Music bosses have unveiled a revolutionary new recording format that they hope will help win the war on illegal file sharing which is thought to be costing the industry millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Nicknamed the "Record," the new format takes the form of a black, vinyl disc measuring 12 inches in diameter, which must be played on a specially designed "turntable."
"We can state with absolute certainty that no computer in the world can access the data on this disc," said spokesman Brett Campbell. "We are also confident that no-one is going to be able to produce pirate copies in this format without going to a heck of a lot of trouble. This is without doubt the best anti-piracy invention the music industry has ever seen."
As part of the invention's rigorous testing process, the designers gave some discs to a group of teenage computer experts who regularly use file swapping software such as Limewire and Gnutella and who admit to pirating music CDs.
Despite several days of trying, none of them were able to hack into the disc's code or access any of the music files contained within it.
"It's like, really big and stuff," said Doug Flamboise, one of the testers. "I couldn't get it into any of my drives. I mean, what format is it? Is it, like, from France or something?"
In the new format, raw audio data in the form of music is encoded by physically etching grooves onto the vinyl disc. The sound is thus translated into variations on the disc's surface in a process that industry insiders are describing as "'Completely revolutionary and stunningly clever."
To decode the data stored on the disc, the listener must use a special player which contains a 'needle' that runs along the grooves on the record surface, reading the indentations and transforming the movements back into audio that can be fed through loudspeakers.
Even Shawn Fanning, the man who invented Napster, admits the new format will make file swapping much more difficult. "I've never seen anything like this," he told reporters. "How does it work?"
Pirates: Their days are numbered.
It would appear that the music industry may, at last, have found the pirate-proof format it has long been searching for.