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Felten Follower Examines Crippled Music Disks

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the keeping-busy dept.

Music 160

D4C5CE writes "Following in the footsteps of his famous professor, in his paper "Evaluating New Copy-Prevention Techniques for Audio CDs" (yes, that's pure PS), which is one of many interesting contributions to the 2002 ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management, Princeton student Alex Halderman takes apart (bit by bit, literally) the "tricks on tracks" employed by the music industry to frustrate fair use."

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Role of OS! (5, Interesting)

krazyninja (447747) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494073)

I think examining the strength/weaknesses of algorithms without regard to the surroundings is not a good idea. With Windows providing most of the drivers in signed form, and refusing to accept unsigned drivers, it could be difficult to apply the "breaking" methods defined, in the mainstream operating systems. Ofcourse, in other OS's this shouldnot be a problem.

Re:Role of OS! (3, Informative)

fishnuts (414425) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494096)

Windows' "driver signing" is only a way to guarantee that a particular driver is verified and certified by microsoft to be fit for its particular purpose in whatever versions of the OS the author wants to get it signed for. You can still install unsigned drivers, with only a benign warning from the OS that it's "not signed by microsoft".

Re:Role of OS! (5, Insightful)

krazyninja (447747) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494102)

Windows' "driver signing" is only a way to guarantee that a particular driver is verified

Yah..But how long before that "option" is removed from the screen, and instead an "error" is indicated? From the way the DMCA has been brought upon, I dont see far.

Re:Role of OS! (5, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494424)

Yah..But how long before that "option" is removed from the screen, and instead an "error" is indicated? From the way the DMCA has been brought upon, I dont see far.

I'd tend to disagree. Microsoft does at least appear to have gained a clue about security recently, and if they refuse to allow unsigned drivers outright they are opening an ugly can of worms. It takes time to get that WHQL certification that marks a driver as signed, so consider what would happen in the scenario of an exploit being found in a WHQL driver and made public immediately.

The driver vendor might be able to issue a patch almost immediately, but would then have to submit it for WHQL approval before it can be installed. Even with somekind of "fasttrack emergency approval" mechanism for this situation, that's not going to happen overnight. Now imagine the outcry from those who do have a security clue if they are left vulnerable because Microsoft decided it was in their best interests not to allow them to install the patch because it was unsigned.

The security services have the definition right; a "trusted box" is one that has the capability to break your security policy. Think about it - your firewall is "trusted" right? Yet if it breaks and starts allowing all packets through, what just happened to security. Now, tell me again Microsoft, "Palladium" is "trusted computing" and this is a good thing? ;)

Re:Role of OS! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494104)

Yeah, but for how long?

Seriously, Microsoft is getting all the pieces in place, look at their "Secure Audio Path" approved drivers; they're pretty clearly planning to pull the "benign warning" lynch pin at some point.

Re:Role of OS! (0, Redundant)

Klerck (213193) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494103)

This is a correction to the poster of the parent. Windows drivers can be installed whether they are signed or not. The only fussing Windows does is complains that they aren't signed, but the user can install them anyway.

Re:Role of OS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494124)

Mr Klerk, how long till you have enough positive karma to give us some really good trolls?

Never (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494243)

Klerck can't do "really good trolls", he can just do "spew crap and masturbate furiously".

My theory is that Klerck and PhysicsScholar are the same person; the both talk shit and neither of them have any original material.

ACFP (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494074)

ACFP

Long trip... (5, Funny)

mseeger (40923) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494075)

Hi,

I hope he knows such trips to conferences may last longer than expected. Instead of bodyguards he should be guarded by lawyers.

Yours, Martin

Postscript Viewer (5, Informative)

enneff (135842) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494082)

For those that don't have a Postscript viewer and run Windows, check out RoPS [rops.org] - small, fast and effective.

Re:Postscript Viewer (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494117)

whoever modded this down is an idiot and should have their privilages revoked.

Re:Postscript Viewer (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494134)

Exactly. If you think I'm Karma Whoring or something then you're sorely mistaken, Mr. Downvote. I maxed out my Karma a long time ago - I simply posted the link because I had to search for a viewer myself.

- enneff

Re:Postscript Viewer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494163)

maxed out my Karma a long time ago

Then why do you care about down moderation?

Oh, I forgot. If you get moderated down for a couple of times you're banned for a while even if your karma is close to the cap.

You see now why moderation here is unfair?

Re:Postscript Viewer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494585)

Err, no. I care about down moderation because then no-one will see my post. What's the point of me posting (supposedly) helpful information if it's just going to get downvoted off the radar for most users?

Re:Postscript Viewer (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494160)

..or you can get ghostscript with gsview [wisc.edu] . Did you know that 63503 is isomorph in gsview? ;-)

It also costs $, while GhostScript is free (5, Interesting)

Slashamatic (553801) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494377)

Perhaps it is a sledgehammer to crack a nut but I would rather use GhostScript [ghostscript.com] . Both variants (AFPL and GPL) are esentially and totally free, respectively which I prefer. For such an article, is a commercial (and overpriced)viewer really appropriate?

Re:Postscript Viewer (1)

Mr. Droopy Drawers (215436) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494961)

OK, why is this site a .org? It is obviously a for-profit site.

I wonder... (-1, Offtopic)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494093)

How long it'll be before somebody decides to print that, scan it, ocr it, and repost it...

Crippled music discs? (2, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494095)

Do they have wheelchairs or crutches?

Oh nooooo... (3, Funny)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494368)

Now it's not just the DMCA we're up against; we also have to worry about the ADA. If you don't buy one of these copy-protected CDs you may be sued for discriminating against the handicapped.

Re:Crippled music discs? (0, Flamebait)

khuber (5664) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494562)

Race records, Christian Rock, Cripple Discs. It's just a natural progression.

-Kevin

Witch one is is: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494097)

What business-model do the FSF propose these days, is it:

1: Write free software.
2: ?
3: Examine Crippled Music Disks.
4: Profit.

Or is it:

1: Write free software.
2: ?
3: Eat a banana.
4: Profit!

?

Re:Witch one is is: (-1, Offtopic)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494107)

The correct business model is something like....

1: Write free software.
2: Examine Crippled Music Disks.
3: ?
4: Freedome.

Re:Witch one is is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494348)

Whose dome are we freeing?

Re:Witch one is is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494512)

Whose dome are we freeing?

Nobody's, domes should belong to themselves, that's why we're freeing them.

My bad, bro! One Love! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494099)

Hi! We're Sally and Johnny... and black people love us [blackpeopleloveus.com] !!!

LOTR: an allegory for our times (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494148)

Yesterday I saw the LOTR Two Towers trailer in the movies and suddenly I realized how important message this book/movie is carrying.

Right now the very survival of the most successful culture in the human history, the western judeo-christian civilization, is being threatened by the rising tide of Islam.

Just like Rohirrim, we are being surrounded by the black, merciless army of savages. Just like their king, the European leaders foolishly refuse to take firm action to counter this clear and present danger. Just like Gandalf, Aragorn and some of the Rohirrim ranks we must also rise to the occasion, take lead and do whatever is necessary to annihilate the Islam from the face of the earth.

We don't need dark lords like Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein or Yasser Arafat in our midst.

Re:LOTR: an allegory for our times (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494166)

Monsieur Le Pen, Herr Heider, Mr. Sharon or whomever you are.

Trying to see analogies between your racist bullshit idealogues and one of the greatest fantasy books ever written is truly pathetic even for a nazi like you.

Re:LOTR: an allegory for our times (3)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4495065)

Not to feed the trolls -- or, in this case, the Balrogs -- but...

There are far fewer than six degrees of separation between Tolkien's Magnum Opus and the Third Reich's own modern mythology. Himmler and the good Professor both drew from the same sources. Himmler, of course, took a very wrong turn Eastward through Hindu Mythology, but had both men sat at the same table at a dinner party, they would have had a lot to talk about...

Re:LOTR: an allegory for our times (-1, Troll)

ThePeeWeeMan (77957) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494181)

What, you think Osama is secretly using the RIAA to commit terrorist acts?

Then again, he actually might be...

Re:LOTR: an allegory for our times (1)

ThePeeWeeMan (77957) | more than 11 years ago | (#4495202)

Kudos to whoever modded this as Funny.

In other news, the "instant karma" algorithm on /. is breaking down... mentioning the RIAA, MPAA, DMCA and MS will no longer get you an instant +5.

Damn PS (0)

dew-genen-ny (617738) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494105)

Anyone care to repost that doc in another format ??? Our IT department are very very strict and I can't install jack on my NT box.... oh and my sun box can't see the 'net..... how much does that suck :C Cheers

Re:Damn PS (5, Informative)

Pathwalker (103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494125)

here [ofdoom.com] is a PDF version for those people stuck on systems with only an acrobat viewer.

It looks like he used a bitmap font, so the conversion looks a little ugly, but it is readable. I'll try to replace it with a better conversion in a half hour or so, as soon as I match the font he used.

Re:Damn PS (1)

RV.eq.VFG (609123) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494343)

the PDF version looks like the output from ps2pdf.

ps2pdf will sometimes convert text to high-resolution bitmapped fonts rather than to embedded outline fonts. Currently, this will always occur when the PostScript file uses CID-keyed or double-byte fonts, when the input file uses kshow, or in some cases if it uses fonts with non-standard encodings; it may occur in other cases as well.

Re:Damn PS (3, Interesting)

Pathwalker (103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494409)

Nope - that was Acrobat Distiller.
You don't want to see how badly the copy I made using ps2pdf turned out.

If you look inside the .ps file, the fonts are labeled %DVIPSBitmapFont: Fa cmsy10 10 2 - showing that they are the 600 DPI bitmap version of 10 point Computer Modern.

Acrobat distiller did what it could - it left all of the detail in the fonts. If you view the PDF file at 600 DPI or print it you can verify this for yourself.

The problem is, the bitmap fonts are designed to display at one resolution - 600 dpi. While they print well, they scale down very poorly.

I've been trying to replace the bitmap font with a vector version and reconvert, but I haven't had much luck so far.

Re:Damn PS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494548)

Bitmap fonts scale down very poorly in Adobe Acrobat, but there's no very good reason why Acrobat does such an astonishingly bad job of it. I've always thought this feature of Acrobat is one of the mysteries of the universe, especially considering that so many academic papers in PDF format have bitmap fonts.

If you do figure out a way of changing the font to a vector one without destroying the document to much, I for one would be fascinated to know how it's done...

Re:Damn PS (2)

captaineo (87164) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494674)

Maybe Adobe would prefer that authors buy Acrobat and use it to publish documents rather than LaTeX... =)

Re:Damn PS (1)

Hal-9001 (43188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494597)

I've always found that an annoying aspect of (La)TeX documents on the web...a lot of them look really crappy when converted to PDF...

Re:Damn PS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494608)

"While they print well, they scale down very poorly" is not the case. They display badly in
acroread due inadequacies in acroread. The real
problem is that Adobe sells type 1 fonts, so
thay have no incentive to fix the problem.

Re:Damn PS (-1)

dew-genen-ny (617738) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494416)

Cheers!!!

Re:Damn PS (1)

almaw (444279) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494862)

Already done that - see previous post:

HTML version available here [almaw.com]

This guy rocks! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494122)

Is it just me, or does he have a picture of Natalie Portman in his photo collection?

Her name is Julie? [princeton.edu]

Copy-protection bashing and Natalie Portman... A hero to us all. I salute you!

Re:This guy rocks! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494127)

Bah, Julia I mean. Damn my tired fingers.

Re:This guy rocks! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494154)

Nice pics.

I like Rachel better, though.

Re:This guy rocks! (-1, Offtopic)

Versix (575619) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494269)

Looks like her, but not quite... where's the mole on her left cheek? Besides, Natalie doesn't go to Princeton.

Actually, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494123)

they prefer the term "Music Discs with Disabilities"

Re:Actually, (5, Funny)

more fool you (549433) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494152)

or even useability-challenged

Re:Actually, (2)

Captain Large Face (559804) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494296)

How about:

Music disks with reading difficulties?

Re:Actually, (3, Funny)

wiit_rabit (584440) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494412)

How about Fair Use challenged.

Re:Actually, (3, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494553)

That's "Differently-abled", you insensitive right-wing clod!

'Frustrate fair use' (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494131)

Exactly. There is no way that an audio cd can be made copy-protected, and remain reasonably compatible with redbook CD players. It was never built in to the spec, and there is no way to shoe-horn it in to the spec now.

Just semantics? (0, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494190)

True, it is not probable that the industry can find a way to effectively protect a compact-disc from illegal copying without violating the specification, but how many average Britney Spears fans pay careful attention to how 'in spec' their CD collections are? What's the effective difference between a compact-disc and music on a plastic wafer that will play back pretty much anywhere but won't let people record from it, other than the preventing copying part?

On a related note (since I try to stomp out FUD where I find it), I'd have a hard time saying that the industry's intent is to destroy fair use. Where's the profit in that? I have little doubt that the problems that are occurring are because they're trying to -comply- with spec, not obliterate it -- namely, the problems some have noted with copy-protected compact discs are because the industry is trying to protect its content while remaining compatible with an obsolete standard. I have little doubt that when the next generation of media arrives, with effective digital rights management built in, that it will have the capability to deliver content and permit fair use while preventing the sort of rampant piracy that is driving small record chains out of business. I think that the free market will probably be the best way to determine how importantly fair use should factor in to these new designs.

Re:Just semantics? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494244)

Also, everyone should have a pet leprechaun who grants wishes.

Re:Just semantics? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494367)

Are you serious?

Re:Just semantics? (5, Insightful)

3141 (468289) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494464)

1. I'd have a hard time saying that the industry's intent is to destroy fair use. Where's the profit in that?

Fair use is largely concerned with being able to copy a work. The problem that I and many like me see is that it can't even be properly argued that there IS any profit in it. The point is not profit but control, with the idea that in some time in the future this can be leveraged to make profit. It's the same reason Disney are so scared to let "Steamboat Willie" fall out of copyright. You think they're going to many a fortune on that any time soon?

2. I have little doubt that the problems that are occurring are because they're trying to -comply- with spec, not obliterate it -- namely, the problems some have noted with copy-protected compact discs are because the industry is trying to protect its content while remaining compatible with an obsolete standard.

I have to wonder if you're not just having a laugh with this one. Altering a specification, for whatever reason, is quite the opposite to complying with it. The proper method of adding functionality to a specification is to create a new one. Compare how PNG could not support animation, so a new specification was made, MNG, that could. Also compare how no-one uses MNG, because they are quite happy with PNGs and animated gifs. This is how you determine whether a standard is obsolete or not, and the same logic applies to the CD. If everyone is happy with it, it isn't obsolete... or will you be listening to sounds with a frequency out of the (44100/2) = 22050Hz that CD supports?

3. I have little doubt that when the next generation of media arrives, with effective digital rights management built in, that it will have the capability to deliver content and permit fair use...

The two are the antithesis of each other. When the day comes that I can't copy a CD to play on another stereo, or just to make a backup, I've lost all pretence of having fair use capabilities in the CD.

4. ...while preventing the sort of rampant piracy that is driving small record chains out of business.

Examples, please. I have yet to see any examples that have evidence of piracy harming small record chains, while I have seen some that suggest it helps by providing wider exposure. "Piracy" has been bandied around so long as the cause of all commercial suffering that people are beginning to believe it, even using it for an excuse for failure.

5. I think that the free market will probably be the best way to determine how importantly fair use should factor in to these new designs.

Spot on correct! So when are we going to repeal the DMCA and throw out the SSSCA/CBDTPA? Let's let the free market (including all the fair-use supporting consumers) decide whether crippled content delivery will fly or not.

Re:Just semantics? (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494466)

What's the effective difference between a compact-disc and music on a plastic wafer that will play back pretty much anywhere but won't let people record from it, other than the preventing copying part?

It's not entirely clear from your question whether or not you realise that these pseudo-cds won't play back in devices correctly made to play real cds.

If the question is "what is the difference between a piece of plastic that will play on a class of devices and a piece of plastic that will play on a subset of that class of devices"? Then... well, I think with a bit of effort you should be able to work out the answer but if not then let me know and I'll try to think up some clues.

Re:Just semantics? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494564)

You're right, the average person doesn't care about the Redbook spec, but what I meant was that you can't create an audio CD that even plays on any standard audio CD player, than cannot be copied, regardless of whether it violates the Redbook spec.

In other words, if it plays on anything resembling a CD player, you can digitally copy it.

Just because scrambling the error correction throws off Windows PCs, that does not mean it is impossible to copy the disc. It might make it impossible for the average person, but not impossible.

Pissing away precious resources (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494988)

I wonder what the world would be like if all these efforts were directed at actually getting information into the hands and minds of people, as opposed to hiding it from them? Simplistic, yes. Information is just information to me. There is plenty of it for free or very low cost, and the for pay can be quickly reverse engineered in the human mind in a pinch. Timely delivery or well crafted information is of value and has a limited term business model.. i.e. books, research, art, .. but for the most part, in an economic sense, people should probably focus on tangible goods and services (not to be confused with Greenspeak's new economy folly).

I hope for an age of reason and innovation, a fairly major paradigm shift. But it's a possibility as these MNCs continue to p*ss away their working capital trying to abate evolution.. it's good that some of these cathedrals will fall, because there are some great raw materials there that can be recycled and used to create things of better value.

Fair use? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494144)

I think you'll find the copy-prevention efforts of the record industry are intended to foil the illegal copyright infringements that are virtually pandemic on the internet. No matter which word games you play in your quest to pretend that theft is legal, widespread unauthorized dissemination isn't fair use. This bleating about fair use is exactly the sort of propaganda that I hate. It's literally counterproductive to the cause of promoting genuine fair use.

The record companies aren't trying to stamp out fair use. They are trying to protect themselves from rampant theft. It is extremely intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise.

OT Re:Fair use? (5, Insightful)

expro (597113) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494196)

The record companies have had more than ample opportunity to express their committment, both verbally and in deeds, to preserving what used to be the normal use of purchased media and fair uses of media by their customers. They have made it clear that they are trying to stamp out exactly that by opposing it and never saying otherwise.

Whatever games they and you (and for all we know you are they) play to pretend otherwise, their goal is to squeeze more and more money out of those who legally purchase their works, thinking that as long as the market may be able to bear more, it is their duty to extract more by further restriction of rights, whatever that means to their customers.

This is also very obvious from your / their push to extend copyright perpetually, extracting more and more, not from the copyright violators, but from those who abide by the laws.

While you / they feel it is your right to push it to the edge to squeeze every last drop from the paying public who have suported you thus far, claiming you / they are just trying to make pirates pay their fair share. The fact kicking those who have been buying dozens or hundreds of new titles every a year does not make us more loyal, and will eventually lead to changes more fundamental than what you / they complain about today.

We know your industry hates discussion of fair use. If they ever showed any signs of actually caring about preserving the rights of the customer, they might have a legitimate sympathizer or two among the paying public. An approach that exhibited any evenhandedness, restoring some of what they have driven so hard to take away, would shock their opponents. There are any number of forms this could take technologically.

Which way will hardware producers go? (5, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494146)

As the paper points out, these schemes rely on "bugs" and "mis-features" in reader firmware, and it suggests that CDDA copy prevention won't last since "[...]Hardware and Software adaption is an inevitable and natural extension of improved design and bug fixing".

The question is if the hardware manufacturers will begin competing for customers by providing the very best fireware in their drives, or if they will join hands with the RIAA and the snake-oil salesmen. So far I see no decisive move in either direction.

Some drives can 'clone' protections just fine or need only better software on the computer side, but on the other hand there's a whole class of typical hardware -- like the Toshiba in this case -- which has been b0rken for so long that I really think the manufacturer is playing nice with the copy-protection industry.

Maybe what we really need is drives with a more capable RAW reading interface, then all errors could be emulated and/or corrected as necessary on the side we control, the computer.

Re:Which way will hardware producers go? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494272)

The question is if the hardware manufacturers will begin competing for customers by providing the very best fireware in their drives, or if they will join hands with the RIAA and the snake-oil salesmen.

Maybe they will. If you cast your mind back a few years, it was touch and go as to wether a drive supported CDDA properly. Consumers educated themselves and bought drives which were known to work. This caused a demand for CDDA capable drives, and the other manufacturers caught up (Most of them, anyway!). These days its hard to find a drive that doesn't do CDDA.

The system works! (O.K, it sort of works...). I don't see why it couldn't work again.

Re:Which way will hardware producers go? (4, Interesting)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494298)

The question is if the hardware manufacturers will begin competing for customers by providing the very best fireware in their drives, or if they will join hands with the RIAA and the snake-oil salesmen. So far I see no decisive move in either direction.

Well, here's a good sign: DVD players here in the UK are mostly region-agile, and are often advertised as such, even in national newspapers. Retailers tend to listen to consumers more then media monopolies do, as they compete more fiercely for customers.

Future directions (3, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494432)

The difference, I feel, is that the region system is something which average joes can understand and question; "So you're saying that for some artifical reason this player will reject DVDs I've bought over-seas?", while the reliance by CDDA copy-protection schemes on reader firmware (as opposed to being fully contained within the CDs themselves) isn't as apparent or easy to convey. Basically, people are mostly unaware that their choice of drive will and can change the degree to which they can use copy-protected discs on their computer.

I wish they'd used a Lite-On drive in the tests too. Plextor is mostly bought by people in-the-know, while Lite-on provides quality firmware (my experience) on a much wider level and could be used as a good recommendation based on quality, high availability and low price.

I'd also like to see future research which goes beyond the black-box approach and actually use a custom firmware to dump the disc.

I just hope that some manufacturer recognize the opportunity and either provides a good quality firmware with good failovers which just rips through these protections, or provides a firmware which can be switched into "dummy cd-player mode" in which it would behave exactly like a dumb cd-player would. This shouldn't take up too many bytes, and the interface could be anything from a simple "tripple-click eject button to change mode" to a nice looking GUI-app (which Plextor is very good with already, via their "PlexTools".

(I don't work for Plextor or Lite-On. I do own drives from both manufacturers though)

Re:Which way will hardware producers go? (1)

PjotrP (593817) | more than 11 years ago | (#4495219)

Another good sign is that even Sony has mp3 playing devices, one of which even has the selling line "record from the net..." on their own homepage... http://www.sonystyle.com/home/dept.jsp?hierc=9687& deptid=9687

"record from the net..."??? On the one hand they wanna cripple the fair use but on the other hand they release mp3 players that "record from the net..."? If you have the cd yourself why record from the net? for all those REALLY FREE mp3's made by people who cant get a record deal? yeah sure... that's just the same lame excuse that people who want kazaa to stay up use...

It happened with mp3 players... first there were only weird hong kong made mp3 players... but when sony and all the big boys saw how much money those hong kong guys made they all wanted a piece of the pie... the only thing that can break those corporations from doing anything they can to make more profit is their greed... I mean, they stick together quite nicely when fighting for their profits.. but as soon as they find out a way to make even more money by not sticking together they suddenly forget their partners in their lil axis of evil...

Oh dear! (-1, Redundant)

cyroth (103888) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494150)

Oh no, new copy protection measures. Whatever will we do now? We all know that only the most brilliant minds can bypass any new copy protection method

Standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494153)

Seems that some industries define standards to break them (for "additional features"). Interesting what happens to players if they follow the standard, i.e. they probably need to be a bit "non-standard" to play crippled CDs...

Let's be fair here... (5, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494170)

Princeton student Alex Halderman takes apart (bit by bit, literally) the "tricks on tracks" employed by the music industry to frustrate fair use."

...as if the music industry's actions has nothing whatsoever to do with frustrating music pirates.

Let's be fair here. We all know that recent copy protection schemes do in fact (at the very least) interfere with fair use, but we can't forget/deliberately ignore the underlying goal of the music industry for the sake of sensationalism, however faulty their methods are.

So what is a "pirate"? (5, Insightful)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494351)

There is no scheme yet devised that will significantly hamper true music pirates. And by that term, I mean people who create and redistribute bootleg CDs for profit. Any of those folks will just take an audio CD player and capture the music via the SPDIF output.

The music industry wants to convince the world that anyone who records a CD to their hard disc is a "pirate." They want consumers to believe that making a backup copy in case of damage is piracy. They want people to believe that creating a "mix CD" of your favorite songs is piracy. They want the public to believe that the guy who copies a CD so he can have one in his car and one at home is a pirate. In short, they are waging a campaign to equate simple copying with piracy.

In their ideal world, if you wanted a copy of a CD for the car and one for the home, you would have to purchase two of them. If you wanted a "mix CD" with numerous hits, you would choose from their canned compilations. If you damaged the CD while moving it from player to player, you would have to purchase a new one (since you would not have a backup). This is not about piracy. It's about making you pay multiple times for the same music.

Re:So what is a "pirate"? (4, Interesting)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494529)

All very good points, but let me ask you this:

Would this nearly as much of an issue without the likes of Napster and P2P contributing to the proliferation of illegal music distribution (whatever you want to call it, I'm talking about the illegal stuff)?

Outdated business models, infringements on fair use, and past claims about bootlegging aside (we've heard all of that already) there's a definite cause-and-effect relationship between the ease of file sharing/distribution and the xxAA's actions.

Ignoring the fact that people who have illegally acquired/distributed software have largely contributed to the problem we are now facing from the music/movie industries won't make that fact go away.

Re:So what is a "pirate"? (5, Insightful)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494892)

Would this nearly as much of an issue without the likes of Napster and P2P contributing to the proliferation of illegal music distribution (whatever you want to call it, I'm talking about the illegal stuff)?

I think so. I believe that Napster and other P2P networks were simply an excuse. There is little evidence to suggest that Napster et al. were costing the record companies a lot in sales. In fact, there were some pretty reputable studies and polls done that showed that exposure to new music on Napster caused people to buy more CDs. It's one thing to download a song or two by an artist to see if you like their stuff, but it is quite another to risk $15 or more on a CD that you've never heard.

Want to know what the largest network is that distributes copyrighted music? FM radio. Back in high school when I wanted one song by a band and could not afford and/or justify buying their whole album, I'd just record it off the air on cassette. My friends did the same thing. We also made cassettes of LPs (yeah, I know that I'm old).

I think that the RIAA just saw this as an opportunity to push crippled CDs on to the public.

Re:So what is a "pirate"? (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494965)

"There is little evidence to suggest that Napster et al. were costing the record companies a lot in sales."

That wasn't the point I was making. My point is that these technologies simply have made it easier to aquire their product without paying for it.

"Want to know what the largest network is that distributes copyrighted music?"

That's true, but neither Napster nor any of the P2P software makers are paying royalties for the distribution of their product.

And I may be too young to remember, but I don't recall any music company suing a radio station over listeners who were recording songs from the airwaves.

Re:So what is a "pirate"? (2)

Melantha_Bacchae (232402) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494969)

goldspider writes:

> there's a definite cause-and-effect relationship
> between the ease of file sharing/distribution and
> the xxAA's actions.

Yes, let us take a moment to weep for the pirates that enslave the artists in work-for-hire contracts, and take their copyrights so they can profit from their ill gotten booty again and again. The poor old things have gotten shanghai'ed by their customers who break their copyrights by sharing the music with others for no profit. Boo-hoo.

Please! P2P is a convenient scapegoat, and the greedy media sharks know it. It is a competitor that they want to destroy. P2P competes with the big labels in two ways:

1) Promotion. Some of the indies have spoken out to confirm it. They actually profit from P2P because it promotes their work.

2) Distribution. P2P is an efficient distribution network. Used legally, it can get demos out to a wide audience. Used in combination with existing internet shareware sales structures and things like Amazon ZShops, even a small indie (student with basement studio) could easily distribute demo mp3s and sell CDs.

> Ignoring the fact that people who have illegally
> acquired/distributed software have largely
> contributed to the problem we are now facing
> from the music/movie industries won't make that
> fact go away.

Nope, the real problem is a bunch of greedy pirate media sharks. Mothra dealt with that problem 41 years ago by trouncing evacuated areas of Newkirk City (Hollywood) until they freed and returned her little artists to her ("Mothra" 1961). These days she has gotten a lot sneakier and made friends with Apple ("Mothra" 1996, "Mothra 2" 1997), who has pledged to democratize the tools of the music and movie industries.

The way to make that problem go away for good is to replace the greedy sharks with indie artists and small business studios. Then the rights of the artists will be preserved, and the public will have a wide and plentiful variety of inexpensive music. (Until then, grab a pair of rocks, and beat out: "Strangers, strangers, let them go!" ;)

Fame might still be possible, but it will be a rare and deserved crown granted by the real public, and not a tinsel crown bestowed by some music exec with a tin ear.

"They bind our hearts: 'Let's sell them again and again!'
Our plan understands the sea; we can wait for her coming."
From the song "Infanto no Musume" in the Japanese version of "Mothra" (1961).

Re:Let's be fair here... (5, Interesting)

Chriscypher (409959) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494683)

It amazing me that the same battles seem to be fought as computers infiltrate each new market. In the early 80's, personal computer software publishers did everything in their power to copy protect floppy disks, writing on half tracks, out-of-range tracks, and using other floppy format tricks.

This created a new industry of commercial disk copy utilities, such as Copy2Mac, etc etc which enabled any floppy disk to be duplicated. For years it was an arms race of new protection schemes vs. copy utilities.

If I remember correctly (I was pretty young then), lawsuits were filed against copy utility publishers, which lost, the courts holding that making a personal copy for backup purposes fell under fair use doctrine.

I am sure there are plenty of prior cases which would overthrow the DMCA if a test case would only come to court.

This software copy protection war resulted in:
A) Common use of copy utilities by end users
B) Eventual resignation by the industry against protecting media: not worth the cost or user inconvience.
C) Introduction of hardware dongles for high-ticket software.
D) The serial number 'protection' method in common use today for software.

So here we are with music publishers revisiting the same war, and I believe they too will ultimately lose. I believe their actions are the result of old school inertia within the industry, and that ultimately, their business model will necessarily change.

Same thing (2)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494730)

The music industry considers fair use to be theft. See, for instance, the dialogue between Hilary Rosen and Orrin Hatch, where she told him that it should be illegal to copy a CD he bought for his car or for his wife.

What a geek! (-1, Offtopic)

nniillss (577580) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494175)

RedHat Linux 7.3 (kernel release 4.2.18-3)

(from the article, page 3)

Re:What a geek! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494302)

Cool! I bet even Linus isn't up to the 4.2 series kernel. My Red Hat is 2.4...{sob} :-(

Re:What a geek! (0)

evil superstar (449136) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494955)

the guy writes his paper in postscript, what do you expect?

errr, what's ps? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494176)

it doesn't have an icon on my windows xp system. Do I use notepad :(

Re:errr, what's ps? (0)

ottffssent (18387) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494375)

I do hope that was /intended/ to be +1 Funny. Because if you really don't know what postscript is, you're too young to read Slashdot...

<feels old>

Re:errr, what's ps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494492)

I do hope that was /intended/ to be +1 Funny. Because if you really don't know what postscript is, you're too young to read Slashdot...

But I'm 97, how old do you have to get? :(

Re:errr, what's ps? (2, Funny)

Hal-9001 (43188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494544)

1337 h4x0rs read Postscript in plain text...just not in Notepad... ;-)

Just use an CD-Burner (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494192)

I just had contact with an copy protected audio cd.
It was a present at a birthday party on which musik was played with a pc. We just wanted to insert the CD to the cdrom an listen to the music. The music wasn't playing and the cdplayer just hung. So we booted into Winblows to try it over there. Same result. The guy was only listening to the music with his computer. So i took the cd with me and ripped it in my CD-Burner. So now i have a spare copy of the disk just because it was copy protected. Doh.
Music industrie annoys me - haven't bought any CD's lately. This boycott is not very constructive
but i just don't have any idea how to "fair use" the music of the artist.

Re:Just use an CD-Burner (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494726)

I'm glad I don't go to your parties.

I don't understand why they try... (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494230)

...because this only pisses off their existing customers. I've yet to see one CD protection that hasn't been bit-exact ripped by someone (which is all it takes).

If they can't play it in the devices they have will they
a) Call it a defective cd? Most likely.

b) When they find out it's defective by design, will they

1) Continue to buy defective CDs?
2) Get a normal CD(-R) from friends or mp3 from internet?

We get more and more DVD/CD/MP3/kitchen sink consumer players. Break compatibility with those, and the MPAA will have only themselves to thank when the customers abandon them (Who the hell pays $20-25/CD anyway, that's the usual full price here in Norway...)

Kjella

Re:I don't understand why they try... (3, Insightful)

ljfrench (110495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494371)

If they can't play it in the devices they have will they
a) Call it a defective cd? Most likely.
b) When they find out it's defective by design, will they
1) Continue to buy defective CDs?
2) Get a normal CD(-R) from friends or mp3 from internet?


No, right about the time the users start to rally and enough of an outcry is made, the RIAA will present their solution: A new medium, be it DVDA or SACD or some other format, that has DRM built in.

They're hoping if they frustrate you enough, you'll eventually have to choose another medium, which they'll be happy to provide!

ljfrench

easy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494261)

Play CD in stereo
Connect line-out from stereo to soundcard's line-in
Record line-in to harddisk

Another paper from the future! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494265)

A linux system with kernel release 4.2.18-3 ?
I want that too.. It's nice to see the 4.x kernels still including pentium-III support.

Updated software "soon"? (1)

Spider[DAC] (129824) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494275)

This paper appears to have a lot of good pointers to software writers, including a "recipie" to make cdr-dao read the faulty discs on all hardware readers that support it.

Will this lead to a new release of cdr-dao "soon" that incorporates theese suggestsions? will the apperantly "dead" cdparanoia also be updated? (yes, it did work good on plextor, but for other cd-roms, can it be made to work?)

I also wonder, how can theese suggestions be incorporated in the average cd player? things like xmms would probably need updating to the cd player module to handle some of theese. I know it's ugly hacking to go around broken hardware, but thats what we do in all other places....

DMCA? (2)

Whispers_in_the_dark (560817) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494386)

I have to wonder whether publishing the results of such endeavours violates the DMCA -- it sure seems like everything that involves data security does these days. I'm still happy he's published but I wonder whether the lawyer-boys in the RIAA are salivating right now... (insert hungry animal growling noise here).

IANAL but... (3, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494692)

Any attempt to bar publication of a dicussion of various techniques should fail as long as the author doesn't post source code or executables. The DMCA does not override the First Ammendment and, IIRC, only deals with devices that defeat copy protection.

The industry likes to threaten lawsuits over technical discussions of their various techniques, but they will never actually let one of those lawsuits be taken to court because they know they'll be bitchslapped into the middle of next week by a pissed off judge. They'd far rather stick an academian with the cost of initially retaining a lawyer rather than risk having to pay his legal fees for blatantly abusing the legal system.

So they may file a lawsuit but it'll be retracted as soon as Halderman's lawer files his first brief.

PDF version (3, Informative)

almaw (444279) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494469)

Call me a karma-whoring idiot if you like, but I thought I'd stick up a copy of this in a format that's not quite so bitmapped. ph33r my l33t OCRing skillz, etc. :)

Click here for an HTML version [almaw.com] .

Re:PDF version (1)

almaw (444279) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494477)

Oh, and when I said "PDF version" in the header, I didn't mean that - I was going to do a PDF, but Acrobat's being rather uncooperative. :(

There's a Word (spit) version too:
Click here for a Word (doc) version [almaw.com]

A chance to get ahead of the curve (5, Interesting)

seanellis (302682) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494542)

Looks like we can get ahead of the game here, by ensuring that we have our "Free Alex" flyers and placards printed out in advance.

Seriously, the amount of information in this paper is similar to that which got Dmitry Sklyarov detained under the Downloaded Music Criminalization Act (DMCA). It even gives information as to which programs and hardware are most effective at bypassing these copy-restriction technologies.

It's well worth a read to see how these technolgies only work due to buggy or fragile implementations of the standard.

technical analysis in Halderman paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4494633)

Isn't this technical research mostly based on the assumption that the firmware programmers of Plextor did their job good (while others can't)? I think he should has done his technical analysis with more drives, like Teac or the latest Yamaha F1. Drives like this also read audio protections fine.

big cancer carrying monsters biting their own ass. (2, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494706)

imagine, buying a SONY minidisc player, that's advertised being easy to use and fast to transfer songs to from your cd's via your pc(and able to play mp3's), and that come's with software to do that.

you buy it at an all purpose entertainment electronics supermarket that sells cd's too, you pick up a record you like that's published by SONY thinking that at least that one should work easily (because you are not very tech savvy and would like the first transfer to go smooth as possible).

you get home after that, excited about your new purchase, software installs easily but the cd copy to player just won't work, completely clueless you call your geek friend who then comes over, and explains he could tell you how to do it but would have to kill you afterwards.

would the average consumer be a LITTLE confused and afterwards disappointed at this?

could the companies PLEASE at least make up their mind about the issues?(sure they might be different depts. of same corp. but still.. and sure this same issue might have been brought up before too.)

Re:big cancer carrying monsters biting their own a (1)

thomasdelbert (44463) | more than 11 years ago | (#4495259)

could the companies PLEASE at least make up their mind about the issues?

I think that they are pretty clear on this issue - they don't really care if you copy a competitor's cd's. Just don't copy theirs. Sounds pretty clear to me

-Thomas

Whoa! I gotta get me one of these! (0, Offtopic)

u38cg (607297) | more than 11 years ago | (#4494746)

Since when did Red Hat release with a 4.2.18-3 kernel? I can't seem to find it in the official tree, so I might just have to reconsider my loyalties to SuSE.

What about home audio CD recorders? (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 11 years ago | (#4495214)

I continue to feel that attention should be paid to how these things interact with home audio CD recorders, and not just because I happen to own one.

Under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, blank media for home audio CD recorders includes a fee which is distributed to publishers and artists in exchange for the right to copy the CD. Home audio recorders are restricted from writing to ordinary blank CD-R media; the media must have the encoding that identifies them as a "Music CD-R" thus verifying that the fee has been paid, and they also incorporate a "serial copy control system" which makes it difficult for people to create huge numbers of copies by making copies for three friends who each make copies for three friends, etc.

Copy-protection schemes have to corrupt the data enough to prevent access by standard computer software. HOWEVER, they must not corrupt it so much that home audio CD recorders fail, or they are (probably) violating the AHRA.

In practice, Universal Music evaded answering any questions I asked them about this issue; however, when I sent them a copy of "The Fast and the Furious" which my home audio CD recorder refused to copy, they sent me a replacement which did! I believe their strategy is "avoid public discussion by taking care of any individuals who complain, on a case-by-case basis."

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