DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE:  Ever come across something that only gets stranger and stranger the deeper you delve into it? That was my experience when I almost purchased a new CD — a DRM crippled CD — this weekend. 

This tale is part of a larger struggle within the recording and digital download industry — not of P2P or piracy — but one of innovation and competition. As you follow this odd story (broken into 4 increasingly strange parts), you will note that as it gets weirder, Artists and Consumers are the collateral damage. It makes one wonder just what the hell the Recording Industry is thinking about these days:

Part I
A friend with whom I frequently swap Music and Film suggestions (as well as mixed CDs) asks me if I have ever heard of the band "My Morning Jacket." I have not. She suggests checking out the album Z. The album is very well reviewed. So I fire up iTunes, go to the music store. The band is rather interesting, not your typical pop fare. Sounds like a cross between Morcheeba and The White Stripes. (Rolling Stone heard elements of Radiohead, The Who and Lynyrd Skynyrd). Lush, ethereal, offbeat music, mixed with some electronica, but mostly straightforward fuzzbox-driven rock-n-roll. My kind of stuff.

I hop over to Amazon to read some reviews (mostly positive). I am about to purchase the disc, when I notice the DRM info. (See Amazon DRM reviews below.)

The reviewers note that Sony has crippled the disc with Sunncomm’s latest DRM software. (You may remember Sunncomm’s infamous shift key incident). The key restriction of this particular DRM is that it renders a disc nontransferable to the iPod.
Nor can you make a backup copy, or travel discs, or a copy for the
weekend house, or use any of the songs on a mixed disc. Oh, and it won’t
work with my iTunes Music software (and that also means no shuffle

Since the CD is incompatible with Apple iTunes, and the music cannot be transferred to an iPod, it eliminates about half of my legal uses for it. So I don’t buy the CD, ’cause it won’t do what I need it to do. Chalk up a lost sale to DRM.


Part II
Here’s where our tale takes a turn for the bizarre:  According to the Band/Label’s website, these DRM restrictions were put on the CD without their knowledge or permission:

Information Regarding Our Artists’ Music, Copy-Protected CDs and your iPod
We at ATO Records are aware of the problems being experienced by certain fans due to the copy-protection of our distributor. Neither we nor our artists ever gave permission for the use of this technology, nor is it our distributor’s opinion that they need our permission. Wherever it is our decision, we will forego use of copy-protection, just as we have in the past.

That’s simply a stunner.

The loss of good will and fan support must be significant to the band. That’s a very real monetary damage to the band. (I wonder what their legal options are). It becomes even more absurd when you consider that "ATO Records permits audiotaping at our artists’ performance." So this is a very forward looking, copyright-friendly bunch of folk.

I would hope that in the future, music agents and attorneys remember to address this in label contracts on the band’s behalf.


Part III
As odd as the story is so far, its about to get a whole lot weirder: It turns out that all Engadget (quoting Variety) notes that this DRM is not at all about making the CD immune to piracy. Instead, its part of a pissing contest between Sony and Apple:  Variety writes that "the new copy protection scheme — which makes it difficult
to rip CDs and listen to them with an iPod — is designed to put
pressure on Apple to open the iPod to other music services, rather than
making it dependent on the iTunes Music Store for downloads."

You mean to tell me that this isn’t even about P2P and unauthorized downloading? How annoying is that? Sony has their panties in a bunch cause Apple has been kicking their arses all over the innovation and digital music schoolyard? So the mature response from a major global conmsumer electronics corporation is to take their ball and go home?

DRM is now being used as a competitive economic weapon — not as an anti-piracy tool.

As a music consumer, I find this ridiculous. Why I cannot use a
legally purchased CD — because Sony is miffed at Apple for creating the
2000’s version of their Walkman — is beyond absurd. I am very, very annoyed at this. 

In fact, I am so perturbed at this act of wanton stupidity, that two imminent purchases — a Sony Bravia LCD big screen TV and the Sony Vaio notebook — are now put on hold.

So far, Sony’s lost business with me is now one CD ($10.99), one flat panel TV ($3,499) and one laptop ($3,199). That’s  lost sales of approximately $6,710. If you are a Sony shareholder, you should be as annoyed as I am.



Part IV
I saved the absolutely weirdest part for last.

I write Suncomm to complain about this DRM. Their website encourages people to write Apple and request them to "Open up their proprietary technology."

Yeah, spare me your lectures. Just because your client failed to create a digital music player and legal downloading store, doesn’t mean that I have to get conscripted in your lobbying ploy. 

Just tell me where CD purchasers should send this crippled disc back for a refund, I ask them.


"If you have a PC place the CD into your computer and allow the CD to automatically start. If the CD does not automatically start, open your Windows Explorer, locate the drive letter for your CD drive and double-click on the LaunchCD.exe file located on your CD.

Once the 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. You may also play them in any compatible player that can play secure Windows Media files, such as MusicMatch, RealPlayer, and Winamp, but it will require that you obtain a license to do so. To obtain this license, from the Welcome Screen of the user interface, click on the link below the album art that says If your music does not play in your preferred player, click here. Follow the instructions to download the alternate license. PLEASE NOTE: This license is only necessary for playing the copied songs in a media player other than iTunes or Windows Media Player. If you are just trying to use iTunes, simply continue with these instructions.

Using Windows Media Player only, you can then burn the songs to a CD.  Please note that in order to burn the files, you need to upgrade to or already have Windows Media Player 9 or greater.

Once the CD has been burned, place the copied CD back into your computer and open iTunes. iTunes can now rip the songs as you would a normal CD."

So this entire rigamarole won’t even protect the CD contents — its merely a very annoying interference with my ability to enjoy the legal uses of a product I actually wanted to purchase.

But wait, there’s more! As if that’s not absurd enough, they remind me that none of this is necessary at all. As noted above, its nothing more than a swipe at Apple: 

"Please note an easier and more acceptable solution (to who?) 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."


If you think that this cannot get any dumber, you would be wrong. The coup de grace of this exercise in corporate stupidity is this:

"If you have a Mac computer you can copy the songs using your iTunes Player as you would normally do."

Words simply fail me . . .




POSTSCRIPT:   October 31, 2005 6:08am

I am a buyer of CDs, and only rarelydo I download tracks from Apple’s iTunes Music Store due to sound quality.
I didn’t spend an obscene amount of money on a home audio system to
listen to the mediocre audio quality of MP3s. The
not-even-remotely-as-lossless-as-advertised-compression algorithms are
hardly any better. MP3s and iPod quality music is fine for the beach or
my commute on a train, but its something else entirely in my living

My fair use: When I get a new CD, I rip it to iTunes,
then transfer the music to my iPods; I make a backup copy (in case of
loss). If I really like a disc, I make a copy for the car or the
weekend house. If the disc is "youth-friendly," I’ll make a copy for my
wife’s classroom. She teaches art, and I refuse to let her take any
more original discs to school — they have all gotten destroyed.

Incidentally, I am what the marketing people like to call an "influencer"
(i.e., think of Netflix, TiVo or Macintosh). I do not copy entire CDs for people,
but I like to expose frinds to news music — I will give them a song or two, with the recommendation that if they like
it, they purchase the artist’s disc. I use P2P to check out stuff not available
elsewhere, or to see if I want to purchase a full CD.  I also like
to make mixed playlists, which get burned for the car or for
friends who are looking to hear new music, now that radio is dead.

I believe all of the above is well within my rights as a consumer of the
CDs that I legally purchased; If someone wants to try to convince me otherwise, please take your best shot.




UPDATE:  October 31, 2005 7:02 am

This morning, I did a Google News search on "My Morning Jacket: Z," and I found 147 mainstream news articles from the past 30 days.

One — only one — mentions the DRM issue:

MUSIC:  Burning the Faithful
New copy-protected CDs screw over the only honest customers the music industry has left.
Eli Messinger
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

There is a large and potentially fascinating story here that you folks in the tech press/music media are overlooking . . .



UPDATE:  November 10, 2005 1:38 pm

Here’s the biggest joke of all:  I actually got the disc, and ripped it to iTunes and the iPod — on my G5 iMac . . .



The Amazon reviewers DRM comments are below . . .


Amazon Reviews of My Morning Jacket: Z CONTENT/COPY-PROTECTION

Reviewer 1:          GRT (New York City) October 25, 2005

Buy it on iTunes

Whatever the merits of the music, I tossed this disk in the garbage. Why?

1. Upon insertion in the computer, requires you to agree to a contract that restricts usage to approved devices etc and inserts software on your hard drive to monitor usage.
2. After agreeing it launches a goofy proprietary application to play the music instead of a media player.
3. You cannot play the files in iTunes
4. You cannot rip the files to you computer
5. You cannot play the songs on you iPod.

This attempt to restrict legal usage of the music is outrageous and should be tolerated. Is the band aware of this? Do they support it? It is bad business, bad publicity and done in bad faith.


What a rip-off

Reviewer 2:          redbank2 (Red Bank, NJ) October 26, 2005

Repeating one other reviewer, if you want this on your iPOD, do NOT buy this…Plus on a PC the only way to play it is with it’s own built in CD player…I like Winamp, sorry, it doesn’t work with Winamp…Oh well…

the music is fine, but does not make up for the nonsense of putting up with this egregious display of lack of marketing skill…If someone wanted to copy and distribute it, they could, what foolishness on the part of Sony/BMG/ATO and RCA Music…And they wonder why corporate music is dying…


DO NOT buy this if you own an iPod

Reviewer 3:    David Klingenberger (Chicago, IL) – October 17, 2005

I’m not some 20-year-old music thief. I’m a 46-year-old guy who spends thousands of dollars a year on CDs. Thousands. (It used to be vinyl, 8-tracks, real to reels). And I’m being treated like a criminal. How wrong. How wrong.

Don’t support the criminals who sell you "copy protected" CDs.

Don’t buy this CD. Get it some other way.

And how sad. This may be the best CD of the year. (It’s absolutely amazing.)


BEWARE – Copy Protected

Reviewer 4:    Scott Dyer (San Francisco, CA) October 4, 2005

Note that this CD is copy protected. The most significant implication of this is that you can only rip it to WMA which will not play on most portable music players including the iPod. There is no way around this. This CD relies on a much tigher version of copy protection than other CD’s so tricks such as the ole’ holding down the shift key to avoid autoplay do not work. If you want to be able to listen to this album on your iPod, purchase it from iTunes. The other advantage to this is that you get a bonus track not available on the CD version.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Chad K commented on Oct 31

    Normally I might email this, but…. I’ve been using this site for ages, and occasionally publish many of my collection of (legally) recorded live shows. A quick search for “My Morning Jacket” turned up 6 live recordings. No DRM. Also, a good link to an excellent example of people using torrents legally.


    link to “My Morning Jacket” shows:

  2. Chad K commented on Oct 31

    On another note… What were your reasons for not purchasing those other Sony products?

  3. wcw commented on Oct 31

    He’s voting with his wallet, as do I when corporate entities piss me off. It’s the only power a consumer has.

    Let’s say (to pick a recent example) that Target supports its pharmacists who refuse to fill morning-after pill prescriptions. (They do.) If you write Target a nasty letter, Target will fire off a boilerplate letter and add yours to their pile. If you fire off a nasty letter delineating the $1,000 you spent at Target last year, the $0 you shall spend until their policy changes and the 100 friends and acquaintances you plan to influence to do the same..

    Well, your letter goes higher on the pile. Corporations are hard to influence. Still, if enough people do something that hits the bottom line, perhaps you help, on the margin.

  4. AC commented on Oct 31

    I just want to say thank you for making me laugh out loud reading your post. As a high $ audio tech spender, I sympathize with your trauma.

  5. ann commented on Oct 31

    I’m not a historian, but what I think we are seeing is a “decadent” institution. In this case entertainment, but I think examples abound across industrial civilization. Like the late Austrian empire or many others, such as us in Iraq, it’s as though they chose the worst possible choices.

    We know that the media companies actually dream of technology that will let them examine all storage devices for copyrighted material and disable the system if any is found. Conservative (ownereship society) Republicans support this.

    But of course these and iother measures are impossible to mantain. Basic digital technology is to fluid. Military grade encryption is availible all over the place, alternative formats easily devised. All that will emerge is underground standards. And those most devoted to various media and who currently buy the most will increasingly look upon the media companies as enemies.

    Many of us who do not bother with the tricks will simply confine ourselves to what we have and to material that is offered freely.

    Companies like Sony seem bound and determined to create the crisis and then try to inflict sterner and sterner measures. They do so from a position of weakness.

  6. Bryan G commented on Oct 31

    With the full corporatization of radio limiting 98% of music to viral marketing, crippling CDs through the use of DRM further limits music from reaching a wider audience. Given the immense quantity of music available, if an album is prevented from making it onto the networks than its visibility would be severely reduced.

    I feel that P2P is moving music consumption in a new direction, towards a ‘try before you buy’ paradigm. Just as you’d want to try out a TV set in the store to see its picture quality, or take a car for a test drive, I want full information before I commit to a purchase. As time passes, and as my discretionary budget allows, the digital copies of albums I find remarkable are slowly being paired by physical copies on my shelf.

  7. Josh commented on Oct 31

    I’m confused. Are there multiple editions of this album? I bought this album in the store (Borders in NYC) and have successfully ripped it to my iPod using iTunes on a Mac. No problems here.

    I can play the CD in my Sony DVD player or on my Mac (iMac G5). Haven’t tried it on a PC however.

    Nothing but agreement from me here on both the long term impracticality and misuse of DRM. Ever since the record companies shutdown the original Napster – best creation ever for a music fan – instead of co-opting it and using Napster’s huge subscriber base to their advantage, they’ve done nothing right.

  8. Barry Ritholtz commented on Oct 31

    read towards the end of the post:

    If you think that this cannot get any dumber, you would be wrong. The coup de grace of this exercise in corporate stupidity is this:

    “If you have a Mac computer you can copy the songs using your iTunes Player as you would normally do.”

    Words simply fail me . . .

  9. investor commented on Oct 31

    One thing I find interesting is that as communication savvy corporations increasingly scan blogs and make responses; the music industry has not noticed or has pretended not to notice you. Yet you are an individual of some influence and you have made a consistent critique over time.

    You are also open to reason as opposed to “the record companies are all ripoffs!” creed that I am sure appears elsewhere.

    For this reason I will short Sony. The next few decades are going to be traumatic and we are seeing resistance not response to the change.

    This is similar to the reason I shorted SBC. When I want to the Cingular web site (and I believe cellular is a big par of the future) it was very badly done. So how can one expect a decent evolution to our advanced Star Trek I communicators? Already in Asia they are doing stuff Kirk nevr dreamed of, but Cingular can’t design a conventional webpage.

    If Sony and other media companies chose to block themselves off from customers rather than engage in dynamic potentially product creating dialogue the odds of their thriving go down. And I expect this will be reflected in Sony’s hardware products.

    No Sony stock for me. I hold long term.

  10. donna commented on Oct 31

    Hubby works for Sony Playstation, and I gotta say he’s as pissed off at Sony music for their stupidity issues as anyone. Sigh. Hopefully they’ll get the next round of makeovers that Sony Electronics is currently undergoing…

    This is what happens when good engineering companies get taken over by the marketeers. Time for an engineering revolt…

  11. donna commented on Oct 31

    … and I’m also on the Target boycott. And Walmart. Running out of places to shop rapidly. Thank goodness for Costco!

  12. royce commented on Oct 31

    “I make a backup copy (in case of loss). If I really like a disc, I make a copy for the car or the weekend house. If the disc is “youth-friendly,” I’ll make a copy for my wife’s classroom. She teaches art, and I refuse to let her take any more original discs to school — they have all gotten destroyed.”

    Don’t know where to come out on this. You’re arguing in favor of buying a kind of unlimited personal use license, which I sympathize with, but Sony seems to be following what every business does with their property: try and extract the maximum possible revenue stream from it. Within the strictures of fair use doctrine and copyright, you get the license they give you, a license that you obviously should reject if you absolutely have to have four copies of the CD.

  13. Barry Ritholtz commented on Oct 31

    I don’t need 4 copies: Just a back up (that stays filed away) and one I can use that I don’t care if it gets destroyed or lost.

    Meanwhile, when I get lazy, those are the discs that disappear / get damaged (ie., my Jack Johnson CDs)

  14. Boing Boing commented on Oct 31

    Suncomm encourages people to break its DRM

    Barry bought a CD by the band My Morning Jacket, only to discover that it was crippled with Suncomm DRM, apparently as a ploy by Sony to make keep its music from being played on iPods (which compete with Sony’s own proprietary players). The band appare…

  15. D commented on Oct 31

    Running out of places to shop rapidly.

    And that is the inevitable problem with our modern retail landscape. Boycotting Wal-Mart? They don’t care. In a lot of regions, there isn’t an alternative. You’re going to shop there regardless of whether or not you despise the company…it’s the only place in town to get diapers.

    And those that have choices? Well, then that’s Target. And if you hate target…


  16. john commented on Oct 31

    I own My Morning Jacket’s “Z” and had no issue at all with importing it into iTunes and onto my iPod. I read other sites about the DRM and was worried, but I love the band and bought it anyways. And I had no issues. Are there others like me?

  17. Shizlak commented on Oct 31

    This is why i steal music.

  18. Christopher Davis commented on Oct 31

    I do love that Sony computer buyers can’t rip the disc, but Mac owners can. Crazy. (Me, I have a Mac, but still won’t buy these things; David Gray lost a sale to me because his latest album is infested with this stuff. Oh well.)

  19. Adam commented on Oct 31

    Downoad from iTMS (if you enjoy the sound quality like I do) and do a Google for “jhymn”.

    Or, buy a Mac! OS X is a wild experience – try it out!

  20. Danny commented on Oct 31

    “I feel that P2P is moving music consumption in a new direction, towards a ‘try before you buy’ paradigm. Just as you’d want to try out a TV set in the store to see its picture quality, or take a car for a test drive, I want full information before I commit to a purchase. As time passes, and as my discretionary budget allows, the digital copies of albums I find remarkable are slowly being paired by physical copies on my shelf. ”

    These arguments are just silly. Many stores used to have samples of songs – amazon has many samples of songs. If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.

    Further, I think there are major stretches of the fair use law. For instance if you have a laptop and a desktop, you can install the same software on both machines. But, if your wife uses the laptop 100% of the time and you use the desktop 100% of the time (and at the same time) you need two lices.

    Lastly, you think that you have special ‘privillages’ because you are ‘an influencer.’ No, you are not in marketers’ eyes. You are a regular customer that spreads good WOM. If you were an influencer, you would get comps to pass out to people. Just because you spread good WOM doesn’t mean you are above the law.


  21. Dr. Luba commented on Oct 31

    So, in effect, Sony is telling you that the way to get full use from their CD is to buy a competitor’s (Apple) computer?

    Doesn’t sound like good marketing to me……

    But a good suggestion, none the less.

  22. Kevin commented on Oct 31

    Seems like the best way to teach record labels to not pull this crap is to buy the CD – attempt to rip the music to the player of your choice – and if it doesn’t work because of DRM copy protection – return the CD to the store where you bought it and say “it doesn’t work”. And if they refuse to take the CD back – they quickly see things my way when I tell them that I will be disputing the charge with my credit card company if they don’t refund my money.

    Then, the CD will get shipped back to the label.

    Anybody have any luck over-riding the copy protection with a package called AnyDVD (http://www.slysoft.com)? It’s what I use to make backups of DVDs – and it’s supposed to remove copy protection from CDs as well…


  23. Seth Anderson commented on Oct 31

    When I first heard of this DRM stupidity, I wrote directly to the band. They responded with pointers on how to evade the copy-protection, and noted that they use Mac computers, and had no problems importing the disc into iTunes/iPods.

  24. nzruss commented on Oct 31

    Its all about education of the consumer. We aim to educate the average consumer, the big record companies aim to hide and blur the issue and muddy the water. (I’m surprised the record companies havent managed to get the use of DRM circumvention slipped into some obscure anti-terrorism legislation – but i’m sure they’ve considered it.)

    The argument boils down to this: How long will it take for the average consumer to figure out they are being ripped off.

    It is the gamble the Apples, Sony’s and BMG’s are playing while they claw for market share: Just how stupid are their consumers?

    Will they continue to buy DRM’d music because: A. they dont know any better, B. because they dont have a choice, or C. Because its good for the consumer?

    We have a choice, and DRM is not good for the consumer, so the answer falls back to A. The mainstream consumer will buy it because they dont know any better. (Think Tara Reid, or What Would Ashton do?)

    There will always (and needs to) be smaller companies out there willing to fill our NEED for open format music and players, and willing to sign up new Bands. The customer is there, and the market is only getting bigger as people become educated.

    How many bands sign up with the major labels because they HAVE DRM? – (Metalica doesnt count)

    Sure, I might end up listening to some 15YO kids garage band on my “Somy Opid”, but I’ll happily tailor my tasts while the music giants fight….

    Its an education game, and the mainstream consumers will eventually get wise and start spend their money where the freedom is… open formats.

  25. Karmakin commented on Oct 31

    Try before you buy isn’t a 30 second snippit.

  26. Skip commented on Oct 31

    What makes the rip in WMA, burn, rip in iTunes thing even more unpalatable is that the files you end up with go through compression TWICE and will sound like crap.

    I’ve stopped calling discs with DRM-riddled CDs — and indeed, they don’t fit Redbook standards. Someone should think of a snappy name.

  27. Not getting my $$ commented on Oct 31

    Thank you for taking the time to document this process. I, too, am a hardcore music lover with 3000+ CDs in my collection, and am constantly recommending new stuff to friends and co-workers. I refused to buy both this CD and the recently-released Harmonies for the Haunted by Stellastarr for just this reason…. and I warned everyone I know not to buy them either.

    I love my music, but it’s an optional purchase. If the record industry starts DRM’ing every CD, fine, I’ll stop buying. I’ve got my 3000 DRM-free CDs to listen to. And I guess I’ll have to find a new hobby to spend my hundreds of dollars a year on…

  28. Mosz commented on Oct 31

    OK your info is very biased. Apple’s itunes DRM is ment to cripple competition with other stores and other coampnys music players so SONY is just doing the same thing back , not that i support this or enjoy either or thier practices.

  29. neutron zenith commented on Oct 31

    Interesting read regarding CD DRM

    A very interesting tale detailing the absurdity of recent Digital Rights Management enforced on CDs. I’m not a business major, but it’s my guess that the solution to solving dwindling CD sales is not to piss off your customers.

    DRM Crippled CD: A bi…

  30. Greg Abbott commented on Oct 31

    Apple’s iTunes DRM only applies to song you buy from the iTunes music store.

    Unlike this CD, Apple puts no residual DRM or limitations on what you can do with files ripped from your own CD’s.

    If Sony wants to build an online music store, and prevent songs purchased from that store from working on anyone else’s MP3 player, more power to them.

    But they haven’t done that. They’ve decided that the owners of the actual CD should be locked out from iTunes/iPod.

    That’s a rather serious escalation of the DRM wars. IMHO

  31. nzruss commented on Oct 31

    Mosz, as someone said earlier, its not about WHO’s doing it, its that all of these companies have somehow tricked the market into believing that they are using DRM to protect copyright, but as you say, are actually using it to protect their profits by forcing you to only use their store to continue to buy their product. (what??? have they LIED to US??? NO, not the god honest record companies???) The only thing is, Sony have it backward. They have no store like Itunes, so are trying these ridiculous methods to force you into …… not buying their product…. Who was the brainiac that got that passed the board…?

  32. Josh commented on Oct 31

    A simaler thing happened with Switchfoot’s ‘Nothing Is Sound’ (Sony). Their CD was released with DRM without their permission.. and they ended up posting a workaround on their site (hosted by Sony, so it was deleted fairly soon).

    My view on DRM is this:
    I have no problems paying for music. But I want to use my music how I want to (within the law), such as burning a couple CDs so when I’m in the car or whatever I can listen to it, without having to worry about scratching up the original. DRM really prevents this.

    And the irony is, DRM has ALWAYS been bypassible, by programs like J-Hymn for iTunes, where it actually removes the DRM, or with programs like Tunebite where you can play the file in WMP, record it, and save it as a DRM-free MP3 or OGG. So all DRM does is become an obnoxios pain for those trying to use their music legally, but for those who really are trying to pirate the music, who are probably tech savvy, they can easily bypass it and pirate away.

    I’ll never buy a CD that is DRM protected. Never. If I must have the album, I’ll buy it off some online store where I can remove the DRM. (Right now Yahoo! Music Unlimited is looking pretty sweet. DRMless with Tunebite or Muvaudio.) Right now, if I wasn’t going to run the risk of getting busted by the RIAA, I’d pirate the music and just give the band $15 😉 No DRM, no hassle, and the band gets their cut.

    Anyhow.. DRM is an evil that really needs to be done away with.


  33. dnamj commented on Oct 31

    Well, I think the best idea on here is to never buy CDs that you don’t like, if you can avoid it. That would be like buying a CD you knew contained crappy music, only this time, it contains crappy encoding crap.

    By the way, record companies make a lot of money by selling crappy CDs full of crappy music, and I for the life of me don’t know whay people buy them. So don’t. Find something else to buy, or save your money. Sooner or later when these things quit selling, they’ll quit making them.

  34. rudolph commented on Oct 31

    If Sony wants to build an online music store, and prevent songs purchased from that store from working on anyone else’s MP3 player, more power to them.

    But they haven’t done that.

    Actually, they’ve done exactly that. Visit the Sony Connect store, where you can download music in Sony’s proprietary ATRAC format that can only be played in their player and on Sony-made personal digital music players. I had a very Barry-like experience buying an album from Sony Connect on my wife’s XP box and trying to move it to my own personal Mac. Took half a dozen CDs and eight crash/restarts of the XP box to pull off.

  35. mdhåtter commented on Oct 31

    CD’s could be and will be smaller, audio bitrate IS an important consideration, for fans and for the musicians themselves.

    Sure, you can fit that many songs at 128K, but at 320K they sound so much better.

  36. bob commented on Oct 31

    i notice that you have a tools section on your website, but i don’t see you in it. what gives?

  37. Alvis commented on Oct 31

    Well written. It is very like something I wrolte for my own blog, only better.

  38. Undertoad commented on Oct 31

    I represent itsaboutmusic.com, an online distribution music label. I cannot TELL you how many older artists albums are simply not available because the companies retain the publishing, thus the licensing, and the rights to great old albums (usu. those that sold less than 100,000 or so) are simply held ransom for $10-$50,000.

    The catalogs of entire bands are unavailable in many cases. They are out of print and simply cannot be bought except on eBay.

    I can’t understand why any band or artist would sign a major label contract today. There is no money in it for anyone, almost, and the chances are that your music will be released weakly, not promoted, not make money, and then be held ransom forever.

  39. Adam commented on Oct 31

    A friend of mine had purchased a CD by a relatively obscure gothic metal band (can’t remember the band name), only to find that his computer would not let him play the CD in iTunes, nor copy the files to his computer. He called the record store where he bought it, and they basically told him he’s out of luck- has to listen to it on a stereo system. This amazed me, especially since the band wasn’t a ‘radio band’, and it was certainly not on a major record label.

    Of course the problem that comes up now is that he’s a college student sharing an apartment with other people. His computer *is* his stereo system- so if it won’t copy to his computer, it’s as good as useless. Rather unfair when record labels don’t consider that in this day and age, many people don’t listen to their music by putting a CD into the CD player, but by firing up iTunes or WinAmp and listening to what they’ve imported.

  40. S commented on Oct 31

    There is other things to talk of. About halfway down the page of this article (http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2004/06/industry_spinni.html) there was told of a hidden driver installed on your computer. With the new case Sotelo v. DirectRevenue that was decided in Chicago, anything that is installed upon your computer without your permission (and yes, this is a jump but not a far one) is considered an invasion of privacy.

    I understand that this case is about spyware, but if something that is installed without your permission causes you to not be able to use your products as you normally would, then this is a limitation that would be considered an invasion a privacy, for they are telling you how to use the product you bought (with the understanding you could use it how you wanted).

    In the end, I’m just waiting for the lawsuits to start. Soon every company that tries to install ANYTHING but the product will be sued up the wazoo. In other words, in my mind, Sony has just set themselves up for a big legal battle that won’t cumulate with Apple bowing to anything, but rather a direct revenue loss for Sony.

  41. Electric-Escape.net commented on Oct 31

    DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

    Or, “Sony cripples its CD to spite iPod users”. Brilliant…

  42. Electric-Escape.net commented on Oct 31

    DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

    Or, “Sony cripples its CD to spite iPod users”. Brilliant…

  43. Greg Schueler commented on Oct 31

    so sony puts in this copy protection to hinder people who use ipods?

    but look at the results

    buy the CD:
    crippled on PC, can’t copy to ipod
    works on Mac

    buy the album on iTunes (lesser quality than CD):
    works on both, copies to ipod

    pirate the album, good quality:
    works on both, copies to ipod

    so they only hinder people who use PCs and buy the physical CD, and you have more options for use if you either pirate it, or buy it on iTunes (assuming you have an ipod). Conclusion: buy a Mac or buy the album on iTunes, or pirate the album. In fact pirating the album is the now the sole *best* way to get this album, because you can get a 100% compatible, full quality copy that you can’t even buy in the store. (notice that music piracy has probably been a huge factor driving mp3 player sales in the first place.) Woops, didn’t they do this to try to *hurt* apple? They have managed to only hurt themselves, both as sellers of PCs and as sellers of CDs, not to mention the fans of My Morning Jacket, and the band themselves.


    I like MMJ and was considering buying this album, but now I’ll probably try to get a pirated copy and just go see MMJ in concert.

  44. Electric-Escape.net commented on Oct 31

    DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

    Or, “Sony cripples its CD to spite iPod users”. Brilliant…

  45. Capybara commented on Oct 31

    Its a side point, but have people tried their copies of Z? Mine copied to I-tunes without any problem — no drm protection.

  46. Dylan Abbott commented on Oct 31

    Great post, and a lot of interesting info on the idiocy of DRM as a weapon of corporate subterfuge. However, I do have to ask you, which lossless codecs are “not-even-remotely-as-lossless-as-advertised-compression algorithms”? I know from experience that FLAC will give you a bit-for-bit identical decompressed file, assuming you’re starting from a 16-bit, 44.1khz original (which is what CDs are). I don’t have much experience with Apple Lossless, or APE, but I would assume that the same is true. Do you have any information that leads you to believe otherwise?

  47. Bryan G commented on Oct 31

    “Try before you buy isn’t a 30 second snippit.”


    “If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.”

    Wrong. In this new paradigm I am making a rational decision to support artists who put out quality material. I am giving them incentive to compete through the production of top notch music rather than flashy marketing or catchy artwork. My own incentive is to enable that artist to continue making excellent music instead of relying on ‘best of’ compilations and name brand recognition.

    99.8% of the music I listen to recieves no radio airplay, and 30 second samples do little to tell me about the quality of an album. I mean, I could purchase a car without getting it inspected or test driven becuase it looks nice on the outside, but frankly that’s a huge risk I’m not willing to take.

    It really isn’t much different than checking CDs out of the library before deciding which to purchase. Being equipped with full information is a theoretical lynchpin of the market system, and P2P is bringing this closer to reality.

  48. ann commented on Oct 31

    Well Danny, you’ve managed to imitate the process of argument for which advocates of the recording media are becoming famous for.

    – You distorted the issues being discussed.
    – You implied the critic was engaged in illegal activity which s/he felt entitled to because they were special.

    There is a war for the hearts and minds of the customers here, and your position is to win over the anal reactionaries. This might get you some bills in congress, but Senator Hatch is not a good model of a customer demographic.

    In “defending” Sony you have become a cliche of what it’s most active customers hate.

    And as for “influencers” get this. This blog isn’t the enemy it’s the warning canary. In lots of little blogs people will say to their dozen friends “sony sucks.” And those people will tell others. How and what information will spread can’t be predicted, it’s like teen “cooness,” but now they have the most sophisticated information propagation machine in history.

    And you are spreading the idea that Sony is humorless and repressive. Meanwhile Steve Jobs works on being cool. He is rich in hubris and his dream would be to dominate the hardware and delivery mechanisms.

    Technology and quite possibly society are going to be dong some shakin and rockin in the next 5 or 10 years and the record companies and defenders are positioning themselves as old Mr. Grumpy who thinks his critics are all thieves who belong in jail.

  49. Bryan G commented on Oct 31

    “Try before you buy isn’t a 30 second snippit.”


    “If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.”

    Wrong. In this new paradigm I am making a rational decision to support artists who put out quality material. I am giving them incentive to compete through the production of top notch music rather than flashy marketing or catchy artwork. My own incentive is to enable that artist to continue making excellent music instead of relying on ‘best of’ compilations and name brand recognition.

    99.8% of the music I listen to recieves no radio airplay, and 30 second samples do little to tell me about the quality of an album. I mean, I could purchase a car without getting it inspected or test driven becuase it looks nice on the outside, but frankly that’s a huge risk I’m not willing to take.

    It really isn’t much different than checking CDs out of the library before deciding which to purchase. Being equipped with full information is a theoretical lynchpin of the market system, and P2P is bringing this closer to reality.

  50. Bryan commented on Oct 31

    woops, apologies for the double post

  51. Dan Lewis commented on Oct 31

    I was able to get the new Switchfoot album into ITunes on the PC the day I bought it; it just took two hours because of their lousy DRM. Even after that, the last track has skips in it, and the cellophane wrapping was still warm when it went from the store into the drive. The metaphorical spit in my face was warm too, courtesy of Sony Records. Now I actually have to pirate a track just so my album doesn’t have skips in it. Piracy is my only protection. I can’t return my album because it skips. That sounds like that Seinfeld episode; “Sorry, we don’t accept returns for spite.” It’s digital media and I already broke the wrapper. Do I have to sue Sony?

    I listen to free, legal live shows at http://www.archive.org/audio/etree.php. I don’t need many incentives to walk away from the recording industry. When my few must-own albums throw up these barriers to me, I am that much closer to leaving forever; I haven’t listened to the radio in years, and the industry just isn’t reaching me any more.

    The old ways are dying.

  52. Janean commented on Oct 31

    Between this and this (the fact that the DRM rootkit cannot even be installed on a Mac), I am happier and happier to be a Mac user. Have you thought of doubly ‘voting’ against Sony by spending that $3,000+ you were going to use to buy a Sony Vaio on a MacIntosh Powerbook instead?
    ; )

  53. Brian Olson commented on Oct 31

    The other villian here is Microsoft which is in cahoots with the likes of Sony to produce a system (Windows) on which you can’t do with the CD other than what Sony and Microsoft will let you. If you can play a CD in a regular dumb CD player, then the data is fundamentally there and available, uncompressed, uncrippled. As they even noted, MacOS does the right thing, and Linux certainly will as well.

    Yes, I am a Mac fanboy.

  54. Thomas May commented on Oct 31

    One of the ironies of this, is that Steve Jobs made an attempt early on, before itunes took off, to enlist Sony in the use of AAC and Fairplay. At the time, there was no guarantee that itunes would succeed, and Sony wanted to push its proprietary ATRAC. Nothing became of this.

    The funny thing is, Apple created Fairplay specifically to bridge the gap between consumers needs and the record companies requirement for DRM. Apple’s overwhelming success with the itunes store can almost be directly related to having put in mild DRM in the first place, and the overwhelming success of the iPod + itunes application.

  55. felipe commented on Oct 31

    I´ve got a better solution for that DRM:

    1) go to torrenttyphoon.com
    2) search for the corresponding album
    3) download the torrent
    4) enjoy

  56. B12 Partners Solipsism commented on Oct 31

    My Morning Jacket Z

    As previously discussed, the newest My Morning Jacket CD, Z, has some DRM software included. This doesn’t mean shite apparently, if you own a Mac, because I’m listening to the CD right now, and it plays fine.

  57. Mitch commented on Oct 31

    I bought “Z” and ripped it with Musicmatch, then crammed it into my iPOD. Worked fine.

  58. hello commented on Oct 31

    I would have bought a Sony HD5 audio player by now, but they lost that sale because of their idiot anti-piracy techniques.

  59. fishbrake commented on Oct 31

    Interesting post and I’m sure you’re being overwhelmed because of the Eschaton link, but I thought I’d put in my two cents. I’m a longtime Mac user and I have an iPod and use iTunes, but I think Sony has a point. They’re a hardware manufacturer and they’d like to be able to compete with Macintosh for the MP3 player market. Given the history of Apple products, including the recent bungled roll-out of the Nano, is it really a good idea to link all your music to their proprietary system? Historically their hardware is overpriced, and it’s obvious to me that they want to lock everyone into the iPod and iTunes system, regardless of what better or cheaper players may come out in the future from other manufacturers, including Sony.

  60. Pierre commented on Oct 31

    Sony is headed for oblivion. I hate their proprietary, overpriced Memory Sticks, and their proprietary battery technology. After going through four $90 batteries for my CyberShot, in three years (the failure of each one being “unusual bad luck”, apparently), my next camera was a Canon, which uses plain old AA batteries.

    I spend $1,700 on their product, and they can’t even reply to my emails? Up yours, Sony.

  61. Alasdair Patrick commented on Oct 31

    I’m no lawyer, but is there the slightest chance that one could argue that a DRM copy protected disc (perhaps any copy protected disc?) does not conform to the Sony/Philips “Red Book” CD standard and is there not a “compact disc”?

    It’s a bit like buying a vinyl LP that’s designed to play at 28 rpm.

  62. snacknuts commented on Oct 31

    from mefi: “Do you play Sony DRM-protected CD’s on your computer? If so, you might be wide open in terms of security. It seems that Sony is installing an almost-impossible to find rootkit on the computers of purchasers of their music. Their EULA doesn’t mention the fact that their ‘small, proprietary’ program goes much too far, managing to bypass security software, firewalls, etc.”

  63. Maynard Handley commented on Oct 31

    As for why Sony seems unable to get any traction in CE these days, this might help answer the question:


    As the article notes, Sony have just introduce, we kid you not, their SIXTH proprietary (and presumably twice as expensive as everyone else) Compact Flash type card.

    This isn’t even intelligent screwing over of your customers — you can get away with this sort of thing when you have a demonstrably superior product, but what exactly from Sony’s current line is demonstrably superior to anything anyone else makes? You can’t offer proprietary versions of commodity items like cameras and expect to gain any sales.

  64. Avo commented on Oct 31

    “If you have a Mac computer you can copy the songs using your iTunes Player as you would normally do.”

    So, buy a Mac! Wintel is part of the whole mindset that Sony exemplifies. Why support them?

  65. jbelkin commented on Nov 1

    Great recap. The whole thing is astonishing plus one other factor – in addition to the company above, even Macrovision admits their system is breakable so WHY ARE THEY BUYING IT? If I sold a home security system but said, ‘it doesn’t really work,” you wouldn’t buy, would you? Why do the record labels? Because the artists end up paying for everything? It’s so sad what’s going wrong at Sony – you should look into the Sharp TV screens, they are the leaders in the flat screens and hey, the Intel Macs should be out early next year 🙂

  66. Maximus commented on Nov 1

    Being both a technology company and a content company seems to have induced fatal schizophrenia in Sony. Their music players have been crippled and unpopular, and now they’re screwing their recording artists by crippling their CDs.

    The best possible thing for them, probably, would be to sell the music and movie businesses, and get back to making technology, which they used to do really, really well.

  67. Mike Scott commented on Nov 1

    If ATO Records contract with Sony is for CD distribution of their records, then it seems to me that Sony is in breach of that contract. Because a “copy protected CD” is not a CD at all, it’s a 5″ optical disk in a format other than audio CD format.

  68. A Guest commented on Nov 1

    If they are so concerned about sending feedback to Mac to open their stuff, maybe we should start sending feedback to them, telling them to quit crippling our CDs because of some hissy fit tantrum.

  69. urban legend commented on Nov 1

    I had the exact same run-around with a sony CD. the sad fact is it’s easy to mp3 the cd and file share them. it just takes 5-10 mins longer than before. will this stop the file sharers? no. will this piss off the ordinary cd buyers? yes/ way to go sony, another reason your a bunch of idiots and I hope your company gies down the pooper soon.

    sony are useless and I will never purchase another product from them ever again.

  70. Mike Hoche commented on Nov 1

    My bizarre solution? I bought this CD (very nice btw) but haven’t even taken it out of the case. I downloaded the content from P2P (surely legal as I own the CD) and made my backups & nice playable CD’s from that. DRM does zero to counter piracy and much to counter legitimate sales.

  71. Aaron commented on Nov 1

    Nice article, but in my experience, all DRM on CDs is bypassable by preventing windows from loading a disc automatically.

  72. dave commented on Nov 1

    i had the exact same problem with the new switchfoot cd. same reaction from the band and record label. now they said they will exchange my cd with a non drm one. great story!

  73. dgorman commented on Nov 1

    So the DRM has a licence agreement to rip, woopdeedo.
    – Use “Window Restore” to create a back-up point before downloading the “sony spyware”.
    – Rip, Burn, etc…
    – Restore to the Save point before the “spyware”.
    This may take a bit of time, but, better safe than sorry.

  74. Tilus commented on Nov 1

    To “urban legend”: Not all that simple in Finland. 🙁 We have this ridiculous requirement of “legal source” in our new copyright law. I could download the content of legally purchased CD from P2P only if those, whoever they are, distribute it legally. Innocence gives no protection. And it does not matter if you own a legal copy or not. You think this is insane? You are not alone…

  75. Rico commented on Nov 1

    “These arguments are just silly. Many stores used to have samples of songs – amazon has many samples of songs. If you are able to download a song via p2p you have no economic incentive to buy the CD. If you do, that’s just you being nice and obeying a law.”

    The “samples” they put on Amazon aren’t nearly enough to get a good feel for an album. Quite a lot of them contain a quiet intro, the first few words, then tail off.

    I don’t do P2P anymore. When I did, I was buying far more albums than I ever did before. Sure, I had plenty of stuff I’d downloaded that I didn’t buy the album for. That was generally the artists that had no substance outside the one or 2 songs they got known for. I refuse to pay $12-20 for crap, and I’m certainly not paying $5 for a CD-single.

    I only recently got an iPod Nano, and that only because it was free with a class I took. I love it because I can listen to Sci Fi podcasts and audio books. I listen to virtually no music on it (40 mile commute).

    Maybe its because I’m getting older, but I find I have only passing interest in music anymore. Maybe its just because most music nowadays is crap. Dunno. I’ll take a listen to MMJ for grins, maybe I’ll like it…

  76. Learjeff commented on Nov 1

    I’m curious what you mean by “not-even-remotely-as-lossless-as-advertised-compression”.
    My tests of lossless WMA and Monkey’s Audio (APE) formats show that they preserve the audio data with perfect bit-by-bit accuracy, based on tests using music, noise, and intermodulation signals.

    Those who claims to hear a difference with either of these are either experiencing a bug in the compression/expansion program (yes, bugs happen) or else are fooling themselves. If the audio data is identical on a bit-by-bit basis, and the format information is represented accurately, the resulting playback through any properly functioning player will be the identical to the original, just as it would be for a normal (digital) copy of the original file.

  77. Brandon commented on Nov 1

    The whole DRM thing is such a crock when I can load a “DRM protected” CD into my Linux box, rip it, and slap it on my iPod without a problem. Unfortunately, the general public is none the wiser. Most ppl will just follow Big Media’s lead and eat whatever is shoved down their throat’s. We tech weenies are only a sliver of society that can even grasp (or care about) the implications DRM has on consumer products.

  78. Jake commented on Nov 1

    How about you buy from a recording company that isn’t RIAA. It would end this entire mess instantly. And if you want to tell me that there is no good music that is not RIAA then you need to hop onto your favorite p2p service and start looking again.

  79. 100% Pure Petroleum Jelliffe commented on Nov 1

    links for 2005-11-01

    EssentialPIM – the powerfully simple Personal Information Manager (tags: free download pim) The XHTML 1.1 Attributes (tags: xml html reference webdesign) p2pnet.net – the original daily p2p and digital media news site (tags: goodread drm copyright p2p…

  80. Nathanael Nerode commented on Nov 1

    It rips cleanly on Linux? Gee, what effective copy-protection that is (not).

  81. Peter M commented on Nov 1

    I’m not sure about the audiophile claims made here about compression quality. CD _is_ a digital media already, like it or not, recorded with a certain sample rate. It sounds absurd that someone can claim being able to distinguish between 128kHz and 320kHz sample rates – AND even bother listen to digital media at all!

    That said – DRM must be gone, and Sony along with it. The company isn’t even an electronics pioneer it once was, just grabbing the straws here and there to stay afloat.

  82. Holden commented on Nov 1

    CDex or EAC will allow you to rip these CDs under windows.

  83. Brad P commented on Nov 1


    I have found that the Sony DRM CDs are very easily copied – you simply need software that can read multiple data partitions on a CD and voila! The music is right there, unadulterated.

    The best of breed in this area for Windows is EAC (Exact Audio Copy). I have found that while iTunes cannot “see” the DRM-protected disc, EAC has no problem distinguishing the data (put in to confuse CD rippers) from the music. It is then no problem to extract the music to a lossless format such as WAV and reburn a non-DRM disc at 100% audio quality. This “un-DRM’ed” CD may then be read by iTunes, MusicMatch, etc.

    I realize that this is too esoteric a series of steps for most users, but when I want my music (that I paid for!) I am going to get it. I agree completely that the DRM is in place for reasons that have nothing to do with anti-piracy, and consumers are the whipping boys. While I very much wish to compensate artists for their work, I have no interest in supporting a global corporation in a pissing match.

    Sony is behaving like a spoiled child now that their days of innovation are long over.

  84. Martin McKeay’s Network Security Blog commented on Nov 1

    DRM and the power of blogging

    Last week David Lyons and Forbes published ‘Attack of the Blogs’ talking about how evil all bloggers are and how to combat our influence. I, along with most bloggers, was a little ticked off at the Forbes for publishing this…

  85. Adam (a different one) commented on Nov 1

    Here’s another story of Big Music losing out to a guy who was just trying to be honest and play by the rules… my own.

    About a year ago I purchased Dido’s “Life for Rent” in a Virgin music store, later to find out it was one of these bastard non-CD’s, easily identified (I now know) because they don’t carry the “Compact Disc Digital Audio” logo since they don’t conform.

    Although there are two Macs in my house, there are zero Windows boxes, so I don’t know how they would have fared. What I do now is this: at the time there were a total of five optical drives in the house (two Macs, DVD player, XBox, and DVD recorder). Of these, only the DVD player would even recognize it as a disc, much less play the damned thing. I got so pissed off that I recorded the audio using my PowerBook, then summarily passed out copies to anyone and everyone I could find, along with the story.

    And I’m a guy who is very picky about being “by the book” with music. I tried to do the honest thing, and got bitten. I haven’t bought a physical disc since. If iTunes doesn’t have it, I don’t need it.


  86. Brian commented on Nov 1

    Have you tried ISoBuster on the disc? The latest 30 Seconds to Mars had similar, if not the same, ‘copy’ protection. ISOBuster was able to lock onto the audio tracks and export them as wav files.

    It sucks when you buy music, that you have to jump through hoops to get what you paid for onto your computer or iPod. Males me wonder why I still buy mainstream music, when local artists have the passion still..

  87. Inksaver commented on Nov 1

    It seems it is now obligatory for all windows users to d/l PowerToys from microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx
    Use this to disable auto-run on your CD/DVD drives.
    If you now insert any type of disc, it will no longer play/open and prevent the installation of DRM, unless you stupidly double-click it in Windows explorer.

    All my PC’s are now set up like this. If I purchase any CD it goes through the following process:
    Use EAC or Isobuster to extract the audio in WAV format, and burn to a CDR to produce a DRM free disc. The original is then put away in storage as a backup, as most of the protected ones will not play in my DivX capable DVD players. (I do not use CD players as they are restricted to audio cd playback only)

  88. Greg commented on Nov 1

    Pierre – Discs such as this do not conform to the standard and thus generally don’t say “compact disc” on top of the disc as regular audio cds do. If Sony doesn’t claim to conform to the standards and dosen’t use the marks that come along with the standard, they aren’t doing anything illegal by producing a disc with drm.

    At least not that way.

  89. connecting*the*dots commented on Nov 1

    Last Call!

    The Radical Religious Right: Officially Pro-Cancer(Paul Waldman, The Gadflyer) Cable News Coverage Of Alito Nomination Skewed Right(Media Matters for America) Alito Would Be 11th Catholic Appointed to Supreme Court: When Might We See a Muslim Supreme C…

  90. Lenny commented on Nov 1

    The first time I heard My Morning Jacket was on the Creative Commons-licensed Wired CD [1]. They really grew on me, and when Z came out I downloaded the free MP3 from it, available on My Morning Jacket’s website. Sadly, I had every intention of buying that album.

    I have AutoRun turned off on my computer, but what if a friend wants to borrow the CD? The mere presence of the CD means the chance of putting malware on my own computer or a friend’s is always looming over my head.

    [1]: http://creativecommons.org/wired/

  91. Gene Cowan commented on Nov 1

    What’s saddest about this saga is the toll it will take on the artists. They only get paid after the label recoups all their costs, and they will recoup those costs through all the revenue, including that percentage denoted for artist royalties. This can mean that the artists won’t see a dime of the CD sales until more than 300,000 are sold. And how likely is that to happen with crippling DRM and the bad word of mouth leading to boycotts?
    I’m really feeling horrible for the poor artists who created this piece of art only to have it wholly owned by a label and then made inaccessible.

  92. Andrew Herron commented on Nov 1

    The thing I find absolutely hilarious about all this windows-only copy protection is that in the current beta of Windows Vista, it DOES NOT autorun by default preferring instead to show the box that XP does when no autorun is found.

    This means that unless MS remove that / put in special code for copy-protected CDs, the protection software will never be installed and it’ll act just like macs do now…

  93. Small Company CTO commented on Nov 2

    Copyright Craziness

    It keeps getting weirder.
    One journey through the strange world of DRM.

  94. Bruce Hayden commented on Nov 2

    The post by Pat is very, very, important to read before you buy any Sony recordings, esp. if you want to utilize them with a Windows environment. The DRM root kit they are installing is nasty. And then they don’t leave you any way to uninstall it.

    I am trying to do some more legal analysis and integration at: http://bhayden.blogspot.com/

  95. Max Srock commented on Nov 2

    It’s interesting to note that Sony was recently dinged with a ten million dollar fine for payola. Sony makes illegal pay-offs to radio stations in order to make their music appear more popular than it really is.

    And they say the downloaders are the criminals.

    Of course, this manipulation is of a consumer base that has happily sucked up top 40 crap for decades – a consumer group that I have a rather healthy disdain for.

    For the record I have a mac (because it just works), listen to music that generally isn’t available on cd (vinyl dude), support local artists by going to shows, and haven’t given any major labels ANY money for at least five years.

    For the record execs: you lost me a long time ago. I bought 700+ CDs in the 90’s and now I’m gone. Get rid of mass marketed crap pop, embrace technology, give the artists real money, and ditch DRM and maybe I’ll come back.


  96. Perttu commented on Nov 2

    Buying music is getting out of hand. These huge record companies don’t want you to buy an album, they want to sell you a very limited license to listen to the music in a manner they choose. That’s ridiculous!

    What happened to buying music to enjoy it when you like, how you like?

    Fortunately P2P downloading is perfectly legal in Finland at the moment, so I can get my music with much less fuss than if I bought CD’s. This DRM nonsense is only hurting the honest CD buyers. By the way, I buy my music on vinyl.

  97. Perttu commented on Nov 2

    Also, I’d like to give a virtual handshake to Max Srock who posted just before me. I hear you.

  98. From the 2nd rec HQ commented on Nov 2

    Protect customers from competitors

    We are often asked how the internet has affected our business. To be honest, we dont know. Since we are still a small label that grows and our potential is not yet utilized, we havent experienced any slip in sales. Maybe we would sell mo…

  99. BusinessPundit commented on Nov 2

    Down the Rabbit Hole: The Bizzare Tale of a DRM Crippled CD

    Barry Ritholtz writes about his experience with DRM, how a CD he almost bought had DRM against the band’s wishes, and the very strange fact that it all seems to have more to do with a Sony-Apple fight than anti-piracy….

  100. Pind’s Blog commented on Nov 2

    Sony and Apple fighting it out in your CD player

    Wow, it appears that Sony and Apple is having a turf war using legally bought CDs, which are artificially crippled to n

  101. Ryan McConkey commented on Nov 2

    I’m not a tech guy, so most of the technical content of the posts is beyond me. I have come across this issue with “There Will Be A Light” from Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

    Thic one’s issued by EMI http://www.emimusic.info

    When I bought the cd it was sealed in plastic wrap and further covered with anti theft electronic tags – my point is that the little tag that WAS visible on the front is about 12mm square.

    No where on the cd case is it mentioned that I have to install software to simply play the bloody disk! If I wanted to rip it I could understand, but I just wanted to play it.

    I’m feeling a consumer affairs complaint, of maybe to the office of fair trading…

  102. rc3.org commented on Nov 2

    More on Sony DRM

    Bad publicity for Sony’s DRM is busting out all over. First there was the post about Sony music CDs silently installing a rootkit when you insert them in your computer, and now we learn that Sony is using DRM to…

  103. Tim Murray commented on Nov 2

    Technical question: Assume you have autoplay enabled. If you insert the CD and then choose NOT to accept the license agreement, is the rootkit still installed?

    If it is, then there is a serious legal problem here!

  104. Steve commented on Nov 2

    Want a “backup copy”?

    Buy another CD.

    Simple as that.

    Want music in your car? Turn on the radio.

    At the beach? Don’t forget the portable.

    Or learn how to play an instrument and make your own music.

  105. Dave Kennedy commented on Nov 2

    Do these CD’s play in a portable CD Player?

    As annoying as crap like this truly is, I personally have fun trying to rip or crack it – it’s a personal hobby, getting around copy protection. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on one of these damn discs just to screw with it.

    But even though I may have fun with it, amen to the fact that it’s wrong.

  106. nigelstewart.org commented on Nov 2

    Random links

    Stuff I’m into today that you might enjoy as well: My friend Ted and his friend Javier go to India Time to boycott Sony those bastards (credit kottke) Cay and I are starting a small business called Swell Film…

  107. AnEntirelyOtherSteve commented on Nov 2

    I wrote a message to the link provided by Suncomm, but instead of pressuring Apple to open up the iTunes system, I, as a loyal Apple customer, demanded they do no such thing and instead keep it closed. I have my own issues with Apple’s DRM, but it’s better than the alternatives out there.
    The EntertainmentIndustrialComplex is being a big huge baby throwing the MotherOfAllTantrums right now and should be left to cry themselves to sleep, or go out of business, or both.

  108. Rod commented on Nov 2

    On Sony’s site… “If you believe a Sony Music product has a manufacturing defect, please call our Quality Management Department at 800-255-7514” Maybe it’s time to consider the installation of a Root-kit as a “manufacturing defect” and let them know. After all, it only costs THEM for YOU to call.

  109. Kaleberg commented on Nov 2

    So many companies seem to work so hard to get rid of those annoying people who give them money and demand to be given some product. It isn’t just the music people, you get this in clothes, shoes, cars, and air travel. One might swear that the primary take away lesson from B-school is that customers are the bane of the business world.

    Some businesses make the jump into the future, some move into niches, but some just die. Music, of course, will outlive them all.

  110. Drewsky commented on Nov 2

    I agree, Sony is wrong. They will only succeed in driving costomers to the black market. I also think that they are setting themselves up for some great lawsuits with this rootkit nonsense…and the artists can’t be happy either. I too will vote with my wallet…no more Sony products. The last few things I bought were POS anyway, but this has destroyed any remaining confidence I had in them.

  111. d commented on Nov 2

    sooo, what happens in a year when you are tired of the disk and sell it at a used place? have you violated some law, breached a contract etc? :insert massive eyeroll here:

    why do I still have 1988 Onkyo CD deck? why do I still have “records”

    showing my age here but I can remember when the cassette tape was going to kill the industry, or the video tape going to kill the movies…

  112. CorDog commented on Nov 2

    What’s even more stupid is that they want you write Apple to open up there software, when it works on the Mac.
    Has anybody ever considered the problem may lie with copy protected wma file format? Maybe it’s Microsoft that will not license Apple the right to use wma in the ipod or they want unreasonable fees.
    Maybe the PC guys need to find some Mac users so that they can dupe thier DRM protected CDs.

  113. Don commented on Nov 3

    This goes way beyond simply setting a cookie in someone’s internet files. Rootkit’s are a violation of a user’s OS. The system techs at Sony are trying to sell us on an illegal hijack program. Say I pay good money for my Operating System. I can tweak it, modify it or change it any way I please. This person comes along and corrupts it. Their software runs without my permission and removing it might destroy the product I purchased. I would consider this illegal, yes?
    Found a reply website to Sony:


  114. PeterByte.com commented on Nov 3

    The Big Picture: DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts

    The Big Picture: DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts
    Good article with extensive trackbacks and posted comments. Covers Sonys latest moves in Digital Rights Management and suggests that these moves have more to do with competition in th…

  115. me me me commented on Nov 3

    I agree with your fair use statements up to the point where you make a copy for your wife to play in class. In the UK you would require a Public Performance Licence to do this as what you are doing goes beyond personal use.

    However, all this copy protection stuff is a nonsense. You, the consumer, purchase music and then can’t do with it what you want, without a great deal of hassle. Stop the people who leak stuff to the internet pre-release and those who stick shed loads on P2P sites, but don’t mess with the music buying public.

  116. Brendon commented on Nov 3

    Going to see MMJ in Vancouver tonight……. a friend of mine burned the new album for me, not sure how he got around the DRM but he was pretty pissed about it.

  117. Rich commented on Nov 3

    If you want a perfect digital copy use a mac and rip it with the lossless codec and then burn it.

  118. DensityDuck commented on Nov 3

    Telling an audiophile that there’s “no difference in quality” won’t get you very far. These are people who buy vacuum-tube amplifiers because it “sounds warmer”…

    Steve: I agree with you, but from the looks of things, that just makes two of us…

  119. Wookey commented on Nov 3

    Almost everyone here agrees that Sony have gone completely over the top with this rootkit-DRM. So do I. However too few seem to understand that Sony and Apple/iTunes are both trying the do the same thing – sell you DRMed music that will only play on their kit/terms.

    The one thing Sony are right about is that iTunes stranglehold is bad. It’s OK if you buy an iPod and buy all your music from ITunes, but why on earth should you have to? – you should be able to use any music supplier and any player. That’s what competition is all about.

    I’m not buying anything from either of them. I get unencumbered music from places like magnatune.com (and the artists get 50%), or if you don’t care about artists payments and want big-label bands then go to allofmp3.com and download in whatever format you like from raw-CD to ogg. (or use P2P of course – not always legal, but if it’s cheap, effective, convenient, wide-ranging and unencumbered one can be forgiven for going that way).

    Supporting DRM will be bad for you (and everyone else) in the long term – don’t do it. And just because Apple’s DRM is less obnoxious than Sony’s completely OTT effort doesn’t make it right. If Apple end up with a Microsoft-like monopoly on music players and distribution we’ll all suffer the costs and inconveniences.

  120. Dirk Flinthart commented on Nov 4

    Sony is pissed at Apple over proprietary stuff? Holy sheepshit, Batman! So who is it that’s sitting on epaper, keeping it limited to proprietary formats? And who is it with the MiniDisc system that won’t let me record into anything but a completely opaque proprietary format so I can’t even edit my own audio recordings of my children to send to their grandparents?

    Sony got its last dollar out of me on the MiniDisc thing well over a year ago now. Man, they could be selling completely immersive virtual reality, and I’d still be telling them where they could jam it.


  121. Silflay Hraka commented on Nov 4

    More on Sony and DRM

    The Big Picture: DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts….

  122. Shawn Fumo commented on Nov 4

    I find it kind of bizzare whenever one of these threads come up and people complain both about DRM and how bad modern music is and then P2P is the solution.

    Don’t fall into the trap of letting the big labels define what you listen to. Sure there’s a lot of good music that they put out but there’s plenty more from the indy labels that do great stuff.

    Someone posted Magnatune and I do like them, but I’m surprised no-one mentioned eMusic.com yet. Most of the big-name indy labels (Matador, Kill Rock Stars, etc) and a lot of smaller ones. No DRM and only 25cents a song. I wish they had a pay-as-you-go system like iTunes instead of being subscription ($10 a month for 40 songs in the cheapest plan), but I’ve found enough stuff to make it worth it.

    I never actually bought many CDs. Occationally I’d get some obscure j-pop and such on p2p or some legal MOD files but I just didn’t listen to music much. Now I’m getting way more stuff than I ever did before..

    That Sony rootkit thing is pretty scary. I think I’ll just stick with buying stuff online for now, where I know what to expect. I wouldn’t mind the DRM in apple’s stuff so much if it was cheaper. $1 a song is just too much IMO in most cases. At 25cents I don’t even mind going by 30-sec previews most of the time since it’s not like I’m out much..

  123. Pop Kulcher commented on Nov 4

    One issue nobody has addressed is whether these DRM-protected discs will play/rip on a hard-drive based stereo component. As an owner of a disturbingly large cd collection, I store much of my collection on a stereo component jukebox (in my case, the Yamaha MusicCast, though there are more and more varieties of these cropping up, albeit at a prohibitively high price point). I suspect copy-protected discs will not work on my system. I recently ordered My Morning Jacket’s Z cd, before I’d read about the DRM issue, and I’m not eager to rip open the packaging only to have it not work on my system (at which point I imagine I won’t be able to return the cd, even though I consider a disc which won’t play on my own stereo to be defective). I’ll probably just return the disc unopened when I get it. Too bad, as I like the band, but it’s ultimately their product, not Sony’s, and it looks like they have to bear the burden of pissed off customers.

  124. Stand Clear of the Doors commented on Nov 4


    Yarr, ahoy mateys! No, its not Talk Like A Pirate Day (that was back on September 19th) – instead, recent actions taken by various music companies may make you feel like youre one. In particular, a number of distributors have been includi…

  125. Gonzo commented on Nov 5

    Sony installs Rootkits: rootkit-like techniques

    Sony, Rootkits and Digital Rights Management
    (sorry about the url wrap)


    If you’ve installed/played one of this “enhanced” cd’s and you wish to uninstall this crap, use caution. If done incorrectly, it can really muck up your computer.

    For a “legitimate software vendor”, Sony has really pissed off a lot of folks in how they think DMA should work.

  126. ZMan commented on Nov 5

    Burn the WMA protected music to a CD at highest quality with Windows M Player…now Rip this CD with ITUNES ;=)

  127. Barry Ritholtz commented on Nov 5

    Yes, I detail that in the post above — that was the advice SUNCOMM gave me.

    but why do I have to jump thru those hoops?

    The DRM does nothing, doesn’t stop piracy, and interferes with legitimate purchasers —

    Its simply annoying . . .

  128. Drew Mochak commented on Nov 6

    Stop posting the SYS-internals blog. WE GET IT ALREADY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    To the person who said that it’s ridiculous telling the difference between 128-320 “KHZ”, you should be informed that you’re mixing and matching terms. CDs are played at 44.1 KHZ; FM radio and TV is recorded at 16KHZ; AM radio is recorded at 12 KHZ and telephones use sound at 8 KHZ. The other number is in bitrate, and that’s where the audio-file compression comes in. The highest quality mp3 file is at 320kbPS; if I recall correctly, an uncompressed .wav file is something like 1320 kbPS, but I could be wrong. I, personally, hear very little difference between 320kbps and 192, though I have yet to really sest that in a while. However, teh difference between 128 and 192 is VERY noticeable to my ears. Sampling rates and bitrates are two completely different and unrelated things. Thank you.

    I, personally, am delighted that all this stuff is happening, the way I see it Sony will finally be forced to pay for their horrible business decisions. I don’t quite know how they’ve avoided being sued for this yet, but restassured that time must be coming, and when it does I can’t see a way for Sony to wriggle out of it. So to those who may be considering it, I have this to say: go for broke. Bleed the suckers dry. Bankrupt them if you can. Because no matter what amount of money you ask for, odds are you’ll get it. Kep up the good work, everyone.

  129. Andrew commented on Nov 6

    So, apparently the new Neil Diamond album (I know…no one likes Neil Diamond, except it is #4 on Amazon) is also DRM’d. So, watch out buyers.

  130. Andrew commented on Nov 6

    Oh yeah, also about that Neil Diamond album. It appears that you can’t add a personal review of this album on the Amazon website. Maybe they are trying to hide the DRM crack listed here…


  131. Countach commented on Nov 6

    Firstly, you can probably get around this DRM by just holding down the shift key when inserting it in your computer and then ripping as usual. Probably, don’t quote me on it.

    Secondly, to the fool who says that Apple’s “stranglehold” on iTunes is bad…. WTF????

    Nobody is stopping you getting mp3 music ANYWHERE and putting it into iTunes on your computer on into your iPod. Buy your mp3s wherever you like, rip them whereever you like and put them into iTunes and onto your iPod. Where is the lock in???

  132. Sugarpacket commented on Nov 7

    A Rip-Off You Can’t “Rip”

    So the music industry is taking a turn for the worse… what else is new. Consumer rights are being eaten alive with the newest idea in usage monitoring: installing software to actually play “parent” to what you’re doing with the…

  133. Traceroutes commented on Nov 8

    Virtual Busking

    I’m really into the band My Morning Jacket. They’ve just released a new album, Z, and I’d buy it, except…

  134. Jonathan commented on Nov 8

    I don’t have time to read all the responses, so sorry if this has already been pointed out. You are doing everyone a great disservice by calling any disc with DRM a CD. Compact Disc™ is a registered trademark and, as such, can only be applied to disks that fit the specifications given to them by their creator (either Philips or Panasonic, I think). IIRC, that company has explicitly stated that any disk with DRM can not have the term CD applied to it (or the CD logo printed onto it) as it breaks the specifications of what constitutes a CD. IMO, this should allow you to return to the store any “CD” with DRM (sold to you as if it was a CD) as they have broken the trade descriptions act (or its non-UK equivalents). IMNSHO, any shops selling this crap should also be forced to physically separate these DRMed disks from legitimate CDs to make this point more explicitly – these disks are not CDs. Including them amongst other legitimate CDs is clearly designed to obfuscate and blind the consumer to there true identity.

  135. Barry Ritholtz commented on Nov 8

    you are correct — they are NOT CDs — but what to call them?

  136. Jamie commented on Nov 9

    As I see it most CDs have been over-priced. I can understand when they started the format but 20 years in they can’t claim they have to pay for R&D. I buy all my CDs in the resell market, many times without a case or booklet for a buck or two. Do these new DRM disc have labling on the actual disc that I can look for? I do own a imac so for me at this time there is no problem but there are alot of PCs out there waiting to be corrupted by one of these things. Something I don’t understand is that iTunes excepts and even converts to MP3s so how is this keeping other music out? There are plenty of FREE conversion kits on the net if you need them. In time I think all OS will have to include their version of a conversion program so people can use all the different formats on any computer. 🙂

  137. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  138. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  139. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  140. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  141. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  142. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  143. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  144. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  145. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  146. ed costello: comments & links commented on Nov 10

    Music Industry Determined to Drive Away Customers

    Via DRM Crippled CD: A bizarre tale in 4 parts, I came across this article: Burning the Faithful: The ironic result is that record companies treat their customers — those who’ve chosen not to acquire music via illegal but easily accessible file-sharin…

  147. Tigh commented on Nov 11

    I have one of these cd’s that are copyright protected “SwitchFoot Nothing is Sound” and tried everything… but Windows Media Won’t let me burn and I AM running Media Player 10…. totally screwed up (Oh and Itunes 6 Which I heard rumour that it would play encripted WMA files does no such thing). LAst time I will buy a Cd with encription…. I thought it was just a joke, because “ColdPLAy: Speed of Sound” cd was supose to have it, but it doesn’t.

  148. phil commented on Nov 11


    buy a discman – sony make goods ones (poetic justice dept!)
    insert audio cd
    link cd headfones/line out to the line in on pc soundcard
    play audio cd
    record each track one at a time
    re-assemble audio cd and burn to disc
    everycopy made from that disc will be copyright protection software free
    they can do nothing about this – if they did we wouldn’t be able to listen to the audio cd’s at all!

    It is legal – you are allowed to make as many copies of a legally purchased product as you like so long as you can convince the judge that they are for personal use or are backup copies.


  149. phil commented on Nov 11

    Like most of the others out there I buy my music. Yes I have used P2P to listen to songs but if they are good I want to own the song in the best quality available. As others have said 128k mp3 doesnt really cut it.

    Then I read that Sony has an interesting patent that may come into play on the PS3. It locks the content to the machine that reads it.

    I have made a simple choice. I was considering a Sony Plasma display, its out of the running. Period. I was considering replacing a failing generic PC CD/DVD player with a Sony model – not any more.
    Sony PS3 – not that either.

    Any company that feels like trampling my rights to “fair use” – guess what — I dont need you. thanks

  150. Thomas Elias Weatherly commented on Nov 11

    I suggest that the five hacker groups who have declared war on SONY-BMG rethink their decision. We do not need or want a cyberwar. It will disrupt the internet; it will be illegal; it will tarnish your reputations. Join EFF. Write your senators and representatives. Sign petitions. Please use legal and moral methods to curb Sony.

  151. festiveturkey.net commented on Nov 12

    A Song for Sony

    Sony, Sony, Sony. Why do we keep coming back to you? You treat us so bad, you lie to us, cheat, steal from poor people, you hide things from us, treat us like dirt, threaten our friends, get violent, beat up our friends, you talk crazy, turn your back o

  152. Not Me commented on Nov 13

    “The consumer experience is our primary concern, and our one and only goal is to help bring our artists’ music to as broad an audience as possible,” John McKay, a Sony BMG spokesman, said late last week. “As a result, we’re constantly identifying new ways to meet consumers’ demand for flexibility in how they listen to music, while at the same time protecting the rights of artists.”

    …AND this is what Sony REALLY means…

    “The piracy experience is our primary concern, and our one and only goal is to help wring out profits from as broad an audience as possible,” John McKay, a Sony BMG spokesman, said late last week. “As a result, we’re constantly identifying new ways to restrict consumers’ demand for flexibility in how they listen to music, while at the same time protecting the right of our profits.”

    Get ready for the unemployment line, RIAA!!!

  153. Tom Ciarlone commented on Nov 14

    Class Action Law Firm Investigating Sony CDs:
    My law firm is investigating the situation surrounding “rootkits” on Sony-label CDs. In connection with our investigation, we are interested in learning more about the experiences consumers have had with those CDs. I can be contacted at (212) 239-4340 or, by e-mail, at tciarlone@lawssb.com.

  154. Randy commented on Nov 14

    I don’t know about you, but $18.99 is way too much for a CD–we are paying for an outdated and cumbersome distribution model where the record companies and middle men reap the majority of the profit. The artist usually only receives pennies (CDs average $2-3 to manufacture, distribute and market).

    IMHO Apple has caused a revolution with the iTunes music store and the iPod. They picked up the ball and ran with it because the music industry has alienated their core market (us), which they treat like criminals. Apple has set up a system where they deal directly with the consumer, and also make sure the artist is compensated fairly. What a concept…

    It should now be clear why Sony is a little perturbed, but they ironically helped to create this monster through their shortsightedness and greed. Payback is a bitch.

    So the thousands of dollars I used to spend on CDs will go elsewhere. Now I download music (legally) from the iTunes music store which is great, since I don’t have to buy the songs I don’t like. This empowers the consumer by giving them choices, not taking them away.

    Sony should be slapped with a class action lawsuit for their sick, deceptive and twisted plot. I can’t believe the stupidity and greed. I will never buy another product from them, ever. Thanks for letting me rant.

    (BTW — I have been using Macs since 1986. Think different…)

  155. Chris commented on Nov 14

    I’ve used extensively the Vaio laptop linked to in the original article, and it’s cheap plastic crap.

    But I don’t like Apple much either – Contrary to popular belief, they pay the artists almost nothing for each download, and the AAC encoding has bad sound quality.

  156. tbar commented on Nov 14

    You complain about Sony’s stupid DRM but defend Apple? Don’t you realize that you don’t own any song you download from Apple and they can limit how long you rent it and what you do with it? They both are just as bad.

  157. Randy commented on Nov 16

    So what you are implying is Apple has a secret Gestapo police force that will raid my home, purge all of the music files I have legally downloaded from their service on both my main and backup computers, seize my iPod, and destroy my CD backups? Yeah, right…and I know where Osama is hiding. Come on, get real–if you are going to slam, get your facts straight first.

    Once you convert an AAC (mp4) file to a Red Book audio format (.AIF/.WAV), it is YOURS to do with as YOU please. It will play on ANY Red Book-compliant CD player manufactured since 1982. You OWN these songs now, just like a regular CD you purchase at a retail/online store.

    It is my normal backup practice to burn these files to CD. From this CD or ANY CD, you can rip these songs out to whatever format you want through iTunes (or your choice of music software) and play them on ANY MP3 player you want. What is the problem here? Oh, I have to go through an extra step (backup — which you should do anyway and Apple recommends), big deal…

    Nobody is forcing you or anyone to leave them in AAC format. It is just an efficient compression algorithm that Apple standardized on for distribution. IMHO AAC sounds a whole lot better than mp3s and the file sizes are about 25% smaller, but that is my personal choice. I totally agree that a file which is poorly encoded or at a lower bitrate will sound like crap. However, I have never had any problems with the 1,000+ AAC files I have downloaded from the iTunes Music Store.

    BTW, I have played these AAC files converted to AIF/WAV on CDs through my audiophile reference Pioneer Elite/Definitive Technology home system (>$20K), and have A-B comparisoned them with regular CDs. Guess what — there is very little noticeable difference in sound quality and it is way better than analog. They also sound great in my truck, on my Macs, and on my iPod.

    What Sony is doing with DRM discs is completely wrong, assinine and evil…if I owned a PC, I would be concerned with the corruption and damage one of these suckers could inflict on my OS.

    I apologize if my satisfaction as an Apple customer offends you.

  158. Randy commented on Nov 16

    Oh, and where do you get this rent / time limit supposedly embedded in the files you download? That is a complete myth…once you pay for the song, you own it. You can make a limited number of backups from the AAC file(s), but once they are converted to .AIF/.WAV format Apple no longer has “control” of it and their license ends there. Then what you do with the song file is up to you and your integrity as an honest consumer. I know I don’t want to just give away what I paid for…

  159. dubs commented on Dec 7

    I’m pretty interested in this whole rootkit/DRM thing even though it hasn’t affected me personally (I don’t really “buy” music, and now doesn’t seem like a good time to start). I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the status of the affected bands’ relationship with Sony/BMG. Z happens to be one of my favorite albums this year, and I also dig Kings of Leon and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, two other bands whose current albums include malware. I heard about a NY Times article that reports that people are directing their anger/boycotts toward the artists on the list rather than Sony. As mentioned above, My Morning Jacket’s website includes a post decrying the use of DRM software, and I’m certain they’re not complicit. If consumers do blame the artists, that’s terrible, and hopefully the artists are taking the necessary means to extricate themselves from their Sony contracts. I also hope that Sony finds it impossible to sign new clients to distribution deals. Anyone know anything about this?

  160. Jamey commented on Dec 7

    I have spent HOURS and HOURS looking for a way to get streaming audio and Netlibrary books and files with Digital Rights Management onto my ipod. I never found anything “FREE” worth using… Here is a link to a $49 product Replay Radio http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-1796560-10291934 that really works… It is like TiVo for ANY streaming media or digital audio (including WMA-DRM) you want to add to turn into wma or AAC your ipod, or other music player. Also works to capture sound from cassette tape or records. This product won PC magazine’s editor’s choice award for recording crystal clear audio on a PC. Save time and money with software that is intuitive and works right the first time!

  161. Eric Martinez commented on Dec 26

    If the distributor is reading this, I hope they read this loud and clear: I WILL NOT BUY MY MORNING JACKET’S CD. I want it, I would love to hear it, and did a search on Google which brought me to this site.

    I WAS on my way to Best Buy this MORNING TO MAKE A PURCHASE.

    Not anymore. I will find another method of obtaining the music I want.

  162. robert bedwell commented on Dec 30

    My house is full of Sony kit, if there is a choice of 2 products and one is a Sony then that is what I prefer to buy; Except Apple invented the iPod Nano, not Sony, and NOT MY FAULT.

    So Sony, having been a customer for at least 25 years, you have finaly dissatisfied me over a £15 Dido CD that I can not listen to on my iPod. I don’t blame Apple I blame you;

    Do feel free to let me know if you finaly see the folly.

  163. Cara commented on Jan 5

    I’m so pissed. I bought the My Morning Jacket CD, knowing that some SONY CDs had this “copy-protection software” on it and didn’t really think anymore about it. Until today, when I tried to rip the CD onto my work computer ITUNES. I immediately clicked “Import” when the CD showed up in ITUNES and actually downloaded all of the songs – but when I went to listen to them, they were all “skipping” like the CD was dirty. What’s wierd is that I clicked on the “Disagree with” button when the legal stuff popped up and it SEEMS (I know this is unscientific) that only AFTER I clicked “Disagree” that the music I ripped started to skip. The first song sounded alright until minute 2. This is messed up. I CANNOT explain how angry I am. I love My Morning Jacket and this CD is awesome! I listened to it on my CD player at home and couldn’t wait to have it playing at work and this happens. I want to take this CD and throw it in some SONY executive’s face. I BUY CDs, I don’t STEAL music – which I guess isn’t SONY’s goal to protect anyway. I can’t say it enough – THIS IS RIDICULOUS! I am NOT going to buy SONY products ever again. That includes CDS – no matter how bad I want to listen to that music. This sucks.

  164. drummer dude commented on Jan 12

    Man, is Sony friggin’ stupid.

    After recently receiving Santana’s “All That I Am” as a gift, I noticed the packaging did not display the Compact Disc logo but instead a table showing compatibility with certain PC configurations. This freaked me out a bit, but being one who lives on the wild side I went ahead and opened it up anyway. With a bit of trepidation and a shaky hand, I loaded this bastard “disc” into my trusty Mac. Guess what — it played flawlessly in iTunes and ripped out to MP3 without any problems…hmmmmm.

    What’s wrong this picture? If you are a using a Mac with iTunes, no problemo. However, if you are using a Windows PC and want to download music from one of these discs (deceptively being passed off as CDs) onto your computer or an iPod, you are forced to accept the invasive & most likely illegal root toolkit and jump through a bunch of hoops in Sony’s latest dog-and-pony show — just to simply play the bloody thing. In the process, the security of your computer system has been severely compromised.

    Who is the genius at Sony who thought this will increase sales? What about those customers using Windows who have been burned by this evil root toolkit “virus”? Now that your PC is toast and Windows is hosed, you contact Sony BMG who cheerfully re-direct you to the Sunncomm tech support website. These whiners say they have have “no choice” but to infiltrate your PC like Big Brother in order to control how you listen to the music you have legally purchased. However, if you are still not happy with this “arrangement” feel free to petition Apple?!?

    What? That is pretty damn lame, trying to blame somebody else when your inept spyware is the real issue. What the hell does Apple have to do with Sunncomm’s flawed technology? They want you to think Apple is the bad guy here, and the truth is suddenly revealed — this whole DRM scheme is simply a pissing match. And the ironic thing is that Steve Jobs offered Sony the opportunity to get in on the ground floor when iTunes was first conceived, but was turned down cold.

    Maybe I am missing something here, but I fail to see how this idiotic scheme is going to win Sony any new customers. For those who already own a Vaio PC or laptop, this is nothing but a shameful slap in the face. So when it comes time to upgrade, a customer may continue to accept the new “status quo” forced upon the unsuspecting public by Sony. Or they may simply get fed up and go elsewhere — horrors, perhaps even jump platforms and buy a new Intel iMac!!!! ;-).

    DRM is not going to stop or reduce music piracy, but will effectively increase P2P sharing and outright theft — with the honest consumer and the recording artist getting the shaft in the end. It’s a lose-lose situation. Sony will only further alienate their existing customers and lose potential future sales to their competition.

    FYI – there is a list of “DRM-ed” discs at http://www.sunncomm.com/support/askthetech.asp — it is in your best interest to avoid any of these titles like the plague. Most of it is top-40 crap and rap, so no big loss. Maybe Sony BMG and Sunncomm think the market for this “music” is too stupid to figure out how to bypass their hare-brained DRM scheme. But in their short-sighted & greedy hissy fit, they underestimate the power of the internet and word-of-mouth. Show your dissatisfaction and spend your hard earned dollars elsewhere.

    Just say NO to Sony’s DRM fiasco and boycott ALL their products. Be sure to tell your friends to do the same.

  165. Jack Hoxie commented on Mar 8

    In a related front, Disney is now jumping on a similar bandwagon. I frequently play dvd’s on my spare computer for my kids while I am working in the computer room. I have a copy of “the incredibles” that used to play in ATI dvd player that came with my video card. Last Christmas, I purchased “Kronk’s New Groove” and tried to play it. An error message came up stating that it could not initialize copy protection management. If this wasn’t bad enough, whatever the disk did to my system now keeps me from playing “the incredibles” the way I used to. Same error message. When I contacted Disney, I was told I would have to get a copy of Intervideo’s player. No one would tell me what changes they made to my system. Why isn’t anyone talking about this? That will be the last Disney DVD that I ever buy.

  166. Mark commented on Mar 11

    Just a small comment about Sony and what DRM has done for the group. I walked into John Lewis (A huge retailor in London’s West End) and was shocked to see about 20 of the new purple walkmans piled high on Friday like a car boot sale, as new but selling for about £100 each – well down on the regular RRP. John Lewis has a great reputation for customer service and will take back most things if you are genuine so I asked the shop assistant why so many Sony walkmans – and he laughed and told me the software is rubbish and has been for years and they simply cannot explain (or justify) to customers why the software will not transfer existing music files because of the DRM protection. So John Lewis have simply taken them back because they were not fit for the purpose they were sold for (A consumer right in the UK). Well the long and short is the consumer is King really whatever the cases made by corporates and has passed verdict on Sony. For my part I wonder how on earth did they mess up so bad and destroy a (great) reputation earned over years so very quickly. Anyway, for my part I bough a NW-HDI (one careful owner, few songs already loaded) for just £50 today – a steal for a 20gb HD – although probably what a CD recorder is worth!

  167. DisabledTrucker commented on Mar 19

    you are correct — they are NOT CDs — but what to call them?


    I was so glad to hear that there was a class action suit against Sony for this that won in court here in the U.S., if I were a musician/filmmaker, firstly I wouldn’t bother with Sony or anyone who employs DRM technology in thier products but, if I did I would be suing them and the RIAA/MPAA right about now for loss of sales to the tune of $999 Googl dollars plus outright transfer of ownership to all their patents/copyrights and businesses. Then I would take those copyrights and give them back to the original owners, and if they don’t exist any longer, then I’d put them up for sale on ebay. I’d keep the patents, create a few more so that these business couldn’t open again in the future and immediately shut their doors, selling off the sony empire bit by bit!!! Then I’d demand of congress to pass an ANTI-DRM bill that would still protect the artists and at the same time still protect the original Fair Use Act of the 1970’s!

    No, I wouldn’t think that $999 Googl dollars was enough to satisfy my potential losses either but it would be enough to assure that Sony, the RIAA, and the MPAA would surely have to transfer over all assets and interests including all patents/copyrights to me. The individual artists would be then returned their rights to their works where they can then profit from it in a way that they see fit. Along with this, I would start my own label and company, along with any artist would like to join with me, to provide a much better form of distribution method for our works. Including re-releasing all our previously released works without DRM and provide an exchange program for those who have purchased the shit media a way to trade it for copies that aren’t DRM protected. Taking those worthless POS’s and recycling the media to create new media that doesn’t have that crap on it. Since all a CD/DVD is, is plastic anyways, it can be recycled. Sure it would be at a loss to the company but it would also give the company due respect and increase it’s future sales profits, so in the long run, the company would be a winner.

    What would my new company name be? Fair Rights Recordings! This way people could rest assured they would be getting media that conformed to Fair Rights, when they purchased it. Sure there would be widespread pirating of the media, but at the same time people will only have the one way to purchase it, from my own online store. You’d only be able to purchase it as an Apple/Windows Media lossless file or direct to CD/DVD or have hard media shipped to you. You’d also be able to listen to any of the media prior to purchase through the online radio which wouldn’t limit you to a subscription service, but instead stream only analog quality music/videos, this way if you really want to purchase it to get the CD/DVD quality you would be able to purchase it right then in a way that you desire to have it. By analog quality, I mean 56Kb/s streams for music and 100Kb/s or less for video.

    FWIW, I’ve only made three purchases of Sony products back in the mid 80’s, each product lasted less than a week, so I personally wont and haven’t purchased anything else that has Sony’s name on it, I won’t purchase it, nor will I have it in my house! I highly reccomend to my friends/neighbors to get rid of their Sony crap and get better products from more reputible manufacturors. You will never see me reccomend a Sony product to anyone, in fact I will most likely tell you not to get a Sony product! Sony doesn’t even have enough money to pay me to think about getting a playstation, let alone to purchase one. Hell, I’ve only played one game on it, and found it to be trash then, and that was at a store when they were first introduced! With their crap they are putting on the PS3, which has since been pushed back to a November release probably due to the lawsuit and class action ruling against them, I wouldn’t have it either!

    As far as the Mac issue goes, if it weren’t for the gaming market not porting over to the Mac, I wouldn’t have a need for a PC at all, and when it comes time that I MUST upgrade from Windows XP, I will NOT be upgrading to the current version of Windows, as I will only go to Mac and convince everyone I come in contact with to do the same, (hell I’ve already started on it now as I currently own two Powerbooks and my next PC purchase will be an Apple, (though I’m hoping that by holding out Apple will release a version to run on the AMD/nVidia platform as well,) and I’ll be running Mac OS, as it stands I’m currently trying to get it running now on my AMD-SLI setup,) so if there aren’t any games for it by then, then I guess the gaming market will do without my hard earned money too! The Macs are the wave of the future, catch it now, while you can or get drowned by the Wintels of yesteryear!

    I personally have only purchased music from three places in the last 15 years, as cassettes/PreDRM CD’s from wherever, as downloadable files from iTunes or MusicMatch, and have since quit using MusicMatch! Since the inclusion of DRM on CD’s, I’ve quit purchasing them altogether now and refuse to, this way I rest assured I don’t get any virusware on my systems. DVD’s are the same way, I rarely purchase any of them too, and when I do, the first thing I do is rip them to my computer before I even play them the first time, remove all the DRM and then burn the resulting back to a NON-DRM protected DVD and place the original on a shelf somewhere to be forgotten about. It has drastically cut down on the movies I purchase as it’s few and far between since the move from VHS, but I refuse to have a DRM protected disk and I only purchase the copy of the original IF it’s a MUST have movie that contains something that’s not shown on Starz, because I’d rather pay to watch them on Starz, copy them to my HDD and get them that way, then to put money in the MPAA/RIAA’s pockets! I rarely go to concerts/theaters because I don’t like the crowds or obnoxiously loud environments that play havoc on my extremely delicate hearing. (I can hear a pin drop onto a haystack at a mile away!)

    For those of you looking to purchase a new “Media Center”, Apple makes the best one of all, it’s called a Mac! You say it’s pricy, but hell the last I checked prices, (this morning,) it was much more expensive to purchase a fully equipped Wintel based system to do all that the Mac does for a fraction of the price! For the $2500-3000 I pay for the Mac and software, it would cost $10,000+ to do the same on Wintel system at the same quality, in the same time-frame. Hell full version of Adobe’s PDF software and Microsoft Office alone will set you back an easy grand right off the bat. Not to mention the $100 for Nero, another $50 for Norton Anti-Virus, another $50 for ZoneAlarm, Another $100 for Utility software to do such things as defragging the system, and all this is before you start to think about decent audio/video software. In comparison, I paid $40 for Burning software, $0 for a firewall, the ability to do PDF’s or the Office software, my anti-virus software was only $30, and my Utility software was only another $50. Admittadly you can get the OpenOffice I use on the Mac for the PC, but you still can’t create PDF’s and that is nearly a grand in of itself for the Adobe version. You can also get free firewall software for the PC and virus scanners for them both, but not with the features that I have with the software I use or is built into Mac OS X. When it comes to audio/video, movies studios use Apple for a reason. Sure it’s going to cost at least a grand or two for that no matter which system you use, but the quality is much better on the Apple! Oh, if your interested in writing software for the computer, we wont get into how much it’s ridiculously priced to get into that on the Wintel, but on the Apple, it’s free as it’s included in the Mac OS!! Sure there isn’t much of a 10′ interface yet for the Apple around, but I’ve also not looked much for it either, as I don’t have a need to have a 10′ interface on a 20″ monitor! You wanna talk about speeds, it’s pathetic that it takes a 300+Ghz system to compete with a 1.2Ghz system IMHO! I just wonder why there hasn’t been any PC mags ready to pounce on Apples Mactel systems for comparision tests, is it because the PC can’t hold a candle to them now?!? I think so!

    Sorry for this being so long winded, but I wanted to put my ideas out there in hopes that my words may influence others to do the same thing as well. I have expressed my opinions all over the internet and they are all the same, the words you say with your pocketbook get across much louder than the words you say across the internet! It’s just a shame that the majority of people don’t care enough to do the same and are willing to cow down to minority of businesses that will shove their shit down their unconscious consumers throats than to speak their minds with their wallets! IF more people were to do the same, shit companies such as Sony, the RIAA, and MPAA wouldn’t exist!

  168. Sib commented on Mar 21

    This is rediculous. Marketing ploys and pathetic copy-protections of overpriced music. If this isn’t a reason to NOT buy a cd, then I don’t know what is…

    Oh…and just for effect, I’ve already sent a message to apple, praising them for their quality of service, and hoping that they actually WON’T support copy-protected cd’s… Give people an even less reason to buy these damned pieces of shit…

    *shrugs* Oh well…I can only do my part and hope that everything turns out for the best…

  169. cheapgold commented on Jun 8

    are these all spam?

  170. Thommes commented on Aug 5

    you can’t convert a DRM file to mp3. You also cant just make copies of the copy like that. thats the whole point of drm.

  171. abrar commented on Sep 23

    please tell me i am a disbale person and poor and iwant come to uk for any job for earn money how i can come to uk

  172. G L FROM NO, LA commented on Oct 11

    Well, To start off, I am about as fed up with the MusicMatch, Ipod, Sony control freaks as one can image. I’ll avoid going into full details since that takes as long as it does to make a copy of a protected CD or play a track you just paid for on anything other then the PC / you first set it up on after purchase. These so called copy protection issues are simply put “CRAP” copy protection would be stopping a ring of theives that manufacture and distribute thousands of copies under ground to woodbe street merchants and selfish music store owners who don’t care about the business their in. Protect me, us the consumer and you will protect everyone that matters along the way. Let’s get back to old school… let’s cancel our online music services, delete our laptop audio devices and go 100% CD / DVD all the way… I spent the better part of the past two days trying to play music I bought and paid for on my newly reistablished MusicMatch service I setup on a new $1,200.00 laptop bought specificly to play music and pay bills online, well the hel-l with it. My time and energy and integraty is worth way more then this. I can’t even get a response from MusicMatch to why they won’t fix their system that apparently is not working since the so called licence atachment on their music downloads were placed there by THEM, not me! So in the end we only have our ownselves to blame. If we don’t play they can’t make us pay and in the end they haven’t a choice other then to change their stupid tactics …and start letting us worry about how and where we listen to music and get back to just selling the music to us….we will never break them, they will break themselves. At this rate it won’t be long… they wil be begging us to forgive them and get our business back… As for me, my download days are over… I’ll locate a nice allround audio player that isn’t associated with any online service load it to me PC’s and laptops and load via CD only from now on. Hell, I don’t have one copy of a single song that I did not either get free or purchase with my own hard own mone…who has time for these guys anyway…. let’s get back to the basics….TONE….MUSIC…Enjoying the music is what it’s all about. If you can’t enjoy it well…then get one of their online setups and waste your time trying to play something…I’ll be listening!

    G from N.O…The bIG eASY

  173. trademark registration commented on Nov 23

    This really raises the question of what someone means when they “purchase” a CD. If the songs aren’t really yours, can you can’t choose how to listen to them, what are you really getting for your money? I love My Morning Jacket, by the way.

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