It seems the SDMI team would rather declare victory
November 9, 2000 8:17 PM   Subscribe

It seems the SDMI team would rather declare victory than actually be victorious. In order to qualify for the prize, you have to sign an NDA and not reveal how you broke in. The Princeton team refused to sign and apparently SDMI no longer thinks they count. Instead, the Princeton team intends to publish their results, including how to deactivate all the systems. But since Princeton won't get any money, that apparently means SDMI is secure. What a bunch of maroons.
posted by Steven Den Beste (3 comments total)
For those not familiar with it, SDMI == Secure Digital Music Initiative and it's the industry's counter-proposal to MP3, to which we're all going to instantly voluntarily switch without any coercion whatever, which will limit our abilities substantially by giving the music industry the ability to limit the number of times a piece can be played, and make a number of other changes all of which are in their favor.

It's one of those things which everyone, everyone, thinks is a good idea except the customers. Does DivX ring a bell?

(And that assumes they can even make it work, which is open to serious doubt. Does DeCSS ring a bell?)
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:23 PM on November 9, 2000

Divx, I believe.

DivX is the hack.
posted by hobbes at 9:28 PM on November 9, 2000

On the dual assumption that neither the SDMI people nor Felten's team are complete morons, the question becomes: what is the SDMI team's plan to deal with the academic crack? I see several possibilities:
  1. Claim that the attack unacceptably degrades audio quality. Since this is a subjective issue, the truth or falsity of this claim may be irrelevant: it might even suffice to pour enough money into saying that "oh, you can remove the watermarks but it sounds like shite."
  2. Try to block the use and distribution of Felten-inspired techniques on DCMA grounds, aka, the "one basket, many eggs" strategy. I suspect that Congress may be happier with the music industry and more willing to back it up if they really are putting their collections out in these formats. This also relies on the scare power of law enforcement to keep ripping and pirating tolerably low, which is a whole additional bet.
Other theories? The SDMI knows about the Felten et al. claims: I strongly doubt they're so wholly brain-dead as to not have thought this through at least a bit. The next few steps -- the release of the technical report, certainly -- are pretty predictable. What's the angle?

posted by grimmelm at 10:37 PM on November 9, 2000

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