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Music Media The Almighty Buck

Copy-protected CD Tops U.S. Charts 895

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the pay-to-play dept.
Joey Patterson writes "CNET is reporting that Velvet Revolver's new album, 'Contraband', which is protected with SunnComm's anti-copying technology, has topped the U.S. album charts. The SunnComm and BMG execs quoted in the article say that they're pleased with the apparent consumer acceptance of the anti-piracy technology, but they have been hearing questions about how people can get the copy-blocked songs from the CD onto an iPod."
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Copy-protected CD Tops U.S. Charts

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  • by evilviper (135110) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:37AM (#9459958) Journal
    It's quite probably just a case where not many people have discovered that they've been screwed-over just yet...

    The anger will come soon...
    • The anger will come soon...

      Oh, but that's all right! None of the prevalent vendors permit CDs that have been opened to be returned. You could've duplicated it, after all, or extracted the tracks.

      Furthermore, if the average eleven-year-old girl (who isn't at all interested in copy protection) fails to purchase the most recent pop CD, she could very well be committing "social suicide."

      What is more important to an eleven-year-old girl, DRM or her social status?
      • by YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:12AM (#9460212) Homepage Journal

        I own two copy protected CD's, both Australian acts, and both ( I think ) signed to EMI. The other night, while buying the second one ( The Cat Empire ), I asked the guys behind the counter about the protection scheme. They considerately riffled through all their copies on file to see if they had a non managed printing I could have for the same price, and when they couldn't find one, said I could bring back the CD if it didn't work with any of my equipment.

        So, they're not all dickheads. Both CD's ripped fine in iTunes and play fine on my iPod, incidently... So I'm beginning to wonder if there's really any protection on the disks at all. Maybe this is a case of "the emperors new copy protection".

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:33AM (#9460566)
          If you have autorun disabled on your CD drive you probably won't notice a thing.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:00AM (#9460645)
            Dear Anonymous Coward,

            You have published a way to circumvent a DRM placed on a CD. You just violated DMCA. Be prepared to surrender your PC as is. Deleting any file will escalate your offense. At the sound of a knock on your door, slowly open the door, step outside with your hands up and get on the ground. Failure to comply will result in SWAT team entering your residence by force and draggin you out by your toes. Thank you for your cooperation.

            Sincerely yours,
            Jorge UU. Plant
            RIAA
        • by donscarletti (569232) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:01AM (#9460653)
          I was at a lan party once, and someone brought along their cat empire cd. My mate asked to borrow it in order to rip it. He was warned against that by its owner because of the label. But when it was actually tried, it ripped perfectly without a single hitch. My explanation was that the copy protection was based on the most fundimental concept of copy protection circumvention: "where there is a will there is a way" and that Cat Empire merely attacks that will with it's content. Unfortunently I was surrounded by fans and I had many things thrown at me for the rest of the evening... I hate lan parties.
      • by evilviper (135110) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:56AM (#9460423) Journal
        None of the prevalent vendors permit CDs that have been opened to be returned. You could've duplicated it, after all, or extracted the tracks.

        There's no legal basis for their refusal. Make a stink, and they'll accept it. Return 500 copies in a week, and they'll give you a refund. They will do anything to not get pulled into court on a class-action lawsuit over not accepting returned CDs...
        • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @04:35AM (#9460984) Homepage
          Absolutely. And this is something that will never cease to amaze me; Why do so many people seemingly blindly accept the sellers arbitrary decision ?

          Just because a sellers claims you can't return opened merchandise, doesn't mean it's true.

          You bougth something, expecting it to be a standard CD. (reasonable, given that the copy-protection is typically poorly marked, and the CDs stacked up on racks intermixed with the non-CDs) That is, you gave away money, reasonably expecting to get a CD for it that would play in any machine capable of playing CDs.

          When the piece of plastic you got infact is not a CD, and infact is seriously inferior to a CD, by not playing in your computer, not playing in many car-stereos, not playing in your playstation, not playing in your DVD-player, not being rippable so that you can listen to it on your mp3-player and so on (all of which would work fine with a CD), then there's very little doubt that the merchandise you bougth is defective, and you have the rigth to return it.

          • by Otto (17870) on Friday June 18, 2004 @09:57AM (#9462454) Homepage Journal
            You bougth something, expecting it to be a standard CD. (reasonable, given that the copy-protection is typically poorly marked, and the CDs stacked up on racks intermixed with the non-CDs) That is, you gave away money, reasonably expecting to get a CD for it that would play in any machine capable of playing CDs.

            Well, in point of fact, these new Velvet Revolver CD's *ARE* standard CD's. They conform to the Blue Book Standard for hybrid CD Audio/Data discs. They'll play in any CD player, even that MP3-CD player.

            The only copy protection here is a data track with some software and an autorun. Install the software, it fucks with your CD drivers when you try to rip. That's it. Hold SHIFT to bypass, or disable the autorun, or when the screen comes up that says "An upgrade is required", hit Cancel. Yes, you can actually *cancel* the installation on this sucker.

            So as far as the record exec thinking that people approve of CD Protection mechanisms, maybe he means that people approve of easily disabled protection mechanisms. ;-)
    • by orthogonal (588627) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:33AM (#9460344) Journal
      The anger will come soon...

      I hope you're right.

      But I doubt it. Meaning no disrespect to anyone by my use of dialect, I think it's more a case of "Oh massa, dem new chains is so shiny, I's be heppy to fassin dem ons me an' git right in yo boat, suh".

      The difference, of course, is that Africans, proud of their freedoms, didn't line up willingly to be slaves in hopes of wearing shiny bonds -- but we modern Americans have become so neglectful of our liberties that we'll give them up for the next boy band's CD or the facile assurance that the next intrusive government surveillance program really will finally guarantee our safety.

      Like Esau in the Bible, we willingly give up our birthright of liberty for a mess of pottage -- for Consumerism's shiny trinkets and the bland assurances of the Fascists who whip up our fears and then promise to protect us from our freedoms.

      If this CD stays at the top of the charts, expect all new CDs to be copy-protected -- but worse than the copy-protection will be that we will take for granted that copy-protection legitimately should be there. The Corporation's triumph isn't in getting you to buy a copy-protected CD or a particular kind of DRM; it's in getting you to accept as natural and legitimate and right that by buying a CD or a shrink-wrapped software title you now must forever afterward ask the permission of the seller to use what you have honestly purchased, that you must acquiesce to the seller forever setting the rules and conditions under which you can use what you have bought.

      In short, you've been changed from a purchaser of a good to a renter of a license and have consented to be taxed and regulated in perpetuity for the privilege of renting.

      Thomas Jefferson dreamt for his country a Republic of proudly independent freeholders, each man the owner of his Real Estate; George Washington, drawing on the Bible's prophet Micah, foresaw an America where "everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid". Instead we're turning into a rabble of peasants and share-croppers slaving for, and kowtowing to, the modern day Lords of Corporatism. And we put on our chains so willingly!
      • by evilviper (135110) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:04AM (#9460450) Journal
        I have to disagree with you.

        People aren't all that accepting of government surveilance, copy protected CDs, DVD-CSS, etc. The biggest problem is that there aren't enough people who understand the high-tech issues, so they don't know they've gotten screwed for a while.

        This copy protection scheme sounds benign enough that it might slip under the radar, but I think there will be a reasonable stink about it.

        It's just going to take something a bit more obvious to turn people into a rioting mass... Buying a $5,000 Plasma TV, and spending $1,000 on a HD-Tivo that is completely useless, is going to be a big one, once it finally arrives.

        No, I don't have as bleak of a view of the public as you do, I just think things take a little longer to get straightened out than I would like.
    • Well, here in Europe copy-protected CD's exist for a while already. Most of them are more advanced than an Autorun applet that fucks up the CD-ROM driver. (By the way, does this also break the driver when you insert the CD when logged in as something else than Administrator?)

      Some of them are even slightly malicious; when you try to rip them, you get all kinds of ugly peaks and other distortions. When you play the result, it's possible that they break your audio equipment... And yeah, try to find the "Compact Disc" logo on those CD's, it isn't there. It's not a CD anymore, it just looks like one.

      But so far, copy-protected CD's still exist. Fortunately, most decent CD shops do allow you to bring the CD back and get your money back, because more and more CD players fail to read the discs (players with MP3 support, for example). The sad thing is that not only the dull Britney Spears CD's are copy-protected, but also stuff like Radiohead and Placebo.

      So well, let's hope the anger will come, it didn't really come here, unfortunately.
    • I know this post may get lost in the shuffle, but I just checked with a few sources online and low-and-behold there is the entire album in MP3 waiting to be downloaded by anyone and everyone that knows where to find it.

      So much for copy-protected CD's. Why do they even waste their time with this non-sense? Instead of trying to figure out how to fool the copiers...why not turn the entire buisness model upside down and encourage downloading the album and then making the money back from live shows?

      You know 60 years or so ago artists made their money from live shows or live broadcasts on the radio. They can do this again.

      I could go on and on about this. People may argue about how the guy sitting in his bedroom making music and recording and pouring his heart out into making a CD is being ripped-off if people just download it. Well, that guy sitting there probably has a passion for music and would be making music anyway...and giving it to the community afterwards is much like Open Source programming. How many programmers from around the world slave over code to make something that they're not getting a dime from? I feel that music in the future can somehow learn from Open Source. How exactly, I don't know yet.
  • funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ericdano (113424) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:37AM (#9459959) Homepage
    Funny, I thought I saw this on BitTorrent already.....
    • Re:funny (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mkro (644055) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:14AM (#9460226)
      Sure, there will always be PIRATES out there that can get it. This protection is just to train the general population to know how far their right to use the products goes.
    • Re:funny (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sewagemaster (466124) <sewagemasterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:48AM (#9460394) Homepage
      I saw 3 different torrents of this album on suprnova.org the other day.

      Heard an interview with them on a Vancouver radio station last week, asking them about what they think about people downloading their albums off the Internet (by that time so many people already had copies of their albums and I'm actually quite surprised now just finding out that the CDs were copy-protected) - they said something about having their concert tickets jacked up more to get their revenues.

      Apparently their entire US tour got sold out within 10 minutes, so I don't think jacking up concert tix would have that much of an impact...
  • What shits me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by professorhojo (686761) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:37AM (#9459961)
    ... is that in their attempts to create a CD that fits their aims, the record companies have tried many methods of corrupting the CD format, and then they have tested these by making secret releases into localized markets, sometimes of hundreds of thousands of CDs. Everyday people have then bought these sub-standard CDs, and have been unknowingly testing the record company's new CD protection schemes for them.

    For instance, an early release made under Midbar's Cactus format in Germany reportedly had a 4% return rate. These were from people who found that these CDs didn't work on their normal CD players -- let alone in their computers. 4% is a huge return rate when you consider that many people might have found a problem with one CD player but not another, and who might have thought it was the player that was at fault rather than the CD.

    Undeterred by these experiences of upsetting their customers, the record companies have continued to develop these formats and test them on an unsuspecting public, either unlabelled or with small or misleading labels. Along the way, problems with these CDs have been found on DVD players, car audio systems, older CD players, PlayStation machines, computers, laptops and several other types of devices.

    To add injury to insult, several of these so-called 'copy-protection' formats actually interfere with the error-correction mechanism of the disk. This mechanism is designed to take care of scratches on the disk -- your CD player can fill in over a small number of scratches on the disk because the error correction codes tell it how to. The manufacturers found that by corrupting the error correction codes, they could make a CD that computers would reject, but that normal CD players would still manage to play. The cost of this, of course, is that your CDs are less resistant to scratches (and Philips have confirmed [ukcdr.org] this). This is not too much inconvenience for the manufacturer -- but what about for you?
    • by Thiago Ize (730287) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:55AM (#9460118)
      The cost of this, of course, is that your CDs are less resistant to scratches
      Sounds like a great idea! Now the RIAA not only has cured the world of evil piracy, but the sale of CDs has trippled as everyone now has to purchase the same CD every 3 months to replace their scratched CDs! Brilliant!
    • Re:What shits me... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trillan (597339) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:10AM (#9460199) Homepage Journal

      In this case, the CD uses MediaMax protection. MediaMax protection does not involve any of the tricks you listed.

      See this article [princeton.edu] for a description of MediaMax.

    • Re:What shits me... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by canon006 (651202) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:11AM (#9460205)
      I worked in a Sam Goody store last summer and I remember a significant number of people buying a CD and then 10 minutes later coming back in complaining it wouldn't work in their car CD player. The manager would usually take the CD in the back and try it on the store CD player which was brand new and the CDs always seemed to work fine. It seemed to always be the same few albums too, at first few we figured it was just a fluke but after it started to become a regular occurrence we looked into the matter and found that those albums had some kind of copy protection and wouldn't work in older CD players. In most cases, if the customer was nice, we'd just take it as a return and give them their money back; I don't even know how many CDs we took back that way .
  • Oops! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LocoSpitz (175100) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:37AM (#9459962)
    They seem to have confused acceptance with ignorance.
  • low tech way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by novalogic (697144) <aramovaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:38AM (#9459972)
    simple. have a home audio system with a fiber audio out, and have a nice sound card with fiber in, and make MP3s over it. Won't get the static or line noise of the copper, although I'm sure your dog can tell the different between this method and a direct CDA rip....
  • by gcaseye6677 (694805) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:39AM (#9459978)
    Obviously a lot of people have bought this album, and no doubt a lot of people will want to transfer songs to an iPod or other player and will find out the hard way that they can't. This will get the public's attention on the issue of copy protected CDs. I suspect that most people will not buy another one, having been burned once before. If these prove to be unpopular enough in the long run, they will probably not be sold anymore. Hopefully, there will be a future story about a band's album having very disappointing sales due to copy protection.
  • SunnComm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Professor_Quail (610443) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:40AM (#9459980) Homepage
    Isn't this the same company who sued a Princeton student after he figured out that pressing the shift key defeated their copyright 'protection'?

    Besides, it's probably F9 or something this time.
    • Re:SunnComm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by keefey (571438)
      The shift-key thing stops auto-play on Windows machines, which is how he got past it. If he hadn't, it comes up with a message saying "an upgrade needs to be installed" (because it's illegal to install software automatically without the user knowing). Pressing cancel to this also bypasses the "protection".

      The company in question has moved onto a slightly more complicated version, which requires a physical crack for consecutive reads, but it's still very simple to break.
    • by achurch (201270) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:53AM (#9460095) Homepage
      To wit:
      As in earlier tests by BMG and SunnComm, the copy protection on the Velvet Revolver disc can be simply disabled by pushing the "Shift" key on a computer while the CD is loading, which blocks the SunnComm software from being installed. The companies say they have long been aware of the work-around but that they were not trying to create an unhackable protection.

      Okay, I'm completely boggled now . . . what exactly are they're trying to accomplish?

  • by Snowspinner (627098) * <philsand&ufl,edu> on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:40AM (#9459981) Homepage
    Go to iTunes music store.

    Buy album.

    Put on iPod.

    On a less pithy note, would it be that hard for EMI to make an agreement with Apple such that, if you have the CD in the drive, you can buy the iTunes version for free? Or you could always package the album with a certificate code that can be used to buy the album for free on iTunes. Both of those seem like relatively easy solutions.

    And, finally, on an inquisitive note, does this software also install on OS X? Or is this a Windows only gimping?
  • by AmigaAvenger (210519) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:40AM (#9459982) Journal
    A quick search on sharazea shows the entire album is easily downloadable. when will the record companies realize that if only one person can convert it to an mp3, it will become available on every sharing network out there.

    so basically, if you can listen to it, it will be on p2p, get used to that RIAA!!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:42AM (#9459993)
    I use a Mac and purchased the album. No problem encoding to AAC with iTunes or transferring to an ipod. Wouldn't have even known it was copy protected without this posting.
  • Not surprising... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by big_groo (237634) <groovis@gmSLACKWAREail.com minus distro> on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:43AM (#9460004) Homepage
    This album by Velvet Revolver is actually a much anticapated album -- former members of GNR and the Stone Temple Pilots. Not really surprising that it's #1. People don't really care that the album is copy protected.

    Hell, I'll go buy this one. These guys make good music. Plain and simple. Go pimp your 'the people want copy protection' somewhere else. People want decent music. This band delivers.

    • And that's why this shit will succeed. "Oh, well, today this cause doesn't jive with my personal views, so never mind."

      I was a huge GnR fan back in the day, as well as STP. I won't be buying this album, however, as it's not a REAL CD by the established standard.

      As much as I'd like to have all the songs, if more of us 'drew the line' somewhere, we'd have our voices heard.

      Acquiescing to the RIAA just reinforces their silly little business model.
      • Re:Not surprising... (Score:5, Informative)

        by DeeKayWon (155842) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:12AM (#9460210)
        it's not a REAL CD by the established standard.

        My impression from the reports about the copy prevention system used is that it is a valid hybrid data/audio CD - ripping is prevented only when the software on the CD, which blocks the CD from being recognized as a standard audio CD, is installed. Without the software, the CD shows up in ripping programs like any properly-made audio CD.

        Yes, there are many copy prevention systems that deliberately malform the data on the CD, breaking its compliance with the Red Book spec, but this isn't one of them.

    • If you don't care about the deliberate corruption of the well established CD standard. That's your choice.

      But, if you really like the music/the band but hate the protection, then you should buy two copies. Buy one and return one. The music company will realise something wrong if the customers can boast the return rate somehow to double-digit.

    • And by buying the CD, knowing that it is DRMed, you are saying "Getting something that sounds decent is more important to me than my freedom." And the RIAA is listening.

      You should be ashamed of yourself.
  • Great quotes... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) <.mrpuffypants. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:45AM (#9460020)
    As in earlier tests by BMG and SunnComm, the copy protection on the Velvet Revolver disc can be simply disabled by pushing the "Shift" key on a computer while the CD is loading, which blocks the SunnComm software from being installed. The companies say they have long been aware of the work-around but that they were not trying to create an unhackable protection.

    If the point is to make people unable to rip the music and you allow a backdoor 'knowingly' then why even bother in the first place?

    "We are actively working with Apple to provide a long-term solution to this issue," a posting on SunnComm's Web site reads. "We encourage you to provide feedback to Apple, requesting they implement a solution that will enable the iPod to support other secure music formats."

    Dear Apple,

    Please support the latest copy-protection scheme from my favourite recording label, BMG and their current subsidiary, SunComm. Also, please compile in support for the different methods for every single other copy protection scheme espoused by every other label on every other album at Best Buy.

    Also, please be prepared to update these codecs as the record labels see fit or the iPod and iTunes may no longer be compatible in an effort to keep ahead of nefarious CD pirates.

    Also, please CC: this message to anybody else you know that makes CD player apps (Nullsoft, Microsoft, Roxio, Sony, etc, etc ,etc).

    Finally, please forget about that old 'Redbook' standard for CDs. That is old and should be cast off upon a pile of 8-Tracks, Divx discs, and CSS.

    Thanks for your time.

    Love, Tom
  • by skraps (650379) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:46AM (#9460029)
    I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere.
  • Easy to bypass (Score:5, Interesting)

    by keefey (571438) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:46AM (#9460032)
    I've not yet found a single CD which has been copy protected that cannot be bypassed easily. I wish they'd just learn that these systems which try trickery on the laser head (so that head bounces around the disc if you try to do a consecutive read) is simple to get past.

    The last one I had that required "cracking" (although it hardly warrants the term) was bypassed using the sticky bit of a post-it note (I won't say exactly where it was stuck for fear that I'll have the legal eagles coming down on me, as it were).

    I find it more of an inconvenience than a reason not to buy a particular artists CDs (although I've never heard of these chart-toppers).

    The CD medium, as it stands now, just cannot support the kind of copy protection they want to put in place, simply because they have to cater for "dumb" machines, such as the typical CD player. It would be more frugal if they just didn't bother.
  • by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:47AM (#9460039) Homepage
    You can't make up the fact that the album in #1 right now, but is the recording industry saying "if people did not accept the copy protection then the sales would be lower"? Did it ever occur to them that maybe it is just a really good album and that the people buying it are people who don't steal music anyways?

    From what I understand, most people who used to buy CDs from before Mp3s were popular STILL DO. Sales are up aren't they? I personally never used to buy CDs. I would just listen to the radio. Mp3s are convienient because they are commercial free and I can play DJ, but if they didn't exist I would be listening to the radio and not buying albums. Most people I speak to feel the same way.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Friday June 18, 2004 @12:55AM (#9460108)
    So then what the hell is the point of copy-protecting CD-ripping when you can just get the whole thing off bittorrent.... because someone else loaded it from iTunes and re-encoded it back onto the internet??!?!?!?!?!?!

    What the heck is the point of the copy protection system anyway, considering this fact?

    I guess the moral of this story is, if you can come up with some fancy crypto security technology you can sell it to companies with too much money and too many PHBs. Even if it doesn't really solve the big issue, it will let them sleep well at night.

    I'm pretty sure I'd suck as a saleman.
  • by miracle69 (34841) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:07AM (#9460183)
    So by messing with the scratch protection algorithms in most CD players, it makes the CD less durable.

    Doesn't this increase the consumer's need to rip it immediately?
  • by XavierItzmann (687234) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:15AM (#9460228)
    iTunes AAC (mpeg 4)
    - burn it unlimited times to unlimited CD's
    - back it up to HD, to CD, to DVD, to floppy, if you must
    - copy it to unlimited iPod's
    - copy it to unlimited PCs, play it on up to 5 simultaneously
    - stream it to up to 5 machines from one Mac or PC
    - hook it wirelessly with lossless audio via optical connectors to your home stereo with Airport Express

    Copy-Protected Optical Media
    - play it in only one place, once at a time
    - scratch it once, lose it forever
    - repeat after me: it is not a CD if it is not Redbook


    So which one are you going to buy?



    • by nsayer (86181) <[moc.ufk] [ta] [reyasn]> on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:32AM (#9460768) Homepage
      Under the iTunes section you left out...

      - Run it through hymn and dedrm and suddenly there are no more limitations at all.

      But of course that would also require adding to the physical CD section...

      - Careful use of either a sharpie or your PC's shift key and suddenly there are no more limitations at all.

      And as long as we're categorizing plusses and minuses, you left out the CD booklet/liner notes as a plus for the physical version. I don't know if I'd suggest that it's worth $3.50 + shipping, but it is at least a + compared to the iTMS.
    • by real_smiff (611054) on Friday June 18, 2004 @04:17AM (#9460915)
      well, if i was going to pay for it, i'd take the Copy-Protected Optical Media and bypass the copy protection - half price with free postage from any of the nice websites i know. it's lossless music i can do what i want with and a physical product that lasts and has $ value. no i'm not trolling, but i don't think that was +4 insightful. not for me and i'm sure plenty of others anyway.
  • by Trillan (597339) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:15AM (#9460231) Homepage Journal

    I find it funny reading all these outraged posts about how the disc is not valid red book, etc, etc.

    The protection on this disc is very light, and will really only catch the casual user. If you know what you're doing, it's very easy to bypass.

    I find this protection a breath of fresh air. It is almost as if the publisher is saying "Here. If you know enough to bypass this, presumably you understand copyright law and won't swap files." No scheme will stop a dedicated cracker, so they offer one that doesn't even try. In fact, the publishers even acknowledge it isn't a very secure scheme. Yes, their trust is probably naive, but that's their problem not mine.

    See this article [princeton.edu] for a description of MediaMax.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:16AM (#9460236)
    SunnComm rips off the record companies by selling them a copy protection scheme that doesn't actually work.

    The record gets passed around on all the file sharing networks and usenet newsgroups.

    This free advertising results in increased sales, driving the record to number 1.

    The pointy-haired bosses at the record company believe that the increased sales prove that the copy protection scheme is working and issue congratulatory press release.

  • Sure, I bought it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FullCircle (643323) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:16AM (#9460242)
    But I did hold down the shift key when I put the CD in. Then I ripped it, packed away the original, and proceeded to play it from my home entertainment system of choice, my computer.

    Do I share it? Hell no. I'm a huge fan of Scott Weiland and would never do that to him. The CD was worth $14 to me and then some, but I did think twice about buying it after reading the notice on the cover. I seriously thought about downloading it out of spite.

    If I would have unknowingly had their software installed on my computer that blocked a function, I'd be just as pissed at them as I am at people who write viruses.

    This is just another "legal" virus like Gator, Real Player, Comet Cursor...
  • by bigwayne (650386) on Friday June 18, 2004 @01:18AM (#9460253) Homepage
    I'm not sure if this has been posted, nor am I sure if I'm breaking any laws by posting it. If I am, I'm sorry, and before the mods delete this post, its wrong to install stuff on computers without asking, its just common sense.

    1. Insert the CD and let the software run if you haven't already.

    2. Remove the CD and restart your computer without the CD installed.

    3. Enter the Device Manager (Right-click on My Computer-> Properties-> Hardware Tab-> Device Manager.

    4. From the View menu, select Devices by Connection, then select Show Hidden Devices.

    5. Scroll down and find the device called "SbcpHid", right-click and DISABLE it.

    6. Close Device Manager, Windows should ask you to reboot, say Yes.

    This will disable the protection, allowing you to listen to the CD using Windows Media Player, you can even rip the songs to MP3 for backup without the garble.
  • by tweakt (325224) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:03AM (#9460446) Homepage
    The music is actually good. Whoah, crazy thought, I know.

    Next, they'll be claiming that the sales is actually due to the copy protection. My first instinct when reading this story was to download it and see if I liked it.

    Since it's selling, it must be worth buying. Hence more people download it, like it a lot, and buy it! Wow... what a concept.

    Oh, and the copy 'protection' doesn't work. Broken via any number of simple means no doubt, but the simple truth is, there are no less than FIVE torrents for the full albumn right now on my favorite tracker site.

    Hehe.. funny.

    Meanwhile, I've taken this whole issue a bit less seriously, especially when the there are more pressing issues to worry about going in the world today. Nobody is being killed for copyright violations (yet?).
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:15AM (#9460490) Journal
    My wife bought a copy protected CD and wanted to copy it to MD but the MD recorder refused. Under Windows if you played it you got some crufty 48Khz WMA file, never the full 16 bit PCM. On my Mac however, I was able to rip the disc to iTunes as straight WAV and then burn her an unprotected version of the CD. She then used this to record her MD. I have yet to see a disc that the Mac can't copy.
  • by HuguesT (84078) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:17AM (#9460711)
    In true civil desobedience fashion, the proper way to make decision makers understand that they are wasting their time is to:

    1- purchase the CD
    2- Optional: rip & copy it
    3- return it and get a refund because it doesn't play on your equipment.

    (2) is optional. The proper and law-abiding way is to not rip that CD.

    If the return rate goes to around 10% or so I think the message will be pretty clear.
  • Why DRM will fail... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Friday June 18, 2004 @11:27AM (#9463320) Homepage
    The purpose behind DRM confused me. There is no doubt that Velvet Revolver's music was readily available on the net for free before the CD was even released. Thus, any so-called pirate was able to get it with no problem.

    There is also no doubt, as seen above, that the DRM was easily circumvented.

    There is also no doubt, that those who legitimately bought the CD and respect the digital millennium copyright act, are screwed. They are unable to convert their newly bought CD to a different format, even though doing so is perfectly legal under the fair use laws of the US.

    Considering there is no doubt as to the utter failure of DRM, as shown above, I was perplexed at why it exists. I had trouble finding the answer as I was looking at it logically. The answer to my question is that there is no logical basis for DRM as it is necessarily true that DRM fails stops so-called pirates and screws legitimate buyers.

    So what's the answer? I've determined that when confronted by a problem, it is felt by most people that doing something is necessarily better than doing nothing. This is seen as true even when the result of that something is worse than if nothing was done in the first place. Even when that happens, when doing something exacerbates the problem, people will say in defense of their screw up, "Hey, at least I did something!"

    This psychological mindset is at play in relation to DRM. The morons in charge of the music industry see so-called piracy as a problem. They can either do something or do nothing. Even though DRM causes more problems, i.e., screwing over legitimate buyers while not putting any dent in so called piracy, they continue doing that something because they feel that doing nothing would somehow be worse. And that's despite all the evidence that clearly shows that DRM is actually worse.

    This is why I think DRM will eventually fail. Over time those in power will see the futility of their "something" and do something else to solve any problems associated with so called piracy.

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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