NY Times Brings Mainstream Spotlight On Copy Protected CDs & Macs/PCs

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The recording industry has been working overtime during the last few years to curtail your Fair Use rights when it comes to listening to music on your computer, or your iPod. The labels have been shipping copy protected CDs in Europe for the past several months as a test market, and are now ready to start doing the same in the US. A New York Times article has just been published that shines the spotlight not only on this travesty in the making, it also specifically focuses on how Mac (and PC) users arenit able to play some of these CDs on their machines. Better yet, Macs and iPods are specifically cited. From the article:

Until now, most of the protected discs have been distributed in Europe, with little publicity. But the strategy has already provoked a reaction there. There are also objections from American music lovers who fear that they will be unable to use the increasingly popular portable MP3 devices or burn their own CDs to copy music that they have legally purchased.

The practice is also drawing the ire of several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Sony Electronics, which says it cannot guarantee the audio quality of these CDs on its players, and Apple Computer and Sonicblue, whose sales of popular portable music players might suffer if copy-protected CDs became the norm.

In Europe, where Sony Music despite the objections of Sony Electronics has released about 70 titles with antipiracy technology, the CDs are labeled "Will not play on PC/Mac." BMG, part of Bertelsmann, was forced to drop copy protection on two CDs it released in Europe when consumers complained that the music would not play on their CD players.

Music fans whose parents once copied LPs to cassette tapes now take for granted the idea that they can copy the contents of their CDs onto their hard drives. They can then make custom mixes of their music or transfer songs to portable MP3 players for their personal use. They can also burn CDs to sell illegally or log on to Internet services that let millions of strangers share unauthorized copies of their music.

What bothers some consumers is that the technology does not discriminate between legal and illegal behavior.

"Being treated like a criminal makes me want to act like one," said Ron Arnold, 39, of Royal Oak, Mich., who has 1,137 songs on his portable iPod player all of them paid for, he said. Mr. Arnold is one of hundreds of frustrated music fans who have registered complaints at the www .fatchucks.com Web site, which keeps a list of CDs that consumers know or suspect are copy-protected.

You can read more about this subject in the full article and we recommend that you do so.

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