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Sony Music Testing New Copy Protection 426

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the wait-a-minute dept.
RandyOo writes "According to this Reuters article, Sony Music is about to start testing a new type of 'copy protection' in Germany. It looks like they'll be releasing multi-sessioned discs with normal audio in the first session, and compressed, DRM'ed music files in the second session, as well added 'extras', including access to exclusive online content. The article explains that the disc's audio can still be copied, and there's a hilarious quote at the end by a BMG spokesman: "All copy-protections can be hacked, but if (we) give people what they are asking for in terms of value, they won't go out and steal it. It's called trusting the consumer." "
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Sony Music Testing New Copy Protection

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  • by 2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:04AM (#7443013) Homepage
    do we get to see iso's of cds on kazaa instead of mp3s?
    • Re:so now what, (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Neophytus (642863) *
      700MB for a cd isn't what Joe teenager wants, especially when the the sharer's DSL/cable may be capped at 14kB/s up. Thats why people compress their music.
      • Re:so now what, (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:06AM (#7443416) Journal
        Joe Teenager is a leech.

        Joe lines up 20 ISOs for download and goes to bed. He is not worried if they take a day or two to download. He thinks nothing of downloading a 1.5Gb movie screener. He has a 24/7 connection and bandwidth to spare.

        Joe also knows that only real men download ISOs.

        Joe is your typical leech.
    • Re:so now what, (Score:3, Informative)

      by denisdekat (577738)
      Do this in the meantime: http://streamripper.sourceforge.net
  • Hilarious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by woozlewuzzle (532172) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:06AM (#7443024)
    Why is that hilarious? Isn't that what you proponents of file-sharing and digital music have been clamoring for? to be trusted not to steal?
    • Re:Hilarious? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AllenChristopher (679129) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:10AM (#7443061)
      Because they aren't trusting us. They're putting DRMed files with untrusting restrictions on and hoping we'll use their software to use those files, accepting the restrictions, out of ignorance.

      If they trusted us, they'd just print up CDs as usual and assume we wouldn't steal them.

      I guess they're "trusting" that the ordinary consumer can't program his VCR, let alone evade a simple scheme, but that isn't the sense of trust that one wants.

      • Re:Hilarious? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by dAzED1 (33635)
        not only would they do that, but they'd make it such that a CD costs what it should...$11 max, instead of $17 max.
      • Re:Hilarious? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mr_Silver (213637) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:21AM (#7443143)
        If they trusted us, they'd just print up CDs as usual and assume we wouldn't steal them.

        Trust has to be earned.

        Judging by the vast amount of MP3's available on Kazaa, I see no reason why they shouldn't trust people who have shown time and time again that they'll happily make copyrighted material available to everyone for free.

        • Re:Hilarious? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Eccles (932) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:45AM (#7443283) Journal
          Trust has to be earned.

          So why didn't I earn that trust when I went out and bought the CD, rather than grabbing it off Kazaa?

          I'm the guy actually buying music, and 99% of the time, I'm not the guy who then goes and puts it on Kazaa. And if I was, a little thing like DRM isn't going to stop me.

          You might as well trust and give good service to people who have demonstrated that they are legitimate customers.

          • Re:Hilarious? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by glesga_kiss (596639)
            I'm not the guy who then goes and puts it on Kazaa. And if I was, a little thing like DRM isn't going to stop me.

            Shudder. I point this out everytime there is an article about DRM on audio CDs. Yet people just don't get it!!

            This system is completely counter-productive. Yes, I feel bold type is neccessary. Now, as the parent post points out, DRM is not going to stop someone determined enough, if they want it, they'll find a way to rip it.

            This is where the industries lack of understanding about p2p is r

        • Re: Hilarious? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:46AM (#7443285)


          > Trust has to be earned.

          > Judging by the vast amount of MP3's available on Kazaa, I see no reason why they shouldn't trust people who have shown time and time again that they'll happily make copyrighted material available to everyone for free.

          You missed the other half of the formula, "if (we) give people what they are asking for in terms of value".

          Your cynicism may be justified, but the full formula hasn't been tested for about a generation now. (I refer not just to the subjective quality of the music, but also to the price of the media. CDs' steep pricing was originally justified on the basis that they were retooling the industry and the output was limited, but curiously the prices never did come down. Except of course among counterfeiters, who can sell them for $1/disc and still make a killing.)

          • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:54AM (#7443788) Homepage
            Well, Sony isn't testing the full formula either.

            As you correctly point out, there is a problem in that current pricing has no link to the cost of production (which has dropped dramatically). Piracy happens when the product pricing motivates pirates.

            Sony can either try and add value to justify the pricing, or they can fight a losing DRM battle. Unfortunately, most of the "value added" is just a workaound to the losing DRM battle. I see no need to pay them just to work around a problem they created in the first place. I can solve the technical problem without Sony's help.

            At a price of $1/song or $2/disc, piracy would be a waste of time, and the product could still be profitable. At some price higher than that, piracy would be tolerable and the product would be more profitable. Then we have today's prices -- the pirates are in the driver's seat.
          • Re: Hilarious? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Wah (30840) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @11:10AM (#7443946) Homepage Journal
            If CD prices dropped past the $10 range (to only 1000% of the break even point) there is far less economic reason to download an album. Hmm, let's see, spend 1 hour working, make $8. Spend 1 hour finding all the tracks of the same quality, testing,them, organizing them, and burning them. If a CD costs less than that $8, there isn't too much question about how I should spend my time (and money).

            If CD's drop below that special price point for their main customers, they will be as 'free' as the stuff one can download.

            Remember folks, the whole equation is over T.
        • Re:Hilarious? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jacksonyee (590218)

          The thing is that it only takes one person to buy a CD, encode it to MP3, and share it with the world. Why should the rest of us have to be penalized and inconvenienced for one person?

          That's the thing that always really frustrated me with the product activation schemes for software: the people who pirated it just hacked it and went about their merry way. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to struggle with calling Microsoft or some other company just to explain that we installed some new hardware or that w

        • Trust has to be earned.

          Judging by the vast amount of CD's that has been price fixed by the major labels, I see no reason why we should trust companies who have shown time and time again that they'll happily make deals that makes copyrighted material available to everyone at an inflated price.

        • by *weasel (174362) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:05AM (#7443411)
          people who -buy- CDs are not their problem. Never have been. People who no longer buy CDs, but download all their music online -are-. But these people are -not- buying CDs, so how will DRM stop them?

          Ripping a CD to any desired format for use in a personal mp3 player, or on the computer or for any other purpose is clearly covered under fair use. There's no reason someone who purchases a CD should be additionally limited by some hackneyed copyright scheme.

          All the RIAA is trying to do, is make someone click 'ok' to some licensing terms when they copy music from a CD, so that when their watermarked copy shows up online, they don't even have to -prove- that it ever got traded, or even got traded outside fair use guidelines. its mere existence is proof of guilt. (lower legal burden of proof)

          no copy protection scheme will ever stop hackers, and they know this - but they're trying to leverage an inconvenience against all their -paying-customers- to try to make life easier for themselves in punishing the few criminals.

          it is however, a self-fulfilling prophecy for the labels. the more they sue customers, the more they illegally fix prices, the more they monopolize all methods of distribution and cripple their primary product -- the more customers they'll lose.

          they of course will only interpret this as being 'due to filesharing', and in a sense they're right. but to be complete, it's due to their -response- to filesharing.

          beyond all that, there has never been any data to prove that downloaded material online represents lost sales. CD sales rate fell well within the bounds of every other industry who has been taking a hit in the economy -- and only knocked sales Ffrom their -all-time-high- in 2000. (pre bubble bursting, post napster)

          the RIAA is simply fighting to maintain their distribution monopoly. they aren't worried about losing customers - because if they win, you'll have no choice if you want music (as now). but if they lose - they'll cease to exist.
      • Re:Hilarious? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Noizemonger (665926)
        They dont restrict the usual content but give the legitimate buyer some bonus-material. If they do it right (real Bonus-Material, not Stuff they would put on the CD anyway), i think its fine.

        Its like: Ok, you can copy the Album for a friend, but if he wants the extras he will have to buy it.

        Pretty sensible stand for a music exec, imho.
      • Re:Hilarious? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DCowern (182668) * on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:27AM (#7443189) Homepage

        If they trusted us, they'd just print up CDs as usual and assume we wouldn't steal them.

        This is a bit callous. The fact of the matter is that Lots of People(tm) pirate music and the music industry wants to stop it. This is the first sign that they are listening to consumers and their advocates. Instead of relying on just DRM (lest we forget CSS?) they recognise that its use is limited and they are offering consumers more bang for their buck.

        Look at DVDs. I'm speaking only for myself but I would be far less interested in downloading a DiVX rip of a movie than a MP3 of a song. The fact of the matter is that more is lost in the translation of the DVD; I don't get surround sound and I don't get extras or outtakes.

        I'm glad Sony is taking this tact; it's far nicer than dragging 12 year olds into court.

        • Re:Hilarious? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dmaxwell (43234)
          The only reason you can't have a rich warezed DVD experience is because it isn't practical. Most people don't have T3s in their homes. The divx warez that float around that you rightly suspect the quality of are barely practical. Copy protection on DVDs has very little to do with it. Actually copy protection has little to do with warezing in any media. It always gets broken irregardless of technical and legal obstacles...maybe even BECAUSE of the technical and legal obstacles.
    • Re:Hilarious? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dpoulson (132871)
      This is exactly the type of thing that the music industry should do. How many times do you hear the argument for ripping CD's for personal use only. Whenever I get a CD, the first thing I do is put it in my MP3 jukebox (linux, or course!) and rip it. If I could get away with putting it in the jukebox and simply copying the files from it I'd be just as happy.

      This way, you know if you find a copy of the song in the wild it is there as an illegal copy. Hopefully the number and availability of pirated material
      • Re:Hilarious? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NNKK (218503)
        Just hazarding a wild guess here: you can't play those DRM'd files on your linux jukebox anyway, because the industry you're praising can't be bothered to support anything other than Windows and, if we're lucky, MacOS. And even if they did, heaven help you if you want to be able to upgrade to the latest version of whatever distribution you're using. The propriatory (you think they'd make it open source? HAH!) plugin (IF you're lucky enough to get a plugin for whatever player you're using instead of having t
      • I hope you're not from the UK. See my sig.

    • Too bad iTunes ignores the data sessions on multisession CDs and rips from the audio part!
    • It is hilarious because it is so bald-faced lie. Just like the Iraq information minister.

    • Re:Hilarious? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 68K (234318)
      It's hilarious because the guy says that all copy protection can be hacked, yet thinks putting DRM'd material on the disc is a great idea.

      Why bother? If they're trusting us, they don't need to use DRM, do they?

      Doesn't sound like a great idea to me. The quality of the tracks won't be as high as the CDDA data, and this extra content will simply reduce the amount of space available for the 'proper' audio data. I don't want all the music artists doing a 'Linkin Park' and releasing albums with 30 minutes of mu
  • Hilarious quote? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KDan (90353)
    Maybe I lack a sense of humour, but isn't that quote pretty sensible rather than 'hilarious'? Sure, they're not actually giving a lot of people what they want, but the quote itself is not at fault, is it?

    Daniel
    • by simoncrute (468690)
      Actually, I think they are giving ppl what they say they want.

      Ppl say "I don't want to steal music, I just want to rip it to play it in my [mp3 player|mac|windows|linux pc]"

      Well, if it's DRM'd WMA files or something it will probably be supported in most consumer MP3 hardware sooner or later.

      No chance in linux though. :-(
    • by geschild (43455) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:29AM (#7443199) Homepage

      Who modded parent up insightfull?!

      The parent-post and replies to it completely miss the irony of putting copy right protection on a disc and then claiming to be 'trusting the consumer'.

      This is the kind of 'trust' I give to my three year old kid!

      Unfortunatly, to 'the bottle-is-half-empty' me, the sadness of the statement overshadows the funny aspect. Others may well perceive the text to be hilarious though...

      Sheesh people, wake up...

      • The parent-post and replies to it completely miss the irony of putting copy right protection on a disc and then claiming to be 'trusting the consumer'.

        What copy (right) protection? Read what the story submitter wrote:

        It looks like they'll be releasing multi-sessioned discs with normal audio in the first session, and compressed, DRM'ed music files in the second session, as well added 'extras', including access to exclusive online content. The article explains that the disc's audio

        can still be copied

        • But the extra content is DRM crippled... Trust?
          Where?

          - Ost
        • >So the audio can still be copied, but they're giving the consumer extras: pre-compressed music files and access to exclusive online content.

          Well, the submitter might have read it like that, but the following quotes (which comprise almost the complete article) don't follow that conclusion at all:

          Sony Music, home to such artists as Beyonce Knowles and Bruce Springsteen, says it plans to introduce new CD technology in Germany that prevents users from copying songs to file-sharing sites, but allows them
        • I consider anything that makes an audio-cd not conform Redbook standard, solely for the reason of making it 'less copyable', copyright protection.

          The extras are only there to cover this fact up, I'm sure (or it wouldn't be Sony Music.)

  • by freedommatters (664657) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:07AM (#7443031)
    how can they ever stop people copying music? even if , at the worst case, it has to be take out as an analogue signal and re-digitised, who really cares? the people making millions (billions?) selling fake cds are going to invest in the equipment to do it. it's these people - largely mafia types - the industry should be worried about (something like 1 in 3 cds is fake) rather than a student copying a cd .
    • by Bronster (13157) <slashdot@brong.net> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:27AM (#7443188) Homepage
      it's these people - largely mafia types - the industry should be worried about (something like 1 in 3 cds is fake) rather than a student copying a cd

      Some people, and even some organisations, are capable of being worried about more than one thing at once - and even as they try and deal with one situation, they also try and deal with others. The pirates are a known problem which doesn't change people's buying habits that much - Napster and Kazaa on the other hand are new for these companies - and they're right to be worried. With codecs improving and broadband access increasing, it's really not hard to obtain an even better selection than the big music stores have, and at a cheaper price.

      In the past it was easy enough to copy from the radio - if you wanted to listen long enough and be taping all the time just in case the song you wanted came on. It was easy enough to copy a CD that a friend already had - but harder to search for anything and everything. There's also the matter of convenience - it used to be more convenient to go to a store and browse shelves of music than hunt around amongst your friends for the song you wanted. Even putting price aside, it's now easier to download off the net than to search in a store. Get a good enough codec at a high enough bitrate, and the stores have nothing to offer:

      * not cheaper
      * not more convenient
      * not sufficiently higher quality

      As for how - well, laws of course. They work well enough for other things - underground markets don't hurt the established providers anywhere near as much as legal and better alternatives.
      • all valid points but i'm leaning towards the view that "20th century" music production was a short-lived business. before the 20th century we couldn't record or sell music, it had to be performed live. people routinely heard live music (and not just the rich people, although obviously on the whole they heard the best). then we discovered how to record and playback. amazing. an industry was born which made billions over a hundred years or so because it filled a desire for music at home (need is maybe too st
  • by Doomrat (615771) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:07AM (#7443032) Homepage

    So, what's gonna crack it this time? Green felt tip pen? Rubbing a small kitten on the disc? Looking at it funny? Placing sliced cheese on it?

    • So, what's gonna crack it this time?

      A single session CD drive. Ebay will provide, though I'm not certain about extracting digital audio from such devices. I'm thinking about thinks like the original Apple CD-ROMs which required caddys.

      Has anyone ever tried this approach?

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • However the ability to read data directly off the drive using CD-DA mode, needed to rip data, appeared some time after the introduction of multi-session drives. I doubt that there are any CD-DA capable single-session drives out there, unless a drive can be made single-session via a jumper option.
      • Dumb software drive (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dmaxwell (43234) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:28AM (#7443551)
        Here's a project for the EEs among you. How about replacing the controller on an IDE drive with an utterly stupid device that is driven entirely through software? The load on the CPU would be somewhat ridiculous as CD-ROMs and audio drives do quite a bit of error correction and so forth. But this drive could not be fooled by anything they do to a CD. These copy protection schemes all hinge on interfering with assumptions that CD-ROM engineers have made. This is not a new idea. In the eighties, there were hardware modifications for diskette drives that basically made them software controlled devices.
    • by orthogonal (588627) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:15AM (#7443471) Journal
      So, what's gonna crack it this time? .... Rubbing a small kitten on the disc?

      Not gonna work, dude. Slashdotters have already killed so many kittens.
  • by lennart78 (515598) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:07AM (#7443038)
    I've stopped buying copy-protected CD's since none of them plays properly on my discman. As soon as they manage to come up with a form of protection that won't keep me from actually playing my legally bought CD, I might reconsider my boycott...
    • How do you tell them apart? Many red book CD's don't have the Compact Disk logo. Many copy protected CD's are not labled as such. Do you take a list of "defective CD's" to the store with you? I've been bypassing lots of probably OK CD's because I don't buy DRM CD's. I look for the Compact Disk logo.
      • I own a few CD's with protection mechanisms, and they are labelled as such. If I encounter a logo like that on a CD in a store, I won't buy it.
        If I buy a CD that is not labelled but won't play properly, I'll take it back because it's a DOA, and demand a refund.
    • I've stopped buying copy-protected CD's since none of them plays properly on my discman.

      Dude... This is SLASHDOT! Do you *realize* what you've done? Your discman probably doesn't even play ogg, does it?

      Poseur...
    • I can beat that (Score:3, Interesting)

      by metamatic (202216)
      My wife bought a "copy-protected" disc. It wouldn't play in the Discman, and wouldn't play in the Sony mini hi-fi either.

      So I dropped it in the Linux MP3 server, and it ripped straight away, no problems.

      So the "copy-protection" actually forced us to copy the disc in order to listen to it.
  • sony appears to think that by making it more convenient they'll avoid backlash. while it's probably a matter of days before someone cracks it, this seems a lot less stupid than some of the previous efforts the record labels have taken.

    ed
  • Never mind the 10 locks the 5 alarm systems and 30 security cameras I installed. They are just there for your convenience and security.
  • Hilarious QUote? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by n-baxley (103975) <nate@baxleSTRAWys.org minus berry> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:08AM (#7443044) Homepage Journal
    Why is that quote hilarious? Isn't that what we've been saying here all along? If you're waiting for the music companies to start saying that music swapping is just fine and they really don't mind, then you obviously don't understand the situation. There will be some form of DRM, period. This may be one solution. Apple has another solution. The market will decide what works, but you should realize that sooner or later, some form of reasonable DRM will come in to play.
    • All copy-protections can be hacked, but if (we) give people what they are asking for in terms of value, they won't go out and steal it. It's called trusting the consumer."

      If the extra value won't make them go out and steal it, then why copy protect it?
    • If you're waiting for the music companies to start saying that music swapping is just fine and they really don't mind, then you obviously don't understand the situation. There will be some form of DRM, period.

      If you think that any kind of DRM is going to stop file sharing, then you obviously don't understand the situation. Any widespread DRM will be cracked, period. Once it is done, any teenager Joe can download the DRM-ripper program and start to share.

      For the record (sorry!), I have ripped all my CDs.
  • call it whatever you want but trusting the consumer, isn't what it is.

    Its the consumers saying "we are right and there is nothing you can do about it but agree, otherwise we will not buy."
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:10AM (#7443058) Journal
    If they really trusted the consumer, wouldn't they forget about the copy prevention and the DRM stuff?

    I just don't get it. Large scale-piracy outfits have access to large commercial presses, hence their being able to put out CDs that look just like the real thing. They sure as hell don't use burners, so all this copy protection is useless in combatting large-scale organised piracy. So, the only people that these new copy prevention and DRM techniques inconvenience are the consumers.

    Tell me again how Sony is showing trust in the consumer?
  • by hattig (47930) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:10AM (#7443060) Journal
    I expect that the logic behind this is simple - the average consumer will simply use the DRM music on their computer instead of ripping the audio files (which is more complex), and this DRM music will not be sharable, hence the real issue, music sharing, will be cut down.

    However, it only needs something along the lines of

    1) relying on a custom music playing application (windows only)
    2) relying on Windows Media Player (ugliest nastiest application ever)

    to make the whole system pointless.

    But it is a step in the right direction of not messing with the audio on the CD, adding more value to the CD, and yet trying to maintain the rights of the copyright holder without messing with the rights of the consumer.
    • mod parent up

      If you look at it from this angle, it would look like the industry finally has been struck with a cluebat. It may not be the final solution in this situation, but acknowledgement of the fact that people want to play music from computers and mp3 players is a step in the right direction IMHO.

      I still believe however, that copying will continue (as long as I can hear it, I can record it...), and that the record companies will have to change their business model. They are not selling physical prod
    • Of course the average consumer is going to use the DRM'ed stuff - the average consumer's PC will load it as soon as the CD hits the computer and they probably won't even notice (I expect WMP plays CDs on Win by default). But the average consumer isn't the one who's ripping discs to mp3 and sharing on KaZaA. And the guys that want to do that will have no problem finding a way around the DRM. So for all the money spent on DRM, for them to go back to "it'll play in WMP or, if you know what you're doing, you
    • Too bad they won't get it right till I can rip, mix, burn. I don't do the CD shuffle in rush hour traffic. I load the MP3 CD and let it run. Somehow I think the Sony CD is still a broken format. The same applies for my CD jogger MP3 Player. Who works out carying a CD player and a CD wallet? I sure don't.

      I'm not interested in deciding which DRM player format to buy. Music Match, I tunes, Napster, Get real. Provide MP3's. I already have the equipment. I don't need a 4-way VHS-Betamax DRM format bat
    • It is not fair mostly because it screws the people who actually pay for the stuff and in no way hinders the others.
      If you don't believe me, just make a search on Kazaa for any of the "copy-protected" releases. See? It's there for anyone to take.
      But those miserable customers who actually paid for these discs, have to find out that it does not play on their CDman/car CD/DVD player/computer and they can not transfer the music to their shiny new iPods.
      This "new system" does next to nothing to change that: the a
  • Yeah, I guess people are asking for discs that can not be played on their existing gear and compressed files that also can not be played on their existing gear.
    One has to wonder what kind of crack do they smoke when come up with such statements.

    ps: is it just me, or everyone receives the Thinkgeek anti-RIAA T-shirt ads for this article? :)
  • I wonder whether Sony et al have actually sat down and done a cost/benefit study on the losses they make from piracy and the methods they use to try and stem the flood. If they have done (and I expect they have), I wonder if they use the ludicrous monetary values they insist on using in public ?

    Seems to me that with the amount of money they spend on trying to protect their offerings, and any sane reckoning of real losses, they're flogging a dead horse...

    I can see how thwarting the mass pirateers can be co
  • Putting pre-ripped tracks on the CD is a good idea, but adding "features" that prevent (some) users from ripping the normal tracks will surely have bad side-effects. Weather it's auto-play tomfoolery or altered error-correction data, I'm sure that Sony will piss off more customers with its anti-ripping tech than they will make happy with the "extra features". They should go ahead and put DRMed tracks on the CD to keep the lazy users from ripping, but if the user really wants a high-quality rip that they can
    • Making them jump through hoops

      Um, I think this will result in lower sales. If I can't rip it to my MP3 mix CD for the car, I won't buy the album because it's useless.

      I wonder if the Reduced Piracy makes up for the Reduced Sales. I don't buy CD's without the Compact Disk logo.

  • by Pooquey (549981) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:13AM (#7443083) Homepage Journal
    It's a sad sad day when a record company executive can (even if in jest) refer to "trusting the customer" as a novelty. I'd boycott it for this cavalier attitude alone. However, as I have not purchased any new cd's in over 5 years, it's a non issue for me. Further, instead of "trusing the customer" on the DRM front, I think executives should be focusing on pumping quality out of the artists they sign. To paraphrase his quote, "If you give people what they want in terms of value," you'd five them music they actually wanted to hear instead of two or three singles on a cd chock full of crap.
  • by chrestomanci (558400) * <david@chrestomanci.oELIOTrg minus poet> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:13AM (#7443085)

    The Register also have an article [theregister.co.uk] today on the subject.

    According to the article in The Register, the old discs where unpopular with consumers because they could not be played on PCs, or riped to portable music players.

    The new discs will have a second session, containing encrypted audio data, that can be played on a PC, using Sony's software (On supported platforms, non lintel users need not apply). The audio can also be copied to a portable music player, but only sony players are supported.

    In conclusion, I would say that while sony have listened to consumer complaints about their last copy protected disc, their solution is hardly any better. Even John Q Public will see these new discs as no better than the old ones if he owns another brand of portable music player.

    • but only sony players are supported.


      Interesting, how do they sell lots of these if it's compatible with only the Sony portable player? I have a feeling this will get wide spread acceptance just like the Data Play music player. The market is already full of incompatable formats. WMA-Music Match, Apple I-Pod-I-Tunes, Napster-Napster branded Samsung, now a Sony only format for a portable player. Sheesh I thought the VHS/Betamax wars were bad. Somehow in the betamax wars, they are probably providing the
  • by Vandil X (636030) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:15AM (#7443093)
    I have become more accustomed to spending $2 or $3 on the 2-3 tracks I like via iTunes, and getting a superior-quality AAC sound file that I can convert to a high quality MP3.

    Spending $14-18 on a CD-ROM (no longer an Audio CD) that has CD Audio, low-quality WMA files, links to low-info "exclusive" websites, and tiny music video files, just isn't worth it.

    • how the heck do you convert AAC to MP3? i tried it out, and it seemed like any kind of "protected" music couldn't be converted in iTunes.

      so are you doing some sort of hack or do you only listen to "unprotected music"? i must admit, i've not been up to date on all this.
  • by mwood (25379)
    So the disk will still work on real CD players, and I won't miss all the byproducts and floor sweepings shoveled into session 2. Good enough.
  • hellooooo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DustyShadow (691635) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:17AM (#7443108) Homepage
    If they used the millions that they spend to research this "copy protection" on finding good artists and not the same junk they've been putting out for the last 10 years, then maybe they could start trusting the consumer to purchase their products.
  • by Epistax (544591) <epistax AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:18AM (#7443112) Journal
    Cannot be fixed by adding useless crap to the CD's. Make the CD's cost less. Piracy will always exist and always had, it just wasn't quantifiable before the Internet.
  • It looks like they'll be releasing multi-sessioned discs with normal audio in the first session, and compressed, DRM'ed music files in the second session, as well added 'extras', including access to exclusive online content.

    I bet it all sucks. How many times does a big company throw "exclusive online content" at the customers only to find out it's really shameless self-promotion. Take Lord of the Rings, for example. I like the films, but a little too much hype, thank you.

  • That still doesn't address the problem of some/most CDs having a few good songs and the rest being crap filler. IMO, services like iTunes remain a better idea because you can buy only the songs you want.
  • by syntap (242090) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:19AM (#7443130)
    These multi-session discs with DRM-enabled content, videos, etc has got to be taking a toll on the actualt minutes of music you get on a disc. Or is it possible to downsample CD audio files to free up some room? Even without the protection issues, I think these "Extras" like videos aren't worth less music or lower-quality audio.

    What's pathetic is the DVD and CD prices differences of like releases. Take Rush for example with their latest "Rush In Rio" live releases. 3-CD set and 2-DVD set are roughly the same price, even though the DVD set gives you a documentary, Dolby Digital audio, etc.
    • I don't think the "extras" sacrifice as much space as you think. A standard Red Book audio CD can hold (very roughly) 650MB of data or 70min of music. To put it another way, for each 9MB of data space, you lose about one minute of audio. So, you can provide 60 minutes of CD audio, which is pretty good for a regular CD, and have 90MB for any second session data, DRM audio, video clips and whatever.
  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:21AM (#7443142)
    OK, I'll bite...

    How will this prevent CD copying? Where's the real extra value in the "compressed" (which I read as lossy) DRM'd content? Oh, I get to go to an "exclusive" website with extra content. Whoopee. If I have the CD, I'm ripping tracks in an unprotected format regardless of whether there are already pre-ripped tracks available. Why would I want to copy DRM'd material to my machine?

    Seems to me that by having a multisession CD, that means there will be less unprotected music since it takes up a majority of space. Unless, of course, there is plenty of unused space on today's recordings. I wouldn't know, I haven't bought a "major label" CD in years. Last CD I bought was from a local performer, bought right from the guy after he played a club one night (got it autographed too...another perk in supporting local talent.)

    I don't know maybe I'm one of the unwashed, but this makes no sense to me. I agree with the other poster that said "just make a regular CD" and I'll add "and price it reasonably" and we will come.
  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:22AM (#7443151)
    "All copy-protections can be hacked, but if (we) give people what they are asking for in terms of value, they won't go out and steal it. It's called trusting the consumer."

    His heart is in the right place, but he really has to move away from RIAA word abuse. "Stealing" is something that has never been involved in the issue of copy protection, the p2p issue, etc.
  • by Tinfoil (109794)
    Sony is doing the right thing. For years we have been screaming because the entertainment industry has been treating us like children, thinking that we can't do the right thing unless we are forced to.

    Now Sony has come out with a scheme that shows they are beginning to place *some* trust back with the consumer and they are jumped all over?

    I for one am pleased to see this small move towards the better from Sony.
  • a BMG spokesman: "All copy-protections can be hacked, but if (we) give people what they are asking for in terms of value, they won't go out and steal it. It's called trusting the consumer."

    Did you even RTFA? This Wiser character you quoted is "Sony Music Chief Technology Officer Phil Wiser." according to TFA. Nice to see even submitters are not feeling obliged to actually READ something.

    Anyway, this is also bringing in a new more serious problem.. according to the article the copyprotected content "will
  • Ever since they started selling broken CDs, my 'to rip' pile is twice as high - as my flatmates can't rip them easily with Windows, they just toss it to me to do with grip/cdparanoia on Linux.

    So now instead of them just ripping their own to put on their MP3 player, I usually end up keeping a copy of the good stuff too. DRM actually increases piracy, at least in this flat!
    • "DRM actually increases piracy, at least in this flat!"

      DRM the way it has been going usually has had an effect of increasing piracy. You end up with a purchased copy that is crippled in how you can play/use it, encouring going to Grokster to find an uncrippled version you can use.


  • Well if they gave us value for money, then yes. Perhaps they'll consider dropping the prices then huh?

  • by shippo (166521) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:32AM (#7443213)
    Audio systems have got more complicated these days, with many able to read ISO-9660 formatted discs.

    My DVD stereo system can handle MP3 and WMA CDs as well as Audio CDs, DVD-Video and DVD-Audio (and some other image related formats as well).

    The odds on such a system not playing back the audio tracks and instead playing back the WMA content may be quite high!
  • by Yarn (75)
    I wonder if the files will be atrac3. If they are a WMP plugin would be great as I have loads of atrac3 files which I have to use on an old win98 machine as openmg pukepox doesn't work on my win2k machine.
  • Clever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ianoo (711633) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @09:38AM (#7443240) Journal
    This is actually a rather clever move. You see, Average Joe is going to put the CD in his computer and copy off the prepackaged music files, cos it's easy.

    They're going to work fine on his computer, and he runs Kazaa so they are made available over Kazaa too. Problem is, others won't be able to play them after they download them from him. However, I wonder if Joe cares. The only thing Joe will be upset about is not being able to play music he downloads from others who are simply copying DRM files from similarly packaged music. But I somehow doubt Joe will make the connection between the files copied off the CD in this manner and the problem he's getting when he downloads random track X from Y.
    • Re:Clever (Score:5, Informative)

      by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:44AM (#7443688) Homepage Journal
      They're going to work fine on his computer, and he runs Kazaa so they are made available over Kazaa too. Problem is, others won't be able to play them after they download them from him. However, I wonder if Joe cares. The only thing Joe will be upset about is not being able to play music he downloads from others who are simply copying DRM files from similarly packaged music. But I somehow doubt Joe will make the connection between the files copied off the CD in this manner and the problem he's getting when he downloads random track X from Y.

      This could actually have a very pleasant side effect working in favor of the free world, if those files contain DRM (which they most certainly do)...

      The collective thought process of the file sharing world will become: ".WMA files are broken, .MP3 files will play."

      I don't know about you, but I'd be happy to see DRM and WMA become hated among non-technical users. It would be great to see the user community truly revolt against closed technology for the same reason us open source geeks do.
  • Why do they bother with this? Do people really listen to audio tracks while sitting in front of their computer? My stereo plays mp3 and ogg, therefore any digital audio that is not mp3 or ogg is completely worthless to me.

  • OK, so they provide DRMed files on the second session but they also provide normal audio on the first session so grip will work just fine to make oggs or mp3 or whatever. (Note, I have no problem with using the DRMed files per se, it's just that I guess they are wma, which I can't use.)
    This seems quite good for Windows users (the music company will presumably at least make decent quality rips) but sucks for compilations as it means they will be able to fit less music on a CD - maybe 70 minutes instead of 8
  • Words fail me. Soon, the only way I'll be able to get content that plays on my lunix box will be through P2P.
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:12AM (#7443452) Journal
    I hate drm with a passion.

    But Apple at least lets you transfer drm rights from one computer to another. THe tracks are yours as long as you own a system. And you can use 3 devices and systems at once. This means a friend or two can hear and decide if the file is worth buying.

    Face it guys. Pirating is stealing. Yes I like downloading music but it costs serious bucks to make an album.

    I hope Sony will do something similiar or just use the Advanced AUdio Codec that Itunes uses. Great sound quality.

  • by aderusha (32235) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:23AM (#7443527) Homepage
    The article explains that the disc's audio can still be copied, and there's a hilarious quote at the end by a BMG spokesman: "All copy-protections can be hacked, but if (we) give people what they are asking for in terms of value, they won't go out and steal it. It's called trusting the consumer."

    isn't this exactly the way we would prefer the music companies to respond? i mean, we all know that there is in fact no way they can lock us out of copying current cd technology, so as opposed to spending lots of money on the problem, why not accept it and just move on? oh yeah, and give the consumer pre-ripped digital copies of the music as well. sure, it's DRM protected and we don't like that, but BIG F!@#in DEAL! they haven't actually tried to protect the CDDA tracks, so you can just rip with your encoder of choice.

    so what's the problem? why is this hilarious? is it that they actually trust us for a change? is it funny because we can't be trusted not to steal their music? it seems to me like somebody at BMG finally "gets it".
  • by LionMage (318500) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @01:01PM (#7445219) Homepage
    It seems, from a cursory examination, that this "copy protection" scheme relies on a behavior of Wintel PCs -- specifically, when there are multiple sessions on an audio CD, the data session gets mounted instead of the Red Book audio session.

    It seems that any computer running Linux would be able to bypass this scheme easily enough, simply by force-mounting the appropriate (music) session and ripping from it. And on a Mac, multi-session CDs mount all sessions as separate disk images, so the user should be able to rip to MP3 or AAC from within iTunes. So unless the record label does something to break these CDs on Mac OS X and/or Linux, they should rip and play just fine on those platforms.
  • by theghost (156240) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @02:28PM (#7446234)
    I like this folk artist named Peter Mayer [petermayer.net]. My wife and i saw him perform live and wanted to buy his CDs but didn't have any cash on us so we went home and resolved to buy them on-line [visi.com]. One thing leads to another and we're busy and we forget.

    A few months later i'm goofing around and i search for him on Amazon [amazon.com]. I am surprised to find such a "small" artist on a mainstream site, but happy to see that he has some free [amazon.com] downloads [amazon.com]! (Don't ask me why there are two separate pages for "all free song downloads by Peter Mayer.")

    I download the songs and spend a few days enjoying them. I copy them for my wife and for a few friends, then decide i really do want to support this guy. So i go to his label's site, Peppermint Records [peppermintcds.com] order his stuff (No money for Amazon today!) and check out some other artists while i'm there. Some sound good, but Anne Heaton [peppermintcds.com] really impresses me [peppermintcds.com]. Amazon has some downloads [amazon.com] for her too. Turns out i'm crazy for one song and not so hot on the others so i don't order but i enjoy (and share) the mp3 and vow to check her out live if i get the chance and to look out for any new CDs she makes.

    At the same time, my friends are doing the same thing because of the stuff i shared with them. They've bought several of Peter's CDs and some of them thought Anne's was worth the investment too. We were all being responsible and trading publicly available stuff, but when my CDs arrive i'll be ripping them to listen via WinAmp and if the occasion arises, i won't hesitate to give a few out.

    I didn't have to buy anything, nor did my friends. I've got what amounts to a nearly complete album of Peter Mayer's Greatest Hits on my hard drive, but i know that if i don't send some cash his way, he'll have to go get a real job and i won't be hearing any more of his thoughtful, beautiful songs.

    So is this post for or against file sharing? On the one hand, i didn't engage in any Napster-scale swapping. On the other hand, if Peppermint put some DRM crap on their CDs that made it a hassle for me to rip them i probably wouldn't buy them as a protest.

    I think the RIAA doesn't take people like me into account. Most of what made me buy Peter's CDs was the music, but a part of it was my desire to support an independant label and artist. The only major-label CD i've bought lately was the Dixie Chicks. I like their music, but i was content to hear it on the radio on those infrequent occasions when i turn off NPR. I bought their CD to counteract some of the crap [holyobserver.com] they were getting for exercising their first amendment rights.

    I'm using my cash to reward those whose products and policies i like and withholding it from those i don't like. Maybe the RIAA doesn't have to take people like me into account. Maybe i'm just an insignificant statistical blip to them, but i'm talking to my friends and family about this stuff and some of them are doing the same thing, so maybe that blip will become significant if they don't change their ways.

Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination.

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