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Thursday, August 09, 2007
Second-tier blank DVD disc makers may face crackdown in Japan

International brands of optical discs in the Japan market, including TDK, Imation and Verbatim, plan to ask Japanese authorities to ban the import of blank DVD+R/-R discs that pirate their M-Codes.

This would affect some second-tier makers of optical discs in Taiwan because they are producers of a large portion of such DVD+R/-R discs, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

The M-Code is a manufacturer identification code built into an optical disc to allow burners to read the parameters expressed in the code so as to automatically adjust writing speeds and power use to reach optimal recording, the sources explained. Each brand has its own M-Code and only its OEM makers are licensed to use its identification code, the sources pointed out.

Since DVD+R/-R discs supplied by TDK, Imation, Verbatim and other international brands are compatible with burners provided by the most brands, many second-tier makers in Taiwan and Chinese makers have frequently pirated these brands' M-Codes to produce DVD+R/-R discs mainly for exports to Latin American and emerging markets where M-Code piracy is not subject to punishment as in the US, Europe and Japan, the sources pointed out.

However, a few second-tier makers in Taiwan have begun offering the low-priced discs with pirated M-Codes for sale in large retail outlets in Japan, prompting the larger brands to ask for an official crackdown, the sources indicated. Two to three Taiwanese makers, with a combined monthly production capacity of 20-40 million DVD+R/-R discs, are expected to be negatively impacted, the sources added.

In response, CMC Magnetics and Ritek, the top two makers of optical discs in Taiwan, indicated that all of their OEM production is under licensed use of clients' M-Codes and they support any possible clampdown on the piracy.

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