Labels, Microsoft In Talks On CD Copying

Record labels and Microsoft are in discussions about ways that the next generation of the Windows operating system, code-named Longhorn, can support copy-protected CD technology.

The music labels, in large part led by top executives at EMI Group and coordinated through their U.S. and international trade associations, are creating a “wish list” of CD rights protection features they want to see provided or supported by Longhorn. Microsoft, in turn, has provided its own set of guidelines for the labels, without yet promising anything, sources familiar with the situation said.

The labels are far from unanimous on their thoughts about how to use, or even whether to use, copy protection technology on CDs. But sources said most are eager to avoid being locked into Microsoft technology and want to ensure that Longhorn provides a platform for copy protection that is at least as consumer-friendly as Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store.

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