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SunnComm fixes 'Shift Key' embarrassment

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SunnComm has at last fixed its most infamous flaw - the Shift Key break to its DRM (digital rights management) technology.

The company has started shipping an update to its MediaMax software that blocks users from employing the Shift Key attack discovered in 2003 by a student at Princeton University. The student realized that SunnComm's DRM technology could be disabled by holding the Shift Key down when inserting a new CD. This allowed users to do what they liked with the songs, undermining the entire point of SunnComm's software.

"The new technology, when embedded onto the optical medium, makes it even more difficult for the consumer to improperly use the CD without first installing the MediaMax software," SunnComm said in a statement. "Throughout the latest series of tests, this newest version of the copy management technology has proven to significantly improve protection for MediaMax-enhanced discs while remaining 100% playable in all consumer CD and DVD players."

SunnComm acknowledges that some people may still find a way to workaround its DRM, but it's convinced the MediaMax update makes the Shift Key issue a moot point. The average consumer is not going to take the time to try and break the technology. Let the researchers have at it - we're not worried about them.

SunnComm has been looking to sign up more big labels as customers of its technology and recently announced that Universal is considering MediaMax. The software places restrictions on how many times and to what devices a user can transfer music. Such technology is seen a must have for the record labels trying to block piracy. Many customers, however, dislike DRM technology, as it places new boundaries around once untainted products. ®

Related stories

CE vendors unite to develop DRM
Legal downloads jumped 900% in 2004
Sunncomm gets a nod and a wink from Universal
Is SunnComm a sham or the next, big DRM success?
Macrovision and SunnComm court Apple for a seachange in CDs
SunnComm shrinks from DMCA threat
SunnComm to sue Shift key student for $10m
Shift key breaks latest CD anti-rip tech grad student

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