What do you think of watermarking SACD or DVD-Audio discs?

Using a digital code, or "watermark," has been proposed for SACD and DVD-Audio recordings to help control what consumers can and cannot do with the new discs. The downside is that some engineers feel that the watermark, though subtle, might be audible at times. Does this bother you?

What do you think of watermarking SACD or DVD-Audio discs?
57% (182 votes)
Hate the idea
34% (110 votes)
Don't like it, but it seems they must do it
4% (12 votes)
Don't care
2% (7 votes)
Good idea
3% (8 votes)
Total votes: 319

Tony Esporma's picture

To me, watermarking a recording using frequency shaping in the audio domain reminds me of dog piss-marking its territory. To hell with it.

Douglas Henning's picture

It defeating the purpose of high resolution audio. I will not support an improved format if it is spoiled by watermarking.

Clearance Niceman's picture

If the music industry has to resort to such despicable mean to hang on to their profiteering all these years, may I suggest that they get out of the industry and do something that they can continue to suck the consumers of their hard earned money.

Jason Pierrotti's picture

Allow it now and the industry will continue to adjust to sacrifices in sound quality despite major efforts for sound perfection.

Steve Williams's picture

Until the record industry stops the paranoia I will not buy the new tech.

Martin's picture

There has to be a better solution to the piracy issue. Watermarking is the easy way out.

HK mendenhall's picture

David chesky suggestions merit comsideration.

T's picture

Boycott if it degrades sound. Otherwise I don't care since I always buy my records.

Russell Wheatley's picture

Big Brother is watching you!

Graeme Nattress's picture

Any scheme that can be made up can be hacked—how long will it be before "sound-improving" watermark strippers appear? It's a futile excersise that only affects the music lover, not the major pirate who uses a pressing plant; or the computer MP3 pirate, whose next version of the ripping software will remove the watermark anyway. Whoever sold the record companies this idea was either one hell of a salesperson, or the companies are very, very stupid or very, very scared—probably both!!!!

Ernest Ruiz's picture

Hate because watermarking could be heard according recently tests (DVD-Audio). It seems that we are going down the road in sound reproduction techniques (Vinyl, CD, Minidisc, MP3, DVD-Audio with noises, etc). Do they remember what hi-fi means? No, I think they only remember the sound of money in their pockets.

Luther Loather's picture

Boycott those greedy music company bastards! I they music companies should be charged everytime a song is played as they are using the air!

Sami Rifat's picture

Get over it! The industry is so hung up about their money that they'll ruin any and all new promising technology. While they argue about all this, I'll be buying vinyl.

Mike Healey's picture

It's bad enough that the "industry" wants to charge for individual digital downloads that sound terrible. Now the good stuff that people are willing to pay for will cost more and sound less than acceptable. For comparison, the picture quality of most televisions has improved dramatically, but the watermark that most every station uses during their broadcasts (except commercials) is still annoying. The industry standard for "perfect sound" is the sound of a sucker being born.

Rudy Manalo's picture

it's about the music and its fidelity. I will not feel comfortable listening to something that is tainted.

Woody Battle's picture

The type of watermarking that is planned cannot help but be audible. Therefore, it is a very bad thing and should be avoided at all cost. Watermaking of this type kills the very benefits we hoped to gain from a new high end format.

KJ's picture

Watermarking, as embedded in the audio signal, is truly the work of pure evil. It will necessarily impair the quality of the audio signal, and thus ruin the raison d'

Lt.  0110 (1st Cyber-commandos)'s picture

I detest the idea of watermarking. With a little time, hackers, crackers, and academics will reverse-engineer it. It's war, gentlemen, and while it's never a pretty thing, we have all been here before. The spoils go to the side with the sharpest minds!

Bill Hojnowski's picture

Watermarks exist as copyright tags in every medium every created, DVD and SACD are no different. You might be able to hear something that you think might be a watermark, but I doubt it. Most likely the distortion you'll hear is created by electronics that are never perfect no matter how much money you spend. I think the HiFi world will spend a lot of time chasing the watermark ghost.

David S.  Dodd, ddodd@aug.com's picture

I will absolutely refuse to buy any watermarked product. Why bother paying premium prices for what one might consider the highest fi (SACD) when it is compromised—no, bastardized—by such a process. Damn these paranoid and money-grubbing record-industry people.

Scott Miller's picture

I don't see widespread piracy of CDs among those who would otherwise buy those same CDs, and thus do not believe that copying by the general public has hurt music sales. I do know that digital copy protection would prevent you from making "fair use" of music you've purchased (i.e., you will not be able to make digital compilation discs), and would possibly degrade the sound quality you thought you were paying for. I see this whole watermarking affair as a way of maintaining control over the distribution of music, and thus a way to maintain high prices, rather than as a way to control piracy. I, for one, do not plan to help them with this agenda.

Rob Cornelson's picture

Why bother? As long as computers keep getting faster and the digital players can be taken apart someone will always be able to crack a watermark and keep it from doing it's job. It's my opinion that digital technology will eventually kill the record companies. Greedy bastards deserve it too!

Stephen Curling's picture

I think there should be some control over copying music and what not. but i don't think watermarks are the way.

Sara Chan's picture

The audibility of watermarks needs to be WIDELY publicized. In LOTS of ways. Via MANY channels.

Chris S.'s picture

What do I think of watermarking? The same thing I think of having my vital organs stolen. Digital watermarks won't stop the pirates. It will only hinder the enjoyment of the consumer. Worse yet, all of the noise that's being made about this is just going to scare off most consumers anyway.

Barry Miller's picture

A horrendous plan? Record company moguls seem to be so obsessed with making money, and making it NOW, that they have completely lost touch with reality! They have forgotten the basic principal that in order to make money they must first offer the public what they actually want - not what they want them to have. The only reason anybody is going to invest in DVD-A or SACD is if it represents a substantial improvement over CD. To develop a superior system and then compromise it by watermarking is - well - pointless is the kindest word I can think of to describe it. Here is one customer who will not be investing if watermarking becomes an industry norm.

harry's picture

The music industry has been trying for years to control distribution but the copy issue is on the mp3/cassette stuff, not the high end user.

I.M.  Outthere's picture

Water and electronics just don't mix. Kiss my ass, big brother!

Anonymous's picture

Watermarking better not be audible to me or it WILL be Boycott.

Gerry G.'s picture

Terrible idea, I won't be buying any.