PowerPC manufacturer IBM is releasing digital rights-management technology, Cryptolope, on January 29, in a bid to stamp-out online music piracy.

Billed as an encrypted envelope for data, Cryptolope objects are used for secure, protected delivery of digital content.

A Cryptolope is a program that encases encrypted data and allows potential buyers to preview data before paying for it. Content preview is possible via on-screen windows. When the buyer pays for the right to view the document inside, a key is provided to decode the contents.

Multiple keys can be used for increased security and the encryption can travel on networks without third parties being aware of its presence. A single envelope can hold different, but interrelated, types of content, including text, images, and audio.

IBM's new technology also prevents copies of songs downloaded from pirate music sites – or transferred by e-mail or other sources – from being played fully, or more than once.