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Lawsuit Challenges Copy-protected CDs 341

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the truth-in-advertising dept.
acer123 writes "An article states that 'The five major record companies have been hit with a class-action lawsuit charging that new CDs designed to thwart Napster-style piracy are defective and should either be barred from sale or carry warning labels.'"
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Lawsuit Challenges Copy-protected CDs

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  • NOT digital quality (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:35PM (#3715861)
    They should be required to remove that little CD-quality logo from packaging and say that it is a copy-protected CD. That way, people will know the quality may suck, and they can't listen to it in a computer.

    Also, wasn't something like this reported a few days ago?

  • How to join? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by InterruptDescriptorT (531083) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:36PM (#3715869) Homepage
    I purchased a CD for my mother for Mother's day that was one of the widely-reported copy-protected albums (Celine Dion, BTW). It wouldn't play on my parents' computer, which is the only player they have in the house. Is there any information on whom to contact to become part of the class action? Does one just contact the legal firm suing the record companies and inquire there? Thanks.

    ---
    I'm tired of waltzing for pancakes. - Gwen Mezzrow
    • Re:How to join? (Score:2, Informative)

      by frankske (570605)
      have you tried the Marker pen tool [wired.com]? Hmm, damn, guess I can be sued now?!
    • I ask, since some news stories have asserted that the protected version of Celine Dion's "A New Day Has Come" have NOT been released in the U.S.... It would be nice to have a data point on this. Also, did the disk bear any warning... AND (this could be significant) did it, or did it not bear the CD logo--the little gizmo that says "Compact Disc Digital Audio" on it? Supposedly Philips has insisted that since copy-protected disks do not comply with the CD standard they are not allowed to use the CD logo on it.
      • I saw one case here (in the UK) when the came out, and they did not have the CD logo on it that I could see. On the otherhand the warning label was not what you could describe as prominent, and the casual shopper would not spot it.
    • Re:How to join? (Score:5, Informative)

      by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:30PM (#3716251) Homepage
      Is there any information on whom to contact to become part of the class action? Does one just contact the legal firm suing the record companies and inquire there? Thanks.

      Well, I'm not sure about this lawsuit in particular, but I do know that other firms are planning class action suits as well.

      If you would like to join an upcoming class-action, here is some useful information for you (from Check Heffner).

      "Larry Feldman of the law firm Feldman & Rifkin (www.leflaw.net [leflaw.net]) is in the process of filing a class-action lawsuit against the major 5 record labels - Sony, BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner Brothers. Please write Larry directly at leflaw@leflaw.com .

      Larry is looking for the problems you have had with a suspected corrupt CD. Please include this information if you write him:

      1. Your name and contact e-mail address

      2. Your city and state

      3. The CD artist and album name

      4. Where you bought the CD (store name, city and state)

      5. Your CD experience. Were you able to copy your CD to MP3 or another CD? What software did you use? The more details you can share about your corrupt CD, the better.

      Larry will contact you about your report."
  • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:38PM (#3715876) Homepage
    I suppose that putting pressure on companies to not copy protect CDs is a Very Good thing. If the warning label is actually a warning label (no truth-ish "This CD comes equipped with Super Happy Fun Consumer Protection Technology!!!"), then sles will naturally be lower, and hopefully they'll stop.

    The pessimist in me though, says this is only a delay tactic. LEt's hope it's not economically feasible for them to make this a new standard.
  • by MarvinMouse (323641) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:38PM (#3715880) Homepage Journal
    I know that they are going to say that they do mark the CDs (the really small print on the back) which are copyprotected, but I am getting really annoyed with having to look through a pile of CDs' small prints just to find the one that will work on my only CD player, my laptop.

    Here's hoping that at the very least it'll become obvious which CDs are copy protected (maybe a sticker like the "Warning: Mature Content") sticker. Then I will be able to at least be guaranteed a functioning product that does what it claims to do.
    • Those Mature Content stickers are everywhere... who notices those anymore?

      They should be forced to print something like "This CD WILL NOT PLAY in a computer" all over that plastic wrap and associated sticker. So while they are trying like mad to open the CD, they'll at least read what's all over it.

      • yes because everybody knows that everyone considers the ability to play the cd in thier computer. 99% percent of people buying those cd's couldn't give a rats ass that the cd doesn't play in thier computer. and to the people pissed off that it doesn't, the label on the back clearly states "this disc is not intended for use in computer cd-rom drives"
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:39PM (#3715885) Homepage Journal
    The record companies will be required to distribute rebate coupons for free Sharpies.
  • Big Hairy Deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hyphz (179185) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:41PM (#3715897)
    In the best case: they spin out the suit, cost the people in the class action a load of money, then put a dinky little label on the back of the CD case in one corner. Joe Average, who owns a regular CD player, doesn't care or even notice, so the money keeps coming in. Fair Use is still dead on the format.

    A better one was the business that they were getting sued for Trade Descriptions for describing the product as an audio CD when it did not follow Audio CD formatting rules - anyone know what happened with that? (That could have some interesting consequences for PC CD games with mangled volume tables)
    • A better one was the business that they were getting sued for Trade Descriptions for describing the product as an audio CD when it did not follow Audio CD formatting rules - anyone know what happened with that? (That could have some interesting consequences for PC CD games with mangled volume tables)

      PC CD games don't claim to be CDDA.

      • No, but they claim to be PC CD; there are fixed formats for data disks as well. Some Safedisk variants won't work on all PC CD drives.
  • i think that.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by paradesign (561561)
    the CD manufacturers are afrade that people will not but the CDs if they know they are fscked with. the only way this works without a large scale backlash is if people dont know whats going on untill its too late(or they cant eject their coaster) when was the last time you checked your CDs for their logo? this method capitolizes on the ingnorance and apathy of the average Us consumer.
  • my own way around it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jacer (574383) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:44PM (#3715919) Homepage
    i put the copy protected cd in a regular cd player, i have my headphone jack outputing into my computers microphone jack, save as *.wav or whatever, then encode into Mp3.....it works very well but that's besides the point....it's obvious that a person who buys the cd isn't a pirate, they're just burning bridges with the people left who are willing to buy cds, and that's no small number, piracy does cost them a fair amount of money, but a bunch of pissed off customers will cost them even more!
    • Jacer writes:it's obvious that a person who buys the cd isn't a pirate, they're just burning bridges with the people left who are willing to buy cds, and that's no small number, piracy does cost them a fair amount of money, but a bunch of pissed off customers will cost them even more!

      Quite true. Why would a company treat a paying customer like a thief? Besides, the second that they come up with a new protection scheme, it'll be broke by someone, then back to the drawing board (where your music buying money is spent) with more useless protection schemes that will most likey make playing music more of a hassle than it's worth. ad infinitum

      I dunno, maybe it'll get to the point where the RIAA will find some way to make possesion of mp3s illegal with a jail term and fines. Film at 11.

      OTOH, this might be a good thing for the smaller indy labels that just want their artists music heard.
  • insulting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirSlud (67381) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:44PM (#3715924) Homepage
    This is insulting to a musician like me. To hear what constitutes 'right to protect my property' (nevermind it should only be mine for 14 years, not 70 years after the death of me .. oh wait, forgot I had to sell that copyright to a company in order to get it heard, anyways!) from the mouth of suits is just plain insulting.

    Interesting note: It was pre-copyright times in which publishers owned the works. Now, with the big 5, you have to sign your copyright to them for them to publish. And the copyright law is now 70 years after the death of me. Its kind of ironic .. the biggest battle in the history of copyrights, and really, they are arguing in favour of nothing other than technologically enforcing pre-copyright law, where publishers held the copyrights, ad infinitum (well, 70 years past my death, same thing.)

    I really wish people understood how 'copyrights' that labels are arguing they must be able to protect are not copyrights at all, but more akin to the Licensing act of 1722 where publishers held a monopoly in the distribution of cultural works. (Also worth noting that the Licencing Act was also the first law that allowed government, and subsequently printing houses to censor works deemed against the Church or State.)

    At any rate, I sure dont need to screw up your CDROM to make a living ... although I wont argue that N'Sync and Nickleback or whatever already-well-off artist you love will make more money in the short term because of it!

    • This is insulting to a musician like me. To hear what constitutes 'right to protect my property' (nevermind it should only be mine for 14 years, not 70 years after the death of me .. oh wait, forgot I had to sell that copyright to a company in order to get it heard, anyways!) from the mouth of suits is just plain insulting.

      Umm, you didn't have to do anything. You wanted to do it. I tried to explain this concept to my ex-girlfriend many, many times, but she never really understood that she wanted a diamond ring, not that she needed a diamond ring.

      If you want your music to be heard, you have many options at your disposal. I have no sympathy for people too stupid to look at their options before singing the first contract thrust in front of them.

      That'd be like me complaining about how it was necessary for me to sign up with AT&T's worst long distance plan, because it was the only way to use my telephone.
      • So when the only way to get your music heard nationally is radio airplay, and the only way to get radio ariplay is to be on one of the big labels, what exactly is this alleged "other" alternative available? All the ones I know of are too localized to be effective.
        That'd be like me complaining about how it was necessary for me to sign up with AT&T's worst long distance plan, because it was the only way to use my telephone.
        Which, once upon a time, it was, much like the music industry is today.
      • > That'd be like me complaining about how it was necessary for me to sign up with AT&T's worst long distance plan, because it was the only way to use my telephone.

        Ah right, I shouldn't complain, because I have a choice (to compare to AT&T and using your phone, I suppose the alternative would be walkietalkies or tin-cans?) in avoiding a monopoly.

        You get +1 for insulting for suggesting that I only _want_ a career in doing what I love, and that its no more of a frivulous want than a diamond ring .. I dont really need it! I mean, whats 70 years of knowing it would have been considerably simpler (and on the merit of my music, not my ability to network, negotiate, and get lucky) to make a living off of what I truely love ..

        Are you an artist? What's next, I only _want_ clothes, I dont really need them?
    • Keep your Copyright (Score:2, Informative)

      by jackjumper (307961)
      Robert Fripp, of King Crimson [discipline...mobile.com] fame, has started a record label, Discipline Global [discipline...mobile.com] that lets artists keep their copyrights. Check out this page [discipline...mobile.com]for some general philosophy of their business. Unfortunately it doesn't say there explicitly that they do this, but it does say it on the back of one my Crimson CDs.

      However the page discusses 'ethical' businesses and makes some interesting points.

      Oh yes, if you're not familiar with King Crimson, go out and buy some right now!
    • (Also worth noting that the Licencing Act was also the first law that allowed government, and subsequently printing houses to censor works deemed against the Church or State.)

      Right, because before 1722, people had nothing to fear from Church or State if they said or wrote something critical of them...it was just evil copyright law!

      Anyone care to sing a rousing chorus of Mel Brooks' "The Inquisition"?

      -jon

  • The real truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wrexen (151642) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:45PM (#3715934) Homepage
    CDs designed to thwart Napster-style piracy...

    These CD's aren't about stopping Napster/Morpheus/Kazaa/etc, they're about taking away our right to time shift and give the record companies the ability to charge us over and over again for the same music.
    • These CD's aren't about stopping Napster/Morpheus/Kazaa/etc, they're about taking away our right to time shift

      Small point, but what exactly does time shifting have to do with CD's? You can play a CD whenever you want, it's not a broadcast.

      Methinks you're just trying to score on /. Buzzword Bingo :)
  • by InnereNacht (529021) <paulp@lappensecurity.com> on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:47PM (#3715944)
    "Music creators have the right to protect their property from theft, just like owners of any other property," Sherman said. "Motion picture studios and software and video game publishers have protected their works for years, and no one has even (thought) to claim that doing so was inappropriate, let alone unlawful."

    Uhm. Hello? Is this thing on?

    DVD movies and PC games don't crash other platforms when you put them in last I checked. DVD movies work on DVD PLAYERS. PC games work on PC's. Music CD's should work on ALL CD PLAYERS.

    What do they expect? If I pop'd a music CD in my PC and it locked my box I'd be awfully pissed off too.
    • by shaldannon (752)
      I think you forgot about region encoding ;)
  • by jcast (461910)
    From the article, quoting Cary Sherman:

    Motion picture studios and software and video game publishers have protected their works for years, and no one has even (thought) to claim that doing so was inappropriate, let alone unlawful.

    I suppose that's why every single real copy protection for software has been abandoned, right? Anyway, the Jargon File defines copy protection as:

    copy protection n.

    A class of methods for preventing incompetent pirates from stealing software and legitimate customers from using it. Considered silly.

    I think Sherman's claim is pretty specious.
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:48PM (#3715951)
    and "protected CD's" become more common, will they be giving up the recording media tax? The original assumption behind it was that blank media would be used to copy copyrighted works, but if the works in question are "protected" from copying, then they no longer have a case for the media tax, correct?

    I wanna see how this plays out and I hope someone finds an angry grandmother type who doesn't take any guff to be the posterchild for this.
    • I wanna see how this plays out and I hope someone finds an angry grandmother type who doesn't take any guff to be the posterchild for this.

      Oh PLEASE let it be that "Where's the beef?" lady!!!

      GMD

  • by Thag (8436) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:51PM (#3715965) Homepage
    Granted, the record companies have the big bucks if you want a cash settlement, but if you want to stamp this kind of thing out, I'd think you'd be better off putting the Macrovision-level companies out of business instead.

    Once a few of those companies have been sued into smoking holes in the ground, their surviving ilk should be hesitant to repeat the same mistake.

    Jon Acheson
    • the only problem with that logic is that these componies have done nothing wrong. They created a product that can be used fairly, but is used by the record componies illegally. It's not like congress will make a law saying a product that can be used illegally is illegal...

      Something tells me what i said above is too subtle for most of slashdot :/
    • Gee...how quickly our minds change when the tech works against us and not for us.

      Think about this, its that mindset that has caused the problems we have today with things such as DeCSS and Adobe Encryption breaker (good ol Dimitri).

      We may not like the tech but we have to support its right to use less we erode our own stance on right to use.

      What we can fight is how its used.

      phrased something like this:

      A publishing company may not use copy protection on a medium without proper labeling as to what it entails and what equipment it can be played on (IE can only be played on RIAA approved listening device).

      Ridiculous I know, but we can't legislate the tech away, that's dangerous for or own position.
  • by pogle (71293) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:51PM (#3715967) Homepage
    From article:
    "...software and video game publishers have protected their works for years, and no one has even (thought) to claim that doing so was inappropriate, let alone unlawful."

    This is just wrong on so many levels. One, as anyone in Usenet knows, there are a lot of trolls out there who claim its wrong, not that we listen to them.

    But seriously, how many CD copy protections prevent the CD from being used on a majority of players?? I know of one game thats been almost endemic in its lack of functionality, and thats MS' Dungeon Siege. I've got 3 cd drives (32x, DVD-ROM, and CD-RW) and dungeon siege only worked with my CDRW. Thats the worst case instance I can think of for software lack of functionality due to media changes (MS has some lovely copy protection nonsense on the CDs). And there are legitimate complaints all over the place about that problem.

    The majority of software is protected via regkeys and other software based methods, *not* by scratching the CD so only some players can read it. Someone want to come with me to smack this guy with an EUL printout or two? It'd be fun...
    • I have 5 cd drives (24x, DVD, 48x, 32x, CD-RW), and both the original (I _bought_ a Microsoft product. The shame!) and the copy work in all drives. I didn't even find the slightest bit of protection. But, perhaps, that's because it's the german version. BTW, here in Germany, a CD that doesn't play in a CD-ROM drive is considered broken; rightfully, because it doesn't follow the standard and has no right to call itself CD. You can simply take it back to your dealer (after ripping it :-).
      • Indeed, if you take a look around planetdungeonsiege.com's forums, you'll see a wealth of people have had installation problems in the past. I'm at work and can't go browsing game sites, or I'd link a few threads.

        This is the US version I'm referring to, so I believe there is probably a difference. Copying was near impossible for a while, until someone released a cracked ds.exe file. Even then it was hard to find (not that I was looking, it was a friend at work, honest).

        3 of us purchased the game, one person's worked fine in his computer, the other two of us actually exchanged the game because it did not work on a total of 6 cdrom drives between us. After the exchange, there were still problems, but after a long fight I got it installed. On my computer at work it installed fine. It just depends on the CD drive, but there are an awful lot of non-compatible drives out there for this game. Its disturbing that my newish Sony DVD-ROM wouldnt install this, and my 6 year old Ricoh CDRW would. Of course, since the CDRW is a 6x read, it took an hour for a full install.

        As it is, I'm afraid to try and install it again...dont feel like dealing with the PitA that it is, despite it being a fun game. Fortunately, I got it for $20 at Best Buy, when it was still retailing for $50 on average, so I'm not worried about letting it gather dust.
    • Its fairly common to buy computer software that is unusable due to bugs or copy-protection or miscellaneous conflicts or a number of other reasons. I think the reason people are making a stand against this CD protection is that this is the start of it, and now is the best time to curtail it before it becomes the de facto way to publish a CD. It will be alot harder (ie, impossible) to stop this once its commonplace.
  • Besides being deliberately designed to prevent the copying of music on personal computers, the anti-piracy technology often prevents playback altogether on PCs, and even on some CD players, Mansfield said.

    If it prevents copying on personal computers, it always prevents playback on those computers.

  • A recent trend seems to be having the PC as the center on a digital entertainment system. If the PC can't play the CD, and it's the primary CD player, wouldn't people possibly buy from other labels? I know my parent's only CD player is the one in their computer, and I use the one in my computer quite often in stead of my music only CD player because it is more convenient.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:54PM (#3715988)
    It seems to me that Phillips who owns the patent on CDDA had said that the record companies cannot use the official CDDA logo on these copy protected CD's since they technically break the standard. So a case could be make that no matter what the label (warning or otherwise) that they shouldn't be able to make and try to sell an audio CD that's not actually an audio CD by the Phillips definition of what an audio CD is.
  • heres a suggestion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paradesign (561561) on Monday June 17, 2002 @12:54PM (#3715989) Homepage
    since these are technicle not Phillips (red-book) compliant CDs, retailers technicly should not be able to sell them in the CD section. it is false advertising. so maybe the suit should fall on Best Buy or Wall Mart, to force them to separate the two disks (CDs and Copy Protected Optical Audio Discs) on the sales floor.
    • AFAIK (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kibo (256105)
      They follow the blue book enhanced CD standard. At least a corruption of it. It might not even be something philips can do anything about.

      I would intuitively think that this is a more dangerous tactic for the record companies, as it pretty clearly shows for thought and planning in their bid to actually disable peoples computers causing them a not insignificant expense in both time and money. The crippling of the computers wasn't a side effect of the 'copy protection' (such as it is) it was actually the plan. I personally can't see a difference between that and any other malicious act which damages someones computer.

      But I do think going after the stores would be the way to go, with their thinner margins, it would hurt them a lot more. And they, in turn, would use their market muscle for ends that are more inline with their customers wishes. The last thing Best Buy, Sam Goodie, or any chain wants to do is end up in a court battling a former customer.
  • If they start seeing that this crap COSTS them, THEN they'll get rid of it.

    Until then, you're just suckin wind.

  • Packaging Laws (Score:2, Interesting)

    by amokk (465630)
    In my opinion, copy-protected CDs should be packaged much like cigarettes in Canada. In other words, the government should mandate that not less than 50% of the package should be devoted to a warning similar to "This is not a conventional CD that may not play in a conventional CD player and may cause damage to hi-fi stereo equipment".

    Of course, this warning label should be in big, bold, black text on a white background.

    At the very least, this would make these CDs a very unattractive proposition.

    But of course that is probably not likely to happen.
  • by shaldannon (752) on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:06PM (#3716070) Homepage
    Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, issued a statement calling the lawsuit "frivolous" and defending the labels' recent efforts to deter digital piracy.

    It must be a frivolous lawsuit. Has to be. The RIAA has filed so many, it has to know one when it sees one :)
  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:08PM (#3716083) Homepage
    "Music creators have the right to protect their property from theft, just like owners of any other property," [RIAA president Cary] Sherman said. "Motion picture studios and software and video game publishers have protected their works for years, and no one has even (thought) to claim that doing so was inappropriate, let alone unlawful."

    I'm curious to hear the Slashdot community's response to Sherman's point. We cannot copy movies, even under "fair use" provisions, thanks to Macrovision (VHS) and CSS + Macrovision (DVD). While we can make backups of our software, it is harder to pirate them due to the use of software keys. This is a relatively effective, and unobtrusive protection mechanism.

    But when it comes to music, it's no-holds-barred. There is absolutely zero protection on a CD to prevent unauthorized copying. Don't you agree that it is hypocritical to cry foul regarding CD copy-protection, but not the guards built into VHS and DVD works?

    Why the double-standard? Why do we just accept that any VHS tape we buy will be uncopyable thanks to Macrovision (barring any specialized hardware to bypass it that's beyond the reach of the lay consumer), but we so vigorously oppose those similar protections on CDs? I can't copy my VHS tapes, even if I own them and want to make a copy to take on the road in my van, or to preserve the slowly-degrading quality inherent in repeated playing of such media. But we don't cry about it - we just accept it. Why?

    • by Junta (36770) on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:29PM (#3716244)
      I personally think CSS is a badly done copy protection, I complain about it. But to differentiate the three:

      DVD CSS/region coded: sucks, yes, but at least part of the standard from inception. Anything designed to play DVDs *should* play even CSS/region coded discs (provided the region matches, etc...). Copy protection does not interfere with playback for commercial systems. The peeve here is that non-sanctioned players (i.e. ogle) cannot legally read CSS discs in the US (though many ignore the law, it is still illegal). And backup is not an option for the average consumer, and backup is important.

      Macrovision, unlike DVD, was a modification of Tape encoding methods. It sucks for backup purposes, but has minimal effect on playback. The technology kept confined to the relatively small world of VCRs, so the technology pretty much works as intended. Backups are made possible by 'signal enhancers' available from anywhere that remove macrovision spikes. Backups are suddenly possible and the slight video degradation is taken care of. Again, the law-abiding person suffers most from the slight picture degradation, while copiers continue, but the impact is minor.

      Now CD protection is different, the worst of both worlds. CD technology has gotten to the point where many people use computers/computer based cd players to play back music and ditch the far more limited dedicated low end cd players. This is fine for the standard, but now the RIAA screws the standard so that very high end and computers no longer play back this music, and the chunk of listeners cut out by that is quite significant. Meanwhile, the ones who are determined break out sharpies, post it notes, and analog lines to copy to their hearts content. In the long run only the legit customers really get screwed, and get screwed quite significantly by this bastardized format...
    • There are a number of significant differences between the two:
      • Coherency - If you chop out and watch that one good scene from a movie, it doesn't work as well. If you chop out and listen to that one good track from a CD, no loss.
      • Bandwidth - Editting or otherwise modifying a movie for your own personal taste is much more difficult than with audio.
      • Scope of Use - When you sit down to watch a movie, usually you aren't doing anything else. People listen to music while doing all sorts of other things, so there's more incentive to customize the mix.
      Basically, there's a lot less reason to want to copy movies than music.
    • But we don't cry about it [copyprotected movies] - we just accept it.

      Huh? Excuse me? What Slashdot have you been reading? People bitch all the time about CSS and Macrovision. Or did you miss all the fun stuff happening about DeCSS [slashdot.org]? Or maybe the story about how the Harry Potter DVD won't be Macrovision protected [slashdot.org]? The resulting discussion talked about loads of ways to get around Macrovision, as well as many people complaining about how Macrovision lowers the quality of the video.

      I'll complain about video games using copy protection too - I could barely play my copy of Black and White since for whatever reason the copy protection would take a full five minutes to finally get around to deciding my legally purchased CD-ROM was valid. And then, since this is in the pre-patched days, it would start up, and then crash as soon as I tried to actually play the game.

      I'd really much prefer video game manufactorer's don't use CD-based copy protection schemes. I'd like to be able to make backup copies of their CDs without shelling out money for CloneCD. I don't mind registration keys; they work fairly well and they allow people to just play the game without worrying about their hardware being unable to play the game due to some bogus copy protection.

      I hate having to root around for the CD to a game that allows all the data to be stored on the harddrive just so it verifies I'm not using a stolen copy. It's a waste of my time and it suggests that they expect me to be a thief - not good customer relations, really.

      Being a mostly-Windows 2000 user (although I do run Linux on my server and have my desktop set up to dual boot into Debian Linux), I really don't mind CSS since it doesn't effect my ability to watch movies on my computer. Since I'm an American and region encoding usually works out so that people in Region 1 get the DVD first and imported DVDs are usually more exprensive, I don't really care personally about the region issue - but I can understand why others might hate region encoding with a passion.

      In other words, yes, people bitch about movies and computer games being copy protected.

    • Why the double-standard? Why do we just accept that any VHS tape we buy will be uncopyable thanks to Macrovision (barring any specialized hardware to bypass it that's beyond the reach of the lay consumer), but we so vigorously oppose those similar protections on CDs? I can't copy my VHS tapes, even if I own them and want to make a copy to take on the road in my van, or to preserve the slowly-degrading quality inherent in repeated playing of such media. But we don't cry about it - we just accept it. Why?

      Because the copy protection on VHS tapes doesn't render my VCR useless for simple playing. That's the crux of the argument - legally purchased copy-protected CDs cannot be played on my home PC, whereas copy-protected DVDs can. The record labels are knowingly selling goods that could potentially damage my computer equipment through no fault of my own.
    • . Don't you agree that it is hypocritical to cry foul regarding CD copy-protection, but not the guards built into VHS and DVD works?

      Yes I agree. But I don't fail to cry foul on the VHS and DVD copy interference methods. So there is no hypocrisy.

      Why the double-standard? Why do we just accept that any VHS tape we buy will be uncopyable thanks to Macrovision (barring any specialized hardware to bypass it that's beyond the reach of the lay consumer), but we so vigorously oppose those similar protections on CDs? I can't copy my VHS tapes, even if I own them and want to make a copy to take on the road in my van, or to preserve the slowly-degrading quality inherent in repeated playing of such media. But we don't cry about it - we just accept it. Why?

      Stop projecting your own state of acquiescence on the rest of the world, it's quite annoying. I haven't bought a pre-recorded VHS in years, partly because without the ability to copy it, I am not interested in owning one. That, and the fact that DVDs have better pitcture and sound quality and are more durable, even though movies still suck by and large, and the movie makers suck even more. I stopped buying DVDs in the past couple years, too. So I don't buy them, and there is no double-standard, either.

    • The difference is that I can take a copy protected VHS tape with Macrovision and play it on any VCR. I can take any DVD protected with CSS and play it on any DVD player (1). But with a copy protected CD, I can only play it on certain players. It won't work on my computer CD player. Thus, VHS and DVD protection restricts my copying but not my usage, but CD protection restricts my copying AND my usage.

      Another, perhaps minor, difference is that the vast majority VHS and DVD videos are rented, while the vast majority of CDs will be purchased. People don't put up with as much shit if it's their own property.

      (1) DVD region restrictions are an exception. But if you notice, the "hypocritical folks are crying foul about it just as loudly as with CD protection.
    • "Don't you agree that it is hypocritical to cry foul regarding CD copy-protection, but not the guards built into VHS and DVD works?"

      Where have you been? We've been crying foul the whole damn time. Or at least I have. If media companies really think that their content is so precious and valuable, why don't they just raise the price, instead of colluding with distributors and presenters to retroactively destroy the worth of a product you have purchased? The answer is it is NOT worth as much as they are making it out to be and they are introducing artificial barriers to keep profit margins high. There is no technical reason why the data on a VHS should become worthless just because there is a new storage medium, or presentation technology. But because of copy-restrictions, and presentation-restrictions these companies get to retroactively decide how and when and where you can use content you previously purchased.

      Likewise, EULAs are now becoming really despicable. They are telling you that not only don't you own what you purchased, but that you can only use it in certain circumstances circumscribed by the EULA which comes with an implicit time limit (until the next version of software or operating system or machine you have to purchase, etc. etc.), and in some cases, your actions with the product you purchased can be tracked, and your rights to your own creations appropriated!

      Yet exercising rights you'd otherwise have with physical items does not "steal" anything material from them in any way. The whole effort is an effort to cement in the minds of people (the government particular) that speculative potential profits are an asset OWNED a priori by these companies and that anything anybody does to perturb the predictions of their staff of actuarians should be illegal, because God knows they are OWED these profits.
  • Unlawful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:09PM (#3716092)
    Sherman said. "Motion picture studios and software and video game publishers have protected their works for years, and no one has even (thought) to claim that doing so was inappropriate, let alone unlawful."

    Never mind the fact that the software industry has pretty much given up on copy protection in favor of hardware keys and activation code methods. No it was never unlawful, just a PITA for users who paid good money for software.

    The music industry however is trying to forget the Home Recording Act of 1992, where they promised not to copy-protect CDs in exchange for a "royalty" on blank CD media. As far as I know, they are still get the royalties.

    • Re:Unlawful? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kamel Jockey (409856)

      they promised not to copy-protect CDs in exchange for a "royalty" on blank CD media.

      This is not entirely correct. The royalty applies only to blank audio and video tapes. It does not apply to blank CD-Rs sold in the USA. Canada, however, does impose a tax on CD-R media.

      • It does not apply to blank CD-Rs sold in the USA.

        See the following (search each page for "royalty" for the relavent parts):

        http://www.technocopia.com/ht-20000806-audiocdrs .h tml

        http://www.pctechguide.com/09cdr-rw.htm

        There are CD-Rs designated as "data" discs, and as "audio" disks. The manufacturers pay royalties on the audio disks, but not the data disks. "SCMS" compliant recorders will not record audio on data disks. However, general-purpose CD-R drives in PCs are not required to be compliant by the AHRA.

      • In the U.S: there IS a built-in royalty payment, but only in the blank media that are designated "music" or "audio" CD-Rs and CD-RWs.

        These the kind of media that must be used in "home audio CD recorders." Technologically, the media are the same as ordinary CD-R's, but they contain an encoding that the recorder looks for. The recorder contains technology that enforces recording only to "music CD-R" media, and "serial copy control" protection (it will copy a commercial CD, but will NOT make a digital copy of a copy made in a home audio recorders.)

        Interestingly enough, the first copy of "The Fast and the Furious" that I bought was encoded in such a way that it would NOT copy in my CD recorder. It gave a false SCCS error.

        I believe that making personal copies, backups, RIPping for download into MP3 players, etc. is fair use.

        However, the ability to make copies on a home audio CD recorder is more than just fair use. Under the 1992 AHRA act. We PAY for every copy that we make, in exchange for the RIGHT to make those copies.

  • ... A Black, Plastic Disc With Grooves On It

    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'.

    (Rumours at large say that a Japanese company, named the very mysterious name 'Sony', has been secretly developing a 12 inch wide, needle-based, firewire drive remain unconfirmed, turntable. It would appear that the music industry may, at last, have found the pirate-proof format it has long been searching for.)
  • by dunstan (97493) <dvavasour&iee,org> on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:11PM (#3716107) Homepage
    From the article: "Music creators have the right to protect their property from theft, just like owners of any other property," Sherman said.

    Where do I start?
    a) It's not the music creators who have put "copy protection" on, it's the music publishers
    b) Whether it's the creator or the publisher, the creation is not "property". If it were there would be no patent or copyright law
    c) Illegal copying isn't theft, it's illegal copying
    d) What they're doing isn't like any other property, and asserting the opposite doesn't change the facts

    If the context for this sentence related to the theft of a truck full of CD's then it would be correct. But I somehow don't think that's what he means.

    Dunstan
    • You forgot to mention that most of us aren't allowed to "protect" our property in a manner that can cause damage to thief and non-thief alike. For example, the city won't allow me to run a high-power electrical fence around my yard, even if I do have a warning sign. Of course any real thief would have some insulated wire cutters. Its only the neighbors' kids that have to worry.
      • Mod parent up. Oh hell, I'll just quote it http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=34332&cid=3716 604 here:

        You forgot to mention that most of us aren't allowed to "protect" our property in a manner that can cause damage to thief and non-thief alike. For example, the city won't allow me to run a high-power electrical fence around my yard, even if I do have a warning sign. Of course any real thief would have some insulated wire cutters. Its only the neighbors' kids that have to worry.
        We also don't get the choice to sabotage our personal information with copy-protection which will destroy the computers of companies that take our personal information, and sell it to partners, and spammers, and god knows who.
  • Frivilous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawnmelliott (515892) on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:21PM (#3716171) Journal
    "Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, issued a statement calling the lawsuit "frivolous" ..."

    Suing a toy company for not putting labels that a teddy bear is not edible is "Frivilous"

    Suing McDonalds for not warning you that coffee is hot is "Frivilous"

    Suing somebody because you broke your leg while attempting to break into their home is "Frivilous"

    I hardly see suing somebody because they sell a product with no warning that it is defective ( and yes, they are defective by definition of the CD format ) and that it won't work in your PC, MAC, DVD etc. In fact, these things have been know to kill Macs ( Celine Dion anyone? )

    So no, I don't see this as being any more frivilous than the class action lawsuit againsts Firestone for their tires being defective.
    • This case gets perpetuated over and over as a "frivilous" lawsuit, when in fact it was not frivilous at all. People hear the headline "millions for spilled hot coffee" and don't look further than that. According to the Wall Street journal, McDonald's callousness was the issue and even jurors who thought the case was just a tempest in a coffee pot were overwhelmed by the evidence against the Corporation. Here's a great link telling the facts in the hot coffee case [lawandhelp.com]...
    • Well, nobody is *forcing* people to put non-CDs in their CDROMS and expecting them to play. I mean, I don't stick bagels into my CDROM and expect something to happen, and then sue bagel manufacturers. That said, of course this is deceitful, because the RIAA wants to slip this by the public and not tell them that "these shiny discs that look identical to CDs are actually not CDs, but instead Cdrom Destroyers". In cases like these I'm sure there is grounds for a case. Just like if gas stations just suddenly started putting maple syrup in their pumps without any warning.
  • by halftrack (454203) <jonkje@FREEBSDgmail.com minus bsd> on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:21PM (#3716173) Homepage
    ... Philips take on anti piracy and copyright protection since they insists that the Compact Disk Digital Audio label shouldn't be used on copy protected CD's?
  • by LittleGuy (267282) on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:27PM (#3716223)
    Just replace "CD" with "Crunchy Frog" and -- [montypython.net]

    Inspector: Nevertheless, I advise you in future to replace the words 'Compact Disks' with the legend, 'Technically Flawed Compact Disks that could impinge on consumers' rights to copy music for their own use' if you wish to avoid prosecution!
  • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Monday June 17, 2002 @01:28PM (#3716227) Homepage
    The less-functional CD's wouldn't be a big problem if they were actually *advertised* as such. Hiding the product in the trappings of an ordinary CD, without any external indication that it isn't, is false advertising, plain and simple.

    Now, IF they had made a new name for their not-quite a CD, instead of trying to lie to customers and call it a CD, that wouldn't have been a problem - it would have been a case where the buyer has to decide if having the music is worth having it in a less useful format that might not even work at all on his machine.

  • (Los Angeles)
    The RIAA has issued a statement today that many consumers of Music Products are engaging in copyright infringing acts by singing along with or tapping ones foot in time with copyrighted music. The RIAA's spokesman, Bob Dobbs, has announced that the RIAA and other industry groups are working with congressional members to draft legislation banning these activities. Proposed penalties would be doubled if the violators of these new statutes are found to be engaging in illegal performances while listening to music downloaded from the Internet.

    In related news, Sen. Hollings (D - Disney) has announced sponsership of a bill titled "The bladder relief act of 2002". This bill bans unauthorized lavatory breaks during commercial breaks.
  • with a CD (or cassette, or 8 track, etc...) there are tracks, each of these tracks can be listened to individually apart from the rest of the album. fair use allows someone to pick and choose which track they want to listen too, and allows the copying to another medium to compile your own collection.

    you dont rip apart movies or games to get the best songs/scenes out of them (unless they are porn)
  • by rlp (11898)
    Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes & Lerach versus the record labels. Guess, Milberg, et al ran out of high-tech companies to sue. Tough call - any way they can both lose?
  • If I rent a car, the car comes with locks and possibly a security system that deters theft and vandalism. This system does not inhibit the functionality of the car. The car doesn't go any slower, the car doesn't malfunction on certain highways.

    This CD protection changes the CD in a way that makes it perform differently than the specification intends and differently than consumers would expect. It seems, then, that these CDs should not be labeled as CDs, but as a derivative, the way CDR, CDRW, and all those other similar formats are labeled. Call it CDP (CD Protected) or whatever, as long as its labeled. Then, I know when I see this symbol that I require a player that supports this format, the same way I know not to expect my eleven year old CD player (Well, I don't use it much, ok?!) to recognize a CDRW.
  • The old adage came to mind, today, when reading through all the Slashdot comments about how the words this man is using are lies, damned lies and misinformation.

    "Repeat something enough times and it becomes true."

    The RIAA is quite obviously using this tactic. If they repeat how something is "theft" and "copyright infringment", then more and more people (both Joe Public and Mr. Congresman) will think of this not as "something that I don't know very much about" but as "truth". After all, thinks the uneducated public, these smart people who are in charge of this industry is calling it theft then, well, it must be so! (I'm not implying that the public is stupid, just ignorant; there is a difference.)

    Nevermind this is complete and utter bunk, but repetition of a lie to make it truth is the Orwellian reality.

    I just hope everyone who sees lies where they are don't just come here and preach to the choir.

  • Hey, if they keep copy-protecting artists like Celine Dion and Phil Collins, that's fine by me. Just don't shut down FastTrack.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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