Universal plans to start issuing CDs in October with software that prevents music from being digitally copied into computer files.
Edgar Bronfman, Vivendi (Universal) vice chairman says, who's artists include U2, Eminem and Sheryl Crow, it is aiming to have the protection software on all CDs toward the end of the first quarter of 2002.
Record labels, already reeling from weaker sales, have been fiercely fighting Napster and other upstart companies that enable Internet users to download digital copies of music files from other users' computers.
At the same time, pirated CDs have also taken hundreds of millions of dollars out of record labels revenues, the labels say.
Vivendi's Bronfman said he was conscious of consumers' concerns. "On the other hand, we have a situation where the music market is experiencing difficulty because of the ability for people to copy an unprotected CD, thereby depriving artists and other rights holders of their rightful due," he said.
He declined to comment on how the software would work or who Universal Music's technology partner was. The protected CDs can be played on conventional CD players and CD-ROM's, Bronfman said, but safeguards will be in place to prevent copying the music onto computers or "burning" them onto recordable CDs.
News source: Reuters