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Sony Sells Defective, Damaging CDs in Eastern Europe

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the black-ICE dept.

Music 335

parvati writes: "Newscientist.com is reporting that a new form of anti-piracy technology for audio CDs could potentially damage audio equipment. The new system, called Cactus, developed by Midbar Tech (Tel Aviv), is similar to Macrovision's but prevents both CD-to-PC copying and CD-to-CD copying (Macrovision doesn't prevent the latter). Cactus adds fake control data that's not decoded by the original player but, when copied, is read as music and produces distortion. However, certain audio wave shapes have the capacity to damage the circuitry of the player and/or speaker equipment. Midbar has already sold unidentified Cactus-embedded CDs in Eastern Europe."

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335 comments

The Coward Wonders... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2176769)

...if these rumors are being spread by those who want to implement a protection scheme so the geek public does the research on workability for them.

"Gee, I have an idea.. wonder if it can be defeated? I know, lets SAY we already done it and see how folks say they'd bypass it. Then if they can't figure, we actually do it. Otherwise we try again. And we don't have in research costs of feasibility study costs!"

Of course, anything with AUDIO OUT is defeateable at some point, or it is useless.

--
The Coward

Maybe I'm dumb. Software knows INTENT to CD read? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2176770)

How can the copyprotection possibly know for what purpose the CD is being read? The CD is read and the data either goes to the DAC and speakers or it goes to the disk, but at decision time, the data has already been read, yes? How can only one final outcome be corrupted by the copyprot scheme?

Something smells like bullshit here. Now wither it reads the same for either purpose, or, everyone is hearing distorted audio.

Untrue! CDs have a "bozo bit"! Everyone ignores it (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2176775)

Audio CD's were never meant to have any copyright protection,

Not true. The Redbook Standard specifies that every CD audio track has a "no copy" bit. Every CD I've ever seen, as well as all CD writer software sets this bit. Yet everyone, all hardware, and all software, ignores it. In the HFS file system on Macs, all files also have a "no copy" attribute bit. And because everyone, including Apple's own Finder, ignore it, it is today known as the "bozo bit".

History repeats itself.

Re:The CDs are NOT defective (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176790)

but all the hysteria here about suing Sony for 'defective' CDs seems misplaced

You miss the point, the encoding on the disk that creates that destructive effect in a copy does not conform to the CDDA specification, thus, it's defective.

Meine Kleine Gruner Kaktus (3)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176792)

This reminds me of the old Activision copy protection for floppies that supposedly would damage your equipment if you tried to copy them. It's nice to see the more the technology changes, the more the companies disregard for their consumers stays the same. :)

I'm hoping someone takes Sony to task over these CDs (though I don't hope someone gets their equipment destroyed). I'm sorry, but damaging customers equipment in the name of copy protection is just plain wrong.

Ironic (5)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176794)

Ironic since in the Supreme Court decision known as the "Betamax" case established the consumer's right to make copies for permitted use (in the USofA) and allowed the VCR market to develop. Sony was the party trying to establish the right to copy in that case. Now that they own the market....

sPh

They don't want license terms on the package... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176795)

Joe Sixpack & Co. might twig onto what they're doing and put a stop to it by the ways we're proposing people do about all this BS.

"What? You mean I didn't buy this album? I just paid good money for it- I'm taking it back to the store... What? I can't take it back? F that noise- I'm not buying another one."

They want the change subtle so that people won't notice- like cooking a live frog, turning up the heat slowly, he'll cook, not noticing his peril.

Re:Even if it damaged your gear, who is liable? (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176796)

Depends on the gear- not all consumer units are good about reading discs as others. You could have a person with an earlier model unit or perhaps they're running it on a PC and using the CDDA data to mix it locally with other sound sources instead of using the analog out of the CD drive (Which IS legit!)- in either of those cases, the equipment COULD be damaged by the original disk.

In this case, Sony would be liable since they're selling non-compliant discs that can damage equipment.

The CDs ARE defective (3)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176799)

The act of copying requires the use of the CDDA specification for CD-Roms and CD players.

That's raw data access. I can, if I want, mix real-time, the stream from the CD with any other sound source- and by copyright law I can.

If I can't do that, it's not complying with the CDDA spec and therefore isn't a Compact Disc- it's something that is sort-of one. If it's labeled as such on the package, then the disc is fraudulent or defective- take your pick.

Well, letsee here... (4)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176800)

In order for the system to WORK, the CD player has to ignore the bad data. Older models may not do this. If you've got a fast enough machine, you're going to use the CDDA feature of your CD drive instead of the analog port for peak fidelity.

In either of those cases, it's going to hit a piece of equipment with an original disc.

Don't buy off on a fobbed off statement to the public about it won't harm things- think it through.

Re:Can someone say... (1)

Casca (4032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176802)

Yes but.

This is purely anecdotal, but I believe it is illegal to boobie-trap personal property to prevent theft. So you can get sued by the prick stealing your car stereo when he loses three fingers to the razor blades you attached to the underside of the chassis.

(American point of view only here, I don't have anecdotal evidence for other regions)

I'm pretty sure that if M$ wrote something that would wipe your system if you installed a stolen copy of office, that it would be illegal. Otherwise, they would be doing it!

Re:True but if they knowingly sell you a cd which (3)

unitron (5733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176804)

And wouldn't it be delicious if the audio equipment damaged was some brand new Sony gear? If Sony's not at fault because of the CD, then they're at fault in the question of "defective in materials or workmanship" under the warranty terms on the audio equipment and liable for the cost of repairs. Then as soon as it's fixed, you play that same CD they said wasn't faulty, and let them know they've got another repair bill to pick up. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eventually, you can probably invoke some sort of "lemon law".

True but if they knowingly sell you a cd which (4)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176808)

will damage your equipmewnt while performing a LEGAL BACKUP you will win in court hands down. I do not know what the laws in Eastern Europe about Fair Use, but here in California selling that CD with a CD label on it makes them guilty of criminal fraud, possibly with intent to destroy property. If your PC and or equipment is worth 1500.00 then it can even be a felony here.

note IANAL, just a retired COP so don't bank on my advice.

CD anti-piracy is like Babel Tower (2)

Rotten (8785) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176810)

Companies are persuing an impossible task...I'm glad there's a lot of people actually selling them coloured glass, mirrors and other forms of useless systems and making money from it.

They can build as many new-amazingly-stupid protection schemmes but we always return to point 0.
IF YOU CAN HEAR IT, YOU CAN COPY IT
That's all...
The ultimate copy protection would be stop selling CD's at all
-OR-
Develop a new distribution system more suitable for this century...

Imagine how far they went that now, the first purpose of CD audio it's being forgotten (HI QUALITY) is being lost for a new concept (HI QUALITY + INDUCED DISTORTION).

I'm sure that companies will charge some extra cents to cover the costs of developing this new-soon to be drop-protection shemme.

Re:I have a defense for this. (1)

Ummon (15714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176818)

No, it's called optical out. Most high end (and quite a few cheap) CD players have it.

This just in! (3)

tomk (20364) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176824)

AUG 2001:

SonySoftVision today announced that they have introduced a new copy protection mechanism for CDs. The new copy protection mechanism prevents infected.. er, I mean.. "protected" CDs from being copied, both on PCs and on consumer CD players. The new protection, called "KickInDaNutz", has been secretly included on several thousand CDs which are targetted for North American distribution.

KickInDaNutz works by taking all of the music data and replacing it with random noise; or, in some cases, a computer virus. The result is a CD that, when inserted into a computer, causes the computer to email all of the MP3 files contained on its hard drive to the RIAA.

KickInDaNutz has the side benefit of making the CD completely unlistenable, even for those who bought it. According to a spokesman for SonySoftVision, "The customer gets fucked, but because of the 'no-return' policy at almost every CD store, they have no recourse to recover their money. In some cases, that customer might even buy another copy! The great thing is that they won't be able to tell beforehand which CDs are corrupted! Besides, if they want to listen to the songs, they should just turn on their radio where we can subject them to advertising."

The new copy protection does add a bit of overhead into the cost of CD production, according to SonySoftVision. This will force the price of CDs to rise to US$35.00.

Consumer response to this new form of copy protection is not expected to be negative, according to the experts. "Most consumers are used to paying exhorbitant prices in order to get one or two good songs per album; we're only reducing that number by one or two. Besides, some people might LIKE random noise."

In other news...

so now I'm a pirate? (5)

CrudPuppy (33870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176835)

I just *love* how anyone who wants to do any of the following is labeled a "pirate" by the music industry now:

-burn copies of cd's so it's not necessary to keep $1800 (100 disks) worth of original cd's in the car
-play cd's on high-end car audio head units that are really the more high-quality cd-rom drives and not the dumbed-down cd players that hav no problem with corrupt and missing data
-rip and encode 300 cd's and place on 30 mp3 cdr's for use with high-end car audio cd-mp3 players
-countless other activities

I would personally be very pissed of if I was one of the companies that have taken risks to bring portable mp3 players, cd copying software, car-audio mp3 players, and very high-end cd players to the market just to have them pissed on by the record industry's anti-piracy campaign of the week!!

what the hell ever happened to trying to please consumers??

Real Grounds for Lawsuits (1)

Geckoman (44653) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176839)

Lately there's been a lot of discussion on /. about class action lawsuits being directed at record companies, the RIAA, and Macrovision because of the latter's Safe Audio anti-piracy technology, but this sort of "protection" measure could serve as real grounds for a class action suit.

Introducing technology that physically harms an individual's real property is a far cry from data noise that makes it annoyingly difficult to exercise that person's right in a debatably legal manner. The real kicker, though, is the lack of any warning! I've got a couple of CDs that include tracks of shuttle launches and avalanches and such, and they have warnings that playing them at too high a volume could damage my equipment.

This is in some ways similar to beating someone to death after they've broken into your home (which is an analogy I'm sure some industry spokesperson will make), except that what a music fan is doing is not necessarily illegal and it certainly isn't a threat to life and limb. It's also worth pointing out that in many cases the home owner could still be liable in a civil court, even if they didn't do anything criminal.

When they stop losing money on piracy, are they going to make CDs cheaper?

FUD and BS (2)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176841)

I'm surprised that the slashdot readers here are so quick to believe this story. I think its very unlikely that you can send data to a cd player that will damage it... maybe if you turn the volume on your 500W amp and plug it into your little headphones, or if subliminal messages on the disk causes domestic animals to piss on the circuitry but otherwise you can take it with a pinch of salt.

All this BS leads me to the conclusion that everyone in the entertainment industry is high on crack and they are so desperate to keep their daily fix going they will pay poor engineers just out of uni ridiculously high prices to comeup with theses dumb ideas - Macrovison, CSS, AudioSafe etc. just so they can get that little bit of extra cash to get some blow. The engineers don't care if it can't be done - they're not dumb, they know that if you can hear it your can copy it, they all read /., but they are not going to argue with a big fat check.. lol.

-tfga

Re:Cactus...what an appropriate name... (3)

jyuter (48936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176842)

Also interesting, the company's name "Midbar" means "Desert" in Hebrew. "Cactus" fits right in.

God, not again. (2)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176843)

I am getting so sick and tired of typical /. sensationalistic and baseless posts.

Aren't there laws in the US about selling intentionally defective goods and not advertising the fact that they have been made defective?

The original CDs are not defective. Stop making it seem like someone needs to contact the Consumer Protection Center, like its "Johnny Switchblade" or something (might be too old for you to remember).

having to face questions about their product quality and safety

What questions about quality and safety?? The CD's don't damage a fucking thing! God I can't believe I'm letting such a troll get under my skin.

the CD's can damage equipment

*No*they*can't!* If you COPY the CD's then the COPY can damage your equipment. Has anyone thought that perhaps this technology is being released in countries that do not require the buyer to be able to make a backup copy?? Sheesh.


--
Steve Jackson

Re:Can someone say... (1)

grazzy (56382) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176846)

Your arguments only avoid the real problem. That people are pirating the shit out of the record-companies.

Even if US law wouldn't allow this, you must agree to that this is a nice feature instantly hitting all little evil pirates out there.

Real men listen to their music as .mp3 :)

European Law (1)

thetechweenie (60363) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176852)

I'm not familiar with European copyright laws, but I would amagine that this isn't going over too well. Any lawsuits start as a result of this?

Re:Until there's titles, this is all horse-stuff. (1)

Bilestoad (60385) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176853)

I think action is called for. We know that this is a digital format - nothing digital is beyond interpretation, modification and if necessary rectification. This is the cause of their paranoia. But like CSS before it, this too will fall to a determined opposition. We owe it to ourselves to shift the point of balance to where it become obvious that there will be NO tolerance of this kind of audio sabotage, and continued patronage of music that we choose, when (and if) we decide we like it.
Why does the music industry see declining profit and falling concert attendance? Well, Destiny's Child, Sisquo, NSync, blah blah blah - manufactured and overproduced pap. You aim at a market with immature taste, you get sales corresponding to a market with zero disposable income. In other words you try and sell us shit not even as good as the Monkees and we're not going to buy it.
We owe it to ourselves to see that every sabotaged CD is distributed, in cleaned-up MP3 form, via every file sharing service we can find. In the long term the whores of the RIAA will be defeated by their own greed. The artists will not suffer because they could scarecely get a worse deal no matter what we do, and because it has been shown countless times that fans buy what they love no matter how many MP3s are available.

Software copy protection has NEVER defeated people determined to copy it in all its history. In addition it has never been shown that copy protection improves sales or denies determined "collectors" their aim. The RIAA is about to learn the lessons that game publishers did all those years ago. Why is Carmack driving a Ferrari? For sure it's not because nobody could play Quake without trying it out first.

Thankfully we can probably stop this while it is in the stage of "protecting" the most populist and profitable of their wares. Happily that's the end of the music industry I like least.

Re:Sony=Hypocrites (2)

Night Stalker (60662) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176854)

Actually, there are many divisions of Sony. It just so happens that the Sony audio hardware division knew there would be a huge market for selling a CD copier. Sony Music begged them not to release it, but the hardware div didn't give a damn and released it anyways. Sony Music was pretty pissed off of course, but there was nothing they could do about it.

Don't get caught up in the scheme (4)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176857)

The trouble here is that only your 'illegal' copy could damage your system. Which is your fault, since Sony did not produce the CD, you did. More frightening than the copy-protection technology is the fact that the industry has long since forgone the notion of fair use. This is what we should be livid about ... like people who complain about getting a parking ticket. YOU parked there, knowing you would get one.

I don't care if the copy protection scheme makes my stereo taste like a 22oz prime rib steak ... I vohemently oppose ANY copy protection scheme. The fact that this one might (/might/) damage your equipment should you exersice 'fair use' of your CDs is secondary to the fact that fair use seems like an old bedtime story that every company out there is desperately trying to forget.

What really scares me is that we're making all this furor over the fact that it damages your stereo. If Sony were to licence a copy-protection scheme that /didn't/ damage your equipment next week, they'd look like heros, and with respect to this case alone, no one would seemingly have anything else to complain about.

Oh wait, except the fact that Sony denies the existance of FAIR USE. Bah.

Re:Foul Play (2)

BlueUnderwear (73957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176863)

> Unless there's a disclaimer on it, do we have grounds to sue for damages?

> I'll call Foul. FOUL!

I guess, that's why they released in the Czech Republic and Slovakia... Less consumer protection, consumers have less resources to fight this in courts... Same reason why the multinationals prefer to put their chemical factories into India.

Am I missing something ?? (1)

MarsDude (74832) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176864)

I thought the whole idea of copy protection was to boost the sales of 'legal' cd's. Not to bring the sales to a halt because everyone is scared of buying a cd that could damage your player when you try to make a rightfull and completely legal copy for backup. But then again... noone can make illegal copies when no legal copies are sold :-)

Until there's titles, this is all horse-stuff. (4)

Speare (84249) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176871)

Midbar has already sold unidentified Cactus-embedded CDs in Eastern Europe.

Until specific titles of CDs are given, I'm very dubious about all these weekly claims of releases, cracks and damages. It sounds like RIAA-sponsored FUD, not actual discussions of real technologies or real products or real damages of real equipment.

Is this even possible? (1)

nettdata (88196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176873)

Is it technically possible for the copied CD to have this damaging content when the original doesn't? When making a copy, wouldn't it be possible to make a bit-for-bit copy of the CD instead of an "interpreted" version?

And is it even possible for content on the CD to physically damage the electronic gear that plays it?

I can't see how that could work.




Re:Until there's titles, this is all horse-stuff. (2)

boaddrink (90170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176876)

This sounds very possible.

Wasn't it just last week that we found out that the BSA is doing a rather similar campaign [slashdot.org] ?

I wonder if more artists will start boycotting their record company when pratices like this become more mainstream (ie: in the US). Hummm, now if we could get all artists to start using the web as a medium (example: emusic [emusic.com] ).

Re:Until there's titles, this is all horse-stuff. (2)

tycage (96002) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176885)

You know what, there are whole lists of people that were killed in the holocaust. I've met people who lived through it and can show me their tatoos.

All we are asking for is something similar here. I've heard a lot of talk about this stuff, but no real facts about what CDs this is being done on. Till I hear some, I'll remain unsure of how true any of this is.

--Ty

Product Liability? (2)

bruhaha (100629) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176892)

I would expect that this may cause significant trouble for the retailers who sell these disks to the end-users. Certainly, until the retailers know that they are selling Cactus-enabled products, they will end up eating the cost of damage to the end-user's systems.

While this may or may not be a legal liability for anyone involved in the retailing of these products, it is not difficult to imagine that this is exactly the sort of situation that will lead to an increase in the use of sites like MP3.com and the new-and-improved napster.

This is a desperate attempt by the record distribution industry to keep themselves from becoming irrelevant. Sadly, this will probably only accelerate the acceptance of alternative distribution channels. And, at least some artists are begining to realize that they don't need the record distribution services of an AOL/Time Warner or a Sony if they have other partners who are willing to take a lower % of the proceeds.

Re:What's the Law Say? (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176896)

Aren't there laws in the US about selling intentionally defective goods and not advertising the fact that they have been made defective?
Yes, but this isn't in the US, it's in Eastern Europe.
=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\=\

Re:Article says ... (1)

sommere (105088) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176899)

That would be true, except that I have the right to copy the CD. They don't have to let me copy it, but, if I can copy it, I'm allowed to do so. So.... if they are not labeling these CDs and then I copy it, I am completely within my rights. I am using the CD in a "normal" matter and it may damage my equipment.

---

Re:Sony=Hypocrites (3)

sommere (105088) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176900)

they don't want people copying THEIR CDs.... its ok if you copy an indipendent record lablel's cds...

---

Set to cause damage? (3)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176906)

Sony has secretly tested Cactus by treating several thousand CDs sold recently in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but the system was not set to cause damage on this occasion.

I think that this paragraph in the article bothers me. If the system is set to cause damage, someone had to set it to do that, which means somewhere in the algorithm, someone changed
CauseDamage=0; to CauseDamage=1;

Mabey its just a typo - cause if it can be set to cause damage, then they're knowingly selling a defective product.

~z

I've found one! (5)

SpookComix (113948) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176908)

Europe my ass. A friend of mine bought this album [amazon.com] from Amazon, here in the States. When he put it in my CD player, I experienced headaches, nausea, and anal hemorrhaging, plus it blew my speakers and fried several components. It wasn't even a copied CD!

Stay away from this stuff, I'm telling you!

--SC

CDs with Cactus (1)

Jammer@CMH (117977) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176910)

Apparently [cdrinfo.com] Cactus is on 'Razorblade Romance' by HIM, and 'My Private War' by Philip Boa and The VoodooClub.

Nope, I've no idea who these bands are.

Re:Can someone say... (1)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176914)

Bullhonkies. Copying is never theft, and is frequently not even copyright infringement.

And I have paid for the music. And now the provider wants to destroy my equipment. Lawsuits and boycotts are in order.

I like to play classical music at the office. But I'm worried about the CDs growing legs and walking off. So I've been burning copies of my own classical CDs; keep the originals safe at home, keep the copies in the office.

So much for fair use (4)

alanjstr (131045) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176918)

What happened to our right to back up our own cds? This technology assumes that any copying of the cd must be for piracy. And should they implement the 'damaging' factor (not currently used in the European trial) and it destroys audio equipment, I see lawsuits up the wazoo. Once again, the 'golden ears' say that it may cause some drop in fidelity. And of course I'm sure these cds aren't marked as copy protected, either.

Bring it to the USA as soon as possible (1)

fobbman (131816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176919)

Copy protection like this is what we ALL need to get this resolved once and for all.

Once the American press latches onto the story about how Joe User fried his $300 CD player when he played a copy of his personal CD, and he created that copy because he wanted to keep the original in new condition and not because he was "pirating music", then maybe we'll get rid of this stupid copy protection bullshit once and for all.

Re:Sony=Hypocrites (1)

bapink01 (137229) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176922)

(sic) And Sony cds will blow up nonSony hardware (just like MS changing the API drastically), making for a larger market. Sony will have another opportunity to sell you thier hardware.

Re:Foul Play (2)

bailout911 (143530) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176927)

IMHO this is meant to be humorous as is most everything by PDQ Bach, although I suppose it is possible that popping balloons can cause damage, I somehow doubt it.

Re:Foul Play (3)

shanek (153868) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176930)

There is a precedence. On the CD for P.D.Q. Bach's 1712 Overture, there is a warning that the waveforms caused by the sound of balloons popping near the end of the overture can potentially damage speaker equipment. IANAL, of course, but it seems to me it would be easy to show that anyone who makes a CD that could potentially damage equipment should place a disclaimer on the cover.

What about personal use? (3)

doctor_oktagon (157579) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176931)

If I own a CD-CD copy machine (in the same spirit of dual tape players of old), will this prevent me making up my own compilation CDs for my own personal use?

Surely the implication is this protection will break the terms of the licence I have for my media (i.e. the right to make a backup, or a copy for personal use)?

Hardware Manufacturer Combat! (1)

Perianwyr Stormcrow (157913) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176932)

Ach. First they want us to copy, then they don't.

Why, pray tell, does Sony make a big deal about MD recorders being "great for Internet music", and then go about making their own CDs uncopyable?

I thought the whole point of such things was compilation listening, or listening in places where CDs shouldn't go (such as long trips in China.) Both these purposes are foxed by this mindless garbage. Never mind the fact, too, that people are spending piles of money on MP3 based hardware... beautiful. Just beautiful.

Perhaps the manufacturers of MP3 hardware ought to get together and create "recording adapters" that get around this sort of scheme, just so people can use the equipment they've bought. Will it be illegal under DMCA? Not at all! It will be big hardware makers working against other big hardware makers. The only time law would come into play is if there was a money inequality.

I know I'm in the wrong industry, that's all... (1)

Perianwyr Stormcrow (157913) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176933)

We're *all* in the wrong industry. Why aren't we all out there trying to sell useless snake oil to recording and movie studios? It's been established that they want this snake oil like no one else, and will bite at nearly anything. They're desperate. This stratagem would accomplish two things.

1) Give a few of us a life of levantine luxury, as deluded media executives lavish the lucky charlatans with cash.

2) Fill the field of secure music with so much balderdash that eventually some company will tire of the money hemorrhage, be a "daring cost-cutting pioneer" and go back to what's simple and works. Then, no one will respect this stuff ever again, which would undoubtedly be a win for everyone involved.

Sounds like a plan to me.

The war on music is a lot like the war on drugs- it's ultimately pointless, painful mainly to individuals, and is, just like any war, essentially a big black hole to throw money into. They are both propped up by shrill, head-in-the-sand moralizing, and like all crusades of their ilk, will hopefully go the way of Prohibition.

If we're lucky.

Clarification? (1)

sniglet999 (168561) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176937)

If it prevents copying as the 'bit for bit' version has code that the player thinks is music but isn't, how does this affect ripping to MP3?

I dunno 'bout you, but I don't often COPY CD to CD. Why would I?

Re:Sony=Hypocrites (1)

bhv (178640) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176941)

Maybe they are really working together. Switching to MS marketing methods. The next step is obvious....only Sony Burners will be able to copy Sony CD's.

Re:Even if it damaged your gear, who is liable? (1)

Ratteau (183242) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176943)


What would be an interesting case is if this guy's [slashdot.org] CD-CD machine was manufactured by Sony, and was damanged by a copy of a Sony disk he made using it.


--------

CD coping (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176944)

Although you seem to have an aversion to your new music... have you tried to rip it to mp3?

I'm sure it won't hurt your computer's CD reader, but if it harms sound cards, that should be legal grounds for class action... something or other.

copy protection bs (1)

Nullsmack (189619) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176946)

I seem to recall a similar case where a company knowingly distributed defective goods. Remember iomega and the famous click of death?

Anyone see where I'm going with this one? If this is hurting everyone so bad, lets bind together and start a class-action lawsuit against macrovision, sony, riaa, etc whomever we can deem to be the best target to stop this bs.
These companies are violating the Copyright act (at least in the US), once the flaws in the DMCA are patched (ie, the ones that take away all fair use from the consumer) then maybe we can get this country (and maybe the world?) back on track.

After all, who wants to become part of the RIAA/MPAA/Microsoft.commie environment?

-since when did 'MTV' stand for Real World Television instead of MUSIC television?

Lawsuit (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176952)

So if I make a personal copy of the CD, I will get no errors from CD copying software, yet when I play the copied CD, I can trash my $500 stereo. I hope their licensing fees are high enough for them to pay for the damage.

I'm not a lawyer, but wouldn't they have to warn users what the end result could be, and cisually mark the CDs with a special logo or something. Especially since people could just be making copies to listen to in their car.

Looking back into the history of copy protection (1)

Elkman (198705) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176955)

I remember many years ago when I had an Apple II+ (around 1983) and much of the commercial software out there was copy-protected. Most of these copy-protection schemes were based on using nonstandard disk formats that Apple's DOS couldn't read, but the custom DOS on the disk could read. There were things like nonstandard start bytes, knowingly bad tracks recorded on the disk, and even tracks positioned halfway off of where they should be. Software manufacturers spent increasing amounts of time and money coming up with copy-protection schemes, while pirates spent increasing amounts of time breaking them. People came up with lists of parameters that you could plug into a specialized copy program to copy these disks.

Eventually, the software industry decided that these schemes were a waste of time, and that they weren't really stopping piracy. They apparently decided that they could sell more software by lowering the price and making it easier to buy, instead of locking it up. (I suspect newer hardware platforms, like the IBM PC, also made this type of copy protection impossible.)

Now we have the music industry moving in the opposite direction. Apparently, consumers can't be trusted with the latest Britney Spears CD if they plan to copy it. I'm not even sure how many illegal copies of CD's are out there, but I'd be willing to venture a guess that there are proportionally more copies of obscure, hard-to-find artists than there are of Eminem, N'Sync, and the Backstreet Boys. If it's easy enough and cheap enough to buy a CD, then most honest people will buy the CD. If you're hearing an obscure disc that your friend bought in a small shop (a place so underground, they used to sell some pipes), the temptation's much higher to make a copy.

Re:What's the Law Say? (1)

rhadamanthus (200665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176958)

Whay do you think they are first doing this in Eastern Europe?

Obviously they want reactions to the "enhanced" media without potential lawsuits mixed in.

------------------rhad

Re:What about personal use? (3)

rhadamanthus (200665) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176959)

I always read fair use like this:

"You have the right to make backups of this media, but that does not mean the company has to make that process available to you"

------rhad

Re:Until there's titles, this is all horse-stuff. (5)

Peter Dyck (201979) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176961)

The article is wrong in claiming that Cactus is a brand new form of copy protection. Click here [cdrinfo.com] and here [heise.de] for more information.

They (mainly BMG in Germany) tried it in Europe already in 2000. I still have Ministry's CD [excite.com] that won't play on CD-ROMs or DVD-ROMs but plays perfectly on an ordinary stereo CD player.

This is good news! (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176962)

This is great! I hope they sell millions of these tainted CDs all over the U.S. It will make one hell of a class action lawsuit. I can just see someone's grandmother getting up on the stand to testify during the trial.

Prosecutor: Now ma'am, when you bought this CD you had no idea that it would damage your sterio system when you played it?

Granny: No sir, I've never had any problems playing CDs on my sterio. Even the Elvis compilation my grandson made for....

Prosecutor: Er, thank you ma'am. That is all your honor...

Jaysyn

We need some titles (1)

Coq (204365) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176965)

When CD protection schemes like this are released wo/titles, we should boycott the record company that released it. Its not fair to release a scheme preventing fair use without a warning.

Fiber and coax, (2)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176976)

My Sony pre-amp has fiber and coax in and outputs for digital channels. I have used this since the Soundblaster Live came out to connect my pc to my stereo, now if I just route the sound from the cd player to the pc and record the sound from the digital channel, I will get a signal as good as the cd-player can handle(which also has digital outputs) without getting those nasty junk data.
--------
For sale: Rhesus-Monkey-Torture-Kit 40$

Re:Even if it damaged your gear, who is liable? (1)

Vincent Bernat (218934) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176978)

Simply use one of the Sony CD recorder to make the copy and a Sony CD-R. It is easier to find who is liable in this case.

Copy Protection Has Gone Too Far. (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176980)

This March, I found out that my Soldier of Fortune disk was scratched to the point where it couldn't be reinstalled at all. My Blue Shift CD already has a scratch on it which requires me to put it in my recorder to copy one stinking file to manually finish the installation. This damage was caused indirectly by the copy protection scheme (I was putting in and taking out the game disc and leaving it out of its case so many times that it got scratched). Thanks to no-CD cracks, I don't have those problems with my other games, and Valve, Id, and Epic all finally gave in with their latest titles and coded out the CD check routine.

And now there's a copy protection scheme that directly inflicts damage on my equipment? That's absolutely ridiculous, and something should be done to protect the consumer.

You can't have it both ways! (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176982)

Sony manufactures consumer CD burners, and now they are selling a product that their burners can't copy! Doesn't this seem very wrong? It's like if the people who sold stun guns to people who wanted to protect themselves also sold countermeasures to criminals!

Nope (3)

unformed (225214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176984)

CDs do not come with a EULA of any kind however. They do not say what my rights are and are not. I would assume I have a "right" to make a copy for backup purposes. I suppose Sony could sell me a CD saying "No, you don't have the right to make a copy of this", as if I buy the CD I agree to the terms.


You don't have the right just because you assume. Legally you don't have the right to copy a CD unless they explicitly give you permission, as often done on computer CDs.

Yes, you have the right to make a copy due to fair use; however, fair use does not guarantee any degree of quality, it just says you have the right to make a copy, and you can still make an analog copy to tape.

This is what came up earlier regarding copying DVDs and CDs.

...(since I haven't been told otherwise and as I pointed out is a right I have in similar media)...
Just because a similar media gives you the right doesn't mean all creations of the same media offer the same right; again never assume.

That distortion has a common name. (5)

canning (228134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176986)

there are bursts of distortion as the player tries in vain to decode the garbage.

That "garbage" is called "New Country" and belive it or not, some people like it.

The CDs are NOT defective (5)

tmark (230091) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176989)

If you read the submission carefully, note that it says that copied CDs can cause distortion, and it is this distortion that can damage audio equipment - evidently, the original CD will not do this. I have no idea whether any of this is true, but all the hysteria here about suing Sony for 'defective' CDs seems misplaced : what is going to ruin any equipment are the copied CDs, so if anything is defective it is these copied CDs - not the originals.

Satanic Messages (1)

timt25 (230959) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176990)

I just want to know what happens when you play one of these CD's backwards. Something like:
"Help, I'm trapped in a CD factory!"

Red Book CD Standard (3)

Anonu (233018) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176991)

I've become intrigued by all this CD corruption and decided to get a better look at it myself. So I've been looking for Philip's Red Book standard for CD-DA and the best link i got was this Philips [philips.com] site. To download the documentation you need to be a licensed company. Anyone has ideas for where to look?

Re:Even if it damaged your gear, who is liable? (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176992)

Sony? I doubt it, why? Because the CD they provided WON'T damage your gear, only the one you make.

I don't doubt it in the slightest. If these CD's are not clearly marked then there is no reason that I shouldn't feel able to make use of my fair-use rights. Which include a single backup. Since I always play the backup, and not the original, I'll be hit by this 'protection' and my speakers will be damaged through no fault of my own.

Would easily expand into a class action suit, and considering the cost of many audiophiles system it won't be one that's cheaper for Sony to settle out of court.

Even if it damaged your gear, who is liable? (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 12 years ago | (#2176999)

Sony? I doubt it, why? Because the CD they provided WON'T damage your gear, only the one you make.

Hence, if your equipment cannot create the exact duplicate of what they provided, or even if they could, I doubt any court would side with you on this.

This isn't meant to be a flame, but how can they be liable if they didn't create the product that produced the damaging CD? Could you hold the CDR manufacturer accountable? (doubtful), or the Buring Software manufacturer accountable? (doubtful again - but probably easier)

Re:What about personal use? (2)

EMH_Mark3 (305983) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177016)

The copyright act gives you the right to make a copy.. if you can. It doesn't require the publisher to allow you to make one... Oh and if you bypass the protection, you'll be in violation of the DMCA. Have a nice day!

Article says ... (4)

Crspe (307319) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177018)

That it is only possible to damage audio equipment with the (non-functional) COPIES!

At least the original product will not damage your system, so maybe the manufacturor will claim that they didnt sell a defective product!

As long as the original still sounds perfect and cant damage your audio equipment then is there really any chance of us being able to lodge a reasonable complaint.

What really worries me about these copy protection systems is the effect it will have on the durability of the disks. If they have already killed the error correction in some parts of the CD so badly that the played has to interpolate then you had better hope you dont get any dust/scratches near-by!

The Precedent (4)

Atreides4 (309781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177020)

Microsoft EULA, 2003: "Should you copy this disk, your computer will explode. Microsoft corp will not be responsible for property loss or personal injury or death. By using this software you agree not to pursue legal action against Microsoft Corp. in the event that you expierience massive property loss, injury and/or death. Remember: You're using our software. Microsoft Corp. owns you."

Microsoft's New Slogan: We're taking you somewhere today dammit, and you can't stop us.

Can't I back up CDs? (3)

pgpckt (312866) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177021)

I am wondering here about my right to make a back-up copy of CDs I purchase. I scratch my CDs regularly because I am not careful with them.

Microsoft's software comes with a EULA (as does most other software) that says, among other things, that I MAY make a copy for archival purposes.

CDs do not come with a EULA of any kind however. They do not say what my rights are and are not. I would assume I have a "right" to make a copy for backup purposes. I suppose Sony could sell me a CD saying "No, you don't have the right to make a copy of this", as if I buy the CD I agree to the terms.

I however find it unfair for Sony not to inform me that they are selling me a CD which if I use the rights I assume I have (since I haven't been told otherwise and as I pointed out is a right I have in similar media) and make a copy, I will damage my equipment. I think this is potentially inviting lawsuits for damaged equipment (IANAL).

Heavy Metal (1)

Haxx (314221) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177024)



Hmmm..

And I thought that was the intro to the new Slayer Album.

I thought for a second Heavy Metal was back. :~{

~I Am the man on the siver mountain

Can someone say... (3)

BIGJIMSLATE (314762) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177025)

...class-action lawsuit?

IANAL, but Sony selling cd's that don't exactly conform to the CDDA standards (which is a whole other deal) and will possibly damage sound equipment under normal operation has got to be illegal underom SOMETHING.

And "unacceptable" to harm a consuer's audio equipment DELIBERATELY? Uh...yeah, that's about as unacceptable as them just breaking into my house and smashing my speakers with a crowbar.

FUD: How can you stop a bit-per-bit copy? (1)

Tricolor Paulista (323547) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177034)


  1. However, Eyal Shavit of Midbar Tech claims, "We can stop all kinds of copying, even on domestic CD recorders."

If you have it, you can copy it! Or, as another poster put it, if you can hear it, you can copy it. Why do we suppose they have a magical way of stopping something like this:

  1. dd if=/dev/cdrom of=/dev/cdwriter bs=512

I am not against due copyright, but if I have an album, I want to be able to backup it!

What about MD's? (1)

joel8x (324102) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177037)

I wonder if this will effect MiniDisc recording as well - I know they're not that popular here but they're huge in Europe and Asia.

What's the Law Say? (1)

Uttles (324447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177038)

Aren't there laws in the US about selling intentionally defective goods and not advertising the fact that they have been made defective? Giving something a fancy name and calling it a security measure should not protect these companies from having to face questions about their product quality and safety. If this latest thing is true, the CD's can damage equipment, then something has to be done, it's absolutely ridiculous for companies to sell CD's that are intentionally messed up and damaging to our players. If anyone knows what the actual law is on this matter, please inform the rest of us. I know there is the Better Business Bureau that can protect consumers from malicious acts like this, but is there any real legal action that can be taken?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re:What's the Law Say? (1)

Uttles (324447) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177039)

True, but it's obvious that Sony is just "testing the waters" before they try the same crap over here in the US. Also, I'm sure eastern europe has similar laws on these things, maybe even more stringent ones, as Europe tends to be harder on technological companies and more protective of consumers.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who are they trying to stop anyway? (1)

Darth Paul (447243) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177047)

Professional CD pirates will definitely find a way around it. Casual MP3 coders and swappers won't be affected by it - I don't think MP3 will encode a square wave very well.

Who does that leave? Home users trying to make a backup or a copy for a friend, both of which I believe are legal.

--

Just my RANT (1)

The Original Atrox (449206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177049)

Public Static Void RANT {
Rant.String.Equals("Am I the only one arround here who is at least mildly INFURIATED by this! It seems that the "big buisnesses" out there are plenty happy to compromize quality for "safety". Is it just me, or does this feel like an almost personal attack on anyone whishing to copy-compile-backup his or her music. Do they really think that threatening us will cause us to say "ohh, were sorry, heres your CDs back." I think not, we will hack our way arround it, inevitably, and all this will provide is a temporary frustration.")
}
Public Static Extra {
Extra.String.Equals("In other news, this discussion could use more trolls. And do forgive my Java code, it has been a long time since I have coded.")
}
Public Static .sig {
Sig.String.Equals("-Optical Time Domain Reflectometer. Sounds made up, doesn't it?")
}

Re:What's the Law Say? (1)

bioniclady (456631) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177054)

Sorry to disappoint you, but consumer organisation aren't strong in Eastern Europe. We've always been ripped of by american companies on music cds, dvd and film tickets. Simply becouse it was possible. So Sony can test their new crap on us without any consequences. Who's gonna sue them for damaged hardware? How to prove that it was their fault? Russian pirates will probably have this cds anyway and many people will buy from them. So much about Sony's efforts. The honest will loose twice.

Isn't this encourging Piracy??? (1)

A Commentor (459578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177060)

So if I spend my money on this new CD, I won't be able to make a copy for the car(don't want the Texas heat to fry my new CD), but if I download a MP3 that someone has already "fixed", I can burn it to a CD and not have a problem...

So I have to spend time to track down an 'illegal' MP3 even though I should have the right to copy the original CD that I purchased(for my own private use). Why should buy the original since I don't get any of my "fair-use" rights with it?

Hopefully the Supreme Court continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of the Public and get us closer to what the original intent of Copyright was to provide...

copy protection of this type ENCOURAGES copying! (1)

Diphthong (461653) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177063)

I don't quite understand all this. By intentionally weakening the CD's inherent resistance to scratches and dust, it's going to encourage legitimate owners to make copies in order to prolong the lifespan of the CD!

Back in the day, us Apple II owners had a nifty utility called "Copy II Plus" that was used to make archival copies of copy-protected software. This was very useful for someone like me who schlepped stuff between home and school and back -- those 5.25" disks weren't terribly durable...

IANAL, but does the DMCA actually prohibit the creation of a modern-day "Copy II Plus" for the production of archival copies of legitimately purchased material?

Re:Who moderated the 4th post as redundant? (2)

Unknown Bovine Group (462144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177064)

I think it was moderated redundant not in the scope of this article, but because EVERY TIME 'fair use' comes up people say the SAME DAMN THING.

New Car Theft Protection Device (1)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177086)

Thats right, I am now using "The Executioner" to stop people who may steal my car. The system is very simple, when I press the Skull Button on my keychain a large amount of electricity is allowed to run rampant over the surface of my car. Anyone who comes into contact with the surface of my car is instantly fried. Yes accidental contact may occur as well as legal contact (a police officer issuing a ticket) but as long as there are thieves who would take my car, I feel I am within my rights to protect my property. In order to demostarte this product effectively I have randomly placed 100,000 cars of different makes and models all over the US, in order to maximize the effect several are parked illegally in various ways.

If you in any way questioned the legality or ethical implications of the product mentioned above then you can not support this copy-protection or you are a hypocrite.

On a side note, whats to stop me from playing a CD into the microphone of my computer and recording each track as a .wav file, then burning it? I know it would supposedly decrease the quality, but from what I'm hearing it sounds like they are already doing that themselves. These companies need to realize that THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO STOP US FROM COPYING AUDIO MEDIA. Give up and start putting special items, such as posters and stickers, into the CD cases of your Albums to encourage people to buy them.....you can't burn a poster.

Re:Hey dumbfuck! (1)

4n0nym0u$ C0w4rd (471100) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177087)

Ever hear of fair use laws? Copying CDs you bought for personal use IS NOT ILLEGAL, and the fact is on older cd players and maybe even on newer ones the original CD COULD DAMAGE THE EQUIPMENT. I usually don't flame flamers but people who conveniantly ignore the facts of a story deserve it, either you knew about fair use and ignored it, or you don't read any of the other 10,000 posts that mention it. Copying a CD and selling/giving it to another is illegal, not just copying it.

Re:What about personal use? (2)

Pofy (471469) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177091)

The DMCA is a USA only thing (possibly other countries have something similar, most don't though). Many countries alow copying for personal use (and personal may include for example family and close friends, it does for example in Sweden), thus there is nothing wrong with making a copy, except that in this case, it may harm your equipment. That is no different than if the original CD harmed it.

Re:CD anti-piracy is like Babel Tower (1)

elgrinner (472922) | more than 12 years ago | (#2177094)

Audio CD's were never meant to have any copyright protection, and that is why they never will have. Because effective protection would be incompatible with half of the players and compatible "protection" is cracked within days. (see macrovision's new protection). But I think secretly they are trying a new strategy, and that is "crappy-content protection". Meaning, if the actual songs suck a lot, no one is going to want to have the CD, effectively making no one want to copy it. It's working with me... :)
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