Hack Your Way To Ten Grand

In an attempt to enlist hackers in the interests of the good guys, Leonardo Chiariglione, Executive Director, The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) has issued a money-making challenge to test software that is designed to protect copyrighted material on the Net.

The challenge, in a nutshell, is if you can break it, you can get $10,000. Here’s what Chiariglione had to say in a letter posted on the SDMI Website over the weekend:

“Here’s an invitation to show off your skills, make some money, and help shape the future of the online digital music economy.

“SDMI protected content will be embedded with an inaudible, robust watermark or use other technology that is designed to prevent the unauthorized copying, sharing, and use of digital music.

“We are now in the process of testing the technologies that will allow these protections. The proposed technologies must pass several stringent tests: they must be inaudible, robust, and run efficiently on various platforms, including PCs.

“They should also be tested by you.

“So here’s the invitation: Attack the proposed technologies. Crack them.

“By successfully breaking the SDMI protected content, you will play a role in determining what technology SDMI will adopt. And there is something more in it for you, too. If you can remove the watermark or defeat the other technology on our proposed copyright protection system, you may earn up to $10,000.

“To participate, just go to the website at after September 15, 2000 and read the public challenge agreement. If you agree to the terms, you will have until at least October 7, 2000 to do your best.

“Here’s your chance to shape the future of digital music.”

More information can be found at the website.

A good interim move for soon-to-be former employees of Napster…

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