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Sony has a new idea to stop piracy

ABC reports: Sony tests anti-CD burning technology.

As part of its mounting United States rollout of content-enhanced and copy-protected CDs, Sony BMG is testing technology that bars consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs.

Since March the company has released at least 10 commercial titles - more than 1 million discs in total, featuring technology from UK anti-piracy specialist First4Internet that allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies. The concept is known as "sterile burning" and, in the eyes of Sony BMG executives, the initiative is central to the industry's efforts to curb casual CD burning. "Two-thirds of all piracy comes from ripping and burning CDs, which is why making the CD a secure format is of the utmost importance."

To date, most copy protection and other digital rights management-based solutions that allow for burning have not included secure burning.

Early copy-protected discs as well as all Digital Rights Management (DRM)-protected files sold through online retailers like iTunes, Napster and others offer burning of tracks into unprotected WAV files. Those burned CDs can then be ripped back onto a personal computer minus a DRM wrapper and converted into MP3 files.

Under the new solution, tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format. The DRM embedded on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied.