Sony Europe has confirmed that forthcoming Ozzy Osbourne releases will not work on a Mac – and in extreme cases may cause Macs to require expensive engineering support.

Sony’s Trisha Wrench told Macworld that both Ozzy Osbourne’s re-released “Live at the Budokan” and “The Osbourne’s Family Album” will be protected by Sony’s Key2Audio technology.

Sony will be distributing the albums in the next few weeks as MTV begins broadcasting “The Osbournes” on Sundays – beginning May 26 at 10pm. The show has proved a phenomenal success for the wild man of rock, attracting five million viewers per episode in the US, and causing US president George Bush to name his favourite Black Sabbath albums at a White House gala dinner.

Formats As previously reported, Sony’s Key2Audio technology is not a standard CD format. Apple’s CD mechanisms are not equipped to handle Sony’s format, which the company developed in order to hinder attempts to ‘rip’ CD audio tracks to the popular MP3 format for digital distribution.

The way Key2Audio works is to place a fake track of data as the first track on the CD. Computer CD mechanisms are pre-programmed to read the first part of data first. The effect is to leave the Mac trapped in a fake data-loop.

Apple last week published suggestions on what to do should such CDs be accidentally left in the CD drive. This can be major problem for those Macs that lack a manual ejection hole for the CD mechanism. Full details of what to do in these circumstances have already been reported.

In a statement on Key2Audio’s effect on Macs, Sony said: ”Sony is aware of the issue, and is constantly upgrading its copy-control technology. Consumers should be aware that attempting to circumvent copy control by writing on or attaching anything to the disc can result in permanent damage to the disc, and possible damage to the playback device.”

Sony Music Europe has taken the most aggressive anti-piracy stance in the business, shipping over 11 million protected discs in Europe, mainly in Germany.

However, CNN reports that Sony’s protection can be sidestepped simply by using a black felt-tip marker pen.

Sharon Osbourne could not immediately be contacted for comment.