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Still More 'Copy Protected' CDs 453

Posted by michael
from the drink-coaster dept.
maniac11 writes: "This story describes new CDs planned on being released by Universal Music Group that sport anti-copying technology. Not much in the way of actual details, but a heads up on a new plan to foil." Same price, worse product -- higher sales! Universal seems to be the first company to commit to downgrading its entire lineup over the next six months or so.
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Still More 'Copy Protected' CDs

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  • by keyne (524280) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:11PM (#2354049)
    Lets hope it isn't like those Michael Jackson CDs.. wait a minute.. depending on the music, LETS hope for it ;-)
  • DVD (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zoftie (195518)
    you can't damage Audio DVDs in same way. Tolerance
    will be much lower for data corruption.
    • Re:DVD (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zaknafein500 (303608) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:44PM (#2354277) Homepage
      Sure you can. The DVD-Audio standard allows for audible watermarking, which is exactly what is being done to standard CDs. SACDs are much different. They are watermarked, but the information is stored in the Text area and TOC. The audio is not affected like it is with DVD-Audio
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Who knew that a lossier product would cause cd's to follow.
  • by MadCow42 (243108) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:12PM (#2354059) Homepage
    These products should absolutely be labelled as "non-compatible" with the CD standard if they in any way are not compatible with other CD usages.

    This includes playing on a computer. Many of the other "copy protection" schemes make it impossible to use them on a computer of any sort. Others degrade sound quality.

    If they're not clearly labelled as such, I could see lawsuits over mis-representation of the product.

    INIAL, IAJAMC.

    MadCow.
    • by HaeMaker (221642) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:20PM (#2354101) Homepage
      Good point. Here is a question... Do they lose the ability to have the "Compact Disc" logo on thier case?
    • As reported a few weeks back, a woman has already filed suit [zdnet.com] for mislabeling of her CD. Haven't heard any updates on this though. Anyone seen anything else about it?
    • by CrudPuppy (33870) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:25PM (#2354144) Homepage
      I might be just a little pissed off if I was part
      of a company marketing high-end home and car cd players
      that utilized cd-rom drives and now Universal
      decides to make their disks such that they won't
      play on my head units and players...

      I would be all about lawsuits for lost business
      and research
    • Is anyone working on a website where a consumer can go and see how broken his or her possible purchase is, before they buy it?
    • Their defense would probably be that the intention of the CDs they are selling is to be used to play music in a standard CD music player. No where is it stated that they have to allow non-musical-playback purposes.

      If the argument is then that they are degrading audio quality, you have to prove that audio quality is degraded. It's not that hard to design the intentional errors so that the interpolation produces the value that would normally be in the music (or very close to it).

      I highly doubt that an A/B test would be able to find the difference to any ears.

      • IANAL:

        The point of the supposed lawsuit is that there is a 'Compact disc' logo on the disc itself. That claims compliance with the compact disc standard as developed by Phillips long ago. That standard includes specifications which allow the disc to be read in a cd-rom drive.

        If this isn't supported in the crappy discs, then it isn't compliant with the compact disc standard and therefore shouldn't wear the logo.

        • That claims compliance with the compact disc standard as developed by Phillips long ago.

          That standard also allows for interpolation of bad data by the CD player, I believe.

          That standard includes specifications which allow the disc to be read in a cd-rom drive.

          Does it? As far as I know, the CD standard was not originally intended for data, although it ended up as a useful carrier of data. I would be surprised if the standard doesn't have the words "music playback" all over it, rather than "data storage that can be used for music playback".

    • by Jammer@CMH (117977) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:33PM (#2354197)
      The "CD Logo" agreement (zipped) is available from here [philips.com].

      According to this, the "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo can only be used "on discs complying with the CD-DA specification: IEC 60908 and/or the Philips-Sony Compact Disc Digital Audio System Description) also known as the RED Book)."

      • Which, oddly enough, means it should be able to be READ in any CD-ROM drive, since basically every drive ever made is Redbook compatible. That's what the headphone jack in the front was for. If a CD doesn't READ in a drive, then it should not carry the CD logo.

        However, as the astute have pointed out, that means nothing about being able to copy the data off the CD. But, what's to stop someone *cough*Linuxdriverdeveloper*cough* from tweaking the CD drivers to make it work? You want to call it encryption under the DMCA? I bet a lawyer could easily argue it's not true encryption, merely error introduction which the developer corrected. That should make for an interesting fight.
      • However, many of the copy protection systems do not violate the Red Book CD Audio standard, so could validly carry that logo. The copy protection works by inserting square waves and small breaks into the audio, which are filtered out by "standard" audio CD players, but not by ripping programs or most CD-ROM drives in playback mode. The CD itself is still written in the proper CD-DA format, it's just that the audio data written within that format is intentionally degraded in a specific way.
    • There's already one [cnet.com] in progress!

      Interesting to see how that turns out. I mean, they're bastardizing a published standard and selling the product as compatible with that standard. Jeez, if they weren't all in the same bed, I'd expect Phillips to sue them ;)

    • by Sabalon (1684) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @04:03PM (#2354416)
      Okay...the latest tripe gets shipped to Blockbuster, Best Buy, etc...

      They put it on the shelves right in alphabetical order where it should be. Do you really think the consumers will care if it says "Compact Disc Digital Audio" on it? As long as it's in a jewel case the size of a CD, it won't matter.

      I'm looking at Pink Floyd's "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" right now. Nowhere on the outside, which you would see in the store, does it say anything about it being a CD. I see it in 4 places as soon as I open the case, but I also see this shiny metal disc which I assume is the CD, even if it didn't say so :)

      Yeah...it would be a way to sue them if they marked them as such, but it's not gonna hurt them if they don't.
      • The original intent of my post was to suggest that the only way for them NOT to get sued is to be BLATANTLY clear that it is not a "normal" CD.

        This doesn't mean just ommitting the "CD" logo, it means putting a "warning label" on it of some sort, explaining the differences.

        If I market a product that is deceptively similar to a common product, and "let users believe" that it is the same, I am guilty of deceptive marketing and misrepresentation. "Deceptively similar" is the key word... misleading people through similarities to another product and not noting that it's different is as bad as advertising it as something it isn't in the first place.

        MadCow
    • I've already been burned by so-called anti-copy software/hardware in my Clarion car CD player. Many of the CDs I own were purchased before the introduction of audio vs. data CDs, and they won't play in the Clarion.

      The pathetic thing is that I can rip those tracks to HDD, then burn them to CD instead of making a full copy of the CD, and it will play! So much for copy "protection."

      As an audio purist ever in search of better sound quality, the very idea of purposely degrading my signal source with digital fingerprints and copy protection is just pushing me to buy fewer and fewer CDs. I am not willing to pay for damaged goods, and I can't see how messing with my audio source can be viewed as anything but damaging.

      As to piracy, I own a grand total of one pirated CD -- a copy of Willie Dixon's "Gingerale Afternoon" that I haven't been able to find anywhere in over 5 years. (At least not for a sane price -- there are a couple online shops that are willing to sell me a copy for $27+shipping.)

      There are another 5-10 CDs that I'd pirate for the same reason, but I can't even find someone who owns an original, much less a place to buy those albums.

      On the downside, my reduced purchases have absolutely no impact on the big labels as most of my purchases are from much smaller studios like Blind Pig Records. Odds are these smaller companies don't have the volume to invest in so-called copy-protection technologies, but if they farm out the AD conversion and manufacture to bigger companies I'll end up having to skip their products as well.

      For those using the so-called CD player in their computer, if you actually cared about the music you'd spring for a CD portable regardless of the copy protection issue. The players built into a computer have so much signal interference and low-quality chip amps that they just aren't worth listening to!

  • by SilentChris (452960) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:12PM (#2354060) Homepage
    "Same price, worse product -- higher sales!"

    Only to the rippers, my friend, only to the rippers. The average "Joe Public" could care less.

    Ask your mom if she cares that she can't copy it to her computer or an MP3 player.

    "Can I still copy it to a cassette tape to play in my Suburban?"

    "Yes, mom."

    "Then how is it 'broken'?"

    • Huh? Joe Public buys a lot of iMacs with the "Rip, Mix, Burn" ads. I am quite sure he and his mom will care when the new Eminem (or whatever) can't be ripped.
    • by DevTopics (150455) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:27PM (#2354156) Homepage
      This is not quite correct. Those copy protected cd's mis-use the error correction.

      When you have a defect (fingerprint or something
      nastier) on a normal cd, you won't hear it, because there is the error correction.

      With a copy protected cd you will hear most effects. So a copy protected cd has a lower quality. And I'm deprived from my right of fair use, too.
      And it won't play on cd players with a bad error correction - so yes, Joe Public will care.
    • by kilgore_47 (262118) <kilgore_47@nospaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:28PM (#2354169) Homepage Journal
      newsflash: Anything I can listen to, I can record. You can too!

      Checkout This Incredible Idea: Run a cable from your portable cd player to the audio-in on your computer. Play+Record the track. Run resulting file through mp3 encoder. Viola, you now have an mp3 of a 'protected' cd. Sure, it isn't a digital extraction from the cd, but I bet the average mp3-downloader couldn't tell the difference anyway.

      All it takes is one person getting a decent recording of the cd for it to get in circulation on p2p servivices like gnutella.

      If you can download these copy-protected cd's for free anyway, then the copy protection is worthless!
      • by JohnTheFisherman (225485) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:53PM (#2354349)
        The only thing I think this might prohibit is digital audio extraction - if you're using the S/PDIF output of a CD ROM drive, you should get the full digital info, just at 1X speed. Full digital quality, no loss. The audio portion (like the headphone out jack and digital audio out via S/PDIF) is independent of the IDE interface. Once it starts playing, it just keeps going.

        I don't see how they could hobble the normal playback mode of a CD ROM - is this actually the case, or do they just hamper direct digital extraction? I just haven't had the slightest urge to buy a Michael Jackson or Charley Pride CD to try this out...
    • by _xeno_ (155264) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @04:18PM (#2354505) Homepage Journal
      Ask your mom if she cares that she can't copy it to her computer or an MP3 player.

      "Hey, Mom, would you care if you can't play CDs on your computer?"

      "Uh, YES, don't you remember? That's how I play all my CDs."

      "Hey, Dad, would you care that you can't rip CDs to your computer?"

      "Well, yes, because I copy all my CDs to MP3s so I don't need a CD changer to listen to them in sequence."

      I suppose my parents may be weird though. After all, my Dad listens to country... (and he's got *all* his CDs on his computer as MP3s, but then again, he works for Digital - er, Compaq - er, HP). My Mom does some work with editting webpages, so I guess she can be considered a "technical" type.

      But I know many people who I wouldn't consider a "nerd" who use their computer to play CDs straight. And they'll be mightly pissed if they can't listen to their new CDs on their $2000 laptop...

      Don't forget, computers are slowly becoming "entertainment centers." My Mom basically gave up on her little CD player she used to use to play CDs and now (would) play her CDs via her CD-ROM drive -- except that she uses AudioGalaxy now. (And the incident with the CD-ROM door being stuck shut. Ignoring that...) Her computer sounds better than her small "portable stereo."

      My sister (who is definately not a tech-type at all) uses her computer to play CDs - which, considering she only uses it for homework any other time should tell you something. (Although she has a "real" CD-player now she uses instead. It's a portable CD-player with headphones which is the real selling point.)

      Many people who own a computer - a growing portion of the population - especially in the "pop music" set - end up playing CDs through it. Sometimes it's because the computer is in a separate room from the stereo and they want to listen to music while doing homework. Sometimes it's because they want to rip the 2-CD set and listen straight through them without swapping disks.

      Legal digital music is becoming a way of life for the "younger" generation. Go through practically any college and you'll find that most of the music pumping these days is either a mix CD or straight MP3s being played through a high-fi stereo system. (With more colleges requiring computers, college students stick with the tool that works - if we can't spend $500 on a stereo, we'll use the $1000 computer we had to get instead...) It may not be near 50% of music listeners yet, but it's at least 10% - which is a lot of listeners to potentially permentantly alienate.

  • by sulli (195030) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:13PM (#2354063) Journal
    At least until ripping tools are upgraded. I will start asking at stores if I can rip a CD to MP3 - if not, no CD for me. Fuck 'em.

    BTW, SJ Mercury has a good story on this too. [siliconvalley.com]

  • it's time to not buy (Score:4, Informative)

    by esj at harvee (7456) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:13PM (#2354064) Homepage
    The only thing you can do when a vendor is providing a defective product is not purchase it. So, stop purchasing CDs, DVDs or other copy protected material. Encourage everyone you know to stop purchasing the same.

    Otherwise, all you are doing is encouraging them to produce defective products.

    • I've been doing this for over a year now. I finally got fed up with the gestapo tactics and racketeering of the RIAA, so I stopped putting money in their pockets. Unfortunately, that means that I have to suffer a bit, and the artists also don't get any money from me, and if anyone asks me for a CD as a present, I can't buy it for them.


      I wish I could say it's working... but I'm not ready to give up yet, though this month will be hard with both Tori Amos and garbage releasing new CDs.

    • You're mistaken (Score:5, Insightful)

      by -Harlequin- (169395) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @06:55PM (#2355379)
      Not buying achieves nothing. No-one will notice. Your sacrifice only serves to lower your own quality of life.

      What I'm thinking you should do is buy CDs. Take them home and rip them. If they don't rip, take them back and get a refund. This FORCES the store to take notice, and data on the number of returns goes all the way up the distribution chain to the asshole execs who try to work out exactly how unethical a policy they can get away with.

      I'm new to this country and don't know much about consumer rights laws here. Given that CD stores are reluctant to take back used CDs (and sometimes have a policy against it), it would be useful for us to know our rights. That the CD violates your right to format-shift might be sufficient grounds that they cannot legally refuse the refund, as might the misrepresentation of the product looking like a CD but not playing in all CD players. I don't know.

      If someone like the EFF could get a lawyer to write a page explaining our consumer rights with regards to these degraded-CDs, that would be very useful. It may be that the matter is legally grey and we wait for the results of lawsuits. In which case, it's up to us to not take "no" for an answer when demanding our money back.
  • by PopeAlien (164869) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:13PM (#2354065) Homepage Journal
    ..It'll be said again:

    Return faulty products for refund or exchange. The marketplace rules, and if enough people return these cd's this technology goes to an early grave.

  • Sad thing is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by M_Talon (135587) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:16PM (#2354078) Homepage
    The majority of consumers will never know the difference. The only people the record companies are offending here are the "geeks" who play CDs in their computers. Unfortunately, we're not the largest chunk of the consumer base (right now, it's teenagers), so they really don't give a rat's butt. The record companies are of the impression that we're not worth their time, since we take all the CDs and make illegal copies of them (heavy sarcasm alert).

    I for one think it's exceptionally unethical to muck with standards like this. Of course, someone will figure a way to work around it, and the files will end up out there anyway. Those files will probably get pirated more just out of spite. The best thing any of us can do is boycott any "modified" CDs like this, and tell our friends to do so as well. It's been said before, speak with your wallet. That's what I intend to do.
    • Re:Sad thing is... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ByTor-2112 (313205)
      I think you are underestimating the impact CD burners in every cow box has had. I know people who are the dumbest red-necks you have ever seen that mix and burn their own CDs. Joe Public probably burns more CDs than the geeks do!
      • Re:Sad thing is... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by M_Talon (135587)
        It's his right to burn a CD if he owns the music. The issue isn't with burning copies, it's with distributing them. However, the record companies don't want to deal with that fight, so they're taking the easy way out. By doing what they did, they unethically took away fair use rights for many people who aren't law breakers. In my opinion, that's boycott worthy.
    • You obviously haven't talked to any teenagers in a while. My sister is about to turn 16 and nearly all her friends do things on computers that would have caused them to be labeled "geeks" 10 years ago.

      I recently lent her my laptop while we were on vacation and was disturbed and a little awed to see her carry on 7 concurrent IM conversations while checking her friends' webpages. She burns mix CDs, rips mp3s and all everything else that "copy protected" CDs are supposed to stop, but she's pretty indicitive of teenagers today.

      The largest chunk of the consumer base will really give a rat's ass if they can't send their friend an mp3 from their latest CD. Hell hath no fury like a Backstreet Boys fan scorned.
  • Analog recording... (Score:2, Informative)

    by -=OmegaMan=- (151970)
    Loop your line-out to your line-in, dump that all to WAV, encode to Ogg Vorbis.

    Ta-da.
  • by Bonker (243350) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:20PM (#2354103)
    "Dude, sweet tunes! When did you buy the new XXXXXXX album?"

    "Oh, I didn't buy it. I downloaded it. I woulda bought it, but you can't play CD's in your computer any more."
  • by dave-fu (86011) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:22PM (#2354115) Homepage Journal
    Yeah. Seeing as how I play CDs through my DVD player which has a digital coax out into my receiver, I'll be in touch with my lawyer with a quickness if I run into a CD that restricts my ability to listen to music that I've bought on my home system.
    Someone needs to reverse-engineer these systems and release their findings in an encrypted format. You'll have violated the DMCA, but they'll have violated the DMCA proving it.
  • by jcoleman (139158) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:28PM (#2354168)
    The easiest way to show record labels that you won't buy their crap is to not buy their crap.

    Seriously, I have bought maybe 15 cds in the past 3 years. Three of those were replacements of cds I'd have for years had been remastered, and the rest were by bands that allow me [jambands.com] and others like me [etree.org] to freely record and trade their live concerts. Radiohead and U2 are two big name acts that have recently figured out that people who trade their concerts are more likely to buy their albums and attend their concerts than someone who doesn't trade.

    Check out the links above, there is something for all tastes. There is plenty of music to be had for the price of your bandwidth and blank CDs.

    • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:46PM (#2354301) Homepage
      Let's not forget about Dave Matthews Band [dmband.com]. They had the foresight to pass on several offers from record companies because they wanted one of them to guarantee them the right to allow their fans to record concerts and swap songs. For that reason, while I have not bought a new CD in months, and don't intend to, I will make a small exception to my boycott and buy them -- assuming they don't allow copy protection to be foisted off on their CDs, in which case, I'll have to take a pass on that, too, since I almost exclusively listen to them on my box while working.

      Am I bad for business? I've bought every album, some more than once because of mishap, plus their bio CD and a pair of DVDs (one was videos, one was a concert). I've also been to two of their concerts and would gladly go to another, and snap up their professionally recorded live albums eagerly.
  • Car Audio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CoffeeJedi (90936) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:29PM (#2354173)
    How will this affect car audio systems? I know alot them can play burned CD-R's and CD-RW's as well as pulling data like track names off, so I assume that they use the same type of drive as a computer does.
    Also, most of the old CD-Rom drives, as well as some new ones, have stereo miniplugs for headphones in the front, will you be able to play these cd's through that? I doubt it based on the previous reports of "no disc detected" but you never know.
    I think most people buy cd's to listen to in their car anyway, or at least, that's where the majority of music listening takes place, so if they're not compatible with car audio then the industry is going to have a lot of irate consumers on their hands.
  • by Starship Trooper (523907) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:31PM (#2354182) Homepage Journal
    It is the record companies' right to protect their investment in finding, recording and promoting artists. Studio time and advertisements aren't cheap, you know. The record companies spend millions trying to find selling artists, and they need to make that money back in order to keep music coming.

    Now, obviously the Slashdot vibe is that this is a flawed model for making music, and I'm inclined to agree. That is why you should be supporting independent artists who don't pull this copy-protection bullshit on their listeners. The media cartel only exists because people keep fueling it and voting with their dollars; if we want to beat it, we need to make our own content. Support independent films, musicians, and other artists who do their work for the love of it. Hell, make your own music and give it away on the Internet; there's bound to be somebody who likes it, no matter what it is. Hell, there are people who like listening to white noise.

    As long as you continue to buy mainstream CDs and DVDs, you are going to have to take whatever copy-protection measures the publishers decide to incorporate. If you don't like their terms, take your money elsewhere. That's how our society works.

    • They may have a right to protect their investment, but they do not have a right to falsely identify their product. If they say that it is a CD, I should be able to play it in any player with one of those logos (I see the logo on my CDRW drive right now. I've seen it on every CD player I've ever bought. Perhaps 10, not counting computer drives).

      Otherwise, they are misrepresenting their product. I believe this can carry rather heavy civil penalties. Now, let's say that the package itself doesn't carry the logo (or doesn't say that it is a CD, or some such). Now the vendor (Sam Goody, Amazon, etc.) would likely have to have a separate section. By lumping these products in with 'real' CD's, they imply that these defective products are 'real' CD's.

      Yes, they can do whatever the hell they want, but not if it includes defrauding the public. (Universal Studios, for instance, refuses to properly caption their DVDs. Which means they might should get slapped a bit for displaying the captioning logo on their products.)

    • It is the record companies' right to protect their investment in finding, recording and promoting artists.

      The record companies are doing a lot more than protecting their investment. They are intentionally crippling their product in a way that infringes on your fair use rights. They have no right to do that. They are trying to control how you use their product. They have no right to do that. Heh.. not yet anyway, but watch them buy a few more laws.

      The media cartel only exists because people keep fueling it and voting with their dollars

      The media cartels exist because people have no other choice. Independent artists have even more difficult time getting to the top than alternative operating systems...

    • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @04:52PM (#2354694) Homepage
      And its our right to make fair use of a product by overriding their protection measures. We have as much right to override them as they do to put them there. It is NOT like breaking into someone's house, there you are breaking a protection system (lock, etc) to do something intrinsically illegal. Breaking copy protection to infringe is illegal, but doing so to make fair use shouldn't be. Fair use is legal.
      (If some random person, not acting on orders from the local gov't, padlocks the public park, it would be legal to break that bogus lock. And the one that put the lock there would likely be in trouble. It would be nice if obstructing fair use were similarly illegal.)

      Even the DMCA [cornell.edu] itself says it doesn't affect fair use. Anything that violates fair use is also unconstitutional.

      Of course, Judge Kaplan ignores all that (DeCSS case), and he isn't the only one out there.

      So we morally, and according to the letter of the law as I understand it, have the right for "self-help" to get back fair use, but not according to the gov't. As they can assess monetary penalties and even lock you up, we need to keep in mind that we need more than just a technical solution.

      We need to repeal the DMCA.

      Of course, anyone that knows of a defeat method or code, please do let us know.

  • by DJerman (12424) <djerman@pobox.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:32PM (#2354187)
    If the industry is losing billions to copying, and they've made it impossible, we can expect to see prices fall to say $4.99, right? Or were they lying about napster....
    • Universal CDs will now fall to 4.99 as they have less value. Other makers will continue to rape the gullible $20 a pop for a technically superior product. Universal will have to conclude that everyone is copying their music alone, hence the low demand at the stores.

      Will the inevitable methods to transfer these CD's be labled a DCMA violation?

  • by Wakko Warner (324) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:33PM (#2354200) Homepage Journal
    Someone set up a domain. "CopyproofCDs.org" or something. Make a list of every copy-proof CD out there.

    Then we need to get people to sign up and deliberately go out and buy them.

    Here's the fun part.

    Once you've bought them and opened them up, return them.

    Do this ad nauseum. On your way home from work or school, on the way to the store, or when you're at the mall. Just return a copy. They'll have to throw it out. Ask for another copy of the same album. Bring in a laptop to prove to them that it doesn't play in your computer. What can they do? They HAVE to give you your money back or give you a new copy of the damned CD.

    Now, if we get THOUSANDS of people doing this -- and we can, this is slashdot we're talking about -- record companies will soon realize that there's NO money to be made in copy-proof CDs.

    Good idea?

      • Bring in a laptop to prove to them that it doesn't play in your computer.

      Most music stores I've seen have a sign posted: "If it plays here, it's not defective".

      Bringing in a laptop probably wouldn't prove the case, as they'd pop it in their system and it would play fine.

      However, you could eat up about 20 minutes of their time anyway. :-)
      • At that point, it is a matter for the courts to decide. I imagine that a small claims suit asking for about $100 for the $15 CD once or twice a month will get their attention.

        Judges may or may not be concerned with the signage. In any case, it must be prominently displayed. Also, vendors cannot sell a product 'as-is' in most cases. Their is an implied warranty of merchantibility, which means that the product will work. Disclaimers can't disclaim this.

        These signs (like many others posted by businesses) are their to scare off people who don't know the law and/or their rights.

        So no, bringing in the laptop will not prove anything to the dumbshit manager of the store. But it might prove something to the small claims court judge.

      • Most music stores I've seen have a sign posted: "If it plays here, it's not defective".

        Then just dispute the charge with your credit card company. They may not end up having to give your money back, but I guarantee they'll get tired of challenging chargebacks from their bank.

        • by Saurentine (9540) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:58PM (#2354385) Journal
          Then just dispute the charge with your credit card company. They may not end up having to give your money back, but I guarantee they'll get tired of challenging chargebacks from their bank.

          They'll get VERY tired of it, VERY quickly. The average chargeback processing fee is $20, and that's charged to the merchant regardless of whether the chargeback is upheld or not.

          Whenever you write your credit card company to dispute a charge, you cost the merchant about $20 regardless of outcome.

      • Not really an entirely valid arguement. Just because it "plays there," the store is not removed of liability. The are essentially selling a product that they advertise (by the very nature of having it on their shelves) meets a certain standard. Just because they can "get it to play," doesn't mean it is valid. Of course, you may have trouble convincing them of this.
    • by ryanvm (247662) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @04:14PM (#2354485)
      Now, if we get THOUSANDS of people doing this - and we can, this is slashdot we're talking about

      Feh, yeah right. There is no larger collection of vociferous "do-nothings" in the entire frickin' universe.

      Someone set up a domain. "CopyproofCDs.org" or something. Make a list of every copy-proof CD out there.

      You, sir, provide a perfect example. Why don't you set up this domain and database? Do you really think there are people sitting around out there with nothing better to do than wait for suggestions from /.ers?

      I don't mean to harp on you in particular, but 95% of the people here are all talk. Nobody is writing their congressman about restrictive IP legislation. Nobody is boycotting the RIAA or the MPAA.

      Apart from whining exhaustively, nobody around here is doing shit.

    • My understanding is that these copy protection schemes only work when you attempt to read tracks as if they were data *however* if you sample them in realtime via your soundcard they can be ripped just as easily for an imperceptible degradation in quality.


      I say do that and to hell with these people - rip the tracks and spread them far and wide. Then we'll see how far their expensive and liberty infringing copy protection gets them.

  • by Denor (89982) <denor@yahoo.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:35PM (#2354210) Homepage
    How about we return it for a refund? If enough people did that they'd have to stop!

    You know, I bet we could just take the digital-out of the cdplayer and pipe it into our soundcard....

    Even a D-A-D conversion would be a little lossy, but after that we could copy as much as we wanted.

    Damn those RIAA bastards to hell! They're releasing defective CDs!

    These go against the redbook standard. For shame.

    Hey, I think I'm witty! I'll make a list of all the comments that people will make in the article because that's all people ever say in these articles! Oh, wait....
  • well, crap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mrsmalkav (33086)
    And I just spent $500+ on my spiffy Kenwood MP3 player. I guess I'll just have to get my MP3s to play in my car off those war3z sit3z and ftp3z.

    Shame too, because all I was doing was making it more convenient to keep lots of music in my car. It also makes me happier as the person(s) who broke into my car is just a little more screwed since they won't be able to profit (oh, and not pay royalties) off the cds s/he stole.

    So I take it this means that cd-duping is supposed to be eliminated ("more difficult")?

    Really... I wonder when they're going to demand that used cd stores pay the record industries for the lost profits.

    Idiots. All of them.
    • Re:well, crap (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Really... I wonder when they're going to demand that used cd stores pay the record industries for the lost profits."

      They already tried. The response they got from the courts was "too bad - covered by first sale doctrine" i.e. once it's sold to one customer the original seller can't (and shouldn't) expect to make money from any additional sales of the same item.

      Now it will get interesting when the music CDs (not talking about the enhanced cd's) start coming with EULA's like PC software ("you can't sell, give away, blah, blah blah, your copy, blah blah blah even if you have no use for it and don't keep any copies ....")
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:38PM (#2354224)
    Since this copy protection method works by throwing in errors which (most) CD players will simply interpolate over, won't this make these CDs much less tolerant to scratches & fingerprints? If this is the case, this would be a pretty big reason to stay away from these CDs. Blah. Time to invest in a new needle for my phonograph...
  • by daviskw (32827) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:39PM (#2354236)
    The reason why the record industry is doing poorly is because they sued Napster and shut them down. I used Napster to listen to music I liked but couldn't find on the radio. If I liked a song enough I went out and actually bought the CD that the song existed on. It isn't enough for me to download the song onto the one machine I have dedicated for that task, I wanted to be able to listen to the whole CD and that meant that I bought it.

    The music industry shuts down Napster, which automatically makes me angry at the music industry. So I stop buying CD's from the music industry. Not only that, but I also stop buying things I can copy music onto. Like blank CDs and disk drives and such. Those companies loose sales because not only do I stop buying CDs, but also so did two million other people. This means that probably a dozen, maybe two dozen companies suddenly can't pay their bills. They start laying off people and maybe they go out of business and maybe they just scale back but the fact is, they are in a recession. So those dozen or two dozen companies employ something like a quarter of a million people and of those maybe something like fifty thousand are now out of work. Those people now half to scale back on everything if they don't want to loose what they still have. No to mention the 200,000 people that are still working but are now terrified that they are next. But these people aren't the only ones who are scared. People read about it in the newspapers and they begin to think: "I don't think I'm going to buy that new cell phone today. I can afford it, but God, look at the economy." Before you know it we are in a full scale recession. This is because some record executive was afraid he might loose sales on CDs for Twisted Sister or Metallica.

    They have their cause and effect really screwed up. They say, "It's all those people out there copying this stuff that's hurting us." It isn't that. Most people I know are fairly honest and if they make copies its almost always for themselves to use on some medium the record company didn't think of. Most people aren't buying music from these companies because they see how much the artists and the companies themselves hate their customers. It is this contempt for their customers that has put them in this pickle. Now they grind salt into their own self inflicted wounds and make it so that you can only copy onto a blank CD. This ought to make there customers happy.

  • CD Logo (Score:3, Redundant)

    by HaeMaker (221642) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:39PM (#2354238) Homepage
    The Compact Disc logo is owned by Phillips.

    http://www.licensing.philips.com/cdsystems/cdlog os .html

    The right to use the logo is as follows:

    "This logo may be used on discs complying with the CD-DA specification: IEC 60908 and/or the Phillips-Sony Compact Disc Digital Audio System Description (also known as the RED Book)"

    Players have similar restrictions. So if the disc dosen't play on your "Compact Disc" labeled device and it is labeled "Compact Disc" one of them is lying, or the spec is too loose.
  • This only works as long as computer CD-ROM drives don't allow interpolation of digital data. Are there any drives out there that allow that as an option? If not, I wouldn't be surprised to see them spring up soon.

  • Does anyone know of web site that lists such albums. I would like to start purchasing them and returning them as defective to every record store in a 20 mile radius.
  • As far as I know current CD rippers (for unprotected CDs) are legal (people sometimes do illegal things with them, but the programs themselves are quite legal to own and distribute and write). So pieces of software which allow the contents of a CD containing copyrighted music to be converted into a plain old ordinary computer file are legal.

    Now with these new CDs, because they're copy-protected, a ripper for them violates the DMCA. So these new pieces of software which allow the contents of a CD containing copyrighted music to be converted into a plain old ordinary computer file are wholly illegal. Which is kinda odd, really, seeing as how they do the exact same thing.

    I know that's nothing you didn't aready know, but I just thought I'd get it off my chest.

  • by Tim Doran (910) <timmydoran@NOspaM.rogers.com> on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:46PM (#2354299)
    If there's one thing this argument needs, it's a catchy label. If copy-prevention on CD's get slapped with a 'downgrade' label, it'll be dead before it gets any momentum. Joe Sixpack will NEVER stand for it and the media will have a field day demonstrating car stereos and home computers balking at the latest N'Sync CD.

    We should push this rhetoric HARD.
  • What's to prevent someone from producing CD-ROM drivers that just emulate whatever it is that the audio error correction hardware does? I would expect such software to emerge from the bazaar pretty quickly. Is there some deeper hardware issue here?
  • by Baba Abhui (246789) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @03:50PM (#2354327)
    Sony Music Entertainment recently said the CD of Michael Jackson's new single "You Rock My World" was distributed to European radio stations with protection software after the song started showing up on the Internet.

    I think it's funny that the author of the story chose to point out the absurdity of this sequence of events in this subtle way.

    What were the record execs thinking? "Hey, everyone who wanted to pirate a copy of this Michael Jackson song already has. In retaliation, let's hurt our paying customers! That will show 'em!"

    That's not closing the barn door after the horse has gone - that's setting fire to the barn to teach it a lesson.
  • Database (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nezer (92629)
    Why wouldn't someone simply start a service where users can report technical complaints about CDs.

    This way it would be possible to reference this database before a purchase and be able to determine the ability to rip it based on others experience. If it's a title that's protected, sipmly don't buy it.

    I agree this stuff should be labeled but that's nothing more than a pipe dream. Instead of just complaining about the problem, let's do something about it!
  • Like flashing a DVD to be reigonless, maybe people will make firmware upgrades that allow these 'protected' CDs to be played in PCs.

    Sure, it will depend on whether your CD Rom drive can be flashed (and it probably can't if it is a plain reader, not writer or DVD), but I guess those that are informed (i.e. the rippers) will look for CD devices that have the required features. Those that don't know will just remain inconvenienced and in the dark.

    As for piracy. It won't stop it, nothing can while CD prices are so high. Just get a PC and HIFI with SPDIF I/O and you presumable can make mp3's to put on Napster (or what ever is taking it's place).
  • Try bringing up LimeWire, BearShare, WinMX, etc. and looking for MIchael Jackson's new single (which was released with this "protection"). Count the hits you get.

    Whoops. Guess that didn't work so well.
  • My response, as a consumer, is to take my music pirating up a notch. Where as before I spent a predetermined budget on the CDs I wanted the most, I'm now going to pirate everything, save the indy bands I like.

    Remember, people, the ball (money) is in our court. We need to understand collectively that music piracy is a legitimate form of protest against these damaged products being sold. Use it.
  • Won't boycotting CDs and DVDs just play into their hands? If we can actually impact sales such that they stay flat instead of increasing like they should (all things being equal), won't they just see that as evidence of "pirating"? And work even harder at "copy protection"?

    Maybe what we should do is buy MORE CDs and DVDs - make them so profitable that they drop their rediculous encryption and copy protection crusades because the crusade will be COSTING them more money than it saves them.

    Ok, let the flaming begin 8-)
  • It occurs to me that this desision also has the effect of pissing off microsoft. The order of microsoft's desires of features is as follows: they would prefer if only they had a certain useful feature but at times they can allow others to have such a feature but detest the idea of the feature being impossible to them. Not being able to play cds on windows media player is going to piss them off. My guess is once they start throwing their weight around some back door will be put in that allows new microsoft products to play these cds. Once such a back door is in place it will not be a serious challenge to reverse engineer it.
  • My CD changer is connected to my receiver via Toslink (optical) cable. Will this type of setup be affected by these non-Redbook CDs? Will I be receiving the same bitstream as if the CD wasn't "downgraded"? Likewise, for SPDIF coax digital connections to receivers? (Non speculative answers or real links would be appreciated.)
  • by Maul (83993) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @04:30PM (#2354562) Journal
    The first thing I do when I buy a new CD is to rip it onto my PC and then put the CD into my CD case in my car trunk. I usually listen to my CDs in the car, and MP3 rips of CDs I own in at home when working at my PC. I also use CDs (either originals, or CDs full of MP3s) when listening to music on my laptop, since I don't have the drive space to store all those MP3s on that machine. That is my personal listening practice. I believe I have the protection of "fair use" when I do such a thing.


    I only used Napster (and other such MP3 services and so forth) to aquire music that was impossible to find in stores, thus buy, or to download music from artists that had said they supported their fans sharing music in that manner.


    Last year I spent >$200 on CDs. The RIAA certainly made money off of me. However, now the RIAA wants to curtail my ability of fair use? Naturally, I'll be less inclined to buy CDs I can't use in all of my players. Not to mention that I consider these CDs that are "protected" to be defective. Of course, I might be inclined to buy again if I can have a tool to bypass their schemes (which will more than likely be illegal under the DMCA).


    Case in point. I don't want to buy CDs that are defective (either intentionally or not). RIAA is losing my business by curtailing my ability to listen to my CD in the format I choose.

  • Firmware upgrades? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swb (14022) on Wednesday September 26, 2001 @05:34PM (#2355006)
    It stands to reason that the biggest enemy of these non-standard CDs has to be the consumer electronics industry. They've seen a huge sales of burners, players, software, blanks, labels and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the make-your-own-CD revolution.

    Limiting or preventing ripping of CDs seems like a real threat to not just Johnny Digital's passtime but of those in the electronics industry whose livlihood relies on consumers legitimately being able to rip CDs.

    How soon until they fire back with firmware upgrades or other hardware hacks that overcome the copy protection gimmicks? And how will the music industry respond when this stuff is sold with the claim "Now compatible with new CDS!"?

  • by acb (2797) on Thursday September 27, 2001 @03:20AM (#2357168) Homepage
    If CDs were copy protected, would most people rip them by attaching their CD players to sound cards? Probably not. And not because of the quality, but because of the effort required. Consider this:

    Ripping a CD to MP3s involves: (a) fetching track names automatically from freedb, (b) reading the audio off the CD (much faster than playing it) into separate files and (c) making MP3/ogg files.

    Ripping a recording from line in involves (a) recording the whole damned thing at real time, (b) cutting it into separate tracks (no track info, remember), (c) hand-naming the files and making playlists. Takes a lot longer and requires more effort. I've done it once for a live recording from a MiniDisc, and it's not something I'd want to do for every CD I wish to listen to on my computer.

    Of course, the payoff for going to this Herculean effort would be the kudos you get from all the mp3 l33ch3z when you upload it for the taking. So, in effect, copy-protected CDs would punish honest home-rippers and encourage file-sharing mp3 d00dz.

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