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BOL missed the mark on Jonathan's solution to DRM problem

by azizi26 / October 4, 2006 5:43 PM PDT

Hey Buzzers,

It seems like you misrepresented Jonathan's DRM solution, saying others might be able to read an individual's personal data (name, address, etc) inserted in purchased MP3 files. Johnathan clearly said the info would be ENCODED, so only the authorizing company could read an individual's ID number; the companies private/secured database would cross-reference the ID# to private information such as name, address, phone, EMAIL, etc.

And if Molly is still pouting, the encoded ID could easily be watermarked within the actual MP3 data, unless y'all have a better mousetrap than Jonathan's elegant solution.

Warm Regards,



This is so obvious. Cars have VIN numbers. Guns have the same thing, even little Bobby Jr scribbles his name in permanent marker on the inside of his backpack. Encode my name, address, phone number, and e- mail permanently to my digital data and make it so it can't be removed, and you will solve the problem right there. Add the tools to scale down a video, and it works for your mobile devices in that market as well. People take too many stupid pills these days...gosh.

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An additional note
by Jonathan H / October 5, 2006 5:00 AM PDT

Buzzers you have a point, all encryption is eventually broken, so a UUID representing each person could take its place in order to keep the victims contact information private. However this would require a database to be holding that data and that sounds less practical (who wants to go through all that work for my email address anyway).

I believe this to be a reasonable middle ground. The encrypted data does not prevent the song from being played just as a VIN on a car does not prevent a car from being driven by a thief. What it does is allows someone suspected of being a thief to be convicted of the crime.

imagine iTunes asking you to refresh the DRM on all your music in your library, even music not previously DRM'ed. 10 out of 10 people would say NO!!

imagine now if iTunes offered to remove the DRM from your music and replace it with this method... 10 out of 10 people would say yes.

Even if/when the encryption is broken, iTunes could issue a new security key and apply it to your music.

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Not a bad idea but....
by gogomama / October 5, 2006 7:41 AM PDT
In reply to: An additional note

I like the idea of making mp3s drm free but identifiable to the purchaser, but it seems to me there might be a couple of issues with this:

1 - This would require a lot more processing power on the part of iTunes. This would have to be something done server side since were it done client side people would just hack the clients. I don't have any idea how much processing power this would take, but it would obviously take more since they would have to be encoded for each person with their ID or information in it.

2 - Would this be able to be done without breaking an MP3? I mean if a player is expecting audio data and gets something else it won't know the difference. You'd either get noise in with your music or break the MP3 altogether. I could be totally wrong about this, I'm just trying to bring up what I see as potential issues with the idea. It might be possible that the amount of data used to make the MP3 point to the owner is so tiny compared to the amount of data used to encode the song that it wouldn't really even be audible.

I really do think this is a great idea if technically possible. I think with all the money the MPAA has made off of lawsuits they would gladly set up the UUID database system for us (and track your music buying habits). Just my two cents.

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Other potential issues
by drivechevysordie / October 5, 2006 7:15 AM PDT

Obviously putting encoded personal information directly into audio file is troublesome since it can get cracked. Slightly better solution is to put an identifier linked to their database for a lookup in case of copyright infringement. However even that would be problematic if my data can get stolen. Let say I had id encoded mp3s on my iPod and it was lost or stolen. Someone can put up those files on file sharing network and I would get in trouble for that even though I wasn't the one who broke any laws. As everyone knows laptops get stolen all the time.

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