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Thread: Copy Proof CDs Cracked

  1. #1

    Copy Proof CDs Cracked

    LONDON (Reuters) - Technology buffs have cracked music publishing giant Sony Music's elaborate disc copy-protection technology with a decidedly low-tech method: scribbling around the rim of a disk with a felt-tip marker.

    Internet newsgroups have been circulating news of the discovery for the past week, and in typical newsgroup style, users have pilloried Sony for deploying "hi-tech" copy protection that can be defeated by paying a visit to a stationery store.

    "I wonder what type of copy protection will come next?" one posting on alt.music.prince read. "Maybe they'll ban markers."

    Sony did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

    Major music labels, including Sony and Universal Music, have begun selling the "copy-proof" discs as a means of tackling the rampant spread of music piracy, which they claim is eating into sales.

    The new technology aims to prevent consumers from copying, or "burning," music onto recordable CDs or onto their computer hard drives, which can then be shared with other users over file-sharing Internet services such as Kazaa or Morpheus MusicCity.


    Monday, Reuters obtained an ordinary copy of Celine Dion's newest release "A New Day Has Come," which comes embedded with Sony's "Key2Audio" technology.

    After an initial attempt to play the disc on a PC resulted in failure, the edge of the shiny side of the disc was blackened out with a felt tip marker. The second attempt with the marked-up CD played and copied to the hard drive without a hitch.

    Internet postings claim that tape or even a sticky note can also be used to cover the security track, typically located on the outer rim of the disc. And there are suggestions that copy protection schemes used by other music labels can also be circumvented in a similar way.

    Sony's proprietary technology, deployed on many recent releases, works by adding a track to the copy-protected disc that contains bogus data.

    Because computer hard drives are programmed to read data files first, the computer will continuously try to play the bogus track first. It never gets to play the music tracks located elsewhere on the compact disc.

    The effect is that the copy-protected disc will play on standard CD players but not on computer CD-Rom drives, some portable devices and even some car stereo systems.

    Some Apple Macintosh users have reported that playing the disc in the computer's CD drive causes the computer to crash. The cover of the copy-protected discs contain a warning that the album will not play on Macintoshes or other personal computers.

    Apple has since posted a warning on its website at: http://kbase.info.apple.com/cgi-bin/...val-KC.106882.

    Sony Music Europe has taken the most aggressive anti-piracy stance in the business. Since last fall, the label has shipped more than 11 million copy-protected discs in Europe, with the largest proportion going to Germany, a market label executives claim is rife with illegal CD-burning.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    "I wonder what type of copy protection will come next?" one posting on alt.music.prince read. "Maybe they'll ban markers."

    Instead of fixing the problem yes.
    \"SI JE PUIS\"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    what a ****ing waste of my time. I spend ages unwarpping safedisc and it finally paid off, then i am left with one awnser? a marker?! pffft....

  4. #4
    "Because computer hard drives are programmed to read data files first, the computer will continuously try to play the bogus track first. It never gets to play the music tracks located elsewhere on the compact disc."

    Are they referring to the OS here? Obviously, the hard disk itself couldn't care less if there's a CDROM in the system. So they must mean the OS. I would also venture a guess that they're probably also referring to windows. Has anybody with a linux box tried these newfangled CD's? I wonder in linux just ignores the bogus data. Let me know if any of you have any experience with this.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    My sister has a Shakira (Sony Records) album with this protection on it. I'm not allowed to try this out on it though . From the record companies' point of view, this is a good move, but for me and people who don't care about Sony, it sucks!
    *sniff*. God bless little tricks of the trades like this.

  6. #6
    AntiOnline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Hey GreekGoddess, whatcha trying to do, cut in on my turf? Hehe, j/k. I posted about this yesterday.

    [shadow]uraloony, Founder of Loony Services[/shadow]
    Visit us at

  7. #7
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Whats the point all it takes is one mp3 and by the next day everyone will have it.
    Its not software piracy. Iím just making multiple off site backups.

  8. #8
    AntiOnline Newbie
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Yesterday on TechTV they had a really sweet interview w/Joe Satriani. He is with Sony and they actually prevented him from posting MP3 samples of his music on his own web site(http://www.satriani.com). He won the battle eventually and put small samples on his site.

    They then wanted to protect his new CD and he told them no, evidently there are clauses in certain artists' contracts that allows the record company to place protection on the CDs without the artist's permission. Fortunately, not in Joe's case. He said that most of his fans use their computers to listen to music and did not want to take that away from his fans.

    As Joe put it "... the fans rock..." and he is right. (And Joe's site rocks) He also said that he'd like to see music companies lower the price of music. Joe uses his site to allow fans to interact with him by chatting live every day, posting polls to create set lists for his upcoming shows and to let contest winners to post their pictures of his shows on the website. Truly a revolutionary thinker as far as music and technology are concerned.

    Wish his intelligence would rub off on the rest of the mainstream industry.


  9. #9
    Oops....my bad....

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    It is not actually the OS or the harddrive, as the article says. It is the CDFS protocol. I would venture to guess that any system that is going to look at the cdrom as possibly having data(non-music) on it, will have problems reading the disc. The routine they were using was only meant to prevent "non-skilled" individuals from being able to circumvent it, ie., make an MP3. They did the same thing on playstation games, although in the case of the PS, it is looking for the bad sectors because you can not replicate them with most cd burners.

    Anybody with a little bit of audio equipment could still bootleg the cd fairly easily, and still maintain the original quality of the recording. You just need a digital path from your non-CDFS cd player to your computer

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