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Dataplay Ready to Launch 345

Posted by michael
from the impact-crater dept.
geophile writes "Let's see. This is a CD-like, CD-incompatible storage medium with lower storage capacity than a CD; copying, which is supported by CDs and permitted by fair-use laws is not possible; and it's more expensive than a CD. Read about this great idea here." We've done a couple of stories on the Dataplay discs; this one discusses the heavy content controls built-in. MSNBC had an article on Dataplay a few weeks ago that mentions an "education process" needed to get people to re-buy all their old music in a new format.
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Dataplay Ready to Launch

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  • by rosewood (99925) <rosewood AT chat DOT ru> on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:28PM (#3380150) Homepage Journal
    Quite often when we see things like this, the general consensous is "If it sucks this bad and is this stupid, people will not buy it." Well, I do not have that much faith in the masses. All it takes is one exclusive block-buster album to come out on this format for all the sheep to buy and VOILA, TNBT. So, this will be a good test so see if the public can withstand the crap...

    PS- Are there any plus sides??
    • by Mr.Spaz (468833) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:39PM (#3380200)
      I'm not that fast to react anymore. Everytime I see a scheme like this come along, I point to DIVX. Those "in the know" successfully killed that format with an enduring information campaign that didn't let up until DIVX was out the window. It was to the point that people looking at DIVX players at Circuit City were approached by strangers who would inform them exactly what buying DIVX was going to mean. I think that in any similar situation where a less restrictive, less costly, and less burdensome alternative exists, the same kind of results can be had by simply informing the sheep that the $16 disc in their hand will actually cost $16+$8+$13, etc. if they want to access everything listed on the cover. Oh, play on your computer? No, it won't do that. Put the music on CD to listen to in the car? Oh, sorry, not allowed. Etcetera ad nauseum...

      And you can be sure that another plan behind this system is going to be "disc expiration." 20 plays and then another $20 to get the thing going again, or what have you. If I can, I'll be steering people away from the format. I'm sure most slashdotters will too.
    • Make a blockbuster hit. 90% of fanbase has no compatible player. Do we a) forsake all that profit or b) release the CD? The music industry don't have all that much of a community feeling, if they can make cash, they will.

      Kjella
    • You assume an artist will be willing to put their blockbuster song EXCLUSIVELY on this new format. "Hey, lets only sell our music on these neat little disks few people have heard of, no one asks about in the stores and no one has players for yet"... Artists and their agents cant be THAT stupid...

      It was an uphill battle for CDs for the same reason--however CDs had advantages over tapes and records. CDs hold more music, are physically smaller, and somewhat more robust than records. Unlike tapes they are random access--no seeking for songs--and they dont wear out. To top it all off, CDs sound better than tapes and (to most people) records. Despite that, it took many years to become mainstream, and the backing of the GIANT SONY corporation.

      So whats new here? We have a smaller disk, but less capacity than a CD (put MP3s on a data CD and they hold more hours of music), no better sound quality, 3 times the expense for players, and they are functionally cripled by content control "features". And as much as the potential for multimedia (video, etc) is played up...well DVD's, CD-R's, flash memory media, miniDV tapes, etc seem to do fine for any kind of digital content.

      Recording executive's wet dream to be sure, but there is absolutely nothing here to lure a customer away from any existing choices...

      Well...unless RIAA petitions successfully in the US to have those choices made illegal under the DMCA because the facilitate the illegal distribution of copyrighted music...
      • The backing was from Sony and Philips - when those 2 work together on a new medium formats - most of the time it becomes success..

        When they work alone.. well, it's partial success (Sony's MiniDisc compared to Philips Digital tape [not DAT] - anyone remembers?)
      • if the record labels want to make the switch (and they will!) they will probably just do exactly what they did when they wanted to switch from vinyl to CDs - force the issue.

        apparently, retailers can return unsold media to the distributers in exchange for new content. the distributers just told the retailers that they would stop accepting returns of unsold vinyl. This forced the retilers to make the switch. That's why the 'longboxes' were popular - the retailers didn't even have time to remodel their shops for the smaller format.

    • Oh really?

      Lets see - according to the article, one of the first albums that will be available with this Dataplay media - is Britney Spears's new album (with her new hit - yuck, I wish I was dead)

      Do you really think that the record labels will release her album on this format alone exclusivly and miss all prime sells to those stupid kiddies who buy her album? no friggin way, sir!..
  • Bah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dieMSdie (24109) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:31PM (#3380162)
    I quit buying CDs years ago due to the RIAA's greedy, grasping control-freak mentality. It will be a cold day in hell before I shell out a single cent to them for some broken incompatible crap like this.

    These people live in their own little world - with only the MPAA and some other like-minded morons as neighbors. Small wonder they can get laws like the DMCA passed - Congress lives in the same world.

    I just do not foresee people buying these things. Yes, the "public" can be incredibly stupid at times, but they do catch on, eventually, and I think the RIAA's game is up.
    • by 56ker (566853)
      Thought Joe Public was sole on the idea of DVDs - after all they look like CDs, play CDs & have a higher capacity!
      • by dzym (544085)
        Except you can't fit a high quality movie onto a CD without significant compression (DivX ;) style, which VCD players can't support anyway). And that compression is quite noticeably lossy.

        People buy DVDs to watch movies. Who the hell buys DVDs to listen to music?
      • people did buy dvd's -- but thats because dvd's were new and novel -- they rock VHS and people were hungry for that.

        Dataplay is worse in every way then a CD. They are essentially trying to convince people to toss their equiptment for *no* benefit. Sony tried this with the minidisc all thru the 90's and failed. This will fare no better.

        • Sony tried this with the minidisc all thru the 90's and failed.

          Well, failed in the U.S., anyway. In Japan it rocks the casbah.

          Note that they've become a replacement for cassettes, not CDs, and serve that purpose quite well (I bought my girlfriend an MD player a couple of years ago, and at the time you could still find small racks of pre-recorded MDs in some record stores, but I don't see them anymore at all -- racks of blank MDs, on the other hand, are bloody everywhere...).


  • I'd just like to say good luck to the RIAA.

    They're really going to need it... because this is truly a bankrupting idea. And after this crap doesn't fly, they'll be charging $30 a CD to recoup costs.

    I am sure as hell not going to buy something that is going to get lost in the hole in my jeans pocket... or the dog can easily chwe up and eat.
  • clueless article (Score:3, Interesting)

    by macpeep (36699) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:34PM (#3380175)
    So compact flash sucks too because it's more expensive than CD's and incompatible? Dataplay discs are VERY small. That's the whole point. They are intended for digital cameras, PDA's and similar small, battery driven devices. Not PC's. Not even laptops.

    Instead of focusing on being funny when submitting the article, how about focusing on being clued in?
    • Dataplay discs are VERY small.

      They're not any smaller than minidiscs, and they're a lot more fragile, a lot less flexible, a lot less powerful, more expensive, no better quality, and no longer recording time (oh, I meant to say NO recording time).

      They are intended for digital cameras, PDA's and similar small, battery driven devices.

      every 6-12 months you can buy a compactflash card with twice as much storage for the same price as before. Dataplay devices won't have 2 gig discs out in 18 months, but if you're using a compactflash camera/MP3 player, you'll probably be able to pick up a 2 gig CF card for $250.

      as much as the general public likes convenience (which a fixed format offers), they're not going to be happy when their next-door neighbor has a 2 gig digital camera that shoots video and 5000x3000 pixel uncompressed stills, while their dataplay cameras are still stuck with low-res JPG because the format doesn't have any space.
    • I agree these might be an OK replacement for CF in general.

      But the main focus for this thing is to sell music in a protected format. They want to produce DataPlay based music players, and get the public used to using this format. I think a measure of how well this technology might do is to see how many music players built with this storage medium support MP3's stored on the disc - my guess is few to none.

      Furthermore, I'm not at all sure you'll see digital cameras that support this format. Why? Because you then limit yourself to this storage size, instead of being able to support 1GB+ CF storage. The cheapness of it might negate that effect though, and make some low-end cameras support this format... though you'd think a camera maker (and buyer!) would want to make suure the format wasn't going to die on the vine before they support it. But then again the resolutions cameras are going to quickly make this format too limiting.

      To summarize, here's an argument for why it seems to me it's a format meant to push music. It seems to have too many drawbacks to really replace CF (limited device support and fixed size). SD already supports copyright protection controls, so they could have released music on that, but it would be too expensive. Thus, the only reason they are pushing this new format is because it's cheap enough to relase an album on. From that stream-of-thought you can then deduce the only reason this format is being pushed is to try and sell protected music in stores.

      A last note - why I would pay CD prices for a lossy compressed version of a song is beyond me. I would wish them good luck, but frankly I hope it's a full-on DIVX syle failure that leads me to abandoning some other poor store (for the rest of my life I refuse to shop at Circuit City as a result of supporting DIVX).

      Further note - if you (meaning: The Man [translation - companies developing this stuff]) bother to release a new compact storage format, please make sure first it can support DVD levels of storage so I can have a decent 10MP digital camera and store more than a few images in raw format.
    • Re:clueless article (Score:2, Informative)

      by BitterOak (537666)
      They are intended for digital cameras, PDA's and similar small, battery driven devices.

      Err, how about reading the article. Unlike the CF memory which you compare it to, these disks are write-once media. Who would want to use such a thing in a digital camera? This is not a technical breakthrough technology. They are smaller than a CD, yes, but have less storage space (250Mb vs. 700), and they have all sorts of yucky DRM crap built-in. I would be amazed if this succeeds.

    • Compact flash is great. What do you have against compact flash? They save my day and it's size is hard to beat. If they where ANY smaller I'd be losing all arround.

      Price has been going down for years and the trend continues. And I can read them directly from my Laptop, which is kind of interesting. THAT's why they don't like CF. The content industry hates computers. I i can see why. Nevertheless, their battle is over and they have lost. But the war is still going on.

      When the day comes where i cannot use something without breaking a law will be the day I'll become a silent rebel.
    • I don't think you have a clue yourself.

      The articles about this technology say over and over that it's a read-only medium. What's that going to do for your digital camera? Or a PDA? I hope you don't want to actually take any pictures.

      There are plenty of small, flash standards that work fine, such as SD, Memory Stick, and CF.

    • by j09824 (572485)
      CompactFlash is fast, rewritable, solid-state, non-proprietary, and doesn't try to keep you from moving your data around.

      Dataplay is write-once, requires a mechanical drive to read/write, probably slower than CF, and tries to keep you from moving data around.

      Yes, I'd say Dataplay sucks, while CF doesn't.

    • Discs are fragile. CF is sturdy. I can safely slip a CF card into my pocket without using a protective case. This is important with digital cameras. (Also, SmartMedia is fragile. MemoryStick is proprietary. CF rules.)
    • Dataplay discs are VERY small. That's the whole point. They are intended for digital cameras...
      Hey, hey, listen to what you're saying. Are you going to put media with someone else's copy protection mechanism on it into your camera?

      'Hal, make a copy of that photo I just took and mail it to my mother.'

      'Sorry, Dave, I can't do that.'

      I don't think so. I do think so. I think the camera buying public will take one look at that and laugh so hard you'll think the Marx Brothers are back in business.

  • Wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vanders (110092)
    The discs look like CDs an inch (2.5 centimeters) across and are housed in plastic cartridges.

    I'm looking at my Sony Minidisc right now. The Dataplay people are joking. Right?
    • Will they ever realize people don't like extreme miniatures. That's why chocolates are thin to maximize surface, or shipped software cames in boxes, etc.
  • "Education Process" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rand.srand() (243903) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:38PM (#3380194)
    I believe this "education process" is misunderstood. What they're refering to is the executives figuring out that being able to control the market through physical media is obsolete. Try to force the market into a new format and you'll just push even more people to the black market.

    The music industry's arrogance towards their own customers is incredible. Imagine if Microsoft, Oracle, Symantec, etc. all said that their programs will only install on new computers in MetaData format media and if you had legacy media you'd just have to buy it new. Or they told you they wouldn't honor upgrades unless you bought new licenses by a certain date (oops, beat me to that idea).
  • Here we go again.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:41PM (#3380204)
    I was under the impression that once you owned the rights to the music, you wouldn't have to pay royalties again.

    Why can't you just buy music in the new format for $1 a disc, if you already own the music?

    eh.. I already know the answer why do I bother
    And how long will it be before someone cracks all the "hidden" music on the disks?
    • Why can't you just buy music in the new format for $1 a disc, if you already own the music?

      See, you have to stop using logic and common sense. Just use this simple test:

      Given two choices X and Y, which gives the record companies the most profits? That will be the one they choose.

      In fact, I would not be surprised if the record companies would charge you MORE if you already owned the CD, since now you've doubled the chances for piracy by owning two copies in two formats. I know that seems irrational and unenforcable, but if you believe charging $18 for a disc of information that can be copied for free is a great idea for a business model, a lot of other stuff suddenly seems plausible too...

    • And how long will it be before someone cracks all the "hidden" music on the disks?
      Actually... I have one of the first models and I got a sample album with it. At first finding the music on it was very hard. Then I did an ls -al and found out that all of the songs are named .SongName.Aritst.oqq

      --Josh
  • ick, compression (Score:3, Interesting)

    by x102output (536049) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:44PM (#3380226)
    a compression like MP3? thats just enough for me NOT to adopt this format. If they use a lossy format, forget it. I like raw PCM used on CD's, or a codec that reconstructs it (like SHN audio). lossy formats suffice for pirating..but do you really want your $18 you shell out going for something that sounds just as good as a mp3 rip of it?
    • Take the ATRAC psycho-acoustic compression scheme used for minidiscs, where the quality is virtually indistinguishable from that of a CD. A minidisc stores 140 MB of raw data, so that means a bitrate of approximately 256 kbps. So compression can give good results, if you use an adequate bitrate and a quality encoder. There's no reason for MP3 files to NOT sound good, too; of course, if you're talking of a 128kbps rip of a complex orchestral recording, you're gonna suffer a loss, but the same piece encoded at 320kbps will hardly be distinguishable from the real thing.

      Unless of course, you're talking about one of those freak audiophiles who spend 30 grand on a bizantine rig which can only play vinyl LPs...
  • by millisa (151093) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:45PM (#3380233)
    Especially if AOL finds some way to put media on them. I want new free stuff to put in the microwave . . .
  • A mere speedbump (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UTPinky (472296)
    While I've pretty much stopped buying cds from music row years ago, and now only purchase cd's from local artists (God, I love Austin), who actually see the profits from the cds, I still don't see how its security methods, are gonna prevent me from hooking it (if it actually catches on) to my receiver w/ digital output, and hooking that up to my sound card w/ digital input... How is this keeping me from copying the audio?
  • What a load of.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chicane-UK (455253)
    ..rubbish.

    This new product is a lame attempt to try and quash the 'music copying' market - amusingly, I couldnt have imagined anyone else to be the 'flagship' artist to launch this product than Britney Spears.. gawd knows I am sick of seeing her on Pepsi Commercials, and now she goes and sells out on somthing like this too.

    It sure as hell doesnt make me want to buy one - if I was to buy another portable media player (seeing as I have a car, I sold my MiniDisc player a while back) it would either be one of Sonys new NetMD MiniDisc players, or somthing groovy like an iPod.
  • by jonesvery (121897) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:52PM (#3380262) Homepage Journal
    From the article:

    The discs will cost about $16 when they are released in stores in early June, with one album of music ready to play. But because the discs pack data densely and the music is compressed using methods similar to that of MP3 software, each can contain up to five albums of music.

    Some music companies will release the discs with hidden extra albums, which can be activated by entering codes bought at their Web sites for $8 to $13.

    The extra disc space can contain videos and lyrics, accessed by connecting a Dataplay player to a computer. When connected, a user can also store data on the discs -- 250 megabytes on each side, for a total slightly less than the 650 megabytes that fit on a CD.

    Data can only be written to the discs, not erased.

    That's Good:
    Hey! There's a "secret album" on this disc, and I only have to pay 50-80% of what it would cost to buy that album by itself.
    That's Bad:
    Hey! All of the "secret albums" are third-rate crap that the record company didn't think they'd be able to sell as standalong albums.

    That's Good:
    Wow! I can store my own data on the 80% of the storage capacity that's just going to waste.
    That's Bad:
    Wow! The record company put three crap "secret albums" on this disc...but I still have 20% of the storage capacity for my own stuff.

    That's Good:
    Cool! I'll put this album that I haven't listened to yet on the free 20% of this disc, so that I can check it out on my way to school.
    That's Bad:
    Cool! There's one good song on this album, and the rest of it sucks. I guess I'll just listen to the good song a lot, since I can't delete this album from the disc.

  • Idiot (Score:3, Informative)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:53PM (#3380265) Homepage Journal

    What the submitter fails to mention in all that rhetoric is that these disks are the size of a US quarter, which I find pretty interesting.

    All the other crap he spewed may or may not be true. It's hard to tell when it's obvious that he's biased against the device and fails to mention the positive points.

    In short, once again the Slashdot editors don't bother to do any editing.

    • Re:Idiot (Score:2, Funny)

      by ryants (310088)
      disks are the size of a US quarter
      Sweet... yet another thing I can put up my nose.
    • Re:Idiot (Score:3, Informative)

      by gnovos (447128)
      All the other crap he spewed may or may not be true. It's hard to tell when it's obvious that he's biased against the device and fails to mention the positive points.

      Lets say I have a free energy machine, but in order to use it, I add on a component that forced you to kill a child every time you turn it on. It would be useless, no matter how fantastic teh tech. The copy protection is not INHERANTLY part of the system, it is an add-on that removes functionality and renders completely useless what could otherwise be a very cool technology.

    • Re:Idiot (Score:2, Interesting)

      by theancient1 (134434)
      They're actually a bit bigger than a quarter... more like a Canadian Twonie.

      I bought a MiniDisc player for $160 not too long ago. I fail to see any significant advantages of Dataplay.

      MiniDisc:
      - Players cost half what DataPlay players will.
      - Blank discs cost less. ($2-$3 vs. $5-$10)
      - Discs and individual tracks can be erased. (Think CD-RW vs CD-R -- you don't need to buy a new disc whenever the old one fills up.)
      - No significant copy protection.
      - Mature technology.
      - Incredible battery life. (DataPlay was estimated at only 10 hours for the "engine" alone.)

      DataPlay:
      - slightly smaller discs (but the players don't look to be any smaller)
      - can probably record faster (note: my MD player is one of the older models that only records in real-time, so I can't speak for the newer NetMD models.)
      - sets a bad precedent

      So the only real disadvantage is that I can currently only record in real-time. (Again, I can't speak for NetMD.) But since MD discs are so cheap, I don't spend much time recording, anyway. I just made 3 or 4 mix discs (each with 5 hours of music), delete tracks as I get tired of them, and add new tracks in their place.
    • I don't mind bias. Everyone has their bias. Not everyone will admit their biases. It's better to read knowing the author's bias than to read a piece without knowing the author's bias.

      Even folks that strive for objectivity are still biased. Much of the time, when you see a "pro" statement balanced by the "anti" statement, that's not being objective and it's not being neutral, that's sloppy reporting.

      And that's the lesson of Heisenberg, Hunter S. Thompson, Global Warming and the whole post modern movement.

      Welcome to 2002.
    • by Patrick (530)
      fails to mention the positive points

      Go read the positively glowing MSNBC article linked from the story. The advantages appear to be that it stores 500MB, stores 5 hours of "CD quality" music, is the size of a quarter, will cost $12 for a blank disk, and can include audio, video, and text clips in addition to the music.

      In constract, clunky old CDs store 700MB, store 12 hours of "CD quality" music if you cheat and use compression (which Dataplay clearly is), are big enough that you won't lose them between couch cushions, cost as little as a dime for a blank disk, and can include any data representable as bits (yes, that includes video clips).

      If size is that big a deal, buy an MP3 player based on a 2.5" disk or flash memory. Some of the flash memory MP3 players are the size of a fat pen, and even the most expensive ones cost no more than the Dataplay players will.

      Every advantage of this thing, aside from its size, is something CDs or MP3s can do cheaper and better without forcing you to buy a new device. As annoying as it may be to have the submitter and the editor so obviously biased, they're actually right. Dataplay is about as consumer-friendly as DivX (the DVD rival, not the MPEG4 spin-off).

      --Patrick

  • CNN's bias (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:53PM (#3380270)
    And many consumers will resist the Dataplay format precisely because of the copyright protection that makes it so attractive to music labels.

    On Tuesday, a music industry group said worldwide sales of CDs fell 5 percent last year, the first drop ever. The group attributed it to the rise of Internet services like Napster, which distribute music copied from CDs.

    Nice how they phrased those. The closest they came to adressing the fair use side of the debate is.

    "What the record labels like about Dataplay is that it's a format they can control," says analyst Phil Leigh at Raymond James Financial. "They would probably like to see all CDs go the way of the Dataplay."

    It's good to know where CNN stands is this debate by totally misrepresenting and marginalizing those against this new technology. Nice to hear the only people who won't like it are the ones who want to circumvent the copyrite rather than people who want their fair use rights. Another interesting thing I found.

    Some music companies will release the discs with hidden extra albums, which can be activated by entering codes bought at their Web sites for $8 to $13.

    So we will be paying for the music twice? I can't really see this being useful for preventing copying, I can only see them implementing it 2 ways. They could have it go on a specific player or they could write it onto the disk itself. If it goes on a specific player you could just distribute that code with the copied disk. If they have the player connect to the internet to authenticate that it's the only one than it could be done but your're going to get a HUGE backlash if you could only play it on one player (I hope the public aren't that much of sheep). The option of writing it onto the disks itself is equally useless because there is nothing to stop you from giving the person the code with the burned disk or even buring it with the code on it. One way or another people will get around the protection. The only possible reason I can see for the code is so you can have disks possibly expire or do something else so they can have more control over the copy and gouge more money out of the consumer.
    • Re:CNN's bias (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by dangermouse (2242)
      Okay, let's go over this again, and see if we can find some bias on CNN's part:

      And many consumers will resist the Dataplay format precisely because of the copyright protection that makes it so attractive to music labels.

      This is true. The copyright protection measures are exactly why you don't like the Dataplay format, and exactly why the labels do. CNN does not point out that the copyright protection measures are overreaching in their scope, but that's opinion, and to do so would be to reveal a bias against Dataplay.

      On Tuesday, a music industry group said worldwide sales of CDs fell 5 percent last year, the first drop ever. The group attributed it to the rise of Internet services like Napster, which distribute music copied from CDs.

      This is a direct citation of a viewpoint presented by a third party, and is clearly indicated as such. CNN is making no comment on the validity of the statement, they are simply conveying the expressed viewpoint of a party to the controversy.

      You say:

      It's good to know where CNN stands is this debate by totally misrepresenting and marginalizing those against this new technology. Nice to hear the only people who won't like it are the ones who want to circumvent the copyrite rather than people who want their fair use rights.
      There is nothing at all in the text you quoted to indicate any representation of those against the new technology, much less a misrepresentation and marginalization.

      You have to watch for bias in the media, especially when it comes to cases involving parent companies of the reporting agency, but I'm afraid you've completely fabricated a bias against your viewpoint out of the lack of a bias for your viewpoint.

      • I may have exaggerated the degree of the bias somewhat but it is still present. They introduce the drop in sales and present the music industries point of view. That is one point of view from a party with nested interests in the debate. Considering the fact that there is lot's of evidence that Napster-like music services have in fact helped sales it is irresponsible to only present the viewpoint of that one party as that will inevitably taken by fact by many readers. Would you consider is responsible journalism when in a article of wether securuty through obscurity is better than open source models the only expert they presented was the head of security for MS?

        This is true. The copyright protection measures are exactly why you don't like the Dataplay format, and exactly why the labels do. CNN does not point out that the copyright protection measures are overreaching in their scope, but that's opinion, and to do so would be to reveal a bias against Dataplay.

        You're right it is true statement, and to inform people of the fair use argument could be an example of opinion. However they have already presented an opinion, And many consumers will resist the Dataplay format precisely because of the copyright protection that makes it so attractive to music labels. To me that is an example of an opinion why consumers don't like the format and music labels do. It is also an example of opinion when they do not tell the bigger (to some) and more profound fair use and free speech argument that consumers present against the new format. In its present form by saying copyright protection otherwise than perhaps copy prevention they are intoning that the motives of those opposing the disk are that they want to circumvent the copyright rather than use their own fair use rights. I find it unlikely that this distinction was not in the minds of the journalist and editors.

        There is nothing at all in the text you quoted to indicate any representation of those against the new technology, much less a misrepresentation and marginalization.

        To a certain extent you are correct, I was considering saying that the opposition was being ignored to a certain degree also (an example of my own bias) but felt that would of sounded contradictory put beside "totally misrepresenting":) However they still show a limited representation of the opposition which I believe I have outlined in my posts and as you can see it is my opinion that the opposition has been misrepresented with the objective of removing its credibility and legitimacy and giving support to the music industry.

        Lastly I do not believe your post deserved to be modded down as offtopic. Any time news is presented to us both the credibility and viewpoint of the article or a comment such as mine, is a fundamental issue as it is directly pertaining to the facts and opinions surrounding the issue at hand. Such a post should not be considered offtopic. Due to my obvious involvement in your post I am not in a position to impartially suggest a moderation but I can say that I firmily believe that is is not offtopic.

  • by Steve B (42864) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @03:54PM (#3380276)
    ...how many "er, do you have this album on a normal CD?" questions can we throw (per salesclerk, per day)?
  • Ill stick with my music on my hard drive (MiniDisk for when im on the move). I have everything available on my computer (TV, Radio, Movies, Games, Music, Phone and more). I use MiniDisk for mobility. Why would I want a format that restricts this capability I have today.
  • They are going to depend on the licensing scheme that won't allow players to emit the raw data - ie, no computer dataplay drives. They'll connect with USB and firewire, but part of their copy protection is no raw access to data, meaning it's hard to break the encryption.

    However, that just means hackers get to go to a new level, modifying hardware, changing the code in the microcontrollers, etc.

    I've no doubt that this will go the way of the "DVD Killer Divx", the minidisc, and the DAT (which is used professionally - dataplay won't even have that market).

    All of which have Digital Restrictions Management built in. Of course the recording industry is going to go for it. Their SDMI initiative failed (and is still flopping about like a fish looking for water), and there is no way they can control any software/data based approach - too many fingers have to be in the pudding to make it work, and one of those fingers may leak - much like how the DVD decryption routines were discovered (which would have taken longer without the key, but would likely have still taken place)

    So their only hope is
    1. Copyright/patent new format
    2. Copyright/patent hardware and algorithms
    3. Only license copyrights/patents to those willing to play ball their way
    But the trick is then getting the consumers to pay for this new deal, which initially is going to be very expensive. Given the choice of buying an IPOD and this new disc device, which do you think the average joe is going to get? No little discs to lose, tons of space, no DRM (well, hacked away) , and personal organizer to boot.

    They'd have to sell millions of these before the price comes down, and like the minidisc it ain't gonna happen.

    I suspect that even when they only release a certian artist in that format the music will still be available (one person with player and a nice sound card, or simply ripped off the radio) in an adequate format. It will backfire, because music consumers are fickle and will simply stop listening to an artist if the entrance fee is $300, and the artists are less likely to play ball with companies that use them like pawns to bring about DRM.

    It's a complicated chess game, and they are playing like they've lost their queen. They will fail if they don't fold the game and start with a completely different mindset.

    So I'm not worried. Besides, CDs will likely be available cheaply for a long, long time.

    -Adam
  • Too Bulky?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Erchamion (568996) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @04:02PM (#3380303)
    "I just know by being in the business, there's definitely a need for a portable format," he said. "Portable CD players are too big and too bulky." -- see article


    *Portable CD Players are mostly used for plugging into your car or listening to in a bus.
    *If you really want a cost-effective and small music player, try an MP3 player like the iPod (5GB, rw, $400). Why would a consumer by a read-only, write-protected, $270 dollar, 500Mb device when they could have so much more with an iPod or Rio...much less "bulky" than a CD player too. (provided, you do need a CPU for one, not hard to find someone with one though.)
  • Interesting Math (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Posting=!Working (197779) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @04:15PM (#3380355)
    "The tiny discs will be able to store up to five hours of CD-quality music, one hour of video, 1,000 digital photos, one video game or 100 e-books -- or any combination, up to 500 megabytes of storage."

    Let's see 80 minutes of CD-quality music now uses 700 MB of space. How exactly does 300 minutes of CD-quality music fit on 500 MB?

    Blank discs, which can store up to 500 megabytes of data, will retail for between $10 and $12

    Wow, much better than the $15 I'm paying for 50 700 MB CD's. A single 500 MB disk for the price of over 20 GB of blank CD's. Where do I get in line?

    "I just know by being in the business, there's definitely a need for a portable format," Bob Higgins said. "Portable CD players are too big and too bulky."

    Gee, if there were only widely available, simple to use, portable digital music storage and listening devices on the market right now.
    • Re:Interesting Math (Score:2, Informative)

      by martissimo (515886)
      Let's see 80 minutes of CD-quality music now uses 700 MB of space. How exactly does 300 minutes of CD-quality music fit on 500 MB?


      they say they use a compression format "similar" to MP3...

      to my mind a lossy compression technique does not equal CD-quality either, but i guess they dont care about people who like nice clear .WAV files.
    • Let's see 80 minutes of CD-quality music now uses 700 MB of space. How exactly does 300 minutes of CD-quality music fit on 500 MB?

      Maybe they use WMA or MP3 or something. A lot of people consider 128kbps MP3s to be "CD quality" so ~1MB per minute * 500MB of space = 500 minutes or so of music.

  • Mossbergt Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex@phatauNETBSDdio.org minus bsd> on Saturday April 20, 2002 @04:18PM (#3380366) Homepage Journal
    Walt Mossberg has a good review of Dataplay [wsj.com]. He sights numerous reasons why it will fail, but his main objection is the rights managment, "feature." I submitted it a few days ago but:

    * 2002-04-18 07:06:54 Copying Limits Stifle Innovation (articles,news) (rejected)

  • Take a look at me. I'm just a ridiculous nerd that can't barely know the visual difference between CD-R and CD-RW. Even though I know that this stupid idea won't be enough to avoid the so called digital piracy.

    Let's see what they hope to get with this brand-new device:

    • Some music companies will release the discs with hidden extra albums, which can be activated by entering codes bought at their Web sites for $8 to $13.
    May I know the jack-ass who have had this stupid idea? I give a week to a chinese hacker find a way to activate the entire disk without paying a nickel. And I want to see the dam DMCA look for the anonymous hacker who would do this!
    • When connected, a user can also store data on the discs -- 250 megabytes on each side, for a total slightly less than the 650 megabytes that fit on a CD.
    How long will take until the technical advisors wonders what will happen after a regular nerd have digital access to the disc content? Of course it will try to put all the content to its HD and get rid of the dam disc.

    Due to its small size it's obvious that it can become very popular, even replacing that old 3"1/2 floppies, and the 5"1/4 CDs. When this happen, GPLds hackers will want to access the disc and all its contents, then they can say goodbye to the copy protections and the cryptographic methods.

    • Dataplay incorporates safeguards to prevent songs sold on the discs from being copied to computers, a major plus for the music industry.
    First of all, a major plus for the music industry should be quality, this shows that MPAA isn't worryied about the consumer, but about theirselves. Should we buy products from an industry that cares that much about the consumer? All they worry about is money, and not about the consumer's satisfaction

    And the technical issue. As I said before, there's no way to avoid it to happen. It's digitaly recorded and there's a machine wich reads it, so it's completely possible to hack it and get it's digital content.

    • Sony introduced the compact, rewritable Minidisc in 1992, and while moderately popular in Japan and Europe, it has never caught on in the United States.
    And how do they want to introduce a lower-quality product? Have their technical advisors realized that there already is a very good competitor? I wouldn't buy a new and inferior product if the better one is avaiable and already is spreaded in the market.
    • (under a picture)
    • South Korea's iRiver Inc. is expected to release a music player that uses the tiny Dataplay discs in June.
    This shows that the format is about to born already dead, in South Korea there already is avaiable MDs and as stated before, they are much better. Even if it becomes a success, there's no DMCA in Korea, so we'll have a GPLd player even sooner.
    • Other partner companies plan to incorporate Dataplay discs in digital cameras and small handheld movie viewers, to be released later this year. A disc can store a two-hour movie at a low resolution suitable for small screens.
    Finally something intelligent about this piece of shit. IMHO a standard "high-capacity" storage medium is needed in the market, each device has its own medium, and it can become a standard for the industry.

    For all this that I have seen, and their technical advisors haven't, I think that they need new advisors. Maybe I'm one of the ellectibles, maybe everybody reading slashdot can be a good advisor for them, but first they need to find out this.

  • As time goes by... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Phoenix (2762) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @04:23PM (#3380388)
    ...I find that I'm really glad that I bought a MiniDisk player/recorder instead of the MP3 player.

    Pros:
    * Cheap disks - $2 each as opposed to $45 a compact flash card
    * Quality player devices - can survive a trek into the off road bike trails with no skip
    * Good sound reproduction - as good as 256bit MP3 (in my opinion)
    * Holds 74 minutes - more if you downsample the music (built into most new recorders)
    * using analog input - prevents any copy protection as it can record from the headphone-out jack
    * Can erase and re-use disks, or delete an unwanted track
    * Player costs the same as a MP3 player (32-64mb devices)

    Cons:
    * Did not catch on as well in the US as other standards (MP3, CD/CD-R)
    * Can only record in real time (not too much of a problem as I will listen to a CD all the way the first time...takes no effort to record at the same time)

    So the record companies can do whatever they want. We will find a way around whatever the @#$% they try to throw at us. They never seem to learn that there is ALWAYS a way to get around whatever they want to do to us. I found a way that works well for me, others will find thier own way.

    Nero often is described as playing the violin as Rome burned. When the RIAA burns, I'll be playing the bagpipes

    Phoenix
  • So let me get this straight.. blank DataPlay discs are going to be about $10-$12. Discs with an album on them are going to sell for $16. Ok, by those numbers it's $4-$6 that the record company makes off each one.

    So when mass production allows DataPlay discs to be produced for 25 cents a piece, we should be able to buy pre-recorded ones for $5?

    (yes, I do realize this has no hope in hell of happening. but the question does need to be raised)
    • They said the blank discs are going to retail at $10-12. I bet this has more to do with it being a new technology than the cost of actually producing the discs. I wouldn't be the least surprised to find out that these discs already cost less than $1 to produce.

      And as long as CDs still cost $15-18, I highly doubt this format would allowed to be substantially cheaper. Although, that might not be a bad idea, because they could take the stance of "well the players might cost $300 but the discs are a lot cheaper!"...
  • Fair Use (Score:3, Interesting)

    by THB (61664) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @04:26PM (#3380399)
    There seems to be some misconceptions about fair use around here. In the US and most other western countries, you have the legal right to copy portions of copywrited work for certain purposes. Thats is, you have the right to photocopy portions of a book, or use part of a song in a presentation. I'm sure someone else could provide more information of the detail of how much.

    However there is no right guaranteeing that you can use this, that is a copywrite holder has the right to try and prevent the fair use of his work, however the copywrite holder has no legal was to prevent fair use. Even the DMCA and the whateverthehellthehollingsbilliscalledtoday do not try and prevent fair use, but they make it harder to be able to use it 'fairly', while trying to prevent it being used unfairly.

    This is very much like free speech, you have the right to say whatever you want, but no right to be heard (ie published).

    Obviously fair use is in everyones best intrest, it can only help publicize work and it gives people the ability to use portions of it, but it is a casualty of trying to prevent non-fair use.
    • With the DMCA, fair use is gone. Sure it exists on paper - but if the copyright holder doesn't want you to exercise it they can make it illegal with a protection system. The protection system isn't as much about making copying impossible (hah!) or even difficult, but about making it illegal, and making the enxt generation think it is immoral.

      Fair use is MEANINGLESS if the copyright holder can make it illegal for you to exercise it. The fair use exemptions in the copyright law are meaningless if you can only utilize them with the permission of the copyright holder.

      Obviously fair use is in everyones best interest, it can only help publicize work and it gives people the ability to use portions of it, but it is a casualty of trying to prevent non-fair use.

      Ugh. That like saying since people speed, drive drunk, etc, we should ban cars and make people only use a horse and buggy.

  • DataPlay users will be able to record directly from CDs they already own, but Quigley predicts those users will be a minority. Most people, he said, will go ahead and buy their favorites again in the new format.

    But will we be able to record music from DataPlay to the next format?
  • by zapfie (560589)
    Whoa.. hold on now.. I get great benefits like lower sound quality, can't play it on my current equipment, can't make a legitimite copy of it.. AND I get to pay more? This is great!

    On a serious note, correct me if I'm wrong, but when the hell could companies get away with charging more for a product that does less, and still make it a viable business model? I mean, that the kind of stuff only monopolies *coughRIAAcough* get away with.. oops.. I said too much. *hides*
  • Lets look at the problems with this product

    1. Compression, they use lossy compression so of course lower audio quality.
    2. CD's already have a foothold, why the hell would i want to buy more usless junk when i can hardly play anything on it.
    3. Its devolution not evolution.
    4. Copy protection is futile, as long as the audio is output decrypted its copyable. Unless they do the decryption in the headphones. Then its just really hard.

    I'm going to laugh if someone acctully buys one of these. But then there are britiny spears fans who have rich parents. Enough said.
  • Just get everyone who visits slashdot to donate 1 or 2 or 10 dollars to the EFF, then have the EFF run a public service ad campaign.
  • by Kerosene (18371) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @05:15PM (#3380621)
    "Blank discs costing $5 to $12, and the first music players, for $300 to $370, will hit stores at the end of May."


    The costs are too high. Unless you give away the players, there is no way people are gonna drop money for a new device.

    The blank price is too high as well.
  • I think this, like DVD, is another good idea. My reasoning is thus: I have never bought a CD in my life, I own one DVD (it was on sale for £10). I have no moral problems with downloading ripped music, videos or anything else. For this reason i have saved much money over the years and when i see other peoples massive CD collections i always feel better knowing that they wasted thousands of pounds on it. I can spend my money on other things and therefore _appear_ to have more money. Not only this, but i'm not restricted as to what i can fast-forward through, what devices i can play stuff on, or what country i can play stuff in.

    If stupid people want to buy this stuff, let them. I tell people how much it costs to press a CD, how DVDs restrict what the owner can do, and how buying all these things is supporting those corporate pigs and they just stare at me. F*ck'em, f*ck'em all, they can go and waste their money on inferior products and find that its incompatible with everything else and obsolete by next year. They can go and pay for Windows XP and be forced to sign-up for MSN, they can have their computers turned into remote controlled corporate cash machines and they can live with it.

    Ok, granted they are helping to fuel the evil corporations who then go on to bribe governments into doing their bidding, but in the end, when people are being arrested for fast-forwarding though adverts, or putting music on their portable, i can sit back, laugh, and say "I told you so, you dumb fuck"
    • You forget that stupid people are now the majority in America. If they buy into this DataPlay crapola, it will become a new standard, CDs will be put out to pasture as quickly as the RIAA can manage it (hell, maybe they'll buy a few more Congressmen to have CDs made illegal), and those of us who can see this 'new, improved format' for the blindside-consumers-with-DRM scam that it is will have no other choice if we ever want to purchase music again.
  • It shows you how serious they must be about pushing this new standard if they simultaneously are working on 30 Gig blue DVD rewriteables. [infosatellite.com]
  • by jpellino (202698) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @05:21PM (#3380662)
    5 Britney Spears album on one un-erasable disk? Oh, the humanity.

    Napster comes in, CD sales go up 8%.
    Napster goes OUT, CD sales go DOWN 5%.

    What in the Sam Hill are they putting in the water coolers at the RIAA?

    If I can hear the music first, I'll buy it. If, like in central CT, there are two dozen candy-ass radio stations all following maybe four godforsaken formats, there's a better likelyhood that I'll hemorrhage from hearing "Rock The Boat" seventeen times a day before I'll hear something I want to try.

    Of course, if MTV would try playing music again, maybe we'd have another venue for music that wasn't an inch wide and a mile deep. Not convinced? Here's the show list for the plucky little channel...

    Andy Dick / Becoming / Celebrity Deathmatch / Cribs / Daria / Diary / Dismissed / Fashionably Loud: Swimsuit 2002
    Fear / Icon: Aerosmith / Making The Band / Making the Video Movie Awards 2002 / National Sex Quiz / Now What
    The Osbournes / The Real World / Road Rules / Real World/Road Rules Challenge / Rock N Jock
    Señor Moby's House of Music / Spring Break / TRL / Unplugged / Video Music Awards 2001 / WWF Tough Enough

    Any channel that has The Osbornes, Andy Dick, the Real World and the WWF needs a name change, a new mission statement, and a prescription pad.

    Like most people who can afford the necesary bandwidth in the first place, I have more money than time. I haven't the hours nor the inclination to burn everything I want to own. I go buy it. HMV and Borders are on my commute. Or I click and three days later it's in my mailbox, total extra investment of time - about 3 minutes.

    I've downloaded much gig of music, and deleted nearly all of it once purchased. It's an iBook, not a server farm. I believe I have at most a half dozen CD-R keepers - mostly the stuff I'd gotten and paid for on mp3.com back when they were sane, and a whole bunch of rare tracks and but-wait-there's-more - the entire TIAA-CREF investment primer library so I can afford all this stuff in the first place (lousy beat, but you can dance to it all the way to the bank).

    If I burned everything I ever downloaded to sample, I'd have a large, substandard collection of badly labeled CD-Rs, no life, dead tropical fish, and Howard-Hughes-league fingernails. Not to mention a cataloging system nowhere near the intuitiveness and familiarity of a bookcase, alphabetical by artist.

    The RIAA should kiss Shawn's nappy little ass for providing the only true breakthru in music marketing since the music video. But as usual, the industry has figured out how to tie the whole relaunch up in knots because even BMG really doesn't like the whole thing but they smell money. I doubt it was a sanctified "we should be honestly representing our artist's interest" but rather a pant-wetting "holy crap - see these DL logs? can you imagine a dollar sign in front of each of these?" I mean please - it's taken them a year to not get ready, and from the get go they won't be able to write a MacOS client (no mention of any other platforms) and they can't for the life of them figure out how to take credit AND debit cards at the same time. There are one-man roasted cashew operations in East Rainbucket, Maine who can do this.

    I gotta go.
  • When all the music companies try and put 5 CDs worth of music on these disks (to be unlocked by a special registration code), we will all get 5 CDs for the price of 1! Oh, yeah, I'm sure no one will break their reg code.. ha!

    I think the big problem with this is that there is no real benefit to switching over to another digital format. I mean, CDs won out by replacing magnetic media (tapes and floppies) and records. I don't think we'll see another shift until we switch over to solid-state media - ROM chips or Flash cards of some sort.

    People are stupid, but they're not as irrational as some high power execs like to imagine.
  • Blockquoth the article:

    250 megabytes on each side, for a total slightly less than the 650 megabytes that fit on a CD.

    Hmmm. 2x250 = 500. 500/650 = 10/13 = 0.769. That's actually something like 23% less data. Someone less beholden to the Content Cartel could have written this as "It holds nearly one quarter less music", and it would have been more accurate to boot.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Saturday April 20, 2002 @06:07PM (#3380858) Homepage

    If CD sales are flat ... for whatever reason you think that might be ... how is a new format going to bring in new sales? Are people holding off on buying new content so they can end up spending money buying the same content on a new format? Suppose it is the case ... as the industry claims ... that internet piracy is the cause of reduced CD sales. How is a new format going to make people uninterested in the internet piracy? Do they think that people will abandon sharing and trading online to buy this new format? Maybe if the format completely replaces CDs and perfectly prevents ripping it could make it hard to have source material for trading. But that won't happen since if you can hear it, you can rip it, and even though that won't be perfect digital quality, it won't ever degrade any further over the net, and people are already happy to download poor quality rips.

  • DataPlay users will be able to record directly from CDs they already own, but Quigley predicts those users will be a minority. Most people, he said, will go ahead and buy their favorites again in the new format.


    Well at $13 per blank disc, no kidding.

    This of course, assuming i'm stupid enough to get this new format in the first place.

  • is just as good as the capabilities of dataplay but you get all the nice fair-use rights.

    and it is cheaper.
  • by Backov (138944)
    Media is so 90s.

    Cheers,
    Backov
  • The R/W drives should run about $200 according to
    the WSJ article on this subject
    (http://ptech.wsj.com/ptech.html).
    Sure, it's a non-starter as a medium for
    mass-market publishing -- but who cares about
    that?! DataPlay offers tiny portable drives
    that store 500MB on a disk the size of a
    quarter! That rocks. Disregard their access control
    crap. Everyone will ignore that, and use them
    exclusively as file-systems.

  • I like the sound of it: "Education process".

    Sounds a lot like the Reeducation that was customary for people in communism. Disagree with the government, and be reeducated, preferrably in healthy sibirian climate. Although it is certainly to the credit of capitalism that here not governments do the "Reeducation" but it is left to the private sector.

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