Sonic's New Burner Software Adds DRMBy Bary Alyssa Johnson | Print
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The company's AuthorScript Advanced SDK highlights new DRM and royalty-tracking capabilities for the CD/DVD burning engine.Sonic Solutions, a digital media software company specializing in professional product groups, consumer applications and advanced technology licensing, released the newest edition of its AuthorScript Advanced Music SDK (software development kit) today. AuthorScript Advanced Music adds a number of features to the existing line of download- and- burn solutions, created for license to online music and audio services.
AuthorScript is part of Sonic Solutions' advanced licensing sector and is a major engine for CD and DVD burning on PC and CE devices. The AuthorScript technology is available for license by online music services and audio application developers, who can use the program to add a range of CD and DVD technologies to their applications, according to a Sonic Solutions representative.
AuthorScript modules allow for conversion of video and audio data into DVD- and VCD- compliant streams, formatting and burning DVD-Video and VCD projects, recording data and music on CDs and DVDs, and providing support for recording and editing in DVD-VR and DVD+RW (+VR) formats, according to the Sonic Solutions Web site.
Among the newly added capabilities, the "stream audio directly to disc" feature allows for fast, secure audio burning without caching audio data to the clients' hard disk. "DRM support for WMDRM-Encoded Windows Media Audio (WMA) files" enables music services and consumers to manage and burn tracks securely, while complying with designated use rights. "Audio track normalization" increases or decreases the amplitude of digital audio recordings without distortion. "Synchronous low-pass linear resampling" ensures that audio files are burned to CDs at the highest level of quality. "ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) support" keeps the ISRC intact to ensure proper usage and royalty reporting for music tracks. Similarly, "MCN (Media Catalog Number) support" allows music labels to track entire albums, according to a company representative.
These additional features remain an optional part of AuthorScript Advanced, since not all of the technology is available to every online service. For example, a key feature in the new AuthorScript Advanced is DRM support for WMA files, but some services (i.e. Apple iTunes) can't utilize the Windows format.
"Most services would want that support," Zetlin said. "However, it's not necessary, it's an added bonus, and that's why we put it into the advanced product."
Sonic Solutions creates individual AuthorScript licenses for each online music service, so the cost of a license could range from $30,000 to over $1,000,000 depending on various features, according to Zetlin.
Major industry licensees include Adobe Systems Inc., Avid Technology Inc., Broadcom Corp., IBM, Microsoft Corp., Scientific-Atlanta Inc., Sony Corp. of America and Time Warner. The underlying engines in Sonic's DVD applications (including MyDVD, DVDit and RecordNow) are bundled by major OEMs, including Adeptec Inc., Compaq, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, NEC Corp., Panasonic Corp. of North America, Sony, Toshiba America Inc. and others, according a company representative.
Among the individual music services that have licensed AuthorScript technology to integrate the CD and DVD burning capabilities, DRM support and other advanced audio-centric features are America Online Inc.'s AOL MusicNet and Yahoo Music.
Yahoo Inc. has embedded AuthorScript's digital music technology into its Yahoo Music Engine and Musicmatch Jukebox 10, as part of a multiyear licensing agreement. Although no announcement has been made yet, Yahoo is one of the first music services to license the new AuthorScript Advanced technology, according to a company representative.
"Because Yahoo Music services are so widely used, Yahoo required a burning engine that was fully featured, easy to integrate, and that allowed them to release new versions quickly," said Jim Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Sonic's Advanced Technology Group.
"With its support of all major audio formats, built-in support for new models of CD and DVD drives, and a small footprint for fast downloading, Sonic AuthorScript is an ideal solution for Yahoo," Taylor said.