New technology to thwart CD pirates

A new security technology adopted by one of Australia's major CD-ROM manufacturers is hoped to curb the illegal copying of software by consumers.

Southern Star Duplitek is the first CD duplicator in Australia to use the SafeDisc technology, which "wraps" a CD-ROM's executable files in a digital signature. The digital signature cannot be copied, and pirated CDs will not run.

Software companies Microsoft and Activision have already signed-up to use the technology in the production of their CD-ROMs.

A Southern Star Duplitek representative concedes the technology will be open to serious hackers, but will be a "tedious, complicated and time-consuming" effort for regular consumers.

"SafeDisc is really designed to stop the regular consumer from copying software to pass on to friends, and it will increase the legitimate sales of software," said Geoff Thurstan, sales and marketing manager at Southern Star Duplitek.

Though software companies will pay for the sales increase with an increase in production costs associated with SafeDisc, he said.

The technology also poses an export opportunity for Australia, says Thurstan.

"Game companies are reluctant to release their source discs in Asia, and will manufacture their CD-ROMs here in Australia with the SafeDisc technology, and ship the discs to Asian territories."

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