New Sony BMG copy-protected CDs lock out Apple iPod owners

“As part of its mounting U.S. rollout of content-enhanced and copy-protected CDs, Sony BMG Music Entertainment is testing technology solutions that bar consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs,” Reuters reports. “Since March the company has released at least 10 commercial titles — more than 1 million discs in total — featuring technology from U.K. anti-piracy specialist First4Internet that allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies.”

Reuters reports, “The concept is known as ‘sterile burning.’ And in the eyes of Sony BMG executives, the initiative is central to the industry’s efforts to curb casual CD burning… Under the new solution, tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format. The DRM embedded on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied… Among the biggest headaches: Secure burning means that iPod users do not have any means of transferring tracks to their device, because Apple Computer has yet to license its FairPlay DRM for use on copy-protected discs.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Is this a nice Statue of Liberty play (desperate trickery or misdirection) against Apple by Sony BMG or just another type of CD that consumers should refuse to purchase? If people bought these discs in numbers could it pressure Apple to license FairPlay?


  1. How can a DRM protected CD that is encoded with WMA be played on a regular stereo system? Has Sony abandoned all of the billions of plain CD players from the past? Is everyone going to play their music through their computers now?

    I think if it can be played on my Bang & Olufsen, then there will be a way to rip it into iTunes and the iPod. At least, I hope so…

  2. That article gives no clue as to how this works. If it burns in Windows Media format what can you play that on? Does it only copy to a blank CD (requiring 2 drives) or does it rip to your hard drive first…?????

  3. If it doesn’t adhere to the compact disc standards setup 20 years ago (by Sony no less), it shouldn’t have the “compact disc” logo/blurb on it.

    These guys are also focussing on the wrong people … it’s the pirates they should be chasing – sending people to markets and the like where pirates run rampant… busting them for their dirty deeds. It’s the average consumer who tries to the right thing who ends up getting screwed in all of this (and this has been said time and again by just about everyone).

    It’ll come to a point where no one will want to buy stuff from these guys due to excessive restrictions, incompatibilities and anything else these dickheads come up with.

    I for one won’t buy protected cd’s, not because i can’t rip them and make copies, (since I generally don’t), but b/c of the slavish mentality they foster… we’re “guilty until proven innocent” in their eyes.

    Screw them by not buying music. Rip it off radio or do it analogue from your mate’s discs… who cares… on an iPod it’s compressed to the sh*t anyway.

  4. Nick is right: all the more inducement to purchase music online via iTMS, with a fair DRM and as many CD hardcopies as you want.
    These guys at the big labels are trying desperately to squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube. Buying CDs is so out…

    MW “gave” as in: Sony BMG introduced copy protection and nobody gave a shit.

  5. “I also don’t understand how the disc could possibly tell my computer that it can ONLY rip .wma files.”

    I think this is a variant of a copy protection technique tried before. The end user’s computer does not “rip” the CD tracks, it copies existing WMA files from the disc. And those WMAs are already “protected.”

    Kind of a stillborn idea IF it will not work with the number one selling music player on the market…

  6. “Bunch of mac-whiners. Boo hoo, it doesn’t work with my precious iPod.”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the majority af iPods sold to PC users?

  7. Any company willing to exclude 20% of the world’s computer users, many of whom are in the 75th percentile for income and consumer spending, is just stupid.

    Someone’s smokin’ crack in Tokyo.

  8. “So now you know who to avoid. But if you like all the top 40 music and want to buy those CDs, you’re going to have a hard time avoiding what they are forcing on you.”

    Most people will avoid what music companies are forcing on them by doing what they’ve always done, namely download the music they want from P2P networks. Only the most optimistic PR type doesn’t think that this DRM will be cracked, and their “protected” content flooding the Internet before they can say “BitTorrent”.

  9. Only a dumb person would buy such a disc which shouldn’t be allowed to be put in the same inventory as a compact disc since the audio is in a degraded format and not an aiff format. Boycott Sony BMG CD’s! Now if Apple is able to continue to sell Sony BMG discs encoded in iTunes without this abstruction then I guess that’s the only way I’m going to purchase my music from Sony BMG label. So this can only help iTunes even more while hurting themselves being Sony that is. Otherwise they lose in two ways. Buy selling such a degraded disc that no one will buy and also limiting the content from iTunes music store. For if such content cannot be encoded then Apple can’t put it up in iTunes either. It would seem like a contract dispute between Sony BMG and Apple would insue since Apple did make a deal with all the record labels to be able to sell there music on the iTunes music store.

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