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"We have heard the strong voice from the retail community concerning the substantial financial impact that illegal copying of compact discs is causing to business. We share in your concerns and in response are pleased to be the first company to launch a campaign to confront this explosive and damaging trend."
——UMVD Exec VP Jim Weatherson

UMG TO RELEASE COPY-PROTECTED SOUNDTRACK

New Technology Keeps Consumers From Copying Discs; In Some Cases, From Playing Them Too

Universal Music Group is releasing a follow-up to the hit soundtrack to the movie The Fast & the Furious on Dec. 18, and, in a first for the majors, all copies of the More Fast & Furious soundtrack (Murder Inc/Def Jam/IDJ) would be copy-protected.

In a letter to retailers, Universal Music & Video Distribution Exec VP Jim Weatherson said: "In response to the problems that CD burning and piracy have caused in the marketplace, Universal is taking the first important step to help protect artists by launching the best copy-protection technology available today.

"We have heard the strong voice from the retail community concerning the substantial financial impact that illegal copying of compact discs is causing to business," the letter continues. "We share in your concerns and in response are pleased to be the first company to launch a campaign to confront this explosive and damaging trend."

According to the customer letter, More Fast & Furious would be the first commercial CD in the United States with copy-protection technology and proud of it—each CD bears a white, round sticker proclaiming the disc to be copy-protected.

This comes at a price: The CDs, according to the UMVD letter, are "unplayable on a small number of certain CD playback devices." And by "small number," the company means "DVD players, game consoles and Macintosh computers."

Sensitive to potential customer complaints, UMVD is including an insert in each CD that directs consumers to a customer care center for assistance or to a website, www.musichelponline.com. Also, UMVD is encouraging retailers to allow "full return privileges" for "breached" or opened product.

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