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CD Copy "Protection" in California

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the wonder-how-long-that'll-last dept.

Music 377

Tabercil writes "According to this New Scientist article, the SafeAudio system has been employed here in North America in an unidentified CD which has already sold 100,000 copies." It'll be interesting to see what CD it is. My biggest concern is the car CD players that actually are computers not being able to play these discs. Presumably the copy protection will be broken soon enough, so thats not really an issue.

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Fair Use (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#81326)

I keep waiting for someone to sue one of these companies for violating consumers fair use rights. I can't be the only one thinking about it.

Re:Car CD Players - no help (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#81327)

Some car players run off of computers. Computers can't read the disc. Make sense now?

Text of the URL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#81328)

Anti-piracy CD system raises distortion fear 16:03 16 July 01 Barry Fox Anti-piracy compact discs that cannot be copied by a computer have gone on sale in California. The first CD title has already sold 100,000 copies, but it is causing concern among audio experts because they fear that the music may be audibly distorted. Photo: FPG The SafeAudio system was developed by Macrovision, a California-based company best known for its anti-piracy video systems. The technology stops people "ripping" music CDs to create high-quality digital copies on a computer hard disc or for downloading to a portable player. The system also prevents people creating digital files from the CD to swap over the internet or copying music onto a blank CD - although it would still be possible to make a poor quality copy by converting the analogue output into digital code. SafeAudio works by degrading the digital code. The CD will still play on an ordinary player or through a computer's speakers or headphones. But it cannot be copied. Macrovision says that the changes made to the music are not discernible. Bursts of hiss Macrovision is reluctant to discuss how SafeAudio works, but has told New Scientist that it is based on work done by TTR Technologies of Israel. Patents filed by TTR describe how a "copy-protected audio compact disc" works. The patents say the system deliberately gives some of the digital code on the CD "grossly erroneous values", adding bursts of hiss to the audio signal. In addition, the error-correction codes on the CD, which would normally correct such errors, are distorted. So error correction fails, leaving tiny gaps in the music. When this happens, a consumer CD player bridges the gaps. It looks at the music on either side of the gap and interpolates a replacement section. A computer does the same when playing CDs for listening. But the computer's CD drive cannot repair the digital data going to the hard disc. So the hard disc copies nothing, or a nasty noise. TTR says the repairs made by a music CD player are not audible. Macrovision has improved the TTR system, says David Simmons, managing director of Macrovision's British subsidiary. Golden ears The company says it has spent six months playing discs to consumers, and to professional listeners - known as "golden ears" - at two major record companies. None detected any distortion. An as yet unidentified album with SafeAudio copy protection has also gone on sale in California. "There was no increase in return rate or complaints," says Macrovision's Heinz Griesshaber. But this doesn't placate hi-fi buffs. "It's a dreadful, dreadful thing to contaminate the sound deliberately, says Martin Colloms, a British hi-fi expert whose columns are syndicated around the world. "We all hate piracy but the idea of mucking up the sound of a recording is reprehensible. It's like slashing paintings in a gallery to stop someone stealing them."

CD Audio Out --Line IN = Already Broken (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#81331)

I should have charged the company for breaking their multimillion dollar encryption.

heh. (3)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#81336)

content providers who try to protect their content by making it unreadable/unwatchable/unlistenable are funny. especially popular content.

it's sorta like saying "okay, you can LOOK AT this bag of dog shit, but you CAN NOT make more bags of dog shit and give them to your friends."

oh darn.

--

Doesn't sound too heinous (3)

jbuhler (489) | more than 13 years ago | (#81337)

If the article's speculation is correct, the copy protection simply consists of inserting bogus samples in the digital recording. A regular CD player interprets the samples as errors and interpolates over them, while a ripper copies the errors and hence leaves nasty noise in the ripped audio file.

If memory serves me correctly, programs like CDParanoia already interpolate across unreadable samples when ripping a CD. It seems simple enough to check for "obviously" bogus samples and weed them out. Viola - end of copy protection.

OK, now someone who knows what the real deal is can explain to me why this argument is complete hogwash :-).

Re:Doesn't sound too heinous (3)

jbuhler (489) | more than 13 years ago | (#81338)

Oh, I almost forgot -- if the above is indeed how the copy protection works, guess what's going to happen to a zillion or so Windows users the first time they try to play such a CD with Windows Media Player? Last time I looked, WMP is configured by default to rip the CD on the fly rather than using the CD drive's analog output. If your CD listening is accompanied by funky psychadelic animations, your WMP is using this mode (or you've just taken some really good pharmaceuticals).

This kind of stunt wouldn't work with my cd burner (1)

MoOsEb0y (2177) | more than 13 years ago | (#81346)

A quote from the article:
The patents say the system deliberately gives some of the digital code on the CD "grossly erroneous values", adding bursts of hiss to the audio signal. In addition, the error-correction codes on the CD, which would normally correct such errors, are distorted. So error correction fails, leaving tiny gaps in the music.

Well, this wouldn't work with my yamaha 8424 cd burner because the thing acts like a miniature cd player when used in burst mode. Basically all this copy protection means is that when real errors occur (i.e. scratches), that they won't be repairable through c2 or other means. Plus with this kind of trickery they won't get the CD digital audio logo certification.
-Moose

Nope... (2)

cjsnell (5825) | more than 13 years ago | (#81351)

Nope, it's actually "Yoko Ono: The Polyester Years".


--

Slashdot should be completely behind this... (3)

mattkime (8466) | more than 13 years ago | (#81364)

Why should we be upset? This, my friends, appears to be the perfect copy protection scheme. It is, in fact, so perfect that it cannot be detected.

Prehaps the CDs we're been buying all along have had this protection.

With 100,000 CDs sold and no large scale complaints, it may be the case that this new form of copy protection is exactly the same as having no copy proection at all.

Score one for the RIAA!

Re:violate fair use? (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#81382)

Even better - it's probably illegal for you to distribute tools that help work around this problem. Although from the description, it sounds like the method of protection is to distort the actual CD audio and depend on the CD player to interpolate; to work around this you would have to write code to do similar interpolation, which might be non-trivial.

OTOH, interpolating the music that's missing isn't as clearly illegal under the DMCA as distributing a program to crack DeCSS - you could argue that interpolating music tracks in this way is a reasonable thing that anyone would want to do with their CD so that they could play it at their computer.

As always, IANAL.

Re:violate fair use? (1)

bruceg (14365) | more than 13 years ago | (#81383)

I actually had just ripped a CD to my computer, and used it in my car for a few days. It turns out that I dropped it, and got lost under my seat, and in the process of adjusting the seat, the CD was split in half!

Re:Just a thought... (1)

Atomizer (25193) | more than 13 years ago | (#81394)

Probably not, since the copyright is most likely held by the record company.

Copying these discs (1)

ce25254 (25706) | more than 13 years ago | (#81396)

So it's really true that you can't duplicate this disc using a writer technology like that produced by Rimage? [rimage.com] We have some of these writer towers where I work, and I might try to copy it, if I knew which disc to try. Their writers seem to happily duplicate anything I've thrown at them.
Of course I have only copied CD's that I actually own.

Re:How about ripping in Analog mode? (1)

Jobe_br (27348) | more than 13 years ago | (#81404)

From what I've read (which isn't exhaustive, mind you) - the way these types of things are supposed to work is that they prevent a CD-ROM device from reading the CD on a hardware level. Apparently, regardless what commands you give to your CD-ripping application, the CD-ROM drive will be more picky about the way it reads the CD than an Audio CD player. And this pickiness is what gets it in trouble - the 'wildly erroneous' data that they've introduced confuses the firmware of the CD-ROM such that it believes that the data recorded on the CD is absolute garbage - and basically reports errors back to the OS, much as it would if the CD were scratched to hell.

I read about this in a previous article [slashdot.org] on Slashdot. From what I understand, all these schemes work from the same concept.

Price drop! (5)

chill (34294) | more than 13 years ago | (#81411)

I thought there were costs built into blank CDs to offset some of thus. Does this mean the prices of blanks will decrease?

Also, since this wonderful copy protection prevents piracy, will the cost of a CD go down because of the increase in revenue on more sales of "originals"?
--
Charles E. Hill

It must be... (5)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 13 years ago | (#81414)

...something not very popular with techie-types for none of us to know about it yet. Perhaps the latest Kenny G CD?

--

Re:violate fair use? (1)

Wariac (56029) | more than 13 years ago | (#81419)

I think we all know that the main reason for these laws is not to stop "legitimate" back-ups, but rather to prevent pirating music (or anything else). Shoving your head in the sand and saying "well *I* don't pirate" is pointless. Everytime this topic comes up, people start screaming what about their rights and screw the rights of others with opposing views/opinions regarding copy protection.
Why is it a Crime to break into someones house and steal their stuff?? I never do that!
Why is it a Crime to kill people? I never hurt anyone!

It goes on and on.

Maybe I am totaly wrong...that is Ok...this is just my view. :)

Wariac

It's a Charley Pride CD (3)

phong3d (61297) | more than 13 years ago | (#81426)

This is the link to the SEC filing mentioning the CD...

http://www.secinfo.com/d1157k.43b.htm [secinfo.com]

And, of course, here's a link to buy it at Amazon [amazon.com] .

Re:violate fair use? (1)

Phork (74706) | more than 13 years ago | (#81431)

um, actually there is, at least in the USA there is, Title 17, chapter 1, section 107, "Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use". Here is a copy online http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html [cornell.edu] .

Re:Doesn't sound too heinous (1)

Phork (74706) | more than 13 years ago | (#81432)

That is not what the description in the article says(though it could be wrong). The article says that it puts bad blocks on the cd, standard audio cd players play rigth over them, but a computer will think the cd is very very scratched and unplayable, or at least that is what they hope. If your description of the system is correct it could be described as having a monkey do the redbook mastering.

Re:I'm no expert but... (1)

mostrows (78792) | more than 13 years ago | (#81434)

Actually, no...

It is entirely reasonable to write code that communicates with the operating system's "sound card interfaces". This code would receive digital data that the system thinks will be played sonically, but simply redirect the data to a file. Hasn't this been done already?

Geez, they're persistent (1)

gangibson (82032) | more than 13 years ago | (#81437)

Wow, the RIAA has really got us now. First they get Napster to conform to their demands (re: shut down until they will reopen and we can pay them $20 a month to download tracks that we can only listen to on our computers three times. Or something like that...) and now this. Huh, I wonder what their excuses will be when revenues in 2001 fail to shoot up incredibly. Oh wait, "trying economic times." Nuts.

cdparanoia? (1)

AndroSyn (89960) | more than 13 years ago | (#81443)

Doesn't cdparanoia allow for error correction when ripping cds, if the cd were perhaps scratched and not likely to be in the range of normal data?

I don't know that much about the software, but if somebody knows of a cd that has this protection, see if cdparanoia can work around this..

violate fair use? (3)

jacobcaz (91509) | more than 13 years ago | (#81445)

Doesn't making media uncopyable violate my right to make a backup incase my original media melts down?

I don't go making copies of CD's for friends, but if I want to make copies so I don't scratch the heck out of my originals isn't that something I should be allowed to do?

I can't think of the copyright provisions that grant me this right off the top of my head, someone help me out here.


-----

Re:It won't be broken. (1)

Kalidor (94097) | more than 13 years ago | (#81447)

If it can't be read by your CDrom drive then your CD player isn't gonna read it either. You are correct about it not being like MP3's vs WMA vs Ogg. What will happen is windows won't mount it as an autoread cd ... but that doesn't mean the laser can't be forced to pass over the medium and send whatever 1's and 0's to a program. Then this program, most likely a hex viewer/editor, will be how the crackers will crack the data.

As for being difficult its all a matter of finding the resource ... it shouldn't be much more dificult than cracking a nintendo rom, which only requires the right 50 dollar ICE module. Someone will just write a program that doesn't require the CD to be mounted by the os. There is nothing new about that.

Re:Car CD Players - no help (1)

Kalidor (94097) | more than 13 years ago | (#81448)

Many newer model car cdplayers are more then just cdplayers. Some even run a version of Windows CE. The point he is trying to make is that since the computer in the cdplayer isn't trying to just stream the data ... its actually trying to mount the disk so the OS can read the data ... the mount might fail and you'd never be able to play the CD in that device.

Re:violate fair use? (2)

tycage (96002) | more than 13 years ago | (#81452)

Why is it a Crime to break into someones house and steal their stuff?? I never do that!

It's also a crime to shoot people who walk down the sidewalk next to your house because they might have been planning to break in.

Why is it a Crime to kill people? I never hurt anyone!

It's also a crime to punch anyone who comes near you because they might have been planning on killing you.

I know, I'm pushing the bounds a bit there with my counters, but my point is that stopping something that is illegal is fine, but when it steps on the rights of people who aren't doing anything illegal, it becomes a problem.

In my opinion, that is what this does. (Except that I don't think it actually will stop anyone, from what the article described.)

--Ty

Idea time.... (2)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 13 years ago | (#81459)


If this new protection scheme doesn't work in car radios, can I "protect" a few of the cd's owned by the little thug-wannabes in my neighborhood?

Re:How about ripping in Analog mode? (2)

Enzondio (110173) | more than 13 years ago | (#81470)

Actually, I don't think that would work. Disabling the error correction would allow you to copy the songs but there would be breaks in the audio (as discussed in the article) which ECC would've corrected in a normal CD player.

Brad Mehldau's Art of the Trio Vol. 3 (2)

Dice2000 (118997) | more than 13 years ago | (#81474)

This has happened previously. One of Brad Mehldau's CDs released last year I believe (One of his Art of the Trio CDs) had the SafeAudio protection on it. I wasn't able to play it on my Plextor CD-R drive but my five-year old 6x drive was able to play it in Windows (it can't extract the audio digitally though). For those of you who don't know, Brad Mehldau is a jazz pianist.

Re:error correction (3)

zsazsa (141679) | more than 13 years ago | (#81497)

Or, easier still would be to just use a standard CD player with a digital output (SPDIF with either toslink or coaxial) and record it with a sound card with a digital input.

Yes, it means that you'll be "ripping" at 1x, but 1x is infnitely faster than 0x. :)

Ian

Re:Just a thought... (1)

DCheesi (150068) | more than 13 years ago | (#81500)

No, because the copyright owners (namely the record label, _not_ the artists) are the ones asking for this. They can do whatever they like with the music, including hacking it to bits (after spending $19-zillion to over-produce it in the first place).

Error Correction? (4)

djrogers (153854) | more than 13 years ago | (#81503)

The article says that CD-player error correction overcomes the introduced garbage, wouldn't a CD-ripper's error correction ability be able to overcome this as well? Even if current software rippers can't, it doesn't sound all that hard to deal with...

this is HORRIBLE! (5)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 13 years ago | (#81512)

I agree with Martin Colloms. I cannot believe the gall of the record labels to (apparently surreptitiously) deliberately introduce errors and data corruption into music CDs that customers are expected (and "legally required") to purchase with their hard-earned cash.

A question I have is, what if the CD gets scratched? If the error correction is already strained by having to interpolate between their deliberately induced data corruption, will audible distortion occur sooner when the medium is actually damaged? And since you now have no way to make a backup copy.....

--

Not so fast (1)

fuxoft (161836) | more than 13 years ago | (#81517)

Similar audio CD protection system was already tested over here in Czech Republic several months ago and I must warn you that it's not a simple matter to crack it. The main problem is that your CD-ROM does not recognize it as CD (data nor audio) at all. The effect is the same as if your CD ROM tray contained empty (unburned) CD. So you cannot even play the CD in your computer, much less grab it. Special CD copying software (CdrWin) identified that there's SOMETHING on the CD, but failed miserably when trying to copy anything from it (not even raw sectors), presenting the error "CD Drive returned invalid status code" or something like that. In my standard CD player the CD worked without any problems. What's most interesting, if you look at the CD itself, there are visible gaps between the tracks (like on vinyl LPs)!

Re:Car CD Players - no help (1)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 13 years ago | (#81518)

I think the idea is if you break the copy protection then you could re-burn onto a standard CD and have it play trouble free in the high end CD players -- the ones that are more akin to CD-ROM drives then they are regular CD Players (AFAIK Car CD players are more apt to be that way).

Great Black quote by the way...

If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

Re:It must be... (2)

Fat Rat Bastard (170520) | more than 13 years ago | (#81519)

My vote: The new *NSYNC album. They'd figure it would be a big enough trial to test on, and its the type music [well, crap if you ask me, but I shouldn't editoralize] that gets traded a whole bunch. Whatever it is I bet they're also monitoring Napster (well, if it was alive the would), Gnutella and all of the usual suspects to see its had any effect on trading rates.

Of course, since I just pulled that out of my butt I could be totally wrong...

If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

Error corection. (1)

Marty200 (170963) | more than 13 years ago | (#81521)

And how hard would it be for someone with a clue to write software that would the exact samething as the cd players error correction?

MG

back to the store (2)

wishus (174405) | more than 13 years ago | (#81526)

Well, if I ever end up with one of these, it's back to the store with it.

If they won't take it back because "it's been opened", a phone call from one of my lawyers [prepaidlegal.com] should do the trick.

wishus
---

Re:It won't be broken. (1)

skuzzlebutt (177224) | more than 13 years ago | (#81531)

I think what taco meant is that the hardware or firmware will need to be modified to get past the protection schema

We lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt

Re:People don't care? (1)

Teflon Coating (177969) | more than 13 years ago | (#81533)

Joe Sixpack doesn't care, because he's most likely not making copies of his cds. He can still listen to what he wants, just not make copies of it.

Re:It must be... (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 13 years ago | (#81534)

If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college.

I love lewis black!

Ogg Vorbis test? (1)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 13 years ago | (#81536)

I bet this was the music they played in the test of audio quality between Ogg, MP3 and other formats. According to the article, the encryption is actually bursts of "hiss" that a CD player should interpolate out of playback, but which an encoder will use to create noise.

The "golden ears" people in those tests placed Ogg close to the bottom - I bet this is the CD they tried to rip from.

My bet is on 4 weeks before something hits Slashdot about someone cracking this code....any takers?

Re:violate fair use? (1)

WebBug (178944) | more than 13 years ago | (#81538)

it is called "fair use" and while it is not "law" it is common law. That is to say, I don't believe that there is a formal law passed by congress called "the fair use law", but the practice of fair use is entrenced in common law.
Whew, that turned out to be longer than I thought.

windows media player (2)

chompz (180011) | more than 13 years ago | (#81539)

What about windows media player playing CD's by ripping the digital audio right from the CD and playing the music through the soundcard instead of using the internal analog/digital lines from the CDROM to the soundcard?

Is this going to play in that situation? I think not.

I have a shinny apple for the first to identify the CD.

Don't like apples? Ok, I'll give you a beer.

Just a thought... (3)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 13 years ago | (#81546)

If the cd manufacturer is mucking with the audio on the cd, isn't it violating the music's copyright?

--
Garett

Re:People don't care? (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#81547)

Music prices have quadrupled in the last 15 years? When was the price of a CD ever $5? Or even an LP for that matter? Heck, by shopping online or at large merchants like Best Buy I can still buy most new CDs for around $13, not a real dent in the pocketbook considering the prices of more important things, like food or housing, that really have experienced vast increases in price.

error correction (2)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#81555)

What this looks like it does is throw off the error correction used by cd-rom drives but not mess up the error correction used by a regular cd player. So couldn't you just get a digital dump of hte raw data, then doapasover it using whatever error correction a cd player would have used?

Re:violate fair use? (1)

Nyktos (198946) | more than 13 years ago | (#81558)

Apples and Oranges. When you buy a car, but buy a CAR! but when you buy a CD you are buying the music (or at least the right to listen to it or whatever). Don't be stupid.

I'm no expert but... (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 13 years ago | (#81560)

if we can play it on a computer why can't we write a driver that captures the data going into the sound card, (like a screenshot or in this case a "SOUND SHOT")?

Site already slashdotted.... (1)

yakfacts (201409) | more than 13 years ago | (#81561)

Right now www.newscientist.com just brings up the Microsoft webserver screen...

give me a break (2)

andrewtea (208706) | more than 13 years ago | (#81572)

really...come on...all it would take...(and there are many really easy ways around this but here is one)...is some one with a digital mixer to dump its tracks over and then cut a new cd....and that would even be a lot more effort than needed.

This protection has no future (3)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 13 years ago | (#81573)

From the article : "SafeAudio works by degrading the digital code. The CD will still play on an ordinary player or through a computer's speakers or headphones. But it cannot be copied. Macrovision says that the changes made to the music are not discernible."

Is it one of these schemes where an ultrasonic component is added to the sound that confuses MP3 encoders and generates low-level lound beat frequencies when played back ? Well, whether it's that or not, here's what's going to happen : people who have an ear for musical quality (such as music professionals) won't like this at all, and may actually be able to hear distortions in the masters.

As for the rest of us who can't really distinguish between a 128kbps MP3 and the original on CD and really want to create an MP3 version of they CD to play on their MP3 player, they'll just bypass the protection by playing the original, filter it with a low-pass analog filter of some sort, re-digitize it and MP3-encode it (the hardware to do this is a PC with a full-duplex sound card, and 50c worth of electronic components anybody with two hands can solder together). Most likely, most people won't hear much of a difference in terms of quality if the process is done right, kind of like a watermarked JPEG that's blurred, sized down a little, then resized up, to remove the watermark : sure, the photo isn't as good as the original, but it's good enough if you're not a professional photographer.

All in all, a hassle for everybody courtesy of the copyrighted music mafia.

Re:back to the store (2)

Mynn (209621) | more than 13 years ago | (#81574)

Your lawyers, http://www.prepaidlegal.com appear to have left the server.

404! Get yer fresh 404 page here! 404, it's not just an area code anymore!



-Mynn the Museless

It won't be broken. (2)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 13 years ago | (#81575)

Presumably the copy protection will be broken soon enough, so thats not really an issue.

Its going to be very difficult to break "protection" on a CD that won't even be recognized by your CDROM drive as a real CD.

It was nothing to do with MP3 vs WMA vs Ogg or anything like that. It will do the same thing under Windows or Linux.

Re:violate fair use? (1)

TheDude2084 (214602) | more than 13 years ago | (#81577)

What you want to do is traditionally known as "fair use". There is a strong common law tradition in most countries, including the United States, establishing a person's right to make fair use of a copyrighted work. Specifically, with respect to audio recordings, this tradition has been codified into law under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 [virtualrecordings.com] .

However, in this case, no one is legally preventing you from making fair use of a work. No laws have been passed forbidding you to do it. You are well within your rights to circumvent that copy protection for fair use purposes. But, under the DMCA [eff.org] , you are forbidden from helping anyone else break that protection. That is, you are forbidden from publishing information [2600.org] or providing devices that aid in the defeat of encryption on a copyrighted work. Which is to say, under the DMCA, unless you have a hell of a lot of technical knowledge about breaking encryption, you can't make a backup of your CD (practically, but you are legally free to do so).

Does the DMCA violate your traditional right to fair use? Of course it does. Get pissed off! Write your representative...

People don't care? (1)

Dopefish_1 (217994) | more than 13 years ago | (#81581)

It still blows me away that so few people seem to care about this kind of thing. Does Joe Sixpack user honestly not care that somebody else gets to determine what he can and cannot listen to, for example?

Re:Fair Use (1)

imadork (226897) | more than 13 years ago | (#81588)

I keep waiting for someone to sue one of these companies for violating consumers fair use rights. I can't be the only one thinking about it.

I have to think that if it were possible to sue over this, someone would have sued MacroVision by now over their DVD copy protection.

After all, crippling DVD playback just because a VCR is in the signal chain is far worse than just crippling the ability to rip MP3's from a CD! At least you can still listen to the CD!

Re:I'm no expert but... (1)

nowt (230214) | more than 13 years ago | (#81590)

Yes it has.. vsound.

Re:Doesn't sound too heinous (1)

DeadMeat (TM) (233768) | more than 13 years ago | (#81592)

I remember reading somewhere the way it works is the CD has a bogus TOC, where you've got tracks that overlap each other, tracks that are longer than the length of the CD or of negative length, more than 99 tracks, you get the idea. Ordinary CD players will ignore the TOC and play right through, but CD-ROM drives will take the TOC literally and assume the disk is corrupted. This doesn't sound quite right, since AFAIK there's no reason a CD player should skip over a TOC any more than a CD-ROM drive would, so I'm assuming they used multiple sessions and gave all but the first bogus TOCs since CD players only read the first session.

I'm also told some high-end stereos, like those in cars, will reject the CDs too. It'll be interesting to see how many customers complain that their CD players won't play the CD because it doesn't conform to Red Book.

Re:It must be... (2)

DeadMeat (TM) (233768) | more than 13 years ago | (#81593)

My guess is it's one of those idiot pop bands. Teenyboppers traded them like mad over Napster, but from my experience few people who like them are technically inclined enough to (a) figure out what's wrong besides "MusicMatch is broken", (b) raise a stink about copy protection in general, or (c) figure out a way around it.

If so, I'm sort of torn by this decision. On the one hand, it's copy protection, which is a Bad Thing, but on the other hand it would keep people from making copies of that music, which is a Good Thing.

How about ripping in Analog mode? (4)

Goldenhawk (242867) | more than 13 years ago | (#81599)

The article claims that it prevents ripping by introducing "wildly erroneous" data and also munging the ECCs. So what; if you leave ECC off (an option in MusicMatch) or rip in Analog mode (also an option in MusicMatch), I would assume these things would not really be a big deal. The quality would still be good enough for most people. Then if you need a copy you can use on another computer, you simply burn one from THAT rip, not the original. What's the big deal?

(Aside from the completely ODIOUS idea of deliberately introducing distortion, of course...)
--Brandon

Digital Audio (1)

bioart (256479) | more than 13 years ago | (#81605)

I'm quite concerned now that this will impact the quality of the sound if you use the digital output of the CD to go directly to your Amp... They are assuming everyone is going to convert to analog before amplifying... This will piss off the audiophiles... (I hope I'm wrong, but from the descriptions, this is what will happen :) BA

Useless. (2)

mikethegeek (257172) | more than 13 years ago | (#81606)

If it can be played, it can be ripped. There is no such thing as copy protection that REQUIRES the thing be decoded to audio that will not be EASLILY bypassed.

The sooner the morons in the record industry realize this, the sooner they pocket the $millions they are wasting developing such crap.

Re:People don't care? (1)

KupekKupoppo (266229) | more than 13 years ago | (#81616)

Oh, we get to listen. But not in every way we like. Of course, the options are: buy their music, or don't buy their music.

The third is to see if anti-trust laws can work against the RIAA (it SOUNDS like a trust to me--IANAL).

What's interesting is at this point, we're not buying anything. If we're buying "the CD", then we don't really get what we pay for, because we can't use it completely. If we're buying "the music" but can't listen to it anywhere we want, we're not getting what we pay for.

Music prices have quadrupled in less than 15 years, and how we can use what we pay so much for has been dictated to us. You're paying four times as much for a quarter of the goods.

P.S. Nice attempt at a troll/insightful.

Re:People don't care? (1)

KupekKupoppo (266229) | more than 13 years ago | (#81617)

15 years ago, tapes were the medium to buy, CD's weren't popular. I bought them for $5. $5 vs. $20 for a new release (typical of the music _I_ buy) is 4x, unless mathematics changed in the past 15 years as well.

Car CD Players - no help (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#81618)

My biggest concern is the car CD players that actually are computers not being able to play these discs. Presumably the copy protection will be broken soon enough, so thats not really an issue.

Why would the breaking of the copy protection help those with cars? Maybe I'm just being ignorant or misunderstanding the above statement, but I don't see how this would work.

Re:It must be... (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#81619)

I'd assume it'd have to be country/western or the like for it to be under the tech radar and sell 100,000 copies.

Re:Car CD Players - no help (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#81620)

Of course, that raises the question of how you would break the code if a computer won't recognize it as a CD. :)

Re:It must be... (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#81621)

If I ever change my sig, you're gonna look REALLY stupid :).

Re:Car CD Players - no help (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#81622)

That much makes sense, obviously. What I was wondering about is how the breaking of the protection would allow cars to read it, since you can't upload new software to your car's computer.

Re:It must be... (4)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#81623)

I highly doubt it is pop/teenybopper trash. Follow my logic.

1) 14 year old girl wants the CD "Dudez-A-Plenty - Baby I wish you were my Baby"
2) 14 year old girl searches Aimster or whatever the hell 14 year old girls use to trade files.
3) 14 year old girl gets no matches as CD is protected.
4) 14 year old girl gets easily manipulated 14 year old nerdy guy to help her (weren't we all that desperate?).
5) 14 year old guy instantly realizes what's going on, alerts message board, and suddenly we aren't having this arguement.

Nah, I'll bet it's some new age crap, Christian Deathmetal, or Country/Western.

COOL!! (1)

nemesisj (305482) | more than 13 years ago | (#81628)

I could have used this technology back when I didn't have any money for a distortion pedal for my guitar. Instant distortion of music - does this mean I'll like Britney Spears now?

Re:It won't be broken. (2)

codebunny (310383) | more than 13 years ago | (#81629)

It's not that the CD is unreadable (in the sense of the laser not recognising the disc), just there's so many deliberate errors on the disc a CD-ROM will give up whilst a CD audio player will have a stab.

The idea is a non-starter any 'bridging' (i.e. interpolation) an audio player can be replicated in software, and you just need a ripper that can ignore errors. These exist already, Blindread and (I think) PSXcopy will both copy discs with errors on (commonly whole radial tracks not recorded on at all) and dump to an ISO.

General rule: if you can read it to play it, you can read it to copy it.

Re:It must be... (4)

rlanctot (310750) | more than 13 years ago | (#81630)

Heh, isn't Kenny G himself enough incentive to not copy his CD, much less the copy protection on it? I mean, to really copy protect, they shoulc have a Kenny G track on EVERY CD.

Sound isn't distorted? (1)

pgpckt (312866) | more than 13 years ago | (#81631)

The patents say the system deliberately gives some of the digital code on the CD "grossly erroneous values", adding bursts of hiss to the audio signal. In addition, the error-correction codes on the CD, which would normally correct such errors, are distorted. So error correction fails, leaving tiny gaps in the music.

Sounds like they are trying to distort the sound to me. From later in the article:

When this happens, a consumer CD player bridges the gaps. It looks at the music on either side of the gap and interpolates a replacement section. A computer does the same when playing CDs for listening.

But the computer's CD drive cannot repair the digital data going to the hard disc. So the hard disc copies nothing, or a nasty noise.


It seems to me that if the CD player can automaticly compensate for the missing piece while playing, it shouldn't be too hard to write a piece of code that can do it while on-the-fly to the hard drive instead of doing it on-the-fly to the standard output

Chickening out? (2)

rgarcia (319304) | more than 13 years ago | (#81637)

If they released this test CD just to check the system out, they should have done it out in the open. It seems somebodys scared of having their project cracked 2 seconds after releasing it (which will probably happen) and losing their funding.
Inserting "grossly erroneous values, adding bursts of hiss to the audio signal" sounds like a pretty shaky protection scheme anyway.

Re:Ogg Vorbis test? (2)

Chakat (320875) | more than 13 years ago | (#81639)

My bet is on 4 weeks before something hits Slashdot about someone cracking this code....any takers?
There was an article here on slashdot a few months ago about a CD by some country artist where this tech is used. Basically, they break the CD enough that a computer CDRom drive will choke on it, but a plain-old 20-year-old CD play will play it just fine, as the audio player was designed to handle a more "broken" CD. However, the point is moot as one can take the CD info out from the player, pump it into a computer via the analog jacks, preferably with a very short run and good quality cables to minimize signal loss, and then re-encode the signal. Yeah, there will be some signal loss, but you use one of those easily available audio restoration programs and you'll get the music really close to CD quality again. Of course, if you rip it to MP3, you can probably skip the restoration step as any signal restoration will be more than likely lost when you compress via MP3.

D - M - C - A

I thought it was Charlie Pride... (2)

Control-Z (321144) | more than 13 years ago | (#81641)

His CD was supposed to come out in March. I was going to buy it just to play around with it. It's totally ludacris to say it can't be copied. Did anybody buy it and try? Or is everyone here too proud to go into a record store and buy a Charlie Pride CD? :)

Why don't they just go the way of Microsoft... (1)

Uttles (324447) | more than 13 years ago | (#81643)

Hey, instead of messing up the quality of the songs, why don't they just issue licenses with each audio CD. If you want 5 copies, buy 5 licenses. I know I wouldn't pay the extra money, but there are people out there who would, just look at the money from shareware...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re:CD Audio Out --Line IN = Already Broken (1)

Uttles (324447) | more than 13 years ago | (#81644)

True, oh so true. You do lose some quality though, but I play stuff so loud I don't think my ears can tell any more.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re:Car CD Players - no help (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 13 years ago | (#81646)

You'd burn a copy of the CD without the protection for use in your car.

Re:I'm no expert but... (5)

s20451 (410424) | more than 13 years ago | (#81647)

if we can play it on a computer why can't we write a driver that captures the data going into the sound card, (like a screenshot or in this case a "SOUND SHOT")?

It's because the audio is already analog by the time it hits your sound card - your system never sees the bits. The cd-rom drive contains the hardware to act as a player, and outputs analog audio on a separate wire to the sound card, which plays the analog audio directly. Whatever cd-playing software you use merely acts as an interface to the cd-rom drive, and doesn't manipulate the signal at all.

Re:violate fair use? (1)

sethbc (411688) | more than 13 years ago | (#81652)

I would tend to agree with this but it is hard to tell some times. We are supposed to have a right to make a backup for archival purposes (that you may not use) and should use the original (if that melts down, you are supposed to copy the archive, and use that). According to the U.S. Code, title 17, this is a "fair use." (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/117.html but this is only for computer software)

However, it is also illegal (again, title 17 http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/1201.html ) to try and bypass copy protection measures. This is all a relatively murky issue. I havn't seen anything about backup copies of audio cd's.

Here's the CD title for you. (3)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 13 years ago | (#81655)

It's the "RIAA's greatest hits CD!"
--

Intentional degradation of audio... (5)

MajorBurrito (443772) | more than 13 years ago | (#81657)

If for no other reason, this scheme is horrific for the fact that it intentionally degrades audio. From the article:

... the system deliberately gives some of the digital code on the CD "grossly erroneous values", adding bursts of hiss to the audio signal. In addition, the error-correction codes on the CD, which would normally correct such errors, are distorted. So error correction fails, leaving tiny gaps in the music.

The company claims that no one can notice the difference, but I think their test group was too limited. I have a friend whose wife will only use fresh VCR tapes because the distortion caused by reusing a tape is noticable to her. She also can tell the difference between CDs and analog sources, such as cassette tapes. Again from the article:

But this doesn't placate hi-fi buffs. "It's a dreadful, dreadful thing to contaminate the sound deliberately, says Martin Colloms, a British hi-fi expert whose columns are syndicated around the world. "We all hate piracy but the idea of mucking up the sound of a recording is reprehensible. It's like slashing paintings in a gallery to stop someone stealing them."

Take it back. (3)

SaturnTim (445813) | more than 13 years ago | (#81658)


If it doesn't play right in your car, return it.
any senseable person would agree that the CD has a defect if it does not play as you expect it.

If enough people start doing this, The record companies will get the idea that this is unacceptable.

GPL CDs! (1)

zrizer (448365) | more than 13 years ago | (#81662)

Ok, I once had a CD that I stupidly let my girlfriend borrow; which I never saw again. Annoyed, I decided to download the cd from an undisclosed location (starts with DAL, ends with NET) and burned it to CD. now she received a gift and I lost nothing.
Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone else?
CDs should be GPL'ed!!
I find absolutely nothing wrong with what I did.
As for the basic idea of song-swapping:
Who here has never recorded a duplicate of casette tape (remember those? think hard...) to give to their friends? Burning CDs is the same thing, except your "friends" are seperated by (n) miles of CAT-5 etc...

HOW on earth do they expect to protect music? (1)

riven1128 (448744) | more than 13 years ago | (#81663)

Firstly, for every single employee they have working on protecting music, there are thousands, if not millions of computer geniuses out in the world who want nothing more than to break it. They cannot win this battle..

As long as you can go out to the store, pick up a compilation of music and take it home.. it can and will be able to be pirated and distributed on the net.

I mean, what is to stop me from just simply going out, playing a "safe" cd on my walkman, piping the audio to my soundcard through the line in or mic in jack, making it a wav file and then converting it to mp3 that way? nothing! while they may add a little more steps to the process, once it's an mp3 file and on the net, it doesn't matter anymore does it? :) GIVE IT UP! you're wasting money and resources on a problem that can't be solved this way.

Incorrect ECC codes (2)

tlk nnr (449342) | more than 13 years ago | (#81666)

In addition, the error-correction codes on the CD, which would normally correct such errors, are distorted.

That would make the CD more susceptible to small scratches. Intentionally selling a damaged product (with a reduced lifetime, to ensure that the consumer must by another CD soon)?

I'm not a lawyer, but it could violate consumer protection laws.

I suspect it will be broken (4)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 13 years ago | (#81668)

>> Presumably the copy protection will be broken soon enough, so thats not really an issue.

> Its going to be very difficult to break "protection" on a CD that won't even be recognized by your CDROM drive as a real CD.

I can see how computer CD software might not recognize it as being a "good" format, but I can't see how the hardware would fail to read it, since the essentially same drive hardware is being used in both cases (the consumer black-box audio device and the computer). So breaking it would just be a matter of writing some software.

Now, this may be a problem since only major corporations can write software and none of them would be motiva--oh wait, I forgot, some scattered individuals write software too. So yeah, I suspect it will be broken.

-- MarkusQ

Did you read it? (1)

Ubi_UK (451829) | more than 13 years ago | (#81669)

"SafeAudio works by degrading the digital code. The CD will still play on an ordinary player or through a computer's speakers or headphones. But it cannot be copied. Macrovision says that the changes made to the music are not discernible."

If this is so, all we have is software protection. This can be broken. End of story.

Will regular copying still work? (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 13 years ago | (#81670)

This may be an obvious question, but what about regular old CD copy feature of my burner's software? Will the duplicate CD still work in my walkman? Or will the duplicate be all scratchy like a mp3 ripped from one of these protected CDs?

Lier (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#81673)

"My biggest concern is the car CD players that actually are computers not being able to play these discs."

Yeah, right.
Your biggest concern is that you won't be able to make copies of these CDs.
Just be a man and admit it.

A shot in the foot! (1)

buglord (455997) | more than 13 years ago | (#81674)

There've been a few cd sold here in Europe with various protections systems.

I used to be a big fan of Phillip Boa, until his newest CD was sold with copy protection. Yes, I grab mp3s of my music, so I can listen to them at work or on my computer. Yes, I make copies of my music for friends, so that they get to know different bands.

And what's illegal about that? I'm not making any profit out of it, I'm not making my own music and copying stuff from other people - it's all for personal use!

And what about the radio stations, which all use digital systems? Won't it be difficult to get airplay if all the modern radio stations can't digitalize and play the songs? As if they would grab the cd from the archive, insert it, etc..

Re:violate fair use? (1)

4n0nym0u53 C0w4rd (463592) | more than 13 years ago | (#81680)

Fair use is in fact law, it is part of the US Code (Title 17, section 107) [cornell.edu] .

--

cdplayers vs computers? (1)

sewagemaster (466124) | more than 13 years ago | (#81685)

My biggest concern is the car CD players that actually are computers not being able to play these discs.

arent all cd players a computer some sort of another?
they all need some sort of processing...

but if you mean they are somehow able to filter the data going on between a cd-rom and the actual computer it would be really interesting to see how the current standard encoding does have anything to do with the effect... :-\

Re:violate fair use? (1)

know_tax__no_tax (466854) | more than 13 years ago | (#81687)

hmmm..... maybe what we need is a class action lawsuit to recover the cost of the inferior media they have put our music on.

I still have cassette tapes from high school.... eighty something.... that still work. I have CD's I bought last year the have the shit scratched out of them and won't work.

maybe a class action isn't that way to go. Would it cost the record company MORE if we posted a sample case every music listener could file to recover losses due to the inferior media.....

Which is better ONE lawsuit to recover the losses for millions of music listeners or MILLIONS of small claims cases wanting new CD's for the inferior product they put them on and won't let us copy?

Re:violate fair use? (1)

know_tax__no_tax (466854) | more than 13 years ago | (#81688)

But... where does one exercise his common law rights? All the courts are under the law of Admirality not common law courts.

Of course the Constitution is a common law docuement so isn't valid in these courts...... Hmmm.. how and when did that happen? Juristiction.... yes that's the question one must ask BEFORE you walk into a court room.

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