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DRM maker denies plans to shatter iPod users' eardrums

Sunncomm misses 250 decibel joke

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DRM maker SunnComm has denied that it is behind a new form of technology that would paralyze iPod users downloading illegal songs with high-pitched screams pumped through their headphones.

SunnComm on Tuesday issued a statement that "published reports circulating online that state SunnComm is creating a new kind of DRM under a joint venture with a competitor named Macrovision" are "absolutely not true." The "reports" or rather report in question claimed that SunnComm and Macrovision had teamed with Apple and Microsoft to create a DRM system that would scorch the earbuds of naughty P2P users with 250 decibels of screams. Of course, 250 decibels would be quite the accomplishment since a rocket firing from a launching pad comes in at 180 decibels and a shotgun reaches just 170 decibels. You can see where this is going.

Yes, SunnComm issued a press release in response to an obvious hoax story from p2pnet.

The story said,

Apple and Microsoft have teamed up in an unusual and, until now, secret partnership.

The two firms have developed unique anti-file sharing DRM (Digital Rights Management) technologies they say represent cast-iron guarantees of copyright protection. The technologies – Apple's Fair Play earbuds and Microsoft's PowerHit – are slated for beta release in time for the Christmas rush, say sources.

From December 1, all iTunes downloads will carry a new kind of Fair Play DRM, a direct negative feedback 'watermark' recognized by Fair Play earbuds and, ultimately, by other audio devices from manufacturers who sign up for the code, which was created under a joint SunnComm and Macrovision venture.

When an iPod (or other) user wearing the new audio devices plays an iTunes track not sanctioned by Organized Music (EMI Group, Vivendi Uiversal, Warner Music), Fair Play feedback 'instructs' the buds to emit a piercing, high-pitched scream in stereo at 250 decibels.

The story is chock full of many other obvious tips that it's a fake, including Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates plugging Apple as the company that "ignited the personal computer revolution."

Sunncomm, however, hasn't exactly built a reputation as a media-savvy, sophisticated company. Despite its failings, the DRM software maker has secured distribution deals for its MediaMax software with some large media companies, although it sees little revenue at present from the arrangements.

"At this time SunnComm is not involved, in any way, with Macrovision as it relates to development projects or other discussions with Apple Computer," SunnComm said. "Executives at MediaMax Technology Corp, the seller of MediaMax, have confirmed that they are not currently working with Macrovision in relation to the development of a new kind of DRM for Apple."

For those not keeping track, MediaMax and SunnComm are basically the same entity. So, SunnComm apparently called itself to confirm that it's not working with a major rival on ear-shattering DRM. Lovely. ®

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