Copy-protected CDs useless to iPod owners | iLounge News


Copy-protected CDs useless to iPod owners

Copy-protected albums from Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and others continue to sell well despite complaints about their incompatibility with iPods.

“Aiming to curb piracy, labels like Sony BMG, which released both records, are rolling out copy-protected albums in the United States, which let users make three exact duplicates of a CD, and store files on a PC in Microsoft Corp.‘s Windows Media format,” reports Reuters. “But the copy-protection bars users from importing music onto iPods since Apple’s Fairplay software is incompatible with Windows.”

The news agency notes that about a third of the 252 customer reviews of the new Foo Fighter CD this week on Amazon complained about the protection. “This CD has a copy protection scheme that makes it totally useless to 30 million iPod owners,” wrote one reviewer. “How could a band be so stupid as to alienate such a huge percentage of their fans?”

Record executives are continuing talks with Apple to make the CDs compatible with iPods, and point out that they have released versions of the albums on Apple’s iTunes Music Store for iPod owners. “That appeased some iPod users, but others are still angry because they like to physically own a disc before importing it to iPods,” said Reuters.

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu said that both Apple and the record companies would benefit if they reach an agreement on the copy protection. “Apple’s the leader in digital music. It doesn’t make sense to release too many copy-protected CDs if they’re incompatible with iPods. But Apple could also be at risk if these CDs keep selling well,” he said.

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Folks, stop BUYING their product! Trust me, when they start seeing those numbers drop, this will go the way of the eight-track player.
It took alot of years before consumers realized they were being bilked by companies like Sony when it came to the price of a music CD. I still own my first CD - “Soda Fountain Shuffle, by Earl Klugh” and it still has the price tag; $16.95. Years later, we were still paying that amount for a music CD, until consumers wised up and started looking for other sources. Prices have dropped.
They don’t have what you want, you have what they covet - money.
Use your collective power!

Posted by Ramón on August 4, 2005 at 8:54 PM (CDT)


Just like Landon, I too bought Coldplay’s X&Y and cannot get iTunes (PC) to rip it, autoPlay or not.

Different than Landon, I resorted to felt-pen trick and manage to rip 12 tracks. The 13th (bonus) track was a no-rip, but I don’t like it anyway (*....).

Posted by pkthoo on August 4, 2005 at 9:53 PM (CDT)


Please stop calling copy-protected discs “CDs”, as they are not in fact a CD, as evidenced by the lack of the CD logo anywhere on their jewel case or artwork.  Customers must demand that all music outlets display these non-compatible bogus CD imposters in a seperate display bin so that they are not confused with actual CDs.

Posted by PissedoffCustomer on August 4, 2005 at 10:22 PM (CDT)


Normally I would say that you shouldn’t buy a product you don’t support, but this situation is a bit trickier than that.  When the music companies see their sales drop, they might think it is due to piracy, which might only motivate them to work on implementing even tougher restrictions.

So not buying their products could go either way.

Posted by TennBikeBerk on August 4, 2005 at 11:19 PM (CDT)


I’m listening to In Your Honor on my iPod right now, ripped from the CD - if you are still using Windows XP without disabling autorun for ALL your drives, not just your CD drive, you’re opening yourself up for all sorts of virus and spyware problems.  As long as they let Larry, Curly and Moe make these anti-piracy programs, us old-timers are safe. 

And, as a backup, I’ll always have my old dual-disc audio CD recorder that I purchased before MP3 even existed…just make a digital copy of the CD on an audio CD-RW, and pop it into the computer - all audio, no crap.

Posted by OldRipper on August 4, 2005 at 11:25 PM (CDT)


Why do the record companies, and the media that report on them, constantly refer to the copy protected CD incompatibility as a problem for Apple and iPod owners that Apple has to fix? Every one of these music discs (they are not CDs) is available on iTunes. Any iPod owner who really wants the songs on their iPod can just buy the music online. (I know, a lot of people love their CDs but you don’t need the physical disc if all you want is the music). The only problem this will cause is that Sony et al will sell fewer “CDs” to iPod owners. They’ll still make money if iPod owners buy the songs through iTunes, and Apple makes a little coin in the process. Happiness all around and no incompatibility.

Posted by dcmacnut on August 4, 2005 at 11:35 PM (CDT)


Frankly, I am pissed off at Sony.  I bought the limited edition DualDisc version of In Your Honor (Foo Fighters) and the CD side of both discs will not play, show up on iTunes, nor will my drive even reconize there is a disc in the drive (and yes, I have tried disabling autorun).  I have to play from the DVD side.  I know that the CD side works cause I played it on a $40 stand alone DVD player! And I do not agree with dcmacnut’s solution to purchasing the album from iTunes store so that I can get it onto my iPod.  Buying from iTunes means I do not get the extra content I want from the Dual Disc version and I am limited to iTunes’ bit rate on their tracks.  I feel that Sony has gone too far with this copy-protection scheme and perhaps a class action suit should be filed against them.  Who wants to be forced to use Windows Media Player??

Posted by ModernKaveman on August 5, 2005 at 12:09 AM (CDT)


i personally think this is only encouraging piracy. i got DMB and coldplay off of a p2p site with less hassle than i would have ever imagined. Stop buying these crap-excuses for cds s othey realize that cds are old and tired anyways. i had to have a guy look in the backof the store for blank cds because they are becoming soo useless

Posted by Benjammin on August 5, 2005 at 12:19 AM (CDT)


It’s just making life harder for the legitimate music fans…who may even be pushed to the dark side (P2P, etc.).  The copy-protection will not deter true pirates, so it is just useless.  They say it is to deter ‘casual’ pirates, but casual pirates does not cost the music industry much, after all even with the copy protected one, you can make three copies, I haven’t made three copies of any CD myself. 

And the money that these music companies pay to Sunncomm and other copy-protection companies could have been used for better purposes (like cheaper prices, better packaging, more contents) which could spur sales more than alienating fans. 

When I come across a Copy protected CD, I usually refrain from buying it unless it is one of my AAA titles, even though, I know I could rip it to my ipod with proper software/techniques, I refuse to - because then the music companies would think their copy-protection is increasing sales.

The decrease is CD sales is because the music companies is churning out bad and ‘me-too’ contents, it has nothing to do with piracy!

Posted by WilliamC in Philippines on August 5, 2005 at 1:56 AM (CDT)


I say avoid these discs (they are not CDs and selling them among CDs could be considered fraud) unless you really want them. Then go ahead & buy them, several in different places if you can. Open them. Return them & complain.


The MI continues to produce inferior merchandize. Bad music is sold at a high price, and most of the time the “high quality” CD sounds like a 10 year old FM tape recording on fire due to all the compression so that it just sounds LOUD LOUD LOUD. And then you’re not even allowed to do with it as you like?! I say shove those things back to where they came from, if you get the picture.

Go buy independent labels instead, go buy from labels such as Chesky, Telarc, Linn, MFSL, labels that care about the quality of the music they are selling as well as the sound quality. Go vote with your wallet!

I suspect that the MI wants to force Apple to open up Fairplay, and we could end up being only allowed to tranfer some lossy shoddy Microsoft format onto our iPods. JUST SAY NO!

Posted by Bad Beaver on August 5, 2005 at 3:23 AM (CDT)


Whilst I’m sympathetic to the people saying don’t buy the protected CDs, the fact is I (and a lot of people) just don’t have a problem with them. I own a number of CDs that are supposedly copy protected and I’ve never once had the slightest trouble sticking them in the drive of my (Windows) desktop and ripping them with iTunes or my (Windows) laptop and ripping them with EAC. The copy protection simply isn’t as effective as the manufacturers think it is.

Posted by Howling Sock Wolf on August 5, 2005 at 5:02 AM (CDT)


“Confusing consumers” should be Sony’s new advertising tag line. Have ya been to a Sony Style store??? Empty!! A block away an Apple store 3pm on a Monday filled with folks looking and the heckout lines filled with people buying…GIVE UP SONY!

Posted by cybershoplifter on August 5, 2005 at 8:07 AM (CDT)


Don’t buy this copy protected crap….but…Feel free to download for free on bittorrent or pay a bit at or or be a nice music buyer and go to iTunes.

What Sony does not get is we have choices!!

Posted by cybershoplifter on August 5, 2005 at 8:15 AM (CDT)


Howling Sock Wolf, I can guarantee you that not a single Mac user will have any problem with these discs (which are not CDs) on OS X, including me. Nevertheless they cannot be accepted. How long do you own your CDs? How long do you own your computer? Will you keep this one troublefree computer around forever? No, you won’t, and who knows, maybe when Apple swaps to Intel we get into the whole hardware based TCPA DRM BS. It would be very un-Apple, but there is only one fact: We don’t know. I never buy my music with the intention of getting rid of it again, it is there to stay and become part of my collection. Now if that collection is infected with a disease (crummy and pointless copy protection) which may render it unusable at some point it dramatically looses value.

It is not that the industry is incapable to produce well working, sensible mechanisms to protect music. Look at SACD-Hybrids. You get high-res music, and you can neither (yet) extract that layer of data nor burn in the format. And it would be quite pointless right now anyway since

a) High-Res (& multichannel) music needs a good home system to be useful, there is little need for it in a portable scenario.


b) a single album is several gigs in size and compressing it (as you could with DVD) defies the purpose of High-Res. 1:1 copies would likely be done by professional pirates only.

the most convincing though is

c) You also get a redbook CDDA conforming layer that you can handle as you like! Please let me know if you have any SACD-Hybrid that employs CP on that layer. I am not aware of any.

But. SACD caters to a rarther limited market. If you sold music of the production “quality” that is usually associated with CP (artistic quality / taste aside) to that, or any sane market on a medium that claims ultimate fidelity you’d get a healthy whipping in the townsquare.

Posted by Bad Beaver on August 5, 2005 at 8:39 AM (CDT)


For PCs, shutting down Autorun is the easiest method of defeating the current crop of anti-piracy strategies. Most if not all of the copy protections schemes work by installing a program on your PC that disrupts the audio signal (add noise, drops information, etc.) when playing and/or ripping the CD.

But turning off Autorun ONLY works if you’ve never loaded an audio CD with the same copy protection (CP) scheme prior to shutting down the automatic run option. If the CP program has already installed itself on your computer from an earlier audio CD, then shutting down Autorun is ineffective for any other subsequent CD-A using that copy protection scheme.  The only means to rectify this is to figure out what the particular CP process is (Googling for the audio CD works on the internet works pretty well), and then uninstall/remove the bloody thing. This garbage nothing more than worms, IMO, because they dumb down your ‘puter and end up using taking resources that you never intentionally wanted them to have.

As a RULE OF THUMB, Autorun should NEVER be set to ‘on’ with ANY CD format, audio, computer apps, games, whatever. Autorun is on by default with any new Windows PC; one of the first things that should be done with a new computer is to disable it in XP. MSFT, in its usually short-sighted way, thought that it would be clean for the user experience to make the CD drive operate automatically, taking advantage of the desire for ease of use (aka LAZINESS) that so many humans crave. Well copy protection zealots ALSO take advantage of that same laziness.

Be willing to launch iTunes by yourself (a simple mouse click or two) instead of letting the CD and computer do it for you…and guess what?  No more invasive anti-piracy programs, at least until the scum figure out another means of infecting your computer with their crap.

Posted by flatline response on August 5, 2005 at 9:18 AM (CDT)


I am buying an Audio CD or Software?........Back to P2P if they want to play games. They can’t catch us all.

Posted by Darren Hines on August 5, 2005 at 10:43 AM (CDT)


I bought the acceptance-phantoms cd and it’s also copy protected, and only let’s me rip to protected WMAs.

Does anyone know how to do this “felt-pen trick” in order to rip the cd?

Posted by brian on August 5, 2005 at 11:09 AM (CDT)


Found a site that explains how to turn off their “driver” after it’s been installed on your computer:

Posted by SPThom on August 5, 2005 at 12:11 PM (CDT)


Sony/BMG’s Sunncomm protection amounts to spyware!  I disable autolaunch with music CD, mixed data, and music files on my Win XP.  Put the CD in, and the CD still auto launches, With their welcome screen on, and not clicking anything, I tried copying the CD using a CD ripper, and the resulting files are garbage… When I then tried shutting down their software, without clicking on their accept Terms-of-service button, the program crashes and I had to restart my PC.

After restarting and fiddling around with my PC, I discovered that their software is loaded!  I never accept anything, so why is the software there!  It’s spyware if I diudn’t allow it to install nad they install itself.

Lucky that I found that article on Princeton (link above) and disable their software, I then use the ‘Shift’ key before loading the CD, now everything’s fine, I got my legally acquired songs on my portable player. 

Somebody should file a class-action suit against them!

Posted by WilliamC in Philippines on August 5, 2005 at 1:56 PM (CDT)


The ‘felt pen’ trick is to take a marker and then color the outer edge (the thin one) of a disc.  Check out this old article

All said, they ought to bloody well tell you that this will install software.  It also may be in violation of the 1992 law permitting personal copies of digital media.

Posted by Ipstenu on August 5, 2005 at 2:48 PM (CDT)

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