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"Copy-proof" CDs cracked with 99-cent marker pen

Old 05-20-02, 02:03 PM
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"Copy-proof" CDs cracked with 99-cent marker pen



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

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

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

Sony did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apple has since posted a warning on its website at:

Sony Music Europe has taken the most aggressive anti-piracy stance in the business. Since last fall, the label has shipped more than 11 million copy-protected discs in Europe, with the largest proportion going to Germany, a market label executives claim is rife with illegal CD-burning.
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Old 05-20-02, 02:11 PM
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And if you use a green marker, you get improved audio quality to boot!
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Old 05-20-02, 02:30 PM
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[The blissful ignorance of youth!]

Shut up! Ten years ago I bought one of those green markers.
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Old 05-20-02, 02:38 PM
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Re: "Copy-proof" CDs cracked with 99-cent marker pen

Originally posted by X

"I wonder what type of copy protection will come next?" one posting on read. "Maybe they'll ban markers."
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Old 05-20-02, 03:40 PM
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How long before Garth Brooks wants royalties for used marker-sales?
Old 05-20-02, 04:22 PM
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Originally posted by Aghama
And if you use a green marker, you get improved audio quality to boot!
I don't get it?
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Old 05-20-02, 04:31 PM
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Originally posted by tygloalex
I don't get it?
It's an old CD rumor.

Wow! So... Sony... feeling smart? Even if this didn't work, like no one would write a program to rip songs after a certain point on the disc. I mean, seriously...
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Old 05-20-02, 04:33 PM
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Urban Legends

I liked this one from elsewhere: Tweaks!
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Old 05-20-02, 04:50 PM
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Originally posted by benedict
I liked this one from elsewhere: Tweaks!
A couple of my favourites:

3. Make 6 black or green lines on top of the CD a little less than one quarter inch wide. These lines run from the center of the CD to the edge (you are dividing the CD into six pieces of pie). You can still read the label with these lines. I got this idea from the Marigo Crossbow mat with itís three wider lines. The spinning black lines really make a difference. You might experiment with other amounts of lines (3-8). Let me know what you think. More lines might work better or worse with the faster spinning DVDís.

6. Demagnetize the CD with either the Bidini Clarifier or a bulk eraser. Why this works I donít know. I did not hear any difference on a gold CD. Unfortunately, the beneficial effect seems to only last about 10-20 minutes. Good for showing off your system or total tweak listening sessions. Much better spatiality and imaging.

10. Try freezing your CDs. See Soundstages Greg Weavers info in his Dec 99 column.

11. Some people have said that copying a CD onto a "black" CDR sounds better.

So what do you get when you do most of the above inexpensive tweaks? Way more musical, natural and detailed sound, thatís all!!!!

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Old 05-20-02, 06:42 PM
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you'd think that sony could make a better copy-proof protection. oh well. nothing is uncopyable. someone will always be able to bypass it.
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Old 05-21-02, 12:55 AM
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Old 05-21-02, 02:51 AM
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I never liked this whole thing anyway... I mean SOME of us actually make backups to use in the car or something so if they're stolen or thrown on the floor while speeding down the interstate instead of trying to replace in a case and wreck in the process we don't lose $18. I wonder if those stupid protected CDs would even play in my MP3 car stereo, kinda sucks if I buy music and can't even listen to it. Okay, rant done Just glad I listen to non-mainstream stuff.

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Old 05-21-02, 03:22 AM
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Originally posted by Josh-da-man


Can you imagine the faces of the SONY guys after having spent MILLINS on this new security measure?
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Old 05-21-02, 11:48 PM
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Originally posted by benedict
Urban Legends

I liked this one from elsewhere: Tweaks!

Damn all that sounds silly - where's my sharpie
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