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Restricted CDs Quietly Distributed 372

Posted by michael
from the music-industry-needs-consumer-reports dept.
fantazem writes: "I was just browsing news.com and found this rather interesting article just posted. The article basically explains that Macrovision along with unnamed labels have released thousands of CD's with a new form of copy protection." This is a follow-up to this article. Whitfield Diffie noted that the identity of the restricted CDs can be ascertained by polling a large enough sample of CD-buyers; a good way to avoid these defective products. Anybody bought one yet?
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Restricted CDs Quietly Distributed

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    My Audio CD player says that it has 99 tracks (can you imagine 99 tracks of 'N Sync? Ohmygod!), and it seems to take about 30 seconds longer for the CD player to recognize it.

    I haven't tried it in my car CD player yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It must pain the RIAA no end that their product must, in its final playback, be fully audiable and unencrypted in order to be heard.

    God must be supporting piracy and needs to be sued, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:26AM (#75098)
    You know what just scared me? That this is probably true, they just put in errors. Now doesn't this mean that if you do write a software based CD player that gracefully does error correction you will then be in violation of DMCA?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:29AM (#75099)
    It isn't worked around by Vorbis, but it is handled correctly by Monty's other software: CDparanoia. It appears that this 'protection' only provides protection along with certian popular windows ripping applications which have sold out their users in order to prevent being sued. CDparanoia does not have this problem.

    Use Free Software and don't worry about it.
  • by Wakko Warner (324) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @08:23AM (#75101) Homepage Journal
    I wouldn't exactly call "Oops! I did it again!" the Mona fucking Lisa.

    - A.P.

    --

  • What use are the CDs intended for? If they're intended to be played on a hifi audio player only, then you might run in to problems.

    Typically it comes down to what the "reasonable man" considers would happen.

    If, on the other hand, you specifically ask if it will work on your computer's CD drive and they say yes, you have a right to complain.

    IANAL, obviously enough.

    ...j
  • Yes we can. Yes we are. Actually, nobody needed to write anything new: declicking is already a normal part of digital audio signal processing, and more than that, cdparanoia apparently already runs a declicker on the digital information it gets (it wouldn't be the error correction stage per se, because cdparanoia would already have the 'final data' and would be simply looking for stuff that was obviously wrong and declicking that.

    Can't say as I'm surprised. Turns out I don't even need to show anybody what a declicker is because it's already being done. Anyone wants more info on implementing one for their own digital audio project, just ask me.

  • No, I think to be Red Book standard the error correction has to be implemented so as to work. With this new stuff the error correction's doctored to fail in a certain way, hence the discs are not Red Book and are not legally allowed to carry the Compact Disc Digital Audio logo.

    Not a bad talking point: tell people to buy only CDs with the Compact Disc Digital Audio logo, explaining that many discs these days are not allowed to carry this logo because 'they have too much error and the error correction is intentionally broken'. That's literally true.

  • Are you crazy?

    The music companies have been trying to cover up links to the Mob for _decades!_ They are not nice people, and they are not about 'competency'. You go on and think what you like, but you're only marking yourself as somebody who hasn't even begun to think about speculating on the possibility of considering the idea of beginning to TRY to learn how things actually work. *pant, pant, gasp for breath* ;)

    Seriously: the music industry are NOT NICE PEOPLE. They ARE dishonest and greedy. Whether you still do business with them is another story, and your affair, and nobody's asking you to clean up the world. But for God's sake, quit with the annoying, self-righteous naivete. I could give you enough background on this to fill a _book_. In fact, someone _has_ written such a book: "Hit Men", by Fredric Dannen.

    Accept a clue, please.

  • No, actually they can't legally do this. They've really fucked up ('scuse my french). The problem is in two parts: on the one hand, the distortion they add could damage or destroy stereo equipment if uncorrected (and there are players out there, like car stereos, that both fail to correct this and also have wattage enough to fry tweeters instantly given this kind of distortion), and on the other hand, they are surreptitiously introducing this without any type of consumer warning or identification. The combination is fatal. They are hosed- they should have introduced some type of labelling system and tried to brazen it out, and then they'd probably be fine. Right now, they are totally vulnerable to legal action, and probably damages. (obIANAL, yet... this is _awfully_ clear cut)
  • So you're saying that they are intentionally introducing errors on the CD to create this copy-protection scheme. So, that means that because there are already errors, it takes less physical damage or other cause of data loss before the error correction capabilities are exceeded. Hence, manufacturers are putting out an intentionally flawed (more susceptible to scratches/skipping) product without notifying consumers. I smell a lawsuit.
  • Only blank CDs with the "taxed as audio" bit set.

    PCs are exempt from the AHRA, which means you can burn audio to a "data-grade" (read: cheap and untaxed) CD.

    The ONLY difference between "music" CD-Rs and "data" CD-Rs is a bit pre-burned into the CD somewhere. (I don't know where this flag is set - but those "music" CD-Rs are only needed for standalone CD-R deck equipment, which will refuse to record to "data" CD-Rs.)

    In fact, I wonder if the standalone recorder decks are affected by this copy-protection, or if they do error correction before copying.
  • Now doesn't this mean that if you do write a software based CD player that gracefully does error correction you will then be in violation of DMCA?

    I think that the DMCA requires that for a circumvention device to be illegal its primary purpose must be circumvention. There already exists a lot of software out there, such as cdparanoia [xiph.org], which was written to interpolate out the errors on CDs and I believe that their primary use has been to do this on normal (i.e., not brain-damaged) CDs. I doubt that the DMCA would make such software illegal as it serves a legitimate purpose in its primary use.

    This raises an interesting point, though - wouldn't the music labels intentionally introducing errors onto CDs actually encourage copying? If I purchased a CD with errors on it I would use something like cdparanoia to correct the errors and then save the results on a CD-R as the results would be more resistant to actual errors that arise from scratches and physical jostling while playing in the future (this assumes that I liked the music enough to do this - my first inclination would be to return it for a refund). I would not have needed to make the copy had the CD been normal because the error correction capabilities would have not been degraded already.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and the above should not be taken as legal advice.

  • Wouldn't be too hard to write something that automatically finds and interpolates over them.

    It's quite possable that cdparanoia will handle that. It may need to be configured to give up on a perfect read more quickly, and just do the interpolation in order to rip in a reasonable time.

  • Two example that I know from before are NIN's Broken (two tracks at 98 and 99), and Dave Matthew's "Under the Table..." (11 tracks, then nothing from 12 to 33, then #34 is self-titled).

    The longer time could just be for reading the table completely.

  • When I bring it up in a CD that lists tracks, "#34" is listed at track 34. Sure, the 22 hidden tracks are just empty, unlike the NIN example where tracks 98 and 99 are rather hidden (I think I remember reading some fine print on the CD liner that mentioned those).

    Note that there are other ways people have done 'hidden tracks', namely by having an unlisted track that starts off with at least 2 minutes of nothing, then starts the songs. I think TMBG did this with "Severe Tire Damage" but I don't have my CD to check. Also done on Information Society's "Peace and Love Incorporated".

  • Apparently the main defense is take out tiny portions of the music. Small enough that CD player error correction will accomodate, but a direct data transfer will turn into bursts of gibberish.

    Does this mean that if you play your CD (analogfully) into an audio in to your computer/mp3-making device, the copy protection is 100% defeated? If so, that's good enough for me. Is there any hope that any digital watermarking/copy protection/enforcing dumb formats system won't suffer from this weakness?

  • a consumer CD player bridges the gaps. It looks at the music on either side of the gap and interpolates a replacement section. A computer does the same when playing CDs for listening

    ... and so does cdparanoia when ripping. Case closed.

    --

  • by tzanger (1575) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:06AM (#75117) Homepage

    Some [expletive deleted] broke into my car last fall and made off with about $600 worth of stereo equipment and about $600 worth of CDs (don't believe it when they tell you a detachable faceplate is protection against theft). Every single one of my favorite albums was stolen (and I stil haven't replaced most of them). The morning I discovered this, I swore I'd never keep an original CD in the car again.

    BUT WAIT!! If the theif makes off with a copy of a legally-purchased CD, YOU are now responsible for illegal distribution! Horrors! The record company lost out on another sale because YOU made a copy!

    Who cares that the theif wouldn't have bought it... it's a COPY and it's DENYING the recording agency the RIGHT to PROFIT! Somebody PLEASE think of the children!

  • by tgd (2822) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:03AM (#75121)
    What in the world are they doing modding up posts that say "I have one" and don't have any supporting data (like even a album title!?!?)

    Here's a suggestion to keep this /. article from totally degrading to a "me too!" fest and a panicked shouting match of fears that big brother is coming: Don't post "me too"'s without at least putting the title of the disc so someone else can confirm it.

    And don't let all the unconfirmed "me too"'s stir the coals even more.

    I'm glad I don't listen to any mainstream music.
  • When I did, only one person had a copy of it. Now if that one person hadn't had it, I very well might have bought the cd. And maybe with copy protection, that one copy wouldn't have been out there.

    Assuming the record company in question hasn't just decided not to publish that music anymore but just sit on it instead.

    It's surprising how much stuff is out of print - in the RIAA-perfect world, you shouldn't buy from used record stores, or copy from a friend (or strangers) copy, so you only listen to what they decide to make/sell this week. Welcome to commercial-music-only land.

    If I could buy an albums-worth of tracks for say $5-8 from a record companies' entire backcatalogue, rather than what is currently in the warehouse, I daresay I might buy some of those - lots, even. Especially if I didn't have to pay 4 layers of middlemen for the privelege.
    --
    the telephone rings / problem between screen and chair / thoughts of homocide
  • If minidiscs work in digital mode with these discs, then the game is over anyway. S/PDIF in is not that unusual on soundcards nowadays, and there you have your digital copy.

    Side question: anyone know of a soundcard with S/PDIF or TOSLink out that can send the track markers that minidisc uses? I'd really like to be able to make minidisc compilations with the markers in them automatically...
    --
    the telephone rings / problem between screen and chair / thoughts of homocide
  • by Howie (4244) <.howie. .at. .thingy.com.> on Thursday July 19, 2001 @08:24AM (#75126) Homepage Journal
    But the point is, like "Microsoft Java" vs Sun, I believe Phillips[0] licenses the use of the CD logo on the packaging. In the same way that Sun chose to sue MS for calling their VM 'Java', Phillips could chose to withold the use of the CD logo on discs that aren't 'valid' CDs. Pretty much every CD I have has at least a tiny version of that logo on it...

    [0] or the consortium that handles the technology - I don't remember if it's just Phillips, although looking through FOLDOC suggests it is.
    --
    the telephone rings / problem between screen and chair / thoughts of homocide
  • by Howie (4244) <.howie. .at. .thingy.com.> on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:36AM (#75127) Homepage Journal
    I was discussing this with a colleague yesterday, and an interesting question came up: are these new discs actually marked as CDs? Do they have the little Phillips' Compact Disc logo on them? If they are just relying on people assuming that the 5-inch silver disc is a 'real' compact disc, then what you should expect from this CD-like disc is your problem, at least to a greater degree.

    Not that I am in favour of the 'protection', especially at the expense of the error correction - I too rip all my CDs straight after purchase.
    --
    the telephone rings / problem between screen and chair / thoughts of homocide
  • I wonder if you even have to muck around with a D/A A/D setup. I have a cd player with a "digital out" (spdif?) on the back. I have a soundcard with a "digital cd in." From the sounds of it the cd player will do all the interpolation stuff and the digital out will be the correct sound. I guessing that I can rip at 1x speed pulling the digital sound straight off the sound card.

  • I am not even sure it will slow down Joe Users much. In my experience the kids who are doing the ripping are taking the time to learn the best way to do it. While visiting friends it was their 13y old who made the compilation CD's for travelling and who could comment on the merits of various mp3 rippers. I doubt that this is uncommon.

  • I use Linux
  • A lawsuit may not be the best approach. This is clearly deceptive business practices and possibly fraud. Take a few minutes to visit the Federal Trade Commission [ftc.gov] website. They have an online complaint form which you can fill out against Macrovision and the "John Doe" record companies.

    Please do not flame the FTC - it won't help our cause any. ;-)

    The information for Macrovision that they request is:

    Macrovision Corporation
    1341 Orleans Drive
    Sunnyvale, CA 94089
    408-743-8600

    The text of my complaint reads:

    Macrovision Corp. along with various John Doe corporations (unnamed record
    companies) have introduced copy-protected music/audio CDs into
    U.S. distribution channels. No notice is given consumers who purchase these
    CDs, yet these new CDs take away a right which consumers have come to
    expect, and which is protected by the Supreme Court's "Betamax" decision
    and the Audio Home Recording Act, namely the ability to copy said CDs onto
    a personal computer for personal use.

    I believe this constitutes fraud and deceptive business practices due to
    the failure to disclose this information to consumers. I urge the
    Commission to help stop this activity.

    Please see the following article for additional information:

    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-6604222.htm l

  • This is what really annoys me. The record labels say that most of your money goes towards the rights to listen to a CD, but when you already own the rights to listen to a CD and simply need to replace the physical disc most of them force you to purchase the rights again in order to get the physical disc. I had a few CD's damaged a couple years back and asked the record labels how to get a cheap replacement disc since I already paid them for the rights to the music, and all of them except for one told me I would have to buy the CD from the store again

    No, you don't understand: it's not one or the other -- whether what you paid for is ownership of the physical disc or a license to listen to it depends entirely on what right you're trying to exercise at the moment. I'll try to clarify:

    If you want to justify some unconventional use of the disc by claiming that you own it and can do with it as you please, then the answer is that the piece of plastic is not important -- it's the information stored on it that matters, and to that you've only been granted a license, not ownership, and such uses are not allowed.

    If on the other hand you want to use the license in some abstract sense to justify moving beyond the limitations of the physical disc, e.g., by making copies to keep in different places (home, car, office, etc.), converting to MP3, streaming the content from my.mp3.com, or demanding a new copy when the old one gets damaged, then the answer is that there's nothing special about the license -- the CD is a physical product that you buy and if you did those other things, you'd be stealing.

    Hope this helps.

    David Gould

  • I don't know about anybody else, but I often come out of the store, and open the CD right there so I can play it in my car on the way home. If I *ever* find that I can't play a CD on my car's CD player because of this retarded attempt by Macrovision to reduce copyright infrigement, I can personally guarantee that I will *never* buy another CD again. It's just not worth my time or money.
    --
    Join my fight against Subway's new cut!
    http://spine.cx/subway/ [spine.cx]
  • Be sure to check out the discussion in this article [slashdot.org] for more info. Can anyone tell me how that article is different from the current one?
    --
  • Ah, but I bring my laptop with me. I show them that CD A works perfectly in the laptop's CD drive. I show them that CD B is not a CD and cannot be read (by the CD Player application of course). This will be more effective if the laptop is running Windows, due to the average level of knowledge of a retail worker (Oh, it's not compatible with Linux, the CD is fine!) Of course, this only happens the /second/ time I bring in the CD to swap for the same one. I can only exchange it for the same CD, since it's defective, but it will cost the store and record company quite a bit if I open four CDs and only pay for one, and probably get an apology and a swap if I can demonstrate this clearly. I can also say that this isn't a CD that works in any other computer, in my car (since I have an Aiwa CDC-MP3 -- a computer), etc. You have to prove to the store that every CD of that title is broken. That's the only way to place pressure back on the record company. I'm willing to bet that more than 1% of people will not that their CD doesn't work in their computer at home or at work, or in a new walkman (that handles MP3s), or in a new car deck, etc. This is going to backfire badly, I hope. If those of us who do note it immediately raise holy hell, it'll make it more obvious.
  • The backup copy argument is best. Personally, I don't have original CD's in my car, I prefer to make a copy on my computer and listen to the copy. This way, I save having fragile CD cases in my car (which take up room; I have a CD holder which holds 20+CD's in the same space as 3 jewel cases) and if the hostile environment of the car (dust, dropping CD's while changing etc) damages a CD, I just make another copy.
    --
  • by simpleguy (5686) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @06:17AM (#75140) Homepage
    How long till cdparanoia will be declared an illegal circumvention device that breaks protection on copyrighted works and has the author jailed?

    It just happened. It can happen again...

  • You bring up a good point about checking whether these new restricted CDs bear the Compact Disc logo. If they do, then there might be grounds for a class action suit over the misleading labeling of such discs. If they don't have the logo, then attentive buyers can avoid them.

    But what about CDs purchased online, where restricted CDs are likely to be offered as though they are the same as normal CDs? I buy most of my music online, and I doubt most stores will make any distinction between good products and "protected" products. It's hard for a savvy customer to beware when he or she must rely on inadequate summaries.

  • However, if you take the original (O) and make a copy (C1). Then, record both (O) and (C1) thru the SPDIF output of CD player, then you can find the defective bits and create new track files with only the correction bits by subtracting the from each other.

    Now, since C1 and O are identical ( in theory) the correction bits tracks will contain all zeroes.(In practice they will not.)

    Next you subtract the corrective tracks from C1 and creating C2.

    1) You have not violated DMCA since the corrective bits tracks are theoretically zeroes, thus you have not created any new info from the CDs.
    2) You have (theoretically) not altered C1 since what you have subtracted from it is (theoretically) all zeroes.

    Thus you have derived nothing from the original, and you have added nothing to it.

    Sinan
  • As I understand it, many European countries (including Russia) require by law that the consumer be able to make at least one copy of any data or software sold as a backup. By preventing this, Adobe ebooks is actually illegal software in these countries (wouldn't it be delicious irony if the CEO of Adobe were imprisoned while on a European vacation for selling illegal products ... but I digress).

    Wouldn't the same thing apply to these CDs ... by implimenting copy protection schemes which prevent the customer from making legal, fair use copies they are, in fact, violating the law of several European countries and therefor cannot sell those CDs there? If such a CD should be bought in one of those locations *cough* Amazon *cough* then wouldn't the publisher(s) be subject to civil and perhaps criminal prosecution?
  • Macrovision has had copy protection that inserts noise and monkeys with your picture on DVDs and videotapes for many years now. I've used a product called the Sima SCC [videoguys.com][0] that removed this annoying feature.

    If all the protection does is add noise to music files, then I'd imagine it likely that there's a mathematical method to remove the noise, or barring that just using a filter like the ones that remove LP noise from copied vinyl records.

    [0]- I don't work there, I'm just a satisfied customer

  • [A]nd THERE IT IS! A monkey is in a single frame, looking straight at you

    Funny, I thought it was Tyler Durden. :)

    You know what I meant by monkeys with the picture. It just game out wrong. :P

  • cdparanoia predates this protection method. Therefore, it can be argued that Macrovision's "technological measure" does not live up to the definition of "effectively control access" since previously existing and widely-used tools that many people already used by default, were already capable of reading the CD.


    ---
  • I think you miss point. This isn't a compression/encoding issue; it's a ripping issue. You would hear the defects even listening to the raw WAV or AIFF, prior to any encoding to Vorbis/MP3/whatever. No encoding (regardless of Monty's godlike powers) is going to remove defects at that point in the process.


    ---
  • DMCA doesn't come into play with these CDs, because the method used doesn't fit even the broadest interpretation of "effectively control access." At least with CSS, a tool had to be written specifically for getting around the "technological measure." With this error-introduction method, many robust players and copiers, even ones that are many years older than the offending copy protection, will still be able to read the CD. And they will be able to do it, not because they were created with the goal of defeating copy protection in mind, but as part of their natural and necessary error-tolerance.


    ---
  • The volume level of a directly ripped audio file also varies -- it's not just a D-A-D conversion issue. The actual recording level of a CD isn't "standardized".

    I have some CDs that are very "quiet", and I have to turn up the volume when I play them back (most of these are classical, and are recorded with a lower volume because the greater dynamic range requires it).

    On the other hand, I have some CDs that are recorded at a much higher volume level than everything else. One example of this is Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- this disc is recorded at a higher volume than any of the other RHCP discs I have, and also higher than just about any other pop/rock music I have. The volume level is high both when playing it in a normal CD player, and when playing back ripped audio files. Compressing to MP3 or Ogg doesn't change this.

  • It seems that what the record companies are doing is a whole lot closer to the spirit of "pirating"

    Courtney Love [salon.com] agrees with you!

    "Today I want to talk about piracy and music. What is piracy? Piracy is the act of stealing an artist's work without any intention of paying for it. I'm not talking about Napster-type software.


    "I'm talking about major label recording contracts."
  • redbook is the standard for how data is stored on the disk. The data is stored properly, it's just corrupted first. The disk should still conform to the standard.
  • I think most people don't understand exactly what 'normalizing' does, and why it really won't help.

    If you normalize a waveform, all you're doing is making sure that the peak amplitude hits 0dB. ALL CD's have been produced so this is true, but most modern albums have been mixed hotter than older ones, so the overall volume is greater.

    The only way I've found to fix that when making mixed CDs is to use Adaptec's JAM to change the gain on the individual tracks and watch the level meter.

    Don't believe me? Here's a visual aid: both tracks are direct CD imports and have been normalized to 100%. The one on the left (Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell") is STILL going to be quieter than Monster Magnet's "Tractor": http://homepage.mac.com/kabong/images/audio.png [mac.com] when listened to.

  • by mindstrm (20013) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:46AM (#75158)
    No. THe AHRA of 1992 says that copying music for noncommercial use using *the devices covered by the act* is not actionable. Computers are not covered by the act. The AHRA also says that digital devices must follow the SCMS (serial copy management system).
    I'm not saying it's illegal to copy music, just that the AHRA does *not* give de-facto permission for people to copy music, even it it appears to at first glance.

    There is a difference between something being 'not illegal' and being 'a right'.

    ALl the act says is that you cannot be prosecuted for using a compliant device to copy some music; it does not say you have a non-infringable right to copy the music. Nothing in the act prevents them from making it technically difficult for you to copy music.

  • Yeah, you don't have to explain this to the store. Just say it pops and clicks on your old CD player at home. It's conceivable that you have an old one that cannot do error recovery very well... this way, if enough people will do it, it will skew the statistics on the efficiency of this method and maybe they drop it...

    Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of disgruntled customers? :)

    Damn, I'm still asleep, I need some coffee...
  • by double_h (21284) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:32AM (#75162) Homepage

    is it illegal for me to make copies (or partial copies) of CD's that i own for my own personal use?

    No, according to the Home Recording Act of 1992, it's perfectly legal for you to make personal copies of CDs you own.

    However, that same Act does NOT say that the record companies can't try to stop you from making such copies (through content control mechanisms) -- just that they can't sue you if you suceed. Of course, if you try to bypass these content control mechanisms, you're most likely in violation of the DMCA.

    All of this may be moot as far as using your computer as a jukebox, however, since the courts still haven't decided whether or not a computer should be classified as a digital recording device (if it were ruled not to be so, it wouldn't be covered under the Home Recording Act).

  • by indecision (21439) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:30AM (#75163)
    The "copy protection" mechanism is based on the fact that Music CD players handle errors in the CD gracefully, interpolating the data on either side and playing a best-guess at what the sound should have been, whereas Data CD players give you the data raw.

    There are no real difficulties in writing code to read over a ripped CD image, and do the interpolation in software.

    I just hope that solutions to this come out soon (and, in particular, for Windows and not just linux), so that the record companies realise how pointless the scheme is and stop writing trash all over our fairly purchased music!

    --indecision

  • In a previous article, they mentioned using "golden ears" (people with discerning hearing) to test it beforehand. Apparently, none of these people could tell the difference between the copy-controlled version and the other.
  • I think we're working at the device level here, not the decoder level.

    This means that playing the protected CD digitally through *any* decoder will manifest the protection scheme.

    So I'm not sure if changing the encoder will do anything for a protected disk being digitally decoded.
  • by mac123 (25118) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:19AM (#75167)
    If:

    I can't download the (legally obtained) songs to my MP3 player
    I can't make a backup copy in case my (legally obtained) CD gets that aluminum eating virus we read about
    I can't listen to the CD at work on my laptop

    I'll take it back to the place of purchase.

    If enough individuals do this, the stores will be forced to spend their resources (time and money) with the returns (which take 2-3 times longer than a purchase).

    If it happens enough, the stores will in turn be forced to work with the record labels to stem the flow of returns.
  • I would add that should you still not meet with satisfaction, mention the possibility of a small claims lawsuit. The CD was unfit for a particular use (playing it on a computer CD player.) Sure, this might not be a protected use, but your average small claims judge is just a regular slob, not like the assholes we have read so much about in /. at the federal level. When you tell him/her that it won't work in your PC, they'll likely say "well, shit, give 'em his money back". After all, s/he probably has a computer, and probably listens to CDs on it.

    Unfortunately, the best you are probably going to get is a store credit, not cash.

  • I cannot think of a way to do that, legally. It would be equivalent to declaring a hammer a tool to break into your house. You can, of course, use the hammer to break into it, but that is not what is was made for or what it was for.

    The same goes for cdparanoia. It's used for extracting music tracks of cds. It's useful for rescueing damaged cds by making a copy of them, which is legal. If the copy protection can be circumvented by this tool, then they have to prove the tool was made to be a circumvention device. As the tool existed before the protection existed, they will have a hard time doing so.

    If, still they succeed, the beast will be loose. What will there be to prevent other software being from accused of being circumvention devices (eg linux or windows)? It's easy enough to think of applications for which that is true.


    ----------------------------------------------
  • And the RIAA corporations will just say 'Well, too bad that your fans arent buying your music, you still owe us some huge gobs of money for production, studio time, mastering and marketing, so pay up, and then you get the distinct pleasure of having to release another 3 albums for a huge loss and spend the rest of your life penniless and in debt. And after we get this new inheritable debt law for music contracts passed, your children down to the last generation will be working for us. Without pay.'.

    Im not buying any CD's from any artist or company I can ascertain is connected to the big ones anymore. Its just a pita to know who owns what.
  • > Apparently the main defense is take out tiny portions of the music. Small enough that CD player
    > error correction will accomodate, but a direct data transfer will turn into bursts of gibberish.

    so... does this mean that my non-error correcting cd player will spoo on one of these discs? also, this kinda implies that the disc is full of little `scratches' (not literally, but for all intents and purposes)... might I suggest cdparanoia? :)
  • by Monthenor (42511) <monthenor@nospAm.gogeek.org> on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:33AM (#75181) Homepage
    Why don't record lablels just ROT13 all the lyrics? Can't really hurt today's pop songs...
    ------------------------
  • by Steve B (42864) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:37AM (#75182)
    it seems to take about 30 seconds longer for the CD player to recognize it

    Is this a portable player (or can you reproduce the results on a portable player)? If so:

    1. Take the portable player, the bad CD, and a good CD back to the record store.

    2. Put the bad CD in the portable player and press "Play".

    3. After about 10-15 seconds, start grumbling about the POS CD they sold you. Be sure to press "Stop" before it actually starts.

    4. If the clerk says the problem might be the player, repeat step 2 with the good CD.

    5. If the clerk insists that you can only get a second copy of the same CD, take it, check that it doesn't work any differently, return, and repeat steps 1-3 (and possibly step 4 if the clerk is particularly clueless).


    /.
  • This is a really interesting observation, one I had never considered before now, but let me take a run at an explanation:

    I notice that trade paperbacks for sf/fantasy/horror/mystery titles seem to run from $5 to $12 (usd) for a really long book. CD's, on the other hand, seem to start at $15 and go up, even for short 30 minute releases, unless you want to listen to re-releases of old jazz/classical recordings (like I do) in which case you can find decent CD's for something like $12 for a 70 minute recording. I recently saw a re-release of a Led Zepplin album from 1972 for $17(!).

    I read a fiction book once or twice. By contrast, my computer books get read over and over. My wife and daughters will read a good fiction book over and over till the pages start to fall out. I'll listen to the CD's until everyone else is sick of them. I'd guess that the marginal utility of both is about the same, but the CD price is much higher, on average.

    I'll also note that few publishers are as flamboyant as the music industry pimps^H^H^H^H^Hpeople.

    I think maybe the music lovers feel raped by ticket/cd prices. Imagine that!

    Well, it's a theory :)
  • cdparanoia for Windows...
    ------
  • a lot of sound cards have a "virtual input" that soft-pipes all output back into a virtual recording device (similar to a line-in, but all digital). Makes for simple ripping if it can't be done the normal way.
  • > The thing that strikes me in the article is the fact that they are so certain that this protection will prevent (or diminish) the copying. If on thing can be learnt from the past is that every protection can and will be cracked.

    Yep. Worst-case scenario, we rip at 1x instead of 10x, and we do it before we go to bed, or when we get up in the middle of the night to take a piss.

    (Hilary Rosen, what are you doing on the floor of my washroom? No, I don't care if your stomach's on fire...)

  • made off with about... $600 worth of CDs

    This is what really annoys me. The record labels say that most of your money goes towards the rights to listen to a CD, but when you already own the rights to listen to a CD and simply need to replace the physical disc most of them force you to purchase the rights again in order to get the physical disc. I had a few CD's damaged a couple years back and asked the record labels how to get a cheap replacement disc since I already paid them for the rights to the music, and all of them except for one told me I would have to buy the CD from the store again (I wound up buying new jewel cases and moving the liners to them and bringing them to a couple of stores saying I just got them as a birthday present and they were broken and exchanged them for new ones, I would have been happy to pay a dollar or two to the label for a new CD but instead got them for free). Luckily I was able to do this since I still had the physical CD, but if I had ever lost it or had it stolen I'd have been out of luck. The record companies say you're purchasing the rights to listen to an album, but for the most part their actions are contrary to this (unlike software manufacturers, in the old days you could easily get a replacement for a defective floppy).
  • The logical track would be to see an increase in cassette sales, and dual cassette/CD car decks as people would use casettes to record their own personal mix of music while using th CD player for the originals. I'm also curious how this would affect the music industry as sampling is quite popular. In order to continue this practice among it's artists these same music companies would have to come up with a method for people to still digitally sample and still maintain the copy protection. Or else they would be shooting themselves in the foot. I also suppose that this would not be available to smaller independent artists, who can't afford suites like cool edit pro. Digital copying is used for so much more than just pirating songs and personal collections that the music industry would be stifling more people with this than they would gain. I expect the lost profits would be greater from the lack of new music or ideas gained from sampling, than it would ever be from revenues lost to pirates.
  • I fully support capitalism and have no animosity toward corporations or the rich. I also recognize that what the music companies are doing has very little to do with stopping piracy and everything to do with destroying fair use rights. If they wanted to be honest, they should have consumers sign a contract every time they buy a CD stating that they give up their rights to space-shift or make backups. Of course they won't do that because the last thing they want is for consumers to be aware of how they are being screwed.
  • for every CD you buy, ask the store clerk if it's copy protected. If he doesn't know(or he knows, and it's protected), don't buy the CD, because you are legally allowed to make a copy for the car or on your computer (explain this to the clerk. ask WHY you're not allowed by $recordcomp to exercise your rights to make copies). Make sure people know you're not buying the CD because of the copy-protection.
    do this preferrably when it's a busy day, so more people hear. Ofcourse, if he says it ISNT protected, and it turns out it is.. bring it back. it's a broken CD, you payed specifically for one that's NOT protected.

    //rdj
  • AFAIK, it isn't required by law, just allowed by law in th EU. However.. I _DO_ think it's required by law in Russia. Don't take my word for it though...

    //rdj
  • Also, it is best to make sure you do it at a time when the store is busy. Store personel (especially managers) are much more likely to cave if there are many other customers within earshot.

  • I am still boycotting them over napster, the cost of buying the music, and the crap that they try and tell me is music. I haven't bought a cd in a long time. I don't even remember when the last time I bought a cd was.
  • Error correction cannot be regarded as circumvention. The "normal" players have error correction too; error correction is part of audio-CD's.

    Should the music industry claim that error correction on "approved" players is just what the word says, but on "non-approved" players it is circumvention, all they would do is show how stupid the notion of "circumvention device" in the DMCA is.

  • Couldn't someone sue them for this, since it's being done so discreetly?

    Probably, but MacroVision would have a pretty good argument against them: they're doing this scientifically. If they told everyone, "hey, this new CD has copy protection, tell us what you think," there would be TONS of people like "no, the sound is worse, money back please."

    Whereas if they do it quietly ("blind" experiment), they'll get a much more accurate picture of whether people are genuinely affected by the loss of sound quality.

    A better question is about the ethics it takes to turn thousands of customers into research subjects without permission, probably without any debriefing after the experiment is over. D'oh.

    ---

  • the 4 second track minimum may be true, but IIRC, the redbook standard also requires a 2 second delay between each track. When was the last time you got a cd with a 2 second delay between tracks?

    -------------
  • by barneyfoo (80862) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @07:14AM (#75214)
    Shh.. Pleeease dont give the RIAA any ideas. They already 0wn the congress and the presidency, mainly because it's not an issue with average americans, and the congressmen sure dont mind the extra money. The answer to all this DMCA stuff is to make it a popular issue, because as of right now it isn't, therefore your local congressman will gladly take money to create laws that dont effect his candidacy.
  • by lurcher (88082) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:17AM (#75225) Homepage
    What astounds me is the method they seem to be using to check if it affects the sound quality. There are no increase in returns therefore they seem to be inferring that the change is inaudable. It would be great if the drug companies tried this, "This drug is 100% safe, not one person who disn't know they were taking it, told us they died". Have they considered that maybe the sound quality is reduced, but the effect of this is to make people assume its just the way the band should sound, and resolve never to buy the next release (and tell their frends, etc)
  • Nice explanation !

    This however leaves only one question to ask; who is stopping anyone from implementing Reed-Solomon error correction in software, correcting the ripped audio on the fly before it is written as .wav file ?

    I believe such code might be VERY cpu-intensive, but in this era of realtime video-decoding and SSE / 3Dnow equipped CPUs that should no longer be a problem, right ?

    P.S. Did posting this idea make me guilty of breaking the DMCA ? Because, I'd like to visit the US sometime. I'd be a pity... ;-\

  • by nicky_d (92174) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:58AM (#75233) Homepage
    >Macrovision has had copy protection that inserts
    > noise and monkeys with your picture

    This sounds like the best protection system ever. It turns everything into the last fifteen minutes of 'Congo'.

  • You say that sarcastically, but youre absolutely right, you are denying the record companies a sale if your copy is stolen, because if the original were stolen YOU would have to buy a new one, or your insurance company would, either way, its an additional sale that the RIAA isnt making because you made a copy. The RIAA DOES support piracy, just the old fashioned kind, yarr!.
  • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:27AM (#75254)
    Did anybody with a restricted cd try to encode it with ogg vorbis yet? I suspect the distortions are manipulations that get enhanced by the mp3 encoder/algo/formula. Since Ogg Vorbis is supposed to be fairly disjoint from all the patented stuff, we might see that working. Anybody care to give it a go?
  • This is true, which is the point I made in an earlier post, the last place I would expect that crap is from a section of the industry that produces sample cd's for 3 bucks. But I need to check who made the cd, if it says it at all, it may be some sort of package deal that Epitath has worked out with another company... you never know. It's not the Pennywise cd it's the sampler, believe me if the Pennywise cd wouldn't play on my cdrom I'd have taken it back immediately.
  • It's good. I love Pennywise so of course I liked it, they're pretty consistent. A guy at work summed it up pretty nicely though "It's a so-so pennywise album but a good Bad Religion album". For some reason a lot of the songs sound a lot like BR.
  • Yes... err no actually. But there is in general a transition of some bands from punk to mainstream. Green Day is one of them Kerplunk was great and they went steadily downhill from there. The Offspring were pretty good until they started constantly ripping off the Vandals.
    Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of bands that have become succesful and stayed true, Social Distortion, Pennywise, Bad Religion, NOFX (even with the frat boy following they developed).
  • by jgerman (106518) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:02AM (#75260)
    ...a protected cd. Actually a cd came bundled with another cd I bought. The new Pennywise album comes with a punk sampler wrapped up with it. I've mentioned it before, but this cd will not play in any cdrom drive. I'll have to investigate the manufacturer when I get home.

    It sounds like a good test for the record industry, "let's distribute a protected cd for free to see if anyone complains, and they can't return it because it's free".

  • by ukyoCE (106879) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:07AM (#75261) Journal
    Couldn't someone sue them for this, since it's being done so discreetly? I know when I buy a cd I assume it conforms to the redbook standard(or whatever) and will allow me to rip it. I don't even listen to CDs anymore except in mp3 format--too much hassle compared to the incredible ease of making playlists on the computer, or 700 minutes of mp3s to a cd and listening to them in my mp3-cd player.

    So, find out what CDs these are, and lets start a class action lawsuit. I bet you could get half of Slashdot in on it...
  • by cybermage (112274) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:40AM (#75265) Homepage Journal
    There are no increase in returns therefore they seem to be inferring that the change is inaudable

    I should point out that they did first pass samples by people who listen to music for a living, so called "golden ears," who couldn't detect it either.

    Apparently the main defense is take out tiny portions of the music. Small enough that CD player error correction will accomodate, but a direct data transfer will turn into bursts of gibberish.

    This secret release is their way of making sure that the CDs aren't returned simply because people know about the copy protection.

    I don't agree with what they're doing. Not because I think they can't legally do it (of course they can,) but rather it's a problem with what it represents. They're actually changing the music as part of the protection. To paraphrase a critic from another article, it would like cutting gashes in priceless paintings to keep them from being stolen.
  • by NumberSyx (130129) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @06:29AM (#75280) Journal

    This raises the question: It is illegal under the DMCA to crack encryption no matter how trivial, but it is legal to make coppies of music for personal use. Does this mean that I would be within my rights if I were to develop a mechanism to copy and store streamed music from subscription music services such as are being developed now? - this assuming I could play the music that I hace coppied off of the streaming service...

    This is why the DMCA is bad, under the "Fair Use" laws you have the right to make copies of music you have purchased for personal use. However, under the DMCA, if the music is encrypted, any attempt to break the code is illegal, even if it is for "Fair Use" purposes. Further any tool you use to break the code is also illegal even if it also has non-infringing uses, which might otherwise be protected under "Fair Use". This is the reason why it is thought the DMCA is not about copy protection, but control, greed, corruption and power.


    Jesus died for sombodies sins, but not mine.

  • by Rushuru (135939) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:29AM (#75288)
    I bought a copy protected CD audio once. There wasn't anything special mentioned on the case or even on the CD itself. It played fine on my computer, but when trying to copy it with normal software (I tried with easy cd creator & cdrwin for windows and cdrdao for linux) the copy was full of pops and scratches (even in 1x) and didn't work in some cd players. And I know my cdrom drive & cd burner are not faulty because it's the first and only time I had troubles copying an audio cd.

    However, I eventually managed to copy the cd by extracting all the tracks with cdparanoia under linux (with all the possible jitter correction options turned on), and then burning the wav files on a cdaudio.

    Your mileage may vary, it worked for me but I'm not sure it will work for every kind of copy protection system on the market.
  • by shanek (153868) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:20AM (#75304) Homepage
    You need to watch your "TARGET=" tags. They're part of your URL, and your links don't work without manually removing it. (Note to everyone else: When you click on one of his links and get a 404 error, just delet the TARGET=_BLANK from the end of the URL and you'll get it.
  • by sydb (176695) <michael@wd 2 1 .co.uk> on Thursday July 19, 2001 @08:55AM (#75318)
    How does this crap get modded up as insightful?

    Temper temper....

    It's a basic fact of human psychology that people hate people who they see as more fortunate as them and love making excuses for it. So, if you're rich, no one will like you.

    So you say, I choose to think otherwise. I am often surprised by the number of people around me who admire rich, successful people. Frequently I don't share their regard, less often I do. I base my opinion of these people on their actions, not their personal wealth. I would actually assertthat today's society breeds people who do admire personal success over most other traits. More is the pity.

    If you're rich, everyone will assume you got there by lying, stealing, being dishonest, etc. (that rationalizes why they, themselves are not rich).

    Many rich people really did get that way by dishonesty. If you don't see that from everything that goes on around you, why, perhaps you are blind? Yes, there are also some rich, successful people who have got to where they are whilst maintaining principles and standards. But they truly are in the minority.

    That's also the reason why every loser on Slashdot hates all "evil corporations". Most people - especially the incompetent - simply cannot accept the success of others as being a result of their competency.

    But life is not just about competency. It's also about what you use that competency to accomplish. If what you accomplish is to make the world a worse place, then that is a bad thing, even if you did it very competently and made lots of money doing it. This is the bit you seem to miss.

    So you go ahead and defend your theft by pretending the music companies are dishonest and greedy while they'll go ahead and try to stop themselves from being robbed.

    This story, and the threads I have read so far, art not about theft and robbery, but exploitation of the masses by the minority.

  • by Alien54 (180860) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:20AM (#75324) Journal
    Blah. For the ordinary cd-ripping geezer who just wants a bunch of MP3 files, the difference is not noticeable. Convering raw cd-audio into a 128 kbps (good enough for Joe Shmoe) MP3 reduces the sound quality alot more than a short DA-AD brigde.

    Agreed.

    The technology takes advantadge of the error correcting technology built into every audio CD. This technology is what allows the CD to play well even with hundreds of minor scratches. I think that the error correction will try to compensate for loss of data up to a tenth of a second or something like that. What they do is they put hundreds of minor glitches that are able to be corrected for by the technology. The error correction technology works really well, and is no way even close to being similar to a wave file.

    If I recall correctly, compact discs use a version called cross-interleaved Reed-Solomon code, or CIRC. The basic level of error correction provided for Audio CD is one uncorrectable bit out of every 10^9. CD-ROM provides additional protection for data (ECC/EDC ) reducing the error rate to one bit in 10^13 For those interested, there is this detailed description [ffii.org], along with this basic introduction [siam.org].

    The coding system is based on groups of bits--such as bytes--rather than individual 0s and 1s. That feature makes Reed-Solomon codes particularly good at dealing with "bursts" of errors: Six consecutive bit errors, for example, can affect at most two bytes. Thus, even a double-error-correction version of a Reed-Solomon code can provide a comfortable safety factor. Current implementations of Reed-Solomon codes in CD technology are able to cope with error bursts as long as 4000 consecutive bits.

    Thus it is possible to put in a couple hundred bytes of junk data every second or that would be the basis of the copy protection, all without compromising audio quality.

    That said, I can record any sound playing through my computer with the software I have. The Audio Quality will be very good, then I can burn direct to CD, or convert to MP3, or whatever. Of course, all that I use this for are the music tapes I have from when I used to record certain local bands in clubs professionally.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • by tswinzig (210999) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @07:06AM (#75344) Journal
    How long till cdparanoia will be declared an illegal circumvention device that breaks protection on copyrighted works and has the author jailed?

    You're just being cdparanoid.

    (Sorry.)
  • by trolebus (234192) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:46AM (#75365) Homepage
    Forget all this talk of using the analog line in port on your sound card. I know for a fact that my DVD player (and most others) have digital (co-ax and optical) out. Some portable CD players even have this. Couple that with a sound card that supports digital in and your all set. It may be a card sligtly more expensive than a SB Live Value but there have to be some out there that aren't excessively expensive.

    The point remains that this is a pain in the ass.

    And one more thing, correct me if I'm wrong, if those CDs have the Compact Disk Digital Audio (or whatever) logo on them yet they don't conform to the redbook standards (as they don't) we can sue the labels.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:12AM (#75367) Homepage Journal
    ""The Audio Home Recording Act, a law passed in 1992, says that copyright holders can't sue people who are making personal home copies of music. But lawyers note that the act does not require copyright holders to make this power available to consumers. ""

    Essentially they are now nitpicking the fight because they know they would lose. The question is, by their actions to make it harder to exercise our rights are they actually violating the right?

    This has got to be one of the most anti-consumer actions I have seen. This is the actions of a true monopolistic entity. This is the type of activity that the Justice department should be jumping up and down about.

    I don't know, but if I find out which labels use this process I know who I damn well won't buy a CD from.

    and they wonder why people pirate music, sheesh
  • by Kibo (256105) <naw#gmail.com> on Thursday July 19, 2001 @05:59AM (#75384) Homepage
    Just bring your CD and receipt. Tell them the CD doesn't work, and you want your money back. The trick is to be polite but look like your mad, no one will want to push you over the edge. If the clerk says they won't, ask to speak to the manager and repeat. If they won't help, ask for the store manager if the former is an assitant. Be sure to be polite. No need to make idle threats, genuine ones that you'll write about your dissatisfaction with the service you've received and your bewilderment and how all of the people at this store refused to believe you could operate a/multiple CD player/s. Be insistant that you want your money back. When you get to the point of talking to a manager, you can even mention, politely, that you'd rather spend your money at a store that doesn't sell pre-broken stuff.

    The trick is you don't want to be worth the hassel. No store gives a crap about a yuppie food pellet ($20). They rake in a few million a year taking a 25% cut. But more importantly who wants to spend $75 on the wages of 3 or more employees to ruin the day of everyone involved and end up with a customer who hates them even more than they did when they felt they got ripped off? I think I can safely say no one in the US.

    I suppose the best thing would be for every US living slashdot reader to write a letter to the FTC about this group of companies using their undue market influence to deny their 'customers' choice in the market place. Of course the other side is will this make downloading music more or less popular?

  • Now doesn't this mean that if you do write a software based CD player that gracefully does error correction you will then be in violation of DMCA?

    I think that the DMCA requires that for a circumvention device to be illegal its primary purpose must be circumvention. There already exists a lot of software out there, such as cdparanoia , which was written to interpolate out the errors on CDs and I believe that their primary use has been to do this on normal (i.e., not brain-damaged) CDs. I doubt that the DMCA would make such software illegal as it serves a legitimate purpose in its primary use.

    True enough, but we must remain vigilant in our resistance to ridiculous laws that attempt an end-run around The Constitution. Guns are not bad things when used properly (hunting, killing rabid animals in a rural or suburban setting, protection from violent thieves and crack addicts, etc.), and yet some people claim that the commoner shouldn't have them because they *could* do harm with them. The same thing would apply to CDParanoia eventually, which I find to be ridiculous.

    Misuse of a tool (hitting someone on the head with a hammer) does not provide license to ban said tool because of someone's irresponsibility in using the tool.

  • by Sarah Thustra (318792) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:50AM (#75399)
    The human soul is the greatest anti-piracy measure in the known world, but no major company will use it.

    If your customers like you, they will never steal from you, even if they're criminal men by nature. Anybody heard of the priest who walks around East L.A., wading in and out of gang shoot-outs, but nobody will touch him?

    The problem of course, is that in order to be liked, YOU FIRST have to be honest. These greedy futhermuckers can't hide in sheeps' clothing anymore; the world has become too cynical.

    My prediction? The bigger and badder the fatcats get, the sharper and nastier will come the replies! The truth is, even my own sainted mother can't convince herself that these assholes don't deserve everything they get.

    --S.T.

    Karmic Ocean -- Beware Sharks
  • by Regolith (322916) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @07:09AM (#75403)
    It's not about the thief buying a copy. The record companies lost money because you didn't have to buy copies to replace what was stolen.

    Now on he the fiction (or is it?):
    You see, the RIAA sends out thieves to scout and break into cars with large numbers of CDs stored in them. The thief gets to keep the stereo while the CDs go back to the original record label so they can be repackages and resold back to you. (The
    data corruption scheme [slashdot.org] being introduced is one result of this. They found that CDs that were "hashed to hell" couldn't be copied effectively.) This ensures a continual revenue stream. This is the TRUE reason why CDs must be protected from evil rippers. If you can backup your CD collection, you will have no need to re-purchase the CDs when the RIAA Thieves (TM) visit you, thus invalidating their entire revenue model.


    -----
  • by minghe (441878) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:26AM (#75422)
    Can I make illegal digital copies with this cd?
    -No.

    Can I make illegal analog copies with this cd?
    -Yes

    So, I CAN make digital copies with this cd?
    -Yes

    Can I make legal digital copies (to my own MP3 player)?
    -No

    Can I bypass this stupidity by adding a DA-AD conversion to my digital copying?
    -Most probably, yes.

    Wont this give me MP3 files with lesser quality?
    -Most probably, no. Not if you do it right.



    Sooo... What we have is an encoding method that will only bring inconvenience to the law abiding consumer doing his private copying?
    -Yes

    The real pirates will work around it, and the music will eventually end up on Gnutella or wherever anyway.
    -Yes

    Doesnt this smell awfully lot like the Win XP Product Activation stupidity?
    -Definitely, yes

  • by beanerspace (443710) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @04:14AM (#75423) Homepage
    I haven't run into a copy protected CD, but then again, my tastes in music and media aren't all that mainstream.

    That said, I find it interesting, but not unusual for CDs and other media to be released, without mentioning that they're copy-protected. I suspect the reason is that most copy-protection schemes are temporal at best. They're sort of like locks on our doors and cars, they keep the honest man honest.

    I found some interesting articles along this same topic:

    None of which come right out and state the obvious. With enough time, all copy protection schemes get hacked.
  • by kiwimate (458274) on Thursday July 19, 2001 @07:30AM (#75438) Journal
    Games manufacturers used to deliberately place errors on the old 5 1/4" disks in order to defeat copiers. What happened? A variety of work-arounds were soon found (all for the genuine purpose of making only backup copies, natch, as those floppies really were rather delicate).

    The favoured method, IIRC, was to use a duplication method called parameter copying. People worked out what they needed to do to get around the specific method employed on their favourite game, and then wrote a little plug-in which the copier could use to modify its copying methods for that specific disk.

    As a side effect, interestingly enough, those errors often used to cause the 1541 disk drives a lot of grief. Depending on the error, the 1541 would get so confused that it would try to realign the read head by forcibly moving to the outside rail and banging very rapidly against the rail, causing a loud chattering sound. You could even get a program which would write a small loader program and lots of errors to a blank disk, causing the disk drive to play tunes by going through this realignment procedure and knocking the read head against the realignment rail at different speeds. It did this for all of 10 minutes until your 1541 died a noisy death...

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