How to beat Apple iPod-incompatible Sony BMG and EMI copy-protected CDs

“Major labels Sony BMG and EMI are releasing more and more new CDs that block fans from dragging their tunes to iPods,” Billboard reports. “Now, in the most bizarre turn yet in the record industry’s piracy struggles, stars Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters and Switchfoot — and even Sony BMG, when the label gets complaints — are telling fans how they can beat the system… For now, the copy-protected discs work only with software and devices compatible with Microsoft Windows Media technology.”

“The DRM initiatives are generating complaints from fans, many of whom own iPods. The message boards of artist fan sites and online retailers are filled with complaints from angry consumers who did not realize they were buying a copy-protected title until they tried to create music files on their home computers,” Billboard reports. “One solution artists offer to iPod users is to rip the CD into a Windows Media file, burn the tracks onto a blank CD (without copy protection) and then rip that CD back into iTunes… Columbia Records act Switchfoot, whose latest album, ‘Nothing Is Sound,’ is copy-protected — and debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 last week — recently took copy-protection defiance one step further. Band guitarist Tim Foreman posted on a Sony Music-hosted fan site a link to the software program CDEX, which disables the technology. The post has since been removed.”

“Sony BMG says it is not trying to prevent consumers from getting music onto iPods. Fans who complain to Sony BMG about iPod incompatibility are directed to a Web site ( that provides information on how to work around the technology,” Billboard reports. “The company, which has sold more than 13 million copy-protected discs to date, is urging people who buy copy-protected titles to write to Apple and demand that the company license its FairPlay DRM for use with secure CDs… Artist managers are upset that the security is so easily beaten — in the case of Sony BMG, with the company’s assistance — that it makes a mockery of content protection.”

Full article here.

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What good is copy-protection that utterly fails to protect and just upsets consumers? Purchase your CDs carefully. SonyMusic feedback:

Related articles:
Sony BMG and EMI try to force Apple to ‘open’ iPod with iPod-incompatible CDs – June 20, 2005
New Song BMG copy-protected CDs lock out Apple iPod owners – June 01, 2005


  1. Why do the records company bother with this? People are going to get around it no matter what you do. Instead spend more money on the advertising of legal downloading and on education.

  2. This from the DMB website re ripping from their protected CDs:

    “Information regarding Downloading Stand Up Songs to iPods

    Please follow the instructions below in order to move your content into iTunes and onto an iPod:

    If you have a Mac computer you can copy the songs using your iTunes Player as you would normally do.”

    It then goes on to talk about how to get the mosic from the disc onto Wintel machines using iTunes. Seems there is a difference in how these protected discs are handled by Macs using iTunes and by PCs using iTunes. Can anyone clear this up?

  3. DRM: one of the most pathetic ideas in all of technology. Pirates will always thwart it, and consumers are harmed by it in a myriad of ways. I will never, ever, buy a copy-protected CD out of principle, and I haven’t bought that much from the iTMS either to be honest. I literally hate DRM. It’s illogical, pointless, and stupid. Need I say more?

  4. “The company,[Sony], which has sold more than 13 million copy-protected discs to date, is urging people who buy copy-protected titles to write to Apple and demand that the company license its FairPlay DRM for use with secure CDs…”

    Just beautiful. Way to go you greedy bastards. Piss off the paying consumer and make it child’s play for pirates to swipe the stuff free. Fsking knuckle-heads!

    And all this is Apple’s fault right Sony/Micro$oft? Why?

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  5. I was going to buy a CD today (Leftfield’s best of compilation “A Final Hit”), but changed my mind when I saw it was a Sony/BMG release.

    It never said on the outside of the packaging if it could be played on a Mac, so I left it on the shelf.

    Unfortunately it’s not available on iTunes yet (if it ever will be?)

  6. Why make things more complicated than necessary?

    Buy the album in the iTMS, fill the iPod with the songs and burn a CD for the stereo at home.

    I really do not understand why customers buy these protected CDs at all. Buying these CDs only backs Sony/BMG.

  7. The reason Apple doesn’t license it’s DRM is that Sony could just open up it’s own store. Apple gets left out of the loop. Apple doesn’t get any revenue from songs from a Sony store, except it’s license.

  8. How to beat copy protected CD’s? Surely everyone knows of Soul seek, bittorrent etc?? A friend of mine said just yesterday how he went into a record shop “for old times sake” and just started laughing to himself at all the people buying music :p don’t get me wrong, if I download an album and keep it, I will buy a legitimate version when it becomes available through iTunes but usually I can’t get it on iTunes for quite a while so. If the labels want to screw their customers over & over what do they expect will happen?

  9. These CDs work normally on a Mac. Import the music as normal using iTunes. Easy fix, get a frickin’ Mac, F@ck Windows and all it’s headaches.

    Wake up people it’s time to take a stand against shitty products like Microsoft’s Windows, think for your selves. YES, it is that simple.

  10. Sony BMG wants Apple to open Fairplay because they are on the loosing side right now.

    If Sony, Microsoft or any other company were in Apple’s current position, they would not open Fairplay either.

    The irony of the title is that business is not fair. Its war.

    If Apple’s current strategy begins to stop working to their benefit, then they may consider opening Fairply to others.

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