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CD copy-protection question (1 Viewer)

Anthony Moore

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Jul 12, 2001
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I work as a computer tech at the Univ of Florida. One of the professors asked me if there was any way that she could copy-protect an audio CD she's making. I told her that I didn't think there was anything out there to do that, but that I may be wrong and I would research it.

I have no clue. Is there a way? Does anyone know of any software or hardware that could make an audio CD un-copyable?

thanks,

anthony
 

Jeff Kleist

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All the copy protection processes are done at manufacturing plants, and are tightly controlled
 

Leila Dougan

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This probably belongs best in the computing forum.

But to answer your question, I don't know of any practical way of copy-protecting an audio cd. She could go to great lengths to try to protect it (special encryption, proprietary format, etc) but they are neither cheap nor practical. I don't think there is any such software for the average person to purchase. And really, there is no way a person could make a cd completely copy-protected. Anybody that has a high end sound card, especially with an optical port can copy the audio, regardless of copy-protected schemes implemented. If it can be heard, it can be copied.
 

Malcolm R

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If you could figure that out, the RIAA would dump loads of cash at your door to buy it. :D
 

Garrett Lundy

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Didn't the industry just spend millions on some new-fangled technology to prevent the illegal copying of MP3's from some newer cd's, only to have this great new technological anti-piracy model undone by anyone with a $.50 RCA-wire?:b
 

LarryDavenport

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There was a news story that some 13 year old kid outwitted CD copying. If I can find the article I'll post a link.
 

Kevin P

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If you post a link the admins will probably remove it, as they tend to frown on such things 'round these parts...

As for copy protecting anything, there's no point. Anything that can be "protected" via technology can also be "unprotected" via technology. Nothing is uncrackable, unless you make it totally unplayable as well, and adding "protection" to an established format that wasn't designed to be protected in the first place (CDs) invariably leads to compatibility issues, which is why "copy protected" CDs won't play in many computers and even some CD and DVD players.

If it can be played, it can be copied. It's a fact of life. Although I'm a geek and would enjoy the challenge of creating a copy protection scheme (I actually did create schemes for fun back in my younger, floppy disk days), there's just no point as people will still be able to copy the disc, but may not be able to play it. In fact, the disc may have to be copied in order to make it playable, one of those paradoxes that makes copy protection of the CD format impractical.

Just my two copper coins on the matter...

KJP
 

Bill Slack

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While this dicussion is technically illegal according to the DMCA, it really shouldn't be. Playing a a disc (I would say CD, but they are no longer CDs, since they don't adhere to the standard!) in your computer shouldn't be made illegal.

The copy protection also negates playing in a few home (Apex, and Denon DVD players, for instance) and a fair amount of car and portable players.

I don't know what they expect to solve. Even without defeating it this way, I could rip a copy of it, with no loss in under an hour. Anyone that cares to put the effort forth can stick the disc in a regular CD player with digital output, and then input it into their sound card and record!

All of the copy protection schemes are such miserable failures. They don't even keep honest people 'honest'. Anyone that really cares to can easily pirate it. Anyone that just wans to make fair use copies can, but only by jumping through hoops.

It seems the real rational might be to hinder fair-use recordings, since they perceive this as lost revenue.

My final though... You want to give me music with crap like this on the CD? And asburd liscene agreements. OK, but then I own a liscence to the music. You need to give me MP3s of my CD too. And when I scratch my CDs up every 6 months in my car, I want a new one in the mail for the 10 cents it costs to press one, because I don't own that piece of plastic, I own a license to the music.

The greedy bastards want it both ways though, which I can understand. But to expect sympathy and understanding from the average consumer just boggles my mind.
 

Thomas Newton

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While this dicussion [about felt-tip pens] is technically illegal according to the DMCA, it really shouldn't be.

Such an application of the DMCA is blatantly unConstitutional. What next, DMCA storm troopers shattering the glass windows of all of the office supply stores some evening?
 

Vince Maskeeper

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PLEASE
DISCUSSION OF SPECIFICS ON HOW TO DEFEAT COPY PROTECTION, AND LINKS TO SAID INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE HTF.
WE HAVE BEEN VERY LOOSE ABOUT ALLOWING DISCUSSION OF COPYPROTECTION FORMATS AND HOW THE AFFECT THE BUSINESS, ETC--- HOWEVER, POSTING SPECIFICS AND LINKS HAS TO STOP, OR ALL RELATED DISCUSSIONS WILL HAVE TO BE REMOVED.
THANK YOU
 

AllenD

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Would it be acceptable for me to say I read somewhere that a .10 cent felt tip pen circumvented Sony's copy protection scheme, but I won't say how. ;)
 

Dave E H

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I don't know if this comment is against forum rules, but the basics of some copy protection schemes - the one that involves crashing Macs, PCs etc - involves putting a data track w/ invalid data as the first track of the CD. This makes thing capable of reading data tracks - such as PCs - try to read this track first, putting it in a loop and potentially crashing the machine. Audio CD players just skip this. This is intended to prevent people from putting the CD into their computer and ripping the CD.

This might be something your professor or you can try to do.
 

Wayne Bundrick

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It's mind-boggling to imagine that a three year old child sitting on the floor with a copy-protected CD in one hand and a felt-tip pen in the other hand might be just moments away from committing a felony. And jack-booted stormtroopers might be just moments away from kicking in your door.

As already mentioned, the current copy protection methods don't affect the ability to record the CD player's digital output. You might not be able to rip a CD in 60 seconds using a computer but you can still make a perfect digital copy.

So it isn't copy protection, it's just an annoyance, and it isn't yet illegal to remove or bypass annoyances. I am not a lawyer but I think the DMCA agrees with me...

§ 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems

(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES.—(1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.

...

(skipping a few paragraphs)

...

(3) As used in this subsection—

(A) to ‘circumvent a technological measure’ means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and

(B) a technological measure ‘effectively controls access to a work’ if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

My take on this: using a magic marker could qualify as circumventing the technological measure according to (3)(A), but it doesn't because the technological measure does not effectively control access to the work according to (3)(B). In other words, any garbage that they put on a CD that doesn't fully impair playback will not count as a form of illegal-to-defeat protection.
 

Dave E H

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a technological measure ‘effectively controls access to a work’ if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.
Does this mean - that if you alter something that you own in order to simply play it in your computer, that you violate the DCMA?

My Guess: Yes

Bizarre.
 

Wayne Bundrick

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My guess: No. The technological measure does not "effectively control access". CD players can still play the discs.
 

Kevin P

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(B) a technological measure ‘effectively controls access to a work’ if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.
My take on this is that schemes that utilize encryption keys, such as CSS and whatever SACD and DVD-A utilize, would fall under this criteria, as the copyright owner embeds keys on the disc that "authorizes" the player to decrypt the information for playback. Circumventing such a scheme would thus be illegal under this clause.

However, CD copy protection is nothing more than either corrupting (not encrypting) the bitstream, or adding a data session to mess up access by computers. No "application of information, or a process or treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner" is needed to play a CD, even a copy protected one. As a result, circumvention of the corrupted data or audio session to allow playback (or ripping for that matter) would not be illegal, at least under the DMCA clauses quoted earlier in another post.

Now let's take an extreme hypothetical example. Let's say that "Joe" the Record Company Executive wants to discourage people from copying his latest boy-band wonder album. Instead of spending millions developing the ultimate uncrackable protection scheme and risking degrading the audio, he decides to simply add a data session to the disc containing a virus which will infect and disable the computer when the "protected" CD is inserted in it.

Would it be illegal, under the DMCA, or any other legislation the RIAA would love to push through, to use Norton Antivirus on my computer to block infection by this virus so I can play my CD on my computer? Would it be illegal for me to "scratch over" or "marker over" the data session so I can play the CD without infecting my computer?

Key2Audio has been known to disable Macintosh computers when a protected disc is inserted. Is that any different from putting a virus on the CD?

KJP
 

Thomas Newton

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Now let's take an extreme hypothetical example. Let's say that "Joe" the Record Company Executive wants to discourage people from copying his latest boy-band wonder album. Instead of spending millions developing the ultimate uncrackable protection scheme and risking degrading the audio, he decides to simply add a data session to the disc containing a virus which will infect and disable the computer when the "protected" CD is inserted in it.

I'd say that "Joe" is eligible to become the new cellmate of "Bubba" (under existing laws against attacking other people's computer systems and spreading viruses).
 

Kevin P

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I'd say that "Joe" is eligible to become the new cellmate of "Bubba" (under existing laws against attacking other people's computer systems and spreading viruses).
Bingo. Sony's copy protection scheme disables Macintoshes. Does that count as an attack against a computer system?
 

Brett DiMichele

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IMHO It would be GREAT to see someone take on the DMCA and RIAA.

I believe they need sued to the brink of bankrupcy. When

you stoop to causing computer system crashes, it's time you

get your wings clipped WAY back (to the stone age..)
 

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