industry group composed of IBM, Intel, Matsushita Electric, and
Toshiba, working with record companies on a content-protection
framework for DVD-Audio, is expected to pick a
digital-watermarking technology at a June 11 meeting.
The group, commonly called the
4Cs, is expected to choose one of two competing technologies:
- Developed by Cambridge,
Mass.-based Aris Technologies.
- Miami-based Blue Spike Inc.
Both are said to hold essential
patents as well as robust watermarking technologies.
In the past several weeks, the
group has been conducting a second round of testing on
digital-watermarking technologies proposed by Aris, Blue
Spike, Cognicity and Solana Technology Development
Corp., in addition to the one submitted by IBM.
Although the group's activity is
solely focused on DVD-Audio, many industry sources believe the
watermarking decision made within the DVD-Audio group will set the
tone for what the Secure Digital Music Initiative decides for its
Record labels see watermarking as
a crucial piece of the copy protection system, whether their music
is released over the Internet or on DVD-Audio. One senior
executive at a California-based record label said, "Sooner or
later, any encryption system can be broken. We need watermarking
technologies to tell us who did it."