A couple of things.

First off, both have new releases that are selling extremely well. As of August 7th, the Foo Fighters’ In Your Honor had sold 777,000 units according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Stand Up by the Dave Matthews Band had sold more than 1.1 million units.

And the second thing? Copy protection.

The copy protection comes courtesy of SunnComm, the Arizona-based company that raised a ruckus a few years back when it slapped its anti-piracy technology on an Anthony Hamilton release. However, unlike the copy-protection scheme found on the Hamilton disc, which could be circumvented by simply holding down the ENTER key when inserting the disc into a computer, SunnComm’s MediaMax anti-piracy envelope encompassing the new releases by Matthews and the Foos is a bit sturdier.

In fact, the technology is tough enough that it should deter most people wanting to distribute the tracks on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

Like the Hamilton disc, theses contain two sets of tracks. The first set comprises Red Book Audio tracks while the second set is made up of Microsoft Windows Media files. The Red Book tracks play in your standalone CD player while the WMA files are for copying to your computer as well as for porting to your personal MP3 player. With Microsoft’s digital rights management system, you’re limited to three exact copies of the original disc.

However, there is one small problem with SunnComm’s latest copy-protection system. It’s not iPod compatible.

But don’t blame that on SunnComm, for the company states on its Web site that Apple’s proprietary digital rights management system, FairPlay, is what’s preventing fans from using Apple’s iTunes software to rip the tracks from either disc and then transfer them to an iPod.

Although SunnComm has been in discussion with Apple about licensing the FairPlay system, at the moment it’s a no-go and those wanting to move the songs to their iPods will just have to wait. Or they can purchase the tracks from the iTunes Music Store. Or they can run out and buy a WMA-compatible player.

Or they can apply a work-around that can easily be found on the Net. But even the work-around comes with a catch of sorts.

When you place one of these discs into a computer’s CD tray, a terms of agreement message immediately pops up on your screen. Click “agree” and you’ll move onto a screen that includes menu choices for copying the WMA tracks to your computer. Click “disagree” and the terms of agreement vanish, and the disc is ejected from the computer. This simple series of events will probably prevent most people from walking down that illicit road of music piracy.

However, for those who like a challenge, there is a way to bypass the MediaMax protection, rip the tracks via iTunes and then move them to an iPod. The only problem is that, by doing so, one violates the user agreement which clearly states that the songs may be played only on approved devices. Needless to say, the iPod is not one of them.

But the problem with SunnComm not being iPod friendly may be more of an Apple issue than a copy-protection issue, for the company has never been all that crazy about licensing its technology to third parties. One of the first actions taken by Steve Jobs when he regained control of Apple was to flush the licensing agreements the company had previously made with third parties for manufacturing Apple computers. More recently, Apple rebuffed feelers extended to it by RealNetworks to open up the iPod to other DRM formats.

But the sales figures for both Foo Fighters and Dave Matthews Band appear to indicate that iPod compatibility may not be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing whether or not to buy a copy-protected disc. At least, not yet. However, if SunnComm’s technology becomes the recording industry’s standard for copy protection, you can bet Steve Jobs is going to have to reconsider his stand on proprietary technology. Or, perhaps, purchase SunnComm. After all, with Jobs, anything is possible.

Apple has unleashed iTunes in Japan, where the digital online store surpassed previous opening records in any of the 20 nations where its currently available by serving up more than 1 million tracks in the first four days of operation. In contrast, it took an entire week for iTunes to sell a million songs when it launched in the United States.

But Apple’s iTunes certainly had a head start. Because the iPod has already been a big seller in Japan for more than a year, it’s fair to say that there was already an iTunes user base waiting to pay up to 200 yen ($1.80) per song.

While the latest iTunes store has songs by many Japanese artists in its inventory, it has yet to close a deal with Sony, the label having the lion’s share of popular Japanese singers and bands. This is especially ironic because Sony has been pushing its own proprietary digital rights management system in competition with Apple’s FairPlay DRM. Even more so when you consider that Sony sells only about 450,000 tracks per month in Japan via its own online store.

Meanwhile, individual Japanese artists whose labels haven’t cut a deal with Apple are trying to find their own way onto iTunes. Already, one artist has bypassed his record label so that he can get his songs on iTunes, and an agency has said that it will try to get its artists on iTunes regardless of which label they happened to be signed with.

Sony recording artist Motoharu Sano is making some of his songs available on iTunes. However, Sony Music spokesman Yasushi Ide said that Sano is no longer considered “a Sony artist.” Ide also said that the current Apple / Sony negotiations would determine whether his recordings under the Sony label would eventually end up on Apple’s online music store.

Amuse Inc., an agency representing some of Japan’s most popular artists, initially said they would not pursue a deal with iTunes. However, that tune recently changed, and now the agency says they will consider joining the online store in the future.

“We want to do what users want,” a spokesperson said.