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DataPlay - Flash Killer or Copy-Control Nightmare?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the the-next-salvo-across-our-bow dept.

Technology 298

theancient1 asks: "Coming soon to MP3 players, PDAs, and digital cameras: DataPlay: a $10 coin-sized disc that holds 500 MB of data. The catch? The discs have content control implemented as part of the file system. If a file has the 'protected' bit set, you'll need a key to access it. Keys can expire after a given interval, and although you can transfer files to your friends, they'll need their own key. This proprietary, SDMI-ready device is the RIAA's dream -- if all music were distributed this way, services like Napster wouldn't exist." And the war over digitally control content escalates. Will this system be cracked as easily as SDMI, or might this be something to worry about?

"On CNNfn, the CMO says it's great for record companies that want to re-sell their old music in a new format. In their press FAQ, they essentially claim to have invented the CD-R. (Patents pending.) All new hardware technologies seem to come with content control strings attatched. Is CD-R the last truly open storage medium? Is DataPlay the next big thing, or something to avoid?"

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But... (3)

Prophet of Doom (250947) | more than 13 years ago | (#414646)

if all music were distributed this way, services like Napster wouldn't exist.

I'm not sure that Napster-like p to p wouldn't exist. Regardless of the sotrage medium, at some point the sound of the music has to be released into the air so my ears can hear it. At that point I can grab it with some cheap microphone and convert it to an unencrypted .wav or something. Quality would not be as good as a direct rip but the vast majority of folks either don't notice the subtle differences or really don't care.

Oh great... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#414647)

Just another way to screw with users...

This reminds me of another Bill Gates [] -ism.

The law of supply and demand still applies (1)

TheOutlawTorn (192318) | more than 13 years ago | (#414648)

If the general public choose and buy open storage technologies, even at a price premium over equivalent content control alternatives, the control technologies will go away, just like Betamax.

Now if I can just motivate 100 million sheeple to boycott Dataplay...

RIAA says: (1)

ASCIIMan (47627) | more than 13 years ago | (#414649)

All your bytes are belong to us.

Ha ha ha ha....

Have I missed the point? (1)

Ananova (255600) | more than 13 years ago | (#414650)

I'm sorry but I'm not sure I understand. The headline is 'copy-control nightmare', but I don't see how it's a nightmare.

It appears that if someone has protected something, you can't play it.

So? This is like saying that 'New stronger lock for front door is a thief's nightmare'.

Sure it's a nightmare to the thief, but we don't really care about them do we - they are the ones that are in the wrong - they are the ones trying to steal something belonging to someone else. We wouldn't describe that as a nightmare, except by qualifying it - it's only a nightmare for the bad guy.

So it is in this case - people are given a chance to protect their property (the music they own and have written), and I can't see that that's a nightmare.

Why, in these cases, is it always portrayed that everyone has the right to someone else's music? We wouldn't say that I have the right to go into your house and steal your possessions, so why encourage stealing music?

Before anyone says, 'ah but with music, they still have it - you haven't taken anything', let me point this out: for artists and musicians, royalties are vitally important. Most artists (of whatever kind) earn far less than the average wage, so by denying them their royalties, you are effectively stealing the money out of their hand.

Please, have a little consideration here. Imagine it was you.

What if people had the chance to take your salary away, and as a result you were poor and destitute? Can you picture that? I do hope so. There is never an innocent victim in these cases.

You're never hurting the fat cat - it's the little guy that gets the blame. Not the high-earning Backstreet Boys, but the minority band earning $10,000 a year that gets shafted.

It's not the company director that gets fired when revenues are lost because of 'free' music, it's the worker in the factory - it's someone like you. It's just an ordinary decent guy who's getting screwed. Now just remember that the next time you talk about free music.

Sigh... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 13 years ago | (#414651)

Okay, I'm not a massive fan of the expiring keys idea, but why is everyone so strongly against this? Are you all worried that suddenly you may have to pay for something you use?

I've heard, and agree with, the argument against recording companies. Okay, so can anyone tell me why this media means that artists can't offer music downloads from their site, as well as allowing people to buy keys?

Personally, I like this idea. It means I can go out, download music & key, and play it instantly. It's portable, and doesn't interfere with existing systems in the way that implementing copy control in harddrives does.

This Will Never Work (2)

Jesus IS the Devil (317662) | more than 13 years ago | (#414652)

This will never work, just like all the other stuff like Divx. Why? Because mp3's already exist for a small file format and cdr's are as cheap as dirt these days. It's not like DVD where it actually brought something new to the table (tens of gigs of storage, which cdr's still can't match). This dataplay thing is just the same old same old, recycled and re-deployed.

Besides, there ain't no way for software to be 100% un-crackable, period. Haven't we all learned that by now? Absolutely no way. This thing will waste away just like divx did.

Did you just fart? Or do you always smell like that?

This protection does not bode well... (1)

the_Brainz (308534) | more than 13 years ago | (#414653)

Can you imagine what would happen if hardrive manufacturers could implement this protection? Goodbye mp3s...does our salvation maybe lie in ogg?

End of Napster (1)

OzJimbob (129746) | more than 13 years ago | (#414654)

if all music were distributed this way, services like Napster wouldn't exist.

I don't see how you worked THIS out - why wouldn't napster exist? I wouldn't buy a copyprotected system if it's not going to let me do what i want with my music, i'd keep on using napster and use an alternative storage technology.

Re:RIAA says: (1)

davidmb (213267) | more than 13 years ago | (#414655)

Surely that should be:

All your byte are belong to us?

Duh, somebody out there really doesn't get it!!!!! (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 13 years ago | (#414656)

Maybe I'm stupid, but this device needs to be read. The data that comes out can be recorded in whatever form you want, ignoring the content protection.

Why am I exasperated? Well we have seen the same claims again and again. Unless we have a series of tamperproof blackboxes with a fully encrypted I/O (perhaps even with a time code to prevent replay of the encrypted stream) between the storage media and the D/A converter, the content can be copied digitally by anyone with access to the media.

In may stop my son from exchanging stuff with his friends but it will do absolutely nothing to prevent mass piracy.

Re:The law of supply and demand still applies (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#414657)

And if they don't, they really deserve to learn why. I for one bought a CD-player instead of a DVD-player for my new PC, even though I was subsidized 80%. It may take a while longer, but people will start putting their feet down.

- Steeltoe

Re:But... (1)

Pogue Mahone (265053) | more than 13 years ago | (#414658)

Quality would not be as good as a direct rip but the vast majority of folks either don't notice the subtle differences or really don't care.

Quite. If you can't tell the difference between a 128kbps MP3 and a direct rip, then you won't spot a single digital-analogue-digital round trip either. 'speshly if it's done using good gear.

Forget the mike, though. :-O

Re:Hello Gentlemen (1)

davidmb (213267) | more than 13 years ago | (#414659)

What you say?

Here's what would be a great expansion for control (2)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 13 years ago | (#414660)

Allow each song to be copied once. A song could be downloaded and copied onto a mp3 player. The song on the player cannot be copied. The song on the hard drive cannot be copied until the player is reconnected to any computer that can connect to the hard drive, through a network or even wireless through cell phones.

This is the wireless interconnected fair digital music control that could appease the RIAA and consumers alike.

What would mess up this beautiful equation is if RIAA doesn't allow that one copy. That's taking it too far. If they do that I can't share a song with my friend or keep a copy on my laptop and desktop.

SDMI again huh? (5)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 13 years ago | (#414661)

Alright, lets get it right this time [] . Nobody crack the filesystem until it is released to the genral public. ;-)

_ _ _
I was working on a flat tax proposal and I accidentally proved there's no god.

Bull-Shit (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#414662)

All Copyprotection CAN be circumvented ALL the time, its simply a MATTER of time.

Doomed to fail... (2)

Mike Connell (81274) | more than 13 years ago | (#414663)

Their web site [] .

I can't believe they actually have a picture of that man both holding his thumb up *and* pointing at you whilst holding up the crappy product. I just imagine the cartoon version:

SuperAdvertMan: Prepare to die "dataplay", all purchasers worship me for my advertising powers...
Dataplay: Aha! But we have (flourish) ... (fanfare) THIS! Meet thy nemisis - HideousGeekParodyMan!
SuperAdvertMan: (bursts out laughing) But nobody will buy products associated with *that*
Dataplay: oops...
HideousGeekParodyMan: (grinning inanely) buy this kids! It's got like different coloured stuff on it!

I hate the it all already...


Re:Have I missed the point? (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#414664)

Yers, I believe you are
You're never hurting the fat cat - it's the little guy that gets the blame.
So your solution is to buy into the fat cat's system, to go along with the Big Five, and let them flout the principles of copyright law? To buy music that you can only play on one device, that you can't lend, that you can't tape to play in your car, and that will stop working before it comes in danger of not being copyrighted any more? We are talking about nothing less than the death of the public domain - not that it isn't already nailed up in the coffin and gagged, that is.

It is illegal, you know... (1)

avalys (221114) | more than 13 years ago | (#414665)

I use napster myself, very often in fact, and when all this copy protection stuff started happening was the first time I realized that, for most purposes, napster is illegal. The RIAA is nuts to be worried about it, but don't they have a right to go after people who are stealing their music? Personally, I don't buy CD's anymore because I can find everything I want on napster. The music industry lost about $120 there, and I'm just one person who doesn't like music all that much anyway. Napster was nice while it lasted, but now that it seems like its gone we'll have to start acquiring music legally again.

I think the real thing we have to be worried about is copy protection on hard drives - what is the status of that, anyway?

Re:Sigh... (5)

Tim C (15259) | more than 13 years ago | (#414666)

I think the problem (at least IMHO) is the expiring keys. (I have no problem with people profiting (fairly) from their work, or with them taking reasonable steps to protect their ability to do so.)

Right now, if I buy a CD, I own it forever, or at least until the disc is rendered unplayable for some reason. If I'm careful and/or I make backups, it should outlast me.

Not so with an expiring key. Suddenly, under this scheme, if I buy a song/album, I can only use it for a limited amount of time. At the end of that period, I either pay up again, or I don't get to listen to it anymore.

That's changing the rules - we'd no longer be buying the music (or even access to a copy of the music on a given physical medium), we'd be hiring it. Personally, when I buy something, I like the fact that it's mine "forever".

You can be pretty sure that, in the long run, this will cost us (the music buying public) more.



Piracy (2)

BELG (4429) | more than 13 years ago | (#414667)

Why is it that the industry (be it music, movie or software) simply does not understand that trying to gain this form of control over what they own only makes people more inclined to copy it?

I buy my CDs, DVDs and software. I also have all my CDs encoded as mp3's while the discs themselves are stuffed in a shelf (and rarely used, I might add). I like paying for my CDs because I want the artists to keep making music that I like. It's very natural to me.

So would it be a problem for me if they started trying to prevent me from encoding the songs to mp3's and do whatever I damn please with them? It would piss me off. It's my right to decide if I want to listen to the song I just bought in my RIO when I'm out walking or on the stereo with the mp3-jukebox in the livingroom.

Re:This Will Never Work (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 13 years ago | (#414668)

I'm less than convinced. Looking over the site, I strongly suspect that the media will be a lot easier to deal with than CD-R. CD-R, unless you have a BURN drive, has underrun problems for example. It's also significantly bigger, physically, and few portable devices support them.

Will the average user really buy a CD-R drive, and mix their own albums on CD-R, or will they go for this smaller, simpler solution?

Re:This Will Never Work (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#414669)

Actually if only content that has the "secure" bit set is protected, then I guess we will all save our MP3 with the bit NOT set.

End of the problem.

Re:RIAA says: (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 13 years ago | (#414670)

Yes, dammit. Why the hell can't people get it right and realize that the object must be *singular* for it to work?

Copy protection (2)

Lonesmurf (88531) | more than 13 years ago | (#414671)

Mini discs have been around for years and they are a very cool technology. Controlled by sony, they have not flourished as much as they could have although they are a better tech than CDs (read/write 80 minutes stereo, 160 (!) minutes mono) and they have copy protection for digital to digital copies.

I don't really see anything (besides size, but hey, my MD walkman [] is barely 1 decimeter square by 1.5 cm thick. Tiny!) that is really new and exciting here.

The fact is that the more free and open the media/standard is, the more prelavant it will become. It also helps bunches to have pro quality masters of the media I want (music or data) on these formats.


Re:Have I missed the point? (3)

Carik (205890) | more than 13 years ago | (#414672)

In a lot of ways I agree with this; I, for one, don't use Napster. I want my favourite artists to keep releasing new music, so I buy their albums, in hopes they'll be able to make money. However, there's something wrong with a system where the record company owns all rights to an artists music, and he/she/it gets only a penny or two from each 10 discs sold.

That said, the reason I don't want copy protection is this: I want to listen to my music at work, without having to cary 80 CDs back and forth. If I compress my CD collection into MP3, it takes, what, about 10 discs? Much easier to carry on the bus, don't you think? If I'm not allowed to copy it, I don't have a choice... and if it's not convenient (If, for instance, I need to enter some sort of key, be it password or an actual physical key) to listen to my music, I'm not likely to buy anything new. After all, why spend US$17 on something I can't listen to?

So, regardless of this being "the new thing", I'm not buying it. And, really, if no one buys, it can't be made a standard. After all, they're not gonna keep making something that no-one will pay for.

Re:Piracy (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 13 years ago | (#414673)

Except that can't happen, unless they just turn their back on every existng CD player. As far as I'm aware, anyway. They would need to either stop releasing stuff that can be read by a CD player at all, or find some method to ensure the data cannot be read into a computer (and then just copying analogue output is easy).

To me, this seems like a first step, not the end. It will mean that artists, or at least record companies, will have a method to distribute music which for a while at least they will feel comfortable with, and I think that's a great idea! But it can't suddenly stop MP3s, or anything else.

Re:The law of supply and demand still applies (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#414674)

Well you can easily change the country code on a computer DVD player. Something you can't do with a home unit. So buying a "data" DVD drive isn't really that bad. Well at least not as bad as buying a normal DVD player that's just for movies.

Re:Doomed to fail... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 13 years ago | (#414675)

The fact that you dislike of their advertising methods does not mean they are doomed to fail!

It won't matter; let it come. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#414676)

If there's a market for it, let it come.

It will be cracked, we will use the media for our own purposes, even storing music previously under copy protection. We will have ways of re-recording things without content control, and no content control system will keep us from moving the data into another medium.

Re:This Will Never Work (2)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 13 years ago | (#414677)

Here's what this technology can offer if implemented fairly:

1. Music can be compressed with a new format that improves sound quality per bitrate. Who wouldn't like to carry around four hours of music instead of two or three?

2. The consumer's knowledge that if the songs are bought directly from a band's website, actual money has gone to the artist, and not neccessarily just the labels as it will be under the Napster payment system.

3. If RIAA can pull this off, they will get newer mp3 players to only support protected files, either through intimidation or changing the laws. I'm not in favor of this action, but I also think that with the Senate's help there will be a genuine effort to reform copyright laws that will help consumers while protecting business. If the music contains watermarks, it might be possible to limit free, unrestricted copying to a small percentage of society with the neccessary skills and attitude.

Re:Have I missed the point? - ummm yes (5)

pompomtom (90200) | more than 13 years ago | (#414678)

To some extent, yes you have.

Speaking as a non-earning musician.... I think it would be nice if music were a tad less commercialised. Under the current marketing regime, yes you are dead right. Fewer record/CD/micro-optical-gizmo sales will effect the little guy. The point of the issue here is that we have entered the age where scarcity (of the IP) has just about been eliminated. The system of distribution we have for music is based upon a false premise.

The loss to the little guy is the result of a crap distribution system. Good music has the ability to make listeners' lives better. By introducing hardware controls on the distribution simply to line the wallets of particular entrenched interest makes fuck all sense.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if the good music could propogate amongst friends and/or communities?

NB I'm not personally proposing a replacement system here. Let it evolve like the last one. I imagine there are a bunch of well paid musicians out there who wouldn't be too happy about this, but then there are a stack more not-well paid musicians who produce music because they want to produce music and be heard. Now that we have the ability to do that, why wouldn't we?

When some smart techy comes up with the trick to reproducing rice as easily as we can now reproduce bits, would you be calling that theft from agribusiness, and stressing out? Some people would think of it as an end to hunger.

Read a bit of Andre Gorz, and realise that what may be the beginning of the end of scarcity is a GOOD THING.

The issue here is the failure of capitalism in its current form to deal with this form of distribution.

Yes, there are problems with this, but we should be looking at this as an opportunity, not a reason to be clinging to irrelevant paradigms.

Something is wrong here, but it's not the 'celestial jukebox' concept, it's our inability to deal with it. Of course we should look after our artists, but that is not going to happen by tying the hands of the music lover and denying them the ability to appreciate the artists' work.



Let's keep in mind. (4)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#414679)

The problem we all have with these copy-control systems isn't the systems themselves. The average consumer doesn't *care*. They're glad to have the cool new tech.

The problem is the DMCA that makes it illegal for us to purchase gear and then modify it to avoid a copy control system, or to share information about how to do that.

sigh (4)

jilles (20976) | more than 13 years ago | (#414680)

I have no use for a device with content control. In a market with competition a variant of such a device without the content control will soon emerge or the invention will simply vaporize (like most storage related inventions seem to do). I read slashdot regularly and anouncements of the next generation storage devices (holographic storage, new and improved optical storage, better harddrive) are about as frequent as discussions on Gnu license issues. So, my guess is that this will fail (provided it ever evolves into a product which I doubt). BTW. 500 Mb isn't even close to the actual size of my mp3 collection, I need something larger.

establish a reasonable sound quality standard (1)

sawilson (317999) | more than 13 years ago | (#414681)

I don't see why they just don't agree on a sound quality standard that is copyrightable(is this a word?). Lets say that anything below 112 is considered a 'sample quality' recording. I know I'd purchase a cd or 'cd quality file' eventually for the higher sound quality. In the meantime I'd listen to my slightly scratchy version. I think most people would like to be legal in their music listening but are sick of the bullshit tyranny.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 13 years ago | (#414682)

I can see uses for this, to allow people to "try out" music for a day, before they spend the money on buying it permanently. I agree with you though, it would be very very bad if we had to rent our music. As an option, fine, but I don't want to be forced into it.

Re:RIAA says: (1)

davidmb (213267) | more than 13 years ago | (#414683)

I think we should be modded up for our insightful comments. Where the hell are those moderators?

Everything that is stored digitally... (1)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 13 years ago | (#414684)

gets off the medium digitally. Unencoded. See where I'm going? The only way around this would be some kind of fancy analog cryptography. Yeah, right. Quality loss deluxe, I'd say.

Let it come. Then let's crack it, rev-engineer it and send both results back to the RIAA.

My letter to Byte (5)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#414685)

My response to [] 's article [] :

In your January 22 article about the DataPlay storage device, the author writes: "How long this claim, and its copyright-protection features, survive contact with the anti-intellectual-property-rights types remains to be seen". I believe this is misunderstanding the philosophy behind the opposition to SDMI. The big media corporations have consistently and repeatedly abused the rights of both the artists and their consumers, both by lobbying for new laws such as the DMCA and the "Sony Bono" Copyright Extension Act, and by twisting existing copyright law and ignoring international copyright treaties with such abuses as region coding of DVDs (which has been carried over to DVD Audio, making a mockery of their reasons for using it on DVD movies). Fair Use and the first sale principle are being eroded or bypassed entirely, with the introduction of the "You're buying a licence, not a copy" model, which, if effective, will remove the need for the recording companies to respect the consumer side of copyright law.

Re:Oh great... (2)

pompomtom (90200) | more than 13 years ago | (#414686)

To be honest, I'd be surprised if someone as control-freak as that would be so well hung!



Re:Hello Gentlemen (1)

davidmb (213267) | more than 13 years ago | (#414687)

Did you follow the link? All is explained.

Re:This Will Never Work - Minidisk (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#414688)

You make an important point. It doesn't matter if it can be cracked or not. The reason why it won't work is because it doesn't offer much to the consumer. If smaller size and being able mix and match songs is considered so important by Mr Joe Consumer then we would all be using Minidisks.

We already have MP3. We already have CD-R. It sounds great for music publishers, but why would I as a consumer spend money on DataPlay?


Re:Here's what would be a great expansion for cont (3)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#414689)

Why just one copy?

The original serial copy management system that by-law must be implemented on digital home audio recording devices , and is in use on CD (and in them mp3 format, but nobody uses it) that never really gets used (I'm sure some DAT drives use it) has 2 bits.
1 bit for 'copyright' and another bit for 'original'.

If the copyright bit is set, and the original bit is also set, the copy software is supposed to allow a copy, but turn off the original bit.

If the copyright bit is set, but the original bit is off, then the device/software is supposed to refuse to copy.

If the copyright bit is unset, then you can make all the copies you want.

See, what they were scared of with digital copies was that, a copy is as good as the original. This scheme was to prevent serial copying going on forever... it meant that sure, you yourself with the original could hand out hundreds of copies even, but those who you handed them to couldn't....

Of course, scms specifically exempted computers...

Re:Bull-Shit (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 13 years ago | (#414690)

But in the long run, can copy-protection circumvention be made easy enough for more than 2% of the potentially music buying public? If not, then the copy-protection is essentially successful.

Does it matter if it can be cracked? (2) (142825) | more than 13 years ago | (#414691)

With he DMCA, there is no fair use that allows one to break the copy protection.

Even if there was, the DMCA prevents you from distributing the code that allows you to make your own copy.

It does not matter if you are making a copy for a legal purpose!

The RIAA will swoop down and litigate and threaten anyone who talks about breaking the copyprotection. That way, they keep everybody in line with the threat of a lawsuit.

$10 Coin? (3)

xmedh02 (100813) | more than 13 years ago | (#414692)

Well I haven't been watching the recent inflation figures in the USA, but do they have already $10 coins? And how big is that, then?

Re:establish a reasonable sound quality standard (1)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 13 years ago | (#414693)

  • "I think most people would like to be legal in their music listening but are sick of the bullshit tyranny"
Amen, brother! But let me tell you one thing: I'm also tired of buying CD's for DM 40 (EUR 20) with one good song on it. As long as the Quality/Filler ratio stays like this, you can bet I'll stay with mp3's. What the record companies are doing is pure theft. I also like legal, high quality music, but I haven't seen too much of that during the last year. In that period, I bought about 3 CD's and I wish it would only have been two.

To the record industry: If you'd take screwing your customers literally, we'd all walk around with 6ft. [censored]... uhm... rectums!

Ahh yes.....That would be divx right? (1)

Vermifax (3687) | more than 13 years ago | (#414694)

We all know how well that worked before.


Re:This Will Never Work (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 13 years ago | (#414695)

2. The consumer's knowledge that if the songs are bought directly from a band's website, actual money has gone to the artist, and not neccessarily just the labels as it will be under the Napster payment system.

Isn't it a standard clause in record company contracts these days to sign over use of the artist's name in any web address -- definitely the .com version anyway? Then they can just fake it as a "straight from the band" site with copy written by marketing drones...

How can this be troll?? (1)

shd99004 (317968) | more than 13 years ago | (#414696)

You are of course right, so I wonder how this is a Troll? Can anyone tell me why this is considered troll? Is it because his opinions are not the same as yours?

I agree with what you say, and I can not understand why protecting ones copyright could ever be wrong. Does everyone have the right to everyone elses music? If I want something, I usually have to pay for it. Why? Because that is how it works. You can't GET everything for free. That's not even a utopia. A utopia is supposed to be something good, right?

Or is it gonna cost $10? (1)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 13 years ago | (#414697)

That's the question.

Re:Piracy (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 13 years ago | (#414698)

You're very correct that the RIAA can't stop mp3 now, but the trick will be to have all future CDs with watermarking that turns out to be very difficult to crack while maintaining acceptable quality. Then if the RIAA can get detection software into all the popular media players they can stop most of the music buying public from easily copying and sharing the music with thousands through an underground napster. This will hold the RIAA over until a successor such as DVD-audio takes hold. I don't expect the RIAA to give up on DVD-A either. I figure Sony at least will continue to take losses on these players for decades if neccessary until there is consumer acceptance so RIAA can stop copying.

Re:Sigh... (1)

pompomtom (90200) | more than 13 years ago | (#414699)

Are you all worried that suddenly you may have to pay for something you use?

No, we just think that perhaps there's a better answer than preserving fukt old paradigms in an era where we should be looking for answers that make sense in a post-scarcity environment.

Yes, that's heavy, but isn't it lucky we can test a few new paradigms on something as frivoulous as pop music?



Re:sigh (1)

Howie (4244) | more than 13 years ago | (#414700)

BTW. 500 Mb isn't even close to the actual size of my mp3 collection, I need something larger.

They're removable and cost ten bucks - buy two.

Home DVD player region code (2)

hub (78021) | more than 13 years ago | (#414701)

I'm sorry to say that, but home DVD player unit can be zone free.

Samsung have most of its units zone-free by using a code on the remote controller; and usual models by other manufacturer like Toshiba, Pioneer, Sony, etc can be made zone free. I bought my Toshiba zone free just to be able to enjoy unreleased in France movies.

Re:This Will Never Work (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 13 years ago | (#414702)

Even if you're right, the more important idea is that with the napster payment plan, the labels get the money. Napster will keep track of the file names traded around, potentially, but the labels will not be obligated to give money to the artists by download. If a song is bought from the website I would hope the contract is a little more fair.

Re:Copy protection (4)

greggman (102198) | more than 13 years ago | (#414703)

Just FYI but MDs now hold 5 hours and 20 minutes of music on the SAME $2 MDs. Internal Battery life is up to around 25 hours. Add an single external AA battery and get upto 100 hours.

They are called MDLP and are available from all the major manufactures (Sony, Sharp, Panasonic, JVC). No idea when they will be available in the states.

There a review here [] and some other info here []

These MDLPs are currently arguably better than any portable MP3 player currently out. I know at some point MP3s will pass them but as it is now I can carry basically 50 to 60 CD of music for $20 ($2 per blank MD, 10 MDs). In the portable MP3 world that would cost me, assuming $50 per 64 meg memory card and I can put what, 2 CD in that space?, that would be 25 cards or $1250.

On top of which I don't think there's a single portable MP3 player with a battery life over 10 hours. I'm sure that will change. It seems strange to me that a music device with no moving parts (MP3 player) would use more energy than a device with moving parts (MD player)

Copy Protection Is Good For Privacy (1)

vodoolady (234335) | more than 13 years ago | (#414704)

Copy protection is a little abstract when it applies to music or software, but what about when it's your medical record? You want the hospital ER to access your record when you show up with a broken arm, but you don't want them to store the record or send copies to other places. So in a lot of ways, your concerns with private information match the RIAA's concerns with copyrighted material.

Right now big corporations own databases of our private information, and the only way to put control back into our hands is copy protection.

What scares me is the media companies trying to make peer-to-peer networking illegal, trying to make peering into their secret decoder ring illegal. Hey guys, you can be safe without being so litigous!

Re:How can this be troll?? (1)

pompomtom (90200) | more than 13 years ago | (#414705)

FWIW I disagree with your point, but I agree that the original point should not be marked as troll...



Re:This protection does not bode well... (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 13 years ago | (#414706)

Not likely .. how does a hard drive understand every type of file system? It might be possible with FAT32, but still unlikely. And if they put copy protection into Windows (like they're already doing with media player), it's just one more reason for people to switch to Linux!


Re:But... (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 13 years ago | (#414707)

If it can be read out, it can be written to another medium.

It may however, be made to talk only to the right hardware, so the hacking problems are greater, but this is exactly what we had with CDs and it wasn't that long before CDRs arrived.

It's just a competition. Ho hum.

Another lost generation (2)

metoc (224422) | more than 13 years ago | (#414708)

You realize this is the same bunch that cost the radio industry the ears of my younger brother's generation.

I suspect my daughters, who will be buying music of their own in 5 years, will probably get most of their music by swapping it at school and over the internet. And it won't be from members of the RIAA, but from some garage band with a PC/Apple based editing studio.

RIAA's real fear shouldn't be Napster & P2P, but that my grandchildren will read about them in the history books, and that the Harvard Business Journal will have articles about how it all went so wrong.

Not true.. (3)

xtal (49134) | more than 13 years ago | (#414709)

gets off the medium digitally. Unencoded. See where I'm going? The only way around this would be some kind of fancy analog cryptography. Yeah, right. Quality loss deluxe, I'd say.

This isn't really true.. right now it is, but I'm sure a fancy designer could put the decode circuitry and a DAC in the same package to have encypted digital in and unencrypted analog out. What all these groups miss is that if I have a high quality sound card and some good mastering software, I can take their noise-free analog signal and resample it, then encode that - given that the mp3 codecs are lossy, I don't think my untrained ears would hear much of a difference.

Whadda I know anyway :)

About ripping music (4)

VelitesJ (318184) | more than 13 years ago | (#414710)

Quite a few audio cards have digital out - you could simply record it into a harddisk recorder, and then record it back to your computer without losing a single bit of audio quality. Almost the same goes for MiniDisc recorders, allthough here the sound is compressed / decompressed. In other words: your initial stand was correct (if you can hear it, you can rip it), but it doesn't have to include a quality loss.

Re:Here's what would be a great expansion for cont (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 13 years ago | (#414711)

I think one copy is fair for the large majority of users. Ideally the purpose of the copy would be for the owners convenience or to allow someone else to enjoy a song. In the case of a married couple, the husband and wife could each listen to the song on their digital car stereos, but if they wanted to listen while at work they'd have to transfer the song with a portable player or removable media from the stereo.

It might also be possible to keep copies of the song on many players, but only when the (hopefully lifetime) license is transferred will the hardware play the song.

Two copies would essentially allow two users to always use the song simultaneously, in which case two user licences would have been bought. The RIAA will never go for this.

LOL - like that matters (1)

GameGuy (203355) | more than 13 years ago | (#414712)

Most crackers couldn't care less whether it's legal or not - it will still be done. You have to KNOW who did the crack to sue 8)

This only works if you support it.. (1)

GameGuy (203355) | more than 13 years ago | (#414713)

So RESIST the urge to EVER buy anything with content control. It will then proceed to go away (ala DIVX - but way too many people still bought into that stupid idea)

Re:About ripping music (4)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | more than 13 years ago | (#414714)

I think there are also programs that can 'fake' a sound card in your system. The content control player outputs audio to what it thinks is a normal sound card, but it actually gets dumped straight to a file. Neat trick, that.


Why always to "protect" music but never privacy? (1)

ishark (245915) | more than 13 years ago | (#414715)

Why all these new wonderful technologies with embedded-ultra-secure (ok, maybe) copy control systems are NEVER proposed to store personal/sensitive data? I don't give a damn about RIAA's music, I don't even WANT to copy it.

What I'd like would be to have my personal/medical/private/whatever data on devices which do NOT allow copy without my consent. If you want to do marketing stats, you ask me for the key and pay the privilege. If you "happen" to have a copy of my medical records, I want to be sure that I authorized you to do it. Why it's always "their" data which gets protected and never "mine"?
(hmmm... since privacy online is the current political trend maybe I should point this out to some politician?)

Amazing Free Offers (TM) (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#414716)

If you follow the content control [] link and then the ContentKey(TM) [] link, you're presented with series of suggested scenarios " which a <foo> offers a ContentKeyTM promotion to attract customers and to gain more information about them."

In other words, children, we have yet another customer tracking tool.

Keys are useless (1)

maverick8080 (249886) | more than 13 years ago | (#414717)

This will never work. Having this kind of protection on such a freely distributed media such as music, will only cause the h4ck3r community to work around it, or, consumers will not buy it at all. There is always the chance of forgetting keys, or other issues like that, that consumers will not want to be bothered with. After all, it's just music, not top secret US government files. I don't think the music industry is ever going to with this battle with the current strategy they are using.


Re:Have I missed the point? (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 13 years ago | (#414718)

My point is that copyright is a bargain, a bit of give and take on both sides, and they are just taking. The law prohibits me from freely copying and distributing the material, but also guarantees me certain freedoms in what I can do with the material. The recording companies are claiming the protection of copyright law, while denying the fair use of the mateiral. It's wrong, and I'm not going to just ignore it.

Re:Does it matter if it can be cracked? (1)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | more than 13 years ago | (#414719)

The RIAA will swoop down and litigate and threaten anyone who talks about breaking the copyprotection

Well, we can all see what a bang-up job the DMCA has done on, oh, say, keeping DeCSS code out of the public eye.

This is not to say they won't try, but if there's a software based crack, they'll certainly fail.


Re:Oh great... (5)

Technician (215283) | more than 13 years ago | (#414720)

Just another way to screw with users...

Actualy, I think users will soon find that only Napster type files are tradable. Files will be traded and downloaded into SDMI RIO type devices and becomming SDMI encoded for playback because the players will be cheap. However the original MP3 will be kept on the HD and CDR. Lets face it, how many Liquid Audio protected files do you have? I don't even have a capible player for it, so the files are useless to me. The industry will have a hard sell selling Pay for Play content as it can't be played on your in dash MP3 player or on your RIO. The only way the RIAA can get this to market is to subsidize the SDMI players like the Radio Shack Cue Cat thing was given away and payed for by Digital Convergence. That way the SDMI stuff will be lots cheaper than the other stuff. (Where can you get a 500 Meg compact flash card for less than 100.00?) 500 Meg for less than a dollar is proof it's got bucks poured into pushing it from somewhere. Try to buy an unencripted one for your camera and it will have Compact Flash prices on it! It it really could be made this cheaply, it would be put into compact flash and PCMCIA memory cards. MS is working to import MP3's and place a "Security wrapper" on them so they later can't be copied off and played elsewhere. That way you will have to buy the music from MS in a MS Media Player format as blessed by the RIAA. It will only play in HI FI if you have USB Speakers and all hardware handles the encrypted music. It'll be encrypted all the way out your speaker wires to the speakers. (it's an easy sell. Everyone will have a player with their new computer pre loaded with the latest MS Pay Per View TV Box software. You don't have to download a Liquid Audio or Real player. I won't buy that OS even for free! They know it'll sell. They tested it on DVD's.

Free sharing is *good* for the little guy! (1)

Carl Drougge (222479) | more than 13 years ago | (#414721)

But napster (etc) is good for the unknown little guy. Very few people buy albums by artists they have never heard of, but you may well download such stuff (I know I do). Then, if it turns out to be good, you might go buy an album by them. (Or not of course, but it still ends up with more albums sold.) Provided they have albums of course. But if they don't, their popularity when free might convince someone to sign them..

Re:Or is it gonna cost $10? (2)

Dyolf Knip (165446) | more than 13 years ago | (#414722)

The RIAA will lobby the US Treasury to start stamping $10 coins, and you'll have to pay for the new discs with only the new coins. To try to use paper money, checks, or even credit cards will qualify as an attempt to reverse-engineer their proprietary and highly researched 'you-give-us-money-and-we-loan-you-music trading scheme' (US Patent #5,560,893).

I would explain further, but their lawyers and the police (in that order) are already knocking down my door...


Stop Press (1)

body_parts (318354) | more than 13 years ago | (#414723)

It is reported today that three of the Big five recording companies have signed a deal worth $100 million a year for the next five years with a consortium of leading bathtub and shower manufacturers.
A spokesman for the recording industry said.
'It has come to our attention that people are reproducing our artists copyright works using these facilities. It cannot be right that they are reproduced in a way that is seriously degraded by the sound of splashing water. It is only right that our artists either get a fair cut in the profits of this reproduction technology. From now on a recording industry approved lable will be positioned between the taps to show the user that they are entitled to sing in the tub.

Richard Stallman is giving up all physical contact with water.

Napster? (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 13 years ago | (#414724)

if all music were distributed this way, services like Napster wouldn't exist.

All music isn't distributed that way, and Napsters pretty close to not existing anyhow...

Re:Doomed to fail... (2)

Mike Connell (81274) | more than 13 years ago | (#414725)

> The fact that you dislike of their advertising methods does not mean they are doomed to fail!

Indeed, it is the fact that their advertising is cr4p that dooms them to failure. The fact that *I* don't like it only reduces their potential sales by 1.

Of course, they have far larger problems than "Mr Cheezy" on the web page...


Wow a copy bit DvD's Encrypt the whole thing. (1)

Thorne-LNX (314465) | more than 13 years ago | (#414726)

Sounds similar to dvd technology. So whats the point They encrypt it I take my Valid Key Play it back as it plays I Digitaly Record it to MP3 (Sounds like the orginal way poeple ripped DvD's) then wow look piracy is back. Give it time somone will crack the encryption have his own direct converter out . Wait sounds like decss there. Man the music industry is smart I fear there skillz


Re:Free sharing is *good* for the little guy! (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 13 years ago | (#414727)

Exactly. I mean, I've never listened to Moby before. But using Napster, I dl'ed South Side, and now I'm probably going to go out and buy the album "Play". Mind you, I went ahead and dl'ed the Gwen Stefani remix as well, because I understand that's not on the album and I wanted it too...

Only thing holding me up at this point is finding a store that still sells tapes... for some reason, I prefer them to CDs, even with the added ease of switching tracks on CDs....


Re:This Will Never Work (1)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 13 years ago | (#414728)

If a file has the 'protected' bit set, you'll need a key to access it.

It should be a simple matter to run a file through a piece of software that will set and/or remove the 'protected' bit set.

Sighting in the Matrix. (1)

Voxol (32200) | more than 13 years ago | (#414729)

DVD chapter 3 8min-3sec.

scene far-future:

Neo removes the hacked DataPlay's with unprotcted mp3s stored on them replacing with the wad of ultra-devalued dollars, paying for the stash.

Bloke: 'Halleluljah, You're my saviour man, My own personal Jesus Christ'

Neo: 'You get caught using that.....the RIAA will have you in chains.'

Bloke: 'I know, this never happened. You don't exist.'

No the REALLY look like DataPlays, check it out.

Re:Does it matter if it can be cracked? (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 13 years ago | (#414730)

The DMCA has totally no effect outside the US's borders, so this is a null issue.

Re:The law of supply and demand still applies (1)

ColdGrits (204506) | more than 13 years ago | (#414731)

"Something you can't do at home"?


That probably explains why my Pioneer DVD at home plays DVDs from any and all regions quite happily without me even having to change regions on it.

In fact, come to think of it, both my normal DVD player and the DVD drive in my PC are both 100% region-free...


what if you just dot set the copy protection (1)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 13 years ago | (#414732)

I think chances are this thing will let you just copy mp3s(wavs or whatever) to just like mp3 players so the thing is what if you just dont set the copy protection bit, if the thing is truly a cd-r no ones going to buy it if they have to use thier software that will only let you d/l from a perticular site in some unknown format. If thier just a replacemnt for music cds (i.e. purchase in stores) whats the point of cdr. im sure its one of thoes things like windows media ware you can have copy protected/unprotected in the same format and the player realy doesnt care ware it came from. what im saying is chances are you'll be able to copy all your curent mp3s that are not copy protected to it and it will work just as well as any that you download that are protected, I could be compleatly wrong and the thing will only work with its format, if so its doomed for failure

Re:Duh, somebody out there really doesn't get it!! (1)

yabHuj (10782) | more than 13 years ago | (#414733)

Even if they had a tamperproof stream from first medium to speaker: nothing is easier than setting even the stereo boxes into a closed cabinet along with a decent microphone.

(Un)Fortunately our brain still has (copyable) analogue input and especially no bit scrambling - so all and each system share this kind of weakness.

You maybe remember the videotaped movie theater movies (StarWars E1, Martix, whatever)? Even with (oldfashioned) media control (movie reels) copy protection and pay-per-view (in the theaters) it was not a problem to get fairly decent quality.

Re:This Will Never Work (1)

F_Prefect (69773) | more than 13 years ago | (#414734)

I would hope the contract is a little more fair.

Do you really think that the record lables would want to give more money to the artist? I think that they would be thinking that it would be anti-capilitist.

Re:Copy protection minus quality (1)

citmanual (2002) | more than 13 years ago | (#414735)

Too bad the quality is crap. I was checking one of those things out. I had 50+ cd's stolen while on vacation in South Africa (by the mofo tour bus driver, nonetheless).

Ever since, I have been trying to come up with a decent removable media for hauling my music around the earth. I know a couple people with MD's and the quality is MP3-style and hence not good enough for me. Although, maybe the newer players are better, cause these are a couple year old sony's.

Until then, I am eyeballing a DAT player. Crap part is how inconvenient it is compared to CD/MD for ease of copying and track zipping through. But, 6 hrs on a cassette and it sounds great.

Re:Copy protection (1)

Ashen (6917) | more than 13 years ago | (#414736)

Can you copy music to them digitally (faster than 1:1) or do you still have to record music to them using an audio cable and a line out?

Home security systems violate my free speech right (2)

tenzig_112 (213387) | more than 13 years ago | (#414737)

Information should be free.

If people would just stop locking their doors at night, their valuables would be free as well- and I could get back to what I do best.

Cat burglaring just hasn't been the same since that deadbolt lock salesman came to town. How can they do this? Is this even Constitutional?

Join me in my struggle. stand up for your fundamental right to pilfer! []

Content control has one major hurdle... (1)

Ecyrd (51952) | more than 13 years ago | (#414738)

I think the major problem with the record companies enforcing content control over us all is simply money. Think about it: in order for an content control system to become effective, you MUST phase out CDs, thus killing MP3rippers at source. However, doing this instantly would cost a huge amount of money, and in the best case, it will take years.

Now, if you have a choice between using your normal, average computer (which you already have), with your CD player (which you already have), with new CDs coming out constantly (which they will be doing) to get your MP3s, and buying new, expensive, proprietary technology (disk may be cheap, but that does not mean that players will be), that will take away all your fair use rights, which one do you go for?

What's stopping you from simply taking your existing equipment, putting the MP3s on that new 1Gig IBM Microdrive player you got, and whistling on?

In order to sell something like this, the record companies would have to sell the music really cheap so that the consumer would want to buy them instead of the CD. I suspect you can't do it really cheap, because a) the artists still want their cut and if they get less than from CD sales, they will be unhappy; b) The record company still wants to make money; c) Somebody is going to want money from licenses for the new, proprietary technology.

And you would still have privacy from people who are technically savvy enough. Taking the analog output from really good equipment and recoding it back to MP3s is entirely possible, and probably most people just wouldn't care about the loss of quality. Come on, people buy bootlegs =).

It is possible that the record companies stand to lose some serious money if they insist on pursuing on this trail. The cat's out of the bag...

(Question: Isn't it the major reason why new bands sign on with big companies that that way they get access to their major publicity machine? Well, you've got the internet now... Why don't bands ... band together and establish their own distribution channels over the web? Without the record company taking most of the money they could sell their stuff cheaper on the internet... Maybe the content control systems will be the downfall of RIAA and major recording corporations, since they allow the small-time companies compete on a more even playground? Who knows...)

Re:The law of supply and demand still applies (1)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 13 years ago | (#414739)

First off, don't misquote me. I didn't say "Something you can't do at home". I said "Something you can't do on a home unit" And I was speaking in general terms. There are a few home units that can do region free or be modified to do region free. But most DVD drives for computer (I think all of them actually) can be made region free with just some software. My Apex DVD player can be made region free, but not without an eeprom swap.

The MPAA is also trying to make it impossible to get a region free home DVD player, while the computer DVD drives seem to be left alone, at least for now.

Re:Duh, somebody out there really doesn't get it!! (1)

aethera (248722) | more than 13 years ago | (#414740)

Ultimately, even if they managed to completely protect the digital copy of the music, with copy protected file formats, hard drive, sound cards, amplifiers, everything in such a way that each level of that protection was totally unbreakable (yeah right), at some point in time, two little copper wires have to connect to a diaphragm in a speaker somwhere. In analog copying the greatest, no, the easiset, no, but it can be done so as to lose almost no sound quality. Honsestly, the average Joe can barely tell the differenced between cassette and cd, or even well-cleaned vinyl, and then only if the two forms are played side by side.

Re:Copy Protection Is Good For Privacy (1)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 13 years ago | (#414741)

...your concerns with private information match the RIAA's concerns with copyrighted material.

Except for the fact the the music/video is MEANT to be distributed. My private information was NEVER meant to be distributed.

Re:sigh (2)

jilles (20976) | more than 13 years ago | (#414742)

I don't want to play disc jockey, that's the whole point of large storage devices. I currently store 650 Mb on a 1$ device (a cdrom). I don't see how my situation is improved significantly by this new invention.

Limited potential as promotional item. (1)

wheelgun (178700) | more than 13 years ago | (#414743)

This gadget might enjoy life as a giveawy item in cereal boxes, but damn if I would use it to store any of my personal files.

How does this stop piracy anyway? What would stop me from creating MP3's and storing them on a DataPlay? Am I missing something? All it does is block the piracy of files you'd pay to download in the first place.

Unless the music industry reverts back to a non-digital format, piracy will always be easy to commit. Get used to it or go buy a record player. :)

Re:Sighting in the Matrix. (1)

smatthew (41563) | more than 13 years ago | (#414744)

Gee - i thought it looked like Minidiscs. Oh wait - it was a minidisc.

There is no such thing as copy control (1)

weo (7251) | more than 13 years ago | (#414745)

Lets get things clear here. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS COPY CONTROL. Just put a mic next to a speaker and poof the music is recorded. They need to just get over the fact that people will do what they want with what they own.

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