10 years down the road? The whole point of having digital copies is to protect the copy for the long term. Using DRM defeats that point because it just adds another dependency that potentially shortens the life span of your digital copies.

That and the fact that there is always a college kid around to crack the latest DRM scheme.

Its odd wording. “When added to MP3 files …” tells me that one can create an MP3 without DRM, but it can’t be copied? How is that going to work? Isn’t copying files (unless the encoder apps “hold” the files) completely independent of characteristics of the file and entirely dependent on the operating system?

Perhaps I’m overanalyzing this, but wouldn’t that effectively negate MP3 usage on other platforms such as Linux?

Well, technically, it’s illegal play MP3s and DVDs on Linux, as the software to decode the data hasn’t been licensed to the open-source developers. Hence why mp3 playback isn’t installed by default on Red Hat Linux due to the licensing issues, though that’s easily fixed with the download of a simple .rpm

In the end, this is just a digital download form of those “super audio DVDs” the RIAA wants us all to immediately switch over to because they have better control over the format. And will no doubt be just as successful.

And Microsoft are also up to no good (if you din’t already know that).

support for secure time clocks and metering make it possible for services to offer subscription content to portable devices for transfer and playback for the first time.

From their press release today on the future of DRM on Windows.

Heh. Microsoft has to be careful of what they add into future versions of the Windows as people are getting slower and slower at updating their operating system these days.

Most workplaces, for example, skipped Windows 2000 completely, and the number of large shops still in the 95/NT era is kind of scary. I also know a good number of home “prosumer” types who seem unwilling to make the jump from running Win2000 Pro to WinXP Pro on their home workstations. Honestly, other than security updates, I’m personally pretty happy with WinXP, and have little reason to make the jump to a new Windows.

It’s somewhat humorous that while we keep hearing news about all these new DRM features Microsoft is adding to the next release of Windows, we also get a number of reports on promised features that won’t make it, such as the full database driven file system they were promoting a while back.