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Sony Intentionally Crashes Customers' Computers 1209

Uttles writes "According to Yahoo!, Celine Dion's latest CD will not play in computer drives. In fact: 'Should the consumer try to play Dion's CD on a PC or Macintosh, the computer likely will crash.' How is this legal?" Since Sony admits that their product is designed to cause damage to your computer system, almost anyone would likely have a good lawsuit against them. Attention Celine Dion and all musicians: crashing your fans' computers is not a good business practice. No matter what your agent says.
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Sony Intentionally Crashes Customers' Computers

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  • by Roosey ( 465478 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @08:58PM (#3280953)
    Are you sure it's the protection? I would say that the computers they tested it on had good taste, that's all. :)
    • by Salamander ( 33735 ) <> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:02PM (#3280991) Homepage Journal

      That can't be it. A computer with good taste would eject the disk immediately, without even thinking about playing it.

    • Actually, I hope and pray my computer would crash fast enough, so I wouldn't have to hear the first note of her crappy "music."

      And thank God Windows crashes faster than it boots up.
    • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:29PM (#3281238)
      Attention Celine Dion and all musicians: crashing your fans' computers is not a good business practice

      Not to worry, as soon as Celine Dion reads this on slashdot, I'm sure she'll raise hell with Sony.

      • by leviramsey ( 248057 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:04PM (#3281467) Journal

        It's not widely known, but Celine Dion posts to Slashdot under the username K1erck.

        Her next CD is expected feature such great songs as "My PWP Will Go On" and "Because of".

      • by HiredMan ( 5546 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:33PM (#3281636) Journal
        Not to worry, as soon as Celine Dion reads this on slashdot, I'm sure she'll raise hell with Sony.

        News for Divas, No other stuff matters....



    • by ScoLgo ( 458010 ) <scolgo AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:50PM (#3281388) Homepage
      This makes me think of the John Lithgow line in Buckaroo Bonzai; "Laugh while you can, monkey-boy".

      I can't help but think that people won't find it quite so humorous when this is done with artists that they happen to like. Now, I get the impression that most of the /. crowd wouldn't be caught dead listening to Celine Dion and others of her ilk, but what if Korn is your favorite band? Would you laugh when their new CD comes out with copy-protection? (Not saying it's gonna, but would that be funny?)

      Now, forget your favorite artists for a second. How many new artists will you discover if the media that it comes on is disabled like this? I bought a CD three days ago from a new band outta Jersey called Ill Niño [] and it rocks. If it had copy protection, I wouldn't have bought it. Period. Lose-lose - nobody wins.

      This whole concept is just plain nuckin futs, people. I suggest that you tell everyone you know that these kinds of 'products' should be avoided at all costs. Vote with your wallets and get the word out to everybody you know to do the same.

  • by ChazeFroy ( 51595 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @08:59PM (#3280956) Homepage
    Since Sony admits that their product is designed to cause damage to your computer system, almost anyone would likely have a good lawsuit against them.

    How would that make a good lawsuit? Seems to me that Sony is covering its ass by letting the consumer know up front, which would make the lawsuit more difficult.
    • by peter_gzowski ( 465076 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:16PM (#3281129) Homepage
      I hope not. Then any company could take away consumer's rights by just issuing warnings. What if I opened up a store with a big sign out front stating, "Warning! Homosexuals are not permitted to make purchases in this store." Something tells me I still might get into trouble... I don't have time right now to cite actual court cases, but it seems to me that consumers have basic rights, and that companies have to have damn good reasons for taking them away.
      • Yes they should! a warning isn't taking away anyone's rights, all it's doing is saying you shouldn't do something, and if you do we're not responsible for the consequences. You're whole homosexual reference is so rediculous, it's not even a warning, all it says is certain people can't shop there? what are warning them of? a better analogy would be "don't drink the drano" now according to you this deprives you of your legal right to drink drano... well no you can drink it (and when it comes do you, I recommend it). It's just saying bad stuff will happen if you do. By all means go ahead drink the drano, if you survive sue the crap out of them because you know you want to.

        This society sickens me, nobody ever takes resposibility for anything, they can always blame someone for something and get away with it. My son killed several people at school and himself, wait I found these video games in his room, they must have made him do it! there's no way my son had any social or psychological problems after all I'm a good parent, and there was never any signs before this. Oh I slipped, fell and broke my leg for no apparent reason, it must be the city's fault! after all it's not my fault I can't walk. Oh I'm fat it must be all those fast food places chaing my ass to a pole in the back room and force feeding me greasy burgers. After all I'm not a gluttonous pig who doesn't get exercise and just sits around all day eating shit that would kill a horse. Fuck grow up and take some responsibility for your lives people!

        Can't someone else do it? The garbage man can!

      • Despite what the lawyers want you to think, almost anything you do still has to pass a "reasonable person" test.

        Would a reasonable person expect a CD purchased (or received as a gift) to destroy a computer that has successfully played hundreds of other CDs? Of course not, they won't even read the disclaimer, and if they do they will interpret "may not play in computers" as "it may play in computers, why don't you give it a try" not as "will cause temporary or permanent damage."

        In other words, that disclaimer is worthless at best, and an active inducement to try playing it in vulnerable hardware at worse.

        As for your example, there's the same issue with the reasonable person test. Bigots may think they can identify homosexuals at a glance, but they can't and that policy is both unenforceable and arbitrarily enforced against innocent parties.
    • by blueskies ( 525815 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:38PM (#3281661) Journal
      It's been a while since my intro to law class, but the one thing I do remember is that putting a warning sign up can possible INCREASE the chance of being sued. The reason being that it is much easier to prove that the defendent knew that they had a dangerous situation and didn't do anything about it. This site [] shows the 4 elements needed for a negligence case. (I apologize for the crappy site, but i didn't have much time and wanted to back up my information with something. Check google to find more sources).

      1. The defendent must have a defined duty -- in this case to produce working products and not snake oil.
      2. Breach of duty: act or ommision must be shown -- Sony knew about the defective CD's and any reasonable person would think that they should play in ALL cd players. Sony also knows that most people would try to use them in computer CD players which is why they have a warning.
      3. The Breach of Duty must be shown to be considered a reasonable cause of damage -- Clear cut case here.
      4. Damages must be shown.

      Sony by warning the customer is actually admitting that they have a defect product, they know it's defective and can cause damages, and they refuse to fix it.
  • Damn. (Score:5, Funny)

    by sllort ( 442574 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @08:59PM (#3280957) Homepage Journal
    Your heart may go on, but your computer won't.
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:01PM (#3280981)
    <all too obvious crashing joke>
    Crashing computers are nothing. Put Celine's CD in to your car while you're driving and it'll make you crash that too, just to end the god awful experience.
    </all too obvious crashing joke>
  • by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw@snkma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:02PM (#3280986) Journal
    Quoth the article:

    "According to a spokeswoman for Sony Music Entertainment, it is clearly stated on the front of the booklet and on the back of the jewel box that the CD "will not play on a PC or a Mac" in the language of the country in which it is sold. Besides those notices, which the spokeswoman said were readable before purchase, the disc itself bears the same warning."

    And physical damage to the computer is supposedly in the firmware of the drives (on macs)

    "On the German discussion boards at MacFixit, Mac users claim that the CD will not eject using normal methods and that the intentional corruption of the disc's session data could unpredictably affect the drive's firmware." But Sony said that the firmware problem is not real.

    Please keep in mind that I'm not saying that any of this is right or ethical. It's just that the post doen't completely represent what happenned (and I am sure that article has some shortcomings in the 'truth dapartment' too.)

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:04PM (#3281024) Homepage Journal
    If Sony wanted to be obnoxious, they could write a program that starts when Autorun is activated. It could cover the screen and say "YOU CANT PLAY THIS HERE!!!", and then send a signal to the CD ROM to eject the CD. When somebody puts it back in... and so on.

    Yes, this would be easy to get around. But I'd far prefer that then causing a BSOD.
  • by red5 ( 51324 ) <gired5@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:05PM (#3281025) Homepage Journal
    Now some poor kernel hackers will have to listen to this music so they can code a workaround for the linux kernel.
    I feel there pain. Just rember this is for the greater good. :)
    • by ChadN ( 21033 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:30PM (#3281620)
      Though horrible, this reverse-engineering experience will be much needed for the day when Sony finally deploys "Snow Crash" virus technology in Everquest.

      A brain that can stand up to massive amounts of Celine Dion music (thanks a LOT, James Cameron...), might have a chance at avoiding meltdown.
  • Ohh, another confirmed, mass distributed copy protected CD. Time to make another round and buy these, open them, and return them. Remember, thats the best way to get the message across, at their cost. And if the stores eat the cost, they will get upset with Sony, and end up solving it as well. [] for the 7 I have returned to date.

    • Exept they have a BIG warning sticker on the front.
      If I was the store manager I would not exept returns on this cd.
      "Sorry pal you were the idot that bought Celien Deion".
      • Just as long as they don't have the CD logo... if they do, then which one do you, as the consumer, believe? The CD logo that says it will work in your computer, or the Sony one that says it won't? Sounds like fradulent marketing to me.

        Imagine :

        "Malboro Advisory: These cigarettes will not cause cancer!"
        "Surgeon Genral's warning: these will cause cancer."
      • The sticker's on the wrapper. The wrapper gets thrown away when you open the CD. Why wouldn't they believe you when you said your new CD had no sticker on it?

        Posts like this should not get +5s.

        - A.P.
    • You're not likely to get very far doing the "buy,open,return" scheme here. The cd is labelled, that's only a protest of un-labelled cd's.
    • Argh. f**ck sony:

      "And it won't eject properly, but that's just because the computer has crashed."

      And you won't be able to eat properly, but that's just because my foot is so far up your ass that I'm playing footsie with your tonsils.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:06PM (#3281039) Journal
    Hours? Minutes? Seconds? It shouldn't take long for the entire CD to appear on the Gnutella network and other P-2-P sessions. In fact, it will probably be one of the most ripped CDs of all time, just out of spite -- not that anyone wants to listen to it.
    • by shird ( 566377 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:26PM (#3281215) Homepage Journal
      Correct, it is already available on the fast track network (Kazaa et al.). As most people get their pirated music from global P2P networks rather than from friends ripping CDs for them, the fact that even ONE copy gets onto a file sharing system, all their efforts at copy-protection are wasted. It just becomes a pain for people who want to listen to their CDs through their computer, or rip it to MP3s for their own personal use, eg. to transfer it to their portable MP3 player etc.

      I'm curious as to how those newer CD players which can play MP3s from a CD as well as normal CDs handle this, because surely they would need to read a CD in the same way as a CD drive in order to read the MP3s?
    • by crisco ( 4669 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:56PM (#3281419) Homepage
      Well over a thousand hits on WinMX, including the entire album zipped up and assorted bitrates over 128.

      The proverbial cat isn't so easy to put back in the bag, is it Sony?

  • Intentional Harm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Boulder Geek ( 137307 ) <> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:08PM (#3281059)
    If Sony tried to market this thing in the U.S. they would probably run afoul of state and Federal Consumer Protection Agencies. In spite of what Sony may claim, any sudden crash of a computer has the potential to cause irrepairable harm. I seriously doubt that any company can dodge responsibility with a printed disclaimer. Which of course explains why this copy protection (ha!) is only being sold in Europe. In the litigious U.S. they would very likely get into trouble very quickly.

  • Clone CD can copy it (Score:5, Informative)

    by PineGreen ( 446635 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:10PM (#3281076) Homepage
    For how to copy it and more information see here []
    • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:49PM (#3281377) Homepage
      You realize that you may have just broken the law, right?

      Not that I think it should be illegal, but you could possibly get sued/imprisoned for trafficking (you helped people find it) in a circumvention device or process.

      The fact that the above comment may be illegal should definitely motivate you to fight CBDTPA and fight to have the DMCA repealed/declared unconstitutional.
      • by MattJ ( 14813 )
        And *you* may have just broken the same law, perhaps, by using the phrase "fight CBDTPA" in your comment tied to his comment. You have created a future link in Google between "fight CBDTPA", his post, and, implicitly, the allegedly infringing software. You're helping people find software that "fights" (circumvents) these laws.

        Of course, I've now done the same thing.
      • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @11:05PM (#3281792) Homepage Journal
        That brings up an interesting point.
        How could a product that existed in time before this method of copy prevention become illegal? Sounds to me like Sony is using a method that could already by bypassed even before it was ever even used. This whole computer cd player prevention doesnt seem to be a "protection" method anyway. I view encryption or protection as a higher level technology designed to keep people out. Not a design that uses existing equipment anomalies in hopes that they will not be able to read it. What if they put the output level redicuously low on the cd and you could barely hear it unless you used a special Sony addon to your headphone jack? Would connecting your own extra amplifier be a violation or a circumvention device? They are using a method of prevention that violates a generally accepted standard, not an encryption scheme.
  • by PinchDuck ( 199974 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:11PM (#3281090)
    Let me get this straight: If I go shell ~$1800 USDfor a Sony Vaio (like I did 3 weeks ago), then I shell out another ~$20 USD for the disc, it not only will not play in their own damned PC, but it will crash their own system?

    That shit is fucked up. I wonder if they make any claims as to the stability of their systems.

    • Aibo, go fetch the vaio!

      Let go! Bad dog! BAD DOG!

      • by BigBlockMopar ( 191202 ) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @08:21AM (#3283463) Homepage
        Aibo, go fetch the vaio!
        Let go! Bad dog! BAD DOG!

        Stupid product and a computer with a stupid name.

        You know, I just don't get it. Why would you want a synthetic dog?

        There's something about the Japanese culture that I just don't get. Hello Kitty [] is a perfect example. Why do they like Hello Kitty?

        How did they get the bow to stick to Hello Kitty's ear? I tried that on my own cat, but the taper of the ear as it reached the extremity wasn't conducive to holding a bow, much like pants will be self-adjusting on the rotund. Besides, she flicked away the bow then attempted to sever my femural artery. After I got back from the emergency room, I thought about using the staple gun, but Hello Kitty doesn't appear to have pierced ears. Unfortunately, I was out of hot-melt glue sticks, so I was unable to investigate that possibility.

        Why do anime characters always have two teeth? (One on top going all the way around from molar to molar, and one on the bottom going all the way around from molar to molar.) Does Japanese toothpaste include spackle, or am I missing something? Why these one-piece monolithic teeth? The monolith is a fissure-free, gap-free symbol of strength. Which is ironic from a people who have been living in one of the world's most active seismic zone and yet persist in building paper houses with stone roofs.

        [sigh] I long for the good old days, when the Japanese were quiet, reserved, and Sony built battle-wagon open-reel VTRs [] instead of CanCon pop music CDs.

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:13PM (#3281096) Homepage Journal
    I think the RIAA should just use new media for music and stop using CD's. It'd be really simple for them to use a media format not unlike Nintendo's GameCube media. Heck, with modern compression schemes, they could use a higher frequency range and put all kinds of other doodads in it to make it better than the modern CD.

    The media wouldn't have a drive for PC's, and if they patent the technology then nobody could release a PC drive. The only recourse would be for for people to run a cable from the device to the PC to capture the music. No matter what kind of 'protection schemes' they create, they'll never get around the fact that the sound becomes analog at some point. At least this way, they make it less convenient to copy the music.

    This would go a lot farther than trying to preemptively punish me for being a criminal.
  • by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:14PM (#3281112) Homepage Journal

    Is anyone using any critical thinking? How can a particular combination of bits on a CD crash your computer, much less "cause damage to your computer"?

    If your computer crashes based on a bad CD, then get a new CD-ROM drive because it's a piece of crap.

    Assuming Sony is not doing anything physically wrong to the disk (like making it too thick or something absurd), there is no story here.

    • by Shiny Metal S. ( 544229 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:59PM (#3281441) Homepage
      Is anyone using any critical thinking? How can a particular combination of bits on a CD crash your computer, much less "cause damage to your computer"?

      I used to think exactly the same, until one CD [] proved me wrong.

    • by $carab ( 464226 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:57PM (#3281746) Journal
      What? Excuse me?

      It's rather easy for a "combination of bits" to crash your computer, especially from a trusted, local source (CD-Drive). It's not their computer you're crashing, it's their OS.

      Do you remember the infamous screensaver override program? The one that hacked Windows 9x screensaver passwords by exploiting the autorun capability? That is just one example.

      It seems to me like this stuff is just dangerous. I mean, if it "crashes" your Operating System, by definition, your OS has malfunctioned and is not working correctly. When that happens, bad stuff, REALLY bad stuff (a la Firmware overwrite) COULD happen.

      It has been often said that, in order to stop pirates, the recording industry could employ teams of virus programmers (they could afford them), to create uber-virii, which they could then distribute through file-sharing programs.

      That approach, as illegal and horrifying as it may seem, is probably actually more "legal" (common-sense legal, not this crazy "copyright" legal) than Sony's plan. I mean, you've bought the Damn CD, and you should have rights to play it in a CD player. Any CD player. Whereas if someone got their computer crashed due to the uber-virus, they wouldn't really have a recourse (They didn't own the files, after all).

      Just my 2 cents.
  • by sean23007 ( 143364 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:21PM (#3281168) Homepage Journal
    Now every geek in the country is going to run out and buy a copy of this CD just to see if they can get past the crashing mechanism. Sony can't trust people to buy the CD on the merits of the music, so in essence they create a challenge for computer users.

    Of course that's not what they were thinking when they did it, but if they treated this in this way, people would not be so uproarious about it.
  • by unixwin ( 569813 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:22PM (#3281183) Homepage

    ...I can convince a couple of my friends that even the computer agrees about her voice....
  • by The Cat ( 19816 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:22PM (#3281185)
    Near... far... wherever you are...

    I believe that the mouse won't move on...

    Once more... you close the drive door...

    rip, mix, and blue screen...

    our prices go up and on...

  • Shhh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by zenintrude ( 462825 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:28PM (#3281228)
    I work for Sony, and this our only idea as to the killing off of Celine's career. How dare you warn her, have you heard the awful cd?!
  • by 0xA ( 71424 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:41PM (#3281319)
    Ahh you bastards! Okay so Celine Dion is not much of a loss to me but you guys just tripped over your own feet in a large way.

    I have one of these Mini Disc Walkmans []. Along with it came this handy little kit to connect my walkman to my PC and record a cd to it.

    Now with this CD from Sony Music I am unable to use my Sony PC Link to enjoy this music I have (hypothetically) purchased using my Sony MD Walkman. Hmmmm. Certainly calls into question my plans to purchase a new MD Walkman, the much more expensive MZ-900DPC [] sometime this month. Or maybe I just won't purchase Sony Music titles any more.

    Nice of you guys to put me in a position where I have to choose between your hardware and music titles. I would have figured you would prefer me to purchase both, that's probably why you're the high paid media exective and I'm just the consumer with a love of music and a large disposable income though.

    So long and thanks for all the laughs, if you need me I'll be in the Panasonic section at Circut City.

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:41PM (#3281320) Homepage Journal
    So, if Sony has enabled this 'protection' technology on the CD's, then they are (in theory) stopping 'pirates' from making unauthorized copies. Therefore, they are not losing as much money.

    Shouldn't they at least reward us for our inconvenience? I mean if Sony said "Tell you what, because we've implemented this new 'protection' scheme, we'll knock $5 off the price of the CD."

    If they're not doing that, how can the use the word protection? It's certainly not us they're protecting. They should use the word restriction at that point.

    Tell you what, if Sony (or any other Music Label) were to take this approach, I'd have a hell of a lot more sympathy for them. I'm not sure it'd end my boycott, but it'd be a start. They took my music rights away, therefore the music has much less value. So why should the prices be the same? That gives them the image of being super evil.
  • by Rui del-Negro ( 531098 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:47PM (#3281360) Homepage
    This was the only way a Celine Dion record could get free publicity on Slashdot.
  • by akac ( 571059 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:54PM (#3281411) Homepage
    With key2audio Sony DADC is offering you the optimal protection for your Audio CD's. Using highest quality and ensuring best compatibility, key2audio was developed to support the music industry in protecting its music from illegal duplication and copyright infringement. Without altering the music data stream, key2audio CD's still offer crystal clear sound and no read fault errors.

    During glass mastering, several special hidden signatures, similar to a unique fingerprint, are applied outside the music data area. These signatures can neither be duplicated by CD-R/RW burners, nor by professional glass mastering systems.

    Audio discs protected with the current version cannot be recognised by standard CD/DVD-ROM, CD-R and CD-RW drives, thus they do not play on PC, Apple Macintosh or other systems equipped with CD- ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM and DVD-R devices. This ensures the highest efficiency currently available. Due to the fact that key2audio(TM) protected discs do not play on PC, no ripping is possible. Analogue copies, on the contrary, can be made to any analogue devices. (eg MC).

    key2audio does not alter the sound quality in any way. Music data is not accessed, the bitstream is exactly the same for a protected and an unprotected CD (no C2 errors/uncorrectables in the music data). Only the copier notices a difference, for the listener, the sound remains the same.

    The audio part completely complies with Red Book standard. In addition, a CD protected with key2audio still guarantees a maximum playing time of 77 minutes and therefore does not limit the pleasure of listening time at all. Full ISRC, UPC, CD Text capabilities are supported.

    The key2Audio work on most CD Readers but on a few (more expensive) readers they fail to work.
  • by ziriyab ( 549710 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:54PM (#3281412)
    Can't Sony cross-market this as a system that protects the user from Celine Dion?
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:57PM (#3281427) Homepage Journal
    ... is that it's waaaaaaay too easy to replicate. I think the RIAA chose a very bad product to produce if they are concerned about non-paid-for copies floating around.

    All I have to do is download the lyrics and I could sing the song. Garage bands could easily do a nice rendition of the song that'd be worth listening to. As a matter of fact, re-mixes are quite popular out there. A lot of remixes don't even have elements of the original score in them. Sounds like a problem, doesn't it? They may be able to stop me from ripping a CD, but there's no way on Earth they could stop somebody from recording their own rendition of a song.

    It seems to me that the RIAA is being rather unrealistic in their choice of products to make. I just don't see how they could expect to end all 'piracy' for good. The worst part is that they are blaming the wrong people.

    For example, Eisner said that Apple was promoting piracy with their "Rip/Mix/Burn" campaign. His concern is that people will think that music is free and that they don't have to pay for it. But wait a minute, people were trading MP3's LONG before Apple was airing any commercials. If anybody thinks that music is free, its because it's played on the radio!

    When the music is played on the radio, they're basically saying 'music is free, just enjoy it.'. That's part of what made it fun to go buy songs. What you were buying, then, was not the right to listen to it, but the convenience of listening to it whenever and wherever you want. CD's, at the time, were the best way to do it.

    Then MP3's came along. Oopsie, the RIAA didn't stay on the ball, and now their business model that THEY CREATED is turning against them. The amusing thing is that they are playing the wrong hand to fight it. I can't believe they are actually surprised that people may think music is free. This is not a new occurance, this is what the RIAA taught them!

    If they want to fight it, they need to come up with a MORE CONVENIENT solution, instead of trying to make it illegal. Underage smoking: Illegal, happens anyway. Underage drinking: Illegal, happens anwyay. Smoking pot: Illegal, happens anyway. Why on earth do they think they can stop it? What they're FAR better off doing is saying "You can buy MP3s (or a variant) from us! They're cheap, and you can download any song you want really really fast. Buy an album and get a discount."

    Better yet, they'd find ways to make money through the channels people are using to get songs. What if they released an MP3 version of a song with one of the singers at the end saying 'Mention this code: JdWt when you buy the song and get $2 off the album purchase.'?

    They have so many options they could use, but they chose the one where they piss EVERYBODY off. Nice.
    • by krmt ( 91422 ) <therefrmhere@yaho o . com> on Thursday April 04, 2002 @03:12AM (#3282809) Homepage
      Oopsie, the RIAA didn't stay on the ball, and now their business model that THEY CREATED is turning against them.

      Very true, although I think it might be even bigger than that. It's not just the business model that the RIAA created, it's the model that all of society has created for us. It's like that one (great) .sig around... "I'm not merely a consumer or taxpayer. I am a citizen of the United States." Well, we're looked at as just that... consumers. We have been trained extensively to consume shit. It's not about buying things, or else they'd call us "customers". No... we're consumers, we're meant to suck up as much as they give us and beg for more. This is the way to sell us more crap than if we were merely meant to buy it. Consuming it gives us motivation to buy more and more.

      The problem is that the model has totally backfired here. We've been programmed to consume so much that we're all doing it far too well for them now. We can consume and consume and consume all we want now without them acting as our (drug) dealers. We're not taught to buy our stuff, we're taught to devour it. Hence, no one sees any problem with not buying CD's because we've been taught that the purpose is not to buy as much as we can, but to have as much as we can. This is why people fill up their hard drives with MP3's and movies and why my roomate has cases and cases full of burned CD's.

      I think this also explains why companies are more focused on regaining control than on increasing sales. Rather than add extras to the CD's to make them worth buying, or dropping the price, they try to regain control of access. It's stemming consumption at will that matters. Before it was good enough to control what bands got promoted via radio. Then it was MTV. Now it's bigger than that. Because people can download whatever they can make their own playlists. Granted, a lot of it is the stuff that the record companies are pushing heavily, but a lot of it is stuff they wouldn't expect, like older favorites that aren't the flavor of the month. Suddenly radio and MTV doesn't hold as much sway any more, and their control is weakened. At the end of the day, this is what it's about. It's not so much about profit in itself, but about control, because control guarantees profit.

      We've all been trained too well, including the RIAA themselves. We've all been brainwashed in to consuming everything. The RIAA has been brainwashed the same way, which is why they're so focused on the control aspect. Finding ways to increase sales would suit them better than what they're doing. Unfortunately, I doubt they'll see the light until someone stands up and shows it to them with a spreadsheet and a stock quote.
  • Not that great (Score:5, Informative)

    by legLess ( 127550 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @09:58PM (#3281435) Journal
    Apparently these CDs still adhere to the Red Book (somehow). But the consensus seems to be that the Key2Audio protection isn't that great:
    • Bypassing it: CDFreaks article [], although I don'tthink they're the original posters of this method.
    • Hardware solution: AOpen CD 56X AKH/A80 (unconfirmed [])
    • Windows software solution #1: EAC []. This is truly excellent software in its own regard, and apparently it bypasses Key2Audio nicely. You're better off Googling for EAC, as the site isn't updated often. Also check out the EAC mailing list [], and this message [] in particular.
    • Windows software solution #2: CloneCD []. Many swear by it, but I haven't used it myself.
    Most importantly, the tests are over - this is for real. It seems that Celine is Sony's biggest-selling "artist" - they wouldn't use her as a beta test.
  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:06PM (#3281484)
    How thick are the recording companies?

    They think that by copy-protecting their CDs, people will no longer burn backups for the car or for their portable diskman players -- both environments where it's easy to accidentaly scratch/wreck an expensive original.

    What they don't realize is that instead of buying legal CDs and making "fair use" backups for their own use, people will now find it far more attractive to simply wait until someone else either rips the disk or does an A-D conversion then makes the resulting MP3 files available on the net (through* or one of the many P2P networks).

    I for one won't buy a protected music CD -- so that would leave me with no alternative but to download an illegal MP3 copy because I need to burn a couple of spares for my own use.

    I guess if I really wanted to be honest, I'd send the recording company a check for the value of the album I'd downloaded -- but chances are that they'd then prosecute me for piracy -- even though I had offered to pay anyway.

    These guys couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery!
  • by chazzf ( 188092 ) <> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:07PM (#3281488) Homepage Journal
    May it please the readers, I have summarized the above story and all attendant comments.

    1. Story is posted noting that $company had implemented $copy_protection on the newest CD of $artist.

    2. Someone points out that $copy_protection has a certain $bad_thing associated with it.

    3. Users bemoan this heinous $copy_protection and associated $bad_thing.

    4. Users bash $company and suggest boycott. Other users note that boycotts never work. Flamewar ensues.

    5. Users bash $artist, say it wouldn't be worth ripping anyway.

    6. Other users take the high moral ground about the sanctity of fair use.

    7. Still other users suggest that $artist go independent. Other users defend $artist, stating that $company controls $artist.

    8. There will be a smattering of posts flaming RIAA and other evil organizations.

    9. Some users will suggest possible hardware/software workarounds.

    10. Finally, in the background, the trolls continue on, oblivious to the actual content of the story.

    There you have it, the story in a nutshell.

  • by netik ( 141046 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:24PM (#3281594) Homepage
    Sony is going quite overboard with this Album; Not only are they using copy protection, but they've also gone ahead and hired NetPD to investigate any possible location of the file on any filesharing network.

    We've recieved a number of complaints from NetPD when they've seen songs from the album pass through our networks on Gnutella. It's quite extreme the lengths they are going through for such a popular artist.

    You'd think they would put more effort into their smaller artists. They are the ones that will be hurt more from copying, not Dion. With millions of fans, she's not going to lose that much from copying; Sure, it's illegial to copy, but apply the same protection to ALL of your artists. Not just your big seller.

  • Definitely illegal (Score:5, Informative)

    by DaveWood ( 101146 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @10:39PM (#3281670) Homepage
    Remember all those frighteningly vague and overbroad "computer crime" and "anti-hacking" laws that most states have passed over the last 20 years? You know, like the one that got that college kid a felony indictment for installing SETI@Home at his university?

    This CD is illegal under almost all of them. ws.html []

    Of course, so is all "spyware," including RealPlayer/CometCursor/RealJukebox/etc., and for that matter, perhaps even Windows Media Player 8 (silent reporting) and Microsoft Word (silent GUID/CPUID tagging). Not to mention all spam/UCE. Then again, so is even portwalking or attempting to log in to a computer that's not yours... And I could go on.

    Then again, if the government is corrupt enough for Bono/DMCA/UCITA/SSSCA, it's way more than corrupt enough to conveniently forget to enforce these laws to any good end.
  • by fanatic ( 86657 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @11:03PM (#3281778)
    1. cable line-out of CD player to line-in of computer.
    2. start analog to digital software on computer (I like wavrec)
    3. play cd
    4. encode to mp3
    5. upload the fuck out of that thing
    Oh, yeah, copy protection will keep this of the Internet. Right.

    This is just cover for the real agenda: to convince people that they don't own what they just paid for, and must have the RIAA's permission to use it.

    Pay per play is the ultimate goal and this is just a step in that direction.
  • by gblues ( 90260 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @11:08PM (#3281805)
    Okay, given that a properly encoded MP3 (e.g. lame --r3mix <infile.wav> <outfile.mp3>) has been proven to be indistinguishable from the source material in double-blind tests, I have a better means of protecting CD content:
    • Encode the source material into high-quality MP3.
    • Decode the resulting MP3s back into .WAV format.
    • Use the WAV files to create the master.
    • Press copies of the master and distribute to retail.
    This way there is negligible quality loss, and even perfect CD rips will still sound like ass when re-encoded into MP3. More importantly, the CD does not lose functionality!


  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <> on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @11:09PM (#3281815) Journal
    If I have some documents open and try to play this 'CD' (not a CD! and it damn well better have a warning label ON the disc!), and said disc crashes my computer, making me lose data, is Sony liable? If they are, I see some $$$ coming my way. (and yours, and his, and hers, and ....)

    BTW. Why put copy protection on this disc? Really, honestly, how many people who actively participate in file sharing (ripping, encoding, and sharing) are going to listen to Celine Dion? I was under the impression that most P2P users were somewhere in the age bracket of 15-30, and male..I may be mistaken, but that's my understanding from following all this..

    So why then? I'm guessing that this is an attempt by the RIAA to say, "Look! Copy Protection works! There are 'x' number of copies of Celine floating around the net. Without Copy Protection there would be many more. If we compare it to the latest Nickleback album, you see that copy protection works! This is why Senator Holling's bill is genius! " This is the argument that the RIAA will take to Congress in order to get the SSSCA passed.

    Go and buy this disc. Rip it in ANY manner. Make it the MOST shared disc EVER. GIVE copies away to all who WOULD have bought it. Return it to the store. Repeat.

    Of course, this would probably end up being the argument then: "See! We NEED Hardware Copy Protection! We tried to keep them from this disc and they broke the protection!"

    The answer, then, is to not buy OR listen to music from the RIAA. Explore unsigned bands! THINK! Has your life improved because of Creed's newest album? Where would you be if you had never heard it? If the RIAA sells nothing, and has no pirate to rail against, where are they? Gone. And, you are also helping out artists who deserve your attention, and are not part of the Media Industry.

    Gaaarrrr! I'm gettin a beer.

  • by CrasHUV ( 197240 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @11:15PM (#3281837)
    Windows has been crashing my computers for years... so whats wrong with one Celine CD doing the same? At least they are telling you upfront. I have yet to find the label on Win98 that says the same.
  • by kawika ( 87069 ) on Wednesday April 03, 2002 @11:34PM (#3281903)
    The errors that the CD causes are interpreted by XP as a failure of the drive, so it permanently turns off DMA in the hopes that will make the drive usable. Here's an informative Usenet post [] about the problem. So Sony is wrong when they say the CD "...will not alter anything."
  • by TheTomcat ( 53158 ) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @12:28AM (#3282116) Homepage
    Attention Celine Dion and all musicians

    Kudos for not mistaking Céline Dion for a musician. (-:

  • by Vryl ( 31994 ) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @01:00AM (#3282253) Journal
    Does anyone else think that Sony et al are shooting themselves in the feet here?

    I mean, they are making a product that is LESS useful than what you can get on the net. So, if I want to hear artist X on my PC, I can't. I am forced to go to the net to download an 'unauthorised copy'.

    This copy has greater utility than the Sony offering. I can copy it, burn it to CD that will play on my PC, or my CD player, play with it, share it etc etc

    This is a form of madness. They are creating demand for P2P networks and filesharing with this policy.

  • Goedel, Escher, Bach (Score:4, Interesting)

    by connorbd ( 151811 ) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @01:55AM (#3282541) Homepage
    To anyone who hasn't read this, go to your nearest bookstore (or just order it from Amazon) and get a copy of Goedel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. There is a whole chapter on the subject of albums called "I Cannot Be Played On Record Player X". Rather funny in its frustrating repetitiveness.

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @01:55AM (#3282542) Homepage Journal
    I just saw Céline and her manger/husband on TV [] speak of this (lucky me, I was zapping around on tv and just stumbled on a rerun of her press conference).

    It was mostly René Angelil doing the talking (the manager/husband), and he was...not clear.

    What he said is that the CDs sold in europe can break your computer (to wich Céline said "Ouch, that's gonna cost 'em"), its only sold that way in europe, for now, but might come to america soon. Then he said there are two sides to this story, the first part is that music makes you feel a lot of emotions are is very important in people's lives and not everyone can afford CDs because they are a bit expensive, especially for teenagers. The second part is that authors and singers and producers need to get paid, and the big companies meet every year and they are working on technology for music that can be downloaded that will get paid for, but the technology isn't ready. So in europe they are much more agressive, but this technology might come to america soon.

    So, he's not being clear at all...and this is loosely translated from french, but that's pretty much what they said about it.

    So, to summerise: These copy-protected CDs might break their fan's computer, and they feel this is harsh. They wished that people could listen to their emotionally-charged songs for free, but they want to get paid.

    So...if people actually PAY for the CDs, its ok to break their expensive computers?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 04, 2002 @05:40AM (#3283115)
    On: ections_key2audio.shtml []

    Is this quote:

    A digital-2-digital (digital CD output to digital CD-Recorder/MD input) generates an "Copy Prohibit" or "Cannot Copy" error message!

    I have a HiFi system which delivers digital data to the ampiflier, which has a DSP processor (all modern A/V receivers are like this). This way I avoid introducing the noise/distorsions through audio cables between CD player and ampifiler, and also let the ampifiler process the digital signal better than CD player would do.

    I use all normal HiFi components, and just use the digital connection between them through optical cable between my CD player and my ampiflier.

    In short, the disk with stated protection wouldn't play on my HiFi system. Note: I don't use any computer.

    And that is not stated on the sticker. Fantastic reason to buy, open and return the opened disk to the store.

    At the end, Sony'd have to put on the sticker something like:

    "this disk won't play on Mac, PC and on digital HiFi systems"

    CD disk which you can't play on digital HiFi systems -- only on analog ones -- it's really a good buy. ;>

    Even if somebody at the moment doesn't have the system which I explained (and a lot of people can upgrade the present systems to it by just buying once optical cable), why would anybody buy a CD which wouldn't work once he improves his HiFi system?

  • Sad times.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benmhall ( 9092 ) on Thursday April 04, 2002 @07:24AM (#3283375) Homepage Journal
    My girlfriend and I own approximately 400 CDs between the two of us. We have ripped them all, and we only ever listen to our MP3 collection. Subscribing to the excellent EMusic [] service has also greatly expanded our collection.

    I listen occasionally listen to real audio CDs on the following devices:

    • One of our PCs (all running Linux..)
    • My Rio Volt
    • Our Apex DVD player
    This means that pretty soon I won't be able to listen to audio CDs on my own players even if I want to.

    I have never used Napster (or similar services) as I think it's morally wrong and illegal. However, if I can't go out, buy an audio CD, rip it and listen to it then I consider myself forced into using one of these means to acquire the music I want.

    I have absolutely no qualms with paying $20 for a CD. I always get my money out of it, provided the disc doesn't suck. Frankly, at the rate we buy CDs I don't even mind occasionally paying for a dud. I will, however, refuse to buy something I can't use.

    End of story.

    As has been reported ad nauseum, this does absolutely nothing to curb illegal copying of these songs. All it does is anger good customers. If I, a paying, legal customer, am going to be treated like a criminal, I may as well act the part.

    So, here's my ultimatum to the recording industry: Stop this ridiculous behaviour or I will cease to be a customer. As soon as I buy a CD that I actually want (sorry Celine) and can no longer rip and listen to in MP3 form I will cease buying CDs at all and will start making use of one of these napster/kazaa/limewire type services. I don't want to do this. I still think it's illegal, I still think it's wrong, but I think that punishing all customers for the sake of a few, who will pirate anyway, is worse, not to mention a dangerous precedent. I won't stand for it.

    If the record industry won't play fair neither will I. I know I'm only one person, I realize that the recording industry probably doesn't care about me, but I buy about 30 CDs a year. That's $600 they lose from me. Pretty insignificant in the big scheme, but it's all I can do. I will continue to listen to the music I want in the form I want.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"