"Watch out -- recording industry executives are about to start
running for cover. All of the Secure Digital Music Initiative's
watermarks -- its much ballyhooed music protection scheme -- have
been broken. A spokesperson for SDMI has denied the reports, but
according to three off-the-record sources, the results of the Hack
SDMI contest are in and not one single watermark resisted
"The hacking contest, which invited the general Net population
to break the recording industry's watermarking system and win
$10,000, ended Sunday; this week, SDMI members are meeting in Los
Angeles to discuss the results. Although a core group of
participants (including members of the Recording Industry
Association of America) who coordinated the testing process are
aware of the contest results, the larger SDMI consortium has yet to
"The key issue is whether the breaks are meaningful or not -- in
other words, could any hacker repeat the breaks, and is the quality
of the music preserved even when the watermark is scrubbed out?
According to one insider, all these hacks were, in fact,
technically 'solid.' The hacker boycott of SDMI organized by
members of the programming community who were suspicious of what
they saw as an attempt to coopt their labor in the service of a
corrupt industry has turned out to be effectively irrelevant."
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