EMI Admits CD Copy Protection Compatibility Problems

March 2004

Record Labels

EMI’s Australia has admitted that its CD copy protection system has resulted in “compatibility issues” since it began using the technology in November 2002. The confession came in an email sent to an Australian music buyer, Michael Ellerman, The Melbourne Age reported. Ellerman complained when his copy of Massive Attack’s 100th Window album wouldn’t play on his CD player at home or – crucially – his Linux box. It would only play on a Windows PC, he said. EMI’s system is believed to introduce errors in the music encoded as a data on the disc. A regular CD player should have a good enough error correction mechanism – and there are a lot of errors, even on a non-copy protected disc – to generate the sound quality we’ve come to expect from the medium. PC-based CD drives are supposed to balk at these artificially induced errors and refuse to play or RIP the discs. Many portable players also use the error correction mechanism as the basis for their anti-skip systems. So do in-car CD players, which is why copy protected discs are causing such a problems with UK motorists. ‘Borked’ CDs that won’t play on many CD drives, including car players, entered the UK market last month. The CDs can play nothing but silence on some car CD players. Car manufacturers and consumers are concerned with the record industry’s actions. Despite the BPI’s explanations to the vehicle trade, manufacturers such as Volkswagon have now said that the record industry has unilaterally ‘changed the rules’ by failing to adhere to agreed standards to the detriment of car and equipment manufacturers and the public.
See : http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/35545.html

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