Reproduction of a multi-media data signal which is stored on a source media or distributed via a communication network is controlled by inserting master tag data and control tag data into the data signal. A player/recorder inserts an additional generation of control tag information each time a copy of the media is made. If the number of generations of the control tag information is above a threshold value, reproduction of the data signal may be inhibited. For example, if the data signal comprises video data, the player/recorder may only allow playing of the video signal on a display but will not allow recording. The playing and recording of associated signals, such as an audio signal which accompanies a video signal, may also be controlled. The master tag data and control tag data may be provided as spread spectrum signals which are spectrally shaped and power-adjusted according to the data signal to render them imperceptible in the data signal. With encrypted frames of multi-media data, encryption keys may be carried in a key layer with the encrypted data signal or another data signal for use in decryption on a frame by frame basis.