Unfortunately, right now, this story is only appearing in the Wall Street Journal, so most people won't be able to read it. I'm assuming it'll get picked up elsewhere during the day, and will add an open link as soon as I can find one. However, the WSJ is reporting that most of the major consumer electronics firms have agreed to team up and develop a single copy protection standard. Sony, Samsung, Philips and Matsushita, along with copy protection company Intertrust, are joining together in what they call the "Marlin Joint Development Association." For a while, it had seemed like the consumer electronics industry was fighting the good fight for its customers, knowing that locked down equipment is much less valuable -- even if it costs more to build. However, they've apparently been misled into believing they need to do this. The end results will be the same as with all attempts at copy protection. The real "criminals" looking to make and sell counterfeit copies will get around it pretty quickly, and any content will end up being available online in record time -- where it will be accessible to anyone. The only people this will actually impact are those who legitimately bought content and are barred from doing something basic with it, such as making it accessible in the way they want to interact with the content. Even an analyst at Gartner is surprised at this move, noting: "If I'm a user, I'm wondering, is this going to make things more complicated for me?" In fact, if it gets complicated and doesn't work right, people are simply going to go online to download the same content that's there and available for free. You may also recall that many of these companies worked together in the past to let their various copy protection technologies work together well. That did wonders, didn't it? Update: Here's the press release about it.
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