Watermarking to Reduce Piracy – IndiePix – an Internet-based distributor of over 3000 independent films, has implemented state-of-the-art watermarking technology to help reduce illegal DVD downloading, copying and selling. The process uniquely protects the rights of the filmmaker while also respecting the customer and increasing trust in the buying and selling of intellectual property. All of IndiePix’s films offered for download online are now embedded with a watermark code enabling security experts and law enforcement officials to trace illegally-copied DVDs back to the original disc and initial download. The technology works to increase the trust that filmmakers have in the distribution process, as well as to deter individuals and groups continuing to break the law and thus damage the film industry.
The “Burn-to-Own” software takes the distribution costs normally paid to intermediaries – including retailers, wholesalers and brokers – down to zero. Customers at the IndiePix site have the option of buying a physical DVD of a film or burning it to their own computer. The “Burn-To-Own” copy has a unique code embedded in it thru the entire film to help assert the filmmaker’s rights while respecting the consumer’s right to do with the disc as he wishes – short of illegally copying it in quantity and reselling it. The process preserves the video image quality while identifying the source and persons related to the original watermarked film. IndiePix President Bob Alexander said, “In a misguided effort, studios have turned to technology to control and prevent behavior rather than encourage respect for the product, filmmakers’ rights, and the rights of the consumer…We are convinced that respect for the consumer in a digitally-based transaction is the right way to go to combat piracy.”
Another Survey Shows Blu-ray Disc Sales Up 91% – The Digital Entertainment Group has released mid-year sales figures for the home entertainment industry in the U.S. Consumer spending for the first half of this year for DVDs, Blu-ray discs and digital distribution, was $9.73 billion, off 3.9% in the same period last year, but the net operating profit contribution was down only 2.2%. While down somewhat compared to last year, the home entertainment area continues to show signs of stability. Blu-ray sales were up 91% to $407 million and digital distribution was up 21% to $968 million. Video rental spending was up 8.3% for the first half of this year, boosted by a general increase in Blu-ray rentals. The total installed base of Blu-ray players in U.S. homes is now nearly 11 million units. Five million DVD players were sold to U.S. consumers in just the second quarter of this year, the number of U.S. DVD households now tops 92 million. According to figures from the CEA, retailers and manufacturers, over 10 million HDTVs were sold in the first half of 2009. Consumer spending generally was down only 2% relative to last year. The DEG is a Los Angeles-based industry-funded nonprofit group that advocates and promotes the consumer benefits of various home entertainment products, including both physical and digital media on a variety of platforms.
New Classical Download Site – www.ClassicalArchives.com claims to be the leading all-classical download site. Its files are all higher-res 320 kpbs MP3s and are organized by composers and their works rather than by performers and album titles as with most other sites and services. Pierre Schwob is the CEO and he had musicologists develop the site to reflect how classical music is typically categorized. For a monthly or yearly fee, members can stream anything in the site’s catalog to their computer and get a discount on downloading any selections they want to keep. All of the 100 classical record label catalogs they carry are DRM free. The site makes it very easy to research different versions of one work. For example, I entered Beethoven’s Fifth conducted by Bernstein, and found a dozen different recordings!