Fuji Magne-Disk Co., Ltd., a maker of photo discs, plans to commercialize this summer the CD-R/RW drives for business use, for writing CD-R discs with the copy-prevention function. The firm is a subsidiary of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd.
So far, Fuji Magne-Disk has been manufacturing the CD-R/RW and CD-ROM discs with the function of copy prevention under contract with some specific clients. This time the company decided to market the CD-R/RW drives embedded with the copy-preventing technology, which has so far been used only within Fuji Magne-Disc.
"Up to now, we haven't officially announced the copy-preventing technology, because some users might have felt tempted to break it. But this time we made our mind to release the technology in order to meet the surging demand for preventing disc piracy," said Fuji Magne-Disk.
Fuji Magne-Disk intends the new product to be applicable for the following purposes; storing confidential data of customers for financial institutions or retail stores, distributing data without a network transmission in view of security concern, and others. Fuji Magne-Disk also expects the product to be widely used for distributing packaged software.
The specifications of the drive are mainly determined based on each client's demands. Its price will range from 3 million yen to 5 million yen. The product will not necessarily be compliant with all types of CD-R/RW discs. Fuji Magnetics guarantees that it operates with the discs the company recommends. (134.06 yen = US$1)
This technology prevents data transfer when users try to copy the data onto another disc, while it allows users to simply read the data with a CD-R/RW drive without using any specific software. This copy prevention can be realized in the process of writing a CD-R/RW by physically recording data that prohibits copying its content.
"Special data -- which can be read in the normal reading process but is recognized as an error signal when being copied -- are written at the header or some other place on each file recorded in the disc. So far, writing this kind of error signal has been technically possible in manufacturing CD-ROM discs (in the process of mastering). But this is the first case in the industry to apply the technology for the CD-R/RW device," said a Fuji Magne-Disk official.
Currently, this technology is not applicable for protecting music CDs from piracy, which is a pressing issue. But the company regards it possible to be applied for music CDs if technology updates occur.
The firm is considering whether it will provide the technology to other manufacturers' CD-R/RW drives, said Fuji Magne-Disk.