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HP signs up new LightScribe licensees

Drive makers Panasonic and Pioneer Technology are among those to back technology that uses laser to etch labels onto CDs and DVDs.

Hewlett-Packard has signed up a number of key backers for its LightScribe technology, which uses a laser to etch labels onto CDs and DVDs.

The company plans to announce Tuesday that it has added 17 new licensees, including prominent drive makers Panasonic and Pioneer. In order to use the technology, a customer needs not only a compatible drive, but also LightScribe-capable discs and software support. A number of existing software and media makers have pledged their support, with several more names among the new licensees to be added this week.

"A critical step in developing a market-standard capability is industrywide integration and deployment," Kent Henscheid, LightScribe's marketing manager, said in a statement.

LightScribe uses the same laser that burns data onto one side of a disc to then etch a label onto the other side of the disc. The company is pitching it as a better alternative to adhesive labels, which can cause problems in a drive and to old-fashioned markers, whose ink can seep into the disc over time.

HP, which developed and owns the technology, has been its most prominent backer, offering LightScribe drives as an option on many of its PCs. The company has also signed up as backers disc makers Imation, Memorex and Verbatim. About 2.5 million LightScribe-capable drives have shipped since the technology made its way onto the market in January, the company said.