Sony BMG and EMI are experimenting with new software that limits the amount of times a music CD can be copied.

Sony's software is designed to limit consumers to making no more than three copies of a CD.

However, executives at Sony BMG's rivals have been reluctant to release titles with the restrictive software. They say it is too easily defeated and that working versions did not allow consumers to transfer music to portable devices and music players as freely as the industry would like, writes the New York Times.

According to the report companies have also been pressing Apple to amend its software to make it compatible with the tools used to restrict copying.

Flick the switch

Sony BMG president for global digital business Thomas Hesse told New York Times that Apple could "flick a switch" to amend its programming to work with the restrictive software. "It's just a proprietary decision by Apple to decide whether to play along or not. I don't know what more waiting we have to do. We think we need to move this forward. Time is ticking, infringement of intellectual property is happening all over, and we've got to put a stop to it I think."

Currently the Sony BMG software is not compatible with Apple's iTunes and the iPod.

EMI also plans to introduce copy-protected CDs in the US and Britain in the coming weeks, according to Detroit Free Press.

This signals an abrupt change to the "rip, mix, burn" mania embodied by Apple's ad campaign, writes Detroit Free Press.

GartnerG2 analyst Michael McGuire said it's too soon to predict how copy protection will impact consumers who use iPod and iTunes. But it could prompt some consumers to stop buying CDs and go online for their music purchases.