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Musicians tell how to beat system - CNN News Article

Old 10-05-05, 05:54 PM
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Musicians tell how to beat system - CNN News Article

From cnn.com:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/ptech/1...eut/index.html

Musicians tell how to beat system
Web sites instruct fans on how to beat copy-protected CDs


Tuesday, October 4, 2005; Posted: 11:57 a.m. EDT (15:57 GMT)

NEW YORK (Billboard) -- Major labels Sony BMG and EMI are releasing more and more new CDs that block fans from dragging their tunes to iPods.

Now, in the most bizarre turn yet in the record industry's piracy struggles, stars Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters and Switchfoot -- and even Sony BMG, when the label gets complaints -- are telling fans how they can beat the system.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment now regularly releases its new U.S. titles on CDs protected with digital rights management (DRM) that dictates which file formats consumers can use to digitally copy the music. MP3 is not one of those formats. The DRM also limits how many copies of the files consumers can make.

EMI Music is testing a similar initiative for wide-scale use by 2006.

But these decisions are not sitting well with some of the artists whose CDs have been secured. A number of leading acts are using their Web sites to instruct fans on how to work around the technology. (Others, including Jermaine Dupri, have expressed support for anti-copying efforts.)

For now, the copy-protected discs work only with software and devices compatible with Microsoft Windows Media technology. Apple -- the dominant player in digital music -- has resisted appeals from the labels to license its FairPlay DRM for use on the copy-protected discs.

The DRM initiatives are generating complaints from fans, many of whom own iPods. The message boards of artist fan sites and online retailers are filled with complaints from angry consumers who did not realize they were buying a copy-protected title until they tried to create music files on their home computers.

One solution artists offer to iPod users is to rip the CD into a Windows Media file, burn the tracks onto a blank CD (without copy protection) and then rip that CD back into iTunes.

Columbia Records act Switchfoot, whose latest album, "Nothing Is Sound," is copy-protected -- and debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 last week -- recently took copy-protection defiance one step further. Band guitarist Tim Foreman posted on a Sony Music-hosted fan site a link to the software program CDEX, which disables the technology. The post has since been removed.

"We were horrified when we first heard about the new copy-protection policy," Foreman wrote in the September 14 post. "It is heartbreaking to see our blood, sweat and tears over the past two years blurred by the confusion and frustration surrounding new technology."

To add some minor injury to insult, EMI Christian Music Group had to recall copies of "Nothing Is Sound" that were shipped to Christian retailers. Under an agreement with Sony BMG, the EMI imprint handles manufacturing and distribution of Switchfoot to the Christian market. The EMI discs have incorrect DRM settings that do not allow consumers to rip or burn secure tracks.

Switchfoot is not the only band upset by copy protection.

"I'm completely frustrated," says Jason Brown, president of Philadelphonic, a management company that represents Tristan Prettyman. The artist's Virgin Records debut, "Twentythree," is among the albums in the EMI copy-protection trial. "Copy control as it stands right now is in its 1.0 phase. It was rushed through and into a system that wasn't prepared for it."

Sony BMG says it is not trying to prevent consumers from getting music onto iPods. Fans who complain to Sony BMG about iPod incompatibility are directed to a Web site (http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp) that provides information on how to work around the technology.

The company, which has sold more than 13 million copy-protected discs to date, is urging people who buy copy-protected titles to write to Apple and demand that the company license its FairPlay DRM for use with secure CDs.

The bad thing is that you are almost promoting what you are trying to protect against. You are upsetting the fan that went out and purchased the record.
-- Jason Brown, whose agency represents an artist whose album in among those in copy-protection suit.EMI is not quite so helpful. A source says the company will not instruct consumers on how to work around copy-protected discs.

Sony BMG, EMI and Apple officials all declined comment. However, both majors have said that increased CD burning has forced their hands on copy protection.

But artists and consumers are bristling at the notion of being caught in the middle of this test of wills. Some managers express doubt about the Sony BMG and EMI strategy in dealing with Apple.

"Anything that smacks of corporatism, people don't like," says Jamie Kitman, president of the Hornblow Group USA, manager for Capitol Records act OK Go, which was considered for, but ultimately left out of the EMI trial. "There's no doubt this has the whiff of punitive activity."

What is more, artist managers are upset that the security is so easily beaten -- in the case of Sony BMG, with the company's assistance -- that it makes a mockery of content protection.

Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group are taking a wait-and-see approach to copy protection. Neither has announced plans for secured U.S. commercial releases.

"The bad thing is that you are almost promoting what you are trying to protect against," Brown says. "You are upsetting the fan that went out and purchased the record."

That last line is something that I have been hearing about lately. Both the movie and music industry are using technology that it is mostly affecting the people who are doing the honest thing of purchasing the CDs/DVDs. At least, some of the musicians are seeing the big picture and helping the fans beat stupid corporate crippling technology.
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Old 10-05-05, 06:14 PM
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Yep. That last line says it all for me too.

Trying to stop someone from copying a CD that they bought to an Ipod is the same thing as trying to stop someone from making a mix tape on cassette. Completely ridiculous. You bought it, you should have the right to put it on another format for your own enjoyment.
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Old 10-05-05, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by nodeerforamonth
Yep. That last line says it all for me too.

Trying to stop someone from copying a CD that they bought to an Ipod is the same thing as trying to stop someone from making a mix tape on cassette. Completely ridiculous. You bought it, you should have the right to put it on another format for your own enjoyment.

Totally agree too.
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Old 10-05-05, 11:18 PM
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It's just a matter of time before record companies bring out this format which is 100% protected from digital copying:

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Old 10-06-05, 01:01 AM
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Why punish the people who are actually buying CD's?

I honestly don't know what these record labels think anymore.

They bitch about falling sales...then make thier CD's copyprotected (in some cases) to the point where CD players can't even play them.

They try and fight piracy and want people's sympathy but then sue kids & grandparents for thousands of dollars.

I understand what they are trying to accomplish but thier efforts just make me shake my head.
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Old 10-06-05, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by CNN
Sony BMG says it is not trying to prevent consumers from getting music onto iPods.
It's amazing how out of touch Sony in particular has been on digital music from the start. I've learned my lesson and won't buy another CD from them until they are hassle-free again.
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Old 10-06-05, 07:11 AM
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That was a good read to start the morning.
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Old 10-06-05, 08:19 AM
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One solution artists offer to iPod users is to rip the CD into a Windows Media file, burn the tracks onto a blank CD (without copy protection) and then rip that CD back into iTunes.
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Old 10-06-05, 11:08 AM
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My first thought upon seeing the thread title was "with a blunt object". After reading the article, my thought is "with a large, blunt object".
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Old 10-06-05, 03:18 PM
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It's getting out of hand.. I buy cds, I don't even own an Ipod, I love making mix cds for myself.. and here I am being punished. Actually, not totally. I refuse to buy a copy protected cd. Sure, it's hurt sometimes, but it's better than giving them my money.
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Old 10-06-05, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by reverie
It's getting out of hand.. I buy cds, I don't even own an Ipod, I love making mix cds for myself.. and here I am being punished. Actually, not totally. I refuse to buy a copy protected cd. Sure, it's hurt sometimes, but it's better than giving them my money.
Same here. I rip the disc and put it in a closet. I listen to everything off the computer. If I want a cd for the car I burn one.
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Old 10-06-05, 11:01 PM
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i bought my first copy protected album the other day, but probably would have declined had it not been such a cheap price. as of right now, it really does just take a simple keystroke. the fact remains: consumers who pay their hard earned money to hear an artist they like, or are trying to explore don't deserve to be punished. especially in this day in age. who DOESN'T listen to their tunes on an ipod or their computer? 80% of my songs are played as i sit in front of or around my computer.
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Old 10-07-05, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
I REFUSE to purchase a crippled CD. If they offer me a 100% compatible, 100% functional CD for a reasonable price (~10$) I'll buy it legally; if all they have to offer is a copy-protected piece of shit for $18, I'll download it for FREE.

Fuck the RIAA.
Good idea. Instead of just not buying a product, you will simply infrige on the copyright!

I hate to sound like a capitalist here, but obviously if the desire to have the object was powerful enough that you would steal it, you have no reason not to buy it.
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Old 10-07-05, 02:22 AM
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It's the entire entertainment industry. Television, movies, music, dvds all claim to be loosing money. And instead of tightning their belts like most regular business's do, which they could do by making movie bugets lower, not paying stars as much, or lowering prices for concert tickets/cds/movie tickets/dvds they decide to raise ticket prices, put commericals before the movies, double disc dvds, copy protected cds, and 8 minutes of commericals for a 30 minute show. Pretty much fucking over all the legit buyers of their products.
to quote kevin smith,

fuck them up their stupid asses

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Old 10-07-05, 04:40 PM
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That Sony website contains this in the FAQ:

1. I have an Apple Macintosh computer. Will the disc work on my MAC?

Yes. This disc will behave like a traditional CD in a Mac.
So does that mean if one has a Mac, you can rip it like a normal disc? I've passed on the Foo Fighters disc several times because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to rip it with the rest of my library.
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Old 10-07-05, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
Look, they set the rules, not me. As it stands, it's either they rip me off with a crippled, incompatible, defective, and overpriced product, or I rip them off by downloading the music for free. They are the ones leaving no other option open.
Actually, they did leave you an option: not buy the cd and not break the law.

I can only assume you are an adult. As an adult, you have to do things that are difficult in order to stand up for an issue.

Last edited by Brain Stew; 10-07-05 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 10-07-05, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
Look, they set the rules, not me. As it stands, it's either they rip me off with a crippled, incompatible, defective, and overpriced product, or I rip them off by downloading the music for free. They are the ones leaving no other option open.
Defective is even more appropriate than you think.

I got a free copy (for review) of the new Life of Agony disc which uses the XCP-Aurora copy protection that Sony-BMG uses and this article talks about. I inserted the CD in my computer at work and installed the XCP player so I could listen to the disc. I then uninstalled the XCP. After my computer bluescreened overnight twice in one week (not a good thing for my WORK computer to be doing mind you) I reported the error to Microsoft which said the culprit was XCP-Aurora.

Fortunately for me their uninstall does not work fully... it leaves bits and pieces allthroughout my registry and a system service which is still running (kinda odd for an uninstall eh?). So I disabled the service and removed every entry for XCP and Aurora in my registry. It now no longer appears in my list of services. Now my computer crashes about once every 30-40 days and Microsoft still says the culprit is XCP-Aurora. I went back through my registry and found nothing so I'm at a loss as to what to do. A crash once a month I can live with, but it really pisses me off.

I say pirate every damn XCP disc you can get because you don't want to install this crap on your computer if you can help it.

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Old 10-07-05, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
And I was a regular CD buyer; I have over 1300 CDs, all of them original and legally purchased. Those pieces of shit executives at the record companies turned me into a pirate by releasing disks that are incompatible with most players out there.

Hopefully the pigs will go broke soon enough so I can resume building my music collection in a proper manner.
Well, I am glad that you are mature enough to see the entire scope of the issue. How dare they FORCE you to do it!

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Old 10-07-05, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Brain Stew
Well, I am glad that you are mature enough to see the entire scope of the issue.
I'm wondering if you're seeing the full scope of the issue.
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Old 10-07-05, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Mordred
I'm wondering if you're seeing the full scope of the issue.
I am. The record companies are doing something that is bad. In a market economy the only way that we let businesses know we don't like their choices is by not buying their products. NOT by stealing them.

Your first reaction should not be theft. You can't rationalize behavior that violates the law and is immoral.

Last edited by Brain Stew; 10-07-05 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 10-07-05, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Brain Stew
I am. The record companies are doing something that is bad. In a market economy the only way that we let businesses know we don't like their choices is buy not buying their products. NOT by stealing them.

Your first reaction should not be theft. You can't rationalize behavior that violates the law and is immoral.
I agree with you in theory but in practice I find the reality to be slightly different.

I've pirated a lot of music in my day. I have tastes that do not reflect the mainstream and so finding music I like is hard to come by. A lot of what I listen to is out of print or impossible to find in this country. Usually the music I pirate is music that the RIAA could not come after me for because it isn't covered by the RIAAs umbrella. Even when it is, I have very few friends outside the internet community that enjoy the types of music I enjoy so exposure to new artists is oftentimes impossible. I pirate out of necessity.

When it's possible (available in this country or still in print) I purchase my music. I support the artists whose work I have pirated by going to concerts, recommending them to friends and purchasing their CDs... roughly 1/3rd of the 2000 albums or so I've downloaded have ended up physically making their way into my collections. The music that I like that does end up under the RIAAs umbrella is drastically underpromoted and uncared for while they push the latest Ashley Simpson and then complain that piracy is due to their lack of sales.

It is a 100% verifiable fact that my piracy has led to increase in sales for the RIAA. I don't buy what I don't hear first. While that is obviously not the case for everyone, I'm willing to bet that despite the RIAAs strident insistence to the contrary, that piracy has increased their sales significantly.

The RIAA might not like what I do, but they sure like the money they get from me when I find a band I like through piracy. As I provide no economic harm in my "theft" and often end up giving them a lot more money as the end result, it isn't that hard to rationalize. They may think they want me personally to stop pirating, but in reality they do not. I'm smart enough not to listen to them.
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Old 10-07-05, 05:32 PM
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Good for you.
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Old 10-07-05, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
So, what does the record company lose when I download an album since I wasn't willing to purchase their defective CD anyway? If they had a legitimate product available that they were losing sales of, you'd have an argument.

And if the law were fairly applied, copy protected CDs would be illegal to start with.
You can argue till your blue, but all that is is a rationalization. The point is, that you enjoy the product enough to break the law even with the protection. This shows that you are still interested in the product and should therefore purchase it.

Also, I have no idea where you got the idea about the law . They hold the copyright, so they decide how it is distributed.
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Old 10-07-05, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Brain Stew
Also, I have no idea where you got the idea about the law . They hold the copyright, so they decide how it is distributed.
There is such a thing as fair use... it can convincingly be argued that the are violating it.
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Old 10-07-05, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Mordred
There is such a thing as fair use... it can convincingly be argued that the are violating it.
Fair use is extremely vague. I don't agree with what they are doing, but what are you going to do?
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