from the good-luck-with-that dept
For quite some time now, the record labels have believed that if they couldn’t put old school copy protection on music files, the “next best thing” would be watermarks. This idea started showing up more than five years ago and when iTunes finally went DRM free, we were among those who pointed out that the files still contained identifying watermarks, in that the files themselves included info on who purchased the files. Two years ago we pointed out how these were a serious problem from a privacy perspective and it was best not to go down that road.
Surprise, surprise. The industry didn’t listen.
As a bunch of you are submitting, with streaming/cloud music suddenly becoming popular, apparently the record labels are demanding that companies use such watermarks as a new type of privacy-invading DRM:
The labels, say our source, are demanding that a user can only stream music that is watermarked to their username. Change the username, or try to stream music that you’ve ripped from a CD, and those songs won’t play.
While a bunch of people submitting this seem to think the watermarking is new, it’s not. That part of the story has been known for years. But what is new (if not surprising) is that the labels are trying to lock up streaming services by using the watermarks as a weak form of DRM. Of course, like any form of DRM it won’t work. Instead, it will annoy legitimate users who are stopped from listening to music they legally obtained the rights to. And, on top of that, it will put their privacy at risk. And for what purpose?
New decade. Same story.