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DRM Follies

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When good CD copy-protection goes bad – oh wait, there is no such thing as good CD copy-protection:

    EMI’s copy-protection technology has resulted in a Melbourne resident doing exactly what the company is trying to prevent – copy a music disc in order to listen to it.

    Stephen Marovitch, creative director of the Simon Richards Group which is based in Port Melbourne, picked up the latest Norah Jones album on April 25, and took it to work.

    Once there, he tried to listen to his new acquisition, using his Titanium laptop which runs version 10.2 of Apple’s operating system. There was no response, with the disc not being recognised.

    One can’t blame Marovitch for not trying – he tried to listen to the disc on a workstation which runs Windows 2000 and then on one which runs Windows XP.

    In both cases, he got no joy. The disc was not picked up by the system.

    His response was to send an email dripping with sarcasm to EMI.

    “Just a courtesy email to inform you, that as a result of problems experienced playing the Norah Jones CD containing your Copy Control measures on Apple OS10.2 Titanium Laptop, Windows 2000 workstation and Windows XP workstation, I have now been forced to copy your CD just to listen to it,” he wrote.

    “In all circumstances the CD drives could not recognise, load or play the disc. Maybe you should consider displaying a warning on the covers of all of your CDs i.e. Warning: This CD may not work!”

    “Please congratulate the genius that concocted this anti-pirating strategy.” [The Age]

Causing delight the world over and on its way here – stop the CD music protection madness before the Boston Tea Party is reenacted with CDs. Australia seems to be particularly cursed with this menace.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.AntlerVision.com R. Moose

    He should check the CD case and see if it has a “CD Compact Disc Digital Audio” logo on it. If it does, then it cannot have anti-piracy code and still be a legitimate “CD”.

    I now check all of my CD purchases and wish Amazon and other online retailers would post if the CD does or does not.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks R. Moose, important information.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    If I get some nonsense like this, I’ma copy the CD or download the album off the net- then take the goddam worthless CD and get my money back.

  • http://www.ubersportingpundit.com/hotbuttereddeath/ James Russell

    I went into a record shop for the first time in quite a while yesterday. I was astonished to see how many new albums are marked with the copy-protection symbol, including the reissue of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust film soundtrack. You know, the same David Bowie who said last year he couldn’t see the point of copy-protection. Bastard.

  • Eric Olsen

    This is one issue – unlike say, the FCC media ownership regulations – where public outcry really can make a difference. We can keep this insidious shit out of this country at least. Let your voice be heard – boycott copy-protected CDs, and tell the world how much you hate it.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom

    James: I have the Ziggy soundtrack and it plays fine on my PC. Are you in the US? If not, maybe that’s why.

    I thought these copy-protection schemes were illegal in the US? We *do* have the right to copy our purchases onto other media for safe keeping.

    Eric: a boycott won’t work – the industry already assumes people aren’t going to buy. What we need to do is the opposite of a boycott (girlcott?) – we need to buy, buy, buy every copy-protected album we can get our hands on. Then promptly take them back and demand our money back. If the record companies see a few hundred thousand of a popular disc coming back, they’ll get the message loud and clear.

  • Eric Olsen

    Tom, that’s any excellent point, we need something active, not passive, as ultimately a boycott is. James is in Australia.