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Macrovision: iPod support for lock-in CDs in Q4

'If' it will support Fairplay upgraded to 'when'

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Copy protection provider Macrovision is sufficiently confident that it will be able to incorporate FairPlay support into its CDS-300 copy control that is has begun telling customers that it will add iTunes and iPod support to its software in Q4.

According to mailings sent out with the company's CDS-300 version 7 beta release, "support for iPod and iTunes... will be made available in a Q4 update".

The blurb claims that support will be enabled "via Apple FairPlay".

That suggests that Macrovision has indeed managed to license Apple's DRM technology - or is sufficiently confident of doing so that it can provide a timeframe for the code's adoption.

Macrovision called on Apple to license FairPlay earlier this year. Unlike Real Networks, however, it wants the technology to allow it to provide iTunes-ready compressed audio tracks alongside the Windows Media Audio files its CDS-300 copy protection mechanism already offers. Real wanted FairPlay simply so it could open its own online music store to iPod users.

The company's Q4 update is also expected to include its RealTime DRM Encoding system, which converts on the fly a disc's Red Book audio source into FairPlay-protected AAC files, ATRAC 3 tracks for Sony portable music players or WMAs, according to a given user's personal preference.

Reaching an agreement with Macrovision makes sense for Apple, since it will ensure that copy protected CDs no longer leave iTunes users out in the cold, but encompasses Mac buffs too. If we are going to have to face the mass release of protected discs, then we at least want them to support alternatives to Microsoft's software.

It also is another nod toward Apple's importance in the fledgling digital music market, that companies like Macrovision no longer feel all they need do is follow Microsoft. ®

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