Europe Gets More Protection

Maybe it's because those Yanks are so contentious, but it appears that most of the initial CD copy-protection activity is taking place in Europe (see previous). Last week, Phoenix, AZ–based SunnComm announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with Sonopress of Germany for implementation of its MediaCloQ technology in manufacturing facilities located all over Europe.

SunnComm says that this arrangement is the prelude to a more formal agreement, which includes the commitment by SunnComm for the immediate deployment of MediaCloQ technologies in the Sonopress plant located in Guetersloh, Germany. Sunncomm adds that MediaCloQ Version 1.2 is expected to be installed and operational there within the next few weeks with additional preparations being made to ramp up plants in Spain and the United Kingdom.

Sonopress, a member of Bertelsmann Arvato AG, is feeling pressure from BMG to encode new CDs with the MediaCloQ process. The company's Frank D. Bargsten explains that "MediaCloQ is required in our facilities to fulfill a request for this copy protection format in Europe. MediaCloQ copy protection could also bring additional customers to Sonopress and enable our company to offer this solution to our existing clients."

SunnComm's John D. Aquilino adds, "This will pave the way for SunnComm to produce copy-protected audio CDs in Europe under the BMG Evaluation Pact signed on July 30, 2001. It will also make MediaCloQ technology available in Europe to other interested record labels to take action to protect their artists."

The MediaCloQ process had been previously introduced in the US by Music City records with the CD release of "Charley Pride—A Tribute to Jim Reeves." The results of this initial test have been mixed, with posters to the website claiming that the version of MediaCloQ used on the Pride CD has been cracked. MP3s of the Pride CD also flooded the Internet shortly after the disc was released.