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Microsoft claim to have cracked CD piracy


Microsoft are claiming they’ve invented a system that prevents music CDs being illegally copied, then distributed.

We’ve all probably done it at least once, and now Microsoft think they’ve cracked it. The illegal distribution of music via the internet has exploded ever since the introduction of file-sharing networks like Napster and recently, KaZaA. But most of it starts with a simple music CD, and Microsoft claim to have invented a system that prevents users from illegally copying music onto another CD.

Microsoft aren’t the first people to tackle the issue of music piracy. Sony Music tried last year to take on the pirates, only to discover their millions of dollars of research was thwarted by a black marker pen being scribbled round the edges of protected CDs. Microsoft believe they’ve come up with a better system with its new software, called Windows Media Data Session Toolkit. This system allows music labels to lay songs on a protected CD in layers, while also allowing the user to play the CD on stereos and their home PC.

The PC layer, layered digitally onto the CD by the content provider, can be modified by the music labels to prevent illegal copies of the CD being made. Could this be the end of the CD burning revolution? Microsoft claim that EMI and Universal Music are both ‘very excited’ about the new technology, but as yet, the technology hasn’t been tested in the great wide world yet – Sony thought they had it cracked until someone drew on one of their CDs.

Let’s wait and see, hmm?

The author of this fine article

is the Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2000. Get in touch on Twitter @PhilipMorton.

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