hey folks, this is an article i wrote over on engadget-- it is something that really troubles me-- the record folks are basically pushing people away from the windows platform by not allowing windows users to make mp3s of the cds you
-buy-. so, folks are turning to file sharing and also buying macs, using linux etc...add that to the perception that viruses and worms are only for windows doesn't help. any way, read below. the full article is over here too:
There has been a lot of talk about the copy protection on the new CD “Contraband” from Velvet Revolver, but for us we didn’t have any problems making MP3s for all our devices despite their efforts to stop us it seems. Here’s
Last week we went off to buy a CD, this is something we, like a lot of people, do on a regular basis. This week’s CD we wanted to check out was “Contraband” by Velvet Revolver the group formed by ex-members of Guns N’ Roses and the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots. We figure with that much drugs in those boys, there’s bound to be a good tune or two in there.
As with all our CDs, after unwrapping 8 layers of plastic on the way to the car we popped it in the CD player on the ride home to listen to, so far, so good- not a bad CD at all. After arriving home, we put the CD in our Xbox and as with all CDs the Xbox copied the songs over to the hard drive so we could use them with other games later or just use it as our jukebox.
Next up, inserted the disc in to our Mac, started iTunes and then iTunes put the newly created MP3s on our iPod. Also, the Linux box in our kitchen (Xandros) was able to read and make MP3s just fine too.
Lastly, we popped the CD in our PC (Win XP) and also ran iTunes to add the songs to our library.
Was this all a dream? Did it really happen? It did. But it shouldn’t have if it were up to the people who made that CD.
After looking around on the web it seems the folks from RCA Records actually don’t want anyone to make MP3s of the songs, they don’t want you to listen to the music you just purchased on your iPod or even your Xbox.
The disc has “Copy Protection” from SunnComn called MediaMax, which on some Windows systems will force the user to install software on their system in order to listen to the music and restrict what they do with the music, for example you cannot make MP3s. If SunnComn sounds familiar, they should, these are the folks who were going to sue a Princeton student for 10 million dollars for writing a paper that showed by pressing the shift key while inserting the CD (and of course, pressing the shift key still works on this CD too according to all reports).
Sadly, the way RCA and SunnComn want you to listen to music is pretty complicated, you’d need to insert the CD on your PC, wait up to one minute, click an end user agreement, then only “listen” to the music, oh- wait there is more- it installs software which blocks making MP3s and it requires a web connection to exchange “data” and keys. On the disc there are music files, WMA, but they don’t seem to play on any device we have which plays WMAs, the site says only “approved” devices, yikes!
Well, for us, it wasn’t an issue, why? Well, we have always disabled “Auto-Run” on our Windows based system, since like Windows 95, we’ve always disabled that “feature”. By default Windows will automatically look for a file called Autorun.inf on any CD you pop in to your system, we’ve always known this is a big security issue as there are a lot of spyware and viruses distributed on CDs, you read about this every week. In fact, Microsoft is even disabling this in their next security focused service pack. Just to recap…
Xbox was okay (see the pictures above). We kinda wonder if Microsoft’s Xbox violated some deal with the record companies since the Xbox can just copy the songs like it does with all CDs, it’s not in any “approved” list either.
Mac was okay.
PC was okay.
SunnComn and everyone else who is trying to “copy protect” music cds have really only one option and this is it, placing an autorun file on their music cds- they still need to have the music tracks so any CD player can play it, but they also will try and take advantage of the fact that if they put data and an application on the CD they can exploit a security flaw. But many people are becoming more vigilant about securing their systems.
Disabling Auto-Run is something we think everyone should do, not only for security from viruses, spyware, but you’ll never need to deal with not being able to listen to your music on the devices you own. Here’s how on Windows XP.
In Windows Click Start, then Click Run
Double click “Autorun” the value is set to 1 by default, change it to zero.
Now restart, that’s it!
We also created a file which will do this for you, just
right click this link and “save target as” to your local file system. Then double click and restart.
If you a different Operating system or would like to learn more about disabling AutoRun, here’s a great article too.
This so called copy protection that record companies are trying to force on users is simply going to push people towards getting the files online without paying for them via file sharing networks, buying a non-Windows system and in general, buy less music. None of those things sounds good to us.