SDMI loses 27 members, gains 9

The filing was required under federal law governing cooperative research endeavors. Companies such as Korea's LG Electronics, Aegisoft, Encoding.com/Loudeye Technologies and NDS a company in which News Corp holds the largest stake, have all been "dropped" from the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), according to the filing. Loudeye had been a founding member of SDMI. However, the group has also added a few big names, including IBM's Endicott, New York chipmaking facilities (other IBM divisions were already SDMI members), Japan's J-Phone Communications and Switzerland's MediaMatec.

SDMI is the name of both the technology and the group creating it. The group had been made up of over 300 music, computer and electronics companies, including the major record labels, Microsoft and Intel. Despite the weight of its participants, SDMI has been plagued by bad press and missed deadlines.

Though the standard is set to be finalised this winter, the group's meetings have not produced "consensus for adoption of any combination of the proposed technologies," according to a press release on the SDMI Web site. The group has moved its deadlines back repeatedly since its founding in 1998 and is generally seen as losing momentum.

SDMI's most recent high-profile action came when it successfully blocked Princeton professor Ed Felten's attempt to publish a paper based on his findings from the Hack SDMI Challenge run by SDMI last spring.

Other new companies added to SDMI were Winbond Electronics, NTRU Cryptosystems, Imagination Technologies, MPMan.com, Coding Technologies and the SSFDC Forum. Winbond, IBM and Imagination are all chipmakers, something which could play a larger role in SDMI's future efforts than previously.

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Sam Costello

PC World

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