Feeds

‘Hi-fi nuking’ CD technology safe claims developer

Other noise-filled CDs can, though - as the software biz has already admitted

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The anti-piracy system that was last week said to nuke loudspeakers playing pirate CDs this week... well.. doesn't.

So says New Scientist magazine - at the behest of the technology developer's lawyers, it seems, if the language used in the 'correction' (journalese for 'apology') is anything to go by.

The technology, called Cactus, adds bursts of noise to the music data encoded on the CD. Developer Midbar Tech says the noise is eliminated by a conventional CD player's error correction system, but defeats attempts to read the music as data, as a PC-based CD drive would if it were copying the disc's contents.

Essentially, if you try to copy a Cactus-protected CD, you end up with a CD-R full not of music, but of noise.

New Scientist technology writer Barry Fox reckoned said noise could send lethal spikes through your speakers - in extreme cases, causing them to blow.

Bollocks, says Midbar, which adds that any such effect would be "totally unacceptable". It has forced the magazine to state that "there is nothing in its technology on the market, past, current or future, that could, or would, be potentially damaging to equipment".

As we speculated when we gave our take on the New Scientist story, such an effect would open both Midbar and the music industry to some very interesting legal issues, particularly in territories where it's legal to copy CDs for personal use.

Clearly, Midbar's legal people reckon so too. Or perhaps Sony's, since that's the company that has been distributing Cactus-protected CDs in Europe. Hence the move to claim that its technology can't be used to hammer hi-fis when playing pirate CDs.

Of course, we only have Midbar's word for it. As Cactus-protected discs are identified and tested, we'll see just how accurate its claims are.

Certainly noise can damage hi-fi, as software suppliers frequently pointed out in the early days of CD-ROM technology. We recall a number of game CDs on which software was encoded as the first track, allowing in-game music, recorded as the remaining tracks, to be played on a regular CD player. Those discs warned users not to play the first track lest it damage amplifiers and/or speakers.

That's not to say Cactus would do so, but we remain suspicious of any system that pumps noise through hi-fi systems. As we say, with at least one million Cactus-protected CDs in the marketplace, time will tell. ®

Related Stories

1m anti-piracy 'hi-fi nuking' CDs hit Europe
CD anti-piracy system can nuke hi-fi kit

Related Link

New Scientist: Apology to Midbar

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.