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Tue, Jan 21, 2003 - Page 12 News List

Microsoft software targets copying of compact discs

BLOOMBERG , CANNES

Microsoft Corp announced software that allows record companies to restrict unauthorized copying of compact discs amid falling sales due to piracy, the Wall Street Journal said, citing Microsoft and record companies.

Vivendi Universal SA's Universal Music Group and EMI Group Plc said they're looking at possible inclusion on their CDs of the technology, which was announced at the Midem music conference in Cannes, the Journal reported.

"What we're doing is making CDs a little less copyable in order to stop redistribution" of music, said Larry Kenswil, president of Universal's eLabs, according to the Journal.

CD sales fell 7 percent in the first half of last year, a decline that recording companies blame on CD recording and Internet piracy, according to the Journal.

In related news, EMI Group Plc, Sony Corp and other record labels, which lost more than US$5 billion of sales to illegal CD piracy and Internet downloading last year, will introduce new licensing agreements in a bid to reduce piracy, the Financial Times said, citing no one.

Losses linked to piracy rose 20 percent last year from 2001, the paper said, citing industry estimates. Global music sales fell almost 10 percent last year, reducing the retail value of the market to about US$30 billion, its lowest in a decade, the Financial Times said.

Piracy was responsible for two-thirds of last year's sales decline in the US, the paper said, citing the Recording Industry Association of America.

"The future could be bleak unless we are more pro-active in both lifting consumer sales and anti-piracy measures," the paper cited Hilary Rosen, chairman of the RIAA, as saying.

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