Monday, October 03, 2005

COPYRIGHT: In 1998, Sony, Intel others launch anti-copying technology

NewsHound article from "NEWSPAPERS" hound, score "87."

Published Thursday, February 19, 1998, in the San Jose Mercury News

Illegal digital copying targeted
Intel, Sony, 3 others OK anti-pirating technology
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES -- Five giants of the computer and electronics industries have
agreed on specifications for technology designed to protect Hollywood's
most valuable content from being illegally copied. The agreement clears a
major obstacle to the delivery of digital movies and music into consumers'

Intel, Sony, Matsushita, Toshiba and Hitachi are expected to announce today
a joint proposal to deploy technology that will help prevent people from
making illicit copies of copyrighted digital content.

"If somebody tries to violate a copyright, it won't work," said Mike Aymar,
vice president of consumer products at Intel. "The goal is that you'll see
products on the marketplace that support this by the end of the year."

The agreement marks a promising new step in the often delicate dance
between creators of content -- such as movies, music and books -- and new
technologies such as the >>Internet<< that make it easier both to
distribute their works and pirate them.

The proposed technology would have no effect on television sets, VCRs and
computers already in people's homes. But it would be an important component
of newer, digital versions of those devices that could be arriving in
stores later this year.

According to terms of the proposal, high-definition TV sets, personal
computers, digital video-disc players, digital VCRs, stereos and set-top
boxes would all be equipped with technology that requires a digital
"handshake" before a protected piece of work can be transferred from one
device to another.

Further, it means that someone who buys movies or music over satellite
services, cable networks or even the >>Internet<< would not be able to make
copies -- at least not high-quality digital ones -- without permission.

The agreement was presented Wednesday in Burbank to the Copy Protection
Technical Working Group, an ad-hoc committee that is spearheaded by major
movie studios, but also includes the music, computer, software and
electronics industries.

Entertainment industry executives said they are evaluating the proposal and
still have questions about it. But most expected it to gain broad approval.

If it leads to more rapid delivery of new digital appliances and
entertainment services, the proposal could be a boon to Hollywood, the
computer and electronics industries, as well as consumers.

The "handshaking" technology is an encryption technique in which content is
basically scrambled by one device and can't be descrambled by another
without the correct software key.

Computer and electronics executives envision consumers linking all their
devices together using cables and a new, standard interface called IEEE
1394. Today's announcement adds a layer of software to control what these
devices can send to one another, and sets ground rules for what can be done
with copies that are sent.

Without such safeguards, entertainment executives said they would be
reluctant to deliver any of their most valuable content.

Such encryption technology has been around for years, but until now, there
was not a consensus among leading electronics manufacturers to deploy a
common specification so that all their devices would be able to work with
one another.

Obviously, there are laws against copyright infringement. But those are
difficult to enforce in the enormous expanse of the >>Internet<<. Even with
the agreed-to technology, experts said there still need to be improvements
in watermarking and other technologies to make it easier to detect and
prove violations of copyright laws.

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