Sony will test new CD copyright technology in Germany that prevents customers sharing songs using file-sharing sites, but allows them to make copies for their personal use.
The move follows negative market reception of copy-protection technologies that began to appear last year. These were doctored so they did not play on computers. It's also a strategic move that appears designed to make customers use Sony-branded devices.
Sony – which is currently seeking international regulatory approval for its proposed merger with BMG – plans to woo users to support its new CD copy protection with a new strategy: extra content.
Sony's CDs will carry a compressed digital copy of the music that can be transferred to any computer and played back only on Sony's portable MP3 players. The company is developing plug-ins to support Windows Media. A schedule for a worldwide rollout of the new CDs has not yet been announced.
Reuters reports: "At this point, music can be transferred only to Sony portable players, although Sony executives note that Apple’s popular iTunes service works the same way with the Apple-branded iPod."
Sony has already announced plans to go after Apple's iPod market. An executive last week proclaimed: "We are taking on iPod with our new device. We are coming at Steve Jobs on that front".