SDMI agrees on new spec for digital music players

The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) has met its June 30 deadline for agreeing on a technical specification for portable devices that store music in the digital format.

More than 100 recording companies, consumer electronics groups and computer technology vendors are members of the industry group which has been working towards resolving controversial copyright protection issues for music on the Net.

The technical specification sets out two phases under which new portable music players will be developed. Players built to the spec in Phase I will be able to accept music in all current formats, whether copyright-protected or not. Phase II will add new screening technology designed to block the downloading of pirated music -- music that has been copied and distributed illegally, without the permission of the creator or copyright holder.

When the screening technology is available, recording companies in the SDMI, including virtually all of the major labels, will deliver new music online using the Phase II version of the specification. To be able to download this music, users will have to upgrade their Phase I devices to Phase II devices, according to the SDMI.

This can be accomplished through a software upgrade, so that users will not have to buy new hardware devices, according to SDMI officials. The screening technology that is the core of Phase II will probably not be available for at least another year, to a year and a half, according to record company sources.

In any case, users of either Phase I or Phase II devices will always be able to download songs in older, non-copyright-protected formats, SDMI said. This was the compromise that was haggled over and finally reached in order to push through the specification, according to SDMI insiders.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Marc Ferranti

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?