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Copy-Protected CDs Not Compatible

Makers of a Charley Pride CD, the first known copy-protected compact disc released in the United States, have agreed to warn consumers that it’s not compatible with computer CD-ROM drives or DVD players.

The agreement settles a lawsuit filed in a Marin County court by Karen DeLise, who was upset after she discovered her new “Charley Pride – A Tribute to Jim Reeves” CD contained a copy protection scheme from SunnComm Inc. that prevented the disc from being played in her PC. The technology deters consumers from swapping music over the Internet or making unlimited copies of a CD for car stereos or portable MP3 music players.

DeLise sued SunnComm and the record’s distributors, independent record label Music City Records and Fahrenheit Entertainment, in September, claiming they failed to put an adequate disclaimer on the CD’s package.

As part of the settlement, reached Friday, the CD’s makers will provide a more detailed disclosure in the packaging. They also will stop requiring consumers to enter their names and e-mail addresses as a condition of downloading the music from a Web site, which DeLise’s attorney, Ira Rothken, contends was a way for the record labels to track listener habits.

“This sets an excellent example for the record industry to follow in adopting digital management schemes in the future while preserving consumer privacy,” Rothken said.

Executives at SunnComm, one of several providers of so-called digital rights management technology, said they thought they had disclosed enough already by including a label that stated the Pride CD was “designed to play in standard audio CD players only.”

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