The Secure Digital Music Initiative's move to establish a copy-prevention technology for commercial recordings has rankled audio engineers, who claim that the audible watermarking technique chosen by the organization could mar high-resolution recordings. Of particular concern are SDMI's testing methods and its rush to get a standard in place without commentary from engineers or the music-buying public.
Music sales over the past two years have increased almost everywhere except near college campuses, according to a recent study undertaken by Reciprocal, Inc., a digital-rights management company. The first quarter of 2000 showed a 12% rise in overall music sales compared to the same period in 1998—except at stores located within five miles of a college campus. Reciprocal reached its conclusions based on figures supplied by sales-tracking organization Soundscan, Inc.
Will the European Union extend copyright protection to new digital media? That question was still unresolved Friday, May 26, after extended talks between ministers of the EU's 15 member nations failed to produce a coherent result. Meeting in Brussels, the ministers have been discussing how best to protect the interests of copyright holders while allowing consumers adequate leeway to use and reproduce legally purchased music, movies, video, and computer software.
When we received notice several days ago from Panasonic that the company was finally releasing its DVD-Audio players next month, we filed the press release for a couple of days to see if it would last the week (see previous story). Apparently, the products are still a go. Panasonic says it will offer a full line of DVD-Audio/Video models under both the Panasonic and Technics brand names, with the first units arriving in stores in July. As previously announced back in August 1999, the Panasonic DVD-A7 will have a suggested retail price of $999.95, and the Technics DVD-A10 will have an SRP of $1199.95.
In an effort to smooth the way for websites that wish to legally reproduce copyrighted music, BMI announced last week that it has now become the world's largest online digital rights management company with the launch of its Digital Licensing Center (DLC) and "Klick-Thru" online copyright licensing system. The company says that the DLC is intended to help Internet companies digitally obtain a music-performance license through BMI.com, allowing them to publicly "perform" any of BMI's 4.5 million copyrighted works from its 250,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers.