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SECURE CD INITIATIVE MANAGES TO MISS THE MARK
Latest Copy Management CD Can’t Offer Complete Security, So Why Not Make Consumers A Better Offer?
It all seems to be coming down to these questions: Must consumers now be considered thieves, against whom we must lock up our content? And if our locks are good enough, will we be able to "reform" the thieves into consuming just the way we want them to?

Or, to put the matter another way, can the entertainment industry create a vast public demand by flying in the face of a vast public demand?

Hey, I’m just a feeble HITS geek, and I want the biz to adapt and thrive as conditions change. But it feels like town-crier time.

BMG has announced yet another "secure" CD initiative, this time designed for advance/promo discs as a trial for a future retail version. Ideally, it will "manage" copying and prevent ripping to MP3.

This beats previous models that prevented even playing encrypted CDs on computers. But here’s the bottom line: Any security can be defeated if the content can be played. Once it’s defeated, it will be shared online, and effort and money will have been wasted—with the only appreciable result being a further strain on the relationship with customers.

A CNN/USA Today Gallup poll released last week shows the public split on file-sharing and CD security—but as broadband’s now-glacial rollout accelerates, and more people get deeper into online music, expect the balance to tip in favor of new tech. And even now, half of the respondents to an apparently conservative poll oppose the current drift of industry policy.

I can’t help wondering if making it possible to do more, rather than less, with the product might help—especially as DVDs approach the price of new music CDs.

Some suggestions on that score soon. In the meantime, recent events suggest that the sugar of strategic pricing may be better for the bottom line than the vinegar of restrictive technology.

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