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The Bride Of Macrovision 388

Posted by timothy
from the but-imagine-the-children! dept.
Marty writes: "Coming soon to a CD near you, Safeaudio, the Bride of Macrovision. Those wonderful people at Macrovision, who brought us such wonderful technological innovations as, well, macrovision copy protection on VHS tapes, is now taking a stab at the CD market with a new scheme called Safeaudio. The press release about the beta test can be seen here, which I found initially on Stereophile. It's designed to prevent copying of audio CDs to a CD-R (no technical details are given). Might as well get rid of that whole pesky fair use provision of copyright law, right? After all, according to Macrovision, "We believe that SAFEAUDIO provides an opportunity for the music industry to regain the billions of dollars lost to unauthorized casual copying." Better we all buy multiple copies of the same CD so we can keep one in the car, one at work, one at home so the music corporations can regain their rightful billions that we've stolen by making personal copies or compilation CDs for our own use."
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The Bride Of Macrovision

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  • Only $43.45? CDs will be that price in two years anyway.

  • How else other than through the slale of records is an artist supposed to create his music?

    I'm not sure what you're asking, but i think you mean "How else other than through the sale of records is an artist to support themselves?" It's called "Go on tour." You know how much artists royalties amount to from a song on a CD? 8.5 CENTS. They get much more from sales of tickets & band merchandise at concerts.

    How much do you think it costs to purchase instruments and rent a recording studio? Don't know? Let me tell you then it's quite a bit!

    And the price is dropping every day because microphone prices and digital mastering equipment prices are dropping through the floor. More and more people have access to high-quality recording equipment. Get a few good microphones, some good recording equipment, and some space away from ambient noise, and you have a decent recording area.

    Would you like the work of your inspiration to be copied without regard to your rights as the creator?

    Finally making a good point. What about the will of the artists? The will of the artists went out the window once they signed their recording contract.

    I think you're missing the fact that there are a couple of different camps on this issue. There's blatant piracy, and then there's this issue of FAIR USE. Blatant piracy is obviously wrong, but telling me I can't make a copy of a CD I purchased to take to work with me so I don't have to carry a whole pile of CD's with me is wrong
  • The big question that must be answered here is the following. Fair use provisions allow consumers to make copies for their own use in different formats, etc. Is it then legal, or illegal for distributors to add some measure to prevent this fair use?

    As I see it, fair use is something that applies to the consumer. I.E. a freedom from prosecution connected with copying media for personal use. There was no restriction placed on the record companies, except to keep them from sueing end-users.

    Somehow, I don't think the record companies will be found guilty. After all, they are not coercing people to buy their product, and are not applying things retroactively. I'd like to be wrong about this, but who knows.

    The way to fight this is to find out when the first such CD will be released, and organize a protest. If a lot of people go out and buy the CD, try to make a copy for person use, and then return it the next day, that might do something.
  • I was under the impressrion that the macrovision copy protection required both a hardware and software element... meaning that if the recording device and the media being copied both have macrovision on it, then the copies fail (or the signal is interfered with so it records funky). I used to have 2 VCR's, a newer and an older one. If I tried recording from the old to the new, it would crap out, but if I did the recording on the old one (without macrovision on it) then everything was hunky-dory.

    The point I'm trying to make is that if this new copy protection works the same way, then it will only work on brand new hardware... so just hold on to those older devices.
    Of course, they could try to release cd's that only work on macrovision-enabled cd-players, but I don't think that would go over too well("You mean I have to buy a new cd player to listen to the latest Britney Spears P.O.S? Fook that! I'll get it off the net!")

  • Likewise with me. I've got an RCA DVD player both my old crappy emerson VCR and my new Panasonic VCR work fine unless I try to record.
    _____________
  • I take _all_ my CD's back and forth to work. All 200 or so of them.

    I also scratch a fair number of CDs taking them out of the wacky book I have to use to carry that many CDs. Making backup copies of the CDs would avoid that problem. I'm just too lazy to do it, honestly.

    And then there's the making of your own 'mix' CDs, home-grown "best of" type compilations, etc. There's even (gasp, I know) making a nice little mix CD for a friend of bands s/he might like (Is that illegal, or fair use...? The world may never know).

    The point isn't even why ... the point is we're allowed to, and there's enough reason for us to want to that our right to shouldn't be destroyed because the industry is afraid of piracy.

  • Better we all buy multiple copies of the same CD so we can keep one in the car, one at work, one at home so the music corporations can regain their rightful billions that we've stolen by making personal copies or compilation CDs for our own use.

    And you can't physically take the CD from one place to another? Too much effort? Once again, the argument of convenience simply doesn't work. You can't transfer the argument for "backup" copies to any other physical material -- I don't ask for a copy of my television when I purchase it, so I can see it somewhere else. Or a copy of my car.

    Let's face it. If you use superficial arguments to argue for copy rights for consumers, you get disregarded.

  • You obviously either don't have a large collection of music or a wide variety of musical taste. Or, maybe you just don't really care what you're listening to.

    Why do I need to carry a bunch of CDs with me? Because I never know what I'll want to listen to. I might start out the day listening to Tori Amos, and then by the end of the day decide that I'm really in a Metallica mood or maybe a Stevie Ray Vaughn mood. I have no idea when I leave the house what kind of music I'm going to want to listen to on the drive home. Just to et a good representation of my 1000+ CD collection requires me to carry about 80 or so CDs around with me. That's about $1600 just sitting around in my car while I'm at work -- so I bring it in -- then it's $1600 laying on my desk at work. Then, invaribaly, I need one of the CDs laying around at home.

    So, I coded every CD I own into MP3. That resides on a server at my house with a broadband connection. I can get my music from anywhere that has a broadband connection. Not only that, I can carry around the same 80 CDs (using the AIWA mp3 player in the car or the Rio Volt elsewhere), but have almost my complete collection at my fingertips, and if it's stolen a few hours of my time and $20 will replace it. The actual real CDs are safe (enough) at home.

    And, as far as the pricing goes, I'm tired of the bullying tactics of the RIAA and the big four. I was mad when they started their crusade against the Diamond Rio and mp3s in general. I got madder when they started in on Napster (where I get music they don't want to sell me -- at any price). I finally got pissed when it was revealed they were price fixing (no really!) and only got a slap on the wrist for it.

    It does not cost $20 to manufacture, ship, sell a CD and compensate the artist. Sell me a CD at a reasonable price, and allow me to get my music in the format I want it (more for the CD, less for the mp3 on line), AND uncrippled, so I can do what I want with it. As of now, I'm not buying any CDs. I haven't in over a year, and I'm getting to the point where I don't miss it. I used to be one of the big four's biggest customers, now I am not a customer at all -- and will not be until they get off their high horse.

    The MPAA should watch out too, because right now I'm about half satisfied with them. I think $15-20 is fair for a DVD, it costs that much to go see the movie at the theatre -- and even though I don't approve, I understand region incoding. However, the DeCSS thing is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Plus, I wonder if I wouldn't spend more money on DVDs if they weren't just a bit cheaper.

  • I have a 12-disk changer in the car, the cartridges for car changers are incompatible with any home stereo changer (I know, I looked).

    I have some disks that are 'out of print', and cannot be replaced at any costs.

    I keep CD-R duplicates in the car, from originals I own, partly for convenience, but mostly so if the CDs in the car get scratched, stolen, torched, etc, I am out a few bucks in CD-R media instead of a few hundred in original CDs.

  • by Stavr0 (35032) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:22AM (#383535) Homepage Journal
    Duuh-obvious. CD to Line out to line in to CDR for the first copy, that cleans the MV then it's free-for-all from then on. (Oh and a 192+kbps MP3 for good measure while we're at it)
    ---
  • I really don't think that it will be anything special that is implemented on the CD, in hardware, or software. Their new antipiracy protocol goes like this:

    you go into the store, and buy a cd, the clerk takes your money and hands you your cd in a bag (why the hell do they always insist on putting single items in bags anyway?) As you walk away, she will sneak up behind you and clamp a chain around your ankle. When you ask her why she did that, she will reply:

    "this is our way of making sure that you won't pirate the songs on that cd." you will then notice that the chain is attached to a 7 foot tall 300 lb body builder named Crusher wearing a t-shirt that says "piracy" with a big red X over it. The clerk goes on to explain that he will follow you around forever and will umm encourage you to not make illegal copies of music.

    Once the technology is perfected, the RIAA will probably just embed hypnotic suggestions in all their music therebye forcing us to give them all of our money in return for getting hypnotized to give them more money.
    ----------------------
  • This just goes to show that the RIAA is always lying through their teeth when they way "We aren't concerned about casual copying. We are just trying to stop mass piracy."

    Well, far be it from me to argue on the side of RIAA et al. (fuck them and their children in the ass) but I'll play the devil's advocate here.

    This is intended to stop mass piracy. E.g. people making black-market copies of CDs and selling them en masse (like software pirates). Pirate sells disc for $5, makes huge profit, buyer gets perfect digital copy (presumably they'd print up labels and inserts too), musician gets zero (which is just slightly less than they get in the normal scenario after the record company fucks them). Just like software makers, they don't care if individual consumers' lives are made more complicated as long as they can zap the big counterfiters in places like SE Asia and central/south america (see the machine-locking of windows licenses on recent machines from places like Dell).


    --
    News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]
  • by BarefootClown (267581) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:40AM (#383542) Homepage

    This is true, but it also requires specialized hardware to be in the VCR and TV.

    Macrovision Primer:

    Automatic Gain Control: an automatic system for adjusting the amplification of a signal so that the output is at a standard level. This allows input signal variances to be compensated so that the TV displays consistently between sources. May be "fast" (responds quickly to change in signal level, similar to a "peak" level meter) or "slow" (responds to sloweer changes, like an "average" level meter"). TV's have slow AGC, VCR's have fast.

    A frame of TV has several components. It contains a timing (sync) pulse, a threshold (black level, a baseline used by the AGC to determine what voltage corresponds to "black"), and the actual data being conveyed. Macrovision is a system of rapidly changing the black level, thus confusing a fast AGC and rendering the signal unwatchable, while (theoretically) leaving slow AGC's unaffected (as they respond to the average black level, not the instantaneous). By confusing the fast AGC of the VCR, the signal is deteriorated to the point where it is unwatchable. This system is augmented in newer equipment by Macrovision hardware, present in all newer VHS equipment (as required by JVC, the holder of the VHS license). 8mm does not have Macrovision circuitry, and is not affected by Macrovision; in this, it is like the "A" in the D2A2D of the previous post; however, when copying to 8mm, the Macrovision stays on the signal, it just doesn't manifest itself until copied back to VHS (i.e. the 8mm is a carrier, not affected by the disease).

    If this new system can be implemented in such a way as to take advantage of differing signal properties of recording and playback equipment (note: most recording units do have different AGC's than most playback units), the system could conceivably work; this is unlikely, though, because TV signals carry information that is never viewable (by design); analog audio signals are pure signal, with no extraneous information. The best bet for such a system in audio would be to make a deal with the license holders for various recording technologies, and get the license holders to mandate the anti-copy hardware, the same way Macrovision is currently handled. This would likely result in a situation similar to the one with Macrovision, where old equipment becomes desirable specifically to circumvent copy prevention. Everything old is new again :-).

    For a much better explanation of Macrovision, as well a plausible (read: I haven't tested it, but it looks reasonable) Macrovision remover, check out Antti Paarlahti's page here [cinecam.com]. Another Macrovision remover, this one using PIC's, can be found on Andrew McCubbin's page here [quicknet.com.au]

    Hope this is useful to somebody!

  • I've got a VCR and Projection TV with Line Quadrupler at home, never had any problems in that regard. Of course, it was professionally installed, but I've moved other VCRs to it in the past, never had to disable anything. As for the specific settings on the line quadrupler, I cannot comment. It's possible that the installer had to tweak something, but it's not on the frontend at least.
  • there are already cd->cdr ('audio disc') appliances on the market. these MUST be 100% legal since all the major brands (philips, sony, etc) are making them.

    they already tried (and with some people, succeeded) in charging more for the audio discs as a 'copy tax' and since cdr's are so cheap, they disallow them in those consumer machines.

    imagine how pissed off Joe Bestbuy will be when he comes home with the shiny new philips 'make my own music mix' stereo component and finds that the music mafia has put yet another obstacle in his way. he's already paid for the right to copy his discs in the price of the silver cd, paid the copy tax in the 'audio disc' blank he was forced to buy, and now his whole setup is now inoperable.

    yeah, that will endear Joe to the music industry. uhuh.

    before he copied only for personal use. now he's pissed off and will copy FOR SPITE at any occasion.

    you want a war? you got it.

    --

  • That's true - I forgot the DMCA. Under the DMCA they could "encrypt" the CD with XOR and you'd be up for fines/jailtime just for noticing it. Never mind 9 times in 10 you'd be doing this for reasons of interoperability - i.e. trying to legally play media you bought in a system you own - since 'interoperability' is ignored just like 'fair use' and 'due process'.

    The RIAA, MPAA, lawyers and government are all undead zombie demons from the Dimension of Pain. As though you needed more proof of this.
  • You must not be old enough to have had the experience of a CD "going bad" on you. They do scratch, break, etc. I always make copies of anything that I might miss if something happened to it. Lets see, do I give the kids (3 and 5) a twenty dollar computer game disk to play with or a copy I made for 15 cents? So the answer to your question is TWO!
  • At least with VCR's the Macrovision signal is supposed to be out of range of the TV's display circuitry, but in range of the VCR's recording circuitry, so, in theory, you don't get signal degredation.

    In theory.

    In practice, I've heard of TVs being made with the same AGC's as VCRs - and thus they react the same way as a VCR when fed a macroed signal. And I don't just mean light-dark and slight picture distortion.
  • by RandomPeon (230002) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:07AM (#383549) Journal
    I take orginal CDs and immediately copy them. The originals go in a CD rack, never to be disturbed unless the duplicate gets damaged. Perfectly good way to protect my investment.
  • OK, so are they trying to stop people copying to tape by screwing with the signal? That's been tried before as well: the Beatles were among the first, adding a high-frequency tone to their LPs to interfere with the bias signal on a tape deck. That one didn't get anywhere either: again, it broke on some players, and was trivial to circumvent (low-pass or notch filter, anyone?).

    I don't think that the high-frequency tone was to prevent copying. after all they made their last LP in want 1972? where there that many cassette tapes then? Plus in Gorge Martin's autobiography he says that the 20+kHz sound was Paul's idea, "music for dogs", plus you will not that the sound is only in a few songs, and only on sarget pepers IMHR (Good morning, and the end of "a day in the life") Note something like an industry wide copyprotection scheme.

  • This looks to be a clever exploit on the way CD readers work. References: http://www.ttrtech.com/tech.htm http://www.ee.washington.edu/conselec/CE/kuhn/cdau dio2/95x7.htm Apparently, CD readers are capable of reading the data from audio cd's in two different modes: a generic-data-style read and an audio-data-style read. The audio-data-style read is meant to be directly converted to analog music via D/A converters in the unit. The difference is that the generic-data-style read imposes some data-integrity checks which, if fail, cause the reader to report a read error or return erroneous data. The audio-data-style read can ignore these errors to avoid interrupting the music. This exploit appears to intentionally insert bits into the EFM stream so that a general-data-style read will fail or produce erroneous data. Since all CD copying techniques must use this type of access, they will fail as well. Normal consumer CD audio players will correct or ignore the errors with no impact on the music. High-end audiophile CD players that allow for custom DSP and D/A algorithms and use a generic-data-style read could suffer as well. If a CD reader unit could be hacked to capture the data immediately after the error correction and before the D/A converter, then this technique could in theory be defeated.
  • and the free music bands will make their money selling T-shirts and concert tickets

    Most acts have to do this anyway. The RIAA talks a big talk about protecting the artists, but for some reason they don't seem real keen on paying them much in the way of royalties. Touring is where the artists actually have a chance of seeing some money - Ticketmaster at least leaves some flesh on the bone.
  • There was a high-frequency tone put on the end of Sgt Pepper's, as a joke from John Lennon. He wanted dogs to have something to listen to on a Beatles Album. Documented in George Martin's "The Making of Sgt. Pepper." Other than that, I seriously doubt there was any other such attempt. I taped many Beatles albums when they were on vinyl, as well as CD. Never heard any such thing.
  • VHS is an analog format.

    VHS is an analog but time-quantized format. The signal follows a specific machine-readable cycle (the refresh rate). Which gives the MPAA something to fuck with.

    Now, analog audio is not like that. It doesn't have a 'sync', nor a specific period in which it is not audible. The signal is not delivered to the speakers in frames. It is 'all content'. Which means that if the RIAA wants to mess with it, they'll mess with the content. (They might be desperate enough to do that, but I wonder if consumers are desperate enough to buy it...) Now, digital audio, that's a different story.

    dufke
    -
  • <em>Makes me want to sink my movie buying dollars back into VHS.</em>

    I mean, that's where all this Macrovision headache started in the first place; in your VCR! It just migrated into the DVD player from the VCR, and at least some brands of DVD have the option to turn off the Macrovision.

    Geek dating! [bunnyhop.com]
  • Of course I make copies of CDs. All the time.

    I have a 12 disk cd changer in the trunk, which is a relatively high risk of being stolen. There's no way I want to lose 12 CD's along with the hardware. Insurance doesn't cover CD's, either.

    Especially since some of those CD's are out of print and are irreplacable. And many other CD's have only a few good tracks. And most music CD's only have about 45 minutes of music, even though I can record at least 70 minutes onto a CDR.

    There are lots and lots of excellent, completely legal reasons to make CDR copies and compilations of music CDs. If they take away my ability to do that, I will either work (hack) around it, or refuse to buy such CDs. Prediction: If this catches on, the market for used, unprotected CD's will explode.

    Hmmm. I wonder if the music world will eventually split into a "closed", copy-protected, mass-marketed, Limp Britney Eminem Metallica Bizcuit Big Record Company world, vs. an open, non-copy-protected, listener-supported, word-of-mouth marketing Internet music world. I just hope the bands I listen to end up on the good side. (U2 is the only "popular" band I really like, so I might be lucky).

    Maybe someday we'll see "open music" and "free music" like open source and free software - and the free music bands will make their money selling T-shirts and concert tickets.

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • OK, we in Germany (Europe maybe, too) already know this. BMG used a copy-protection on a popular album of the finish gothic-rock group HIM. I think that this might have been the previous version of the Macrovision-copy-protection (Read on for more info...)

    This copy-protection is really simple, but yet effective. Simply the TOC (The initial few bytes that contain the offsets of the tracks on the cd, and thus the position of the songs on the disc) is manipulated in a way that confuses CD-ROM drives, so they think the CD is invalid and refuse to read data.

    Most cd-players ignore the manipulated bytes and can play the CD without major problems. There are some exceptions: on some players the music plays, but the time of the songs doesn't display correctly or jumps back and ahead... Very old players refuse to play such CDs...

    But it isn't very difficult to read in such CD digitally: if you have a cd-player which has digital-out, you can simply plug that into your soundcard's digital-in, and read in the cd without any quality-losses...If you burn the digital data back to a cd-r, you will have a perfect digital copy, without any quality-losses, but with removed copy-protection!

    After the CD was on the market, BMG announced that they won't realease any new albums with that copy-protection until it really has matured... Well, since Macrovision tries to sell it to the big players now, it maybe has...

    So we tech-people won't have much trouble, but the usual user is fucked...

  • Once you know about the nature of the copy "scrambling" signal, you can usually scrub it out (because it HAD to be largely undetectable to begin with to be usable in this sort of context...)- and there seems to be a large number of Macrovision strippers on the market.

    What makes you think that anything that would be largely inaudible to the human ear would be any different?
  • The DMCA (PDF), however villified it is here on Slashdot, was not intended to turn out as it did. Sen. Hatch's intent was a law that would allow digital copies to be made. The no-circumvention clause that we're all familiar with was supposed to be a pot sweetener to prod the recording industry into releasing digital media. Unfortunately, we all know how the law was abused by those it sought to protect.

    Sen. Hatch's office has links to a number of letters and opinions regarding his true stance on the issue of digital media copying. I don't doubt he will bring this issue back up, and as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee the old media companies will be in the hot seat for what they have done.

    So he was just negligent and stupid rather than malicious?

    I mean, he's an elected representative, he asked for the job, he gets paid well. He should do the job that he's paid for and read legislation and understand its implications before he votes for it.

    When I was taught to handle a gun, I was told to always treat it as if it was loaded. Legislation is in many ways more dangerous than a gun and should be treated with the approprate respect, not just rubber stamped.

    The man is a buffoon. I do hope you're not being an apologist for him. Unfortunately, he's probably in a republican safe seat and will be back in next time.

    Rich

    (Not that it's much better in the UK. Maggie Thatcher (ex PM) signed over a huge chunk of the UK's sovereignty to Europe without even reading the relevant treaty. She later claimed she regretted it. Well, too fucking late, bitch)

  • by Sethb (9355)
    I feel the same way about Microsoft's new protection schemes with their software. My legit copy of FrontPage 2000 refused to let me install it on my home computer one day, following a fresh install on a new hard drive. I had to call Microsoft and get them to unlock it for me, something that they'll only do a maximum of ten times. I'm a power user, I upgrade a LOT, and am always re-partitioning to play with some new Linux distribution, etc.

    My solution? Simple, I pirate it from work where we have licensing program copies that don't feature the lock-out mechanism. Thanks for making me a pirate, Microsoft!
    ---
  • The RIAA and MPAA have become very good at sneaking by their draconian technologies without anybody noticing. DVD is a prime example of how they can get away with this sort of thing. They offer superior fidelity, multiple audio tracks, digital surround sound, etc to get you to buy it. Once you've adopted the technology you then find out that you accidentally sold your sould.

    Market forces already do the work of a boycott. To illustrate this, take a look at Divx's failure. This is really the scheme that the media companies would prefer to use but people found it very unpalatable because it provided no real benefits and had all of the draconian drawbacks.

    Just wait, they'll come up with some reason to get people to buy into these new technologies.

    ---

  • Fair use has been well defined through precedent and copyright law. It covers all of the exceptions to copyright law. Some of these have historically included education and parody. With computers, a backup copy has become part of these provisions as well.

    Here is the relevant law:

    Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified in that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.
    In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include --

    • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
    • the nature of the copyrighted work;
    • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
    The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

    More information available here [cornell.edu].

  • It's possible to create CDs that use polymers that degrade after they are exposed to laser light. It would be too expensive to make the whole CD out of this stuff, but the first part of the CD is all you need and it adds a few cents to the production cost.

    I don't think this is what they are doing - but I've seen a company or two try to implement software copy protection this way. It allows the install program the ability to determine if the CD has been installed before. And as far as I know this is compatible with most CD players.

    Assuming you were able to corrupt the right bits of a music CD, then it wouldn't play anymore.

    Pretty nifty idea, but I worry that a customer's computer might crash or lose power during install and then they wouldn't be able to install again.

  • That's the obvious tact. A more costly tactic is to purchase a Safeaudio CD, take it home, and when you find out it won't play return it for an exchange. They'll give you another one which also won't work. Pretty soon, all of the stores inventory will have been opened and can no longer be sold as "new". Almost certainly, all of the opened CD's will get shipped back to the RIAA member who published all the defective CD's in the first place.

    While some CD players will play the "Safeaudio" CD's, I can almost guarantee that some of them won't. New Mac's for example have digital USB speakers. There is no way for new Mac's to play CD's except by ripping the audio off of them. It is perfectly legitimate for the people who own these systems to buy the "protected" CD's and return them as defective.

    I'm sure some troll is going to respond saying how immoral it is to intentionally buy CD's you know you are going to return. To that I respond, is it moral to knowingly sell defective products to your customers? Because that's what these CD's are. Plain and simple. They are defective products which do not meet the Redbook CD audio standards. I wonder if they will even be allowed to use the "CD" logo on them?

    Now, we just need to find out where they are going to release these CD's first. If their initial public tests results in significant losses due to returns, that will get the program scrapped early.
  • I found some more information about SafeDisc® here [macrovision.com].

    It seems from their description, this is intended for CD-ROM interactive programs, not for audio compact discs.

    This makes much more sense because of the requirements this would impose on equipment manufacturers, and how it would deprecate any previous equipment purchased by consumers.

    "The digital signature is added to the Glass mastering using a Laser Beam Recorder (LBR)." This smacks of the old-fashioned burn-a-laser-hole-in-the-floppy-disk routine of the 1980s...

  • Huh? You've never taped a CD to listen to it in the car?

    If this CD copying prevention stuff works, I guess it'll be a major blow for car CD manifacturers, and a return to tape.
  • I don't buy their music anyway. I do buy CD's. I buy lots of them. But it's pretty much independent labels now.

    Think about it. RIAA member companies churn out infectios memes (about 2 per 14 track cd) and the other 12 tracks are crap. I'm not going to waste my money on atoms carrying 1/7 good songs...and even then, they're only "good" because they figured out the formula for effectively marketing a song.

    I go to indie rock shows now. They cost less than the cost of a CD to get in, you see 3 bands, and you rock out way more than you could to ANY cd. There's no substitute for live rock'n'roll. Never will be.

    And I buy their CD's. They're my friends, and I want to support them. But they haven't sold their soul to the RIAA yet, and I'm not about to either. It takes them so long to put out a cd that they actually have 14 good songs on them....unlike the big label bands who are contractually obligated to produce x songs per year...regardless of quality.

    All I want from the RIAA bands is a song or 2. Usually not the ones they put out on singles. I really don't consider it theft if it isn't offered in the legitimate market. You can't steal a product they don't make. If they made it, I'd buy it. But they're forcing me to use gnutella to get access to it, because they won't give me the opportumity to buy it.

    Well...not without paying for a bunch of filler crap. And it's not just me that feels this way. I got that meme from Courtney Love.

    So that's why their copy protection doesn't concern me. I'm just not going to come across it. I've found better music than they sell on their SDMI/protected/unconstitutional violation of fair use media anyway. Hang out on your local scene. Liberate yourself from the RIAA's marketroids.

  • And this is going to work exactly *how* if I rip a CD, decode the MP3 into a .wav file, and burn an audio CD with it? Or even, God Forbid, download the MP3 from the Internet? Do any of these people think for more than a few seconds about these things?
    -russ
  • then came mp3. it taught us that content was usually more important than raw audiophile quality. at least as long as the audio was listenable; which with good mp3 encoders, it is.

    Blasphemy! I WANT my huge expensive stereo system so I can listen to Celine Dion!

    Or not.

    there is no standard on earth, imaginable or real that can prevent an analog copy (since you have to be able to LISTEN to it at some point) from working.

    Quit saying that! They'll only take it as a challenge. Surgical implants, anyone?

    Then again, they'll do surgical implants just as well as every other technological solution they've proposed. It'll sound odd, cause headaches, and run on Windows CE. You'll spend hours trying to update the firmware on your cochlear implants so you can hear the latest Alanis song on the radio (without the implants it sounds like modem noise - wait, this is Alanis we're talking about, how would you know if the implants were working?), to no avail, before you finally give up and go to the Ani DiFranco concert instead.
  • This is intended to stop mass piracy. E.g. people making black-market copies of CDs and selling them en masse (like software pirates).

    No it's not. The record companies know it and I know it; surely you can figure it out too. This works on the kind of equipment that you buy at Circuit City, which - surprise, surprise - is not what large-scale pirates use. What, they have rooms full of monkeys changing tapes one-at-a-time and hitting "record"?

    You think an outfit in China that has access to genius engineers with otherwise-zero earning potential is going to be held back for even a day by this? Industrial-strength piracy is just too lucrative.

    Best I can figure, the recording industry mafia is upset about all the piracy but feels impotent to stop it, so they slake their thirst for revenge by fucking consumers up the ass.

    And it probably works in the mafia's favor in the long run: Consumers get mad, the mafia says "we had to do it because of piracy," and then consumers say "Oh my goodness, piracy is awful," and vote for the candidate who's willing to put the most hurt on Vietnam for failure to clamp down on piracy.

    An approximately similar strategy would be for the pharmaceutical companies (who are to illegal drugs what the RIAA is to pirated music: the legally-sanctioned provider of a more expensive alternative) to drive through the suburbs spraying Agent Orange in people's backyard gardens, claiming it's because of the drugs the residents "might" be growing, and then paying someone like you to post on Slashdot that it's a powerful strike against the Columbian drug cartels.

  • by merlin_jim (302773) <James DOT McCrac ... ratapult DOT com> on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:24AM (#383611)
    I would like to issue an apology to the music industry. Apparently, making a copy of The Matrix soundtrack because I had left mine at the house was simply aggrevious. I'm sure that making that compilation CD of love songs for my girlfriend last Valentine's Day cost the industry billions. And encoding all my CDs into MP3 and burning a single disk with all that audio data on it, so my new MP3 player in my car will work, must have put several recording companies out of business.

    Once again, my apologies to a bloated industry which seems to be concerned only with stopping a technological revolution, at the cost of freedom, dignity, and profit.

  • As I see it, fair use is something that applies to the consumer. I.E. a freedom from prosecution connected with copying media for personal use. There was no restriction placed on the record companies, except to keep them from sueing end-users.

    I would rather see it as something upon which copyright law does not encroach. The natural state of things is to have the freedom to copy anything at any time. Copyright law is a restriction of that freedom. Fair use is recognising that there are activities where application of the principles of copyright would harm society rather than advance it. And after all, copyright law is all about the advancement of society, right? Right?

    Rich

  • The DMCA (PDF), however villified it is here on Slashdot, was not intended to turn out as it did. Sen. Hatch's intent was a law that would allow digital copies to be made.

    "Was not intended" by whom? As Orwell noted in Politics and the English Language [uga.edu] , the passive voice tends to obfuscate.

    IMO, the RIAA most certainly did intend the law to turn out as it did, and pulled a scam on the legislators.
    /.

  • I have a copy of that very album. Yes, you could copy off the content (which is of course first-rate), but there's just something ineffably cool about a three-sided record.

    Unless I'm remembering my Red Book spec wrong, there's no reason you couldn't apply the same technique to a CD. Someone in a pressing house should give it a try.

    Schwab

  • by crovira (10242) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:58AM (#383618) Homepage
    All these schemes are trivially defeated by a screw driver, a pair of wire cutters and some solder.

    Your CD player won't let you record a copy? Will it let you listen? At the extreme delivery end, you open the speaker cabinet, splice onto the speaker wires, hook up some potentiometers for volume control and sample the stream at 44kHz.

    Your VCR won't let you copy? Will it let you watch? Same crap. Instead of an audio card, you need a video card. Big deal.

    I have never seen such a lame-ass ineffectual attempt to "protect" alleged intellectual property. DeCSS, DMCA. The media "powers that be" are trying to fight a "traditional" war in a wired world filler with a bazillion guerillas. Their customers are their enemy. It makes real hard to do business.

    The media corporations are desperatly trying to retain their profitability as exemplified by the old adage "The power of the press (or any "broadcast" medium,) belongs to those who own one". Mostly its the power to advertize.

    And they are trying to retain ownership over ephemera. There is nothing as incredibly valueless as last month's "Who Let The Dogs Out" or "All Your Bases Arew Belong To Us." Just ask the content creator how valuable it was.

    The broadcasters don't want to pay the content creators and they don't want the consumer to know how badly he's been ripped off.

    And as long as the content pimps control the means of production, content creators have to apply lips to orifice and bend over the L-shaped table for the opportunity to try to get something "out there."

    Maybe... If you fit into their nice, bland, unimaginative, unoriginal categories. (Have you noticed that there are tens of thousands of musicians out there, enough to support instrument makers, magazines, live bands in venues all over the world, but Tower Records doesn't stock their CDs? That's because They didn't have this month's "sound." Because they didn't apply lips and won't bend over the table. And your ears go thirsty because you don't control the pipe.)

    But on the internet, there are search engines and alternatives to all those voices crying out in the wilderness and charging dinars for the bland, safe, unimaginative din.

    Eventually, we will win. If only because we'll run out of money ("No money? Get lost. This ain't no charity.") and we'll always be able to masturbate for free.
  • Dear Mr Chuang,

    I feel I must write to express my disappointment with Macrovision's latest venture into copy protecting media, SAFEAUDIO.

    As one who enjoys a exceedingly wide range of music, I strongly believe this will do nothing more than hurt the market it is designed to protect.

    The following quote, taken directly from your press release at http://www.macrovision.com/press_rel_2_27_01.html is particularly worrying: "We believe that SAFEAUDIO provides an opportunity for the music industry to regain the billions of dollars lost to unauthorized casual copying."

    If I understand the press release correctly, what this means is that I will be unable to copy SAFEAUDIO from one medium to another.

    I purchase quite a lot of music on CD to listen to at home and have a MiniDisc player in my car. I travel quite a lot and like to listen to music while I do so. Under existing copyright laws I am permitted to record a CD to MD for my own personal usage, and indeed I pay a tax on every blank MiniDisc that I purchase just for this privilege.

    Can you please assure me that I will be able to continue to do this in the future, even with SAFEAUDIO protected media?

    Thankyou,
    --
    Kai Howells
    IT Specialist.


    Verbing Weirds Language.
  • by nightfire-unique (253895) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:16AM (#383624)
    The recording industry knows these things are perfectly legal, but they are so greedy they are willing to sacrifice our ability to do these perfectly legal things to secure for themselves a few more dollars.

    The shame of it all is that in the end, they will bury themselves. The more restrictive the technology they use to distribute their music is, the sooner the public will lose respect for them and their copyright. They will force people like me to use unprotected, unpayed-for MP3s, because while we want to listen to (and pay for) music, we are unwilling to do so on their terms.

    I mean really now - when faced with the potential options - purchase (for $20) a SuperDigitalMediaDevice which includes bizarre contracts and anti-copy provisions, or make your own for 1/10th the cost, from high quality, free, unrestricted MP3s, the legality becomes a non-issue (for most people).

    And the situation gets worse when they start using proprietary formats that are unsupported in unpopular environments!

    --
    All men are great
    before declaring war

  • "Finally making a good point. What about the will of the artists? The will of the artists went out the window once they signed their recording contract."

    This comes up all the time. HELLO! Nobody is forcing people to sign these contracts, if they don't want them, they can go to another non-RIAA record label, or produce something on their own. Every artist that is on a RIAA label and is "getting ripped off by the record industry" got there because they put themselves there.
    --

  • CDs using this technology should be required to be labelled as such so I know not to buy them. I prefer to give my money to companies who don't blatantly trample all over my rights. Of course, I can't even remember the last time I bought a CD (And no, I don't use napster.) I think it was from MP3.com about a year ago...
  • That's not going to work unless there is a clear up-front cost to consumers. The average person isn't concerned about the philosophical implications of buying into a system that prohibits fair use. They just want to go to the store and get music.

    The 10% of people (max) who are concerned about these things don't have the economic power to make a difference, except by enlightening the 90% who know nothing about the DMCA.
  • by BeBoxer (14448) on Monday March 05, 2001 @01:05PM (#383642)
    Ummm. Before you go calling people idiots...

    Apple part number T2587LL/A Harmon Kardon SoundSticks. These are USB speakers. Which, as if to prove my point, have the caveat Older G3's with hardware-based DVDs running DVD 1.3 software will not work with Soundsticks. They require newer, software-based DVD's running DVD 2.x
  • Macrovision filters are now illegal in Australia, because macrovision is a "copy protection technology" and such filters are "circumvention devices" within the meaning of the amended Copyright Act.

    Stupid government. Bring on the election.

    --
  • It's the music industry's right to say what can and can't be done with the object that they've sold to you if you consider a sale of this type to be contractual...

    It most certainly is not. That's not a sale. Only in the case of external legal baggage (for instance, coventants on real estate) can such a thing happen. Generally, in other cases, they must provide you with something on an ongoing basis, in exchange for which you must adhere to a commitment you have made (such as not to duplicate the CD). Beyond that, they can refuse to do business with you in the future (this is how vendor/distributor/retailer policy relationships are enforced), but they cannot arbitrarily constrain what you do with something you own. This is why software companies try to pretend that the software is licensed and not sold.

    How about if you sell me an apple on the condition that I not eat it. I will eat it in front of you while you search for redress. Good luck.

    If they want to control what people do with them, then they are free to lease CDs.

  • That CD would cost you 46 dollars and 49.15 cents after tax!

    This must be stopped.

    Jeez yeah, I don't know where we'd be supposed to get 0.15c pieces from

    Rich

  • I think it will stop Joe Luser but won't stop anyone who knows how to make exact images (copying the bits on the disk). Still if they can do it, it defenatly sets a dangerous precident. I can understand the Music Industry's point when it comes to Napster, but fair use of your own stuff? I hate lawsuits but I sure hope that when this hits the market that someone decides to stand up for the little guy... (maybe we need Homer Simpson).

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • by Chuck Flynn (265247) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:29AM (#383650)
    If the copy-protection scheme is to succeed, it must be as undetectable as possible by the end user. I don't mean that he won't realize he's using a copy-protected format, but that his ears won't be able to tell the difference between a copy-protected one and a non-protected one.

    VHS macrovision is popular precisely because it's undetectable in how it alters visual quality. You'll hear lots of complaints by people who are unable to copy videos correctly, but you'll never hear a complaint by anyone about how macrovision has degraded their signal -- it hasn't.

    We're almost at the stage where digital watermarks are completely seamless. Ten years ago, inititives like this would've been scoffed at. Now, they're becoming reality.
  • The reason the the music industry thinks they can do whatever the hell they want with the notion of copy protection (not copyright protection) is brought to light by a Dennis Miller line:

    "The only reason Steely Dan's latest album is selling so well is that the 50 year olds who buy it don't know how to download it for free."

    They seem to think that the public, if given enough hassles, will simply stop attempting to convienence themselves by copying music for their own use. They assume we are crooks. What will bite them in the ass is that consumer drive is more powerful than law (eventually) and their copy-protection will not hold (A million monkeys at a million typewriters... it's along those lines). I am very willing to pay for music if I believe my money is going to good use. But I am not interested in buying multiple copies of something just to convience myself.

    I share mp3's, but with my friends only. I don't run a public FTP server. Those who I give access to are those who have an account on my system. This is the same idea as giving a CD to a friend (we've heard this argument before).

    We are not all 50 year olds. We will be eventually and we will not be the same as the current crop of 50 year olds. Hilary Rosen had better wake up and realize digital music is what people want.

    Woz
  • by Dman33 (110217) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:29AM (#383654)
    Could somebody please mirror the crack for SafeAudio?? :)
  • Marketroids: It stops thoe evil hacker people copying your music.Record Company:OK, we'll use itMarketroids:Excellent. That will be fifty billion dollars please.Record Company: Erm...Marketroids: Well it's that or get copied. Oh, and we've patented it so no-one else can do it.Record Company:OK, we'll take ten please.

    Seems to me as if they did think about it quite well...

  • OK, the five-cent tour of Macrovision:

    In between video frames there's a short delay called the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI). It's there to give the TV's electron beam time to go back to the top of the tube in preparation for the next frame - so the TV should ignore everything in that interval (about 80 lines worth).

    Macrovision stuffs the VBI with high-intensity garbage. As you may expect, this would confuse the hell out of a VCR as it tries to lay this signal down on tape - its automatic gain control is gonna be going nuts trying to figure out how bright or how dark the signal really is.

    TVs are usually unaffected by this because they are supposed to throw away everything in the vertical blank. VCRs don't have a gain control between tape playback and video output, so if you straight from VCR to TV, the VBI garbage gets ignored. We hope.

    Circumventing Macrovision is easy enough: it's all in the timing - once you figure out where the frame starts and stops, you can simply black out everything in the VBI. Any device that takes apart the video signal and reassembles it - and isn't designed to specifically reinsert the macro noise - will inadvertently remove the macrovision signal. This is why some older VCRs are unaffected by Macrovision - in their attempt to clean up a signal that would probably be coming from the antenna on your roof, they'd tear down and rebuild the signal minus the garbage in the VBI.

    Amusing: newer TVs sometimes use the same auto gain circuitry as VCRs, and thus are affected by Macrovision.

    Neat trivia: Betamax is unaffected by Macrovision because it uses a different gain control method. I have a later Beta deck from 1985 - it happily copies Macroed tapes, garbage and all, and plays them back just fine, but the result cannot then be copied to VHS because the Macrovision is still intact on the tape! Older Beta decks probably cleaned up the incoming signal as described above.
  • by SnowDog_2112 (23900) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:29AM (#383658) Homepage
    Folks have been talking about this since at least May 2000 (thanks to Google for quick search results):

    http://www.prostudio.com/studiosound/may00/comm_ eu r.html

    So this isn't really _new_ news. On the other hand, the fact that it's being tested probably is.

    The real story here is something we've known all along. The big companies see a huge loss of income from the teching up of the people. As we get access to cd burners, computers with broadband, etc... they see their traditional revenue streams eventually drying up. They're grasping for straws.

    It sucks, really. They couldn't make it illegal to copy content for fair use, so instead they just standardize it out of existence. Since they're all in bed together anyway, we all stand to lose in the end.

    They won't be happy until the only way you can hear music is a streaming connection, for which you will pay by the second....

  • Whatever form of copy protection gets proposed slashdot editors are always first to get their panties in a knot. No thought is given to the implication of the piracy of media content or intellectual property. How else other than through the slale of records is an artist supposed to create his music? How much do you think it costs to purchase instruments and rent a recording studio? Don't know? Let me tell you then it's quite a bit! Even if they could scrap through to buy a battered guitar or drums what about feeding their wives and kids? Would you like the work of your inspiration to be copied without regard to your rights as the creator? Think about it. The so called community gets very upset at every hint of violating the GLP license but if someone else tries to protect THEIR own intellectual property then all of a sudden it's not right and it's restricting freedom? Yeah, right I'm with you all the way on this one!
  • Unless I'm remembering my Red Book spec wrong, there's no reason you couldn't apply the same technique to a CD. Someone in a pressing house should give it a try.
    I don't think that the 44 khz bandwidth of a CD will faithfully reproduce a 20 khz or more signal without seriously mangling it (by aliasing it)...

    --

  • That should really say it all, but the folks at Macrovision are 'forward looking'. So, lets look forward to:
    Macrovision 'protected' CDs going south faster and with less reason than unprotected ones.
    A 15% (average) increase in the retail price of music CDs to cover the royalties going to Macrovsion for their 'protection'.
    If you doubt the price increase, reread the bit about how Macrovision will control when and how the 'technology' will be 'upgraded'.In short, they are fishing for a constant revenue stream from the music distributors.
  • Yes, its obvious to most slashdot readers that there are numerous ways to get around this... but this isn't really targeting the tech-heads, they are going after the casual user with this, and it might just work for that.

    So if they use this method to sell a few million more CDs to people who have no idea how to get around this... well, they'd say it was a success.

    This would be a good thing, if, of course, the music industry decided to lower the cost of individual CDs to compensate for the lower instance of copying... but we all know the chances of that happening...

  • by crovira (10242) on Monday March 05, 2001 @12:14PM (#383677) Homepage
    The internet is a vastly superior medium for content distribution. I sometimes like to listen to Blue Grass music.

    There are exactly 0(zero, zip, nada, none, nicth, nul,) stations in my area that broadcast Blue Grass. Not popular enough. You'll never attack the advertizing revenue you need to pay yourself, pay the rent and pay for that license.

    I log into http://www.OzarkMountainAirwaves.com/ and listen all I want. They "narrowcast" 24/7/52 over the net.

    You can tell the power that be to screw their high price of entry (millions for a broadcast licence,) when you can use a T1 or T3 switch and you're in business shoving packets that YOU like all over the planet.

    Freedom of choice!
  • Why do people demand that they be able to make multiple copies of music CDs to store in different places?

    Fundamentally? Because it is their right to do so.

    Oh, there are plenty of good practical reasons why you would want to do this (you've already been given plenty to think about.) But when it all comes down to it, the simple fact of the matter is that making personal copies for your own personal use is covered by fair use of the material. End of story.
  • $43.45 is a lot of money for one CD. In Pennsylvania, sales tax is 7%. That CD would cost you 46 dollars and 49.15 cents after tax!

    This must be stopped.
  • Did anyone else notice this?
    The SAFEAUDIO Toolkit will be distributed with Macrovision's SAFECAST(TM) digital rights management technology that enables 'time lock' and 'number of usage lock' functions while providing persistent security. This feature ensures that CD replication facilities will always be using the latest release of SAFEAUDIO and by allowing Macrovision to control the timing and delivery of toolkit upgrades.
    I love it! Macrovision apparently doesn't trust the recording industry to not make copies of the software!

    --
    Dave: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
    HAL: Screw you, Dave!

  • When I bought my first DVD recently, the store employees told me that connecting it through the VCR wouldn't produce a good picture -- for precisely that reason. (It'd be a pain to have to turn the VCR on everytime I wanted to watch a disc, anyways.) The store showed me where I could buy a $40 box which let me switch between the two with a button press -- another inconvenience, but a more intuitive one than turning on the VCR -- and also pointed out that all new room-size televisions today have multiple inputs to solve this problem.

    In other words: the industry is aware of the problems, and is trying to make the Macrovision inconvenience as little as possible. If it's a pain for you, well, it's not their fault your television predates VCRs and practically needs to be retrofitted to watch tapes in the first place.

  • All good points. I like your comment.

    I'll start out by saying that I have a very wide variety of musical tastes, and a large collection of CDs. Not as large as yours, but large enough. It's not uncommon for me to listen to a classical CD, then a punk CD, switch to jazz, and then move into rock mode.

    Our "must have everything now" culture (see the Slashdot story about web in the car) makes us indecisive... but demanding. We don't know what we want, but we want it now! So it just seems to be not acceptable to people to leave 99% of thier collection at home and just choose 1 or 2 special CDs for the day to listen to, to enjoy, to analize, and to listen to from front to back to figure out why it's a good or bad CD. People buy CDs and then listen to only one track! If you really listen, there's alot more to those other tracks then you may realize... all the CDs I have had at least a dollar per song enjoyment from after listening to the CD all the way through a few times! And I continue to buy select CDs at the current high prices, knowing that I will spend quality time with those CDs to learn everything about them.

    So my suggestion is take some time and care about what you are buying! Don't demand everything all of the time... then the need to make copies of your entire collection won't seem like such a big deal.

  • Let's just say for a minute that this protection scheme really works. Let's say it doesn't break compatibility with regular cd players. Let's say we somehow can't raw read it even with something hardcore like blindread [blindwrite.com]. There is a simple way around these sort of protection schemes, and its name is VAC [ntonyx.com].

    VAC (Virtual Audio Cable) is based off the idea (mentioned in a few other posts) of looping physical cables from your soundcard's output to it's input to record the audio. VAC creates a wave i/o device (or multiple i/o devices, but only one is needed for this sort of thing) that can be selected as your wave out device, and also as your wave in device in a recording program (soundforge [sonicfoundry.com], wavelab [steinberg.net], hell even microsoft sound record would work). To the player you are simply listening to your cd, but in reality the signal is recorded without ever leaving the digital domain, and you now have a perfect copy.

    The only downside to this is that you must do it all in real time. But of course once you've done it, then its a regular unprotected file, so do with it what you will. Also note that this works for recording real audio and other streams that are not supposed to be able to be recorded.

  • They actually use some processing on the commercials to make the sound more audible without pushing the volume up.

    ----
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Quite likely this tech would be similar to the nibble-count sync/code type copy protection
    schemes that were used in the mid to late '80s for disk copy protection or more recently the
    media distribution format that microsoft used in the mid '90s to cram more sectors on a disk.

    I imagine it'll be as successful as these schemes turned out to be... not!

    If I was a betting person, I'd be guessing some combo of a bit pattern in the track lead-in
    area and a deliberate CIRC error. Disk copiers will correct the CIRC error and the data
    on the disc will not match the original data. Carefully timed errors in conjunction with
    bit hiding in the lead-in area could make life difficult for current generation cd-bit
    rippers, by changing the form or mode of the sector where consumer devices don't care...

    Other candidates are the radial track wobble, extra-bit stuffing, or PQ subcode errors, but
    these might break current players too much...

    The more things change, they more they remain the same... ;^)
  • by PopeAlien (164869) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:32AM (#383699) Homepage Journal
    Well, If this is anything like Macrovision, you need to get all that hardware compliant.. I can see getting the major manufacturer to get together and install limitations on those home CD recorders (non-pc based), but won't this limitation have to be hardware installed on all those no-name burners as well?

    Macrovision sucks bad by the way. When I first tried to run a signal from a DVD to my TV, I had to go through my VCR (really old TV, no RCA inputs).. The Macrovision signal would f*ck with the signal level coming through the VCR, and it didn't matter that I wasn't trying to *copy* the DVD, it wouldn't let me watch it. What sort of complications would this introduce to audio CD's, and *WHY* would people purchase new hardware that is less reliable? Shiny new packaging?

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Monday March 05, 2001 @12:17PM (#383706) Homepage
    Several years ago, I bought myself a CD player, my CD collection was proceeding apace. Over a year ago, I bought a DVD drive for my computer.

    I haven't bought a music CD in over a year, maybe two, a new one in maybe three. I have one (1) DVD (The Matrix, I had to try out the player after all). I just find it impossible to do so, the thought of contributing money to these Jabba-the-Hut like entities just gives me a bad taste in my mouth.

    But am I bitter? No. There's music on the radio and the stuff I used to listen to sounds as good today as it ever did. I'm intending to learn the guitar which will be more entertaining than listening to the latest pop pap. Movies come on TV sooner or later and a trip to the theatre isn't as simple when you have a small child anyway.

    but the reason I say thank you is that I am on the verge of being debt free and owning the house I live in. The abuse that these companies have dealt out has given me a Pavlovian response against consumerism. I still like nice things, still want goods and services but there's no longer the overpowering compulsion to acquire things that there once was. I am regaining control of my finances.

    So yes, I say thank you RIAA and MPAA. May you rot in the grave you've dug for yourself. Bring the music back to the people where it belongs.

    Rich

  • by norton_I (64015) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:32AM (#383708)
    This just goes to show that the RIAA is always lying through their teeth when they way "We aren't concerned about casual copying. We are just trying to stop mass piracy."

    They really want to take away your rights to use music you purchased legally.

    I can see the case for macrovision, at least on rental videos: When you only pay $2.50 to rent a video for 3 days (or whatever), you shouldn't be allowed to copy it, even for personal use. But trying to apply the same logic to CDs that you buy is just wrong.

    Since maybe .1% of all music copying (legal or illegal) is cdda->cdda (as opposed to MP3 or other file formats, possibly on a CD), they really have no justification for doing this, other than to screw their customers.
  • OK, so are they trying to stop people copying to tape by screwing with the signal? That's been tried before as well: the Beatles were among the first, adding a high-frequency tone to their LPs to interfere with the bias signal on a tape deck. [ ... ]

    The Beatles attempted copy control on their albums? This is the first I've heard of any such thing. Those guys were richer and more popular than God, and they attempted copy control? Do you have a reference for this? Was it at the band's request, or did the publishing house try it behind their back?

    Schwab

  • I couldn't agree with you more.

    The simple fact is that most people whine about copy protection because it really *works*, not because it violates their rights or fair use or anything.

    I am all for fair use, and I would even support a bill that makes it illegal for companies to suspend fair use via technological blocking or scrambling. But as far as actual copy proection and prevention, its fine by me.

    Your assesment is so absolutely correct about the RIAA and their methods. I don't buy or listen or download or support in any way the RIAA member companies. I listen to talk radio, and read newspapers and books. I don't watch movies from big producers/studios as a general rule (except in theather's) because I don't approve of their means. Same deal with the RIAA.

    The RIAA should continue to make it marginally harder for casual pirates to steal music. With that said, I obviously disagree with shutting Napster like services, because those services have legitimate uses (ie alternative-labels, fair use enabled trading, free music, etc) and the onus for whether an MP3 is legal to download falls squarely on the downloader.

    Good to hear a sound view point for once on slashdot. BTW, are you libertarian by any chance (I happen to be, just curious).
  • The price of CDs will continue to go up until you need a damn financing plan.

    Oughta make visits to the bank more interesting: "I'm interested in a CD."

    "A certificate of deposit?"

    "No. The new Sarah McLachlan album."

    "OK, well, we can get you financing at 0.9%APR, $200 down and $90 per week after that..."

    Actually, now that I think about it, the music biz probably wouldn't want to pay Macrovision for this technology if they can raise the price of CDs 15% and pocket it all themselves and CLAIM it's copy protected (since under the DMCA the verbiage "this is copy protected" alone probably constitutes a protection system that's illegal to circumvent).

    Way to go, guys. Combat piracy by raising prices. That never fails! Oh, and while you're at it, make up the difference by buying laws, because history has shown so clearly that making things illegal actually deters people.
  • Can I mod down Macrovision for trolling on the issue of 'protecting copyright'? Has Slashdot developed a moderation system for moderating websites? :)

    Yet another troll technology that will probably be a lame attempt to protect those with money like *cough* DeCSS *cough*. Oops, I meant, tried to protect the rich...

  • It's also the music recording industry's right to produce a physical piece of plastic, which they sell to you. It's the music industry's right to say what can and can't be done with the object that they've sold to you if you consider a sale of this type to be contractual...

    If you sign contracts when you buy CDs that prevent you from copying them to tape, making MP3s out of them, or listening to them in your car, that's your business. Speaking for myself, I can attest that I have never signed such a contract. The use of the CDs is governed by the same laws that establish the use of any other copyrighted material, be it a CD, a magazine article, a movie, or a book. If you don't know what "fair use" is (and it sounds like you don't), a Google search should promptly rectify that.

    Realize that fair use will not go away simply because the RIAA despises it. It is the law of the land. The RIAA has a vision of an authoritarian police state where people are required to register their CD purchases with the government, where armed RIAA agents can come into your house at any time to personally verify your CD collection against what you have registered, and where technologies such as CD-R media and recording devices are banned outright.

    You can espouse this police state if you wish, but I must inform you that those of us who value our freedoms will not allow it to come to fruition.
  • Like a vast majority of Slashdotters, I am not a lawyer. We also throw around the phrase "fair use" a whole lot. Could someone that really is a lawyer (or close) give the legal difinition of "fair use", please?
    Marty, the story submitter, claims that Macrovision, as well as this new system, SafeAudio, are crushing our rights to copy stuff that we paid for and own. Are companies really required to give you a "plaintext" version of the music/video you buy so that you can make personal copies? I wouldn't think so.
    Then you can get into the whole discussion about how companies are allowed to encode content, but people are not allowed to decode it because of the DMCA.
    I own an old Apex 600a DVD player so Macrovision doesn't concern me much.

    -B
  • It's possible to create CDs that use polymers that degrade after they are exposed to laser light.

    I seem to recall some company was accidentally making CDs this way after an accident at the plant several years back. :-)
  • I have seen other "copy protected" CDDAs and CDROMS. Most of those were impossible to copy with "standard" CD recording software. However, lately, most CD recorders give you the option to do a "raw" read / write, no checksums are done by the recorder itself. More and more CD copying programs are emerging that support this feature. If they want to remain compatible with the current base of installed players, they can't make these copyprotections work against raw data copies. There are no technical specs of this copyprotection scheme available, my guess is that it's just another program that puts bad bits in the stream to make checksums go wrong and you can actually still copy the disk if you use a modern burner and software that both support raw data.
  • by Cyberdyne (104305) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:34AM (#383723) Journal
    What are they actually trying to stop here? Me ripping CDs to disk with cdparanoia? Copying CDs on those CD+CDr hifi systems? Copying to tape?

    The first one has been tried - just screw with the error correction info on the CD. That way, "dumb" audio CD players are OK, but CD ROM drives do extra error correction and "correct" the signal wrongly, screwing up the rip. Nice try, but it didn't work reliably with audio CD players, and ISTR you could bypass the problem with raw reads on a CD ROM drive anyway. Oops. Can't remember who tried that one, but it didn't get very far - CDs kept being returned "It doesn't play in my CD player!" etc...

    CD->CDr copying would be much the same, I imagine: properly designed, it should just be ripping straight from one drive onto the other. No chance there, then.

    OK, so are they trying to stop people copying to tape by screwing with the signal? That's been tried before as well: the Beatles were among the first, adding a high-frequency tone to their LPs to interfere with the bias signal on a tape deck. That one didn't get anywhere either: again, it broke on some players, and was trivial to circumvent (low-pass or notch filter, anyone?).

    So: They claim to have some magic bullet anti-piracy solution which blocks copying. No indication what sort of copying, or how it blocks it, just a press release... Why do I get the feeling it's not going to get very far?!

  • HELLO!

    Oh, shut the fuck up you Valley-speak wannabe asshole.

    Anyway, ad homniem attacks out of the way, the guy you relied to was responding to the question

    Would you like the work of your inspiration to be copied without regard to your rights as the creator?

    i.e. The "rights of the creator" doesn't come into it since those rights have been sold over to the record company anyway. Unless you really believe that the will of the creator is "I wish for the record company to do whatever the hell they want with the music I sweated over including only printing up 10,000 copies and doing absolutely no promotion"

    Rich

  • by mwalker (66677) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:34AM (#383741) Homepage
    But how does it work. They claim you can use existing mastering equipment to create cds like this. Even more impressive, they claim:

    The SAFEAUDIO Toolkit will be distributed with Macrovision's SAFECAST(TM) digital rights management technology that enables 'time lock' and 'number of usage lock' functions while providing persistent security. This feature ensures that CD replication facilities will always be using the latest release of SAFEAUDIO and by allowing Macrovision to control the timing and delivery of toolkit upgrades.

    If you can lock the number of times someone plays a song, you are NOT making a cd that will play in a cd player. You need software for that, and it sounds to me like this is software for win32 pc's only. This sounds like yet another attempt to create cds that will execute a program on your computer that decrypt tracks on the cd. Even though it now has DMCA protection, all these schemes have the problem of either needing an external conduit (the net) to give the user the key, or embedding the key on the cd, which is all too easy to hack.

    This is an old (and stupid) idea.

    Prove me wrong?
  • by SnowDog_2112 (23900) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:38AM (#383769) Homepage
    Yes, there is a vocal contingent of anti-intellectual property folks out there who want nothing more than to see all copyrights fade away.

    But there also a bunch of us moderate folks who are annoyed that we're being stopped from doing things we have every legal right to do, through the power of these media companies.

    If I buy a CD, I can do with it whatever I want, for my own use. I can copy it onto tape so I can listen to it in my car, since I don't have a CD player in my car. I can burn it into MP3s so I can have a 1000-song jukebox in my PC. I can make another CD copy of it, so I can archive my original and not lose anything when the CD gets scratched (which does happen, this isn't a weird "what if" scenario).

    The recording industry knows these things are perfectly legal, but they are so greedy they are willing to sacrifice our ability to do these perfectly legal things to secure for themselves a few more dollars.

  • by PopeAlien (164869) on Monday March 05, 2001 @02:32PM (#383772) Homepage Journal
    ..Meanwhile there's a pirate-factory out there pumping out copies of Suzanne Somners 'Thigh-B-Gone' workout tapes on an assemblyline with Macrovision intact. Why? because Macrovision doesn't eliminate the ability to copy the video signal, just the ability to copy it on consumer grade equipment.

    Sure, we can all go out and buy our $40 boxes to make our new $200 DVD players to work, or better yet a brand new room-size television. but why the hell should we have to, when it is unneccesary from a technological viewpoint and does nothing to stop illegal mass-duplication?

    Yes, my TV predates VCR's and DVD's, oddly enough though they all work with the good old NTSC signal which predates any and all A/V equipment I have. In fact, for a while I was running my DVD through an even older Beta VCR BECAUSE it predated Macrovision, and therefore worked fine!

  • by scoove (71173) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:38AM (#383775)
    Better we all buy multiple copies of the same CD so we can keep one in the car, one at work, one at home...

    Imagine the new revenue opportunities for the recording industry as you check out of Best Buy:

    Sales clerk: Now we just have a few questions before we can sell you Tupac's Greatest Hits. First, will this CD be for home, office, auto or portable use?
    Purchaser: Well, I guess mostly for home. But I'll probably listen to it in the car too.
    Sales clerk: Oh, then you'll want our enterprise license. It'll allow you full locational use rights. Do you ever have passengers in your car?
    Purchaser: Well yea. Sometimes.
    Sales clerk: OK. We'll mark you down for the 10 seat license expansion. As you may be aware, CD media is subject to wear and tear and replacement can be expensive. Would you like the optional RIAA replacement warranty, allowing you to obtain a replacement CD should this one become damaged, for only an additional $9.95?
    Purchaser: Err... I guess so.
    Sales clerk: Fine. That brings your total to $43.45, not including sales tax. They'll ring this up front for you.



    *scoove*
    "RIAA: Revenue Increase Absent Artists"

  • You'll hear lots of complaints by people who are unable to copy videos correctly, but you'll never hear a complaint by anyone about how macrovision has degraded their signal -- it hasn't.

    I take it you've never had one of those visit's to a friend's house where they complain because no matter what they do, they can't get the DVD/VHS player to work right. Oh, yeah, you can't plug a DVD player into a VCR that's connected to a TV. Or a VHS player through a cable box, or a DSS box, or anything else becasue the Macrovision screws it all up.

    God forbid someone should desire to plug all their stuff into the TV at once -- you're trying to rip off the content producers!...

    ---------------------------------------------
  • by norton_I (64015) <hobbes@utrek.dhs.org> on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:41AM (#383803)
    The problem isn't that people (well, at least me) think that the music industry should be able to defend their rights. I for one, would be happy to see Napster shut down... What I object to is that they try to take away my legal rights to fair use, etc. under the guise of "protecting their intellectual property". That is what this technology does (or claims to do -- I am skeptical that it works). Almost no illegal uses of CDs will be prevented by this, and many, many cases of fair use copying will be prevented. That why the RIAA is evil.
  • by Jammer@CMH (117977) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:43AM (#383810)
    I think that the time lock and number of usage locks are applied to the SafeAudio toolkit itself, to restrict the usage of the toolkit by the replication facility. This can ensure that the facility is always using a recent version, as an old version would lock up.

    Not a problem for the consumer. Just quality assurance for the labels, and a pain in the butt for the replication facility.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:48AM (#383811)
    how many people actually need multiple copies of the same cd

    ever had your car broken into and your cd's stolen? ever loaned out a cd to a friend only to never get it back, or get it back in a very scratched manner?

    ever have them 'missing' from work?

    --

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:44AM (#383827)
    it lowered our expectation on sound quality.

    I used to chase hi-end audio till it drove me to the poorhouse. it was a never ending quest to get that perfect reproduction of music.

    then came mp3. it taught us that content was usually more important than raw audiophile quality. at least as long as the audio was listenable; which with good mp3 encoders, it is.

    so how does that relate to this story? well, if we have to start making copies by going via the analog domain instead of purely digital, then so be it. that used to be a big no-no, but with the widespread acceptance of mp3 and its lower quality sound, a regular old analog-to-analog copy (actually, digital, analog, analog, digital) doesn't look so bad anymore.

    there is no standard on earth, imaginable or real that can prevent an analog copy (since you have to be able to LISTEN to it at some point) from working.

    so far the music industry has declared war on its own customers. do they think we'll just take it sitting down? restrict our LEGAL right to make personal-use copies and not only do you risk litigation and more black-eyes but we consumers will always find a workaround to your madness. and angering us will only persuade us to NEVER line your pockets with our spare change ever again. create an enemy in us and you'll go poor sooner than if you had just let us use the music as currently allowed by law!

    --

  • by KurdtX (207196) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:45AM (#383830)
    Well, the obvious solution to Safeaudio would be to buy no copies of any disk that uses it. And then continue boycotting until they realease a copyright-law compatible version. There isn't any CD out there that would drastically affect my life if I didn't have it.
    No sales -> No consumer support -> No Safeaudio

    Kurdt
  • by dstone (191334) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:46AM (#383850) Homepage
    There's an aspect of Canadian law that really:
    1) makes me happy we have this law currently
    2) will piss me off if technology like this takes off

    In Canada, March 19, 1998, Part VIII of the Copyright Act came into force. Until then, copying any sound recording for almost any purpose infringed copyright. Part VIII legalizes one such activity: copying of sound recordings of musical works onto recording media for the private use of the person who makes the copy.

    Specifically, the Copyright Board says their ruling "does not legalize (a) copies made for the use of someone other than the person making the copy; and (b) copies of anything else than sound recordings of musical works. It does legalize making a personal copy of a recording owned by someone else." So to fufill the spirit of Canadian copyright law, I assume Macrovision's technology will continue to allow me to make copies of all my friends CDs for my own personal use (which the law allows).
  • by Squid (3420) on Monday March 05, 2001 @10:46AM (#383857) Homepage
    but you'll never hear a complaint by anyone about how macrovision has degraded their signal -- it hasn't.

    That's because most people haven't figured out WHY the picture curls at the top, or why it keeps getting lighter and darker on a cycle. Until I researched Macrovision I thought all my storebought tapes were being damaged at the checkout line when they demagnetize the anti-shoplift tags!
  • by dmccarty (152630) on Monday March 05, 2001 @11:20AM (#383883)
    Congratulations, Slashdot, for once more posting a story which--however factually accurate or inaccurate--is written with such bias that it infuriates everyone who reads it. Well folks, instead of just reading stories like these and getting angrier and angrier at "them," use your irritation to actually do something [freebooks.com] that will have a positive influence.

    The DMCA [loc.gov] (PDF), however villified it is here on Slashdot, was not intended to turn out as it did. Sen. Hatch's intent was a law that would allow digital copies to be made. The no-circumvention clause that we're all familiar with was supposed to be a pot sweetener to prod the recording industry into releasing digital media. Unfortunately, we all know how the law was abused by those it sought to protect.

    Sen. Hatch's office [senate.gov] has links to a number of letters [senate.gov] and opinions regarding his true stance on the issue of digital media copying. I don't doubt he will bring this issue back up, and as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee the old media [techtv.com] companies will be in the hot seat for what they have done.

    So get moving! Do something that will have a real impact. Write your represantitive [house.gov]! Many of them were elected on non-technical issues and don't really know about the topic. Maybe it will be your letter that shapes their opinion.

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