writes: "A an article on Wired News explores a new industry trend of watermarking music instead of resorting of DRM technologies. From the article:
With all of the Big Four record labels now jettisoning digital rights management, music fans have every reason to rejoice. But consumer advocates are singing a note of caution, as the music industry experiments with digital-watermarking technology as a DRM substitute.
Watermarking offers copyright protection by letting a company track music that finds its way to illegal peer-to-peer networks. At its most precise, a watermark could encode a unique serial number that a music company could match to the original purchaser. So far, though, labels say they won't do that: Warner and EMI have not embraced watermarking at all, while Sony's and Universal's DRM-free lineups contain "anonymous" watermarks that won't trace to an individual. The technology isn't entirely new; there's more articles available that discuss this stuff: Technical discussion on AudioBox, PSU.edu's Abstract Index, and of course the requisite Wikipedia entry (although it could use some serious improvement). While I don't like the implications of this technology gaining widespread use, I've always wondered why someone wasn't doing it on a large scale before."