Press Release
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Worldwide Recording Industry Announces
Precedent-Setting Initiative to Address New Digital Music Opportunities

Effort Unites Record Companies with Technology Industries to Create
An Open Specification for Digital Music Security

NEW YORK, December 15, 1998 – At a press conference today, leaders of the worldwide recording industry announced the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), a framework to work with the technology community to create a voluntary digital music security specification by next fall. The open specification will protect copyrighted music in all existing and emerging digital formats and through all delivery channels.

Driven by the SDMI Forum, an open body of companies involved in digital music, the initiative will achieve three objectives. It will answer consumer demand for convenient access to quality recordings, ensure copyright protection for artists’ work, and enable technology and music companies to build successful businesses.

In planning for nearly a year, the initiative was announced by leading worldwide music heads, including: Strauss Zelnick, president and CEO of BMG Entertainment; Ken Berry, president of EMI Recorded Music; Thomas D. Mottola, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment; Doug Morris, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group; Bob Daly, chairman and co-CEO, Warner Bros. and Warner Music Group; Terry Semel, chairman and co-CEO of Warner Bros. and Warner Music Group; Hilary Rosen, president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America; and Jason Berman, chairman-elect and chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Berman also represented the Recording Industry Association of Japan.

In addition to major and independent record labels, many preeminent technology companies – AOL, AT&T, IBM, Lucent, Matsushita, Microsoft, RealNetworks, Sony Corporation and Toshiba – champion the initiative. It is expected that many other large and small companies will join the effort. Enclosed in the press kit are supporting statements already received from Aris Technologies, Diamond Multimedia, Headspace, Iomega, Liquid Audio, Samsung and Texas Instruments.

"Creating a voluntary, open security specification benefits everyone," said RIAA’s Rosen. "It will enable consumers to conveniently access the music of their choice. It will encourage artists, producers, songwriters, publishers, recording companies and others in the music industry to make their music available in new ways, knowing that it will be more secure. It will also encourage technology companies to move forward with interoperable products and services.

"This initiative is about the technology community developing an open security system that promotes compatible products in a competitive marketplace," said Rosen. It’s not about the recording industry imposing a standard on technology companies. We’ll simply provide guidance on the needs of our industry and its customers."

"The recording industry has long been a beneficiary of new technology," said IFPI’s Berman. "Music CDs are household items today because we were quick to adopt this superior technology years ago. We see the Internet, high-density discs and other music delivery channels as providing enormous opportunities for us. This global initiative will help us put music in the hands of more people, in more ways, than we could have ever dreamed before."

"We must establish an appropriate method to protect copyright," said Nobuo Ikeguchi, president of the Recording Industry Association of Japan. "It is one of our most important issues. The RIAJ is eager to cooperate fully – offering our knowledge and experience – in the implementation of SDMI."

The SDMI Forum
The SDMI will be an open forum for all commercial companies significantly involved in technologies relating to digital music. Participating companies will be encouraged to bring their approaches to digital music security and to work together to establish and document an open architecture and specification for protecting music. Many companies and established groups are currently developing approaches and solutions to secure digital music. The forum will provide a means to build upon and harmonize these efforts. Products and services that conform to the open standard will have compatible and interoperable security features, and will be certified as SDMI compliant.

The recording industry’s role in the forum will be to provide guidance as to the features attractive to artists, record companies and consumers. The effort will include representatives of independent record labels to ensure that the initiative is inclusive, and that all points of view are represented. Other music industry groups will also be invited so that the forum will understand the important work being undertaken around the world by music publisher and songwriter rights organizations.

The SDMI Timeline
The SDMI Forum is expected to begin operations in early 1999. The objective is to have a specification completed in time to allow conforming products to be available for the 1999 holiday season.

NOTE: Today’s announcement was webcast on the Recording Industry Association of America’s site:
You can access an archived audio/video recording at this site