Sony Tests CD Copy Protection
Sony BMG Music entertainment is testing a technology solution to enhance copy protection of CDs, barring consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs. The company has released ten commercial titles since March this year, featuring the technology from UK s anti-piracy firm, First4Internet, This technology allows consumers to make limited copies of the protected disc and blocks users from making any further copies of the copied disk. The concept termed 'sterile burning' is aimed at curbing casual CD burning. According to Thomas Hesse, president of global digital business, Sony BMG, casual piracy is a huge issue for the industry. Two-thirds of piracy is due to ripping and burning CDs, which is why ensuring a better copy protection is of a higher importance. Other Sony BMG partners are expected to begin commercial trials of this technology within the next month. Digital Rights Management (DRM)-protected files sold through online music stores offer burning of tracks into unprotected WAV files, which can be later ripped back without the DRM wrapper and converted into MP3 format. However, in the new technology the tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in WMA format. The DRM embedded on the disc prevents the CD from being duplicated. First4Internet CEO Mathew Gilliat-Smith believes that most consumers want to make copies for their own personal use, but, the industry is interested in ensure that this is not abused, by consumer making copies for other people, which will directly affect sales. Additionally, copy protected CDs with Albums featuring XCP (extended copy protection) will allow users to make three copies of the disc. Sony BMG is not keen on limiting the number of copies that can be made, but is looking to offering users with a fair-use replication of rights. The only concern with copy protection remains compatibility. Secure burning would also mean iPod and portable music device owners will not be able to transfer tracks from these CDs.