DVD Audio Copy System Approval Due Soon

HANOVER, GERMANY (02/23/2000) - Approval of a revised copy protection system for DVD (digital versatile disk) Audio, drawn up because a related system was hacked, is likely come within the next month, according to the head of DVD business at Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., Japan's largest consumer electronics manufacturer.

"We have proposed a new system to the major music companies and they are now evaluating it," said Sakon Nagasaki, director of the DVD Business Development Office at Matsushita, speaking at the CeBIT trade show here. "We expect approval of the system within the month."

The first version of the DVD Audio format had already been approved, and manufacturers were preparing to launch players supporting the format when the DVD industry was stunned by news that the DVD Video copy protection system had been hacked and software enabling users to copy the disks was circulating on the Internet [See "DVD Audio Delayed on Copy Protection Worries," Dec. 1, 1999].

This spelled trouble for DVD Audio because the system relied on an updated version of the same copy protection system.

The four companies that developed the system, Matsushita, Toshiba Corp., IBM Corp. and Intel Corp., pledged to come up with a more secure system, and this was presented to music companies earlier this year, said Nagasaki today.

Should approval of the system be received, first commercial DVD Audio products incorporating the new system will hit the market in the second half of the year, predicted Nagasaki.

Matsushita Electric Industrial, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.mei.co.jp/.

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