Is watermarking a necessary evil or the devil incarnate?

With SDMI on the horizon, supposedly inaudible watermarking may end up in quite a bit of the digital audio we listen to. Is this a problem for you?

Is watermarking a necessary evil or the devil incarnate?
The devil incarnate
53% (80 votes)
A necessary evil
8% (12 votes)
I don't really care
9% (14 votes)
Have to hear it first
29% (44 votes)
Total votes: 150

Tony Esporma's picture

If it affects in any way the music, then I oppose it. If it keeps me from making my own copies for backup—who says CDs/DVDs are indestructible?—then I oppose it. Otherwise, I just don't care.

Al Marcy's picture

I simply won't buy it.

Abedan's picture

In Mr. Willis' balanced report on his test listening of the watermark technology, he mentioned that one of the developers could detect the watermark 100% of the time. Don't you think that audiophiles will learn how to do that? How annoying will it be to sit in front of $10,000+ of stereo and notice that on your recordings?

Scot Forier's picture

The record companies are going to do whatever it takes to stop piracy of their music. I, being a consumer, have absolutely no choice in the matter, except to not purchase the aforementioned items. I do feel a little left out, because I think it is a must to be able to make a duplicate of a particular CD. I do quite a bit of traveling and like to take along a copied CD, as I have had to replace roughly 75-100 discs that have been ruined by or stolen from my car.

Scott Miller's picture

I trust the industry's copy-protection schemes about as much as they trust me not to copy their products.

Rusli Arshad's picture

What watermark??? As if there's not enough problems already!!!! Anyway, if one is not supposed to hear this watermark then why worry? SPLASH! SPLASH??

Larry Archibald's picture

I'm confident that watermarking will be undetectable until we know what to listen for, at which point we'll occasionally be able to detect it. In the end, it won't make much difference.

Ken Kirkpatrick's picture

I do not think for a second that watermarking will stop the pirates. These people are clever enough to make a living honestly, but choose to be dishonest. And they will be clever enough to get around watermarking. Watermarking will only hurt the honest consumer, with possible decreased fidelity and increased cost. It is foolish. But then, if the record companies were only half as clever as the pirates, they would not have to worry about this at all. Their marketing of bad-sounding, overpriced CDs should be their main focus.

Nick Fulford's picture

My opinions on this subject are well-documented. SDMI (with watermarking and a lack of access to the digital stream) is, in my humble opinion, anathema to music-lovers and the small manufacturers who produce high-end gear.

Anonymous's picture

The key word in the phrase is 'inaudible'. Will it really be inaudible or kinda sorta inaudible, depending on the equipment used for playback, your ears, or what have you.

Chris S.'s picture

I would feel a lot better about digital watermarking if I was sure that it was really benefiting the artists and was not just another way for those vile record companies to maintain their stranglehold on the industry.

Karl Richichi, U.T.  Film Dept.'s picture

Have to hear first I guess. I really don't even know what this is. Sorry.

Mannie Smith's picture

I don't care unless it interferes with the sound quality.

Rob Bertrando's picture

Is this question a joke? I wish "watermarking" were. I would hope that, in this forum, 100% will choose "devil incarnate."

David L.  Wyatt, Jr.'s picture

With every advancing digital technology there ought to be a way to erase the mark invisibly. Of course, theory ain't practice. If I can hear it, it's a problem. If not, why worry?

Woody Battle's picture

Not only is watermarking a very bad idea, it won't even accomplish its stated goal: reducing copyright infringements.

Hans Shisler's picture

Ugh. Another committee decision on what is "perceptually insignificant. Look at a Trinitron-tubed computer monitor one third of the height from both the top and bottom. See the thin horizontal line at each location. Try a white/light background. Irritating, isn't it? Ha ha ha. Bet many of you did not see it till it was pointed out, but now it is impossible to ignore. Some kind of audible artifact will be discovered . . . but, hey, look at the upside: great for elevator "music."

Clark Cruz's picture

The digital information should not be altered—keep copy protection off the audio!

Martin Bruczkowski's picture

Why does it have to be audible??? Why not embed it in the digital datastream, just like the time and number of songs and error-correction code?

TGD's picture

You don't want people to copy music? Just make music cheaper!

Joe Nies's picture

These people who ruin the music for us golden ears should have hat pins driven thru their eardrums. Hopefully, audio reviewers (with golden ears & a conscience) will let us know how audible this watermark sounds & recommend we boycott the record companies.

Adam Hammer's picture

I buy recordings for the music, not watermarks.

David's picture

Who cares? People will find a way around it anyway. Why don't you address the REAL problem: CDs are too damn expensive.

Stephen's picture

If it is noticeable, then it is unacceptable!

primetime's picture

people listen up dont fall for the hype I sell high and low end audio and video for a living wait until you can listen to the players and then wait until prices are within reach and when its all said and done go back and listen to your dts audio discs and see how much money you just waisted

Graeme Nattress's picture

It's just so stupid because we know that the big pirates have pressing plants in funny countries and that this will not affect them one little bit. If they really wanted to kill piracy, they could make the prices reasonable and put more effort into stopping these commercially pirated discs from being made.

NL's picture

If it's truly inaudible, then why should any person not interested in garnering rewards for piracy care?

Marty T's picture

Goddammit! Some things are best left alone! Who wants to start listening for a watermark? We're already obsessive.

Robert D.  Houk's picture

Presumably, the "watermark" is embedded in the data themselves, which would mean the only way it could possibly be "useful" is if it is inaudible. But, if inaudible, it must require "high resolution" to hear it. Which, in turn, must mean "the only way" for it to be useful is if the raw data are externally available. I.e., the 24/96 data must be available for an outboard DAC. Which, I gather, is strongly opposed by the very folks pushing the watermarking. Kinda curious . . .

John Crossett's picture

They haven't proved that they (the record industry) can tell the truth in the past, so why should I believe them now? Record sound quality has always been job #1,000,000 to them, and now they want us to believe that watermarking will be inaudible, HA!!! Sorry, but for all the price-gouging they've done in the past, as Marie Antoinette once said, "Let them eat cake."