Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)

Last updated: December 18, 2011

What Does Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) Mean?

The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) was a working group of more than 200 companies and organizations interested in the development of specifications for secure digital music distribution. SDMI emerged in 1998 with the goal of stamping out Internet music piracy, as sites such as Napster, Gnutella and Morpheus were distributing MP3 songs via peer-to-peer networks. SDMI went on hiatus in 2001 when they were unable to reach a consensus about which technologies should be implemented to protect music from digital copying.


Techopedia Explains Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)

SDMI disbanded for several reasons, many of which were related to which technologies would be implemented for digital rights management (DRM) and whether the music industry or electronics producers would shoulder the cost. SDMI also made waves by presenting a challenge to the digital community in September 2000, encouraging hackers and cryptologists to try their hand at removing a new, more secure digital watermark from some example pieces of music. When a group at Princeton University did so and made a move to publish their results, the SDMI and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) threatened legal action, raising the hackles of civil libertarians who argued that digital copyright laws could not be used to stifle academic research.

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