Feeds

Philips moves to put ‘poison’ label on protected audio CDs

Not CDs at all, sniffs company...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Netherlands giant Philips Electronics has lobbed a grenade into the audio copy protection arena by insisting that that CDs including anti-copying technology should bear what is effectively a plague warning. They should in Philips' view clearly inform users that they are copy-protected, and they shouldn't use the "Compact Disc" logo because they are not, in Philips' considered view, proper compact discs at all.

The Philips move comes as the major record companies start to introduce copy-protection as quietly as they can. Unfortunate incidents such as Bertelsmann's Natalie Imbruglia lash-up have had the humorously opposite effect, widely publicising copy-protected CDs as poison packages to be avoided at all costs, and they've also clearly had an effect on Philips' thinking. As custodian of the standard, the company has decided it will oppose anything that will degrade it, and detract from the consumer's experience of it.

But we mustn't at this juncture run away with the notion that :Philips is going to fight a long-term heroic battle from the standpoint of the company that supports our MP3s. So far, it is opposing the copy protection technology because it is "troublesome and cumbersome," not because it thinks an audio free-for-all should be maintained (well, it wouldn't think that, would it?)

That probably means that Philips will act to impede the introduction of the flakier copy-protection mechanisms, but that as and when technology that doesn't break things is available, it may be open to cutting a deal with the record companies. Even that, however, is a serious set-back for the music industry's plans, because practically every test CD they're putting out now will have to be relabelled in some way.

The labelling itself will be an interesting issue. It's not clear that Philips could require protected CDs to be prominently labelled as such, and although it can force the removal of the logo, you'll note that this is generally on the CD itself, inside the packaging, so you're probably not going to get a prominent skull and crossbones to prompt you to pass on to the next rack in the store. Philips might however be able to argue that companies are "passing off" by selling something that consumers think is a CD, but isn't.

Meanwhile, the second barrel of the Philips shotgun is CD burning. In a Reuters interview Gerry Wirtz, general manager of Philips' copyright office, said that the company would be building CD burners that can read and burn copy protected CDs. He argues that the protection system is not a protection system as such, but simply a mechanism for stopping the playback of music. This interesting claim allows him to contend that the protection systems are not covered by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and lays the ground for the mother of all sue-fests with the number of large and rich companies who are most certainly not going to agree with him. Tin hats all round. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.