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BMG Backs Down Over Copy-Protected CD 200

An anonymous submitter sends in: "As reported by The Register, on the 5th of November, BMG released the UK's first copy-protected CD (more information on Eurorights and Fat Chuck's). It uses Cactus Data Shield by Midbar Tech, which aims to prevent CD to CD or digital CD to Minidisc copying, along with converting to MP3, but may have other bad side effects."
The submitter continues: "There were complaints from fans and many took their CDs back or wrote to the record company and record shops. Their hard work seems to have paid off since Virgin Megastores has responded to a complaint from one of their customers and said that BMG has set up a helpline to allow people who bought the corrupt version, to exchange it for a real one. Virgin and HMV will also be bringing in new stock of uncorrupted CDs. The message was originally posted to the Official Natalie Imbruglia Bulletin Board (free registration required) in the "White Lies" and "Lillies vs Cactus" threads, but several threads containing complaints against Cactus Data Shield have been deleted so the email has been mirrored on the Free-sklyarov-uk mailing list. This is very good news, but more work needs to be done. Hopefully with pressure from the public other retailers will follow Virgin's example. Also record companies need to be made clear that selling copy protected CDs, that infringe on the public's rights, is not acceptable. The battle isn't over until no new CDs are shipped in these formats so if you find a CD that is copy-protected then report it on Eurorights for the UK, or Fat Chucks for elsewhere, take it back to the shop, and let them, and the record company know your feelings on the issue."
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BMG Backs Down Over Copy-Protected CD

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  • hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Sunday November 18, 2001 @06:55AM (#2580742) Homepage
    I think the recall probably had less to do with consumer feedback and more to do with the fact that they could have been liable for damage caused by copied CDs, especially since fair use law allows you to make copies in certain situations...
    • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jebediah21 ( 145272 )
      I think the recall probably had less to do with consumer feedback and more to do with the fact that they could have been liable for damage caused by copied CDs, especially since fair use law allows you to make copies in certain situations...

      I doubt it. The RIAA isn't concerned about rights. They have spun the situation so well that almost everybody believes making a digital copy for any reason is theft. If a few hundred people have damaged hardware from these CD's that is the price that must be paid for trying to steal their music. The RIAA is a cartel, and cartels do not care about rights.
      • Re:hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @03:01PM (#2581475) Homepage Journal

        Er, I think you missed the point. They don't need to be concerned about rights; they just need to be concerned about covering their ass against liability. If there's $10 of profit in selling each CD, but 1 in 10 CDs sold results in a $1200 damage claim, then they lose money since $100 is less than $1200. You don't have to be sensitive to rights to be able to compare numbers.

        What a lot of people are missing, I suspect, is that audio CDs are a real standard, and because of that, there is a very wide variation in implementations. When you violate the standard, there's no telling what some of those implementations will do. What I'm getting at, is that if copies of these CDs could damage equipment, then it is very likely that the originals could damage equipment as well!

        If you willfully corrupt a CD and then sell it, you're taking a big risk. Up to now, the risk has been that your customer won't be able to listen to the music they bought, generating bad will and returns. But this scheme ventures into the realm of physical damages. I guess BMG is having second thoughts about getting into the losing money business. Smarter than your typical dot-com, eh? ;-)

    • There's no fair use law in the UK, so it's probably not that.

      Stores *care* about the consumer backlash, especially if the chattering classes get wind of it - uncomfortable interviews on Watchdog to follow!
      • Erm, that is sort of true, but not entirely. In the UK you can expect goods you buy to be of a saleable quality, and that means they have to 'work' in some sense. Often this sense has been interpreted quite broadly, since it's so vague, so you could certainly argue that the presence of an ability to make a back-up counts as correctly working. Obviously these CDs don't just limit their life in terms of being corrupt - they also limit their life because you should be able to make a back-up and use that if the first one breaks...
        • Re:hmm (Score:3, Informative)

          by darkonc ( 47285 )
          since it's so vague, so you could certainly argue that the presence of an ability to make a back-up counts as correctly working.

          The presence of the ability to play the damned things is more what we're talking about here. A CD that threatens to trash your speakers if you simply try to play it on some CD players isn't just questionable -- it's broken

    • A lawyer would cost a hell of alot more then a new pair of speakers or even a speaker/stereo combination. The record companies know this and this is why they don't give a rats ass about consumer rights or about potential lawsuits and went along with the new format. They know they can't be sued by individuals due to costs involved. Sure they can be sued but it would cost more then a new stereo so no one with an IQ over 80 would do it. If you try to take them to court they would probably delay and prolong the trial as long as possible so you would have no choice but to throw in the towel. ALso if you are just thinking about going to a small claims court where a lawyer is not required, think again! The RIAA knows that if a judge rules agaisn't them that it could open the floodgates for real lawsuits. Basically they have the power to send lawyers to the claims court and promote your case it to a higher court of law where a lawyer would be required. After this, a defendant like yourself will run out of cash and the RIAA would win or you would have to quit. ALso the MPAA is known for moving trials in their own districts with lobbied judges. I am sure the RIAA would do something similiar. IF this is the case then you would certianly lose unless you have lots of money and don't have a job. Lawyers are very sneaky and sleezy.

      Regardless anyway that you could buy several stereos several times over for the price of even a short trial, the RIAA will only fear other corporations. Other corporations who have the balls and the money to sue.

      Individuals and consumers are not in the same class. This seems strange since all the laws were originally written and the courts designed to beniefit citizens and not corporations. However, in todays world the exact opposite is true.
      • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

        by acceleriter ( 231439 )
        A lawyer would cost a hell of alot more then a new pair of speakers or even a speaker/stereo combination. The record companies know this and this is why they don't give a rats ass about consumer rights or about potential lawsuits and went along with the new format. They know they can't be sued by individuals due to costs involved.

        Two words: class action. This is the kind of attitude that suing as a class was made to defeat.

      • Re:hmm (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zeinfeld ( 263942 )
        A lawyer would cost a hell of alot more then a new pair of speakers or even a speaker/stereo combination.

        Not in the UK, there is legal aid available in civil suits. Also the RIAA has to pay the costs of both sides if it looses, so the incentive to litigate consumers into submission evaporates

        All this is going to do is to force the manufacturers of CDROMs to fix the broken drivers. The 'copy protection' schemes do nothing more than exploit bugs in the sloppy error handling of the standard Windows CDROM driver.

        Another idea would be to use the Reverse Dimitry Sklarof tactic. Find out who is writing the Catus Data Shield and see what they can be prosecuted for.

        • by CMiYC ( 6473 )
          All this is going to do is to force the manufacturers of CDROMs to fix the broken drivers. The 'copy protection' schemes do nothing more than exploit bugs in the sloppy error handling of the standard Windows CDROM driver.

          I was under the impression that this scheme exploited the error correction of a CD. I wasn't aware it had anything to do with error handling. This scheme makes use of the fact that if you trash the error correction bits on your CD, a digital device won't understand it. Your audio CD player doesn't care.

          Say you read 3 data chunks. 0x34 0x35 0x36. The checksum values come back telling you that 0x35 should have been read as a 0x37. Well, an audio cd player won't know who the believe. The data or the checksum. So it chucks it. Our ears (as we are told, won't hear it get filtered out.) However, our CDROMs say "fine, make it 0x37." Well you do that enough times and your digital file is no good. There are no audio filters built into a cdrom to correct for these errors. The inherient nature of a Audio CD player's error correction scheme makes it rather simple audio filter. We lose that once the track is ripped into a digital file.

          All of the pops and stuff that are actually on the CD, get played back by our computer. It doesn't know that 0x35 was really 0x37. It recorded a 0x37. There isn't anything wrong with the CDROM drivers... they work the way they are suppose to.
          • This scheme makes use of the fact that if you trash the error correction bits on your CD, a digital device won't understand it. Your audio CD player doesn't care

            Oh so I get it an audio CD player is analog but a CDROM is digital... Bzzzt.

            The point is that the CDROM drivers should not just crap out when they get an error. They should report the fact that there were errors in the data and continue to read the next block.

            This should be in the drivers in any case so that they can read scratched CDs. In most cases a single bit error can be handled transparently by simply substituting the average of the samples on either side.

            The scope for fixing data on a digital CDROM should be much greater, the PC can do error recovery tricks no CD could ever do, like a Fourier transform on the good data and interpolating for the bad.

            • by CMiYC ( 6473 )
              Dude, slow down. You are getting all your stuff mixed up. I never said audio CD players are analog. A CDROM driver has nothing to do with reading the bits it receives. The CDROM does all that. All it does, is report the data back the driver. You are right about a single bit error. What you negelct is that by the time the CDROM driver sees the bit, it doesn't know that it was ever an error.

              What you want is a driver that does an excessive amount of post processing. It has nothing to do with fixing buggy CDROM drivers. The driver doesn't have to do the FFT. It doesn't know its suppose to. It just sees bits and bytes. If you want to fix a 'protected' CD, then write a program to run your FFT.

              CDROM drivers crap out when they get an error because the entire packet is corrupted, not one bit. Remember when you are ripping a CD, you are ripping the digital bits. Therefore, the drive (and its driver) treat it just like data. It does not care that the data it is reading is suppose to be audio at some point.
      • "Small Claims Court". Small suits like this are what small claims court is all about. A lawyer is not required (but it helps to talk to one first) -- the procedures are steamlined and are designed so that non-lawyers have a fighting chance, even if up against a real lawyer. There's a statutory cap on the damages you can claim ($2500 in Maryland, IIRC), but other than that there are few restrictions. It's about the only venue left where an ordinary person can get justice against a megacorp -- frequently they will accept a judgement without a fight, because it would cost them more to send a lawyer then it would to pay off the claim. The downside is it can take a very long time to get a court date, because of the tremendous backlog, and you do have to pay a bunch of fees and do a lot of paperwork yourself.
    • There IS a fair-use law in Canada.

      I'm allowed to make copies of my music for my own personal use.

      I'm allowed to lend an original CD to a friend.

      That friend can copy it for their personal use.

      I am NOT allowed to make a copy and give it to a friend.

      If I make a legal copy of the music (say for my own mix CD) and it damages my equipment, you'd bet I'm going to go after the music companies. We don't have the RIAA here.

      • There IS a fair-use law in Canada.
        • I'm allowed to make copies of my music for my own personal use.
        • I'm allowed to lend an original CD to a friend.
        • That friend can copy it for their personal use.
        So what's the RIAA's next move?

        Blame Canada!!!!

      • Hey, friend, buddy, pal, maybe we should exchange CD lists and see what we can do...
    • Also, isn't there a company that holds a trademark on the term "CD"? If you sell something as a CD that doesn't comply with the established format, then you'd likely be infringing the terms under which the trademark is licensed.
      • Re:hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mvdwege ( 243851 )
        lso, isn't there a company that holds a trademark on the term "CD"?

        Yep. That would be Philips. And according to an article in the German magazine C't their legal department was very interested in hearing that people were selling CDs with the CDDA logo, while not being compliant with the standard.

        From what I've seen in their marketing lately, Philips is doing the right thing. They are a hardware company now, after selling their music division 3 years ago, and they just want to sell good hardware. I think Philips may very well be interested in keeping 'fair use' alive if that means shifting more CD/DVD RW players.

  • Whatever copy protection they invent, there will always be a workaround...

    The movie industry has been thinking so long about an "uncrackable" movie format. They really believed it was secure because otherwise they would have never supported it. Only a few months (I guess) after the release, it was already cracked and DVD-rips are floating on the web [isonews.com] everywhere...

    If we can crack DVD, why wouldn't we be able to crack this new cd-protection?
    • Re:i don't care (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gorgonzola ( 24839 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:09AM (#2580763) Homepage
      It is not so much whether they actually believe uncrackable formats are possible, it is much more whether they believe if it is possible to deter Joe Sixpack from casually copying their stuff.

      The professional, so-called pirates, will get around anyway, but Joe Sixpack doesn't generally buy many bootlegs. The proverbial geek in the basement and the hardcore fans do not add up to enough marketshare to count.

      Most readers here forget that having a flawed protection is perfectly rational as long as it keeps the masses buying your stuff. It is the difference between a managerial and an engineering mindset, the difference between good enough and technical perfection.
      • Re:i don't care (Score:4, Insightful)

        by crowke ( 300971 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:31AM (#2580796)
        My opinion about the piracy-stages in music & movie protection:

        1. some nifty guy cracks the protection
        2. it gets rumour on the net the protection has been cracked
        3. the hardcore crackers start using it
        4. the advanced PC user uses it
        5. some company releases a software package that allows even my grandmother to avoid the protection...

        I think about this because yesterday I saw an advertising for a budget sotwarebox which allows everybody to rip DVD's to DivX and burn it on CD with an easy point&click interface for less than $20... It just remembered me about the early DVD-rip days when you were almost a hero if you could rip a DVD :)
        In the early days of MP3, you had to use non-UF commandline tools to rip a CD, nowadays even Windows has it's own ripping tool :)

        It's only a matter of months before these "ripping4everybody" tools implement the latest protection-bypassers.

        I guess these new protections only help small software companies sell the newest version of their copy-tools...
      • So hardcore cracker geek takes down the protection. Coos to all his friends: "I broke it!" Copies the tracks for them. They sign on to Morpheus (so does he). Now tracks are in Joe Sixpack's home, 2 days later. Next week, everyone on the net has them.


        • Joe Sixpack attempts to legally make copies of his own CDs for backup (as I do, with all my CDs). NOW the copy protection makes a difference, because he can't do that.

          So he signs on to the net, downloads the copies illegally for backup instead.


    • you don't even need decss to crack it. once writeable dvds hit a reasonable price, you can literally click'n'drag the files from the original to a blank and you'll have a perfect copy.
      • (assuming dvd is encrypted)

        i believe if you do that, you'll have a perfect copy of the encrypted data, but without the key file. i'm pretty sure that there is no provision to write to the 'key area' of any of the writable dvd discs.
    • Whatever copy protection they invent, there will always be a workaround...
      If we can crack DVD, why wouldn't we be able to crack this new cd-protection?

      This thinking is both incorrect and dangerious IMHO. It works in their favour.

      First of all, one MAJOR reason we could crack DVD was that in order to comply with US crypto export law, the encryption was pathetically weak.

      Next format, we'll be up against serious armour, PGP-strength crypto built into the hardware. Thus breaking the crypto won't be an option - we'll probably have to hack to the hardware.

      Law changes are in the works aiming at making it illegal in the USA to aquire ANY digital device that doesn't have copy-controls and cripples built in, and it's already illegal to tamper with the cripples. Naturally, you then won't be able to buy hardware that doesn't lock you out.

      So if we keep thinking that we can just break whatever they come up with, we might just end up in a situation where you need a soldering iron and a shitload of illegal knowledge to remove the cripples, and you become criminally liable in the process, and you have to go through the work of soldering and chipping for each and every playback device to wish to liberate - no instant copies of DeCSS source here - but sheer manual labour from highly skilled individuals who risk their careers and livelyhoods with each crack.

      In other words, we've got to prevent phase two of the RIAA/MPAA hijack of copyright law - if we sit back with the assumption that whatever they come up with we can crack, then we run the risk of being dreadfully wrong.

      Also, IMHO, if joe average on the street can't make a personal copy, it doesn't matter if you or I or other "tech elites" can - the cartels have won and our defense of the copyright balance will increasing come to be viewed as illegal hacking (and economic terrorism if the RIAA gets their way :) by ordinary citizens.

      "You're recording a movie being played on HDTV? Isn't that illegal? My digital-VCR tells me that recording is disabled for the sunday night movie on digital TV. What happens if they catch you?"

      You go to jail.

      Don't lie back in overconfident belief that you can thwart whatever they come up with. You might just be wrong.
  • I read where the Cactus Data Shield works by corrupting the table of contents on the CD so that a PC's CD player software can't play the music, but a standalone CD player can. What's the difference between how the two types of CD players operate that makes this type of copy protection possible?
    • by Anonymous DWord ( 466154 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:15AM (#2580773) Homepage
      Stolen from http://www.uk.eurorights.org/issues/cd/overview.sh tml [eurorights.org]:

      The most recent format that's come to light is the Cactus Data Shield from Midbar. The earlier German tests also came under the name of Cactus, but it appears that Midbar's protection technology has developed since then. Like SafeAudio, this new method corrupts the audio signal on the CD. However, the method used is different. In this case blocks of audio are replaced with blocks of control data. A normal CD player ignores the control data and fabricates the sound of that block using its error recovery circuitry. Once again, the blocks must have been carefully chosen so that the sound is not disrupted significantly. Again, reliability of the CD will be affected. When the CD is copied using a computer or CD-to-CD copier, the control blocks are interpreted as audio, which means that the manufacturer can insert whatever sounds they wish into a copied recording, even sounds designed to damage speakers.
      • A normal CD player ignores the control data and fabricates the sound of that block using its error recovery circuitry. Once again, the blocks must have been carefully chosen so that the sound is not disrupted significantly.

        So, they can only currupt the data under certain conditions. Perhaps someone could determine under what conditions the errors are correctable, and use that knowlege to manually correct for the them? By only chosing particular blocks, the protection is giving the cracker clues as to how it works.

        • First up, this is pure hunch, so flame on if I'm wrong. There seems to be two pieces to this problem:

          1) The TOC appears to be nailed so that many players looking for data can't find it. Stereo components look for the lead in track - not the TOC, so they are unaffected. PS2s and PCs look for the TOC - hence are affected.

          2) If your player overcomes the TOC issue, then the data itself is full of errors that can be fixed by a domestic D-A converter, but not by blindly accepting the data (as PCs tend to do if the CRCs stack up). The algorithms in the domestic D-A converters are well known.

          Neither of these problems seem impossible to resolve. I give it 3 months before all rippers have a check box labelled "rip as domestic CD player" or similar. This is not an "encryption challenge". It is a challenge of emulating a domestic CD player's D-A converter in software. This is the achilles heel: they have to maintain compatability with the huge installed base of CD players out there.
      • The error recovery algorithm in CD's is a perfectly documented standard. Implement it in software and you're off.
  • Kind of redundant (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fat Casper ( 260409 )
    Michael Jackson is already copy protected- I won't put a pedophile on my computer.

    Still, it is nice to see that they've come up with a "protection" method that pisses off non-geeks. They're the ones with the numbers that'll make returning defective merchandise really hurt.

    It takes balls to pretend that they're looking out for the artists. Piracy can't come close to hurting them as much as the RIAA does every day. It doesn't even occur to them that I might want to store my music somewhere usable instead of on a shelf. Bastards.

    • HEHE

      I have a co-worker who is a big Michael Jackson and has been playing the new cd for quite awhile now. I am laughing right now because he got the cd before the album even came out. Basically This means the anti-piracy thing is useless and already circumvented! So now we all "legal" consumers are screwed for making legitimate copies while the pirates like my friend have all gotten away and are making copies to their hears content. This pisses me off more then anything. I never pirate anything yet I am the one who can't copy it or play it on my computer. ???

      As I am typing this my pirate friend of mine is copying the mp3's made from his so called anti-circumvented jackson cd right now to his nomad mp3 device so he can listen on the go. Keep up the good work RIAA. Your making me consider pirating more and more everyday!
  • by vectus ( 193351 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:12AM (#2580769)
    "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."
    - Plato

    Copyright protection will never really work out, because those who want to break it, will break it.. and those who follow the law anyways, won't bother with breaking it.

    I have some pirated mp3's on my computer, but they are of bands whos cd's I would NEVER purchase. Generally, if I like even two songs off of the same CD, I go out and buy it.. and most other people out there are similar in nature. The RIAA is just shooting itself in the foot with all their crappy attempts at copyright protection.

    I mean, the arguements against copyright protection have been posted here so many times, I think we all know the reasons that it will never work out.. I guess all we can really do is crack all of the crappy little attempts RIAA members make, and then laugh at them for dumb things like this.
    • Yup. Why, just yesterday, I was talking to a friend about (crappy) songs of times past, and she mentioned Don't Talk Just Kiss, by Right Said Fred. Well I had no recollection of said song, and her rendition left much to be desired, so I felt a download of the original was in order.

      Two minutes later, I had my mp3 in hand. You know what that was? Music Piracy!! Yup, I broke the law. I'll probably do it again sometime. I've spent over $30,000 on music in the past few years, so the record labels will get no apologies from me. If I want to download a song I don't remember from a band I never liked that only had one hit anyway, that's a goddamned MISSION, and all the copy protection in the world ain't gonna keep it off my stereo.
  • Bahaha (Score:3, Funny)

    by Whelkman ( 58482 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:15AM (#2580774)
    The result: a CD-R full of noise, not music. Worse, the generated waveform is of kind to which hi-fi and loudspeaker circuitry is particularly sensitive. Play the noise-filled disc back at too high a volume and - bang - your speakers are toast.

    SONY says: That'll teach you to pirate music, you little bastards!

    Poor Joe Consumer will be so confused he'll be certain this is because he hadn't bought SONY brand speakers along with the SONY brand DTS professional stadium concert decoder.
    • I can't wait until somebody with SONY brand speakers and a SONY brand DTS professional stadium concert decoder plays a SONY CD-R they made from a SONY album on a SONY burner in their SONY computer and blows out their brand-new $8,000 system, takes it back, and makes SONY EAT THE FUCKING BILL.
      That'll learn 'em.
      • It's not the $8,000 system I want to see blown out, it's the $140,000 one mentioned a couple months back on /. Then, hopefully, with the judgement check in hand, the audiophile will see the lunacy of his ways, so you have two good things...
    • First off, unless you play your music insanely loud. the bullcrap that the ripped noise will destroy your stereo,speakers,leave socks on the coffee table and drink all your beer is pure and total lies from people that dont know crap about audio equipment.

      Ever listen to heavily distorted electric guitar? ever look at it on a scope? Wow it's a square wave, digital noise? pretty much the same but to a lesser extent and at multiple frequencies.

      If you play anything with digital white noise bursts in it cranked all the way up then you deserved to have your stereo trashed, because whoever play's there stereo past the 3/4 volume level is a moron to begin with. (Ever hear of harmonic distortion? your stereo has a THD of 0.05 at an RMS rating.... at max volume level it's 1-10% THD (and anything from fischer or pioneer home audio is at 30-40%THD out of the box.)

      BTW. my Sansui amp from 1980 has a THD of 0.005 at 100Watts RMS.. and it still kicks the crap out of anything sold at most high end shops.. Must be the fact that the output voltage is around 200volts (GRIN) yes I can shock you to death with my speaker wires. I just wish I could buy another one or a few Marantz Model 16 amps from 1978. playing fine while spitting blue flames out was freaking awesome... but that's another story.
  • by jneves ( 448063 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:17AM (#2580776) Homepage
    With the EUCD (European Union Copyright Directive), that is starting the process of getting incorporated into national laws, BMG would have the law on it's side and copying CDs with this kind of protection would be a crime, even if it was under a "fair use" clause. This is the main problem with this law, for the first time any company can restrict how you use its products. Until now copyright law only affected copying, distributing and modifying the product.

    In the USA the won't probably do a recall because all this is legal under the DMCA. Providing "fair use" became optional.
    • I disagree that anything will change in two years, or that it is very much different in the US with the DCMA. The fact of this case is those cd's are in a very noticable way defective.

      Thats why im sure many people returned them, if you cant play the disc in their computer they think its broken. Your average Joe, may be annoyed knowing that he can't now copy cd's so easily, but much worse he'll be quite pissed off that he cant play it in the way he play's the rest of his cd's!

      As others have said before, we /.'ers may be vocal, but at the end of the day its not us that will make them change, its that damn critical mass thing again. :)
      • As others have said before, we /.'ers may be vocal, but at the end of the day its not us that will make them change, its that damn critical mass thing again. :)

        Being vocal and informed has it's advantages. Most of us here are on the 'technically savy' end of the spectrum and probably known as such. Remember that when someone comes to you and complains about their 'copy protected' CD. Tell them that they should just take it back to the store they got it from and return it as defective. Remind people that they don't have to put up with corrupt buisness practices or corrupt CDs.

        Our knowledge in the technology space gives us a leverage that is greater than the raw numbers might indicate. We can guide how this thing goes by what we say to the people around us.

        • Tell them that they should just take it back to the store they got it from and return it as defective. ... and this is how to defeat this idiotic scam. If enough people complain, if enough people take the CDs back to the store and make a noise, things will be changed. If you get some guff about "too bad, you shouldn't try and play it that way" then demand a refund. Don't be rude to the staff (there's no reason to be), but make sure you get a reaction. Make sure the record store knows you're an unhappy camper - eventually this will filter up to the clowns who make the decisions. Visibility is the key thing.

          (As an aside, if the RIAA's "There's no such thing as a customer, just a potential pirate" attitude gets wide publicity, they'll find themselves losing the argument.)

      • As a note - don't return defective CDs to the store - drop them at the store and cancel the charges through your credit card company. If the store challanges that, they're imperiling their ability to sell to users of that credit card.

        Also, I wonder who it is that owns the patent on the CD format, or administers the 'CD' trademark. Whoever it is has very good grounds to sue for very, very large amounts for people selling CDs that don't comply with the established formats.
    • Actually in many countries the EUCD adds a limited notion of fair use beyond what there is. The EUCD has some serious problems like directly conflicting with existing law and basically ensuring anyone who helps the blind read ebooks goes to jail (compatibility is ok but people dont count as compatibility....)

      The current protected disks are actually possibly criminally illegal in the UK anyway. The CD causes an unauthorised modification of the contents of the computer (viz you dont get the proper data when issuing legitimate commands that are actually needed eg for USB speaker kits) and it "impairs the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data". Finally the "knowledge that the modification he intends to cause is unauthorised", which I think we can safel y assume to have been demonstrated.

      I don't know if there are similar US state laws or not. The Hammonds Suddards Edge book makes passing reference to that being the case but does not cover them.

    • Providing 'fair-use' was never something these companies were requried to do. Fair use is not something they give you or permit you to do..

      it's something copyright law says you are allowed to do, period.

      Except.. the DMCA conflicts with that.
  • Taken From FatChucks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Meffan ( 469304 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:34AM (#2580799)
    Mac OS X/iBook-DVD: Track 1 doesn't play or rip, rest okay
    Mac OS X/iMac-DVD: Track 1 doesn't play, rest okay (ripping not tested)
    Mac OS 9/iBook-DVD: All tracks play and rip okay
    MiniDisk: Refuses to record digitally
    PS2: Track 1 won't play, rest okay
    Linux: Tried extracting tracks (cdparanoia), disk is not always recognised first time. Out of 12 tracks, only track 3 extracts cleanly - all others hang with read errors (probably work better with a better drive than mine).
    Windows: Runs a custom MP3-player from the CD, playing data from a 30Mb data file of unknown format (according to a report I've just had).

    This could be a good wake up call for Joe Six-Pack, if only for the PS2 having problems with the disk. If the industrys can pass it off as "Something that only affects Home Hackers", they can keep the attention down. When it starts going wrong in mass produced home appliances that could never be used to copy it, maybe the public will pay attention?

    But this has been said before, last time it was about in-car CD players not playing protected disks...We can only hope public intolerance is cumulative, and people will start to vote with their wallets, because that's the only way things like this will stop.

    I bought Codename Outbreak last week, and the copy protection on that game doesn't allow my (Original) CD to be read when the game boots...Have to "Hang" the system to kick start it every time. The site's forum is full of people with the same problem. Copy protection in itself I don't mind, if people want to get paid for their efforts I don't see why they shouldn't. But when you can't use the product you just paid for, something's gone awry.

    • Copy protection in itself I don't mind, if people want to get paid for their efforts I don't see why they shouldn't. But when you can't use the product you just paid for, something's gone awry.
      Copy protection doesn't work. I watched the industry pull out an entire bag of tricks during the 80s. In each and every case, I watched an entire community who dealt in illicit data sidestep these hurdles.

      And even more telling, I watched legitimate users who's purchase price had gone towards funding these copy-protection schemes turn to the underground community to remove these protections. Copy protection had become so intrusive that it interfered with the product's functionality.

      Eventually the industry gave up. Copy protection schemes were expensive to develop and deploy. They were quickly circumvented. And they interfered with customers.

      At least - thats what it looked like. Seems we're about to go through the cycle again.

  • by sjmurdoch ( 193425 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:50AM (#2580812) Homepage
    Even though Midbar deny there is any chance of Cactus Data Shield damageing equipment, you may be interested to see an extract from Midbars patent application [uspto.gov] for the technology.

    Of particular interest is the section:
    During duplication the CD encoding circuitry merely sets the P-channel=0 while recording to the data are, and therefore the P-channel setting of portion 60 is ignored. Thus, during playback, the substituted audio data portion 58 is provided to the digital-to-analog converter as normal data, resulting in audio distortion and potentially damaging the output circuitry. (emphasis mine).

    They also don't seem to be as confident about audio quality as I would have hoped:
    Thus, the substitute audio data portion 58 of FIG. 4B is ignored, and instead an interpolation, substantially equivalent to the original portion 50 of FIG. 4A, is output, thus resulting in little or no net difference in audio quality between the corresponding track port 44 and 52 of FIGS. 4A and 4B (again empahasis mine).

    If I buy music, I want the CD to be as close as possible to the real thing, not with any noise added.

    • Do the maths and work out what the loss of one section of each frame is over a complete CD - its a reasonable portion of one track that is effectively missing.

      Nothing is said about the fact you are buying a faulty product either, nor that chunks of it have not been supplied.
    • "instead an interpolation, substantially equivalent to the original portion 50"

      It means that the already-ripped track image can be processed in similar way giving the result equivalent to the audio player's one.
    • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @06:44PM (#2582113) Homepage Journal
      I don't think they can guarantee the same method of interpolation is in use in all CD players. Some might interpolate between surrounding good samples, others might just hold the last good sample until the next good one comes along. You can't guarantee what sort of error correction is in use.

      For that reason, the name 'Cactus Data Shield' is very appropriate: when ripped it is full of 'spikes' ruining the music, when perfectly interpolated it may possibly be sample-for-sample identical (assuming the substituted samples are ONLY those where surrounding samples interpolated will return the exact, precise amount- I'm not at all sure this is a safe assumption), but when imperfectly interpolated the _best_ output still has traces of the 'cactus spines'- like stubs :)

      On a CD player with inferior interpolation it is probably slightly more sonic degradation than you get from DVD-A watermarking because watermarking is bandlimited to avoid the more sensitive areas of hearing, and this 'residual cactus spikes' effect will reach into the highs and spit out artifacts on steep wave slopes.

      I know that in debugging azumith-correction algorithms I could hear high-frequency artifacts of just one sample duration when they were of this nature- a departure from the even slope of a waveform. I would respectfully suggest that the dangers of inadequate error correction are more severe and audible than the CDS guys are ready to admit, and that on many CD players traces of high frequency crackling and grunge will still be audible even after 'interpolation'...

      As an indie music maven and audio tool coder I have to say I am just tickled by all this. How nice of the music industry cartel to ruin the quality of their products FOR me, thus making it easier for people in basements and dorm rooms to produce music that's actually better than the cartel makes. A few more years of that and they'll have done serious damage to the former popular opinion that industry music is more professional than unsigned music :)

  • Bottom Line (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TACD ( 514008 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @07:53AM (#2580815) Homepage
    It's such a shame to see the (inherently good) idea of copyrighting, patenting, copyprotection etc. all coming down in such a shambles.

    I just sit back and laugh, personally. Because if it is possible for the medium to be recorded and perceived originally, then it can be again. This is why there will never be an end to forgery, illicit copies and that sort of thing.

    On that note, why has the music industry not taken a tip from mints? After all, why don't more people forge money all over the place? Because it is too expensive. (i.e. Printing equipment, speical paper, etc etc.)

    Just remember it is not the copying that is the problem, it is the distribtion.

    • The money comparison is a great one! If I wanted to copy mony for my own purposes (i.e. to extend the available funds in my Monopoly board game or for use as a gag gift for a friend) it would be absolutely no problem whatsoever...I could put a bill on a photocopy machine, or if I wanted to make it a little fancier I could use a color one or my scanner and printer. However, if I wanted to use it illegally (outside my rights) and therebye distribute it, things would get difficult. I don't think my local Quick-E-Mart cashier will take my black and white one hundred dollar bills printed on cheap bond paper.

      Before someone gripes, yes I know that it is illegal to copy US money without resizing it to make it obviously not legal tender...but thats not the point...copying for personal use is not an issue whatsoever because distribution is nigh impossible.
    • Competative Product (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 )
      On that note, why has the music industry not taken a tip from mints? After all, why don't more people forge money all over the place? Because it is too expensive. (i.e. Printing equipment, speical paper, etc etc.)
      Quite a few years a go, I spent some time in the Middle East - Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. At the time, these countries did not honor international treaties concerning copyright. There was an entire industry of counterfeit products - some of which caught my attention were software (you paid for the floppies which were duplicated while-you-wait), software manuals, and music.

      Counterfeit music stores were everywhere. Racks and racks of cheap, unlabled tapes housed in cheap covers with questionable artwork (side note: artwork blacked out "excessive" female skin in accordance with local laws but Madonna's erotica-laddened lyrics went unscathed). The recordings themselves were suitable enough. The tapes made use of extra space by including a few tracks from simular artists (kind of a bonus). And the product, while cheap, was inexpensive.

      One would expect that legitimate music products couldn't exist in this environment. One would be wrong.

      First - at the time, it seems that CDs were too expensive to create (CD burners weren't as inexpensive then). Legitimate CDs were sold on racks right accross from the counterfeit tapes. Which kind of makes sense - the product was too expensive to create and sell cheaply, yet there was added value in this format. There was a market for them.

      I was very suprised to find legitimate tapes at a store in Kuwait City. Most of the music stores I had seen were, frankly, low-budget affairs. This particular store would have been at home in any mall in the US. It was chock full of CDs, listening stations, stereo equipment, conterfeit tapes, and a wide selection of legitimate tapes. Prominent over the legitimate tape selection was a (I believe Sony) sign extolling the high quality of legitimate tape music products.

      And the legitimate tapes were selling.

      The price for the legit tapes were a bit more than the conterfeit tapes. But they had obvious advantages in quality. That combination of a reasonable price and better quality tape offered a competitive product to cheap knock-offs.

      Its interesting to watch the music industry now. Their control over distribution is crumbling. The market they're used to is being eroded by the free flow of data (legitimate or not). Its got to be stressful to watch your industry's business plan evaporate.

      But all's not lost for them. They've competed in this kind of market with the Middle East. It all comes down to a competative product. Provide something of value at a reasonable price. The music industry has the resources to create a great product at a price point that would be difficult for conterfeiters to compete with - and may even make it worth the public's time to purchase rather than try and copy/pirate.

  • Public Awareness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Unfallen ( 114859 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @08:05AM (#2580823) Homepage
    As a UK resident, it's really gratifying to see some headway being made. A lot of this is thanks to the hard work put in by many to make sure that the general public is aware of what's happening, along with the alertness of some media quarters to bring the story out as much as possible.

    All of this has meant that the technology hasn't just been introduced with nobody noticing, or putting up some resistance (as I'm sure the music industry would have loved...) - bringing the damage here to the attention of the public is surely greatly influential in BMG and Virgin's decision to back down somewhat.

    This is indeed only the beginning, but at least it's a beginning, before it's too late. Pressure needs to be kept up. At Cato's recent [theregister.co.uk]
    The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age conference, Mitch Glazier, legislative counsel for the RIAA stated (somewhat hypocriticaly, imho):

    "There's only one huge question nobody knows: what the consumer wants, what will succeed... At the end of the day, I think consumers will be pretty happy with the number of competing services out there."

    I can't speak for everybody else, but the RIAA doesn't seem to be anywhere closer to the answer than it was a year ago...
    • by Dynedain ( 141758 )
      Although these things may be readily broadcast on European channels, don't expect too much in the US. When the media is run by for-profit, private companies, instead of public supported channels like the BBC, things often fall wind to the whims of the owners. Remember, AOL/Time/Warner is now a television media provider (WB Network, CNN, Turner Networks,...), internet provider (AOL, Compuserve, and purchase of broadband networks...including the plans for ATT and !Excite) a television service provider (see cable, ATT and !Excite) a internet content service provider (AOL, Compuserve, etc.), a print media provider (Time/Life, etc.) a music producer (Warner Music), a major motion picture producer (Warner Bros.), and obviously a major member of the RIAA.

      When media becomes corporate, discouraging news about parent companies/corporate partners is often convieniently "not newsworthy." How much coverage has NBC given to unfavorable events for Microsoft? Virtually none because they are partners in MSNBC. Just like that don't expect to hear news of these bad CDs being mentioned on any sations on the WB network, and especially not on America's pride and joy of unbiased pinnacle television and magazine news sources: CNN and Time.
      • Blockquoth the poster:

        How much coverage has NBC given to unfavorable events for Microsoft? Virtually none because they are partners in MSNBC.

        Ouch. It hurts to see a pretty decent argument shot in the foot by one careless example. As a matter of fact, MSNBC has been relatively hard on Microsoft during the whole trial mess... more so, as far as I've seen, than network TV or CNN.

        Nonetheless, the point that mega-mergers are hinderng the true freedom of the press is a good one.

      • don't expect too much in the US. When the media is run by for-profit, private companies, instead of public supported channels like the BBC

        And PBS is just what then?

        The problem with media in Britain is that it's run by and controlled by the governement. In my opinion that is far worse a situation than what we have in the US. Especially given the lack of an equivalent to the First Amendment in Britain.
        • The problem with media in Britain is that it's run by and controlled by the governement.

          No it isn't. 3 out of 5 terrestial channels are commerical, and the BBC has a long tradition of going against the government's wishes. Digital & Satellite channels have an even higher % of commerical stations. Note, the BBC is where you can get bin Laden's speeches uncensoured - something that NO American media will do.

  • by sjmurdoch ( 193425 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @08:17AM (#2580831) Homepage
    I'm glad to see BMG have been forced into seeing sense. Hopefully BMG will have lost enough money in this pointless exercise so that they won't try this sort of trick again. I also hope they realise that to customer loyalty is easily lost, but hard to gain so they need to treat the public with more respect. Virgin Megastores, in contrast, have the right idea, they seem to actually care about their customers. Top marks for them!

    Also I wholeheartedly agree with Virgin's statement: "As retailers we do support the fight against copyright theft, however this should never be at the expense of the customer."

    I have no objection to meaures that prevent only illegal or immoral behaviour, but by preventing digital copying the record companies are preventing the public from making legitimate, legal and moral uses of their CD, such as making a backup copy for safety reasons or transferring to a MP3/Minidisc player. I am also unconvinced that such draconian measures need to be put in place since the availibility of MP3s has not been shown to decrease CD sales, in fact the contrary seems to be the case, as shown in the paper "The Use of Conventional and New Music Media: Implications for Future Technologies" [gla.ac.uk] by Brown, Geelhoed and Sellen (2001).

    This paper argues that intangible files, such as MP3s will never replace the role of physical objects such as LPs, CDs and casettes since music enthusiasts are collectors, and just the ability to listen to music is not enough, rather a tangible object is desired. Instead of trying to eliminate duplication of Music (which, both historically and technically, can be seen to be impossible), they would be better to use it to their own advantage, which would help them, the artists and the public.

    • Also I wholeheartedly agree with Virgin's statement: "As retailers we do support the fight against copyright theft, however this should never be at the expense of the customer."

      Isn't that always how it works though? The last steinberg product I ever bought was a copy of LM4 -- it had this *whacky* copy protection that was incompatible with win2k (the installer always detected a pirated copy in win2k, and we're only talking about a 60$ program here) ... So I ended up having to use the pirate version anyways ... Steinberg! listen up! I'll start buying your products again when you grow the fuck up. .

    • This paper argues that intangible files, such as MP3s will never replace the role of physical objects such as LPs, CDs and casettes since music enthusiasts are collectors, and just the ability to listen to music is not enough, rather a tangible object is desired.

      This sounds wacky, but I think it's true. I got a bunch of MP3s of Primus. I had heard the odd Primus song before and after hearing a whole bunch of MP3s I realised I liked them.

      Now I could have just burnt their songs onto CD-R and be done with it. I only listen to CDs on a discman these days anyway, so I don't care too much about sound quality. 128kbps MP3 is good enough for me.

      Instead I went and bought every Primus album I could find. I'm not sure why. It would have only cost me $5 to put all the MP3s onto CD-R, print off the album covers, and I'd have something not half-bad without the effort. Buying the CDs was a relatively difficult thing to do!

  • I guy at AudioT in High wycombe (Excellent HiFi chain in the UK) who is quite knowledgeable about HiFi electronics told me that some copy protection systems can blow some high end audio kit due to the noise at frequencies not normally present being transmitted through to the speakers.

    Apparently the out of normal frequency range signals can bust the tweeters and crossovers.

    Has the copy protection system been throughly tested in this regard? I doubt it.

    Also how long before someone developes a way of gettign round the copy protection, has the record industry learned nothing from the digital watermarking debarcle.
    • HUH?

      The guy you talked to is a liar.

      first off you have an audio amplifier there, not a broadband amplifier. there is built in (intentional or just to keep costs down) filters that remove subsonic and hypersonic elements. reproducing anything above human hearing is a waste of money and anything below 20Hz is moronic. (I doubt you have a room in your house that can hold a wave from anything lower than 40Hz. Otherwise you have to be in the near field (2X the speaker diameter in distance from the cone) to hear it.)

      Second, there is nothing your stereo can produce except distortion or massive power that can destroy a crossover or speaker. that is why when you buy 3000watt speakers and put them on a 100 watt stereo you can toast them in minutes. (harmonic distortion will take out anything.)
      While a 2000 watt stereo driving 100watt max speakers can drive the speakers so hard the they sound great up to the point you either melt the coil or rip the suspension out of them.

      So, if I play digitally created white noise, I have a cd player that will play a CDrom track as audio... kinda wild to listen to slackware 8.0 .. I can listen to it safely at normal listening levels.... and give myself a headache or annoy the neighbors, the dog, my daughter, what have you.

      Hell I have a set of speakers I can plug directly into the wall outlet and all I get is a really really loud 60Hz hum. (Bose 901's)

      your stereo guy obviously knows nothing about audio, let alone high end audio. I suggest learning about audio yourself and then have fun making these salespeople look stupid.
  • The record companys are going to be just as effective at alienating thier own customers as Microsoft and that is what will bring about real change. I am all for it go ahead copy protect CD for players that were NEVER designed to have that done. I promise it will not affect my music listening habits on bit. Wait ... who's there? The FBI! Sorry gotta go.
  • First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    - Mahatma Ghandi
  • What happens when a company sells a product that nobody wants? Um, let's see, that can't be hard to figure out.

    They're killing the format. Plain and simple. And forcing people to think of alternatives, big time.

  • We are lucky that people^H^H^H^H^H^H geniuses like P.Diddy and eminem grace us and allow us to listen to their music. If they so wished, they could keep the music to themselves, but they choose to share.

    These people are practically gods in my view. They could out-perform the likes of Beethoven and Vivaldi with their eyes shut. Infact, i would go as far as to say that Mr. Diddy invented most forms of musical notation, and Mozart simply finished it off.

    Along with mathematical super-minds like Bill Gates, these people are the ones that drive civilization forward, unlike hippies such as Torvalds who think everything should be free and open "Ohh yeah, lets dance around in a free open world where sunflowers grow and where there arn't any bad people." I for one, think eminem should get all my money, I would actually work as the great mans slave - simply paying all my money to him.

    This post is not flaimbait, trolling, offtopic or even sarcasm, it is my actual real view into the troubled world of copyright and IP.
  • Ok, this copy protection stuff has been talked about for a while, and I can tell you, it's here weather we like it or not. Why do I say this? Because, every law is on the record companies side aganist piracy, the only thing that might go against the DMCA is the Home Recording Act which was implemented in 1992 when the MiniDisc came out. It clearly states what's fair use, and many laws allow making backup copies and some even go as far as to say copy protection is illegal. But, are these CD's totally uncopyable? No. As many have pointed out programs like CloneDisc and Nero are capeable of making 1:1 copies of audio CD's if your hardware supports it. So, you make a perfect 1:1 copy of a copy protected CD, theoritcally, it should play fine. The biggest problem is ripping to (crappy) formats like MP3 or (even worse) OGG. (I'm a MpegPlus man myself). The CDFS.VXD ripping program uses burst mode copying, and therefore doesn't auctually use any error correction, but, it can recover from errors better than using say, EAC's Secure mode. My G.F. bought the new Michael Jackson CD and brought it over to my house saying it wouldn't play in her car or her DVD player. So, I popped it in my Apex AD-3201 and nothing, it wouldn't play it. It showed up as an audio CD, but both the analog and digital outputs lost sync. Popped it in my Sharp player, and it played fine, my MD deck even recorded from it (as most CD player's digital out's aren't RAW data, they're error corrected PCM). So, after some reading I found it was copy protected. I put it in my drive, and tried to rip it, alas, nothing. I then switched EAC over to burst (XP Pro doesn't support CDFS.XVD to my knowledge) and granted it ripped at 3.4x, it ripped (my DVD drive usually gets about 8x) They say the protection won't affect audio quality as much, bull. If you have good ears, you can tell the audio lacks a certin oomph (same oomph missing on CD that's on Vinyl, it's not really noticeable, but, it's there) Also, let's not forget HDCD, HDCD is dependant on a good audio stream, if they corrupt part of it, theorically, AFAIK, HDCD won't function.
    • In short, the position is: Protected CDs can be ripped and copied, but can't be played in your car? This is a technology that is intended to reduce piracy?

      The customer is practically driven to buy the CD, copy it, and then return it. Under the "Sale of Goods Act" it is against the law to sell CDs like this in England - the legal term is "goods not of merchandiseable quality - unfit for the purpose for which it was sold"

      As an aside: If you are making minority interest music, you probably depend on piracy to advertise your work! fans hear pirate copies, and then buy a legit copy Its only chronically commercial dross that is adversely affected by piracy.

      I would not let Eminem kiss my butt

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Sunday November 18, 2001 @09:58AM (#2580931) Homepage Journal
    Given that one of the so-called anti-piracy systems has been bypassed, according to this link [theregister.co.uk], I wonder why the companies even bother. Also, these work-arounds are more likely to be used by bona fid pirates than someone unhappy that they have a CD they can't make their MP3s from ( yes, I know its a generalization, but the general point remains ).
  • I still stand by the idea that copywrite protection laws are the first casualty in the war between geeks and corporations that will eventually end in the anarchistic Geek-governed utopia, which is simply a slight variation on Socrates'/Plato's Utopia.

    All I know is that I'm keeping my DNRC card handy.

    (Please save all flames saying I'm a moron for believing this. I know I'm being delusional, but heck... a man has to dream...)
  • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

    I don't think the record companies understand that ripping a cd isn't the only way to pirate the music.

    Increasingly, the MP3's being traded online don't come from CD, but from television. Nowadays, with digital cable and Sat TV all over the place, the quality of the audio coming in over your TV is as good as any CD. Digital audio out to the PC, a little record and waveform edit later (to get rid o fthe beginning and ending you messed up), and boom, perfect track.

    All they are doing with these stupid schemees are annying people. They are not solving anything.

    • the quality of the audio coming in over your TV is as good as any CD
      This is generally not true at all. The audio tracks in the music videos are never identical to the album track. In fact, often, their quality is greatly reduced for the simple fact that almost everything that's destined to play on a TV has its dynamic range hugely compressed. This means that the volume difference between the 'quiet' and 'loud' bits are reduced. This is because most people listen to music videos on 20" TVs with 2" speakers of terrible quality. The music tends to sound better on these speakers if its dynamic range has been compressed. It does, however, kill a portion of the 'feel' of the original music.

      In addition, the original video/audio feed is an analog stream. It is then digitized by your cable providor and sent to you. This may eventually change as more channels are natively digital, but this is quite a few years in the future.

  • I haven't really read all of working of this, but from what I understand is that they won't play on computers, but will on normal CD Players. SO! All you need to do is to play the CD on your stereo, and plug the recording output (I've got 3 on my JVC amp, 2 on my JVC cd changer) into your audio input of your computer. With this, you can record it on your computer with the sound recorder, or download one. Sure it's a very roundabout route, but won't it work? Because this way is more or less sticking a microphone infront of the speakers, but with much higher quality. I'm not too sure, but thats my $0.02
  • If you sell a copy-protected CD that makes it next to impossible to rip, it may well prevent 99% of people out there from ripping it.

    Those 99%, as well as all the people who don't want to buy the CD because of its damaged nature, will get on their favorite file-sharing service and search for the songs.

    Care to guess how long it will take for the cat to be totally and irretrevely out of the bag? Remember the proportion of MP3's out there that were recorded live, which is also exceptionally difficult to do.
  • It will make an interesting test case when a punter sues Sony for blowing up their loudspeakers after playing an allegedly pirate CD...

    Why is The Register calling my backups, pirate CDs?
  • It looks to me like the record companies are shooting themselves in the foot. If word spreads that CDs are being crippled in this way surely it will discourage people from buying CDs in the first place? Why spend money on something that has been crippled when you could just download the album from a file share somewhere...
  • The Slashdot Scooby gang wins another one. We can all go home now.
  • Ok, I'll admit I am not a l337 |-|4X0R, but seeing as the "corrupted disks" contain a player for the tracks on the computer (if I read that right) would it not be possible to correct the errors on the cd?

    Exactly like the DeCSS key were obtained, in a way, one company (Xing in DeCSS's example) does not protect the keys in the app enough and one person discovers this.

    Or, compare the data track to the pre-ripped mp3's for a higher quality rip (say 320K vs 128K) by using the ripping routines compared to the data extraction routines.

    I'll probably wind up repeating myself (developers, developers...) but the mp3 codec is not "bad/illegal" in and of itself but it seems as if the 'use of' is being villified or "circumveted" (ins't that illegal under the DMCA?).

    Sometimes I really, really wonder what the MPAA/RIAA et al hope to accomplish with these so called "technologies", but all too often it is over looked that your rights of "fair use/space/time shifting" are not at issue but the excercising of those rights are.

    Trying to legislate morality, humm, deja vu, all over again.
  • by Velex ( 120469 )

    Ruri put it best: "They're all idiots."

    Ok, so Sony, who cowed my college [gvsu.edu] into banning downloading of "copyrighted information" (not just Sony's, mind you, but everything, which, because of current common law, actually does include everything, even copylefted stuff), is going to create CDs that, when copied, destroy other people's real property.


    Ok, let me get this straight: I can play the original, because it is read. But, magically, I can't play a burned copy? Ok, if this works with traditional copy methods, why not just instead ignore distinctions between all kinds of data on the cd, control, audio, digital, etc., and just copy an exact replica? Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it can be read, it can be written. Anything else would mean that it couldn't be read in the first place.

  • All COTS cd players have a DAC. Acheiving perfect digital reproduction is a simple matter of intercepting the clock, channel, and data lines going to the DAC. The cd player control circuitry has already made the error correction, and this data is ready to be converted to analog. The data will almost always be in I2C format (I squared C). Some professional equipment uses this format and can accept it directly. There are commonly available chips to convert i2c to sp/dif (this is how you can upgrade your old analog output cd changer to a analog + digital for cheap). There is also the possibility to build a usb interface for ripping. If you do that you might as well hook into your cd player's control buttons and make a computer controled cd changer.

    Would be a fun project for some EE student.
  • I just bought a DVD player. I peeked behind my entertainment unit at the big tangle of boxes and cords, found some promising terminals, and plugged it in.

    The picture cycled from clear, to grey, then back again. Hum. Checked the user manual, and it was due to copy protection! The DVD player had to be plugged directly to the TV or it wouldn't work. But I wanted to play the sound through my good speakers, not the TV's speakers. I tried plugging it into the amplifier. Now the video was clear, but the sound was distorted. User manual says, copy protection: it's supposed to be that way. OK, so I hooked it directly to the TV. Now I could play DVDs. But now the VCR wasn't plugged in. Perhaps I could hook the VCR through the DVD player? No, no terminals for that. Perhaps the TV had two sets of video terminals? It did!

    I still don't have the DVD playing through my good speakers. I haven't exhausted all combinations of terminals though. Perhaps there's an audio output from the TV that can be routed to the good speakers, without turning on the copy protection noise or the video distortion.

    If the TV didn't have the spare set of video inputs, I'd send the DVD player back because the copyright protection measures would prevent me from using a VCR. But the TV did have a spare set of video terminals. Not being able to play the DVD through good speakers isn't annoying enough to be worth the effort of returning it.

  • In the name of Digital Rights Management, corporations prevent you from editing or copying stuff they have published to you. This is odd, and at at odds with the spirit of Copyright.
    No-one can tell you how much of their book to read, or the order you can read it in. Why do they presume to do so with sound or video? Why must I look at a green FBI notice for 15 seconds at the start of a DVD?

    It is the act of re-publishing where the potential copyright violation occurs, not the act of viewing or editing.

    Reject uneditable content and say why. Rights are for people, not digits or management.
    1. Put cd in regular CD player.
    2. Cable from line-out of CD player to line-in jack of sound-card
    3. Start sound-to-wav converter and CD player.
    4. Encode wav to mp3.
    wavrec and bladeenc work good under linux for steps 3 and 4, but there has to be something similar for windoze.

    It's easier to rip straight from the CD, but the quality difference probably isn't noticeable after MP3 encoding (this is a guess). This method guarantees that there will be MP3 on the net of any decent tracks 20 minutes after the CD hits the shelf. And once the first one's out, that's all she wrote baby. Eat my dust, RIAA!

    But while we're doing this, don't forget to oppose the SSSCA [eff.org] absolutely and to agitate for the repeal of DMCA [anti-dmca.org]. The real danger lies in the next generation of hardware and formats, where more protection is built into the hardware.

"Free markets select for winning solutions." -- Eric S. Raymond