Saturday, May 11, 2002

Not only will it not work...
I've mentioned reports of computers failing to read or play so-called "copy-protected CDs". I say "so-called" because they don't conform to the "Red Book" standard... well, here's Apple's knowledge base:

Some audio discs use a copy protection technology that can prevent the disc from being read by a computer. This may also prevent the disc from being ejected. The audio discs are technically and legally not Compact Discs (CD format), and the CD logo has been removed from the disc.

...CD audio discs that incorporate copyright protection technologies do not adhere to published Compact Disc standards. Apple designs its CD drives to support media that conforms to such standards. Apple computers are not designed to support copyright protected media that do not conform to such standards. Therefore, any attempt to use non standard discs with Apple CD drives will be considered a misapplication of the product. Under the terms of Apple's One-Year Limited Warranty, AppleCare Protection Plan, or other AppleCare agreement any misapplication of the product is excluded from Apple's repair coverage. Because the Apple product is functioning correctly according to its design specifications, any fee assessed by an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple for repair service will not be Apple's responsibility.

(Emphasis mine.) I didn't mean to bury you in little blue text: I just wanted to be sure I gave you enough context to make clear that this isn't some odd reading of phrases that weren't meant to be taken together.

The record companies found a way to crash the system and invalidate the warranty at the same time. And this was meant to encourage me to buy CDs rather than download MP3s?

In other contexts, content producers have made it clear that they do not feel any obligation to disclose that a given product is copy-protected. From c-net:

Universal was the first major label to openly distribute a copy-protected CD in the United States, with the release of a soundtrack to the "Fast and the Furious" film in December. Companies that produce copy-protection technology say other albums have been quietly released into the market, but verified sightings have been rare.

(Emphasis mine.) What can we do? Well, support Philips:

Gerry Wirtz, general manager of the Philips copyright office that administers the CD logo, told Reuters that not only would Philips yank the logo from copy-protected discs, it would force the major labels to add warning stickers for consumers. Most controversially, he claimed future models of Philips players would both read and burn the copy-protected discs.

(Emphasis mine.) Does Philips make CD-ROM drives? Why, yes, they do. Are they included in Mr Wirtz' policy? Who knows?

(See also Boing Boing.)

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