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NSync Copy Protected CD 577

admiral2001 writes "This article from details the most mass market venture into copy protected CDs. Namely, NSync's new CD will be released in a least 3 different versions (with different copy protection techniques). Also, one of the types has (small) labelling saying that the CD cannot be played on computers."
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NSync Copy Protected CD

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  • GOOD (Score:2, Redundant)

    by NewbieSpaz ( 172080 )
    Anything that will prevent the spread of Nsync's terrible 'music' is a good thing. ;)
    • Re:GOOD (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iso ( 87585 ) <`ofni.orezpraw' `ta' `hsals'> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:19PM (#2380254) Homepage
      Well N*Sync isn't the greatest music ever written, but they're actually pretty good. And why wouldn't they be? They have some of the highest-paid writers, voice trainers and musicians working for them. That doesn't mean that any of the people behind them are the next Beethoven, but they know how to write a catchy tune that sticks in your head.

      All in all, some decent music is produced under the N*Sync brand. Their ballads are clearly targeted towards their early teen and pre-teen female audiences, but they're musically sound. Their more up-beat songs are actually quite catchy. The Backstreet Boys are more consistent in their sound, and I think that generally their music can be considered catchy more often, but when the N*Sync brand gets it right, they product some absolutely great tracks, such as "Bye Bye Bye," and "I Want You Back." Still, it's getting difficult to market the Backstreet Boys brand as the models creep closer to 30 and get married.

      But that aside, we should be worried about this copy protection. If this technogy turns out to be reasonably effective for this market with few complaints, it will be much easier to roll it out on all future CDs. Remember, the RIAA doesn't assume that any technology will be 100% effective, but if it stops 99.9% of the population, then it will have done its job. Sure the geeks will still be able to obtain it, from ripping themselves or through obscure P2P clients, but the vast majority of people won't be able to get their hands on the MP3s, and that's all that really matters for the RIAA. The DMCA will take care of the misfits.

      - j
      • Re:GOOD (Score:4, Interesting)

        by die_rollerblader ( 469147 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @06:09PM (#2380569) Homepage
        What you just explained is what most people who do not like this music, do not like about this music.

        It is manufactured, easily digestible, put in a pretty little package and sold by the millions.

        It is what the record companies want you to buy, it is easy for them to sell, especially when it is all over TRL.

        The music is too perfect, there is no soul to it. N*sync has no emotional attachment to the songs because all they did was sing them.

        Sure they look good and arguably can dance and arguably have good voices, but its manufactured, and pushed upon its audience, who buy it because all their friends are going to have it and its all over MTV and popular radio.

        Its the perfect formula.

        The same can be said for mainstream rap and rock, with the exception that some of them, infact, more likely most of them, actually write their own songs. It is still over produced to the point where seeing how much talent these bands don't have in concert is painful.
    • Re:GOOD (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Noxxus ( 259942 )
      Anything that will prevent the spread of Nsync's terrible 'music' is a good thing. ;)

      Have you ever thought it might be a conspiracy by the record labels? Think about it, they pick an artist they know the open-source crowd (the people most likely to bitch about CD copy protection) doesn't like and there's no way in hell we'll buy *this* album. Then when nobody complains (because only teenage girls bought it to play in their CD players), the labels run press releases saying, "See it works! The consumers aren't complaining." Then Whan-O! the whole lot of new CDs gets pressed this way and we're fuX0red.
  • good... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by TheShadow ( 76709 )
    this will keep me from accidentally ripping this CD to MP3s and listening to crap at work.

    wait... why would I have the CD in the first place?
  • by rw2 ( 17419 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @04:55PM (#2380119) Homepage
    I suppose boycotts work better if you were actually intending to make a purchase. Damn the man, foiled again!
    • by tshak ( 173364 )
      There's a great way to boycott it. Buy the CD, and RETURN it, so the number of returns go up. The reason you returned it? It wouldn't play on your computer.
  • Pool (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Rupert ( 28001 )
    Anyone want to take bets on how long it will take for a rip of this album to appear on the various P2P networks, and which one will get it first?
    • Re:Pool (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tchuladdiass ( 174342 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:22PM (#2380279) Homepage
      From what it seems, there's a bit more to it than this. I would immagine that each version of the cd has a different watermark on it. They know that it is still gonna be ripped & coppied, they just want to find out which protection scheme is gonna be broken by the most people. The version with the least number of copies out there will be the format the industry settles on.
      • Re:Pool (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tackhead ( 54550 )
        > From what it seems, there's a bit more to it than this. I would immagine that each version of the cd has a different watermark on it. They know that it is still gonna be ripped & coppied, they just want to find out which protection scheme is gonna be broken by the most people. The version with the least number of copies out there will be the format the industry settles on.

        So, when no geek could be bothered to buy and rip the unprotected version in the presence of the (slightly) more challenging alternative of breaking the protection, the music industry concludes that people are more likely to rip/encode copy-protected CDs than unprotected CDs.

        The industry, in a blinding flash of sanity, then throws copy control technology into the dustbin of history (where it belongs), and the world goes back to normal.

        (Hey, I can dream, can't I?)

  • nsync already has some great copy protection. There fscking music! Why on gods green earth would anyone want to listen to it, let alone copy it!

  • by bahtama ( 252146 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @04:58PM (#2380131) Homepage
    Oh I can see it now, "Why do I care, I am a l33t d00d who only listens to great music and not N'Sync." Well, I hate to tell you, but this is only the first step. If it works and only a few people complain then they will start doing this to every CD and that is when it will cause problems for the rest of us. I won't buy this CD because I wouldn't like it but that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the bigger problem.
    • If the record companies don't listen to people when they say that they want to be able to play the cd anywhere and rip from it that's fine by me. They are just digging their holes deeper.

      If you enjoy ripping cd's like I do why would you even buy cd's if you can't rip them? In other words, if you don't agree with the technology in place to prevent your fair use of the media simply don't acquire the media in the first place. In short, boycott.

    • What I wonder is why nobody ever thinks of going "Hey! To Hell with the RIAA! I'm turning my attention over to Indie!" I see a real correlation here:
      Microsoft/RIAA decides to be bigger assholes than they once were and are now even alienating users/listeners who once supported them. The users/listeners decide that dealing with the BS is too much, and turn their attention over to "alternative" software/music. The users/listeners decide that the alternative is not only less abusive, it's also better! The monopolies crumble as the populous foces their attention on those once deemed unworthy.
      It's a future waiting to happen, but only if you follow.
    • I was at Seybold for the DMCA debate, and one very strong positions about the new CDs was that if the consumer can't copy it, Many consumers may not buy it (yes I will argue the DVD exception, just not here). Two points though: (1) the other cp CDs have tanked, (2) yes even pop music fans know how and do copy CDs. If sales slip on a copy protected CD, are the record companies going to eat the loss or pull the the plug? Still too early to tell IMHO.
  • by PinkStainlessTail ( 469560 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @04:59PM (#2380141) Homepage
    Those available in Germany have draconian protection, a slightly weaker system is used on the US disk and there is no protection on the UK version.

    So, if pirated copies do show up they can just say "Oh, the copy protection worked. This must be from the insecure UK version." Just like the Australian version of the Charley Pride CD. Clever.

    • by aka-ed ( 459608 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {cilbup.tbor}> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:29PM (#2380337) Homepage Journal
      Note that Sony called this a "test."

      Sony is not without its scientists. They know what a "control group" is.

      Guarantee you, they will be able to distinguish among UK, US and German versions; they will be monitoring, tracking and pushing internal reports back and forth on this.

      What we should hope to see is lots of rips from US and Germany, and none from the UK. Send them a message that copy-protection will only make their goods a target for the rip artistes.

    • So, if pirated copies do show up they can just say "Oh, the copy protection worked. This must be from the insecure UK version." Just like the Australian version of the Charley Pride CD. Clever.

      If they wanted to do a decent test, the "copy protected" (in quotes because we all know it won't stop anyone) version of the cd should contain slightly different versions of songs (ie run a song 10 seconds longer etc) so they can tell the source of the tracks traded online.

      Either (a) they're doing this and we just don't know or (b) they are stupid and wasting an oppurtunity to test if people are pirating their pirate-proof cd's. Just based on the fact that there are several releases of this new album, I'd imagine option (a) is correct.

      I thought it was sort of amusing that the German version, the one with the strongest copy protection, could still be played in macs. I assume that means that with the right software linux could probably do it too (i doubt it's a hardware thing since apple doesn't make their own drives).
  • Hm.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <xerithane@n e r d f a r m . o rg> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @04:59PM (#2380142) Homepage Journal
    Well, the obvious result is to flag this as a big joke. We all know no one really wants to listen to them around here.

    The thing is, this is probably just a sample. The thing to look out for is all the 14 year old girls who never play their CDs in their computers but the CD player their parents bought them for their birthday.

    It'll look like a tremendous success. "Oh look! No one cares that this CD came out unsupported on computers, lets mass market!".

    Next, you'll have your favorite RIAA-signed musician being forced into the same distribution plan..

    Now, go talk to your little sister about how she's going to have to go with out her poppy boy band shit for a while.

    • Re:Hm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
      The thing is, this is probably just a sample. The thing to look out for is all the 14 year old girls who never play their CDs in their computers but the CD player their parents bought them for their birthday.

      Actually, I bet a good many 14 year old (and younger) girls do play audio CDs in their PCs all the time. I know when I was a 14 year old boy (and frankly, listening to music every bit as insipid as n'suck) I used a computer to play CDs. I was ahead of the curve for having one with a CD-ROM at the time, amongst my generation, or in fact for owning my own computer at all, but still. Those children are not stupid, and it will not escape their notice that the CD will fit in there. Since windows will autoplay the audio CD (dunno about LackOS these days) I imagine this is a lesson which will be rapidly and positively enforced.

      Also, a significant number of pop music CDs have come with an interactive portion, usually some silly director movie which will play audio tracks, sometimes with some additional audio or concert footage, etc. Hence further reasons to put an audio CD into their computer.

      Teenage girls are unlikely to boycott n'sync even when they put the CD in their computer and can't play it. I suspect their response will be "This is dumb! It won't work!" or similar, and then they'll go looking for some other device to put it in, and forget all about it until the next time they try it. They are certainly intelligent enough to remember any symbol associated with it and avoid it if there's a choice of recordings, though.

  • Idiots (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SlamboS ( 129106 )
    I think they are just ASKING for their songs to be put all over the internet. If it can be played, it can be ripped. Makes me want to download the entire CD and share it on a p2p network just so that cd will be the most copied cd ever!
  • Ok, tell me exactly why copy protection won't lead to more MP3 swapping. Copy protection (at least some kinds, I'm not an expert) prevents the CD from being played on a computer, so not just anyone can rip an MP3 of it, you'd have to set up a conventional CD player in to your line in, which not everyone knows how or has the motivation to do.

    So I want to have MP3's of CD's I own on my computer (fair use), what am I going to do? Go looking for someone else's MP3 of it! That's what! And I thought they were trying to reduce the number of MP3's being curculated around.
  • Potential Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeyNg ( 88437 ) <> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:05PM (#2380163) Homepage

    Look, NSync is about a million times more popular than that first case that got posted here a couple of weeks back. (See? I can't even remember the name of that artist.) If this CD gets out there and there isn't alot of blowback, it will open the door for more copy protected CDs.

    What can you do about it? Offer to make copies of CDs for people who already have them. Tell them, "well, you have more than one CD player, right? Like one in your car, a portable one you walk around with, and maybe even one in your bathroom. Wouldn't it be more convenient to just have multiple copies of something you already own? .... Hmmm... my computer can't read it. Must be broken or something. Take it back!"

    Or... "Hey, let me try and listen to that in my computer." (since most of us must have at least decent sounding rigs) "WTF? This thing doesn't work at all! Take it back!"

    This is the opportunity to let Joe (or Jane) Public learn about copy protection and how it infringes on THEIR rights.

    • Look, NSync is about a million times more popular than that first case that got posted here a couple of weeks back. (See? I can't even remember the name of that artist.)

      Actually, I believe it *was* NSync from the first article. The band was actually unnamed at the time (the article just said that over 100K albums had been shipped) and a lot of /.ers (including myself... self congratulatory pat on the back) guessed NSync since their album had been released a few weeks before hand.

      So, since the album has been on the shelves for a while has anyone fired up Gnutella and checked for MP3s to see if how successful they were?

  • What about this? (Score:3, Redundant)

    by HermanBupkis ( 442793 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:06PM (#2380167)
    Take your CD player that WILL play the CD, take the line out from the "phones" run a male to male connecter from it to the line-in on your sound card. Use Broadcast 2000 to record an unlimited wave file. Record each song and use lame to wav -> mp3.

    I'm questioning if this thing they are trying to do can EVER be done perfectly?
    • But that is not a digital copy, I can't listen to that analog crap, digital only! Only digital copies are good! Digital! Digital! DIGITAL!!!!

    • Take your CD player that WILL play the CD, take the line out from the "phones" run a male to male connecter from it to the line-in on your sound card. Use Broadcast 2000 to record an unlimited wave file. Record each song and use lame to wav -> mp3.

      The problem with that is that you pass the signal through 2 DACs on the way to your digital copy, which degrades the signal quality. Also, the inside of a computer is a very unfriendly place for an analog audio signal. Thirdly, the resistance in the headphone jack is deadly; if you have to do this, use the line level out.

      Now, if you had a pro audio CD player with a digital out, and a nice soundcard with a digital in, it would be a different story. But most consumers don't have the money or need for that kind of hardware.

  • Ya know what sucks.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nate Fox ( 1271 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:06PM (#2380170)
    It just dawned on me, even tho its more than blatent: I cant make copies of these CDs! Not for pirating, not for making MP3s (for myself only), but for the sheer fact of having backups. After losing my CD collection to theft and losing some CDs to wear/tear/scratching, I started making backups of all my cds, and only playing the backups. My plan has proved itself, cause I just had all my CDs stolen once again, but this time, aside from the $5 loss of the carrying case, and the $10 pack of 50 CD-Rs, I'll be back to playin my tunes as soon as I find time to burn.

    /me hops on the bandwagon to stop this movement.
  • N'Sync? This one's just too easy ;)
  • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:08PM (#2380177)
    Apart from the fact that this doesn't affect me, why would they do this to one of the largest selling acts out there? Don't they have the largest selling album over a single weekend? If anything, N'Sync is a testament to the fact that even though there are rippers and downloaders out there, people will still buy CDs from stores.

    But if you are going to do a market study on a group, I guess you would want to test it out on one of the biggest selling groups out there.

    Let's hope that it crashes and burns, and people, including parents, get up in arms about it.


    Fight the Monopoly [] and the Evil. []. More at []

    • Let's hope that it crashes and burns, and people, including parents, get up in arms about it.

      Are you nuts? Any parents I know would beg for the chance to slow down the Lip'Sync infection.

      (Redundant, I know, but what the hell.)

      • Which parents did you talk to? The ones I know would fight it, when their 15 year old daughter would cry endlessly for months that her new NSync CD doesn't play in her computer.
        • by K8Fan ( 37875 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:39PM (#2380392) Journal

          Quite right. I'll bet a lot of kids in Nsync's "target demographic" (a much more accurate description than "audience" or "listeners") have computers in their rooms, but no other music playing systems. I don't have any kids, but it would make more sense to me to supply them with a PC with a CD drive than with a PC and a seperate stereo. You can't change the skin on a stereo.

          This is going to irritate a lot of other people when they start applying this to music that *isn't* disposible. Even high-end audiophiles are ripping to hard disk, using systems like the Linn. They've discovered that digital audio played back from a hard disk and re-clocked is free of the jitter inherent in even the best CD players.

  • I made the mistake by saying in an earlier post [] that teenagers would probably not notice the copy protection. As you might notice, a lot of people were quick to shoot me down on that one. I think this is going to be the first real test of the copy protection. Can't wait to see the backlash when those kids spend their hard earned allowance on a CD that they can't burn, and then promptly throw a massive fit (and we all know how teenagers can tantrum *eg*)
  • by garoush ( 111257 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:10PM (#2380192) Homepage
    " least 3 different versions (with different copy protection techniques)."

    I was able to copy the CD on my flat-bed copier without any problem and I ened up with a good color, detail, et. al. quality.

    However, a friend of mine ended up damaging his copier as he was trying to squeeze the CD through the copy feeder on his non-flat-bed copier.

    I don't know about the third method of copy prevention -- as I haven't figured it out yet.
  • by Foochar ( 129133 ) <foochar AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:10PM (#2380196) Journal
    when the horse has already run out.

    I would be willing to venture that the number of people downloading music illegaly has pretty much stabalized since the demise of napster. No other network has achieved the market penetration that napster had. Now is not the time for the record labels to do things to prevent people from ripping CDs.

    There was a time when I used napster etc. I can even remember hunting for ftp sites that didn't have a ratio. Anymore I just rip my own CDs so that I can leave them in my car and still listen to them at home. If anything moves like this increase the chances of me going out and hunting for songs online. If I can't rip my own CD digitally I'll either 1) Do it analog myself or 2) Find it online and while I'm at it, find several other songs too.

    All that this will do is stop the most casual of copiers. The hard core rippers will find a way to force the CD-ROM drive to recognize the CD. The general public dosen't rip what they own so they won't care. So the only people that this really affects are the casual copiers, and they will just go out and find a copy that someone else has ripped.
  • by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:12PM (#2380211) Homepage
    Quick.. Everybody steal a page from Scientology!

    Everybody buy a copy of the CD. And then return it a few days later, complaining that it doesn't work on your computer or CD player. Go to another store, rinse, repeat.

    If enough people did this a few times, all of the sudden, the return rate would be abnormally high on the CD. All of the sudden, the record industry would see this as troublesome and reconsider copy protected CDs.
    • by Accipiter ( 8228 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:40PM (#2380405)
      Everybody buy a copy of the CD. And then return it a few days later, complaining that it doesn't work on your computer or CD player.

      I doubt that will work. Most stores will refuse a return on Audio CDs, Computer Games, or DVDs that have had their seal broken. For a return where you get your money back, the CD has to still be sealed. You can't exactly claim the CD doesn't work on your computer if you haven't opened it to try.

      If you go into the store claiming your CD doesn't work and the seal HAS been broken, the best they will do is provide you with a replacement of the same item.
      • And it only takes a couple of times, of you returning the same CD over and over again before they finally give in and give you your money, especially if you tell them "I'm trying to rip it to MP3 for my car player, but its got some wonky protection that disallows that, which makes it unusable for its marketed purpose, please return my money".

        And pay on a credit card, so in the worst case, you can go for the chargeback route. :) Visa will happily do that when the product doesn't work and the merchant won't accept the return for a refund (or, alternatively, give you a CD that isn't protected, and thus works for you).

      • When you get tired of the game, take the replacement CD and leave. Then return the next day and ask for a refund, with it unopened.
      • All you need to do (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @06:45PM (#2380763)
        is raise enough hell, and they'll take it back. What you do is play stupid. Buy a CD you KNOW to be copy protected, but doesn't have the label. Open it, try to play it in your computer. When it doesn't work take it back and say it's defective. Likely they'll just give you another one. Ok, fine, do the same thing. When it doesn't work bring it back, but this time be in a bad mood about it. If they give you another one, do the same thing but when you bring it back DEMAND to get your money back. If they won't give it to you, demand to speak to the manager. Raise a big fuss.

        Now I know that all this may fail HOWEVER as a failsafe, just make sure you buy the CD using a credit card (not check card). If they refuse to give you your money back, threaten to have the bank stop the charges. That'll usually convince them to fold. If it doesn't, make good on the threat. Leave the CD in the store and walk out. Then, when you get home, call the bank that issued the credit card and ask what you need to do to block a charge. You'll probably need to write a letter explaining the charge you want blocked, and maybe attach a copy of the reciept (so make sure you have it). When you do what they bank wants, they'll stop the charge and bill the merchant. You won't be charged anything.

        Believe me, it won't take a whole lot of this to put a stop to this copy protection. The mamangers of the specific stores will get all pissed off about this and raise a stink to the higher ups. It won't take too long before the root of the problem is traced back to this batch of CDs, and the recording company in question gets yelled at.

      • by zhensel ( 228891 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @06:51PM (#2380822) Homepage Journal
        Of course, that whole policy is due to the rampant buy/copy/return scheme of a few unsavory souls, which, as we all know, is gloriously defeated by the copy protection scheme on the media you purchase. You could always bring that argument up when trying to return your uncopyable item.

        "I'm sorry sir, we don't accept returns on opened digital media."
        "Why is that?"
        "You could have copied the media and then returned it."
        "But," as the customer takes out his microscope, "it says right here that this CD is uncopyable."
        "And your point is?"
        "So not only do you presume me to be a criminal, but you're an idiot. Thanks a lot. Have a spectacular day."

        At least that's how I envision my conversation will go when I go to return my new N*Sync CD.
  • Is seems so unlikely that somebody would actually attempt to listen to an NSync albumn. Time to fsync nsync to /dev/null.
  • mac users good? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by customs ( 236182 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:17PM (#2380241)
    any idea why mac users have been succesful in ripping the disc while windows users have not? other OS's could do it, maybe?

  • Copy Protected CDs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mikers ( 137971 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:17PM (#2380242)
    More troubling is that Vivendi Universal is converting ALL of their music released on CD to protected formats.

    It is just a matter of time before everything you buy will not play on computers. You will have to rip a disc using the line-in on your soundcard from a regular CD player, break up the tracks and then MP3 them. It won't stop trading, it will slow it down.

    I think what might turn this around is... If at least one large music publisher converts all their offerings to CD protection - suddenly that may affect a lot of people (who listen to music on computers) and the number of returns (lost sales) may sky rocket. Consumers may get upset and this will probably cause CD sales in total to tumble maybe an additional 5% or so. Remember that Vivendi et al. are upset because the market dropped 5% over the last year.

    I can also see at least one lawsuit (perhaps class action) if they piss off enough people. And if they convert all their offerings - they will piss off a lot of people. Sign me up for the class action when it happens.

    It is also worth noting that many people who don't read slashdot have cd burners now - even those not computer literate. This will surely piss them off too. Not to mention that the question "Why can't I make a mix cd from cds I bought?" will come up VERY often, and be difficult to answer.

    There will be backlash if a critical mass of CDs are copy-protected. I'm really interested to see the fallout. Remember, the consumer is king... And this sort of copy protection is definately "pissing on the king's cornflakes".

  • Haiku (Score:3, Funny)

    by 575 ( 195442 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:17PM (#2380243) Journal
    Copy protection:
    As if one needs more reason
    To not buy N'Sync
  • by Denor ( 89982 ) <> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:18PM (#2380247) Homepage
    NSync's new CD will be released in a least 3 different versions


    - Initial release
    -- CD uncopyable
    -- Band unlistenable

    - 2.0 release
    -- Fixed 2,144 bugs enabling people to copy CD. CD now uncopyable.
    -- Changed demographic to younger audience; teens beginning to sense lack of talent. Note that this breaks backward compatibility

    - 3.0 release
    -- Fixed 53,944 bugs enabling people to copy CD. Gave up.

    - 3.0.1 bugfix
    -- Fired previous maintainer when it was discovered he had a soul.
    -- Fixed another 128,535 bugs enabling people to copy CD. CD uncopyable.
    -- Discovered simple cabling could be used to make a D-A-D copy. Sucessfully lobbied to illegalize cabling.
    -- Hired armed enforcers to prevent people from humming songs.
    -- Added technology to CDs to prevent any sort of listening to them whatsoever. Players now burn in unholy flame.
    -- Band still unlistenable.
  • "Both the UK and US versions will play on a Windows PC and both let a PC CD burner make a copy onto a blank CD."

    Yeah, that "slightly weaker" US version doesn't do anything apparently. Hope they didn't invest TOO much money into this....
  • by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:19PM (#2380256) Homepage
    "Both the UK and US versions will play on a Windows PC and both let a PC CD burner make a copy onto a blank CD."

    "Copying using home CD recorders is variable, with the US CD giving a "no disk" message on some recorders."

    So this is lovely! The US version is still rippable. Except on the "consumer" home CD recorders that pay the royalties to the RIAA anyways because the only thing they were usable for was copying other CDs.

    This is even more fscked than at first glance. ;)
    It's just the German version. German geeks: your mission is clear. Buy and return as many NSuck CD's as possible! ;)
  • On each and every CD they're gonna start puting a big sticker that reads:

    "WARNING! This CD includes N*Sync's latest hit. Not recommended for Linux users, pregnant women, MP3 rippers or anyone with an IQ over 50".

  • by M_Talon ( 135587 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:20PM (#2380266) Homepage
    At the risk of being redundant, someone needs to mod up one of the mentions about the UK version not having copy protection at all. How in the blue blazes is that supposed to prove anything at all? Here's the scenario:

    I live in US, and I buy the CD. *shudder...just remember it's hypothetical* I try to rip it, I fail. I go to the p2p and download the entire CD. I then promptly burn that and distribute to all my friends who want the CD to play on their computers. I also distribute the mp3's to those who want them for their MP3 players.

    This experiment will only prove how far people will go to circumvent copy protection, not how well the protection works. In a worst case scenario, the artists *shudder again* lose money because people quit buying the copy protected CDs and instead get unprotected copies from their friends.

    Once again, RIAA, wrong answer. To quote Anne Robinson, you are the weakest link, goodbye.
  • Bye, Bye (Score:4, Funny)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:21PM (#2380273) Homepage Journal
    Bye, Bye, Bye
    Hey, hey
    Bye, bye (bye, bye)
    Bye, bye (bye, bye)

    RIAA I'm doing this tonight
    You're probably gonna start a fight
    I know this can't be right
    Hey RIAA come on, I loved you endlessly
    And you weren't there for me
    So now it's time to leave and make it alone

    I know that I can't take no more, it ain't no lie
    I wanna see you out that door
    RIAA bye, bye, bye

    (Bye)I don't want to be a fool for you
    Just another player in your game for two
    You may hate me but it ain't no lie
    Bye, bye, bye
    (Bye)I don't really want to make it tough
    I just wanna tell you that I had enough
    Might sound crazy but it ain't no lie
    Bye, bye, bye

    Oh, oh you just hit me with the truth
    Oh RIAA you're more than welcome to
    So give me one good reason RIAA come on
    I live for you and me
    And now really come to see
    That life would be much better
    Once you're gone

    I know that I can't take no more, it ain't no lie
    I wanna see you out that door
    RIAA bye, bye, bye

    (Bye)I don't want to be a fool for you
    Just another player in your game for two
    You may hate me but it ain't no lie
    Bye, bye, bye
    (Bye)I don't really want to make it tough
    I just wanna tell you that I had enough
    Might sound crazy but it ain't no lie
    Bye, bye, bye

    I'm giving up I know for sure
    I don't wanna be the reason for your love no more
    (Bye, bye)
    I'm checkin' out, I'm signin' off
    I don't want to be the loser and I've had enough

    I don't wanna be your fool
    In this game for two
    So I'm leaving you behind
    Bye, bye, bye
    I don't wanna make it tough
    But I've had enough and it ain't no lie, bye-bye

  • by kryzx ( 178628 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:21PM (#2380274) Homepage Journal
    So you don't like N'Synch?
    Don't let that stop you from helping!!
    Buy a copy - open it - return it, complaining that it is defective. Hey, you don't even have to listen to it. No cost to you, and they can't resell it after the packaging is open. While you're at it, do it at the most expensive record store around.

    Let's see, (# of /.ers) * $15 return = an assload of lost revenues.
    • I think there is a problem with this formula: (# of /.ers) * $15 return = an assload of lost revenues.

      1. The people who would do this on purpose could not be considered as revenue generating anyway. If I follow this formula and actually buy a CD to latter give it back, the store did not lose any money on me, since I was never intended to own the CD on the first place.

      2. The retailer store will return the CD for repackaging to the wholeseller as part of normal batch of CDs that do anyway. It may cost something to repackage the CDs or maybe they are jsut destroyed and dumped somewhere in the landfield creating more pollution. Any one single CD costs virtually nothing to make. Maybe if a few tens of thousands go bad, the retail system and recording industry will lose like $100.

      Or maybe not...
      • You're right, of course, but what counts is *perceived* lost revenues. The record company is running an experiment, and sales and returns data is about all they have to go on.

        We want them to come to the conclusion that when they do this they lose potential revenues. Most of us wouldn't buy it anyway, so we're faking them out, but there's a kernal of truth to the message, too. If it were an album we were interested in we'd still avoid the copy protected version. We have to choose to be heard where we know they are listening.
        • Absolutely right. I was really fired up to go and buy a copy tomorrow just so I could return it - with the possibility of a _really_ entertaining loud argument with the store manager during a busy lunchtime as a bonus. Seriously - I really want to do my bit to prevent this satan-sucking abuse of our rights.

          Then I read that the the UK edition is not copy-protected - just the US edition.

          So, it must really suck to be American, huh?

    • so i've revised it for you:

      (# of /.ers) * (fraction of /.ers who will actually get off their asses to support any cause) * $15 = negligible to no lost revenue
  • trademark? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PenguinX ( 18932 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:23PM (#2380287) Homepage
    Has anyone thought about the trademark agreement? Doesn't Panasonic own the "COMPACT-DISC" trademark? I think I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that the way you are able to use this trademark is by insuring that everything with the label is playable in all players with the "COMPACT-DISC" trademark on it.

    Any thoughts?

    • Re:trademark? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @06:03PM (#2380541) Homepage
      Very good point.

      But I'm wondering if this (well, the German version) is actually some digital signature that CD copiers and MS Windows is looking for and then disallowing playback (explainable as a Windows bug because it should just disallow copy).

      Consider that Mac users can listen (and copy?) to them.

      A couple of suggested experiments for anyone with one of the unlistenable German discs: plug earphones into the audio jack on the front of your CD-ROM drive -- can you hear anything that way? (That's a direct analog out from a D/A converter built into the drive, bypassing anything the OS does). How about playing/ripping it on Linux?
      Enquiring minds want to know.

      (Oh, BTW, I think it's Philips that owns the Compact Disc trademark, or Philips + Sony)

    • Re:trademark? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jburkholder ( 28127 )
      as discussed last time [], no one seems to be able to point to a clear-cut case of why this would be the case.

      Panasonic licenses the technology needed to create cd-da, and will probably send lawyers after anyone who attempts to use their trademark without paying the required tribute.

      But the claim that you must somehow meet the IEC 908 standard in order to legally use the trademark has not been backed up by any information I've seen presented thus far.
  • by suso ( 153703 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:24PM (#2380298) Homepage Journal
    It's simple really. Release a rumor to the slashdot community that your latest CD has copy protection (when secretly it doesn't) so that all those quick-clickers can start a grass roots movement to buy millions of CDs and return them. Only they find out that they can't return them because there is nothing wrong with playing the CD.

    Honestly, I don't know whether the CD is really copy protected or not. I just thought it was interesting to see all the slashdotters wanting to go out and buy a CD.
  • I know I am in the minority of pepole they are concerned with, but if I cannot listen on my computer, I cannot listen, never bothered to buy a CD player. Besdies, CDs are horribly inconveient. Whenever I get one, first thing I do is rip the tracks I like, and then store the CD never to look at it again. Don't feel like spending tons on things like 200 disc CD changers, and then have to either put up with tracks I don't like, or spend a painful amount of time programming a dinky thing to let it know what not to play.
  • Clarity (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eric2hill ( 33085 )
    I have yet to hear anyone say whether or not these "damaged" CD's sound any different from the originals. Do they sound the same, or does the interpolation leave something to be desired?

  • We'd never buy the CD to begin with. THUS: 1. They are testing the more general, less technical home CD makers to see what kind of response they get


    2. They are trying to get us all to buy the CD out of curiosity and rake in the dough off of a new market.

  • Hi,

    Why would an opensource project start distributing its product with copy-protected CDs?

    As a proof of concept? But it is silly...

    I guess I would stay with my old rsync or direct CVS...

    Wait a minute! Is this a software thing? or something else?

  • The copy protection isn't that the CD format's been modified. The copy protection is that no one wants to copy these CDs. To date they've copy protected a country "music" CD, a Michael Jackson CD and now this. And they'll probably proclaim the program a resounding success because no one's made any copies of this stuff (Ignoring the fact that these songs have already made their way onto the various file sharing services.)
  • Unless it's proven in court that fair use demands that CDs be copyable, the issue that we've had in the past few weeks on these copy-protected CDs being compliant with the CDDA specs has been null-and-voided by the labeling issue, which I predicted would happen after the first lawsuit on mislabeling fraud. This, beyond ethical and moral reasons, is a CYA move by RIAA for any potental lawsuits.

    It's now important to legally define what constitutes fair use when one purchases a CD (which unfortunately will have to be decided in a court of law); does fair use cover personal backups? Ripping to any format? Playing in a CD? Remember, fair use only currently stands thanks to the generosity of the court in numerous cases (Sony vs Betamax, for example), but there is no legal standing for it, and it's doubtful in this climat that there will be one defined ever.

  • This is a great move on the part of the corporations. N'Sync will sell very well, because they're a popular band. They can then use those sales numbers to point out that this "copy-protection technology" doesn't negatively affect sales, and thus implement the scheme across a wide variety of products.

    This is of course a scientifically invalid study, but management types don't really care about science, or the scientific method, or any nasty side effects of this scheme. They just want to see they profit margin continue to climb upwards, and with this skewed "test of technology", that's exactly what they're going to see.

    We can keep fighting the good fight, and that's honorable. But at best, we're only delaying the inevetable. The best decision is to play along, accumulate enough money and power until you can make the decisions, and then pray that you yourself haven't totally sold out your principles in the name of the golden cash cow. Then maybe you can call the shots, and Do The Right Thing...

  • Phase 2 of testing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kinchie ( 260645 )
    The problem before was that the record companies were only releasing small numbers of protected cd's within larger lots of the same cd, and using statistical analysis of returns to see whether people would notice the protections.

    This strategy did several things: provided data on which bands / music were listened to by people who rip to mp3 (which when combined to the demographic info they have on the listeners of said music provides all sorts of opportunities e.g. a niche-marketing "public service" campaign against "pirating"), bolsters their demographic info on their audiences (if you posit that using mp3 describes at least a modicum of technical knowledge), increased the validity of their return-rate data for protected cd's by applying the test to varied demographics, and not of least importance, kept the protected discs out of the hands of those who want, for whatever reason, to find ways around these odious "protections".

    Not terribly dumb was it?

    Now they have moved on to the next phase: testing various rights management implementations (I'm going to stop calling it copy protection because that's not really the point) in large scale settings. You think that this large of a sample size isn't important to the record companies?

    I would hazard a guess that the initial phase of testing noted that there was no increase in return rate of cd's among the test cd's released to the "N'Sync Demographic"--it lets them proceed with the large-scale testing with a greatly reduced risk of class-action suits.

    The good thing about this is that after months of not knowing if certain cd's had copy protection, now we know of one that has 4 different protection methods. Now people with an interest in understanding these technologies can do so (which is of course a good thing).

  • nsync? more like n'stink (_*_)
  • Someone will always find a way to get around [] any sort of copy protection.
  • From the article:

    But the German version does not even play on a Windows PC meaning users cannot listen to music they have bought... [snip] However, Apple Mac users have succeeded in playing the German disc.

    Eh? Wouldn't this suggest this is defeatable by software, and thus useless? (Mac, Linux, *BSD, BeOs rippers/encoders anyone?) Anyone care to comment on this?

  • I'll put the nsync cd right with the star office 6.0b cd.
  • It's a publicity stunt, I say. If the protection gets play in mainstream media, how many teen-age 1337 dewdz are going to go running out to buy the disc and try their hand at ripping? Even better, with the different versions having slightly different packaging, how many will try to buy multiple versions?
  • CD Audio copy protection only really prevents direct copy of the bitstream from the CD.

    Anyone worth their salt with have realised by now when you stick a CD in your HiFi, The Digital output is converted to analogue for your amplifier/auxilliary output. Therefore, anyone who wants to copy their CD for backup or other purposes will be doing the following:

    1) Place copy protected CD in your hifi.

    2) Connect an RCA-jack lead from your AUX output on your hifi to your soundcard

    3) Encode the resultant output on your PC.

    You will probably find that with modern HiFi D/A Converters and modern soundcards coupled with a decent screened RCA lead, you can't actually tell any audible difference in quality. Furthermore the resultant digital copy can be duplicated at the same quality.

    But you probably all already knew that :)
  • I happen to dislike massive commercial music, and prefer less commercial genres (King Crimson [], Gentle Giant [], Brand X [], Spock's Beard [], Steve Hackett [], Camel [] etc. - you get the drill). Many of the artists I like have their own independent labels and issue their CDs by themselves.

    I can't help but wonder what do they think about the whole issue (other than their piracy policies, which are already well known).
  • The record companies will eventually learn that Napster et al. were helping, not hurting, their sales. When they prevent people from listening to music, they're just cutting back on free marketing for their product; They'll learn eventually.
  • by fobbman ( 131816 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:45PM (#2380430) Homepage
    Damnit, what is it going to take for the minions of Slashbots to quit cracking the comments about the copy protected artists not being worth copying? I was getting ready to Moderate this damned thread but I kept finding myself modding posts down so I gave up.

    I do not care whether the copy protection is on an artist I like or one that I dislike. The point is that this travesty is creeping into the mainstream music industry, and if nothing is done the cost of adding this protection to future artists you might care about will be so insignificant that it won't be an issue whether they do it or not.

    So get a damned clue people. This shit needs to be acted on now, either through letters to the labels involved or through active cracking of the protection schemes. The audio passthrough cables don't count here, as we need something that is so painfully easy to use (recording one long-ass wav file then editing each song out is normally fine for most studio works but try doing that on a live album with no breaks. I've done it and it sucks) that it's almost seamless in its operation.

    Don't get complacent about this shit, because by the time they copy protect YOUR favorite artist it might be too late to stop them.
    • No, we don't need to write letters or crack the protection. Hit them in the pocketbook with returns of the CDs as unplayable. The record stores can't afford to and won't carry music that's going to generate high return rates. It costs too much and wipes out their profits. And Media Play and Wherehouse and such don't care about philosophy, they care only about their profits. The record company loses a couple of big chains because of it, they'll sit up and take notice real quick.

  • by neema ( 170845 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:47PM (#2380436) Homepage
    Often, companies will be unwilling to sell heavily copyrighted materials if they think it'll hamper sales so much.

    But if they slap it on an N'Sync CD, which, whether you like it or not, is going to get a large amount of CDs bought, they can always use the CD sales and say "Hey, we had copyright protection and the consumer liked it. Lets go ahead and put it on everything."
  • What would be interesting would be to see if the digital image on all of these were the same song, or if each were used to generate MP3 files (or ogg vorbis), they would create unique signatures which the nefarious fiends could use.

    Use for what? They could count found instances on the net of the US version, UK version, and of course the German version... It would be interesting to guess that there won't be many of the German, and a healthy, proportional mix between the US and UK versions...

    Just something that might be up...

  • by burtonator ( 70115 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @05:50PM (#2380459)
    I would like to request that people stop using the phrase "copy protection" and instead use the term "copy prevention"

    This has a number of advantages:

    - copy protection implies that copying is bad (which it is not)

    - copy prevention implies that the music industry is preventing me from making a legitimate copy. (which it is)

    - copy prevention (somewhat) signifies that it is futile to prevent people to make copies. They can try and they might stop 90% of the people but it just takes 1 person to get this on MP3 and upload it to the net for the cat to be out of the bag.

  • When my old CD player started acting up and not playing many recent disks, I figured it was time to upgrade. As an interim, I hooked an old IDE CD-ROM (dumpster special) to an old power supply, and to my stereo via the drive's headphone jack. It doesn't have very many features besides play/skip and stop/eject but it generally gets the job done.

    When this copy-prevention crap starts hitting music that I would actually buy, it may be time to get that new player. Still, this is a drag, since I rip many of my disks on my PC at work, which beats shuttling disks back and forth.

    Then again, by the time this technology makes it to the disks that I use, my PC will probably be illegal anyway [].

  • by ryanvm ( 247662 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @06:02PM (#2380535)
    People have understood for years that when you purchase software you are actually purchasing a license to use that software. Should your CD cabinet suddenly burst into flames, you can call Microsoft and tell them you need new media. You prove you purchased it, pay shipping and handling, and you'll have new discs in no time. This is also the reason that big software companies don't try to copyprotect their CDs.

    With the RIAA's latest move it has become much less clear exactly what we are purchasing from them.

    If you're paying for the license to listen to the music, then you should be allowed to copy the CD, transfer to another medium, etc. As long you don't violate the license.

    However, if you're paying for the media (i.e. the CD), then once it's in your possession you can do whatever you want with it - including duplication.

    It's fucked up antics like this that piss me off about the RIAA. Either I'm buying the music or I'm buying the media - which is it? From now on, if I buy a CD and find out its copyprotected, I am going to assume that what I've purchased is the media, not the license to listen to the music, and should I figure out how to rip MP3s from it then I'll freely trade them with whomever I can.

  • Canadians...? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Tuesday October 02, 2001 @07:29PM (#2381035) Journal
    In Canada, we collect a levy on CDR media, rigthly or wrongly this allows us the RIGHT as a citizen to make copies of any music CD for our own personal use.

    I can take YOUR NSync CD and make a copy for myself (%insert_your_own_joke_here%).

    See more about this here: s []

    So, does this mean that this 'version' of the NSync CD wont be sold here in Canada? Or will I have to start buying and returning CDs and showing them that their product infringes my rights as a Canadian according to the Copyright Act...

    This could be seriously fun...

  • by mj6798 ( 514047 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @01:41AM (#2382037)
    This is pretty clearly designed to test the effect of different copy protection methods and to see whether labeling hurts sales in the short run.

    Let's hope this CD shows up disproportionately on file sharing services (it's still easy to convert it into MP3 using analog) to drive the message home to the music industry that this kind of effort is pointless. (If you like, you can also run out in protest and buy a few dozen non-copy-protected NSync CDs, but I wouldn't recommend it.)

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2001 @09:34AM (#2382946) Homepage
    If it's true as reported that the disks will not copy on home CD recorders, then the consumer is being cheated of a right he has bought AND PAID FOR.

    The whole CD recorder/"Music CD-R"/SCCS system promises that, in exchange for a PER-COPY FEE built into the price of the "Music CD-R," I have the right to make single-generation digital copies of CD's.

    Now the music industry is saying that even after I pay that fee, I can't make the copy. They aren't even willing to live up to their own one-sided bargain.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"