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Burn notice for DVD users

Org gives blessing to copy technology

After years of negotiations between studios and consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers and individuals can now burn studio movies and TV shows onto a DVD.

The board of directors of the DVD Copy Control Assn. on Wednesday gave final approval to the technology that lets DVDs be burned with the same anti-piracy protection on standard discs manufactured in plants.

DVD Forum, an industry group that oversees the DVD format, approved the plan earlier this year. But DVD CCA, which controls the anti-piracy technology called CSS, also had to get on board for the technology to finally be deployed.

Physical and online retailers are expected to use the CSS application to burn obscure DVDs that are no longer manufactured or not in stock. Wal-Mart has previously announced it would work with HP on such a system, while drug store chain Walgreens also plans to deploy it.

Biggest beneficiaries are expected to be independent film and library distributors that otherwise have trouble getting their DVDs onto shelves.

DVDs could be burned on-demand in as little as 10 minutes, or ordered online and picked up in a store.

Digital download stores like Movielink, which was recently bought by Blockbuster, and CinemaNow have also said they want to embrace the technology. Users could download a movie on a PC and then burn it onto a disc to watch on a TV.

Many consumers will still need new DVD burners to burn copy-protected movies and TV shows, however. A special kind of burnable disc is required.

Technology took years longer to be approved than many had expected because some studios wanted more robust anti-piracy protection than CSS, which can easily be hacked. But all involved eventually agreed to continue with CSS since most DVD players won’t work with a different copy protection scheme.

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