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Senator Calls For Copy-Protection Tags 396

Anonymous Coward writes "C|net has an article on a new bill being proposed in the Senate that requires all software, music and movies that employ copy-protection schemes must be prominently labeled with consumer warnings, which is being sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon."
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Senator Calls For Copy-Protection Tags

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  • I'm proud to have this man as my senator.
  • Now we will know who to boycott in protest of braindead copy protection schemes. Probably won't matter much to me anyway, since all the music I buy isn't popular enough to be profitable and hence doesn't employ copy protection...
    • Rock on trolling4dollars... this was my first reaction when I read this article too, this sounds like a good idea. Whether we like it or not, there's going to be various forms of copy protection schemes in just about everything. Some media will have it, some won't. There will be ways to copy somethings, and somethings will not be so easy to copy (for personal use).

      It'll be nice knowing what's what.
  • This is a good idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PD ( 9577 )
    I think this is a good idea because it doesn't infringe on the rights of any particular party. The customers have more information to make their decision. Companies have the right to sell whatever product they want, in the form that they choose. The extra information on the box is just a rearrangement of the ink that they would have to put on the box anyway, so it's not expensive to do.
  • This item has been designed to defeat your Constitutional rights. This item will not allow you to make a back-up.
    • "This product is enhanced to work in a trusted comping environment" (Along with a $5 price increase for the enhancement).

      ProfQuotes []
    • Which Constitutional right does copy protection infringe upon, exactly?

      I'm continually amazed by the number of people who invoke the Constitution are will, but who are unable to quote any part of it, even the preamble, from memory. Can you?
      • It's even funnier when people do it up here in Canada. Yes, I have had a few people talk about their second amendment rights up here in "America, Jr."

        Incidently, Canada is more of a "living and growing" democracy than the US, if you believe our PM. But I don't want to start a flamewar, so I will just shut up now. :P
  • Great Idea... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PerlGuru ( 115222 )
    I think this idea definatley has merit. Adam Thierer seems to think otherwise, "The better alternative to federal mandates on either side of this debate is to instead just encourage a technological free-for-all in the marketplace," Thierer said. "Let the industry do whatever it wants in an attempt to bottle up their content, but also let consumers continue to experiment with and use digital content in creative ways without fears of federal intervention at every turn... There's no reason for Congress to int
    • I agree that this is a good idea. It will let the consumer dollars vote on the existsance and/or type of copy protection for digital media. However, I'm going to bet that there will be 2 versions of each music release, one with encription, costing 10$, and one without encription costing 30$.
    • Thierer seems to think that a lack of government interference in this case promotes lassez-faire economic policy, but he is mistaken. A free market depends on good information. How can consumers make good choices on products if they don't know what they are buying?
    • Because *EVERYTHING* has a copy protection scheme. You can't copy a CD without a CD burner; you can't copy a book without a photocopier or a pen and a lot of time. If you need to take a black marker to your CD to copy it, what's the difference between that and having to build/buy a CD burner to copy it?

      Things take effort to copy, some things take more effort to copy than others, and some things are designed to take more effort to copy. That's just a fact of life.

      What this law SHOULD do is force any med
  • Registration keys and such I can crack. But I don't even know how to access the security chip inside the new warning label, so how can I crack it! I guess I'll just have to return to being an upstanding citizen again.
    • Registration keys and such I can crack.

      Registration keys are one of my personal pet hates. I never seem to have the certificate of authenticity / manual / whatever it was printed on with me when I need to re-install, so I either have to not use the software I paid for, or find a serial on the 'net. The WaReZ editions, on the other hand, are going to have the CD key in a text file as part of the archive, and so people who pirate the software don't have any problems with the CD key.

      What kind of mind be

  • My Proposal (Score:5, Funny)

    by Drunken Coward ( 574991 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @03:29PM (#5599277)
    The warning should say something like "Due to overzealous digital media companies, the enclosed product is broken and may not function in all hardware. Attempting to fix the defect is in violation of the DMCA and may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of applicable law."
    • The scary part is, even though the parent is currently moderated "funny," it's not a joke. Everything he says is true.

    • I was thinking they could just combine it with the "Parental Warning".
      So it'd go something like "Parental warning your kid won't be able to copy this broke ass shit"
      • Parental Warning! This compact disk contains measures to deter illegal copying which may render it unplayable in some players. Defeating these measures to render it playable may leave you liable to lose all your assets, treble damages, and incarcertation as a domestic terrorist. Not suitable for clever or curious children.
    • This would be great, but I highly doubt the government will go for something like this. They probably don't even "get it". Kinda like the budget, they don't even know what they are voting on!
    • Too long. How about, "WARNING: This product is broken and fixing it is illegal. It may not work in your hardware, and it may even break your hardware."

    • They will come up with a label like this:

      "Note: This product contains advanced technology that enables you to play this album on (device x). Other devices may not be compatible with our technology."

      Because if your CD player/computer is expecting a CD rather than the crap they are selling then it's because your player "isn't compatible".
    • Why not. I mean, the RIAA might as well come clean with their consumers. Tell them that you can't upload songs to your 'puter, and then see what happens to their sales.

      The truth will screw them over.

      And while they're at it, perhaps they could give the warning, "We've also poisoned your P2P services, so you can't download music either. It's all static. So ha."

      You know, I always thought the RIAA was all for people enjoying music. *drips sarcasm*

  • Finally some legislation that makes sense. If companies are going to trample all over my fair-use rights, then I should be able to know before-hand whose products I'm not going to buy. I'm sick of not owning my own property. This is how the free market is supposed to work. Don't outlaw technologies, but make sure the consumer knows what they're buying into.
  • Great idea! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mr.henry ( 618818 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @03:31PM (#5599291) Journal
    A copy-protected CD broke my CD changer recently. It had difficulty reading the disc's table of contents, then it jumped to a random track and played for a minute or two. After that, I had problems playing *any* CD. Luckily, the changer was under warranty and I got it fixed for free.

    Fat Chuck's [] maintains a list of copy-protected. Be careful!!

    • Copy protection issues aside...if a CD can muck up a CD player to the extent that it no longer works, then I say blame the manufacturer as well for making a bad player.
      • Chicken and egg, copy protection is changing all the time. A CD player cannot be tested with every variant of dumb copy protection they can dream up. Such copy protection does not conform to any known CD standard and so the results are bound to be unpredictable.

        CD copy protection is experimental to say the least, no scheme will work with all players and so such protection is at fault. The CD system was never designed to be abused in such a way.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    One of the reasons why I have been reluctant to "rip" my extensive CD collection to mp3's on my harddisk as all my friends have done, is that I fear that somehow through this P2P stuff my files will be downloaded off my machine and stolen, so I can't listen to music I legally paid for. My friends claims that you can just download it back off of Kazaa are not confidence inspiring, as I like rare rap music like Eminem which is not likely to be out there (except for the people who steal it from me).

    If I coul
  • Especially after the TurboTax fiasco [].

    Of course, this means basically every game, CD, or movie that you buy would have yet another "prominent label" on it.

  • Isn't that what the Electronic Arts logos mean?

    Humor folks,
    -- RLJ

  • I really don't mind copy protection schemes (or "technological measures", in DMCA-type lingo). It pisses off consumers, and causes those who use the schemes to lose business. Forcing labelling will accelerate this attitude.

    However, if there is no way of bypassing these measures (as the DMCA tries to force), then there is no incentive for publishers to be consumer-friendly. This will continue to cause the erosion of fair-use of media, since eventually the warning label (and the protections) will be on AL
  • This is a band-aid to fix a problem that's far worse. Don't stand up and cheer because companies now have to put a label on things that people already know. Do you honestly think people are going to see the label and say, "Oh wow! I had no idea!" It didn't work for cigarettes, and it's not going to work for overturning the DMCA.
    • close, but not exactly. this makes it easier for those of us who boycott such items. While I agree with you that it will be used by the ??AA's to say that it legitimizes copy protection, it should be made clear if passed that it is a stopgap measure for while we try to get copyright laws fixed and fair use returned to the consumer.
    • Do you honestly think people are going to see the label and say, "Oh wow! I had no idea!"

      Yes, I do. Do you think everyone reads Slashdot?

      Also, for better or for worse the entire technology sector has somehow managed to convince people that when something goes mysteriously wrong, it's their fault. If a normal person rips their CD collection, then buys the copy-protected CD and tries to rip that, when it doesn't work they normally blame themselves or their equipment, not the CD. However, if the CD is labe
  • Tobacco companies had lables that would be right up their ally here. cigarettes have to warn smokers about the bad side effects of their product and use.

    crippled CD's should as well.

    if this thing is going to go into my machine and force me to physically open the drive to get it back out, i want to know. if the songs have mistakes burned on to them on purpose to ruin ripping, i wanna see a label.

    we have a label to warn parents if the cd says "fuck" somewhere, i want one that tells me if it's been f

  • Just require that the CDs be properly labelled.

    If they follow the Redbook standard, and thus can be played in _any_ CD player, then they can be labelled as a CD.

    If they don't, then they cannot be labelled or sold as a CD. As that would be false advertising.

    Same thing with any of these other copyright protections. If you don't want to label them as copy-protected products, then don't label as if they are not copy-protected. Simple as that.

    If my CD player on my computer cannot play the CD, then the CD is
    • That would be great, but I've been caught a few times recently, as you couldn't easily tell the "CD" was copy protected. In two cases there was a small transparent label with tiny white writing on the CD case (and the shop only displays the covers), in another case, the warnng is on the back cover, again in microscopic type.

      It's still in a CD case, with CD logo, but no logos on the disc or artwork.

      Pure and simply deception.
  • DCRTKA? (Score:3, Funny)

    by extrarice ( 212683 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @03:45PM (#5599406) Homepage Journal
    We can't let this bill pass! The title, when condensed to the first letter of each word, doesn't make an inspirational word! Think of the children!
  • First thing that has to happen is the bill needs to make it through whatever subcomittie it ends up being refered to. It will probably be the subcommittee on Science Technology and Space, so if you live in any of the following states contact your senator that sits on that subcommittee and tell them that you want to see this bill passed:
    KS (Sam Brownback)
    VA (George Allen)
    AK (Ted Stevens)
    MT (Conrad Burns)
    MS (Trent Lott)
    TX (Kay Bailey Hutchinson)
    NV (John Ensign)
    NH (John Sununu)
    LA (John Breaux)
    WV (John D. Rock
  • Guys, before you start hopping up and down about how great this would be, remember that we're talking about adding YET ANOTHER expensive and wasteful layer of bureaucratic regulation to our already absurdly litigious society.

    Mandatory warning labels are almost never a good idea.
    • I disagree.

      This is not a warning label, this is correctly labeling a product. It merely enforces Philip's legal position that these are NOT CD's, they are something else and they may not work in your CD player.

      This is for consumer protection from retailers that do not allow you to return open music, even if it won't work as advertised.
      • This is not a warning label, this is correctly labeling a product.

        Okay, fine. Mandatory addition of a correct label on a product is almost never a good idea. When health is an issue, mandatory labels are a generally a good idea. But something like this is just going to be more wasteful government spending. Either that or it's going to be unfunded and unenforced, which makes it instead just a colossal waste of time and effort.
        • The label of a product must be correct and not deceptive.
          If the producer does not label products properly to the detriment of the consumer, the government should step in.
          People are selling a product, while representing it as another product, this is false/deceptive marketing. Making the requirements clearer helps both the consumer (they know what they are buying) and the producers who already label correctly, as they now have fair competition.

          Yes it is "yet another law", but that is the only downside I see
          • The label of a product must be correct and not deceptive.

            Generally speaking, that's true. But we don't need a new bill to enforce this measure; it's already on the books. If you find a CD that says "works in all players all the time no matter what" on it, and it doesn't, then you can sue the manufacturer.

            An FTC regulation that requires manufacturers to stick a warning label on, however, is an entirely different thing. That's not truth-in-labeling; it's frivilous regulation.
            • While technically don't say "works in all players all the time no matter what" it is implied by the use of the Philips compact disc logos. Unfortunatly it's not always true (SafeDisc 2 has burned me a couple of times).

              There has to be some enforcment of either removing the cd logos or labeling them as defective or whatever. Whether this should be left to the manufacturers or the FTC is questionable. Parental warnings have done absolutely no good and are a collosal waste of time so I don't see this as being
              • There has to be some enforcment of either removing the cd logos or labeling them as defective or whatever.

                There already is. Philips licenses the compact disc logo to manufacturers. If those manufacturers put that logo on discs that don't meet the Red Book specification, Philips can choose to revoke their licenses.

                At best benign, this law is completely unnecessary. At worst, it's incredibly wasteful at a time when deficit spending is already a serious concern.
      • This is for consumer protection from retailers that do not allow you to return open music, even if it won't work as advertised.

        That's why you buy things with your Visa card. One word: chargeback
  • by CPgrower ( 644022 )
    All software (like TurboTax) must include a label clearly stating it writes to a hidden track/sector of one's hard drive (Windows) as a means of copy restriction. As such, there is a risk of overwriting other information there.

  • by Rai ( 524476 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @03:50PM (#5599449) Homepage
    If stores sold the copy protected version of a CD for oh say, $12-$15 (yeah, I know that's laughable considering how expensive CDs have become) and the non-copy protected version for $18-$20, I wonder which would sell better. Is it worth an extra $3-$5 to be able to backup the CD (and yes, I know you should able to do this without paying extra.)
  • The same arseholes - the senators and assemblypersons - that come up with DMCA and other shite turn around and write up a government rule that you must now puts stickers of all kinds on stuff you sell.

    Its like a perpetual motion machine. Come up with laws that violate our rights, then demand that people label that our rights are being violated.

    Holy hell - how many different ways does this violate the 10th Amendment?

    If we were honest, we'd just white-out that part of the Constitution.. because its become
    • Might as well, we've already repeatedly violated:

      1st amendment
      4th amendment
      5th amendment
      6th amendment
      8th amendment
      12th amendment
      15th amendment

    • Arseholes? Assembly persons? Shite?? "Government rule"??? In American English, that's a55holes, congresspersons/representatives, sh1t, and "government regulation." Do you enjoy bashing other people's governments?

      And as for the 10th amendment, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." That simply means that powers not reserved by the constitution to the Feds devolve to the states. Since

  • Proposal for DMCA Warning:
    "An unelected body with aspirations to control everything you read, watch, or listen to, has determined that laws should only be put in place when convenient for corporate interests and sees you only as a statistic on a spreadsheet. Do you really want to buy this crap?"
  • I like the idea of labeling DRM material. Great idea.

    The best kind of choice is 'informed choice', and I hate the thought of those recording labels pulling a fast one on the consumer.

    That said, what I really want as 'joe-average-consumer' isn't some infinite-right-to-Napster-share, but what I call "mix rights": the right to compile an album of favorite songs for my own use or for distribution to a few of my friends (I'd even pay for the the redistribution rights.) In the old day, this sort of thing woul
  • Seriously; this should be done on an insert or something like that. Just make a quick list of the rights infringed upon in any way by the copy protection schemes, with the additional mandate that the words "your right" must appear at least once in every item, and must be in bold and italics at every appearance. Here are a few examples:
    • Time-shifting is your right to use this media at a time of your choosing. The copy-protection scheme on this media restricts that right.
    • Space-shifting is your right to
  • A Senator that's actually in touch with reality???? HOLY $HIT.

    Everybody break out the skates, hell has offically frozen over!

    On a serious note, I'm glad that somebody has a clue up there...
  • These should be modeled after Canada's cigarette warning labels [], which show graphic images of the effects of cigarettes.

    Perhaps a nice little picture of, say, a broken CD-ROM drive, or the nice little warning a Mac gives when its CD drive has been killed by one of these CDs...

    or just something simple, like WARNING: This product is inferior.

  • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <> on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @04:12PM (#5599611) Homepage
    The sad thing is, most people won't care. They'll roll this out, a very vocal, splinter minority will kick up a loud stink, it'll blow over, and we'll have lost a little more freedom. The public is just too lazy and apathetic to get worked up over something so (seemingly) trivial. As long as the beer store is still there and they're still running Bingo every Thursday night, they'll just go with the flow.

    One thing I've learned is that it takes a VERY big offense to motivate your average citizen to actually get up off their couch and do something - ANYTHING - about something. I mean geez, polls show that at a minimum, 30% of Americans oppose the war on^H^Hin Iraq. That's what, 90,000,000 Americans? How many actually show up at the protests? A few thousand here and there? And we're talking about peoples' lives being at stake! Hell, half of the Yankee populace can't even be bothered to vote - you think they're going to sit down and write a letter to their rep over some stupid copy protection that they don't even understand anyway? Call my cynical, but I don't think so.

    I believe that if the RIAA decides they want this tech out there, then it's just a matter of time before all CDs have this copy protection. You can boycott if you want, but if every single CD is using it, there won't be any alternatives for you to direct your money at (none worth listening to, anyway). :(

    • Comparing numbers of protesters and disapproval numbers is obviously meaningless.

      I, for example, am vehemently opposed to the war. I feel that the protests do not serve my interests. I went to one a month before the fighting broke out, and will never go again. They are worthless.

      Of course, just because one of your examples is meaningless doesn't mean you're wrong. I think you're correct.
    • I don't quite agree with the analogy to protesting because people may not agree with the war, but that there are several levels with that kind of disagreement. When you take surveys, they may have "agree strongly, agree, somewhat agree, not sure, etc." These war polls are just "agree or disagree."

      However.. I'm disappointed at only half of the population voting. It's one thing if they don't care. However, they have no right to criticize any official that they could not have voted for, but instead they didn'
  • I think one of the biggest problems is that fair use isn't defined very well. It might make sense in law but to the average person it's difficult to know how your are legally allowed to listen to a cd that you have bought.

    The sceneario of taking a cd round to a friends house is a good example of this ambiguity. Am I allowed to lend him the cd ?, is he allowed to make a copy ?, if I regularly meet with my friends and play this cd does that constitute as a public performance ?. Am I allowed to backup my c
    • The sceneario of taking a cd round to a friends house is a good example of this ambiguity. Am I allowed to lend him the cd ?


      is he allowed to make a copy ?


      if I regularly meet with my friends and play this cd does that constitute as a public performance ?.

      Not unless you are charging either for the listening or to get into the venue for some other reason (bar, restaurant, etc.)

      Am I allowed to backup my cd's ? (digitally ?).

      Yes, well, in theory, well, until DMCA anyway....

      Add in the issu

  • Text of the Bill (Score:5, Informative)

    by BigBir3d ( 454486 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @04:15PM (#5599637) Journal
  • What are our chances to have some say in what the warning label says? I'd like to see, prominently:
    ANTI-FAIR-USE Warning: This product is tainted with apparatus to interfere with your lawful Fair Use rights.
    What would the ANTI-FAIR-USE logo look like?
  • A few more mandatory labels on the packages, and no one will be able to tell what the hell it actually is, only who shouldn't buy it.

    What's next, a mandatory warning label label? "Warning, this product has more than 3 mandatory warning labels. Parental Discretion Advised."
  • A more appropriate warning: "Due to copy protection, this CD can not be transfered to your MP3 player". At least this will make it clear to people who don't quite understand what 'copy protection' means.
  • I am glad someone in the government can think straight. I have accidentally bought copy protected cds, and promptly returned them, because of vague or deceptive labeling. I also decided to write to the record labels that distributed the copy protected cd's.

    I wrote to the record label of de/vision, a german synthpop band. Both, are not well known (compared to, say britney). I have the complete transcription at [] . Eventually their final email said this:

    thank you
    enjoy your coutry , enjo
  • I think the person from the Cato institute is WAY off the mark when he implies that labeling requirements are just as onerous as mandated copy protection:

    The better alternative to federal mandates on either side of this debate is to instead just encourage a technological free-for-all in the marketplace

    When I studied economics, one of the conditions of competition was perfect information distribution. I.e., customers have to know what is available, and they have to know what it is. That makes sense.


  • by dsplat ( 73054 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2003 @04:40PM (#5599833)
    For all the CDs we hand out at installfests, it would be nice to have some stickers that proclaim the contents to be free software that can be copied and redistributed. It might grab some people's attention. Does anyone have suggests for a pithy slogan?
    • How about these:

      It Sure As Hell Ain't Microsoft!

      Open Source: Spread The Love!

      Finally, Something Legal To Trade On KaZaA!

      Copy Me, Burn Me, Give Me To Your Friends!

      Or, simply: Distribute Freely And Often.
      • The third and fourth nearly had me choking on my coffee. But serious, the final one is suitable for any audience. It conveys the point succinctly and memorably. A slight variation on it that uses both the words "free" and "open" and conveys a subtly different message would be:

        Distribute Freely And Openly

        Tell everyone who gets a copy that they are encouraged to share it, and they don't have to do it secretly. There's no conspiracy. And there's no one looking over their shoulders to catch them.
  • While I think that a disclosure that a CD is broken when sold is a good idea, labeling is getting out of hand. Between parental control labels, copyright labels, and the small form factors on CD cases, I think that "album art" is dead and gone. That was often one of the cooler parts of buying records.

    Yearning for the halcyon days of youth that never were... Call me Pat Buchanan, I guess.


BLISS is ignorance.