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EMI Considers Abandoning DRM on CDs

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the wisdom-comes-with-experience dept.

Media 166

jOmill writes "EMI Netherlands has announced that it is considering no longer using DRM on CDs, because it isn't worth the cost. According to Reuters the company is still reviewing the decision. From the article: 'Critics have argued that the system has not worked as consumers could be driven to illegal sites to download music to the popular iPod instead. A spokeswoman for EMI said it had not manufactured any new disks with DRM, which restricts consumers from making copies of songs and films they have purchased legally, for the last few months.'"

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166 comments

Good... (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522850)

...because when any "DRM" is used on audio CDs, they're technically no longer even "audio CDs"...at least, they don't officially conform to the Red Book Audio specification [wikipedia.org] , and can't even use [wikipedia.org] the familiar "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo. While certainly they're intended to be purchased and used as audio CDs, and everyone would still refer to them as such, they're at most an "audio disc resembling a conventional audio CD," or "audio that is incidentally stored on CD media".

Intrinsic to a Red Book Audio CD is the ability to extract the audio in its pristine digital form. While content owners may not appreciate that in today's digital marketplace, that's what an audio CD is. If labels want to add DRM or anything else not in the Red Book Audio specification to these discs, they are obligated to make it clear that they're not really audio CDs, and indeed, consumers have found the belated warning that they "may not play in all CD players" only too true, resulting in practical decisions like this one from EMI Netherlands. This is what you get when you screw with established international standards.

Especially humorous is that, any amount of DRM aside, all of this music will always be widely available on file sharing networks, mostly as lossy MP3s. Who is affected most, then, by not being able to extract audio from discs within one's own physical possession, given that the music is invariably already available any number of file sharing networks many times over? The individual consumer who simply wants to enjoy his purchase on another device, such as a computer or portable music player. While DRM is intended to prevent or reduce casual copyright infringement, it never will stop content from being copied, and DRM on "audio CDs" is just one of those wrongheaded ideas, given that it toys with a standard that has already been established for two and a half decades.

Until someone figures out how to alter properties of nature in such a way that physical property of audio or video being able to be in an analog state via sound waves or the electromagnetic spectrum can be eliminated, there will always be mechanisms for those who wish to violate copyright to violate it. In the meantime, DRM will mostly affect and inconvenience legitimate, paying consumers of content.

Re:Good... (5, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523018)

"DRM is intended to prevent or reduce casual copyright infringement"

I'd like to point out -- though most people here probably know -- that casual copyright infringement very likely improves the bottom line of the music publisher. E.g. my friend casually gives me a mix CD of tunes he thinks I'd like, I'm X% more likely to buy one of those artists' discs later. That X% increase has a monetary value in the aggregate. I'd love a link to a scientific study of that value.

Re:Good... (4, Funny)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523562)

Preventing casual infringement also depends on your definition of infringement. I bought the new David Gray CD. It wouldnt play in my computer for some reason, so I bought another copy. Then I found out it was copy protected. I don't *OWN* a cd player and I couldn't rip it.

I have two copies of the album and to this day I have only heard it via an mp3 downloaded illegally. In this case they just prevented me from legal fair use and its the last sony album I'll every buy.

Re:Good... (1)

Storlek (860226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523712)

Just curious, why didn't you return the first copy to the store? Most places at least allow exchange for the same title if your copy is defective.

I pulled a stunt with a DRMed disc once by returning it to the store several times, claiming it wouldn't play (which was the case... on my computer, which is the only CD player I have). It took seven returns before anyone at the store even considered it may be a DRM issue and not a manufacturing defect, but they eventually gave me store credit for another title just to get me to stop bothering them.

Re:Good... (1)

HappyUserPerson (954699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523624)

That X% increase has a monetary value in the aggregate. I'd love a link to a scientific study of that value.
You pointed out your bias pretty clearly. Now you're looking for evidence (which you'll find -- you can find evidence of anything) to validate your bias, further skewing your world view. You might want to consider expanding your perspective.

Re:Good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523904)

You missed the complete statement, which was this:
that casual copyright infringement very likely improves the bottom line of the music publisher. E.g. my friend casually gives me a mix CD of tunes he thinks I'd like, I'm X% more likely to buy one of those artists' discs later. That X% increase has a monetary value in the aggregate.
Scientists call a statement like that a "hypothesis", and it's conventional to form one before looking for evidence.

Re:Good... (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524256)

It doesn't matter if piracy is good for them. Even if casual piracy makes them millions or billions of dollars, it's still within their rights to prevent you from doing it. Which means it's still illegal. Whether or not you think that it's immoral depends on your views on the laws of human society.

Silly you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17524338)

You're not supposed to like that sort of music (probably made by dirty hippies and/or subversives). You're supposed to only like the kind of nice music that the Big Companies deem suitable by broadcasting on mass-market public radio (for which they are paid royalties for the privilege of the free advertising?!?!?)

If people like you stopped doing what you're not supposed to, you'd make life easier and more profitable for those who are in a position to benefit by rights, and there'd be no need for pesky low-profit artists, who are by definition therefore dirty hippies and probably foreign and communist.

Re:Good... (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523046)

That was an insightfull post...in 1998.
Thanks.

Also, there concern is 'perfect' audio copies. Something that is difficult to do reliable after the disc has been decoded.

I look forward to your next post about the horseless carriage.

Re:Good... (1, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523256)

How do you really know what their concern is? I bet it's not the single "perfect" copy. It's being able to copy copies forever perfectly. And, DRM only affects the initial copy, after that, it's non-DRM'd, and copies can be made from copies perfectly.

Since the core issue with audio is to provide as good an audio source as possible, DRM'd or not. With the high quality of audio recording equipment available, even an initial analog recording of a DRM'd work will be very very good, arguably so good that only the most discerning audiophile will be able to tell a difference.

The major loss to audio is from lossy codecs, like MP3, which will be much greater than any losses encountered by performing an analog recording of the original digital source and digitizing it.

Re:Good... (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523320)

Also, there concern is 'perfect' audio copies. Something that is difficult to do reliable after the disc has been decoded.
There ARE lossless compression formats, you know.

Re:Good... (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523422)

Yes, I know.

He was implying that even with perfect DRM, you could still get a copy after it was decoded. i.e. while it is playing.
WHich is true, but if you are just grabbing it out of the air, the copy will be pretty bad, and it will degrade with each recording.

You couold grab the output from the sound card and pipe it into the input and copy it that way, but unless you are using very high end equippment, the D to A A to D conversion will lose some information as well.

The last way is to grab it from the sound card before it moves it to analog. SOmething that is tricky, expensive and not worth worrying about. Also, if CD DRM did actually work, they would put pressure on the audio card manufactures to prevent that, which would be pretty easy for the card manufacturers to do. Probably cost 30 cents a card.

Re:Good... (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523454)

He might be referring to the fact that all the sounds are downsampled to 2-channel 44.1 kHz 16-bit PCM audio rather than the audiophile favourite 5.1-channel ~2 MHz 192-bit HD audio. The fact that the audio is compressed at all after it's done being mixed (or in any step of the process) will incite an audiophile to denounce the format.

Re:Good... (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523112)

they're technically no longer even "audio CDs"...

I hope they start putting on the Compact Disc logo so I can find real CD's again. Hopefully they won't be over compressed to sound loud. How about some SN ratio and Dynamic range?

Some good music should help too.

Mod parent up (0)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523276)

CDs have a lot more going against them than just some silly DRM (that doesn't even work as intended, no less).

Re:Good... (2)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524274)

You know, I've found that the reason most CDs don't sound that great is because the recording itself sucks, the mixing sucks, or the CD player sucks. Unless the label is known for producing decent recordings (Telarc, Chesky, Proteus, etc.), then there's a darn good chance that producing hi-fi grade music isn't their highest priority.

If you're looking for a good "budget" CD player, might I recommend the AH! Njoe Tjoeb [hifi-notes.com] , as it's made CDs sound.. so.. much.. better. :)

As an aside on laws of physics (1)

Oddscurity (1035974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523154)

If you can violate laws of physics, you can make a whole lot more money than the entire MAFIAA combined.

You *can't* make an exact low-level audio CD copy (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523334)

Intrinsic to a Red Book Audio CD is the ability to extract the audio in its pristine digital form.

(Disclaimer: I am not an audio or CD technology expert. Take the following with a pinch of salt.)

My understanding is that audio CDs can't be copied exactly because the lowest-level information stored on the CD cannot be returned directly by existing recorders.

Bear in mind that the files which *can* be copied exactly to and from CD-ROMs sit on top of several layers of encoding. Even though you can make a copy which is identical at the filesystem level (which is all you care about in most cases), AFAIK the lowest-level bits (i.e. those actually stamped/burned onto the disc) may not be identical. Multiple layers of encoding and corrections mean that this isn't a problem.

IIRC audio CDs include fewer encoding levels, and whilst most players can read and extract the audio information from the raw bits, I believe that some corrections and "fixing" of damaged audio data (*) occur at a lower level than that of any data the CD-ROM is able to return. In other words, the "rawest" audio data you can get your hands on may already have been processed and "fixed" at a lower level.

(*) Not counting mathematical algorithms which exploit clever encoding techniques so that you can still retrieve the uncorrupted info if (e.g.) 3 or fewer out of 10 bits are damaged. (I just made that up, but you get the broad idea...) What I mean is actual unrepairable damage that the CD player interpolates before you ever get it.

See also:-
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=944615 &lastnode_id=918089 [everything2.com]
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/cdrom/cd-recordable/part2 / [faqs.org]

Re:You *can't* make an exact low-level audio CD co (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523518)

I think the important part here is that you're getting the intended audio (i.e. the PCM data that was originally pressed at the factory from the master copy) rather than the potentially-scratched probably-incorrect-in-some-places PCM-like data from the disc.

Re:You *can't* make an exact low-level audio CD co (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523770)

No. I understand what you meant, and that was the point I made regarding CD/DVD-ROM filesystems.

With audio CDs one can't guarantee an exact copy of the PCM audio because the lowest-level info we can extract may already have been *transparently interpolated* at a lower level.

I've ripped audio tracks via the two different DVD drives in my PC, and they came out very slightly differently. (Can't remember if the length was different, but the md5 sum definitely would have been). Clearly, one or both was not retrieving the exact information and interpolating.

Re:You *can't* make an exact low-level audio CD co (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523866)

Sorry, I should have made clear that this *implies* that we don't know if we're getting "perfect" PCM (i.e. the PCM which was originally encoded/written to the disc) or PCM with error interpolation.

I also don't know how much hidden information isn't ripped, nor if a "perfect" CD may return different PCM (other than that which was originally written) in any particular drive.

Even if it were theoretically possible to extract all the relevant, unmodified bits from the CD, another issue is that the pits/lands in audio CD-Rs burned at high speed may have poorly-defined edges (due to the speed the laser has to turn on/off), and thus some CD players may have more trouble reading them back, giving more errors, more interpolation and lower audio quality.

Re:Good... (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523872)

While DRM is intended to prevent or reduce casual copyright infringement...

I disagree with this. In my opinion DRM is intended to prevent lawful use of copyrighted material and motivate people to buy multiple copies of the same work by intentionally breaking interoperability with other devices. That is to say, content producers would like their customers to buy one copy for their home CD player another copy for the tape player in the car and another copy for their portable player. The industry is used to income from people periodically re-buying their favorite media in the new format or to replace the copy they have broken. They are terrified of the idea that a person could buy one copy and use it forever, handing it down to their children.

Media companies claim that they are trying to stop illegal copyright infringement, but they also claim accidentally posting a song on a file sharing network costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, and if not for file sharing networks 90% of the gross national income would be spent on music. Why anyone would believe such obvious liars is beyond my understanding.

Great Day (5, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522898)

The second-greatest day will be when they report that sales dropped off not the slightest bit b/c of this change DRM only annoys purchasers. Not "pirates"

Re:Great Day (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17522968)

It might be beneficial to all if their sales actually went up. Especially if they were so informed as to why people were buying cds from them again.

Re:Great Day (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523054)

Has anybody actually bought a CD that they could not rip?

I've never seen one that I couldn't easily rip songs from....

Re:Great Day (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523166)

Not that I couldn't rip, but I have bought a CD that, due to DRM, my mother couldn't play on an older CD player. I didn't send it back, because it was a gift and she was happy to only play it in her main HiFi (it didn't play on the one in her dining room, but it wasn't really the kind of music you'd listen to over a meal).

Would the DRM have inconvenienced pirates? Not the slightest; iTunes happily ripped it without complaining. Did it inconvenience real users? Definitely.

Re:Great Day (1)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523288)

"but it wasn't really the kind of music you'd listen to over a meal)."

Mom's into Rob Zombie, is she? :)

Re:Great Day (4, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523216)

Yes I did. 5 months ago. 3 CDs from Virgin records via Amazon.

The wife wanted to listed to them on the MP3 player in her car and her Mac at work. None could play them. Even the "proper" Sony CD player had problems with 2 out of 3.

I ended up researching the matter and buying a DVD rewriter model with a known firmware bug (or feature depends how you look at it) which can rip through most current DRM with flying colours. So the "could not rip" lasted for 3 days in total. After that it was ripped and encoded in the suitable formats for usage on the devices used for listening in the house.

Frankly, Virgin and Macromedia can take their DRM and shovel it where sun does not shine and rotate it at 48x CD speed until they the torque pushes their heads out of their arse. What really pissed me off was the fact that I have purchased it legally, 2 out of 3 had a "CD digital audio" on them and they were unuseable on all devices in the house.

From the point of view of the average consumer this is perceived as "shitty and unuseable product" so I am not surprised EMI is considering abandoning the practice. It is costing them lost sales and handling returns from pissed of customers who after that go to "illegal" networks or AllOfMP3.

Re:Great Day (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523542)

You bought a DVD recorder simply to rip copy-protected CDs or were you buying one anyway? That having been said, out of curiosity, what was the drive?

Re:Great Day (1)

pkulak (815640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523870)

You should have returned them. I always check to make sure that a CD is really a CD when I buy from Amazon, but if I ever ended up with one I couldn't rip, it would go right back as defective, because it would be.

Mod parent up (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524136)

Frankly, Virgin and Macromedia can take their DRM and shovel it where sun does not shine and rotate it at 48x CD speed until they the torque pushes their heads out of their arse.

That is a memorable quote! Thank you!

Re:Great Day (2, Informative)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523384)

Has anybody actually bought a CD that they could not rip?

I've never seen one that I couldn't easily rip songs from....


I think some people are missing the point of your question, which is that CD-based DRM is trivially easy to defeat. So the only people it hurts are those who just want to play the CD and can't, because it doesn't conform to spec.

I personally only own a couple DRM-laden CD's (I didn't know before I bought them, but I probably would have bought them anyway). Neither gave me any problem whatsoever ripping with EAC; they ripped just like every other CD. Just as an experiment, though, I did put one of them in my computer and let it autoplay (I know about the rootkit stuff; this was different DRM), and it first tried to install some proprietary player and then it told me I was in the wrong region and couldn't play the disc at all (this was a Japanese CD). I tried to rip it in iTunes and got an error message in Japanese.

So it just depends on what tools you're using. Based on that experience, though, I would probably not even risk playing any CD on my computer anymore; I just rip immediately with EAC.

btw, the CD in question above is PUFFY's "59" - they've released a full-length CD since then that has no DRM at all, on the same record label (ki/oon / Sony). So obviously, EMI in the Netherlands is not the only company getting the message.

Re:Great Day (1)

heroofhyr (777687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523448)

I think it depends on which DRM system they use, but I'm pretty sure all of them can be circumvented.

I came across a CD with the CDS200 DRM mechanism on it a few days ago. I had no idea it was even copy-protected until I tried to play it in the computer and none of the tracks showed up in /dev. I mounted it and found a bunch of typical DRM software installation files for Windows, so I rebooted and loaded it in Windows, and it prompted me to "install some necessary programs" before I could play it. Now, beforehand I had no intention of ripping the CD. I just wanted to listen to it while I was working, but the sheer fact that it wasn't behaving like a regular audio CD when that's what I was led to believe I had purchased annoyed me to the point where I decided to rip all the tracks to MP3 just so I wouldn't have to put up with using the disc anymore. It took all of ten minutes to install Audiograbber and the LAME encoder, let Audiograbber figure out the actual track layout, and be done using that CD forever. I am not aware of any tools as good as Audiograbber in FreeBSD, but I normally don't need anything of the kind since all of my real CDs work anyway and I have no motivation to rip them.

So I guess you could say that at least in one recorded case, DRM protection actually caused song copying rather than prevented it. Good riddance to stupid ideas like this.

Foo Fighters: One by One (3, Interesting)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523532)

Has anybody actually bought a CD that they could not rip?
I've never seen one that I couldn't easily rip songs from....


I had a Foo Fighters CD that I got as a gift which was labeled as an "enhanced" CD. The first time I put it in my PC at home, I forgot to hold down the shift key, and I wasn't able to rip it on that computer (although the software on the CD wanted to "give" me a set of protected files for all of the songs, which I would only be able to listen to with their proprietary player). I ripped the CD under Linux on my laptop, then again on my work PC in Windows. Also with this CD, it was supposed to have some kind of bonus content that would connect to 'somebody' over the Internet to authenticate the CD in order to unlock the bonus content. That never worked on any PC I tried it on, the authentication always failed.

So there were two disappointments on that disc: 1) If you don't hold down the shift key, you won't be able to rip it (under Windows) and 2) the broken bonus content. I like the music on the CD, though... it's too bad that they have to muck it all up with DRM under the guise of extra features that don't work.

Re:Great Day (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523672)

Indeed I have purchased a CD that I could not rip. In fact, it was an EMI published CD, and the last CD I ever purchased.

Everyone here knows the cat and mouse game that has existed between consumers who want to exercise their fair use rights, and publishers who want to prevent "casual copying." For years, none of this affected me. I purchased CDs on occasion, a couple a year usually. I've even purchased a few "copy protected" CDs with the bullshit data track. These methods were laughable. Despite this "copy protection" I bought these CDs, brought them home, trivially ripped them to MP3s, and loaded them onto my MP3 player.

Then two years ago I purchased Massive Attack's "Danny the Dog" soundtrack which I believe was published by EMI. It used a different method of copy protection than the bullshit data track that was common at the time. Instead, it contained a corrupted C2-error stream, a violation of the redbook audio standard.

The purpose of the error stream is to provide the CD player with a means of detecting when it has read erroneous data from the main audio track and allow the CD player to interpolate samples instead of producing an audible skip. The intent of the error stream was to improve the robustness of CD players even when there minor disc damage was present. Great idea, right?

Well, some folks noticed that CD-ROM drives, by large, acknowledge the C2-error stream as they should. However, most cheaper CD players made in the past few years ignore the error stream entirely, since it's not necessary for playback (although it may improve the playback quality in less than ideal environments) and costs more to support. These folks figured that, if you write an intentionally corrupted C2-error stream, then the CD can't be ripped properly in a CD-ROM drive (it makes clicking noises a few times a second), but would work fine in "most" CD players.

I wasn't aware of this copy protection until after I bought the disk and tried (unsuccessfully) to rip it. At the time, I thought "that's odd." But, then I tried it in other CD players around the house and discovered it wouldn't work in any CD player I owned. It didn't work in my computer, in my car, in my mid-80s Sony model, anything. Eventually I did find a cheap boombox that it did work in, but what good was that to me?

I was furious. I already knew copy protection was bullshit, but I didn't care because the techniques practiced at the time were laughable at best. However, to intentionally cripple a product, violating the very standard that it was supposed to adhere to, was a slap in the face to both me as a consumer and as an engineer. I couldn't really have known that it was crippled either, sure it didn't have the Compact Disc logo on the case, but many cases no longer featured the logo on the outside. Furthermore, it didn't say anything on the outside about how "this was a copyprotected disc and may not play right in all CD players" or something to that effect.

Realizing that I would never again be able to purchase a CD with confidence that it would be useful to me in my terms (allow me to rip it), or even play it, I vowed that day to cease any support of the recording industry. I managed through patience and luck to return the CD to Best Buy (another story in itself), and have not purchased a single CD (or any other form of music) since. EMI's copyprotection backfired on me, all it did was breed resentment, and cost them lost future sales. I doubt my experience was isolated, and I hope that anyone else who was inconvenienced, or rather cheated, to the same degree that I was also decided to stand up to them.

The irony of this whole story is that I originally downloaded the "Danny the Dog" soundtrack months before it was released. I never saw the movie, which I believe came out a few months after the soundtrack. Instead, my first exposure to the soundtrack was from the pirate scene. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to support the artist and the label by purchasing it upon release. It still amuses me to think that the music piracy scene was able to provide me with a product that I found genuinely useful, whereas the record label itself completely failed to do so. Of course, after I returned the CD I deleted my bootleg copy as well. I didn't want to give EMI or any other RIAA label any degree of promotion, so I've completely stopped downloading music since as well.

Re:Great Day (2, Interesting)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523304)

That would require them to have "good" artists.

The primary reason that people stop buying new CDs is because there are no good CDs being produced. I'd have lots of trouble naming 1 great CD that came out in the last 6 months (even though I've bought a couple).

Re:Great Day (2, Insightful)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523146)

Ok seriously I want to look through there collection of Music and see if they have anything I would like. I would love to send a message to the RIAA that people well support non DRM material.

Good, also (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523152)

Subscribe to emusic. Download plain old mp3s and do what you want with ' em.

Re:Great Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523560)

Perhaps you'd like a look through this collection of words known as a dictionary? Then you too can learn the difference between THERE (OVER THERE) and THEIR (IT'S THEIR CD)!!!!

Yay! (2, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522902)

Maybe the rest of the damn CD makers will follow suit, and I can go back to using my Sharpies to scribble on the front of my CDs!

Re:Yay! (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523200)

Quote from Boing Boing article "This means that at the moment, not a single record company releases CDs that are protected against making digital copies, says the international industry-magazine 'Billboard'."

So apparently they all have. But this is one of the few to be talking about making it "official".

Which is it? (1, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522924)

TFS says they are considering stopping, and then says they stopped months ago. Could we make up our minds please?

Re:Which is it? (1)

SNR monkey (1021747) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522990)

They are considering stopping PERMANENTLY. FTFA:

"We haven't manufactured any new disks with content protection on them for the last few months," she said. "It doesn't mean we've scrapped content protection but we're evaluating it."
They aren't sure if they're going to stop using DRM, they're just saying they are not using it right now.

Re:Which is it? (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523548)

Look on your CD player. See the buttons marked pause and stop? Figure out the difference.

Riiiiiiight, downloads... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522932)

Critics have argued that the system has not worked as consumers could be driven to illegal sites to download music to the popular iPod instead

Who needs to illegally download? DRM'd "CDs" have a much more serious flaw, from EMI's perspective - They don't actually stop anyone from ripping them (and as a perk, they don't play in some audio CD players, particularly car CD players), meaning users need to rip and reburn them just to use as intended.

Good to see them giving up, though, regardless of the reason.

Re:Riiiiiiight, downloads... (2, Informative)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523204)


I haven't found any CDs that wouldn't happily rip with cdparanoia on Linux. Ergo DRM CDs are pointeless as it only takes on smartarse with a free OS to flood the P2P channels with decent quality rips.

A colleague had a couple of CDs, one being by the Beatles, which appeared to have a second data session containing compressed versions and some Windows/Mac driver type stuff on it. It wouldn't rip in his Mac, he claimed - I don't know if this was some rootkit type setup. No problem extracting the CDDA which I gave him on a data CD, and also gave him regular CD versions sans the annoying second session.

Screw you, The Man! Thanks for making it *more desirable* to have a *non-original copy* of a CD because it works *better than the original*. Where's the fricking added value in that?

Disclaimer: I work for a record label/studio/distributor - we're not all evil.

 

Re:Riiiiiiight, downloads... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523442)


I haven't found any CDs that wouldn't happily rip with cdparanoia on Linux.
I have encountered one, the disc was so broken that my cd-drive kept churning it for an hour until I stopped the process. Ironically it was a pirate disc manufactured by russian mafia.

Re:Riiiiiiight, downloads... (1)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523662)


OK, I have found some CDs which won't rip all tracks perfectly - old ones which are scratched or have genuine manufacturing defects (real defects, that is, not deliberate copy-protection type ones) but those CDs don't play properly on a straight audio CD player anyway.

I probably haven't come across any with the error-detection/correction deliberately messed up (I wouldn't buy them in the first place :) but the data-session type ones are a joke. I don't suppose it would be too difficult to mark the corrupt samples in an E-D/C job and interpolate the values just as an audio-mode player does though ...

Maybe your borken CD was just badly made? :)

Re:Riiiiiiight, downloads... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524388)

It's one thing for someone like you with specialist ripping tools on a minority OS to be able to rip with impunity.

Because I don't like being annoyed with pop-up nonsense when I stick discs in, the first thing I do when I install Windows is turn off autoexec. After that little trick, all of my discs so far have ripped perfectly well through iTunes - not something you'd consider a particularly oblique strategy.

Re:Riiiiiiight, downloads... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523388)

Very true. I haven't encountered any DRMed "CDs" that I couldn't extract on my Linux box, but they would not rip on any of my Windows boxes. However, I've encountered some that refuse to play on truck's in-dash CD player.

BTW--I noticed in your TFA quote that it references "illegal sites". I'd just like to point out, that, AFAIK, the P2P technology itself is still not illegal in any jurisdiction that I'm aware of, it's only the use of them for distributing copyrighted material that is illegal.

Re:Riiiiiiight, downloads... (1)

DarkGreenNight (647707) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523998)

Who needs to illegally download? DRM'd "CDs" have a much more serious flaw, from EMI's perspective - They don't actually stop anyone from ripping them

Well, some years ago I bought a CD from Robbie Williams (published by EMI), the one with "Feel". Then, like now, CD was not the main way in which I listened to music. Now it's directly the computer or a portable MP3, then it was a minidisc.

So I bought the CD, went to my PS2, put the CD in, it worked, and proceed to copy it into the minidisc throught the digital output. Some time later it was done... the *#$!@ had sent a new track signal every two seconds or so, and now the MD was full of tracks of merely seconds, and had not much in.

I was so in anger that I even registered to the Robbie Williams forums just to rant.

If at least that had happened to me while ripping good music like Metallica... oh wait!

I know it has been cold outside recently... (4, Interesting)

symbolic (11752) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522936)

But did hell freeze over?

Finally, they're starting to get a clue. I do not advocate pirating music in any way. However, I think it's equally, if not more insidious, that commercial interests are making it very difficult for consumers to *want* to do the right thing. This is a step in the right direction. *AA....are you listening?

Re:I know it has been cold outside recently... (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523294)

Well they got a clue but not the one your thinking of.
1. DRM costs money.
2. Current DRM didn't stop the music from showing up on file shareing networks.
3. Current DRM is a waste of money.
4. Stop paying for DRM that doesn't work.
5. More Profit.

Now if they ever get effective DRM it will be back.

Which will come first? (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523444)

Which will come first?

Effective DRM
An end to Spam
or the release of Duke Nukem Forever?

Re:Which will come first? (2, Funny)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524168)

Which will come first?

Effective DRM
or the release of Duke Nukem Forever?


The current problem with Duke Nukem Forever is the DRM they implemented on the master disc. The actual game has been finished for quite some time now. The reason you can't find it in stores is because the cd manufacturers haven't figured out how copy the master without Duke showing up and putting his boot up their ass. It truly is the world's first kickass DRM.

DRM...the only way to win is not to play.

Re:I know it has been cold outside recently... (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523644)

Now if they ever get effective DRM it will be back.
Which is effectively impossible to do with CDs. [Audio] CDs follow what is known as the Red Book [wikipedia.org] Compact Disc Digital Audio standard. This is where the CDDA [wikipedia.org] trademark we all know and love from CDs comes from. Said standard does not allow anything but PCM audio data, thus it is impossible to create a CD that both contains "effective" DRM as well as follows the Red Book standard (which is required in order to use the CDDA trademark on your CDs).

I've noticed that most audio CDs (whether they follow the Red Book standard or not) come in jewel cases that still contain the CDDA logo, so I'm pretty sure that would make them liable for trademark infringement if they don't follow the CDDA/Red Book standard.

Re:I know it has been cold outside recently... (1)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523814)

Sounds points, but I think the most important one missing from your list is simply:

6. Dealing with more product returns which often cost more than the original distribution cost of the CD in the first place.

All because these whackajob DRM controls prevent real customers from playing the disc in a number of 'normal' players.

Re:I know it has been cold outside recently... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523564)

Are you high? So far this has been one of the warmest winters ever.

Duh (2, Insightful)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522942)

"EMI Netherlands has announced that it is considering no longer using DRM on CDs, because it isn't worth the cost.

We could have told you that, but since when did you guys ever listen to your customers?

From the article: 'Critics have argued that the system has not worked as consumers could be driven to illegal sites to download music to the popular iPod instead. A spokeswoman for EMI said it had not manufactured any new disks with DRM, which restricts consumers from making copies of songs and films they have purchased legally, for the last few months.'"

Did you ever think we, as consumers, when buying a CD, want to make backups, import the CD to our Ipod or other MP3 player?

It's amazing how management runs these companies. How can you deliver a product your customer wants when you don't even listen to what they WANT?

Re:Duh (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522974)

I'd just have loved to be a fly on the wall when Senior Exec #1 and Senior Exec #2 had a chat along the lines of 'you know that DRM thing which all our customers said was a dumb idea but we did anyway?'

Re:Duh (2, Interesting)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17522984)

Salesmen.

Managment listens to these stupid sales pitches for products like this, and buys into the promises.

Salesmen (especially software salesmen) are more dangerous to a company than any competitor.

HEIL HITLER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17522944)

Heil....HeilHitlerHe.. #In Memory of Adolf Hitler# ..Heil....HeilHitlerHe
Heil....ilHitlerHeil.... We will always remember ....Heil....ilHitlerHeil
Heil....Heil............. and cherish you. Your .....Heil....Heil........
Heil....Heil............. acts of selflessness ......Heil....Heil........
Heil....Heil........... will be passed down from ....Heil....Heil........
HeilHitlerHeilHitler... generation to generation. ...HeilHitlerHeilHitler
HeilHitlerHeilHitler... The lies that dishonor your .HeilHitlerHeilHitler
........Heil....Heil..... name will be vanquished. ..........Heil....Heil
........Heil....Heil.... You were a true patriot ............Heil....Heil
........Heil....Heil.... and a lover of all men, ............Heil....Heil
HeilHitlerHe....Heil... all races, all religions. ...HeilHitlerHe....Heil
ilHitlerHeil....Heil.. #In Memory of Adolf Hitler# ..ilHitlerHeil....Heil

Soo... (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523020)

Are precedents global? I mean will one country follow suit solely because another has seen the light?

Yes and no (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523070)

DO you mean legally? then it would depend on treaties.
If they show that th cost of DRM is more then the cost of actual loss, then it could spread because of market forces.

Re:Yes and no (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523130)

No.. nothing that formal. I was thinking more along the lines of business-style peer-pressure, following lines of public practice, and/or seeing what actually works.

Re:Yes and no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523244)

Dear fuckhead, I know you're trying to establish intellectual cred with your attempt to quote Rush lyrics before you go on to lamely insult Rush Limbaugh, but you lose all credibility when you fail to quote the band properly. It's really not that hard to type "'tom sawyer' lyrics" into Google, you know. Assbag.

Re:Soo... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523102)

Are precedents global? I mean will one country follow suit solely because another has seen the light?

What are you talking about? EMI is a large corporation, based out of the Netherlands. Whether other multinational companies follow suit is totally up to them.

Based on previous behavior I doubt Sony will ever publicly renounce DRM in any form, but I think most of the major players will just stop trying to put it on CDs, because it creates more problems for them than it solves.

Naturally, the music companies are all waiting for the day when they can stamp the last CD and move completely to some other format, hopefully one requiring everybody to re-purchase their music. Bonus if it's a format that doesn't cost them anything to manufacture, and double bonus if it's a format that has to be periodically re-purchased, on a rental or pay-per-listen basis.

Re:Soo... (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523306)

Pardon my mistake- "one country" should read:
one country's record companies

or something along those lines. I know its not up to the countries, but that's how it got translated. Blasted American Politics lecture is skewing my thought processes

Re:Soo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523394)

Are you kidding? The Dutch are like this, they saw the light on what a sham the drug war is 30 years ago... well, some european countries are coming around. A Full Scale Assault drug war is still going on here in the u.s... DRM is an american as apple pie and bribing congressmen, expect it to be around for another 100 years in only worsening incarnations.

Re:Soo... (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523578)

DRM and drugs are just slightly different. Some tips on being taken seriously: take a grammar course (people need to understand you, and I assume you are American since you say "here in the u.s."), don't post as anonymous (it doesn't alert the original poster), and try to get a grip on reality.

Re: EMI Considers Abandoning DRM on CDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523062)

Welcome back to reality, where DRM is only an empty word.

Joda (0)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523074)

Do or do not. There is no 'consider.'

Re:Joda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523378)

So chess players following your advice have to make their moves instantly. Do you really think it improves their performance?

Really? (0, Redundant)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523090)

There is no try, only do.

DRM on cd's us futile anyhow.

Well done EMI, have a duh tag (1)

rumplet (1034332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523158)

Is any protection 'worth the cost'?
How about ditching all these lame attempts to stop 'casual copying' like CSS, DVD regions and macrovision, and then pass the savings on to the customer?

If not then don't be surprised when the customers casually downloads it from a torrent. With freedom from DRM shit, torrents would still be good value at twice the price.

Re:Well done EMI, have a duh tag (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523386)

How about ditching all these lame attempts to stop 'casual copying' like CSS, DVD regions and macrovision, and then pass the savings on to the customer?

But then how will the poor Macrovision execs buy more Ferraris?

Let's think of the consequences here... (2, Funny)

active1x0 (1048858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523174)

...and the poor software pirates who are quickly being putting out of business. How are they going to put food on the table if they don't have anything to crack? Let's do the right thing and think of their needs, people!

Everything is DRM now (1, Insightful)

astrosmash (3561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523176)

When did people start equating rudimentary copy protection with Digital Rights Management?

The term has lost all meaning. People are throwing it around whenever they stumble upon any bug, missing feature, or technical limitation that causes them grief. "I can't use my iPod with multiple computers, I hate DRM." "Internet Explorer crashed, DRM strikes again." "This website requires registration, DRM is out of control."

Re:Everything is DRM now (1)

vain gloria (831093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523952)

The term has lost all meaning. People are throwing it around whenever they stumble upon any bug, missing feature, or technical limitation that causes them grief. "I can't use my iPod with multiple computers, I hate DRM." "Internet Explorer crashed, DRM strikes again." "This website requires registration, DRM is out of control."
You're right, but show me a user-friendly expression that isn't abused until it becomes a meaningless expression of approval/disapproval. It's political correctness gone mad!

Re:Everything is DRM now (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524010)

DRM has always been copy protection. It's just a nicer set of syllables that don't adgitate nerves as badly as copy protection enforcement.

That's why it's in so many things. Download a song, you could make a copy of it, so you need DRM. Transfer songs from an IPOD to a computer, need DRM. Transfer songs from a computer to a CD, DRM. Copy a file, need DRM in the OS.

It's an interesting idea, that a copy of a song exists as a single entity which should not reproduce. Unfortunately, many aspects of computers require reproduction of data. This sets the two initiatives at odds. I personally don't think it is possible without hardware support (like memory fencing wasn't), but I'm not about to buy hardware that permits me fewer possible options while using my computer. After all, if I'm writing an email to my folks, I don't want to suffer the bother of copyrighting the email, then creating a license for distribution to my folks. A "DRM for everything" solution might require this. A "DRM for some things" solution will just see an eventual migration of the DRM'd material into the non-DRM side of the machine.

In other news... (2, Funny)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523202)

...EMI has announced they are discontinuing the release of new albums on standard Audio CDs and will now be selling Audio HD-DVDs complete with fingerprint scanners and GPS transmitters and facial recognition software. Any AHD-DVD found to be played by a user other than it's owner (or within hearing range of a non-owner) will self-destruct, and any AHD-DVD found outside it's allocated region will explode.

In other, other news, numerous airlines worldwide have banned the usage of all media disks during flight.

Frakkers! (-1, Troll)

AC5398 (651967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523206)

I despise EMI. I haven't bought any EMI CDs since their Leahy CD overwrote the sound drivers on my pc. Frakkers!

I hope their cd sales tank and the company goes bankrupt.

not really DRM from EMI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523246)

It's just that the data is on a second sesion instead of the first one. It took me 5 minutes to figure that out when inspecting the disk with isobuster.. copied the data, burned a real CD and it did play nice in my carstereo..

Perhaps Forced By Globalization? (2, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523260)

In the article, it says that the DRM'd CDs were sold primarily outside of the U.S.. I suspect this was because of the headaches and lawsuits they knew would likely plague them in the United States. But now with the globalization fueled by the internet, I can imagine that more and more U.S. consumers were importing these DRM'd CDs perhaps after discovering a foreign artist via their music downloaded from the internet. If that's even partially true, then it would be more proof in support of the notion that "sharing" music over the internet is actually growing the market. Making music easier to get legitimately will be a win for the music industry in the long run, if they can get over their CD and DRM fixations.

EMI Artist list (3, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523292)

List by sub label. Taken from http://www.emirecords.co.uk/loader.html [emirecords.co.uk]

*NOTE: The site is flash so I can't copy and paste, these are hand copied, sorry for misspellings* ::EMI::
Auf Der Maur
Badly Drawn Boy
Beth Orton
Captain
Corinne Bailey Ray
David Gilmore
Faith Evans
Faultline
FischerSpooner
Hot Chip
Iron Maiden
John Cale
Kate Bush
Keren Ann
Kraftwerk
Pink Floyd
Radio 4
Robbie Williams
Saosin
Shawn Emanuel
Sigur Ros
Starsailor
Telepopmusik
The Aliens
The Concrete
Vincent Van and the Villans ::Heavenly Records::
Dove
Ed Hardcourt
The Little Ones
The Magic Numbers
The Vines ::DFA Records::
Black Dice
Delia Gonzalz & Gavin Russom
The Juan Maclean ::Positiva:: ::Positiva::
Deep Dish
Ferry Corsten
Paul Van Dyk
Soul Avengerz
Soul Seekers
The Shapeshifters ::Positiva:: ::Additive::
Remy

Re:EMI Artist list (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523392)

This list is missing:
Frank Sinatra (all of his classic 50's output was for Capitol, an American label owned by EMI)
The Beach Boys
and the group that many think was the best of all time:
The Beatles

Re:EMI Artist list (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523608)

I think "was" is the operative word here.

The Beatles formed Apple records and broke away from EMI, and later that freak Michael Jackson bought their whole catalog at one point. I remember being sickened by the thought. I think Jacko had to sell the collection to pay for his legal troubles, if and to whom I don't know.

I'm pretty sure the list given is just current (living) EMI artists.

I believe the Rolling Stones used to be one of theirs, also.

Re:EMI Artist list (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523652)

This was the list on their website, as the other reply said, not a full historical list of everything they've done.

Re:EMI Artist list (1)

JKConsult (598845) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524514)

I own every Concretes album ever released, and I've never had the remotest issue ripping them. I'm curious as to what the DRM on those CDs was to begin with.

Logical (3, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523352)

So they're making a definity imnprovement of the product availability to their customers, making a definite cost reduction, with only a theoretical risk of noticeably increased piracy? Yeah, that sounds logical here too, and I wonder what took them so long. Pirates aren't those crying out at DRM, they use BitTorrent or other P2P nets. That's the biggest design hole of DRM, IMHO. Maybe the point was to not have a single pirate be able to rip (one is enough) that protection or gain it from other sources where it's not protected (or before it is), but all I can say about that idea is "dream on".

a DOH! revelation in the netherlands (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523530)

do please find sanity elsewhere as well, industry.

I think they pretty much given up a few years ago (3, Interesting)

TAZ6416 (584004) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523590)

I posted about this earlier on http://www.groklaw.net/ [groklaw.net]

Ithink that the last major UK EMI release with DRM was Coldplay's X&Y back in 2005, any other releases I noticed on EMI was on the budget/reissue EMI Gold label, which was usually sold at about £2.99 in the bargain bin's at Sainsburys (a posher version of Walmart for our American chums ;) )

Why they kept it on the cheap stuff and not the latest releases I don't know, I suspect they were trying to see how many returns as "faulty" they would get on the budget range, maybe it was too high a percentage and they decided the cost of the returns on a big selling CD was too high.

They used to have a pro-drm site at http://www.emimusic.info/uk/ [emimusic.info] printed on the DRM'd CD's but they seem to have pulled it.

Funny to see how cocky the record companies were back in 2002 compared to now - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/11/21/all_cds_wi ll_be_protected/ [theregister.co.uk]

Jonathan

Too little too late (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523692)

After years of treating me like a whoring stealing bitch with the DRM restrictions, I lost interest in what they have to say anymore. They are not worthy of my business. It is like an abusing dad who beat his children after 10 years, asks them..."ohh please come back now, I will not beat you anymore!" Well I seen the world, and I am not interested in going back.

  Im not your bitch anymore. You are not special, and I have no reason to give you any of my money. I havent bought a single new CD in the last 8 years from a store - but I did buy few used [DRM free] Jazz, Blues and few indie at the concerts.

  Fuck you, if you think I will come back.

Not CDs (0, Redundant)

N7DR (536428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523696)

If it has DRM, it's not a CD: it's a shiny plastic disc that might happen to play in some players. CDs that conform to the standard cannot have DRM.

I always look for the little "CD" logo on plastic discs in stores, and if that logo isn't there, there's no way I will buy the disc.

You FAIL it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17523718)

FUCKING USELESS duty to be aa big

Swift, like buffalo; cunning, like microwave. (1)

Gulik (179693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523730)

EMI, in a recent press release, has declared that water is wet and the Earth is very likely in orbit around the sun.

"We're as surprised as anyone," said one EMI representative.

Maybe they realised... (2, Interesting)

beezly (197427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17523946)

Maybe they realised it was a waste of time because it doesn't work.

This may just be my experience, but I haven't come across a single CD (including some which are explicitly marked as having some sort of "Copy Protection" on them) which didn't rip first time in my PC. There's nothing special about my drive (I've used an old Matsushita DVD drive and a Plextor DVD Re-writer). Maybe it's because I am running Linux, but as far as I can tell, CD-Ex on Windows would work equally well as anything I am using under Linux.

because modern CD players are DATA players (5, Informative)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17524066)

as pointed out before the Red Book specification describes audio CD's.

but data DVD has sectors and format information in the data on top of the red book specification.

and the Orange Book specification give details of multisession formats.

most of the "copy protection" systems used worked by wrapping the session information to impossible combinations that were impossible to read. or degrading the galois based CRC information that was used to recover bad data. neither of these methods were fatal to a Red Book player that only played audio disks as it ignored all other formats happily.

but these days most CD players can play MP3's also, and hence are data players not audio players - this means they are exactly the systems that the copy protection was designed to disrupt.

so the CD manufacturers found themselves in a situation where the new hifi's being built were being disrupted by they copy protection and hence unable to play any of the CDs. its a question of the physiscal data path built into the decoder IC on most MP3/Audio CD players.

in short, I'm not suprised they stopped including it - I'm just suprised they waited so long.

Good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17524282)

consumers could be driven to illegal sites to download music

My favourite band are signed to EMI, and their last album was DRM-infested. I emailed them to tell them that, although I had bought all their previous albums, I'd be downloading their new one illegally because it works better. They intentionally crippled their own product to the point where unpaid pirates actually delivered a better service than the multi-billion pound international corporation.

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