Security in the digital age

Susan Rush

Tape-Disc Business, February 1999
Copyright Online Inc.

Encryption technology is advancing with the times, trying to keep one step ahead of the latest format to hit the market.
In the simplest of terms, encryption is "technology that encodes computer files and communications much like a combination lock secures a filing cabinet," according to a description given by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). On a much grander scale, encryption helps protect the media manufacturing industry from pirates - consumers, hackers and professionals alike - through water-marketing, program installation and hyperlinks, to name just a few. This encoding can occur at various manufacturing stages from authoring to replication to playback. . The prime issues facing those in the field of encryption include digital-to-analog copying, the Internet and digital-to-digital copying. Digital-To-Analog Since there are no specific industry-wide endorsements on which type of encryption technology is best, replicators and authoring houses are basically on their own in determining which solution will best fit their needs.
Another offering is CD-Cops, a Danish technology which uses a glass-master fingerprinting technique which imprints the master and every disc made from it with an ID and an access code. Replicators license the technology, which is implemented by the company for a one-time fee of $1950 plus a one-percepercent fee based on the retail price of the projected volume per title. In his experience in dealing with replicators who must address this issue and bear the costs, CD-Cops president Hans K. Pedersen says pragmatism is the operant response. One of the first things you learn in life is that fairness is not ruling the world, says Pedersen. I think our customers have a good approach to judging pros and cons [regarding] protection, though. [Our prices]...should be compared to how much [a replicator's] legal sales increase with a good protection strategy (For more of Pedersen's thoughts on copy protection, see next month's article: Disc Piracy).