October 01, 2003

Copy Control and the RIAA

Bought a new CD yesterday. Or, well, after I got back home I quickly understood that this was no CD, but rather a piece of plastic at the same size as a CD, and that for some wierd reason happened to be compatible with a standard CD-player. It is called Copy Control -- by courtecy of EMI. Naturally the piece of plastic did not play in my dangerous CD-ROM drive straight away, but rather EMI had included a player-application that allowed for playback. Only problem is that the player took 98% of the CPU cycles of my Celeron 1GHz processor... so I listened to a few tracks, gave up and put the CD aside.

This problem is naturally not unknown to the general public. I will spend no time explaining the ins-and-outs of Copy Control. Short story is that I downloaded Easy CD-DA Extractor, put the piece of plastic into my CD-ROM drive, selected a thorough analysis of the piece of plastic, and voila, it found all the tracks, and by a push of a button I could sit back and wait. 10 minutes later the CD was residing on my HDD as MP3s. Next stop: My Nomad Zen - so that I can listen to the music I bought.

The theory is quite easy. As long as EMI and other members of RIAA wants their pieces of plastic (a.k.a. a CD) to play in ordinary Audio CD drive it is impossible to block playback from a CD-ROM drive. Furthermore; to enable playback in a "simple" CD-player they will mostly have to adhere to the CD standard -- the number of available tricks is small. And the "problem"; there is simply nothing stopping an application to act as dumb as the CD-A drive and to disregard the errors.

Knowing this my question is short: Why? What is the RIAA rationale? Their main reason is (probably) to fight piracy, but the minor flaw with their plan is that as long as one single individual manage to extract the digital sound off the CD the MP3s will find its way onto Kazaa or some other P2P network. From there it will only spread. The only person 'suffering' is the one actually buying the CD. Actually, even that suffering is marginal as it takes 10 minutes to rip the tracks... I simply don't get it...

PS: Does anyone know if the warranty on my CD-ROM drive is void if I use it to play non-standard pieces of plastic? Something tells me that there is a clause in the warranty stating that incorrect use will render it void. :)

Posted by ludvig at October 1, 2003 07:15 PM | TrackBack

This is crazy . . . does it specify somewhere that the CD has copy control? I buy CDs often but don't know that I've ever noticed this.

Posted by: Michael Kruckenberg at October 2, 2003 09:14 PM

I have had this problem too; I didn't know they had made a new Copy Control system.

Immediately atfer buying my CD, I couldn't wait to listen to it.
So I put it in my car's CD player... and... nothing! 'Error CD'!!!
I tried to put it out and in; nothing more...

At home, I tried it on my PC, and I got their player-application so I have been able to listen to it.

So, thanks Ludvig to have helped me know how to create myself a playable CD from this fucking shit I've bought!!
Now I can listen to it in my car!!!!!!!!!

For the fuckers that have made this system : your Copy Control's systems will just help you not to sell your CD's...
According to me, this attitude will encourage crackers, and honest people no to be ...

Posted by: Zebelbel at March 7, 2004 09:25 AM


Thank you very much for suggessting me an idea !

Posted by: Gandalf at March 18, 2004 03:22 PM

My eMac wouldn't play my Hail to the Thief album that I bought, at first I thought that it was due to a damaged lense or some shit like that in my cd-drive. Then I noticed the fuck-near-illegable-small-print text on the back, which mentions (almost as if not important at all) that the disc "Copy Protected". Fuck that. However, my friend has a powerbook 667, running all the same software, (iTunes, Mac0S X.3.3) it encoded the track fine.

I only listen to my CDs on my computer. I never use anything else, and as a way to prevent having to change CD's every time I wanna listen to a different song, I encode them. Now it wouldn't have been so bad had I even been able to even play the CD without its fucked up software, but I can't even listen to most of it in iTunes.

So. What to do. Stand up to it. As we speak, I have decided to get a copy of Poisoned, a program for mac which uses the Kazaa shit. And, I am going to leave my computer, and make available my 224kbps encoded copy of Hail to the Thief. The whole thing. Fuck you EMI. You make me want to pirate.

EMI - Did you ever think, perhaps, if you were going to do such a fucked up thing as try to stop piracy by preventing mainstream *CUSTOMERS* from even playing your mus... wait, your exploited, fucked over Artist's music, that you might just piss people off? People HATE being Jibbed.

You realise also of course, that all the major cd pirates will have already found a way to bypass it.

In conclusion, FUCK YOU EMI.

Posted by: Nehemiah at May 6, 2004 03:24 AM

I've to do a presentation of Copy Control CD (CCCD)... so I was playing around with my friend's CD with Copy Control on my Apple... when I pop the CD in the CD-ROM, it connects to CDDB... and I was able to play it thru iTunes 4.6, and I tried to select one track and import, it works too!!!

Just now I tried the same trick on Windows... it does the same thing, to iTunes 4.6 on Windows, it connects to CDDB... then I was able to play the CD as usual!!!

I proceed to try on PowerDVD... it prompted me... wrong format.

CD Player Deluxe... the older Windows 2000 CD player on Win XP... it froze for awhile, then it works as usual too!

Except the first time I tried... my CPU usage was 100% and and froze... and in task Manager I saw a program "nocopy.exe" I think... after I restarted my PC, no more problem with my PC.

After the restart of my PC, No problem with Nero too...

I am lucky, all the CD I've bought has no such feature!

Waf waf waf!!!!

Posted by: WoofWoof at June 28, 2004 04:00 AM
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