SunnComm Thinks iPod Parody Real. Officially Denies Report

By Richard Menta 11/10/05

Satire can be a lot of fun, because it can get to the heart of a particular matter by poking at the extreme and the silly. A couple of years back the Onion released a simple, but very clever parody on the RIAA lawsuits by saying the record industry is now suing broadcast radio for piracy. It was clever because they were able to apply many of the complaints the record industry made against file sharing to normal radio activities that have been taking place since Fibber McGee and Molly first went on the air.

Of course some of the anti-file sharing activities of the record companies have bordered on self-parody (and even crossed that border a few times). Suing the dead for trading music is just one example.


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So when our own Jon Newton took a stab at parody with his mock news report on Digital Rights Management (of which the recent Sony rootkit scandal might become the saddest self-parody of all) no other than one of the targets of his humor, SunnComm, fell for it. They even went so far as to put out a press release to deny the report.

"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.

Now that's funny, because the parody went out of its way to be silly. From Jon's article:

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.

I guess things have not been all smiles in the DRM game lately. Still, it's hard for me to belive that no one at SunnComm realized this was a joke. I suppose this was not their type of humor.

Or maybe SunnComm's press release was a joke of their own, done with such a straight face it fools everyone. That's it! That's the ticket!

Other MP3 stories:
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 3
Can iTunes Resurrect Old Time TV?


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