Sony develops anti-piracy protection for digital music

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TOKYO--Sony Corp. said Feb. 25 it has developed encryption technologies that can protect the transmission and storage of digital music from copyright infringement.

The Japanese electronic firm plans to present its technologies to the Secure Digital Music Initiative which was created by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Sony unveiled three technologies which it dubbed "MagicGate," "OpenMG", and "Super MagicGate."

MagicGate is for IC recording media and player/recorders. It works by embedding a microchip in the transmission and receiving devices to ensure transmission only occurs between compliant media and devices. The content is stored and transmitted in an encrypted form to prevent unauthorized copying, playback and transmission of protected content.

OpenMG is for personal computers and it uses encryption technology for hard drives to ensure the music is transmitted in an encrypted form only to a complaint device.

Sony said both of these technologies support the interchange of data which allows digital music to be "moved" among complaint devices rather than copied. Sony will broadly license both technologies to the relevant industries, it said.

The Super MagicGate is an extension of the other technologies and it includes copyright management, electronic distribution, content protection technologies for distributing digital music content electronically over the Internet and other digital networks.

Super MagicGate is a flexible system that could be used to offer promotional tracks limited to a single playback or unlimited playback over a fixed time period.

Usage and billing settings can be changed after content has been delivered, with users being able to purchase a music track after sampling it once for free or users could receive a limited playback version of a song for upgrade to unlimited playback at a later date, Sony said.

Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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