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Music Media Technology

Sony Japan to Abolish Copy Controlled CDs 251

Gridle writes "In a complete reversal of their policy and on the heels of Avex's partial cessation of copy protected CDs (translation), Sony Music Entertainment in Japan has announced that it will abolish its Label Gate CCCD format (translation) beginning in November 2004 and move back to normal CD-audio format discs for all future releases. Reasons cited are music users' increased consciousness about copyrights and maintenance of legality (conformity to the CD-audio format specification). In related news, Sony also released a slightly updated HD walkman (translation) due to pressure from the iPod, but because of hardware limitations the device still does not support MP3 playback."
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Sony Japan to Abolish Copy Controlled CDs

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  • by Atrax ( 249401 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:07AM (#10401920) Homepage Journal
    "many music users' consciousness increased to protection of copyrights"

    "We really thought we could sneak this by most users, but it turns out they're more informaed than we thought. Damn you, independent media!"
    • Business (Score:5, Interesting)

      by baba ( 105606 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:36AM (#10402335)
      As a side note to your well put remark - whatever happened to /. crowd's usual dislike of Sony (member RIAA)? To read most comments posted here would make you think Sony is the New Angles Co. (tm).

      This is just a simple decision to end a failing practice in the marketplace. Nothing more.
      • Re:Business (Score:5, Interesting)

        by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @03:06AM (#10402424) Homepage
        Because it is always worth noting when a company does the right thing, and especially when they usually are deep in the murky end of the ethical pool.

        This _may_, hopefully, mean that at some point in the future we may actually see a text reader tablet from them that will allow you to store your own stuff on it - in a standard format such as html - and not just lease content from them. At that point, I'd actually consider buying it.
        • Also... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pVoid ( 607584 )
          However evil they are labeled (and I agree with your point fully about the open standards), Sony still makes some damn good hardware.

          They just happened to have a stupid exec who made the choice of keeping it closed for so long... but just imagine the MDs were open from day one. I personally don't think there ever would have been an iPod. Or any other decent music player for that matter. And now that they have highMD, they would have been unbeatable.

          But alas, no... Same as BetaMax I suppose.

      • Re:Business (Score:5, Informative)

        by TiggsPanther ( 611974 ) <[ku.oc.diov-m] [ta] [sggit]> on Friday October 01, 2004 @04:48AM (#10402670) Journal
        As a side note to your well put remark - whatever happened to /. crowd's usual dislike of Sony (member RIAA)? To read most comments posted here would make you think Sony is the New Angles Co. (tm).

        I think it's because it shows one (or both) of two things.

        1. Sony might be an RIAA affiliate but that doesn't influence Sony Japan's decision-making. Which means that the worldwide company isn't having it's decisions dictated by its American arm. This is good in that if more and more regional divisions of Sony decide it's better not to copy-protect CDs then their American arm might follow suit out of sheer convenience. Oh and as a Brit I admit to having a little bit of bias in thinking that it's good that non-American arms of international countries don't always follow the "bad" decisions of their American counterparts.
        2. They realise that DRM isn't a perfect solution whether they like it or not. (See below)
        This is just a simple decision to end a failing practice in the marketplace. Nothing more.

        Coming from a company so involved in the industry I see this as a good thing. If nothing else it's a pleasant change to the usual story of trying to prolong the failing practice at the expense of customer irritation.
        Even if it is "a simple decision to end a failing practice" it would be a very welcome decision if more companies would realise that irritating your customers isn't going to increase sales.

      • Well... More like, it's always nice to see anybody get a clue. Sony seems to realize now that buggering up the product isn't the way to win friends and influence people. Let's hope that more music publishing companies follow suit.

        -jcr
    • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:38AM (#10402340) Homepage
      Or translation of translation of translation:

      "Capitalism actually works. I am shocked!"

      So am I.
      • Capitalism works... In Japan!

        Had to be said
    • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @04:47AM (#10402667)
      I read it more as: We suddenly realized that another part of the company sold ATRAC/MP3 players, so whichever way we play it we win, and this way we get to look good as well.
      • Gnagnagna,

        Phillips SO saw this coming.... they sold polygram years ago (Their music business), then masively promoted CD burners, THEN issued warnings that CD protection fails to meet CD Audio requirements, adn demanded the removal of "CD Audio" labels on protected CD's.

        They sell mucho car CD players, for exmpl...

        I always wondered WTF Sony was thinking...

        "/Dread"
    • Another reason might be that, er, it didn't seem to actually do anything. I rented a few CDs (yes, they do that in Japan) with the RIAJ label (no CD label), so I'm assuming these were the copy-protected CDs, since they had a sign about copy protection near the CD racks. I had no problems ripping these on my iBook, and even my host brother could rip them with WMP on his Windws machine. I wonder what the copy protection was supposed to do?
  • Roxxor (Score:5, Funny)

    by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:08AM (#10401924)
    Any move toward trusting consumers and an industry standard is worthy of a smile. :)

    Or at least, a colon and a close parenthesis.
    • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Interesting)

      by irokitt ( 663593 ) <archimandrites-iaur@y a h o o.com> on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:12AM (#10401956)
      Especially when it comes from Sony, who are probably big enough to get away with a copy-protection practice if they really wanted to. Kudos to them.
      • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Insightful)

        by halowolf ( 692775 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:23AM (#10402024)
        It makes sound business sense to me. The consumers that suffer from copy control mechanisms are the honest consumers that want to play by the rules. Those that want to illegally copy music without proper compensation (again I'm not going to go into the whole artists getting ripped off argument) will find a way around the mechanisms that exist to get what they want for free.

        Keep your customers happy so you don't alienate them and make them go to the dark illegal copying side, then combat the problem of those that are ripping you off.

        • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Atrax ( 249401 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:30AM (#10402060) Homepage Journal
          Damn straight. The customer should be the number one priority for pretty much any corporate entity, though sometimes they do seem to lose the plot a little.

          Now if only it was easier to buy a DVD disc without region encoding, I'd be happy. As a Brit living in Australia, I'm pretty hacked off with the hassle of playing UK bought DVDs in AU and vice versa. And I thought this was if-not-illegal-then-definitely-dodgy restraint of trade?
          • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Informative)

            by halowolf ( 692775 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:40AM (#10402107)
            Well I'm from Australia too and I've never had a problem getting region free DVD players in Australia. Everyone seems to offer them. Just do some hunting, perhaps at a specialist store and I'm sure you will find a good player unencumbered by and anti-competitive practice. The ACCC doesn't seem to mind region free players existing ;)

            The UK however I don't have a clue about. However if you can get a DVD player through customs send one home and change its power plug :)

            • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Atrax ( 249401 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:47AM (#10402141) Homepage Journal
              Yeah, I possibly should go buy one, but :

              1. can I get a region free DVD drive for my Dell laptops? no.
              2. what about my compaq desktop? maybe.
              3. shall I just replace the set-top player I've already bought? considering it.

              I watch DVDs on my laptop(s) quite a bit, and it's my laptops I travel with, meaning I'd much rather have region-free there, where there's a more pressing need.
              • Hmmm a good point. I've never seen an unencumbered DVD-ROM/BURNER, perhaps some other good hearted Slashdot readers can point out some that don't have any region locking.

                Of course I would not suggest any measures that may violate the DCMA...

              • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:06AM (#10402216)
                1. can I get a region free DVD drive for my Dell laptops? no.

                You can play DVD's from any region on any player if you use software with decss... like VLC and such. (Yes, it works under Windows too.)
                • now THIS is new to me. Of course I probably won't be able to sneak it onto the work laptop (PowerDVD or death, I suspect) but this could be good if it'll run on my personal machines.

                  for anyone else reading and wondering, VLC is here [videolan.org], and I'll be testing it out tonight.
                • Re:Roxxor (Score:3, Informative)

                  by B2382F29 ( 742174 )

                  Mplayer [mplayerhq.hu] uses it too, there is also a Windows version [mplayerhq.hu]

                  BTW, it is not libcss anymore, but libdvdcss.

                • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Informative)

                  by DeeKayWon ( 155842 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @05:54AM (#10402812)
                  You can play DVD's from any region on any player if you use software with decss... like VLC and such. (Yes, it works under Windows too.)

                  No, you can't. For about the last five years, DVD drives themselves have been enforcing region coding in firmware. Firmwares that do not enforce regioning are called RPC-1. Ones that do are called RPC-2. The only way to make a recent drive RPC-1 is with a hacked firmware, since the companies only release RPC-2.

                  The Firmware Page [rpc1.org] is one of the best sources for hacked RPC-1 firmware. But if no one has hacked up a new firmware for your drive, then there's no way around region coding regardless what software you're using.

              • Re:Roxxor (Score:5, Informative)

                by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <frogbert@g m a il.com> on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:20AM (#10402266)
                Some links that may be of interest to you:
                http://dvd.box.sk/index.php?pid=d_soft&prj=l ist&to ols=region&pol=2
                http://regionhacks.datatestlab.c om/
                http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks

                Enjoy your movies :-)
              • There are plenty of options. For one, a lot of DVDROM players have hacks to change their region any number of times and can be set to region 0 too. Another option is to rip your films to DIVX format and then either store them on the hard drive or burn them to a CD/DVD. You can fit a decent copy of a full length movie on a single CDROM if you encode it well.

                As an Aussie who moved to London I went through this hassle an age ago. If you had electronic gear then simply cut the plugs off the end and put an Aussi

              • Region unlocking (Score:3, Informative)

                by Danj2k ( 123765 )

                1. can I get a region free DVD drive for my Dell laptops?

                Possibly. Try having a look on The Firmware Page [rpc1.org] and seeing if there is a region-unlocked firmware for the drive in your Dell laptop. Your other alternative is to get hold of a program like DVD Region Free [dvdidle.com] which I believe will strip off the region coding (and other things) before it reaches your DVD player software.

              • My computer DVD drive is supposedly not region free (well, it's not region free under Windows). However, using Xine and the DVD plugins under Linux, it's region free (having lived in the US for 7, that's where I bought the DVD-ROM drive, and now I also have region 2 discs so it's important to me to be able to play both regions).

                You might be able to set up a custom Knoppix boot disk or USB drive to act as a region-free DVD player on your laptop if you don't want to dual boot or delete Windows.
            • It's trivial to get region-free players in the UK; even Tesco (the UK's number one supermarket brand - think Wal-Mart without the greeters) sell them openly. The only places that won't are Sony Centres, quelle surprise, and Dixons Group stores (think Circuit City but with staff that would fail the Turing Test).

              The funny thing is that staff at shops that won't sell them (or refuse to tell you the remote code for unlockable players) try to claim that it's 'illegal' for them to do so. Which is strange as the

          • Re:Roxxor (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hype7 ( 239530 )
            Damn straight. The customer should be the number one priority for pretty much any corporate entity, though sometimes they do seem to lose the plot a little.


            And don't forget DVD-A and SACD. Some of us want high rez music formats without the DRM crud attached. If they can pull it off CDs, they sure as hell can pull it off the struggling formats.

            -- james
          • I thought Australia and the UK were both region two? My brother lived over there for a couple of years and all his DVDs he's brought back play on a region locked UK DVD player just fine.

            Is the UK one of the only places where you can just walk into any shop and buy a region free player without any problems?
        • Re:Roxxor (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jinushaun ( 397145 )
          A lot like gun safety laws. It only stops the law abiding citizens from purchasing guns. Criminals will get their guns regardless--they don't purchase it through the system.
  • by Artifex ( 18308 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:09AM (#10401931) Journal
    What happened to their promise that all new portables would do MP3, and they'd have firmware updates for existing ones?
  • Rock on! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Islamic Fundamen ( 728413 ) <sam_r@shaw.ca> on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:09AM (#10401933) Homepage Journal
    This is excellent! But remember the capital of piracy is right next door to them(S. Korea and China)
  • Hell... (Score:3, Funny)

    by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:10AM (#10401939) Journal
    Hell has frozen over.

    I think that says it all...I guess that Satan will be wearing a coat tonight.

  • Good For Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZSmitty ( 817773 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:10AM (#10401941)
    This is a good move by Sony. Discs with the protection are incredibly annoying. Sure, people will pirate stuff and do things with non-protected discs illegally, but this is becoming less frequent, and for people who actually buy their music honestly, it is an incredible annoyance to not be able to do what you want with your own personal music. Thanks Sony.
    • people will pirate stuff and do things with non-protected discs illegally, but this is becoming less frequent

      You must live in the warm fuzzy part of the internet. Based on what I see, such as the continuing increase in usenet spool sizes, illegal sharing continues to gain popularity.

      Ultimately, the "media" companies are going to have to come up with a new business model. Something that involves getting paid up front once and only once for their work. Digital copying is just too easy for any royalty ba
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:11AM (#10401947) Homepage Journal
    Set your faces to stun.
  • DRM? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:11AM (#10401949) Journal
    See this, Bill Gates? Not ALL of you "biggies" think we're all crooks!
  • by manonthemoon ( 537690 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:12AM (#10401958) Homepage
    to face reality. It sounds like the war between its content producing arms and consumer electronics groups has been decided in favor of the electronics group.

    It was inevitable- "MP3 players" is the *name* of the categorty and the defining feature of compressed audio devices.

    If you cannot rip a CD to mp3 its value to the consumer is lessened considerably and they will be more likely to turn to p2p alternatives. A losing proposition all around for Sony.

    It may be too little too late- kind of sad as they could have owned they category if they had only been unhampered by their content divisions (and had some better human interface engineers for their software).
    • by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @04:29AM (#10402626) Homepage
      I have always wondered why they didn't press hybrid CDs with a CD-ROM part that contains the MP3s for the album, and eventually some bonus material (bitmaps, video clips, interviews, etc...).

      Of course it would make piracy a little easier, but they should know that pirates can rip/record any CD (even protected) in the blink of an eye. Only the poor non-technical fellow would truly benefit from that and it would make his life so much easier with is mp3 player.

      Of course, this is all utopy as they would all release their compressed tracks in a different format, making is effectively useless.

      Oh well...
    • It sounds like the war between its content producing arms and consumer electronics groups has been decided in favor of the electronics group.

      Let's hope the outcome is the same in the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD field since Sony now owns TWO movie studios, it would be wonderful if blu-ray came to market with either no copy-prevention or something that was as ultimately half-assed as CSS is.

      Somehow I think that internal battle is going to be a lot more bloody than the copy-prevented CD fight was.
  • by hereschenes ( 813329 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:13AM (#10401961)
    "... but because of hardware limitations the device still does not support MP3 playback."

    Sounds pretty stupid to me... for many not-particularly-tech-savvy (NPTS) people, mp3 is still the compressed music format of choice, and these people will be most of Sony's market for this device.

    NPTS Customer: Hey that looks cool, does it have mp3?
    Salesman: No, but it has...
    NPTS Customer: Ah we'll leave it - what else you got?/p?

    • by tarth ( 445054 )
      More than likely, the NPTS will see the extravagant claims Sony puts on the box by using low-quality sample ATRACs, disregard the fine print, buy it because it seems like a better value, then take it home and wonder why the hell it's taking HOURS to convert their existing MP3s to Sony's format.
  • Damn! (Score:5, Funny)

    by NTiOzymandias ( 753325 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:13AM (#10401962)
    No more copy-protected CDs?! But why?! I was having so much fun scribbling around the edges with my beloved Sharpees..... I can still do that even if there's no point, right? Right?!?!
    • I can still do that even if there's no point, right?

      Careful, there. If sufficient pressure is applied, you may scratch the disc. ;-)
  • by tarunthegreat2 ( 761545 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:14AM (#10401968)
    I have a feeling half the reason (or the only?) reason Sony is doing this, is because they happen to be involved in the electronics business that requires you to have non-copy-protected CDs as raw material. Basically I think the decision may have that since there's shitloads of profit to be made off the hardware, it may offset greater piracy in their music biz. And somebody doing the math may have realized that this is financially viable. Thus Sony has no issues with this. Maybe the RIAA should stop prosecuting file-sharers, and instead get into some kind of revenue-sharing agreement with the Sonys and Apples of world. (ok, ok, stop scoffing at the words revenue-sharing, it could happen!)
  • Labelgate? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:14AM (#10401974)
    So will the scandalous drop in Sony Japan's music sales forever be known as Labelgategate?
  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femto ( 459605 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:15AM (#10401980) Homepage
    our consumer electronics business is worth more to us than our music business.
  • by abb3w ( 696381 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:15AM (#10401981) Journal
    ...for reading Slashdot after 1AM: I start dreaming weird and unbelievable stuff becomes news. Time for bed.

  • Just a thought (Score:5, Interesting)

    by starprose ( 817600 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:15AM (#10401982) Homepage
    When you buy music and movies you are not allowed to return it to the store unless your buying the same title since you could have copied them. Would they now let you return discs with copyright protective measures for a refund since you are unable to copy them?
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:22AM (#10402013)
    ...but damnit they can learn if you give 'em enough time.

    I'm glad to see AVEX cutting back and Sony backing off completely. Hopefully this means I'll actually be able to get some soundtracks and Do As Infinity CDs without worrying about the discs being f*cked and horribly fragile.

    Maybe Pony Canyon and a few other labels in Japan will follow their lead and stop shipping this crap on their CDs.

    This could be bad though... I'd have no reason to not buy more stuff from them!
  • good move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:26AM (#10402041) Homepage
    From a marketing standpoint, this is an awesome position for Sony to take. They've had a reputation of kind of screwing people over with copy protection *cough*minidisc*cough*.

    In an industry where the corporations are suing their customers, there is PLENTY of room for large companies to take a new stance and embrace the now pissed off consumers. If you get in on that early enough in the game, as Sony appears to be doing, then people start rallying behind you against the companies who AREN'T taking that position.

    All in all, its a very smart tactical move for Sony, and reading this has restored a sliver of the faith I once had in them.

    • Re:good move (Score:4, Interesting)

      by the_leander ( 759904 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:44AM (#10402121) Journal
      "From a marketing standpoint, this is an awesome position for Sony to take. They've had a reputation of kind of screwing people over with copy protection *cough*minidisc*cough*."

      TBH I've not had that much of an issue with the minidisc drm, my biggest gripe with it was the fact that the software interface for transfering files etc sucked donkey balls and the device itself could not be used within windows as a portable Magneto Optical drive (which it is) for backing up/restoring stuff... But thats just me I guess (Yes you could transfer files to it within the software, but then the whole drm thing kicked in if for instance you changed motherboards or replaced the hard disk).

      "In an industry where the corporations are suing their customers, there is PLENTY of room for large companies to take a new stance and embrace the now pissed off consumers. If you get in on that early enough in the game, as Sony appears to be doing, then people start rallying behind you against the companies who AREN'T taking that position."

      Indeed and I couldn't agree more with your take on it or their new customer friendly stance. Its a change that has been much needed imho. I wonder how long the other big players will take to realise just how vunerable their tactics (By proxy using the RIAA) have left them to just this sort of move?
      • "I wonder how long the other big players will take to realise just how vunerable their tactics (By proxy using the RIAA) have left them to just this sort of move?"

        More importantly, I wonder who will be the last company left standing who DOESN'T adopt this. It will be fun watching the executives jump out of their corner office windows.

    • Re:good move (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <`ten.gniflyw' `ta' `nairb'> on Friday October 01, 2004 @01:45AM (#10402134) Homepage Journal
      In an industry where the corporations are suing their customers, there is PLENTY of room for large companies to take a new stance and embrace the now pissed off consumers.

      I see this as history repeating itself. Provided the U.S. Congress can restrain itself from passing laws requiring anti-copying technology, then the market will naturally swing just as you said. It happened in the 80s with anti-copying tech on floppy disks. For a while, every disk had an anti-copying scheme on it. But eventually enough customers were irritated that companies just started shipping non-copy-protected disks again. It'll come around. The customer always wins in the end. Not only that, but the formats that Congress does lock down will simply be abandoned. See any DATs anywhere? Nope.

  • Maybe someone high-up over at Sony had a read of The Cluetrain Manifesto [cluetrain.com]? :)
  • by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:16AM (#10402252) Homepage
    Apparently there isn't an RIAJ to "protect" the "interests" of the artists!
  • When I lived in Japan, there were quite a few CD rental shops. I made SO MANY flippin tapes from CDs I rented, it wasn't even funny.
    They vanished before I moved back to the States in 1994, though..
    Now, 1999 rolls around and mp3 is all the rage.

    The CDs in the rental shops were plain ol' audio CDs. No DRM, no copy-bit, no need for a Sharpie. None of that crap.

    Interesting to at least see part of that past come full circle..

  • by phorm ( 591458 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @02:57AM (#10402406) Journal
    Do we now once again start buying music produced in conjunction with Sony, as a show of good faith in their newly-regained trust of the consumer?

    I realize many bought discs despite these issues... but I've actually abstained for the mostpart these past few years.
  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @03:12AM (#10402439)
    because of hardware limitations the device still does not support MP3 playback

    What kind of hardware are they running it on that isn't capable of decoding a 128kbit MP3 in real time (which is all most people want out of an MP3 player)? An 8MHz 8086?

    I mean, seriously, I used to play MP3s on my old Pentium 100MHz, while doing other work with them... their hardware would have to be very limited to not be able to keep up with that.
    • The scope for streaming the audio data through a hardware MP3 decoder probably hasn't been designed in, it's unlikely a processor of the type used for this kind of application will be flexible enough to do the job itself. Therefore a redesign would be required to get MP3 playback. This must have been a very concious decision by the marketing droids, one which they now regret...
    • Actually, my old 75mhz P1 could barely not play a 128kbs MP3 in real time. But as you said, they're just BSing :)
  • Maybe just maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @03:15AM (#10402448) Homepage
    They realized that it was counter productive to sell copy protected CDs and expensive mp3 and mini-disc players.
  • by blibbler ( 15793 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @03:18AM (#10402455)
    "Sony also released a slightly updated HD walkman (translation) due to pressure from the iPod"

    With businesses, pressure generally comes from companies with comparable marketshare... Ford might feel pressure from GM, Apple might feel pressure from Rio... Sony is so far out of the main music player game, that it is ludicrous to think they are feeling "pressure" from apple... that would be like saying Be was feeling pressure from Microsoft... This is just a result of Sony fatally mis-predicting the market.
  • ...The marketing practically writes itself!

    This smells a little bit like victory.
  • by bursch-X ( 458146 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @03:42AM (#10402519)
    ...and while doing so abolish selling CDs in general. From now on your SONY Music will be available solely on MDs in ATRAC format.

    I was just being a bit utopic, but that's what they'd really like to do, isn't it?
  • by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <deliverance@level[ ]rg ['4.o' in gap]> on Friday October 01, 2004 @03:52AM (#10402539) Journal
    Pity for the producers.

    Not for being profiteering bastards, not for losing profits (What am I a moron?). No but for the fact that mp3 took off and it's NOT an open codec, Sony doesn't want to include it because if they do then it will be THE codec FOREVER.

    And those nutbars at Fraunhaufer will be laughing their heads off.

    Sony is part of the consortium that owns the patent on DVD ($1 per dvd player and a tiny fraction of each blank disk) which is increadibly lucrative, they also have their fingers in the next gen Blu-Ray pie.

    But I still feel sorry when someone has to pay money so that others may share for free, hats off to Sony! May this journey to the dark side of copywrite law leave you enlightened.
  • A good move... It just goes to show that most people in the first place don't know or care about copy protection... they only know they should be free to use *their* music the way they see fit.


    Sony forcing such an action only brings to surface the impnending formalities of music copy righs...etc


    Here they have done more to free music rights by making the first wrong move... and that is trying to bring to public's attention the restrictions. A bad move that backfired. Thank God.

  • ATRAC3 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pekoe ( 623399 ) <{smiorgan} {at} {ntlworld.com}> on Friday October 01, 2004 @04:41AM (#10402650)
    I bought a netMD minidisc player because it was cheap, and because - get this - it said that it supported mp3. It does in a way - if you can get the (apparently) godawful sonicstage software to install (not on a win98 machine, whatever the box says) then it just takes your mp3 collection and decodes/encodes to ATRAC3 on the fly as you're connecting to your walkman. I never got to try it out (still use win98) but I expect it's not the speediest transfer. It went back the next day and I got an iPod mini, and sync'd it to my wife's ibook - and got what I paid for. It's bizarre, Sony claim pressure from the iPod as a driver for getting a HD walkman out and expect the mainstream consumer to go for their product, that arguably has less market visibility that Apple's, and doesn't support the mainstream file format. And Sony won't officially support a windows installation that hasn't been factory installed - even upgrades of OEM machines aren't supported. Damn them.
  • On another note (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @05:01AM (#10402705) Journal
    Actually before everybody goes off hailing SONY for being so great and good: From everything I have seen here in japan I honestly don't think Japanese people *DO* any piracy. Sure there are the niche "maniacs" that does that, but in general the population shuns pirated software and music and movies like it's a bad disease.

    Some examples:

    * I bring back stacks of new movies unreleased in japan (back when LOTR:ROK was not in theatres yet), DVDs bought in china. Everyone is interested until the moment they realize it's pirated. "Oh it must be bad quality," or "ahh it's ok i'll just wait for the theatres." etc

    * Japanese in piracy capitals doesn't browse the bootleg shops. At ALL.

    (side note to above, they also pay full price for Luis Vuitton crap even when there are immitations for 1/100th of the price and absolutely no discernable difference). There are also no market for said immitation products in Japan.

    * us foreigners are downloading movies off bittorrent that we can't get here, and we always get these looks of amazement like "oh you guys are pirating again!"

    This is compared to pretty much all of my acquaintences in the US (including everyone who is not even considered "tech savvy") who downloads from kazaa or torrent or whatever. Why do you think the announcement is that they will simply end the copy-protect from Sony Japan, but not globally?

    It's a moral problem, boys and girls.
    • Re:On another note (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ickoonite ( 639305 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @06:25AM (#10402875) Homepage
      Can't agree with you there. From my experience, most young Japanese think nothing of downloading music, films...whatever - it's what high speed fibre connections are for!

      The Japanese are traditionally very obedient, it is true, and there is very little market for counterfeit goods, but that doesn't extend to P2P on the Internet, because it feels that much more abstracted (and is totally free) - same as everywhere else.

      iqu :|
    • Re:On another note (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fifthchild ( 443035 ) <fifthchild04@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Friday October 01, 2004 @06:56AM (#10402937) Homepage
      Yes. And pirated movies on the racks of Thailand and China's dodgy vendors all have Japanese subtitles? They most certainly don't. This is the sole reason thye this is the case. The preference over quality is no worse than anywhere else. I refuse to watch screeners, but I know plenty of people (Japanese or not) who happily will.
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sony to Abolish Copy Controlled CDs..... in Japan!
  • ...but apparently it supports betamax
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @07:06AM (#10402949) Homepage
    When I was in Japan last March through April, a friend bought a Janet Jackson CD that was copy protected and the damned thing had problems playing in all of her players... in her car, in her computer (especially) and in her stereo. After looking at the CD's case, I realized it wasn't due to accidental defect but due to intentional defect instead.

    I told her what she should do about it.

    1) Return the CD
    2) Voice her opinion to the record company
    3) Tell all of her friends

    Maybe I didn't make a HUGE difference but I still like to THINK I played a small part in that.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @08:45AM (#10403305) Homepage
    We need to get game companies to do the same thing. The last three PC games I purchased had copy protection on them and the games will not run even with the CD in the drive. I have no copy-protection software of CD emulation or anything like that.

    I got a no CD crack for one, and I contacted tech support about the other two. Tech support's reply: You must play the game on a read-only drive! Neither one works on a CDRW! I find that amazing: They are totally willing to abandon everyone who only has a writable drive (which is almost every new computer these days).

    Is piracy really that bad that this is worth doing? As far as I know, the pirates can get around it. They probably spent more money answering my tech support than they made off of the game (especially since I am going to give them hell for selling me a product that they know doesn't work, but don't mention it on the box).
    • Long, long ago, in what seems like another life, I was a kid (ok, it was only 15 or so years ago). I owned a TRS-80 Color Computer (both 2 and 3), and I had a game - a game called "Gates of Delerium" by Diecom Software. This company released several great games for this computer, but some of their games (or maybe all of them - I only purchased the one) had copy protection on the floppy. These were 5.25 floppies, mind you...

      Fast-forward to today: I get my Color Computers back from my parents house, and I hav

  • by chiph ( 523845 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @09:08AM (#10403444)
    Will Sony be re-releasing the titles that were shipped with their non-conforming copy protection scheme?

    Chip H.
  • *applause* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwood ( 25379 ) on Friday October 01, 2004 @11:23AM (#10404731)
    We are not shy about kicking manufacturers for unwelcome decisions, so here's praise for one that has rethought and made a better decision.

Where are the calculations that go with a calculated risk?

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