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Artist Suggesting Ways Around Copy Protection

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the silly-rabbit-artists-dont-own-their-work dept.

Music 548

fanboyslayer writes "Switchfoot's new album Nothing Is Sound shipped from Sony with copy protection software on the CD, much to the dismay of thousands of iPod-wielding fans. The band posted a response on their official forum apologizing for the protection and detailing ways to circumvent the protection and rip their songs to PC. Switchfoot linked to open-source program CDex's download page with instructions on disabling the autorunning protection and ripping the files to MP3. Many of Switchfoot's fans have been upset by the copy protection measures, and it's nice to know the artists seem to care about the issue."

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548 comments

Mastadon (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594219)

WTF is "Mr. Mastadon Farm"'s chorus about?!

Nice comment (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594223)

It's nice to see bands standing up for their public against the wishes of their labels. I can imagine this posting will cause some heated discussions within Sony!

For those too lazy to RTFA their advice is "press shift when loading the CD", and "if that's too late, burn the music back to CD and rip it again".

Re:Nice comment (4, Informative)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594262)

I prefer this comment:

A) If you're a mac user, or you have access to a mac, or you purchased the dual disc, you should have no problems... simply import the songs the same way as you always do.

Re:Nice comment (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594330)

I prefer this comment:

A) If you're a mac user, or you have access to a mac, or you purchased the dual disc, you should have no problems... simply import the songs the same way as you always do.

Not trying to Mac-bash, but having only about 3% of the consumer market share does have it's advantages.

If the Apple and Windows userbases suddenly became equal, you'd see copy protection for both platforms. Why spend an equal amount of money for copy protection that's only going to affect 3% of your consumers vs 95%?

That said, the whole DMCA side of this is plain stupid. Microsoft designed Windows (this really *is* a feature :) so that you could bypass pesky autorun software by holding the SHIFT key (or just turning off on a per-drive basis). It's not a secret [microsoft.com] . Maybe Sony should sue Microsoft for not giving them a good way to prohibit users from exercising their fair use rights. That's a Slashdot article I want too see; Microsoft getting sued (yay!) but by Sony because they want strict media access control (boo!).

Re:Nice comment (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594448)

Microsoft designed Windows (this really *is* a feature :) so that you could bypass pesky autorun software by holding the SHIFT key (or just turning off on a per-drive basis)

What's the odds that in Vista, the Autorun feature will be "improved" so that it's more like, "to disable Autorun, hold down SHIFT, unless it's a copy-protected disc in which case it WILL auto-run regardless of any key-presses or registry changes you make"?
/me paranoid first thing on a Monday morning

Re:How will burning back affect quality? (2, Interesting)

slashnik (181800) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594343)

"burn the music back to CD and rip it again".

The article suggests in option (c) copying the secure WMA files to the PC and then burning these WMA files to a standard CD, and then use iTunes to rip the songs.

What's the quality going to be like after all this format conversion?

Re:How will burning back affect quality? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594360)

shitty

Re:Nice comment (-1, Troll)

Magada (741361) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594391)

The artists are mere karma bitches, playing Sony for money and the general public for simpathy. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Wow (4, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594224)

Wow, I wonder how Sony will respond to this. After all, bands usually have to give away all their freedom (and their souls) to the record companies when they sign.

Respect to Switchfoot. Oh, and down with the record companies, who don't give a damn about the artists or their music.

Re:Wow (1, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594245)

Um. Well, the obvious answer is to charge him with the criminal act of circumventing copyright protection in violation of the DMCA. I believe there would be both civil and criminal charges involved.

I don't see what other choice they have. You can't sue some kid for using a green marker on your CDs to break the protection, but not do the same with your own "employees" who are encouraging and educating people on how to perform a criminal act. Especially since the copyright no doubt belongs to the record label and not the band.

Re:Wow (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594352)

They aren't encouraging a criminal act.

They are giving their paying fans/customers exactly what they want.

A way to play their purchased songs on their iPods.

Not one single mention of piracy or p2p.

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594417)

yes but what their paying customers want, is in fact a way to circumvent the copy protection on the cd, whic because of the infinite intelligence that is the dmca, is illegal ;-)

Re:Wow (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594463)

And to play those purchased songs on their ipods, they have to circumvent copyright protection, which is a crime. This has nothing to do with piracy or p2p.

Re:Wow (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594315)

I'm sure Switchfoot isn't all that concerned, even if Sony drops them from their record label. There are a ton of record labels [about.com] that would happily pick up Switchfoot.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594402)

It will be real funny when bands can completely circumvent the established methods of music recording and publication. I see a day not to far away when you can mix a song on logic and export it to the iTunes music store to be sold.

Also, has anyone noticed how bad sony wants to be apple these days?

NOBODY WANTS IT (5, Insightful)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594227)

So..

Artists dont want it.
Consumers dont want it. ...

When will they learn? It's such a pain in the ass to get any media, especially DVDs with diff region codes that I am literally FORCED to warez movies to play on my mac. If I buy the DVD, I can not play it (I am in the UK - I want to buy a Region 1 DVD...)

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (2, Insightful)

Willeh (768540) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594239)

That doesn't matter as long as the people who call the shots want it, ie. the record companies themselves. The rest is by and large, inconsequential. They control the band via stranglehold-contracts, and the consumers buy the product like the sheep they are.

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594273)

Artists dont want it.

You're extrapolating a bit. In this case:

Artist dont want it.

I'm sure we have thousands of artists out there that puts record company deals before their fans abilities to use iPods. I wouldn't even be surprised if it's more the rule than the exception.

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (0, Flamebait)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594412)

Artist dont want it.
You mean "Artist doesn't want it" right?

Wow, I actually was able to correct someones spelling. My knowledge of the English language just went up from "terrible" to "poor".

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (4, Insightful)

dave1212 (652688) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594427)

I'm sure we have thousands of artists out there that puts record company deals before their fans abilities to use iPods.

Very true, and those 'artists' that feel that way will end up without any fans.

Bands who care only about money won't last.

Bands who care about their fans? They'll last forever.

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (1)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594293)

Why don't you spend 30 on another DVD drive to play your region 1 discs on- the regions are controlled by the hardware, so all you have to do is fit another cheap drive and set it to region 1.

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594338)

I thought I was not allowed to have a Region 1 drive in region 2? Won't I get taken to court or something? (Obviously I will not, I am talking about the letter of the law here..)

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (1)

Troglodyt (898143) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594324)

If the artists and consumers don't want it they are free to go about their business without the record labels. Nobody is forcing artists to sign a deal to release their music, and nobody is forcing consumers to buy records from the labels. The labels won't learn until the public gets fed up with this crap and stop buying records.

Re:NOBODY WANTS IT (2, Insightful)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594363)

Sadly, it doesn't mean a thing. As long as people continue to buy copy-protected CDs, region-encoded DVDs and other DRMed media, they will continue using it.

    It's as simple as that; if they feel it might be benefitial to their buisness and consumers put up with it, it will be there. That it might annoy consumers who have deal with that shit with media they bought legally is of little consequence.

Good to see... (3, Insightful)

SecureTheNet (915798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594229)

that bands at least care about their listeners. Maybe artists can pressure their labels into getting rid of this crap? Now that they've posted instructions on getting around the copy protection, is Sony going to sue them using the DMCA??

Re:Good to see... (1)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594292)

>>Maybe artists can pressure their labels into getting rid of this crap?

*hmm* maybe U2 can. But your average band on most contracts won't have that much clout with their label. Especially new bands. You're in a band, a label offers you a 5 album deal. The deal maybe mentions (or doesn't) DRM. yer not gonna knock back the deal or kick up that much of a fuss, are you? ok *you* might think you will sitting in yer mums basement/attic making generic house with a warezed copy of reason...

But when it comes down to it...

I'm glad... (0, Redundant)

dadjaka (827325) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594234)

I don't have to Dare You To Move on copy-protection - This is Your Life, and I'm glad you choose to let us share it. *That* is sound. :-) I love making fun of names... it's a Simple Plan :-)

RIAA Lawsuit Factor (5, Interesting)

digital-madman (860873) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594235)

Okay folks.. My first thought was: "How cool! At least not all artist's (I'm looking at you metallica) are all about money and not the art". But here's another thought. Most artists only make around $2 profit (I've read that somewhere, sorry I can't source it) per album. The rest of the 15 bucks go to production, marketing, studios, and guess who? The RIAA! So this could be the first case where the RIAA sues AN ARTIST! With all the P2P music trading lawsuits... I think the RIAA has the grounds here. The Artist could be called pirates for detailing how to bypass the DRM. Plus the OSS software is now at risk of a RIAA lawsuit. I'm no lawyer so I may be off base here but I do think the next Slashdot headline will be "RIAA Sues Switchfoot". -Digital Madman

Re:RIAA Lawsuit Factor (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594259)

You overshot the artist's profit by about a buck.

I don't recall specific numbers, but the artist gets a number of points. Each point counts for something like sixteen cents. It usually ends up being around a dollar per album. And out of that, I believe they have to pay their agent, manager and often times pay for some or all expenses involved in videos and touring and maybe even production.

The optics would be really bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594268)

The RIAA is wrapping themselves in the flag and insisting that they are protecting the interests of the artists. If they start suing the artists, then the truth of the matter becomes obvious.

My wag is that the RIAA sends their lawyers over to Switchfoot and makes them an offer they can't refuse and makes them sign a non-disclosure agreement. We'll never hear about it.

On the other hand, we do have the example of several (at least two that I have heard of) single mothers standing up to the RIAA, so maybe there's some hope.

That could be a good thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594279)

Even the fattest of fatcat judges can see that not only are the RIAA's tactics and intentions dishonorable (if not actually illegal) but that everybody else can see it too, and siding with the RIAA may not be A Good Thing, at least as far as the judge's public image and credibility goes.

So go right ahead RIAA and and sue the very people who created the art work you are mercilessly exploiting and getting rich off of. It could be at least as good as the whole SCO debacle!

Re:RIAA Lawsuit Factor (4, Informative)

JeFurry (75785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594395)

The information linked below is out of date by a decade, but the industry hasn't changed in essence very much except for the very recent introductions of online music shopping (which the RIAA is still involved in) and podcasting/torrenting (which it isn't much, *yet*). I think the title sums it up well: "Some of your friends are already this fucked." http://www.arancidamoeba.com/mrr/problemwithmusic. html [arancidamoeba.com] The financial breakdown on this page indicates a rather bleaker picture than $2 per album.

Re:RIAA Lawsuit Factor (2, Insightful)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594426)

So this could be the first case where the RIAA sues AN ARTIST!

Doubt it - they might be able to pull that off legally, but it would hurt them politically. So in all likelyhood they'll just ignore the whole thing.

Not a chance (1)

banana fiend (611664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594432)

Why would they sue the artist?

With a lot of artists coming out and making bold statements about politics etc. why would they shoot themselves in the foot and give Bono et al. a cause to bring a massively-publicised effort against their practices?

Not a chance. They'll sue the consumer and say the consumers are hurting the artists. That way the artists who want to complain come off as patronising the "little guy" when telling consumers to be more aware while making lucrative deals and earning money from consumers mistakes (never mind that they may not be given a choice, or a good deal). The record companies want tension between the artists and the consumer, NOT to be fighting a two-fronted war. If there is a lawsuit, it will be against CDEX or people using it illegally.

I'd never heard of the band.. (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594236)

But, once I read TFA, I looked them on the iTMS. Not really my thing, but I hope that they get a lot of sales from this exposure.

-jcr

Re:I'd never heard of the band.. (0, Redundant)

Eric604 (798298) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594379)

Ah, I haven't read TFA and I haven't looked them on the iTMS but I know it's not really my thing because I don't like bands. Anyway I hope that they get a lot of sales from this exposure and won't give CDex much trouble.

No Possible way out??? (5, Insightful)

inflex (123318) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594241)

It is heartbreaking to see our blood, sweat, and tears over the past 2 years blurred by the confusion and frustration surrounding this new technology. It is also unfortunate when bands such as ourselves, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, etc... (just a few of the new releases with copy protection) are the target of this criticism, when there is no possible way to avoid this new industry policy.

[Bolding mine]

Not sure about there being "no possible way" - perhaps when it comes time to renew their contract with Sony they'll consider going to alternative solutions. Worse comes to worse, perhaps they won't ever be able to escape Sony but they'll serve as a warning for others.

If the large corps keep on with this process it'll typically generate a new band of recording studios who don't and thus are seen as somewhat more friendly (though the cycle will probably still go on).

Re:No Possible way out??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594358)

But consider, small bands that are given the once in a lifetime opportunity to work with Sony and have their music delivered to the world probably won't have the "DRM on their CDs" as their number one priority. I know so many bands that struggle to break from being local to something bigger.

DMCA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594242)

This is a band from the USA. Unless I'm mistaken, since the record company is usually the copyright holder of the recordings, this is actually a case of a band infringing the DMCA by telling people how to access their own music. Seems like a perfect example of how screwed up the DMCA is. I can only hope that they get sued for it, perhaps then people will realise the extent to which both copyright and the music industry is screwed up.

Re:DMCA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594307)

Although I despise the DMCA and the major record labels as much as the next guy, it's not "their own music" since, like you said, the record company probably holds the copyrights.
Is this fucked up? Of course it is.

Re:DMCA (5, Insightful)

dr_d_19 (206418) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594334)

This is NOT "a perfect example of how screwed up the DMCA is". This is a perfect example of the original copyright holder (Switchfoot) SELLING the copyright of his/hers/their music to another party (Sony). There. You get the money, and you LOSE the control. Simple as that.

DMCA only involvement in this story is the fact that the band gave instructions on how to circumvent the copy protection. But the discussion about DMCA belongs in another thread.

Re:DMCA (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594430)

The mere fact that you can sell your copyright to another party is questionable isn't it? The power of copyright in the US comes from the constitution:

Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Not to their agents. Not to their wives or children. Not to their publisher. To the Authors. Of course we've had too many years of copyright law abuse and reinterpretation to contest it now.

Re:DMCA (3, Interesting)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594344)

Sony will have to sue their own employees, since when I voiced my frustrations after buying a CD with copy protection (The Coral - Invisible Invasion), I couldn't put it on my iPod. After giving them my email they sent me this:

[Windows]

If you have a PC place the CD into your computer and allow the Sony BMG audio player on the CD to automatically start. If the player software does not automatically start, open your Windows Explorer. Locate and select the drive letter for your CD drive. On the disc you will find either a file named LaunchCD.exe or Autorun.exe. Double-click this file to manually start the player.

TIP: If your CD does not contain either the LaunchCD.exe or
                Autorun.exe files, it may not be compatible with this iPod
                solution. Please reply to this letter for more information.

Once the Sony BMG player application has been launched and the End User License Agreement has been accepted, you can click the Copy Songs button on the top menu.

Follow the instructions to copy the secure Windows Media Files (WMA) to your PC. Make a note of where you are copying the songs to, you will need to get to these secure Windows Media Files in the next steps.

Once the WMA files are on your PC you can open and listen to the songs with Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher (or another fully compatible player that can playback secure WMA files, such as MusicMatch, RealPlayer, and Winamp). You can then burn the songs to a standard Audio CD. Please note that in order to burn the files, you will need to upgrade to, or already have, Windows Media Player 9 or 10.

Once the standard Audio CD has been created, place this copied CD back into your computer and open iTunes. iTunes can now rip the songs as you would any normal audio CD.

Please note an easier and more acceptable solution requires cooperation from Apple, who we have already reached out to in hopes of addressing this issue. To help speed this effort, we ask that you use the following link to contact Apple and ask them to provide a solution that would easily allow you to move content from protected CDs into iTunes or onto your iPod rather than having to go through the additional steps above:

      http://www.apple.com/feedback/ipod.html [apple.com]

Thank you for the opportunity to be of assistance.

The Sony BMG Online Support Team
CCKM


Notice how they try to blame Apple because they only allow customers to rip to crippled (and crappy, IMO) WMA. I eventually just downloaded Exact Audio Copy [google.ca] and it ripped it just fine. Still frustrating.

sigh. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594243)

How long do you think it'll take for Sony to delete the post? My guess... they'll say "even if you bought the cd, simply trying to extract the songs onto your pc means you're going to send the songs to all your friends" and shut it down within a couple days. I don't understand this logic at all. Apparently (since the RIAA goes after p2p), they don't seem to care about the commercial pirating of music. I wonder what will happen when every music cd has copy protection on it, yet p2p and everything else (insert bittorrent jokes) thrive. The only thing this copy protection does is piss off people who legitimately bought the cd... it does absolutely NOTHING to stop piracy. sigh

Re:sigh. (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594306)

Truth is, digital copying is definately the easiest and fastest way to copy.. but as long as a home/pro audio cd player can play the music, there will always be piracy.

Ultimately, even if it takes hours and hours to get something to a piratable form, someone will have the time and means to do it and get the release out there eventually- much like it used to be with vcd's/vivo's, etc.

Even some consumer grade cd players have 24bit burr-brown dac's. Someone with a really nice cd player and a really nice sound card could probably make a rip that is almost indistinguishable from its digital brethren.

The other truth is that there are copyright bit removers you can buy for S/PDIF digital connections that will allow you to record digitally on your soundcard. Some soundcards supposedly have drivers/hacks that allow you to record copyright bit set streams.

Even if we get to the point where speakers are digital and have some sort of DRM in them (you never know...), a nice sound room with all the right foam and what not and some expensive mics and recording equipment would get a copy.

The point is, as long as you can listen to the music physically, there will always be a way to rip it.

Re:sigh. (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594337)

I should add, we may see the rebirth of an age of sneakernet piracy (like handing off tapes to your friends).

1) Remove DRM or make analog recording
2) Record on some digital media (cd, minidisc, zip, whatever)
3) Give to friend

Virtually untraceable.

Hell, maybe the audio tape will rise again. I have a professional tape deck and cd player at home and when I've made recordings, even I have trouble hearing the difference given a nice EQ setup.

Forget an iPod, a walkman is a couple of bucks at your local wal mart- most of which don't have any slurring while jogging as long as your batteries are good.

Re:sigh. (2, Insightful)

Eric604 (798298) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594398)

I am an old fashioned pirate, I just sing out loud the songs I hear. Like in the old days. No DRM that can shut me up.

Evil? (5, Interesting)

KingOfGod (884633) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594249)

So, let me get this straight.
The record labels ARE the bad guys, and the band themselves probably didnt have a say when their record label decided that the CD should have copy protection, right?
The artists did realize that by putting copyright-protection on their CD, the piracy of their CD would increase, and not decrease - like the record company propagates - because everyone wants to listen to their music not just on their CD player, but also on their mp3 player, car stereo, and whatnot, right?

I really salute these guys for doing that they did, by putting out these instructions. It doesnt even matter to me that this smells a bit like a PR stunt - The thing that matters is that maybe more artists will follow this example, and soon "UNPROTECTED AUDIO-CD" will be a treat, just like "Limited Edition" is today.

Re:Evil? (1)

MoogMan (442253) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594441)

It doesnt even matter to me that this smells a bit like a PR stunt

I beg to differ. Record labels are designed entirely to tempt the poor, talented band to sign a deal for $$$much. They get approached by some respectable business man with a large wad of cash, an even larger wad of paper to sign and a promise that if they perform a certain amount, they get all their CDs professionally recorded, distributed, publicised, etc and the artist need not worry, whilst getting commision in return.

Seems like a logical thing to do - Sign the forms and be happy...

Of course, then the realisation that they didn't read the terms and conditions as a lawyer would, and implicit "industry standards" (e.g. CD protection) becomes apparent to them. What is one supposed to do?

I guess it's easy enough to choose the big company that supplies you with money over a customer. Especially when you've become accustomed to that life.

I don't know this band, but I must agree they deserve the respect for doing something many other bands haven't (and indeed seem to not care about).

The bottom line of DRM (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594251)

Has always been that your fans pay with extra inconvenience and the pirates-that-be will get around it with ease.

Companies should learn that all it takes is one copy cracked for it to be out there.

But then I see the upcoming standard for Blu-ray, etcetera - and I suppose making the paying customers pay is the point. I mean, it's wonderful for the bottom line when you can sell the same person a movie on VHS, and then on region hobbled DVD, and then entice them with a HD version on Blu-ray. And the incentive is even greater for Joe Consumer once they can't back up their stuff or transfer it to other formats.

I'm glad for corporate thinking - because of this whereas I used to buy 25 CDs a year from mainstream RIAA companies, I buy 1-2 now. I don't download music but I simply don't care anymore. My money has moved onto other interests......

Re:The bottom line of DRM (1)

jcaren (862362) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594447)

"My money has moved onto other interests..."

Ditto - however I doubt that we are the
core audience. I expect Sony et.al do not care
that we simply stop buying music. The increase
in revenue from "die-hard" fans will make up
(or is making up) for you and I.

Of course, collateral damage (such as my "no Sony"
policy) means that they loose out on enternainment
and IT systems sales for my home, family, work
and clients.

Somehow I do not think they care too much about my
policy but if a large enough group of us said "no" when someone tried to sell us Sony hardware they *may* just review the cost-benefit analysis.

Jacqui

Nice try, but (3, Insightful)

inkfox (580440) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594253)

If they really cared, they wouldn't be signed to a shit-ass major label in the first place. They can't have their street cred indie underground image and swing for the major league cocksuckers at the same time.

Re:Nice try, but (4, Interesting)

bnitsua (72438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594355)

they're a "christian" band, not indie. which, for some reason, only adds humor to the situation for me...

Re:Nice try, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594366)

You know, most bands really worth thinking about don't give a shit about maintaining a "street cred indie underground image".
They just want to be able to write and perform their music, and reach their audience. If signing with Sony is the best way to do that, they'll do it.

What's the point? (-1, Redundant)

i8puppies (910027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594255)

Whats the point of putting such protection on your music CDs when all you're going to do is turn around and post a link on your site about how to bypass it.

Copy protection on CDs is retarded, at least for people like me, because if I hear a song on the radio or via MP3, and I like it, and the album it's on isn't outweighed by crappy songs, I'll go out and buy the album.

Artists have their panties in a bunch because nobody wants to pay for a disc full of shitty songs and only one good one. That's like $14 a song. I say p2p sharing is incentive for artists to make good songs, not just 1 or 2 good songs that they have on the radio to get people to buy their shitty CDs.

CDs need to be replaced with MP3 minidisc, in which case the artist can say "Ok, buy the minidisc with our GOOD songs on it, rip it all you want, but just remember to tell your friends that if they like it then to please support us by buying the $5 minidisc for themselves."

Re:What's the point? (2, Informative)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594298)

Whats the point of putting such protection on your music CDs when all you're going to do is turn around and post a link on your site about how to bypass it.

RTFA.

The band had no voice in the matter. Sony is their label and chose to put the protection on the disc, whether the band wanted it on or not. Switchfoot posted the info on bypassing it because it was pissing off a lot of their fans and that's not something most (read: not Metallica) bands want. In addition, they probably wanted to piss off Sony a little bit for abusing the power that labels have come to know and love.

Respect (4, Informative)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594258)

This fellow seems quite intelligent and able to express himself in writing. I wonder if he wrote that or if his publicist did it for him. I've had this idea that rockers are spaced-out potheads. Well at any rate, he has my respect.

"Hello friends,

my heart is heavy with this whole copy-protection thing. Many PC users have posted problems that they have had importing the new songs (regular disc only, not the dual disc) into programs such as Itunes. Let me first say that as a musician AND as a music fan, I agree with the frustration that has been expressed. We were horrified when we first heard about the new copy-protection policy that is being implemented by most major labels, including Sony (ours), and immediately looked into all of our options for removing this from our new album. Unfortunately, this is the new policy for all new major releases from these record companies. It is heartbreaking to see our blood, sweat, and tears over the past 2 years blurred by the confusion and frustration surrounding this new technology. It is also unfortunate when bands such as ourselves, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, etc... (just a few of the new releases with copy protection) are the target of this criticism, when there is no possible way to avoid this new industry policy.

For mac users these songs should import seamlessly. We are told that itunes is coming out with a new version for PC users in early November that will be compatible with all of these new CD's but in the meantime it's frustrating for all of us. That said, there are a number of solutions (as is always the case with these types of things) for importing the CD into your itunes and ipod. We have compiled some of the easier ways below. I feel like as a band and as listeners, we've all been through a lot together over the past ten years, and we refuse to allow corporate policy to taint the family we've developed together. We deeply regret that there exists the need for any of our listeners to spend more than 30 seconds importing our music, but we're asking as friends and partners in this journey together to spend the extra 10 minutes that it takes to import these songs, which we think you'll agree to be our finest collection of songs yet. As a band, we've always been known for having the best fans in the world and I know that will continue for years to come. A month from now, I hope to be singing these songs together at a show, and the extra time spent importing the music will perhaps be forgotten, or at least forgiven. Thank you for your understanding and the continued kindness that you have always shown for five dreamers from San Diego, we love you guys,

-tim foreman
"

Re:Respect (5, Interesting)

Karyyk (910994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594305)

As a long-time fan of Switchfoot (when they were a 3-piece band and doing some rather creative, but still cheesy videos for the Christian music scene), I'm fairly sure he did. The Foremans (Tim and his brother Jon) are a few cuts above the average rockers out there, and a bit deeper as well. They're also one of those bands who will stick around a venue for a while afterwards getting to know their fans, and to this point, have yet to let stardom cloud their eyes about what's really important, the fans. They'll stick by their guns on this one.

Re:Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594312)

Wow! A musician that's able to express himself. That's a first... :P

Re:Respect (1)

Mnemia (218659) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594356)

There is a way he could avoid the DRM. He could just not sign a contract with a label that is inflexible on the issue. But this would require that he give up potential fame and fortune. But it's blatently false that there is "no possible way" to avoid this situation. Plenty of indy labels exist that wouldn't pull this kind of thing.

You mean... (1, Flamebait)

emkman (467368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594464)

"This fellow seems quite intelligent and able to express himself in writing. I wonder if he wrote that or if his publicist did it for him.I've had this idea that rockers are spaced-out potheads."

You mean you had the idea that people who played music and smoked pot can't write.

Intelligent responsible cannabis users are the silent majority. You just hear about stereotype potheads. Ever heard of Carl Sagan or billionaire George Soros?

And you'd be shocked at the large overlap of the computer nerd and pothead demographics if you didn't see it firsthand.

Glad to see that you've opened your mind atleast a little though.

I've been thinking.... (1, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594269)

about this issue of DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) a lot lately and coupled with Stallman's famous library/closed_information society essay.

Does anybody else forsee a time when everything "printed" will be on e-ink paper-thin paperless electronic displays that sense when you try to photocopy them (from the light?) and the only thing coming out of the Xerox machine will be static-filled pages?

Re:I've been thinking.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594341)

Lets hope you don't want to read such papers on a sunny, but somewhat cloudy day (on the beach ?) ... The change in light (from passing-by clouds) could than well (temporarily (?))"black-out" your paper as well ...

As for the work-around ? Just put a strong lamp over or in the copier, turn it on & wait untill the text becomes visible again. Than copy it. Chances are that the extra light from the copier itself will not be sensed. If it is, just switch off that copier-light. :-)

Re:I've been thinking.... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594416)

DRM could easily circumvent that because it only has to look for a bright strip (line), not the entire screen. Hardly anyone will read in full sunlight where the light is segmented because of focusing problems (contrast and all that).

I mean you could always take a picture - but those hardly come out too well.

I can't speak for anyone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594274)

but copy protection is the reason I don't buy CDs any more.

Add Tristan Prettyman to the list (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594276)

On her Web site, Tristan, too, apologizes for the copy protection and links to a threaded discussion on her site about bypassing the protection to rip the tracks.

It's a shame record companies are forcing their artists to be on the defensive about this issue. The record companies are for the protection, the consumers (especially those owning iPods or wanting to play these non-standard CDs on their computers) are against it, and the artists are left directly in the middle of the tug-of-war.

Switchfoot's own fault (-1, Troll)

humina (603463) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594299)

I blame switchfoot. They should have known that Sony would not be looking out for the band or the fans. Sony's only care is turning a profit. Restricting rights is all part of the deal when signing a major record label. The fans are stupid too for financially supporting companies that restrict their rights. I do not blame sony at all. Sony is in the business of being a massive turd to both artists and fans. They did their job. If switchfoot or it's fans don't want to be associated with turds then switchfoot shouldn't have signed up with a company that is in the business of being a turd.

I think everyone should watch this:
http://lessig.org/freeculture/ [lessig.org]

Re:Switchfoot's own fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594374)

I blame switchfoot. They should have known that Sony would not be looking out for the band or the fans.

Newsflash: directors of publically held companies are legally obliged to put profit before everything else.

The consequences of this fact and your above stated opinion are that the only faultless way of making money in a band is to self-publish. Signing to a privately-held company is not an option because although they aren't legally obliged to put profit before anything else, you have no guarantee that they won't do it anyway.

One up for Linux and Alt OSes!!! (3, Insightful)

NiteRiderXP (750309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594317)

It's funny cause the copy protection seems to only effect Windows. If you have Linux, Mac, or any other OS it won't hinder anything. Kind of shows how dumb the music industry is. I am sure it wouldn't be hard to find the service/dll causing the problem and remove it. Somebody should develop Copy Protection Definitions and a program to remove them automatically, kind of like virusscan.
Nite Rider

Re:One up for Linux and Alt OSes!!! (1)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594401)

I dunno about that.
I had a pre release of the latest Daft Punk CD.

Ubuntu & Slack wouldn't let me read the cd. It kept hanging when trying to Rip/Play.

My windows partition wouldn't let me play it in a cd player or rip it. I could copy it tho... strange.

Re:One up for Linux and Alt OSes!!! (5, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594460)

They're not dumb. They're getting exactly what they want, which is to restrict the fair use rights of the consumer in the pursuit of greater profits ; if they can prevent the average Joe manipulating the music through his computer, they can sell more ringtones (bigger than the singles market now), digital music (especially for your DRM enabled player), and so forth. The argument that it's to prevent piracy is pretty transparent, precisely because of the demographic the technology is targetting. Which is over 90% of the installed user base for the consumer OS market.

The vast majority of their clientele will have Windows, with the CD-ROM Autorun feature switched on. The fact that the technology does nothing to prevent copying by the tech-savvy demographic indicates that they know that there is nothing they can do to prevent "cracking" of their protection schemes. They would love a universally uncrackable scheme, but they know that such a thing is not achievable. So they have settled for a scheme that nets them more money from a demographic that they can push around, and pointed the finger of blame at "those dirty smelly hacker pirates".

Let the artist find the balance (2, Interesting)

moriya (195881) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594326)

The artist should have a say as to whether they'd like to opt for a copy protection system that their holders/labels employ. At least this gives the artist the flexibility of being able to let their fans rip the CDs into mp3s for dumping into their portable players. Eventually all the record labels would then be able to gauge as to whether the system is worth the price to pay to "defeat" piracy.

Wondering... (4, Interesting)

Karyyk (910994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594332)

I wonder how many of the Sony bashers here have paid-for Sony products lying all over their abode? Just thinking out loud. Before this becomes a "Switchfoot sold-out" bashing thread, some of us might want to consider that we've done the same thing. Kudos to Switchfoot, Tim Foreman in particular. I'm sure they're aware that this will bring the Sony hounds on top of them, and they did it anyway. Oh, and if it's that easy to bypass the, ahem, "copy protection," Sony should get back to the corporate drawing board...

Publicity Stunt (0, Flamebait)

firemoose (471723) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594333)

If sharing the music was such a big deal, why not just post everything as mp3s? Giving away publicly known information on bypassing copyright protection gives the band more publicity and probably won't increase the amount of avaliable media considering the rampant piracy already occuring.

Re:Publicity Stunt (3, Insightful)

BackInIraq (862952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594378)

If sharing the music was such a big deal, why not just post everything as mp3s? Giving away publicly known information on bypassing copyright protection gives the band more publicity and probably won't increase the amount of avaliable media considering the rampant piracy already occuring.

Well, while telling users how to circumvent the protection may or may not be a grey area (see DMCA), giving away the MP3's on their site is very much black and white: they (likely) do NOT have the legal right to do this. Their contract with their record company (likely) explicitly forbids it. And they are not worried about their fans' ability to SHARE the music, they just want their fans to be able to LISTEN to their music, on whatever devices they might own. So this would be the best way to help their paying fans make use of the CD's they have purchased. Switchfoot was never trying to give the album away.

Oh, and while bypassing this protection may be common knowledge on /., there are hordes of people out there who do NOT know how to do this. Imagine for a moment that there is a subset of the human race that does visit the Switchfoot home page, but does not visit Slashdot...perhaps those very people are the ones the band was trying to inform.

Though of course I'm just guessing.

So, are they any good? (1)

Yusaku Godai (546058) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594351)

I've never heard of this band Switchfoot. Would it be worth it to me to buy their album as a way of showing my support for their being awesome? As much as I like this gesture on their part, I'm not gonna buy this album if I think it sucks.

I'm sure I could just go download it and find out, but it's nearly 5 in the morning and I should be getting to bed.

Re:So, are they any good? (5, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594377)

Would it be worth it to me to buy their album as a way of showing my support for their being awesome?

If only there was a way to register a reason why you're buying something when you buy it. Without that, you'd just be adding to the total number of sales, proving to Sony that consumers don't care about, or even like(!), this copy protection BS.

My advice? Don't buy the CD. Even if you're a fan, don't buy it. The artists get barely anything from CD sales. Go see them live, or buy their songs off of iTunes or MSN Music or similar (I have no idea if they're listed on any online music service). The very last thing you should do is buy the CD if you want to show support.

CDs? (4, Informative)

NewStarRising (580196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594359)

I was under the impression that the CD ISO Standard does not include copy-protection.
Any small-silver-disk that includes copy-protection could not be labelled as a 'CD', and must have the fact that it has copy-protection notified to the customer.
Has this changed, or does this type of protection not break the CD Standard?

Re:CDs? (1)

Azzmodan (96691) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594386)

It doesn't break the standard, it has normal music tracks and 2 data tracks, inside the data tracks is a little autorun that will install a driver and that then blocks access to the music.

That's all there is to it, that's why people with a mac are fine, so are people not running windows (or are running windows but disabled autorun, aren't an administrator).

Re:CDs? (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594399)

I have seen at least one copy-protected 'CD' recently that didn't have the CD audio logo on the casing. Not that anyone notices apart from geeks like me.

Copy protection? (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594365)

The band posted a response on their official forum apologizing for the protection and detailing ways to circumvent the protection and rip their songs to PC.

Having read the posting, I think it would be safe to say that this disk doesn't have much "copy protection".

In short, the instructions for Windows PC's are, essentially, insert CD, hold down shift so it doesn't autorun, rip with CDex.

To be honest, I was expecting something a little more complicated although I do accept the fact that:

  1. Most people don't know the hold-shift functionality.
  2. It's nice to see a member of a band advocate ripping it to MP3.
If this is going to be the "copy protection" employed on all Sony disks in the future then it's a damn sight better (read: useless) than some of the other things they've tried.

Re:Copy protection? (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594372)

If this is going to be the "copy protection" employed on all Sony disks in the future then it's a damn sight better (read: useless) than some of the other things they've tried.

Oops, missed the part which does have the detailed instructions if you've not held down shift and the Sony software has been installed.

Mind you, I doubt this won't affect a lot of Slashdotters who, I would have hoped, have disabled autorun on CD's.

Re:Copy protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594409)

Mind you, I doubt this won't affect a lot of Slashdotters who, I would have hoped, have disabled autorun on CD's.

Slashdotters use Windows?

We need better labels (1)

forgoil (104808) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594367)

We simply need better labels, preferably who sell all their music online, that tries to _sell_ the music for a resonable price. I can't imagine how the artists could loose from that since most of the money goes to people I don't _care_ if they loose their jobs. I won't buy music until the formats are free of patents and DRM, and I urge everyone else to act the same.

Looks like a Great Test Case for the DMCA (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594369)

Looks like the band is telling folks how to circumvent the copy protection -- time for the D.A. throw the book at the band, anyone linking to the site, etc. Looks like a DMCA violation.

I really hope we can get a nice, egregious test case before a court so that we can see what the hell our rights are.

A lot of techies get nervous due to the DMCA; we know how arbitrary the lines are, and all it takes is a stupid judge to decide you are on the wrong side of things and then you are screwed. Ala Dmitry Skylarov.

How stupid are Sony? (5, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594385)

Something like 90% of my music listening is on my iPod: if I can't rip your music to my iPod in one easy step, I'm not going to buy your album. It's as simple as that.

I'm sure that is true for a large number of people these days, most of whom are 18-35 with a reasonable disposable income: ie. exactly the kind of people that buy large numbers of CDs. It's amazing how companies can be so incredibly short sighted.

RIAA defending artists? (1)

KarMax (720996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594411)

"In general, they [Copyright Laws] are designed to protect the rights of artists while preserving the public's right to benefit from the works of those same artists." (From RIAA.com [riaa.com] )
Its seems that the Artist doesnt WANT some "protections" :P

The artists should not sign if the contracts of the Record companies requires they "soul". The musicians and the music exist since always... the companias not. ;-)

BTW i dont want to sound as an asshole, but that info was posted in the sonymusic forum some days ago... maybe its all marketing? :?
Although thinking it better, if those are the "PROTECTIONS" that they are developing, I do not believe that they have many people qualified managing the forums.

Good Bye

Foo fighters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594420)

Foo had exactly the same problem with their latest album and posted details on their forum on how to get around the copy protection too.

Do not buy those CDs or stop whining (3, Insightful)

jopet (538074) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594421)

As long as there is a market for selling copy protected CDs, companies will do that. If people are dumb enough to let companies impose all those restrictions on them and still buy the crap, complain to the idiots who do that. This is not much different to why you do not get a decent tasting apple in any supermarket: people will buy the nice looking, crappy tasting ones and that is why the do not sell anything else.

In general good, but.. (4, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594435)

Most of what he writes makes sense and is true, but he is a little bit overeager to put the blame on someone else:

It is also unfortunate when bands such as ourselves, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, etc... (just a few of the new releases with copy protection) are the target of this criticism, when there is no possible way to avoid this new industry policy.

This is bull. The artists are the original copyrigth-holder for their work. They choose to license it for publication by some record-company, or not. They are free to set whatever demands they want for this publication. (with the risk that if their demands are too stiff, the record-company will say: "no deal")

Especially famous, well-selling artists have considerable leverage. If say Madonna (more realistically, her manager or whomever representing her) walks into a record-company and say she'd like to publish her new record with them, but one of the conditions is that it be released in standard CD-format, that the company would refuse to negotiate a contract.

Artists do have a way of influencing record-companies. It may not be easy, and it may be that not all artists have a lot of negotiation-leverage all the time. But to claim, as he does here, that they have "no possible way" to influence things, is bullshit.

Not a good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13594439)

At first glance, this sounds all very nice, freedom to music and all, but I have a few objections:
** If these aretists - and others - were really so much interested in DRM-free music, why not make an appropriate deal with their label? Did these guys even try to tell their label that they wanted this CD without DRM?
** Are the artists prepared to lose sales to piracy or will they demand that their label pays them as promised?
** Before a court, this entire piece is worthless. No judge will let some filesharing kiddies go free because the band itself endorsed DRM circumvention.
** All this sounds like a cheap marketing move: "Look at us, we are really cool, freedom-loving anti-DRM guys!"

not sure i follow (1)

tklive (755607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594450)

so what happens if i have installed the sony program on my PC ? does it stay in the memory and prevent me from ripping ? Why cant i just kill the process and follow the shift/ cdex route ? seems a lot less hassle compared to burning a cd and then ripping it. and this just seems like a no cost publicity stunt.....since the record guys are seen as the bad guys anyway, why not boost the bands popularity using it ?

If they really cared... (2, Informative)

Jekler (626699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594451)

If artists really cared about fans, freedom, etc. they wouldn't ink deals with the devil in the first place. Signing on with a big label isn't the only way to succeed in this world. I don't think they posted instructions like this against the label's wishes. Anything that happens within a label is the result of a marketing pow-wow. Some guy in a suit told them to post the instructions to further their rebel image and make them seem even more cool so they'll sell more albums.

Wealth, fame, and integrity; pick two.

Albums I would buy if they weren't "protected" (3, Informative)

SageLikeFool (547462) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594452)

The following is a list of CD's that I haven't bought in the last few years because (at least here in Canada) they are copy protected CD's.

Chemical Brothers: The Singles Double CD
Chemical Brothers: Push the Button
Fatboy Slim: Palookaville
K-OS: Joyfull Rebellion
Massive Attack: 100th Window
Massive Attack: Danny the Dog Soundtrack
A Perfect Circle: Emotive
A Perfect Circle: Thirteen Steps
Radiohead: Hail to the Theif
Royksopp: The Understanding

That is just off the top of my head. There may be more. I know I could probably circumvent the protection with a sharpie, but I prefer to not pay for something that is essentially a broken CD.

The irony of it is at 15-20 $CDN a disc, the record companies have not only helped me choose to not give them a few hundred bucks but also managed to give me more reason to "pirate" that music all with one idiotic move.

So what is it they are really trying to protect here? My wallet?

artists helping pirates!? (1)

wdwillis (915845) | more than 8 years ago | (#13594454)

ok, lets be simple here. this artist has not helped a single pirate. pirates already know how to circumvent such copyright procedures. what he has done however, is left himself open to a major lawsuit, which will indeed set precedents for the future. he has indeed broken the law by advocating people to circumvent the copyright protection on SOMEONE ELSES intelectual property. the fact that this intelectual property is not his property, but that of sony has been brought up, and is absolutely correct. by signing the contracts, ad agreeing to them, and taking the money for the advance on the album, he signed away his rights other than any editorial provisions he made in said contract. the fact is, he doesn't have the legal right to tell people how to do this, or to suggest they do. i doubt sony will publicly sue him, but i do not forsee a happy jovial relationship with his label in the near future. not that sony has a great histlory of making artists happy... just ask michael jackson, or prince... but it stands that he has done it, and now it is time to watch the fireworks.
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