Move will make it easier to burn Internet-purchased pics

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood studios have approved a new technology and licensing arrangement that should remove a major obstacle consumers now face with burning movies they buy digitally over the Internet onto a DVD.

Sonic Solutions is introducing today the Qflix system for adding a standard digital lock to DVDs burned in a computer or a retail kiosk.

The lock, known as “content scrambling system,” or CSS, is backed by the studios, TV networks and other content creators and comes standard on prerecorded DVDs today. All DVD players come equipped with a key that fits the lock and allows for playback.

But movie download services such as Movielink, CinemaNow and Amazon.com’s Unbox haven’t been able to use CSS because studios fear widespread DVD burning could lead to piracy.

With Qflix, and its studio-backed copy-protection system, consumers should have more options. But they’ll need new blank DVDs and compatible DVD burners to use it.

The system can also be used in retail kiosks, which could hold hundreds of thousands of older films and TV shows for which studios don’t see a huge market. Customers could pick a film, TV episode or an entire season’s worth of shows and have them transferred to DVD on the spot.

Consumers still would be subject to restrictions placed by the movie service and studios, such as the number of times a DVD could be copied.

Sonic has been working for three years to develop the technology and get studios to agree to amend the CSS license to allow a “download to burn” option.

“We are pleased and encouraged to see efforts like Sonic’s creation of Qflix that addresses the need for industry standard protection,”‘ Chris Cookson, chief technology officer at Warner Bros. said in a statement.

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