Belgian consumer organisation Test-Aankoop has begun legal proceedings against four of the world's major music companies over their use of copy-protected CDs. It hopes a victory will lead to the banning of such discs across Europe.

Copy-protected CDs contain a special layer of coding on their rims which prevents users from playing the discs on anything other than their home stereos. To listen to the tracks on a portable music player or car stereo, for example, owners would have to buy second and third CDs. The technology also prevents consumers from copying discs for backup purposes.

Test-Aankoop, which received over 200 complaints from irate consumers, believes the copy-protection system infringes consumer rights.

"We are trying to establish a legal precedent in this matter. Then we expect other consumer organisations will follow," Test-Aankoop spokesman Michael Ivo told Reuters.

The group will battle it out with industry giants Sony, BMG, EMI and Universal in Belgian courts in the next few days.

Related links:
Test-Aankoop
Reuters