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Watermarked CDs?


Erik Davis writes about watermarked advanced promo CDs and how he got accused of leaking one. He rightfully concludes that watermarked CDs are an invasion of privacy, yet I think he is exaggerating, if only a little.


I, myself, have watermarked (not deeply) a couple of files, before sending them out to friends and random strangers. This has happened at times I have been really paranoid about leaking my stuff out there. However, it\'s more than obvious that, in the hands of not-too-tech-savvy folk, this idea bites back.

I simply can\'t agree that sending out threatening emails and badmouthing people for something like this, is the right thing to do. Sometimes stuff falls into the wrong hands, without the original person\'s consent. Yet, think how many times would you hear about a watermarked piece of work that got leaked by the person who originally had it, and justly got traced back to them?

The right thing to do? Watermark if you wish, but the real art of dealing with the problem comes once you\'ve tracked a watermarked leak. All possibilities must be taken into account so as not to accuse the person. Sometimes it\'s okay to just say \"please take it down\" (in case of a download). Or you could just bear in mind that chances are, your stuff will leak again through that person. Or you could chat to them in private. But seek revenge? Hah.

Labels and distributors are going bananas at this moment. Think the iPod touch just had them downgraded to small-scale PR companies. I am hearing more and more labels refuse to send full promos, or cripple promos so they won\'t leak out. But these panic attacks, combined with not knowing how to use technology properly, result in the accident above, among others.

The end of the CD is near. Watermarking, or some form of unique tagging, will stay (cue iTunes+). But objecting to that is like objecting to being caught on CCTV camera. But omg, did that label head overreact!

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