Sony’s Latest Gamble

Sony is preparing to begin selling a new type of copy-protected CD in Germany, with hopes to expand worldwide if consumers embrace the new technology. The CDs do not allow users to share their contents on illegal file-swapping sites, but contain a compressed digital copy of the music which individual consumers can “rip” to their computers and later download to Sony-based portable music players. In what has become a familiar dance, the company is calling its new CDs a breakthrough for consumers, and consumer groups opposed to copy protection of any sort are claiming that the discs can cause computers to malfunction, and are unfairly limiting in any case.