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Universal Announces Plan To Copy-Protect CDs

If the world’s largest record company gets its way, it will be a lot harder to rip MP3 copies of some CDs by the end of the year.

Universal Music Group – whose roster of artists includes Eminem, U2, Garbage and Sheryl Crow – on Tuesday (September 25) became the first record company to announce plans to copy-protect its music.

By the end of the year, all Universal CDs will have technology in place that will prevent users from copying music onto their computer hard drives, Vivendi Universal vice chairman Edgar Bronfman said Tuesday, according to Reuters. The company will begin using the technology on some releases in October, he said.

Bronfman reportedly said that the company’s new CDs will still be playable in computers’ CD drives but gave no other details about the technology Universal plans to use.

A Universal press release issued Tuesday said the company is working on copy-protection schemes but provided no other information. A spokesperson for the company could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

With current technology, users can rip a CD into MP3 files with the click of a mouse and then trade the files freely over the Internet. Thanks to Napster and its successors, music fans have circulated untold numbers of such files in recent years.

Several other record companies have suggested that they are looking into copyright-protection schemes, but none has announced details.

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