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EMI Considers Abandoning DRM on CDs 166

jOmill writes "EMI Netherlands has announced that it is considering no longer using DRM on CDs, because it isn't worth the cost. According to Reuters the company is still reviewing the decision. From the article: 'Critics have argued that the system has not worked as consumers could be driven to illegal sites to download music to the popular iPod instead. A spokeswoman for EMI said it had not manufactured any new disks with DRM, which restricts consumers from making copies of songs and films they have purchased legally, for the last few months.'"
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EMI Considers Abandoning DRM on CDs

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  • by DaveCar ( 189300 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:03PM (#17523204)

    I haven't found any CDs that wouldn't happily rip with cdparanoia on Linux. Ergo DRM CDs are pointeless as it only takes on smartarse with a free OS to flood the P2P channels with decent quality rips.

    A colleague had a couple of CDs, one being by the Beatles, which appeared to have a second data session containing compressed versions and some Windows/Mac driver type stuff on it. It wouldn't rip in his Mac, he claimed - I don't know if this was some rootkit type setup. No problem extracting the CDDA which I gave him on a data CD, and also gave him regular CD versions sans the annoying second session.

    Screw you, The Man! Thanks for making it *more desirable* to have a *non-original copy* of a CD because it works *better than the original*. Where's the fricking added value in that?

    Disclaimer: I work for a record label/studio/distributor - we're not all evil.

  • Re:Great Day (Score:5, Informative)

    by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:04PM (#17523216) Homepage
    Yes I did. 5 months ago. 3 CDs from Virgin records via Amazon.

    The wife wanted to listed to them on the MP3 player in her car and her Mac at work. None could play them. Even the "proper" Sony CD player had problems with 2 out of 3.

    I ended up researching the matter and buying a DVD rewriter model with a known firmware bug (or feature depends how you look at it) which can rip through most current DRM with flying colours. So the "could not rip" lasted for 3 days in total. After that it was ripped and encoded in the suitable formats for usage on the devices used for listening in the house.

    Frankly, Virgin and Macromedia can take their DRM and shovel it where sun does not shine and rotate it at 48x CD speed until they the torque pushes their heads out of their arse. What really pissed me off was the fact that I have purchased it legally, 2 out of 3 had a "CD digital audio" on them and they were unuseable on all devices in the house.

    From the point of view of the average consumer this is perceived as "shitty and unuseable product" so I am not surprised EMI is considering abandoning the practice. It is costing them lost sales and handling returns from pissed of customers who after that go to "illegal" networks or AllOfMP3.

  • Re:Good... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:07PM (#17523256)
    How do you really know what their concern is? I bet it's not the single "perfect" copy. It's being able to copy copies forever perfectly. And, DRM only affects the initial copy, after that, it's non-DRM'd, and copies can be made from copies perfectly.

    Since the core issue with audio is to provide as good an audio source as possible, DRM'd or not. With the high quality of audio recording equipment available, even an initial analog recording of a DRM'd work will be very very good, arguably so good that only the most discerning audiophile will be able to tell a difference.

    The major loss to audio is from lossy codecs, like MP3, which will be much greater than any losses encountered by performing an analog recording of the original digital source and digitizing it.
  • EMI Artist list (Score:4, Informative)

    by jimstapleton ( 999106 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:10PM (#17523292) Journal
    List by sub label. Taken from []

    *NOTE: The site is flash so I can't copy and paste, these are hand copied, sorry for misspellings* ::EMI::
    Auf Der Maur
    Badly Drawn Boy
    Beth Orton
    Corinne Bailey Ray
    David Gilmore
    Faith Evans
    Hot Chip
    Iron Maiden
    John Cale
    Kate Bush
    Keren Ann
    Pink Floyd
    Radio 4
    Robbie Williams
    Shawn Emanuel
    Sigur Ros
    The Aliens
    The Concrete
    Vincent Van and the Villans ::Heavenly Records::
    Ed Hardcourt
    The Little Ones
    The Magic Numbers
    The Vines ::DFA Records::
    Black Dice
    Delia Gonzalz & Gavin Russom
    The Juan Maclean ::Positiva:: ::Positiva::
    Deep Dish
    Ferry Corsten
    Paul Van Dyk
    Soul Avengerz
    Soul Seekers
    The Shapeshifters ::Positiva:: ::Additive::

  • Re:Great Day (Score:3, Informative)

    by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@y a h o o . com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @12:18PM (#17523384)
    Has anybody actually bought a CD that they could not rip?

    I've never seen one that I couldn't easily rip songs from....

    I think some people are missing the point of your question, which is that CD-based DRM is trivially easy to defeat. So the only people it hurts are those who just want to play the CD and can't, because it doesn't conform to spec.

    I personally only own a couple DRM-laden CD's (I didn't know before I bought them, but I probably would have bought them anyway). Neither gave me any problem whatsoever ripping with EAC; they ripped just like every other CD. Just as an experiment, though, I did put one of them in my computer and let it autoplay (I know about the rootkit stuff; this was different DRM), and it first tried to install some proprietary player and then it told me I was in the wrong region and couldn't play the disc at all (this was a Japanese CD). I tried to rip it in iTunes and got an error message in Japanese.

    So it just depends on what tools you're using. Based on that experience, though, I would probably not even risk playing any CD on my computer anymore; I just rip immediately with EAC.

    btw, the CD in question above is PUFFY's "59" - they've released a full-length CD since then that has no DRM at all, on the same record label (ki/oon / Sony). So obviously, EMI in the Netherlands is not the only company getting the message.
  • by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @01:06PM (#17524066)
    as pointed out before the Red Book specification describes audio CD's.

    but data DVD has sectors and format information in the data on top of the red book specification.

    and the Orange Book specification give details of multisession formats.

    most of the "copy protection" systems used worked by wrapping the session information to impossible combinations that were impossible to read. or degrading the galois based CRC information that was used to recover bad data. neither of these methods were fatal to a Red Book player that only played audio disks as it ignored all other formats happily.

    but these days most CD players can play MP3's also, and hence are data players not audio players - this means they are exactly the systems that the copy protection was designed to disrupt.

    so the CD manufacturers found themselves in a situation where the new hifi's being built were being disrupted by they copy protection and hence unable to play any of the CDs. its a question of the physiscal data path built into the decoder IC on most MP3/Audio CD players.

    in short, I'm not suprised they stopped including it - I'm just suprised they waited so long.

  • Re:Good... (Score:3, Informative)

    by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @12:27AM (#17534830) Homepage Journal
    In some locations, you can demand your cash back. For example, in the UK, consumer protection law states that if the product is unsuitable for the purpose for which it was sold, you can get a refund. No store credit. In this case, if you're sold something under the pretense that it's a CD, and it turns out it won't play in some CD players because it doesn't meet the CD specifications, I think it would be an open and shut case in small claims court.

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