Country music legend Charlie Pride will release his new record on April 17th. That’s great news for fans, but not for Napster users because the CD will allegedly be impossible to “rip” and upload to a PC. The Nashville-based independent label Music City Records says that the release, entitled A Tribute to Jim Reeves, will be the first ever to be encrypted with “cloaking technology” that will block people from converting the music into files on their computer, and subsequently sharing the songs on Napster.
The inventors of MediaCloaQ, a Phoenix-based company called SunnComm, says that in addition to preventing listeners from copying music to their computers, the technology also severely degrades the sound quality of the recording when a person attempts to copy the record using one of many new CD recorders on the market.
SunnComm chief executive officer Peter Jacobs says, “It’s like putting a speed bump up that inhibits the casual copying by using all of these ripper programs. I think it is version 1.0 of the Holy Grail that the music industry needs to protect intellectual property.”
While Music City Records is right now alone in the area of issuing Napster-proof recordings, other labels such as EMI are experimenting with similar technologies to protect rights holders. Commenting on his company’s digital protection efforts, EMI senior vice president Jay Samit told the USA Today, “We’re trying to make the equivalent of digital car keys. They wouldn’t stop a car thief, but they would keep honest people honest.”