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by Mike Zazaian September 15, 2006 - 3:51pm, 2 Comments

Ritek DVD-R discs

Disc manufacturer Ritek is developing an RFID chip to embed in disc-based media, a move that could put a big dent in software piracy.

U-Tech, a subsidiary of Ritek, is currently in development of an RFID chip that could prevent illegal copying of DVDs, CDs, Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs. U-Tech has chosen a company named IPICO to manufacture the discs, and both U-Tech and IPICO have announced plans to begin production on the new RFID-discs at one of Ritek’s factories in Taiwan.

In order for the technology to be fully functional, drive manufacturers will have to include RFID-reading technology in future products. Drives would check the RFID chip to detect whether a disc contains a copied version of copyrighted media, and whether movies are being played in the correct geographical location. Ritek’s chief executive officer Gordon Yeh had this to say about the RFID technology:

This technology holds the potential to protect the intellectual property of music companies, film studios and gaming and software developers worldwide.

Of course, while this technology goes a long ways to prevent software piracy, it also will prevent disc-users who aren’t breaking the law from backing up their own content to prevent loss or damage. It will be interesting to see how the technology is received in light of the fact that a large segment of the disc media market is being lost to hard drive and flash memory manufacturers on the mp3/pvp/DVR segment.

[via DailyTech]