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CD creator Phillips blasts labels over protected discs


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Phillips is not happy about major labels adding errors to CD's so they can't be ripped on computers. from http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20020117/en/music-piracy_1.html Thursday January 17 5:34 PM ET FEATURE-CD creator Philips blasts labels over protected discs By Adam Pasick NEW YORK (Reuters) - As major record labels roll out a new breed of compact disc designed to prevent Napster (news - web sites)-style piracy, Dutch consumer electronics maker Philips , the co-creator of the CD, is refusing to play along. The new discs now making their way into record stores in the United States and Europe contain countermeasures that prevent playback on computers and, in some unintended cases, normal CD players as well. ``What we've seen so far is troublesome and cumbersome,'' said Gerry Wirtz, general manager of the Philips copyright office that governs the compact disc trademark. ``We worry (the labels) don't know what they're doing.'' The five major record labels -- Bertelsmann AG's BMG, Vivendi Universal , Sony , EMI Group and AOL Time Warner's Warner Music -- hope that by preventing the use of audio CDs in computers, users will be unable to ``rip'' or copy the music into the easily traded MP3 music format. In the wake of Napster, the popular music-trading service that allowed consumers to rip and trade MP3s with a minimum of effort, the music industry was forced to investigate ways to limit rampant CD copying. The controversial new anti-copying technology introduces minute errors to the CDs, or changes the location of data on the discs to prevent them from being played back on computers. In theory, most consumer CD players can correct the errors and decipher the structure, unlike the more finicky computer CD drives. None of the companies have publicly committed to a full-scale introduction of the discs, yet ``it sounds like the record labels are still very much behind the idea and are in the process of rolling out an unannounced number'' of discs, said Jupiter analyst Aram Sinnreich. WHEN A CD IS NOT A CD Philips, because of conformity issues, has warned the record labels that the discs are actually not compact discs at all, and must bear warning labels to inform consumers. ``We've made sure they would put a very clear warning that you're not buying a compact disc, but something different,'' Wirtz told Reuters. ``We've been warning some labels to begin with, and they've adjusted their behavior.'' That means labels would also be barred from using the familiar ``compact disc'' logo that has been stamped on every CD since Philips and Sony jointly developed the technology in 1978. The five major labels declined to comment. POST-NAPSTER CDs The attempts to graft protective measures onto the 20-year-old CD technology have had mixed results. Because there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of different CD players on the market, it's likely that some will be unable to read the new discs. ``It's extremely difficult to retrofit the system with copy protection without losing the ability for all CDs to play on all players,'' Wirtz said. In one of the first protected CD releases from BMG, Natalie Imbruglia's ``White Lillies'' prompted numerous returns in the United Kingdom. Universal's ``More Fast and the Furious'' disc release in the United States featured a label warning that the CD would not play on a small number of CD players. Even when the protection technology works as intended, Wirtz said that normal wear and tear could eventually overwhelm the error correction for the altered discs, causing them to become unreadable within a few years. ``We fear some of these so-called copy-protected CDs will play at first, but will eventually show problems and break down,'' he said. DMCA DANGER? Aside from its ownership of the compact disc trademark, Philips is a major manufacturer of CD burners, and Wirtz said future Philips machines will likely be able to both read and burn the protected CDs -- a proposition that may land the company in the crosshairs of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. The far-reaching DMCA, enacted in 1998, bans any attempt to circumvent copyright protections. Critics complain that the law puts too much power in the hands of media publishers, denying consumers the right to use products bought for personal consumption in whatever ways they see fit. Philips contends that the protected discs do not fall under the DMCA, since they restrict the playback of music, not copying itself. ``It is not a copy-protection system, it is not doing anything to recorders or copy devices,'' Wirtz said. ``It would not qualify as copy-protection under the DMCA, or the new European laws.'' However, the broadly worded DMCA bars the circumvention of any method used to protect the property of a copyright holder, and experts on the law said Philips may be treading on dangerous legal ground. ``The record companies would contend that the protection is encryption within the meaning of the DMCA, because it is designed to protect copyrighted material, and originates with the owner of the copyright,'' intellectual property attorney Leonard Rubin of Gordon & Glickson said. Attempts to circumvent encryption are explicitly barred by the DMCA. ``The way that statute has been interpreted, it's illegal to bypass those types of digital access controls,'' said Robin Gross of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a public advocacy group which opposes the law. ``All you have to do is attempt to put some kind of technological protection system that controls access to the work -- it doesn't matter how effective it is.'' Reuters/Variety REUTERS
- Calfee Jones
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I believe any of you who've read my opinions on Napster, etc., know I'm in favor of copyright protections for songwriters. I DO NOT support this ridiculous technology. All I know is, if I buy a pre-recorded CD and it won't play on ONE of my players or computer, I'm returning it immediately, and they damn well better accept it, opened packaging and all. And if I sound angry, imagine how I and other consumers will sound when we waste our time purchasing a deliberately defective product. The first time will be the last, for any label that disrespects this consumer that way. I fully expect any CD I buy from a record label to play on ANY CD player I want to use. Even if the player belongs to someone else. With the exception of home burned CD's, the industry proved they could make any pro disc work in any CD player 15 years ago. Can you imagine dropping a CD into your car player, after using it for weeks or months at home, and no sound coming out? I'm sure it will be a nasty scene, played out by consumers all over the country. For that matter, what right do they have to sabotage computer users whose only CD player is in their computer? I know plenty of travelling professionals who use laptops for ANYTHING they can. The prospect of carrying a separate CD player isn't an option for them, anymore. With all the new security at airports, [i]anything[/i] you can leave behind is a plus. This may seem silly or unimportant, but I think not. To the morons at the Major Labels that believe this is a good idea.. you're proving everyone I disagreed with on Napster right. You'd rather sabotage a [i]legitimate[/i] consumer purchase, in an attempt to copyprotect, than take care of those consumers. :mad: The sad fact is, this will HURT retailers. How? They'll have to accept opened returns (which most stores currently do not, as policy) which will allow the dishonest among us to copy unprotected discs, then claim the CD doesn't work because of the copy protect! They'll copy AND return the merchandise, and the retailers will take most of the hits in lost sales and extra customer service man-hours. What a joke! Especially when anyone with an average sound card will STILL be able to copy CD's from the analog inputs with little or no difference in quality. Sure it'll take longer, but it will still run rampant, IMO. One other thought. I'm not a lawyer, but even with the "broad" langauge of the Digital law mentioned, I'd find it difficult to believe a court would uphold the circumvention by Phillips of this "encryption" to be illegal. Why? How can the Labels claim a CD-ROM is not a CD player, when millions of us use them in this way every day? To circumvent the "encryption" by Phillips would only be done to allow users of Phillips CD-ROM players to USE THE PRODUCT IN IT'S INTENDED MANNER! DUH! You can't be circumventing encryption if you're attempting to use a CD to [i]listen[/i] to the music on it, so how can the manufacturer be held responsible for allowing you to do that? That doesn't even take into account the fact that Phillips (or any CD-ROM manufacturer) has a right to improve their product. Error correction is NOT an encryption, even if the Labels say it is. If relaxing the standards for error rate when an audio CD is in the drive makes it work properly, then so be it. They aren't circumventing an encryption, just correcting errors, whether placed accidentally or on purpose doensn't matter. It's error correction. Don't stand too close to this fiasco.. it's going to blow up in the Labels' faces. [ 01-18-2002: Message edited by: fantasticsound ]

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Correct me if I'm wrong on the following- A kid plays one of these new cd's in the cd player in his/her good ol' home stereo. Plays fine. Kid then hooks two audio cables to the audio line outs of his little receiver (oh, oky everything's going to go analog for a few minutes) and plays the cd out of his receiver and into his sound blaster and records the cd over there at the computer....and then the kid burns a new cd on the cd burner at the computer...and later uploads the whole thing to his favorite peer to peer group of buddies...and it all pretty much sounds the same quality as the original cd....and actually probably worse because most of the kids are going to "crummy it up" anyway by making it into mp3. And all the songs from the original cd still end up all over the Internet. And this new copy protection won't/can't do a thing to stop the above scenerio. So, what's the point of even doing it?
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The hacker-cracker types love a new challenge, they thrive on this stuff; Generally, the first guy to decode these security measures gets alot of esteem within the guild(s). It's bizarre, the folks I've met that do this have no real evil intent, its like a 'game of wits' to them.
In two days, it won't matter.
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[quote]Originally posted by fantasticsound: [b] And if I sound angry, imagine how I and other consumers will sound when we waste our time purchasing a deliberately defective product. [ 01-18-2002: Message edited by: fantasticsound ][/b][/quote] That is exactly what they are trying to sell! A deliberately defective product! That is NOT copy-protection! Hippie is also right. I give it 2 months before you can find a million different programs to download that will decode these cd's. The major record labels are just wiggling in quicksand.

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oh how i do love being right ;) its going to come to a head and the labels WILL lose this battle. btw, i LOVE playing my CD's on my computer now that i DL'd winamp... it goes out and gets the track info and all for you so now i know songs by name instead of by number.

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Since my 2nd PC's audio card doesn't have a cd rom input(M-Audio Audiophile),I have a .dll I put in windows that lets me read all audio CD's as .wav files,so I don't think that my listening pleasure will be affected,nor does my musical taste lean towards anything any major label put's out(at all).But what they're doing is plain silly and ultimately self destructive to a small degree,because the majority of their buying public aren't discriminating audiophiles or musicians like most of us here,in other words most non discriminating types won't give shit unfortunatley,and the pirates will easily find a way anyway.It's weird,something as screwed up as this should really have me concerned,but Iv'e distanced myself so far from the music industry in the last 10 years that they might as well be in China and I just can't seem to care what they do anymore.When DVD-A takes over soon it would be interesting to see what they have in mind for that though.
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Here's an idea, if they really want to get the whole illegal d/l thing under control they should forget about any security measures and lobby the govt. to just slap an excise tax on all types of blank digital media, CDR's, CDRW's, DVD's, harddrives, -the whole nine. Then the govt. should do a study of 10,000 people with internet connections to decide who gets whatever percent of the collected money. Matt
In two days, it won't matter.
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This is Bullshit..Pure and simple...I Will NEVER buy a CD of music put out on an error prone CD...........I will get it off the Web if I need it or find a way to correct the errors via some type of software that some 15 year old will come up with and burn a CD for myself, then return the shitty CD to the store i bought it from..Then, i will find the artist or their rep and send them the Cash..Period, plan and simple...Am I a theif or am I just being forced into a corner by unscrupulous record idiots? You decide, but i'm a serious songwriter myself and have a 400+ CD collection that I bought..I buy a few a month and will continue to do it until the record companies make it impossible to do respectful business with them anymore...Am I alone or will others follow suit?

Sean Michael Mormelo

www.seanmmormelo.com

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I am happy for two reasons: [list=1] [*]99% of my music purchases are not released through the Big Five, or their sublabels. [i]Go indie![/i] [*]A test of a copy-protected CD played OK on my CD player with digital out, which transfered (digitally) into my Mac audio hardware just fine. [/list]
Go tell someone you love that you love them.
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[quote]Originally posted by Hippie: [b]Here's an idea, if they really want to get the whole illegal d/l thing under control they should forget about any security measures and lobby the govt. to just slap an excise tax on all types of blank digital media, CDR's, CDRW's, DVD's, harddrives, -the whole nine. Then the govt. should do a study of 10,000 people with internet connections to decide who gets whatever percent of the collected money. Matt[/b][/quote] There's a possibility they may already tax blank media. I know for a fact that they already tax burners, decks, VCR's, DATs, etc., so I wouldn't doubt it for a second...
meh
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