The record industry has been targeting online music sharing for years, but now it has undertaken a new war--against "casual piracy."
Sony BMG and EMI have begun shipping compact discs using technology that limits the number of copies you can make of any disc to three. And you can't port songs from affected CDs to Apple IPod players unless you request a workaround from Sony.
The move, along with other recent developments in copyright protection such as the Supreme Court's ruling this summer in MGM v. Grokster, a copyright infringement case pitting Hollywood against the Grokster peer-to-peer network (see "Court Sets File-Sharing Limits"), could have a lasting impact on your entertainment choices. And you may not like the remix.
Sony BMG's copy-protected CDs incorporate First 4 Internet's XCP2 (extended copy protection) technology. The company is the first major label to offer XCP2-protected CDs to consumers, although Sony BMG already ships some CDs using MediaMax copy protection from SunnComm. The new effort uses different technology, but with the same end result for consumers: a limited ability to copy. By the end of this year, Sony BMG says, most of its CDs sold in the United States will incorporate one of these technologies.
EMI is employing a similar strategy with its CDs, using technology from Macrovision that lets you make just three copies; the first titles using the technology should be on sale in stores by the time you read this.