AfterDawn: Tech news

Bypass audio CD protections with a felt tip pen or a Post-It note?

Written by Lasse Penttinen @ 14 May 2002 0:36 User comments (18) has a most interesting article about new methods for bypassing audio CD protections. These methods should apply to Cactus Data Shield (100/200) and Key2Audio protections. The idea of these methods is to blank out the last track of the CD, by covering parts of the outer edge of the disc. demonstrates two methods: Using a felt tip pen or a Post-It note to cover parts of the CD.
Seems too simple and kind of funny, but the article looks serious and is from a good source. (in German only)
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18 user comments

114.5.2002 1:26

I guess they exist out there, but I never met a music cd I couldn't rip the pants off. And I don't think I've ever seen (heard) a copy-protected (music) cd anyway. Who has? (A show of hands, please). Philips (Netherlands) will punish any company who strays too far from red-book standard, which they hold serious patents on. Anyone have experiences with Macrovision's 'SafeAudio'? (Uh.....sounds like putting on a 'rubber'); Midbar Tech's "Cactus Data Shield"; SunnComm's "MediaCloQ"; or any other recent "innovation" that the IFPI (the record-industry umbrella group to which the RIAA of America belongs), has come up with? I believe in anti-music-piracy, but many of these schemes (and presumably many other to follow as the shakedown continues), either degrade the audio, or produce discs that are not fully red-book compliant and cause playback problems on legitimate cd standalone or pc players. New copy protection schemes are being quietly field-tested all the time. (It's all very hush-hush & under the table), and some of these discs are now waiting in your local vendors' stores, the manufacturer's of which are patiently waiting for your reaction to their unnanounced presence. - K.A. -

214.5.2002 2:14

Problem really is that Philips' patents on CD technology are about to expire in next year, that is propably the main reason why CD manufacturers are pushing the copy-protection technologies so hardly at the moment. Also, they got a huge victory in European Union, when the EU Commission decided to make the new copyright directive (dubbed as EUCD) and require member countries to include that (with their own spices) to their national laws. Basically EUCD allows copy-protection mechanisms and makes it illegal to sell/distribute tools to circumvent the copy-protection technology. The issue now really is how each member country will implement the directive to their national laws -- and I'm extremely worried about this, because only country where I've heard any debate over the issue is Finland (and some protests in the UK), but nothing in Germany, France, Sweden, etc. I'm afraid that they're gonna make it as hard to consumers as possible without anyone noticing anything until it's too late. The national laws need to be changed by end of this year. Anyhow, I agree that copy-protection mechanisms are OK, once someone can provide me a copy-protection technology that's 100% transparent/invisible so that I can purchase an audio CD, copy it to my digital audio player, copy it to blank CD to play in my car, copy it to my fileserver computer to listen through the home network, edit the tracks to make my own mixes to the music I legally own, make audio CD mixes with tons of tracks from various albums/artists. And the system would only block me from copying the music for unauthorized people -- in my case, in my country this is people who are not my close relatives or my close friends. Once they develop this, I'm ok with the idea. Otherwise, they're violating my rights as a consumer.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

314.5.2002 7:37

I bet no finnish citizen thought about things like EUCD when they voted for joinin EU a few years back. A copy-protectionsystem that would allow one to make legal copies for their own use? How would the copyright owners control who you copy the CD to?

414.5.2002 7:47

Well, EU has brought us various other stuff -- at least I'm benefiting from one, living in the UK without any visa hassle :-) And I don't really have a slightest idea, but those are my conditions ;-) Well, some kind of flagging that some watermark/system like that would disappear from the copies you make and those _without_ watermark couldn't be re-copied anymore, which would prevent further copying which is illegal.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

514.5.2002 14:12

I have received verifications that these methods actually work.

The old school is back. All hail the new !

615.5.2002 3:49

Well I don´t own a copy-protected CD (thank god). But if you cover the outer part, won´t some of the music or whatever is on the disc be unreadable?

715.5.2002 20:53

Hi. It amazes me, dRD, how you (or anyone) manages to keep up with all of this hopelessly-shifting & ever-changing stuff. You seem to be disconcertingly aware of all the current movements in the copyright arena. Do the core, original red-book music patents, as developed by Sony & Philips *really* EXPIRE next year? Good heavens, they were only forged in the early '80's. Do hard-core equipment technology rights expire more rapidly than artistic 'intellectual property' rights? (Like music or movie content rights?) Hollywood demands perpetual rights to their artistic property, it seems, for centuries at a time. How can it be that the manufacturing Giants - Philips & Sony - must now yield-up, cede, or otherwise just roll-over and allow any software-content provider to implement any copy-protection scheme if favours at any given moment????? If this is the case, then the red-book music cd as we have all come to know it, is in Deep S---!!! (I was not aware of this impending expiracy of patent rights - it's only been a bit over 20 years since the music cd was launched). Philips, it seems to me, are very consumer-friendly in this area, and are quite sensitive to rogue copy-protection schemes. As far as I can tell, dRD, they support 'fair rights' use - all that you would like to do in your above response, with the cds you already own - they wrote me, "Thank you for your kind comments regarding our position on selling music cds that are copy-protected and are not compatible with all CD players...." (How do you find the time to keep up-to-date with all of this stuff?) - K.A. -

816.5.2002 13:30

Actually the CD technology was developed in late 1970's and if I remember correctly, the European CD patents have already expired -- only place where Philips/Sony still have the patents is U.S. which would partially explain the fact that they're bombarding Eurozone with those crappy copy-protection mechanisms more than U.S. (well, also the fact that in U.S. the courts punish companies based on their revenue/size meanwhile in Europe they punish everybody, Joe Average and AOL, on the same financial scale). I think patents expire after 25 years or so, which would put the actual patent date to 1978 or so. Philips definately seems to be on "our side" in this issue -- obviously they don't own music publishing stuff like Sony does, etc which makes it much more logical for them. And trust me, I don't have enough time to keep up with this stuff :-) I try to go to "real-life work", manage my family life, code the new features to the site, read through hundreds of forum posts, read various news sites, write articles and write news, all at the same time. Slept 5hrs last night and were 40mins late at work... ;-) Just hoping that some day advertising market bounces back and we would get enough dough out of this hobby to turn it into a real work that pays bills (and not just server hosting bills :-).

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

917.5.2002 6:12

Off Topic: You know, I once had a girlfriend who had 'sort of' a yeast-like infection - perfectly harmless mind you - it just made doing 'things' a tad tricky, if you know what I mean. I see absolutely *nothing* wrong with developing www sites to help people with this legitimate problem. A person has to do what a person has to do. One has to eat, right? YOU are going to survive, dRD. This site rocks, and it is my fervent hope that everything 'pans' out for you - you've earned it. Oh yeah - And I have a new respect for the Finnish people too. Where have you guys been all my life? Back on topic: (sort of) - 25 years to patent expiracy, eh? GOOD! I can't wait! I have NEVER in my lifetime, seen so much corporate bull---- surrounding everyone's favourite monster, the DVD. What will HOLLYWOOD and it's plethora of lawyers DO on the dvd's 25th birthday? (Rubbing hands evilly together). I don't support piracy in any area. I DO support fair rights' use - a legal concept perpetrated by the USA - but generally accepted by the rest of the free world as a q-u-i-t-e n-o-r-m-a-l t-h-i-n-g; I certainly didn't need the USA to put a name to it - there are certain basic rights that a person has a right to expect with that they have already paid retail for, you know? Philips' red book started everything. Through no fault of their own, that, unfortunately, spawned US diseases such as price fixing, price discrimination, Region codes, bla bla bla..... We'll have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, there is AfterDawn. (Thank Christ). .....I saw a blank DVD-R single-sided disc the other day, a Hewlitt Packard one, I believe, going for $20 Canadian. (Oh well, it's a start). CD-R started that way. What you do, and what you find out from here, dRD, is going to have a profound effect on my own future dvd-r experiences. Reading your experiences with your new burner, leaves me a bit bewildered, perhaps because the dvd-r is so new and needs to be 'worked on' by folks such as yourself. WoW! I hope things get simpler! (That's one main reason why I'm here right now). Sorry to ramble on so........ -- KlingonAgent --

1017.5.2002 6:44

5 hours? Nice. Well my schoolwork takes up alot of time too. That´s why I´ve had to give the forums some rest. On a test-night I might stay up to about 12pm/00.00

1120.5.2002 14:33

A_Klingon: Thanks for all the support during the last months, we definately appreciate that. Luckily there are actually people still left in this world who are willing to open their mouth when they have something positive say as well -- thanks for that to all of you (you guys know who you are), who have sent us emails, forum messages and donations (hard cash and equipment) now and in the past. We definately appreciate that and the feeling that you actually have somekinda "community spirit" behind the whole thing makes wasting helluva lot of time and effort on one particular site much more meaningful. ...and back to topic... The concept of fair use is really somehow changing -- I'm interested to see how in the heck record labels and movie studios are going to pull their biggest robbery so far; preventing people from copying stuff they own AND meanwhile collecting "taxes" (I don't know what they're called in each country, but basically they're private corporation taxes allowed by government because of some pervert twist in legal rulings) on blank CDs, cassettes, DVD-Rs, etc on basis that they need to "compensate" lost money what they lose when home users make their fair use legal copies. You see the dilemma in here? In Finland, the market is only 5M people and they grab those shadow taxes for tens of millions of dollars/euros a year from consumers who buy blank media. And as far as DVD-R go, I'm waiting anxiously to get the wheels rolling on that arena as well. Only real issue is the format confusion at the moment -- HP's discs A_Klingon mentioned are most likely DVD+RW discs which are ridiculously expensive. But then again, DVD-Rs, supported by drives manufactured by Pioneer et al, cost anywhere between $0.99 - $5, depending on the manufacturer. And we Finns are weird, I guess ;-) Like one of my Finnish friends in NYC told to everybody who asked -- "it's too dark most of the year to do anything else but ***k, code or booze". Maybe that's why we have companies like Nokia, products like Linux and SSH and maybe, JUST maybe some funny sites coming from there ;-) And as far as Canadians go, I've got bunch of relatives living in there, so I definately know that there are some extremely wacko and funny guys living up there as well ;-)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 May 2002 @ 14:36

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

1221.5.2002 5:28

Isn´t the finnish version of company taxes "kasettimaksu"? So basicly they would be stealing from themselves if they get copy protections in everything. They would have to quit the taxes when no one could copy fairly. Do the taxes compensate for pirated material?

1321.5.2002 6:26

Ghostdog: And guess are they going to allow dropping of the "taxation"? Not gonna happen. They have this evil m.f. plan where they plan to block fair use copying AND also collect taxes from blank media -- they can always say that you can copy old music, before the era of copy-protection or even music recorded from the radio, to your blank media and therefor you have to pay for it. And yes, "kasettimaksu" is the Finnish term for this bastard. And it is intended to compensate fair use recording from radio, from legally owned CDs/DVDs/etc, recording from TV broadcast, etc. Most of the dough goes to Finnish IFPI member, similiar to American RIAA -- called Teosto. But I assume that video production/importing/etc companies are more than willing to get their slice of the cake bigger.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

1421.5.2002 6:50

Ghostdog, every day it seems, just confuses, complicates, twists and distorts even more what is already the most convoluted mess I have ever seen in my life. World-wide video distribution is fraught with incompatabilities, right's-management restrictions, rules, regulations, politics, red-tape, bullshit, and self-interest. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. Others want to control. Others want to be monopolies. The potential profits are staggering. Unfairness and unprecedented corporate greed abounds. (I should get a job making speeches or something). :). Too many fingers in too many pies, if you ask me. I miss the simple days of open reel music tapes and vhs cassettes (but not the outdated technology). I hope things get simpler. I don't waste money on new technlogy like I used to. What you buy today may easily be obsolete tomorrow. I truly hate to be a stick-in-the-mud and not be able to contribute anything concrete, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to wait this one out. (DVD-R) We need another format war - like the ancient vhs vs beta war days of old - like we need a hole in the head. No one wants multiple standards. And I *refuse* to purchase any crippled hardware or hardware "ideas", particularly legally-imposed user restrictions. (And people are worried & wondering about true, high-definition, wide-screen video?) Holy sh--, I'll be dead and buried by the time they get the *current* mess straightened out !!! (Which they never will anyway). Blue laser and $1.99 20GB blank discs. Yep, that's what I'm gonna wait for....... -- KlingonAgent --

1521.5.2002 7:32

I already heard about them developmenting a new type of Compact Disc media ... something about Hollographic reading, where the disc needs to be read by 2-3 lasers. Anyways, the show about the new technology is going to in Las Vegas soon... anyone who lives near there should go check it out...

1621.5.2002 9:55

Luckily they´ve agreed on the blue-laser standard. They´ll probably have blue laser products out before we know who "won" the current standards battle. The problem is getting people active, expressing their oppinions. Can you imagine how many consumers in Finland (or the rest of the EU for that matter) actually know about EUCD, EFFi and how severe the situation actually is?

177.6.2002 11:39

I have a MAC. Copyright protection is meaningless to me. It, virtually, doesn't exist.

187.6.2002 11:53

Speaking of new technologies, do a Google search on FMDs (Flourescent Multi-layer Disk). Ah yes, the new W.O.R.M drive, and a $10 1 TB, perfectly clear FMD. Marshmellow anyone?

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