Audio News for June 1, 2006

by | Jun 1, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

DualDisc & DFS Disc – Sony/BMG now administers the license for DualDisc internationally. Whether this will result in an improved version that plays in all disc players is yet to be seen. There is also another new format.  Don’t scream – this is only an enhanced version of the standard DVD. It’s called Digital Future Solution or DFS and was developed in Australia. It combines updateable Internet content with recorded data. For example, you can purchase a DVD about a new TV series and on the disc view in your DVD player some episodes, featurettes about it, previews, stills, screensavers, etc. But when you put the DVD in your computer drive it pulls up a web site that can only be accessed via the disc. There you can download missed episodes, find out details about a shooting location, buy music you heard on the show, etc. This sounds similar to the proposal to have downloaded commentary from the Net as an extra on the new hi-def DVDs.  The DFS disc are expected to become available early in 2007.

Swedish P2P The Pirate Bay Site Shut Down
– Swedish authorities, working with the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), have shut down one of the world’s largest facilitators of illegal swapping of movies, music and software. The Pirate Bay had more than a million registered users and acted only as a “tracker’ – directing users to pirated movies and music rather than having them stored on their site. You could even get the Da Vinci Code or The Poseidon Adventure, which have just opened in theaters. The MPAA follows a multi-pronged approach to fighting Internet piracy. Few would object to their taking action against major piracy operations around the world. It is when they prosecute sometimes innocent individuals that their efforts are questioned by many. The MPAA states it is “working to ensure that advanced technologies will allow the legal distribution of movies…” These advanced technologies have long caused serious problems with both movies and music recordings.

An alternative view on the shutdown is that Sweden was one of the last bastions of resistance to the control of the MPAA and RIAA, who would like to extend copy protection even to preventing users from time-shifting programming in their homes. Some CDs and DVDs refuse to play in certain players due to their copy protection software. Sony’s embarrassment with their CD copy protection that messed up many computers with surreptitious spyware was only a few months ago.  Users of the Linux OS have to deal with the copy protection on many discs to get them to work in their systems. A recent report on the Ars Technica web site showed that paid downloaded songs using Digital Rights Management (DRM) caused a significant drain on batteries. For example, an iPod lost 8% of its life due to the AAC encoding of downloads from the iTunes Music Store. Decryption of encoded materials requires more processing power and that wears down batteries faster. (Some users export all their AAC or MP3 music to standard CD ((AIFF or WAV)), then reimport it as MP3 – which strips off the DRM encoding, making their music available forever and less likely to fail.)

The Canadian government is currently resisting the MPAA, saying in effect that the recent upscaling of rights of privacy everywhere prohibits them from checking on what is really being shared online.  Therefore there is no way for them to be sure that what is being posted online is illegal. Whether this argument can stem the tide of increasing legal attack remains to be seen.


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