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Napster proof CDs?
March 28, 2001 12:00 AM   Subscribe

Napster proof CDs? (Salon link, so shoot me) A new scheme for copy-protected CDs that uses errors and false data to confuse your CD-ROM drive. (more inside)
posted by smeat (22 comments total)

 
Problem: many people "legitimately" listen to CDs on their computers' CD drive. And then there's the whole "fair use" thing...

The industry responds that fair use of music does not include the right to make entire backup CDs, and that consumers will still be able to make cassette copies

Cassette copies, woo-hoo. I rip all my CDs, because my computer contains the only CD player I own, and it's a colossal pain in the ass to have to constantly switch CDs around. Much easier to cue 5 or 6 albums in winamp. Is this "fair use"? I think so.

Give me convenience, or give me death!
posted by smeat at 12:06 AM on March 28, 2001


Well, I suppose it's something, at least, that they admit right up front this is pretty much futile. Too bad they don't seem to admit how much of a backlash this is going to get them when those people whose CD players choke on the discs start calling in.
posted by Su at 12:15 AM on March 28, 2001


So this method seems to involve no encryption. The music data is stored somewhere unencrypted. Therefore, it seems quite simple for a program to read the data and extract the bits that are for music. This only seems to thwart current CD-ripping and playing programs. So why is it a problem?
posted by gyc at 12:22 AM on March 28, 2001


The next step will be cds that wont play on ANY machine. That'll really stop those pirates.
posted by Doug at 12:24 AM on March 28, 2001


hmmm, how can we as artists create CD's that will sell less due to incompatibility, get less exposure to keep us the struggling band we are, and pretty much much make our record company spend money on something that will be an angle for our CD since we suck?

I KNOW!!!!
posted by westside at 12:36 AM on March 28, 2001


The industry would be the RIAA, who are vile bastards, and who have always said it's a privledge to backup your media. How sweet.

It's to do with a hardware TOC (when you put in a CD - the few seconds it takes is reading the TOC) that most CD-ROMs can bypass and just read a straight image. I'm not sure which ones can - but about about three out of five that I have tried can do this.
posted by holloway at 12:42 AM on March 28, 2001


Not that the other two couldn't - I haven't tried those.
posted by holloway at 12:54 AM on March 28, 2001


I've already come across a dozen or so audio CDs the DVD-ROM in my G4 at the office can't read. They get spit right back out when I insert them. That's why I also keep a cheap DVD player on the desk...
posted by kindall at 1:09 AM on March 28, 2001


They get spit right back out when I insert them

Actually, earlier this evening, my CD-ROM semi choked on my brand new Pixies "Complete B Sides" CD (highly recommended, btw, even if you already have all the singles). The Windows "CD Player" app choked on it hard. It would try to play a song, fail, and skip to the next one, fail, and so on. However, MusicMatch had no problem ripping it. Go figure.
posted by smeat at 1:43 AM on March 28, 2001


(I'm quite shoddy in completing my argument, lately...)

AND IF YOU CAN get the raw image you can get the music easily. There.
posted by holloway at 2:30 AM on March 28, 2001


There can never be true copy protection for any music. There is a very simply reason for this, for some reason the music industry has yet to grasp. It defies all laws of physics.

By using a utilitiy to capture audio before it hits your sound card, you can make a digital wav duplication of the file, then convert it to MP3. Its really, really, really (and note sarcasm here) hard.

Perhaps if the music industry would supply us with digital copies of the music in an easy to download, inexpensive format, without the problems, perhaps more people would be legitimate. But they would rather sit around doing nothing. The only people these kinds of copy protections hurt are the consumers, who probably aren't copying the stuff anyways. Music pirates will figure a way around it.

They are looking for a problem that doesn't exist and a solution that can't be found. So instead of working against consumers, work with them.

And even the music industry can't defy the laws of physics.
posted by benjh at 5:03 AM on March 28, 2001


If you can essentially listen to the music flawlessly, then you can copy it. I think this is meant to target those that have serious deep-seated fears about switching from digital to analog back to digital ;-)
posted by samsara at 5:43 AM on March 28, 2001


smeat: the windows cd player has a history of failing to properly read enhanced cd's, at least my version does (old skool win95). Just yesterday I tried to play Joe Jackson's Heaven and Hell (picked it up used, it's great btw) and got nothing. Had to plug in my stereo and use a real cd player...
posted by Rockames at 6:07 AM on March 28, 2001


DownSlam does not copy protect any of the CD's sold. In fact, if your media fails, DownSlam will replace the disc and music for free, if under warranty. If out of warranty, DownSlam will replace a damaged disc for the price of the media only, not the music. You already paid for that.
posted by StormBear at 7:13 AM on March 28, 2001


Steven De Beste said it elsewhere, and I'll say it here: I want legislation that outlaws efforts by media sellers/manufacturers to impinge fair use...
posted by silusGROK at 8:48 AM on March 28, 2001


A lot of posters on Slashdot have a good point about this. Putting this sort of extra information in the CD apparently breaks the RedBook CD-Audio standard. What this means is that, unless the CD is clearly labelled as having this copy protection, they're lying to you if they market it as a normal audio CD.

If this gets popular enough, I might just take the suggestion that's floating around there of buying a CD, and returning it as defective when I can't play it in my computer (which, as far as the store is concerned, is my only CD player). They replace it, I return the replacement when that doesn't work. And so on until they have no more copies and are sick of me returning them.

Like many other people both here and on Slashdot, I hate hate hate changing CDs. All of my games (Quake 3, Descent 3, Alice, Star Wars: Ep 1 Racer) have a no-CD crack on them because I don't want to be bothered. I rip all of the good tracks on my CDs to MP3s so I don't have to switch albumbs constantly (and because I have a data CD I like to keep in my drive). And now that I have a CD burner, I enjoy making mix CDs to listen to in the car (which falls under "Fair Use"). They can try to take that away from me, sure. I won't stand for it, though.

There's one last idea that I'm contemplating more seriously than the others. Buy a copy of this CD the day it's released, and work all day until I've got a ripped copy. Then mail it to someone at the RIAA, postmarked with the date of release.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:59 AM on March 28, 2001


valuable property that has no physical presence: that's the problem the riaa has. because they're not about music, they're about everything that comes between the music and you: packaging, distribution, CDs. the mp3 sucks for the riaa because it isn't a physical object: it can be duplicated perfectly, shuttled about over the net, etc with very little effort.

so: "I've talked to a lot of people in the record industry, and they all are of the opinion that in the long run, the CD and the CD player, as they stand now, are basically a lost cause."

they want to reintroduce physical limitations to their product, so that one song can only be one song, which of course eliminates piracy. so i guess now they want to be in the business of selling cd players. one-song disposable players, which can't be copied, only bought or sold. this is frightening, because it's a step backward.
posted by zerolucid at 10:46 AM on March 28, 2001


It seems to me that (as CrayDrygu) suggested, taking back CDs that won't work is the quickest way to make sure that this practice does not spread. Returns are very expensive for the industry, and any non-fractional return rate is going to get everyone's attention.

In fact, what about posting a list of things that we can buy just so that we can return them?
posted by jeffbarr at 12:10 PM on March 28, 2001


I'm all for this. The more money the recording industry wastes on stupid schemes to annoy their customers, the more rapidly the process of amputating their own feet will proceed.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:16 PM on March 28, 2001


Seems to me that what might happen is that the quality of mp3s might go down a tad as people will probably just start ripping from and audio stream rather than from a data source. After that initial rip, though, all the copies of it will be the same, and since mp3 is not perfect quality anyway, how much will you notice? I can have my regular cd player hooked up through my soundcard in minuets. Tah Dah.
posted by Hackworth at 1:16 PM on March 28, 2001


or you can build a device that pretends to be a usb speaker but internally turns the data into mp3's w/o having to convert the bits into analog...
posted by gyc at 4:06 PM on March 28, 2001


I haven't bought a cd for a long time, the RIAA is not doing a good job in encouraging me to go out and buy one now.
posted by Zool at 4:28 PM on March 28, 2001


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