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Sony Abandons Copy Protected CDs

Sony Corp.’s music unit is abandoning its CDs that use built-in technology that limits copying them, after pushing the program for two years.

Such CDs let users copy their music once for free onto a personal computer, but use the Internet to charge a fee for subsequent copying of the same disk.

However, Sony Music Entertainment has announced it will stop publishing them, mainly because its message against illegally copying CDs for uses such as in file-sharing over the Internet has widely sunk in, the company said.

Sony Music has learned that only a small part of the population illegally copy CDs, company spokeswoman Kimiko Ohashi said Monday.

The music giant recently started adapting its strategy due to the proliferation of MP3 computer files, used to store music in audio players such as Apple’s iPod, which are rapidly becoming a global music industry phenomenon.

Sony said last month that its portable audio players, which will soon go on sale in Europe, will be able to use any MP3 files.

Previously, Sony’s players only handled MP3 files that were converted into the company’s own format.

CD sales have plunged in recent years in Japan and elsewhere, as people increasingly use the Internet to download music.

As a company with major electronics and entertainment divisions, Sony has constantly faced the dilemma of wanting to protect the copyright of movies, music and other entertainment assets it owns, while trying to make its electronics gadgets popular with users.

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