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Stations Can't Play Crippled Music Disks 326

Posted by michael
from the dead-air dept.
arb writes "The Age is reporting that some radio stations are unable to play copy-protected CDs. It seems at least one radio station is facing problems transferring CD tracks to their digital playout system. Is the lack of radio air-play a price the record labels are willing to pay in their efforts to stamp out piracy?"
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Stations Can't Play Crippled Music Disks

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  • hrm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B3ryllium (571199) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:32AM (#5672579) Homepage
    I read a recent story on Canada.com about a Vancouver station playing songs from the new Radiohead album that they downloaded from the net ...

    Yay! The return of Pirate Radio!

    And with great software like TuneTracker (at http://www.beosradio.com/ [beosradio.com] ), it's easier than ever to run a professional-level radio station with a low low budget.
    • Re:hrm (Score:3, Informative)

      by B3ryllium (571199)
      Umm, the direct URL for TuneTracker should be: http://www.tunetrackersystems.com [tunetrackersystems.com] And let's not forget the URL to the story I mentioned [canada.com].
      • the station downloaded and aired Radiohead's entire forthcoming album, Hail to the Thief

        I'm not sure what the album's title really refers to, but in the context of that (Radiohead) article, the title seems just a touch ironic.

    • Re:hrm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AKnightCowboy (608632)
      read a recent story on Canada.com about a Vancouver station playing songs from the new Radiohead album that they downloaded from the net ...

      As long as their ASCAP fees are paid up I imagine the music industry doesn't care where a radio station gets their music from. The problem is other people stealing the music via P2P sharing without paying any royalties.

      • Re:hrm (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        OK. But what happens when there are no more downloads available because they've all be made illegal, and nobody can play any of the disks? :)

        The situation in the article seems a little like buying a car with no keys, but since you have a coathanger and can hotwire the car, and thus are able to get the full use out of it, the dealership won't do anything about it.

        The RIAA only has friends it can buy or force to be friends with right now anyway, so they need to resolve this problem. It's not up to the
    • Re:hrm (Score:2, Informative)

      by xtremex (130532)
      My uncle is a DJ for a station in NY, and he says that EVEVY song they play is an MP3. Sure, they only play 60 songs, but all of them are MP3's! (This is a very popular Top40 Station in NYC)
      • Re:hrm (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AKnightCowboy (608632)
        I wouldn't doubt it. The top-40 station around here plays a song once in awhile that sounds EXACTLY like a damaged one I downloaded off of Napster 3 years ago. :-) It even skips a bit in the same place (and it's not censored) like someone's encoder sucked. I wish I remembered the name of the song. Maybe that's just how the song was recorded, but it seems unlikely since it didn't make sense.
      • by billstewart (78916) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:09PM (#5674430) Journal
        Yes, I realize that it's possible to do good-quality MP3 recordings, and that FM or especially AM radio will also distort the sound, but if they're using random MP3s downloaded from the net, most of those are encoded at lower bit rates for portable players and often with lousy coders. I hope they're at least using really good audio cards instead of the random-quality cards built into motherboards...

        In practice, as long as you use decent quality equipment, this does sound like a practical way to run a radio station. If the DJs are in control or the music, it lets them find and queue up material quickly, and arrange it so they can easily go from one tune to the next or cut in to talk or patch in commercials, and makes it easier for things to run on autopilot if they need it to. And with the changes in disk drive cost over the last few years, they can store a few thousand songs at decent compression levels. On the other hand, if the radio station is one of those centrally controlled things that don't have real DJs at each station, they can upload each song once and cue things remotely.

        • by ncc74656 (45571) <scott@alfter.us> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @11:50PM (#5676648) Homepage Journal
          if they're using random MP3s downloaded from the net, most of those are encoded at lower bit rates for portable players and often with lousy coders

          That depends on your source. If you're using one of the P2P services, that's probably what you'll get. If you get your music fix from alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.*, though, it's more likely you'll see high-bitrate (often excessively high, like 256 or even 320 kbps) MP3s encoded with LAME or other decent encoders.

  • Call me crazy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by k-0s (237787) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:35AM (#5672585) Homepage
    Call me crazy but I think the RIAA will find a way to get their tunes on the radio. It's a catch-22 though because most early release mp3s come from radio station advance copies anyways. Boo hoo whats the RIAA to do?
  • Give them time. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blanks (108019) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:37AM (#5672587) Homepage Journal
    What I could see happening is the record companys sueing the radio stations and forcing them to upgrade their (radio stations) equiptment.
    They will still come out ahead.

    Wait, their all owned by Clear Channel. Who ownes them again?
    • by k-0s (237787) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:39AM (#5672592) Homepage
      Hmmm idea, lets start a small radio station, claim our equipment doesn't work, sue the RIAA for unfair business practices, say around 98.7 trillion dollars and donate the money to the file sharing kid.
      • sue the RIAA for unfair business practices, say around 98.7 trillion dollars and donate the money to the file sharing kid

        Yea, great idea. Except I would skip that last donate step.

    • Re:Give them time. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Surye (580125) <surye80 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:11AM (#5672654) Homepage
      An upgrade won't help, it's the fact that thier eq. is more then a simple CD player that causes it to be incompatible.
      • Re:Give them time. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PurpleFloyd (149812) <zeno20.attbi@com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:03PM (#5674981) Homepage
        From what little radio work I've done (mostly in college radio stations), the equipment consists of a PC with a good soundcard (pro-level, not a soundblaster), and some software that basically rips CDs and organizes them so the DJ can find and set up playlists with blank spots for their patter, commercials and what not.

        With this in mind, an "upgrade" to a DRM-based system would probably be possible, particularly if the RIAA pushed it with special incentives (upgrade your system, we'll give you some exclusive tracks 2 weeks ahead of time!). The problem for the RIAA is that the analog sound going to the transmitter is still very good quality; a dedicated tech with a laptop could probably patch his system into the link from the audio system to the transmitter and get fairly good MP3s or OGGs. Until the RIAA gets everything in the world digital and DRMed, there just won't be any way to stop a dedicated pirate. Even then, I bet someone will find a way real quick ;).

    • Why dont radio stations fight back and beging to refuse to play songs from copy protected cds? If all radio stations stopped playing those cds would it not follow that record sales would drop?

      Wouldnt that give the RIAA a taste of their own medicine.
  • by AndroSyn (89960) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:38AM (#5672590) Homepage
    Well it seems that at least in some situations the record labels are in a very funny cycle of self-flagellation. Pissing off consumers AND reducing air play of the crap. Maybe it will teach them a lesson. It might be possible a lot of stations are just dealing with the cds directly though, so I can't comment on that end of things.

    Then again most of the crap that has the copy protection on it I won't be listening to in the first place. I try to make a point of supporting labels like Projekt Records who are vocal advocates of music sharing. Of course Projekt is only useful if you are into goth type music.

    I think the answer is simple for dealing with crap like this as a consumer, stop supporting major record labels period. There is a plethora of music out there on small labels, or even DIY labels. Even better, use that $18 you were going to spend on the latest bit of top 40 crap and go see some live music. Stop being a consumer and think ;)

    -AS
    • by Aguazul (620868) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:04AM (#5672731) Homepage

      Well it seems that at least in some situations the record labels are in a very funny cycle of self-flagellation.

      Agreed. To see just how far this can go, take a look at this article [ukcdr.org] (yes, I edited it) illustrating the situation in Germany. The Germans are currently dealing with near 100% corrupt disc releases, and people really are not at all happy. Perhaps this is worth bearing in mind considering Arista's recent announcement re US corrupt disc releases. Does the record industry really want to create the same destructive downward spiral in the US as there is now in Germany? At least Sony appear to have seen the light and have given up with corrupt releases, but EMI still appear to be believing Midbar/Macrovision propaganda [macrovision.com].

      • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:41AM (#5672903)
        The german computer magazine c't has even started a database to allow people to enter and identify 'un-CDs', (rougly: 'not=CDs') as they call them. So far only in german:

        http://www.heise.de/ct/cd-register/

      • by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @01:13PM (#5673644)
        The obvious message the recording industry is trying to get across to us is: If you want a CD that you can actually use and enjoy rather than one you have to fight with and that might destroy your equipment, you are expected to download the files and burn it yourself. I don't know what could be more clear than that.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      offtopic, but even 50 (motherfuckin) CENT! has said he doesn't really worry about his first album being not-so-paid-for because he believes that if people like the first album, and think he's a good artist (please no lameass rap flames - if you don't like don't listen), they will buy the next ones.
    • Such as from places like here [mp3.com], or here [archive.org]. My disgust with the music business has reached an all-time high, even though I have never used Napster or Kazaa.

      I guess I have no sympathy for the music biz, and, equally, no sympathy for the Kazaa crowd.

  • Download them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fo0bar (261207) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:39AM (#5672591)
    The stations should just fire up WinMX, download the new songs, then transfer them to CDDA. I mean, they already have the right to play them...

    Seriously. Actually, I wonder how many radio stations use MP3 as a native format for songs they play now.
    • Re:Download them! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by applef00 (574694) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:07AM (#5672648) Homepage
      I've spoken with a DJ from KZOK (classic rock) in Seattle about this very thing. They used to use Napster, etc. to acquire songs that were difficult to find but were covered by their RIAA agreement. Last year, Infinity corporate nixed it. Basically, they said that anyone using P2P on company property or with company equipment was fired. As an aside, KZOK also happens to be one the last remaining station (at least in Seattle) that has a working 8-Track hooked to their board.
    • Re:Download them! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If I pay what I'm sure the radio stations must to license the music, I'm damn sure going to get the shit on a disk, instead of having to risk not being able to find any copy of the song but GoKu_tEh_MUSicMaN's 32kbps rip-from-a-scratched-disk burn of it.

      The RIAA already has the radio industry whipped into paying license fees for the music anyway. Despite the number of entertainment outlets there are today, without radio, the RIAA is going to greatly suffer.

      It feels simliar to the MPAA and movie clips
    • There is one station in the Melbourne/Vero Beach/Port St Lucie area here in FL that uses MP3s. They are an 80's station, so they probably download a lot of stuff. Some songs are ripped so poorly I can hear the compression.
    • Re:Download them! (Score:5, Informative)

      by GoRK (10018) <johnl AT blurbco DOT com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @12:09PM (#5673379) Homepage Journal
      I used to! I ran several Internet radio stations and paid license fees to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. I downloaded most of the music from Napster because either finding the CD was too difficult or expensive, or the record companies just hadn't sent it to me yet -- (I got about 50 discs per week anyway) .. Anyway, then the RIAA got all up in arms and decided to license Internet radio stations differently (read: way more expensively) than a traditional broadcast station, and that sort of killed those in the industry that couldn't afford to wait out the legal battles.

      Although technically, "making a digital copy" of something you already own or license by downloading someone else's digital copy has not (afaik) been tested legally and may be outside the terms of "fair use" that everyone is always flaunting about, I believe that radio stations using this service was one of the very few legitimate use of Napster that there ever really was.

      I firmly believe that someone could start a membership P2P service where people pay a fee necessary to license about anything they want to listen to for a year and then can download freely from anyone. The fees for small broadcast stations that don't make any money are very reasonable (like $200/yr).. This is the same kind of license that department stores and whatnot have to buy to play CD's in their store. It's very cheap and available to the public. It's kind of funny that my slashdot submissions on it all get rejected (with links directly to the damn fee schedules on the respective licensor sites!) and we have all this bottom of the barrel shit on here constantly.

      ~GoRK
      • I firmly believe that someone could start a membership P2P service where people pay a fee necessary to license about anything they want to listen to for a year and then can download freely from anyone. The fees for small broadcast stations that don't make any money are very reasonable (like $200/yr)..

        No, a P2P service like this would never work, no one is going to waste their storage, bandwidth, time creating the original digital files, and the rest, just so that someone "in charge" of the P2P sy

  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:39AM (#5672593) Homepage
    - Not multiple stations
    - It's not that they can't, they just dont want to
    - The article isnt much longer than this post, so you can read it yourself.
    • Quit raining on our parade! You can only come to sensible conclusions on this complicated issue using a fact set derived from joke posts such as this:

      Any data stream is a valid mp3. Therefore, the radio station should take the DRM app which has been burned onto the CD, change the file extension, and play it over the radio.

      Insist that it includes subliminal messages which you could somehow hear while listening to songs with it. Fake an Austrian accent, announce that you're a psychiatrist, and say that for
      • Quit raining on our parade! You can only come to sensible conclusions on this complicated issue using a fact set derived from joke posts such as this:

        Except he did NOT come to a sensible conclusion. See this post [slashdot.org].

        Did you actually read the article or do you just want to bash on slashdot because you don't like slashdot bashing on DRM?

        -
    • spurious reasoning (Score:5, Insightful)

      by g4dget (579145) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:06AM (#5672735)
      - It's not that they can't, they just dont want to

      The kind of DRM software companies like Macrovision have created changes boot blocks, media player software, audio and video I/O, and CD/DVD drivers, and it is designed to limit the ability of PC users to distribute music. That is, it is designed to interfere with exactly what the business model of the station is and with what the station pays royalties for. After installing it, they may end up not being able to play, say, unsigned advertising clips they get as MP3's from customers, or rip other CDs to disk, or do any of a dozen things that they depend on.

      Any radio station would be foolish to let that kind of software be installed on their PCs. These people depend on their PC hardware for their livelihood. If they refuse to install this software, it's because they really don't have much of a choice, not because they "just don't want to".

    • by Alsee (515537) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:39AM (#5672785) Homepage
      It's not that they can't, they just dont want to

      You are almost certianly wrong. They state that they cannot play the CD's as is:

      unable to play any of the CDs it received - the copy protection on the discs gets in the way.

      And even if they installed the DRM software there is no reason to think the DRM software will allow them to transfer the music to thier broadcast system. The DRM system is specificly designed to prevent you from transfering the music.

      -
    • You're right. It is a very short article.

      Here it is:

      Copy protected CDs: artists can be the losers

      By Online Staff
      April 3 2003

      Music companies which use copy protection may be denying the artists under contract to them legitimate play time on radio stations, if the happenings at one outfit are any indication.

      This radio station, which recently received its regular bag of freebies from EMI, finds that it is unable to play any of the CDs it received - the copy protection on the discs gets in the way.

      EMI s
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:46AM (#5672919)
      I have some knowledge in how radio stations work these days and a great many of them are totally computerised. For example, MegaMix2002 (http://www.soundsoft.net/) is a very popular radio DJ package. Basically you have a computer with this loaded and it does everything for you. The DJ controlls it, and that is all. Well, the way it works is by ripping CDs to MP3s and storing those on the computer. Much more efficient for the DJ to be able to call up anything with a few clicks than sorting through stacks of discs. Ok, so, if the discs are designed such that they can't be ripped, they'll screw over MegaMix along with other ripping apps and hence screw radio stations.

      These days, radio stations really are just using the same technology as a normal user. They ahve specialised apps and some speical hardware, but at the heart is just a standard PC.
    • Not multiple stations

      Unless that station wrote all their own software, and unless that station has a monopoly on hiring programmers, it's a reasonable bet that other stations have the same setup.

      It's not that they can't, they just dont want to

      Yes. I can't drive 200 mph ... excuse me, don't want to fork out the $$$? I can't fly a plane ... or should I say, I don't have a license or plane or criminal mind to steal a plane? The idea that they should not install multiple possibly conflicting foreign so
  • Yeah, right. So they're having problems ripping the commercially-released discs into their digiplay systems. All that we'll see happen is a separate release of non-cripped discs for radio airplay stamped 'NOT FOR RESALE, PROMO USE ONLY' or whatever, like they do with singles. I doubt this will even slow down the advance of the use of this technology.
  • Double-Edged Sword (Score:5, Informative)

    by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:42AM (#5672599) Homepage Journal
    I work in radio, and since WMP's little DRM fiasco, I've been on watch about this kind of thing. So far, afaik, we haven't had any problems with copy-protected CD's and ripping (or at least the FM people haven't come and whined to me yet....). But many stations have had problems with not being able to play "unblessed" mp3's. One of our content providers sent out a memo about a month ago telling stations how to fix their XP and 2k machines that'd been DRM'd. When the EULA change came about, I consulted with our operations manager, and the decision was that WMP would not be installed/upgraded on machines that have anything to do with audio production.

    What's more disgusting, however, is the amount of hassle that's involved installing broadcast and/or production software these days. Hardware keys, bajillon digit serial numbers, activation. You think turbo tax is bad. I guess, however, my users never really have to struggle with that sort of thing like I do.

    Steve Jobs, if you're listening, there's money to be made in the radio automation business using the Mac platform w/out DRM.
    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:50AM (#5672621)
      They're heading that way.

      They made Final Cut Pro 3 into a world beater for video production.

      We're running it on a dual 450 G4 with 896Mb of ram and it easily keeps pace with our Media 100 system, which cost 6x as much.

      It doesn't crash, is loaded with useful features, is devoid of bloat and works exactly the way you want it.

      They'll be doing similar things to the professional audio industry soon, I'll bet my hat on it.
    • Rather than another of Steve Jobs proprietary projects, how about something that's open source?

      While I don't know if the code has been made publicly available, there is a guy who has built up his own studio automation system. Linux Journal featured Bill Goldsmith in this article [linuxjournal.com] on KPIG.com [kpig.com] and Radio Paradise [radioparadise.com]. In the print article, there was talk of making his studio software available, it might be worth contacting him for details.

      I know that if I were in the radio biz, I'd much rather have a system a

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:51AM (#5672622)
    Copy protection on audio CDs obviously doesn't work, e.g. look at Massive Attack's 100th window and google for some of the tracks, like butterfly caught, and you'll find there are ripped tracks floating arround. That's not news to the crowd here on /., there are more than several dozen methods and programs to rip copy protected CDs.

    But the point is, if the radio stations do *not* resort to these, if they just put the CD on the tray and try to download the tracks to HD and that just doesn't work, then there's a chance labels rethink the whole thing. They could choose to send custom made CDs to the radio stations (e.g., just data CDs with the audio tracks as wav files) or they could just drop the whole idea because the cost would be too high (from several POVs).

    Or perhaps the labels choose to ignore these weird radio stations and all these crap gets less airtime.

    Both ways, it's a win-win situation.
    • That's because not all versions of Massive Attack's 100th Window were released on copy protected CDs. If I remember correctly, the US release of this album was not copy protected.

      I picked this album up on release date at Coconuts in New Jersey, and my copy wasn't copy protected.
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:53AM (#5672626)
    All Clear Channel stations (and many others too) use the Prophet (profit) system for airplay of songs, commercials and voice tracks. This system uses 256K MP2 encoding that must be ripped directly from CD. The reason is that most stations only have one or two Prophet workstations that have analog inputs, and they use these to get commercials and voice tracks into the system. I know that when I worked there a year ago, Clear Channel was in the process of centralizing their audio to where each song had the same cut number assigned to it company wide. That way you could order up a song (by number) and it would be delivered to you over the corporate WAN. I'm not sure how much this has been implimented because traffic on the WAN was almost running at the saturation point during the day due to DJ voice tracks going all over the country through it.
  • by Fefe (6964) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @06:56AM (#5672631) Homepage
    You read the article, the radio station never paid for the CDs! And they wanted to send them via radio to people whom they didn't even know!

    They said they were found in the mail. Freebies from EMI, yeah right. As if EMI would give them CDs so they could pirate them to anonymous people they don't even know!

    Now that is a weak defense if you ask em.

    It would be interesting to have those napster students sued by RIAA use this defense, though.
    "Hey, we are a radio station, and we got these MP3s from EMI for free".
    • Trust me, EMI's recouping the cost for every single one of those promos they send out. The bulk of the cost usually goes to tax write-offs under "stolen or damaged" product, and what's left comes out of the artist's pocket ("promotional budget"). Yes-the artist's pocket. Read any standard record contract. Trust me, the labels (at least the majors) aren't sticking their neck out for anybody.
  • by Logopop (234246)
    Record companies are already issuing CD's that are made for distribution to radio stations. I expect that they will create low-volume non-copy-protected version of their albums for distribution to radio stations, or use a gateway to the radio station's networks to pipe music directly into the play systems without even using physical media. No problem. Unfortunately.
  • Easy solution. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ageOfWWIV (641164)
    Magic markers [detnews.com]
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:13AM (#5672660)
    Not that it matters, after the RIAA's heavyhanded gorilla tactics, I'd already decided to not buy another audio CD - ever. I refuse to give my money to a bunch of government-sanctioned thugs and terrorists.

    So the record industry's managed to neuter itself and make removable media obsolete. Boo hoo. My heart bleeds for them. Bunch of idiots.
    • Not that it matters, after the RIAA's heavyhanded gorilla tactics, I'd already decided to not buy another audio CD - ever. I refuse to give my money to a bunch of government-sanctioned thugs and terrorists.

      So you're going guerilla against the gorilla, eh?
    • Not that it matters,

      If you want it to matter, write or email the RIAA [riaa.org] (snailmail is better) and tell them of your decision and the reason.
    • Re:So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by anti11es (167289)
      If the only reason you aren't buying new cds is because of the RIAA, why not buy from independant artists?

      CD Baby [cdbaby.com] has a great selection, and actually has pretty reasonable prices too. You can even browse by location, which is really is raelly nice to check out groups that around you.
  • by leereyno (32197) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:15AM (#5672664) Homepage Journal
    As long as I've got a normal CD player then I've got a way to "rip" cd tracks. All I'll have to do is plug the tape out from my receiver into the line-level input of my sound card and "rip" the CD track to a wav file. The people at these radio stations should be able to do something equivalent. When CD's first started being used in radio 15+ years ago, the people at the station generally copied them over to the high-fidelity analog tapes they used for broadcast at the time. I don't know what they're using nowadays, but I'd tend to believe that the engineers there could transfer the CD tracks into the needed format in their sleep regardless of anything the RIAA does to the CD.

    I do hope that the RIAA understands that the games they are playing aren't going to get them anything. Anyone who WANTS to pirate music is going to do so. This business with mucking with the format of the CD only irritates their customers. I sincerely believe that the whole idea was thought up by some suits who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. Anyone with a clue wouldn't even bother with such an approach.

    Lee
  • First UK exposure (Score:4, Informative)

    by Macka (9388) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:16AM (#5672668)

    This sort of thing is going to hit the public consciousness very soon in the UK, cos over the last two weeks there's been a new TV advert, touting the release of Pink Floyd's 30th anniversary edition of Dark Side Of The Moon using the new high quality SACD [dvd-audio.co.uk] (Super Audio CD) format.

    Though they mention SACD, no where does the advert mention anything about copy protection. Some people are going to get a rude shock.

    • "Though they mention SACD, no where does the advert mention anything about copy protection. Some people are going to get a rude shock."

      I don't think just because it is an SACD it has copy protection. I have a Tool CD (Lateralis) that is an SACD (or so it says on the jewel case, I don't have an SACD player to verify) and I had to problem ripping it to my computer.

  • Non-Issue... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TygerFish (176957) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:16AM (#5672669)
    Sorry, but I can't see this as anything but a purely temporary issue. The fact of the matter is, yes, some of the current equipment used by radio stations might not be able to handle copyright protection, but as is almost universally the case with digital technologies, this is by no means written in stone.

    Sooner rather than later, the simbiosis between radio station and record industry will repair itself and things will return to a state where there will be no need for this news item.

    • Payola (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tailhook (98486)

      Payola [history-of-rock.com] is reason is this a non-issue. Oh, it still goes on. In the lofty world of Clearchannel, it's all about sponsoring contests and event promotion. Nothing quite so obvious as envelops of cash. What you hear on the radio is that which has been paid for by publishers. Nothing as trivial as obsolete CD players is going to interfere with this very long. A couple phone calls and there will be a shiny new player arriving promptly at a studio near you!

  • how long (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoFoYa (644563) <mofoya@gmail.com> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @07:49AM (#5672713)
    before someone realizes that no matter what form of copy protection they use on the disc there is an easy way around it. unless there is a ban on analog inputs that is.

    music will always be pirated, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. we (as consumers) have been copying music for decades and sharing it with our friends. we're good at it. are they going to kill radio just to *try* to stop piracy?

    i agree with a previous post ^^^^^^ up there somewhere....support the DIY's and save your 15+ bucks to go see a live show. this will support the artist more directly than passing your cash through the industry.
  • Placebo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:05AM (#5672733)
    I bought the new Placebo album the other day (on Virgin Records). It had a "copy control" sticker on the front. There's no Compact Disc logo on it anywhere.

    On the back is a blurb saying the disc is designed to play on CD players, DVD players, PCs and Macs. What it doesn't say is that in order to play it on a computer you're supposed to use the software on the disc (hmm... totally future-proof). Furthermore, it autoruns an installer to install the software.

    We verified that we couldn't play the disc on a Windows 98 PC using standard audio players. We didn't install the software on the CD, for obvious reasons.

    On OS X we were able to play it and rip it using iTunes. On Linux (on a same model thinkpad as the Win98 PC) we were also able to play and rip it.

    The shop I bought it from was a small indie, and I notice that in the bigger shops the album doesn't have any copy-control information on it. It's possible that the indie sold me a promo, in which case perhaps they're trying to stop MP3s leaking before the album comes out, or it may be that the retail album is a regular CD (or copy-protected but not so labelled).

    • Re:Placebo (Score:3, Informative)

      by ElGanzoLoco (642888)
      I ripped the same CD (but a pre-release) over here (OS X / iTunes /Superdrive). Slower than imports from "standard" CD's, but still it works. It has the "copy controlled" blurb on the back of the cover. Seems that this protection works on some models (couln't import on iMac -> crashes) but not on others. Go figure...
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:09AM (#5672741) Homepage
    Assuming these stations have paid the Australian equivalent ASCAP and BMI fees, have the rights to broadcast this material.

    IP law is deliberately confusing and can only be sorted out by human beings. (In the case of complex situations, human beings that charge high fees).

    There is no way that any simple, inexpensive bit of software can correctly determine whether or not the user does, in fact, have the rights to the use he or she is making.

    In every case, of course, the DRM schemes err in the direction of denying use to people that POSSESS rights, never the other way around.

    P.S. Yes, I did read the article. This sounds like Midbar's scheme, in which (when it works properly!) the computer still cannot access the real audio tracks, but the special software allows access to lower-quality compressed versions--which can only be played, not copied to the hard drive. So even if the boss had allowed the software to be installed, the station would have probably found that this didn't do any good.
  • by heretic108 (454817) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:19AM (#5672753)

    The RIAA can eliminate the financial losses due to CD piracy in a really simple way...

    STOP RELEASING NEW MUSIC!
    • Profits will be restored to earlier levels if the labels don't have to spend money on new artists. They're still stuck back in the Elton John days, and have no idea on how to recognise and nurture modern talent. They're full of coke-sniffing old farts hopelessly stuck within their comfort zones
    • Radio stations play 90% back catalogue anyway, and this provides a steady royalties stream, especially since the US Judiciary has effectively ruled that copyrights are eternal
    • Independent labels will step in to fill the gap, and will likely evolve new business models to make full use of internet technology
    • A renaissance of new musical expression will ensue
    Everyone wins!

    The RIAA gets to keep control of the back catalogue, while the fresher new artists and labels find ways to turn a profit, and perhaps live far better, without having to suck on that toxic nipple of the RIAA ripoff recording contract.
  • by erik_fredricks (446470) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @08:36AM (#5672780)
    Any wonderful Arista artists like Santana, Whitney Houston, Pink, TLC or Kenny G. [slashdot.org]?

    Maybe when a big-name star with serious legal representation (like Celine Dion) finds that she's not getting airplay because the record company crippled her product, we'll see some progress made against copy-crippled cds.

    Oh. My. God. Could it be that Celine Dion could save us?

    Funny thing is, I stopped listening to the radio for anything other than traffic reports around 1993 or so. It's not like I'd have even noticed...
  • Soon, no one will be to play any of their copyrighted CD's.... The perfect way to stop infringment, and consumerism.
  • by tiredwired (525324) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:13AM (#5672831)
    These CDs should be referred to as "playback challenged." Don't get me started on the retards at the music companies.
  • What about the DMCA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeuroManson (214835) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:38AM (#5672889) Homepage
    Considering that the RIAA is making CDs without the official "Audio CD" label, aren't they technically violating the DMCA? They did, after all, reverse engineer the compact disc standard, to make a disc that can be played on otherwise audio CD compliant player.

    Even though there was never any official encryption to begin with (and those who analyzed the CSS code probably consider it as minimal), that doesn't give them the right to perform an illegal act. The CD technology IS patented, and covered under international law as such.

    Making a "Not-CD" (subliminal joke there if you say it to yourself out loud) in essense violates those patents, even if they removed the Compact Disc logo.
    • by pi_rules (123171)
      Wow, I'm not sure who in the world moderated you up for that "Interesting" post, but they must have been drinking heavily.

      1) The CD standard is published. There is no reverse engineering rquired to understand it.

      2) CD's aren't encrypted in any way, shape or form.

      3) CSS is something used on DVD's containing copyrighted video. Now, while a DVD and a CD are the same physical size I hope you realize that they're actually very different in their implementation.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:38AM (#5672890)
    The publisher of the german computer magazine c't has started a database on copy-protected audio CD's. They call them "un-CDs' (roughly 'not-CDs'). Unfortunately so far this is only in german.

    Query page:
    http://www.heise.de/ct/cd-register/default.shtml?s =suche

    Master page:
    http://www.heise.de/ct/cd-register/

    Feedback to
    cd-register@ctmagazin.de
  • You mean millions of people hear the song on the radio without paying for it? Sounds like piracy. There could obviously never be any benefit to lots of people hearing a song without paying.
    • You know that the music played on the radio *is* paid for. In licensing and royalties by the radio station. They transform the monetary payment of a listener to a payment in the form of listening to the advertisements radio stations are paid to play.

      Trollish comments such as this are constantly creating divide in the fair use community because detractors can point at large percentages of people opposed to stifling DRM and say, "Look these people don't count because they don't know what they are talking a
  • I always thought they received 'non commerical' and 'special release' disks as part of the licensing deal, and didnt have to goto the local store to buy them like the rest of us.

    Why wouldnt those be un-protected? RIAA cant be THAT stupid.. can they?
  • In the UK... (Score:3, Informative)

    by class_A (324713) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:08AM (#5672988)

    First off I haven't heard of any problems at our station so far...

    However, we're quite flexible in how we can populate our playout system, Dalet [dalet.com] in our case. We can use good old analog from a regular CD player, rip directly from CD or get them off a digital distribution system that runs in the UK called Fastrax.

    Fastrax involves each station getting a machine and an ADSL line with the client software. The machine connects to Fastrax and allows you to download tracks that the record companies have chosen to distribute

  • This is a pretty minor non-issue for the record companies I'd imagine. If radio stations are having a difficult time playing CDs with copy protection then one of two things will happen.

    1. The record companies will simply send radio stations CDs without copy protection. It's not like it would be difficult for them to run two versions of the CD.

    2. The radio stations will simply download the songs they want to play (probably after obtaining a copy of the physical CD to counter any potential piracy lawsuits
  • by sdo1 (213835) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:58AM (#5673127) Journal
    ... Poetic Justice.

    -S
  • by sielwolf (246764) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @11:12AM (#5673157) Homepage Journal
    Since most illegal mp3s come from critic and radio advanced copies, why don't the labels digitally watermark these advances? Of course the problem would be you'd want a unique mark for every copy (so, I assume, you could find the source and not pick on a bunch of kids who picked it up). But just burn them onto CDR then.

    Then if a copy is found online, diff it with the original, and find out who leaked it.

    Or maybe I'm oversimplifying things. I guess if you could make the key seeding random enough that it wouldn't be easy to wipe...
    • it would be possible to get around it, of course, but how many of the people that get these CDs would know how or even know to do it?

      However, this would totally change the way things work today (and yesterday) because most of those free advance CDs are given away to friends (partly because most of them are crap, others because "you've got to hear this!" or as a way to make the friend shut up and stop his/her begging). After giving away a CD or giving it to a used CD store (it isn't hard to find "for promo
  • Seems to me that this is a case of the pot calling the kettle fucked.
  • some radio stations are unable to play copy-protected CDs

    This is what happens when you ask an engineer to design a CD that you can't copy. Their first recommendation was just to send out blank CDs, but instead they ended up using this compromise solution.

  • They really don't need the money from the airplay anyways... They're going to get $97.8 Billion US [slashdot.org] real soon!
  • Let's see, the radio stations are only really concerned about getting play in markets they've actually paid for (since the whole game is about money anyway.) ClearChannel owns what, 75% of the US' radio stations now? I assume that should they have any problems loading copy protected CDs, the record companies will be more than happy to accomodate them, if not today, then in the near future.
  • by kindbud (90044) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @02:12PM (#5673877) Homepage
    In the interestss of accuracy, according to the article, it's just one station (not "stations") that is having this problem.

    Music companies which use copy protection may be denying the artists under contract to them legitimate play time on radio stations, if the happenings at one outfit are any indication.

    Furthermore, the problem is easily remedied with the purchase of a $59 standalone CD player. I bet they could get a listener to donate one.

    The station in question has no standalone CD players, just desktop PCs (all running Windows 2000) and a couple of old Denon CD Cart players.

    Is this a cutting-edge use of technology, or a cutting-costs use of technology?
  • by Whatchamacallit (21721) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @04:27PM (#5674498) Homepage
    The real problem is that most music radio stations have converted over to completely computerized and programmable systems then laying off the DJ's. One DJ can program music for 5-10 radio stations. All content is recorded and played back.

    So it seems they couldn't rip the CD because it's not Redbook standard and their digital systems cannot read the proprietary tracks and formats. Same thing as trying to play it in a PC or Mac.

    Good, I am happy the radio stations are having trouble as well. I hope it hurts the music business! The dirty bastards!

    But had they simply not laid off all those DJ's they wouldn't have this problem. There is a single rock station left in my state that is still independent and run by real live DJ's. These guys kick butt and take names. All the other stations are lame as hell.

    106.9 WCCC in Hartford Connecticut is the only local Rock station left! Out of 99.1, 105.9, 102.1, 104.1; they have all been bought out and dumbed down! 106.9 is the only one to play requests and they are the only ones to give away prizes to the local audience only! The other corporate stations lump you in with 25 other stations across the nation to compete for prizes, etc.

    Also due to the RIAA, they've effectively killed online radio stations which were bringing back a revival of independent broadcasters. But due to the insane licensing they get forced out!

    Geeks need to get together and bypass the corporate music giants. Make our own independent labels that actually pay the artists and provide the fans what they want. We do need to be careful to do it legally though!

    Hell let fans download the music for a reasonable fee! WTF, this should have happened 3-4 years ago! The new media is being held back by the evil corporate greed and fear!

    I am positive there are a ton of great musicians out there that are never going to be mainstream but will win fans worldwide if the world could only get to their music! We need a non-profit group that can help the Indie artists above and beyond sites like MP3.COM which actually sucks.
  • Party Mixing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lostchicken (226656) on Monday April 07, 2003 @12:22AM (#5676772)
    This really screws the event DJ who uses a computer for mixing, like NI's Traktor (been playing around with it lately, really cool).

    The computer can do things that only very, very expensive DJ CD players can, but I guess the RIAA would rather have the DJs just play the song, without using loops, effects, etc...
  • Tediousness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sarcas (14667) on Monday April 07, 2003 @08:44AM (#5678128)
    As the head of music at a student radio station [surgeradio.co.uk] in the UK, I've seen a large increase in the amount of copy protection issued on the promos that I get week after week.

    Standard practice for our playlist system is that I rip the CDs to an MP3 format (using Xing), and then wrap the MP3s in a WAV header (for track information). This has become more difficult recently - as most people will know, some of the copy protection systems split the audio up into a bunch of really small data tracks followed by a huge long one. This can be easy to deal with in the software (just merge the tracks, and kill the white noise at the end), or it can be impossible to deal with (in that Audiocatalyst doesn't recognise any data on the disc at all).

    As stated elsewhere, all the copy protection schemes include "music software" for PC/Mac playback. The most frustrating thing about this is that for the most part, the software playback of the CD is at some ridiculous quality (like 43kpbs). It has become easier for me to bring along a hi-fi to the station, and do most of my reviews on that (and take a mini-jack/mini-jack cable with me for A/D transfer). It's pointless to do this to us - anyone who would actually go as far as to violate the promotions agreement either by passing promos on or ripping them is not going to be stopped by some cheap 'n cheerful protection scheme.

    The fools (damn them).
    Sarcas
    --
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    Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life

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