Disc Tagging to Prevent Piracy

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Japanese technology behemoth, Sony Inc., has filed a patent for a new form of disc tagging technology that could create the ability to prevent games from being played on more than one version of the console. This spells bad news for gamers who will be prevented from playing pre-owned games on their PS4. The technology tags discs with information such as whether the game has been played on another device, therefore suppressing second sales and purchases.

“As a technique to suppress the second-hand sales and purchase, a user may be first required to send a password or the like to a remote authentication server from a reproduction device (game player) via the Internet and the reproduction of content may be permitted only for the device that has succeeded in authentication.

“However, where the reproduction device is not connected to the Internet, use of the content cannot be controlled. Also, where the connection to the Internet is an absolute requirement, user’s convenience may be significantly reduced. Besides, users may communicate to share the password between them and therefore the second-hand sales and purchase cannot be eliminated reliably.” said a Sony Spokesperson.

The patent filing states “In view of the foregoing problems described above, according to the present embodiment, a recording medium and a radiofrequency (RF) tag storing the terms of use (use condition) are included in the same packet (package) of electronic content….” Proposed is an electronic content processing system where a usage mode of the electronic content is determined based on whether a reproduction entity, such as a reproduction device or user of the electronic content fulfils the use condition or not.

“According to the present embodiment, realized is the electronic content processing system that reliably restricts the use of electronic content dealt in the second-hand markets. As a result, the dealing of electronic content in the second-hand markets is suppressed, which in turn supports the redistribution of part of proceeds from sales of the electronic content to the developers.”

Sony also asserts that development of electronic content is expensive and that it is important to distribute proceeds of sales to the studios while also stating that authentication systems requiring constant internet access are inconvenient to the consumer, while offline measures fail to tackle the problem.

Sony will reportedly reveal their next-generation console at an event prior to this year’s E3 Gaming Expo.

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Contributed by Kartik Raju

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