E- Business: single-play music on agenda

Experts believe that the technology that makes this possible – known as digital rights management, or DRM – will forever change the way we consume media and software.

Software and media companies continue to push new content security initiatives, each plugging their own version of DRM that aims to protect content from unwelcome eyes. In the near future, e- mails, spread sheet programmes and web-page content alike will be secured with digital locks.

Sun Microsystems plans to roll out new software to protect copyrighted content stored on mobile phones and smart cards.

Meanwhile, Warner Music has released the new Steely Dan album Everything Must Go on CD and DVD Audio, the latter being an encrypted, ‘rip-proof’ format.

The biggest market for content security is expected to be corporations, government agencies and hospitals who need to keep sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.

But so far, it’s the media companies that have made most noise about DRM.

Ravaged by piracy, movie studios and recording labels have been fitting new CD and DVD releases with layers of computer code with the aim of preventing or limiting users’ ability to copy, or ‘rip,’ them onto a blank disc and trade online.

Consumer electronics companies such as Sony and Nokia have stepped into the mix too, installing DRM systems into new hi-fi systems and hand-held devices to ensure copyrighted materials aren’t reproduced and transferred from gadget to gadget without consumers paying for it.

‘We have to find ways to mitigate piracy caused by open formats. But at the same time we have to meet consumer demand for these formats,’ said Barney Wragg, vice-president of Universal Music’s eLabs, the technology R&D arm of the world’s largest record label.

Last year, record label Sony Music came under fire when new European CD releases by artists Celine Dion and Shakira wouldn’t play on a PC or Apple’s Macintosh computer.

Source: Birmingham Post