AfterDawn: Tech news

Protection makers Macrovision and MidBar to merge

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 05 Nov 2002 12:53

Two leading copy-protection technology companies announced Tuesday that they are merging, in a deal that could help speed the move of controversial copy-proof music CDs to market.
Macrovision, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, said it will acquire Israeli company Midbar Tech, with the intention of joining the rival anti-copying technologies from the two companies. Both companies' products have met resistance from consumers and record labels, and together they hope to overcome market skepticism, they say.

Analysts said the deal would likely help smooth some of the bumps in the path toward general acceptance of anti-piracy technology for music CDs, although the consolidation fell far short of a guarantee of success for the industry sector.
Over the last two years, at least four companies--Macrovision, Midbar Tech, Sony and start-up SunnComm--have tried to persuade record labels to add various flavors of anti-copying technology onto ordinary CDs. But after an initial flurry of excitement, consumer backlash and stories of technological incompatibilities with some CD players and computers have kept sightings of copy-protected discs few and far between.
Macrovision and Midbar say the merger will help address those worries. By melding the two companies' products, they hope to be able to improve compatibility with computers. The companies also promise that by next year CDs using their joint copy-protection technology will include two versions of songs--one for ordinary CD players, and one that can be loaded onto computer hard drives in much the same way that MP3s can be "ripped" or copied onto computers today. Listeners will not be able to make unrestricted copies of these alternate digital files, but the songs will be able to be transferred to mobile devices such as MP3 players and even burned onto CDs in a limited way, company executives said.

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