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Apple Addresses Problems With Copy-Protected CDs In AppleCare Support Article

Apple Addresses Problems With Copy-Protected CDs In AppleCare Support Article

by , 11:30 AM EDT, May 10th, 2002

Apple has released a new article in the AppleCare Support database that discusses problems associated with copy protected music disks. Apple goes so far as to expressly say that copy protected disks are not CDs, though they "resemble" them. These copy protected disks carry the warning : "Will not play on PC/Mac", and are an attempt by the record labels to curtail piracy by preventing you from copying your CDs, even for your own legitimate use under Fair Use doctrines. According to the article, some Mac users are finding that these disks will actually crash their Macs.

The article also includes a disclaimer that basically says such disks do not comply with industry standards, and that "any attempt to use non standard discs with Apple CD drives will be considered a misapplication of the product. Under the terms of Apple's One-Year Limited Warranty, AppleCare Protection Plan, or other AppleCare agreement any misapplication of the product is excluded from Apple's repair coverage." This, in effect, is Apple saying that they will not pay for any repair work required to fix a system where the disk gets stuck, or there are other problems. There is more in the final paragraph of the quoted article below. The article, in full:

TITLE
Mac OS: Cannot Eject Copy Protected Audio Disc, Computer Starts Up to Gray Screen
Article ID: 106882
Created: 4/29/02
Modified: 5/9/02

TOPIC
You may be unable to eject certain copy-protected audio discs, which resemble Compact Discs (CD) but technically are not. Some computers start up to a gray screen after a copy protected disc has been left in the computer

DISCUSSION

Symptom
1. You insert an audio disc, which is not recognized by the computer.
2. The audio disc will not eject.
3. The computer starts up to a gray screen when the disc is in the optical drive.

Products affected
Any Macintosh computer with an optical drive capable of accepting CD-ROM audio discs.

The following discs are known to use the copy protection:

  • Shakira: "Laundry Service"
  • Jennifer Lopez: "J To Tha L-O!"
  • Celine Dion: "A New Day Has Come"

Note: Other discs may be affected as well. Apple is aware of record companies, including but not limited to Sony, that use such copy protection in new CD audio releases.

Solution
Some audio discs use a copy protection technology that can prevent the disc from being read by a computer. This may also prevent the disc from being ejected. The audio discs are technically and legally not Compact Discs (CD format), and the CD logo has been removed from the disc. In the logo's former place is the printed message: "Will not play on PC/Mac"

This appears both on the cover and on the disc. Inserting this disc in a computer may cause the system to stop responding. It might not be possible to eject the disc on computers without a manual eject hole.

How to Remove the disc
You may try one of these workarounds for ejecting the disc:

Mouse button
1. Restart the computer. If necessary, use the reset/interrupt button.
2. Immediately after the system startup sound, press and hold the mouse button. Continue to hold the mouse button until the computer is finished starting up.

This technique may force the disc to eject.

Force Mac OS X startup
If Mac OS X is installed on the computer, try these steps.

1. Restart the computer. If necessary, use the reset/interrupt button.
2. Immediately after the system startup tone, press and hold the "X" key. Continue to hold the key until the computer is finished starting up.
3. Open iTunes or DVD Player (both located in the Applications folder).
4. Click the Eject button in either of these applications.

This forces the computer to start up in Mac OS X. Attempt to eject the disc using the eject button in iTunes or DVD Player.

Manual eject hole
Attempt to locate the manual eject hole on the optical drive. The hold is sized for a paper clip and is located on the insertion side of the device. Some computers, such as the iMac (Flat Panel), Power Mac G4 Cube, and certain models of Power Mac G4 (QuickSilver or later), may not have a user-accessible eject hole.

Open Firmware
1. Restart the computer. If necessary, use the reset/interrupt button.
2. Immediately after the system startup tone, press and hold the Command-Option-O-F key combination. The computer starts up to a text-only screen, indicating that you are in Open Firmware.
3. At the prompt, type: eject cd
4. Press Return.
5. Type: mac-boot
6. Press Return

Apple Authorized Service Provider
If a disc with copyrighted protection technology remains inside the drive after following the procedures above, or if the computer does not start up normally, it is recommended that you contact an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) or Apple Technical Support. CD audio discs that incorporate copyright protection technologies do not adhere to published Compact Disc standards. Apple designs its CD drives to support media that conforms to such standards. Apple computers are not designed to support copyright protected media that do not conform to such standards. Therefore, any attempt to use non standard discs with Apple CD drives will be considered a misapplication of the product. Under the terms of Apple's One-Year Limited Warranty, AppleCare Protection Plan, or other AppleCare agreement any misapplication of the product is excluded from Apple's repair coverage. Because the Apple product is functioning correctly according to its design specifications, any fee assessed by an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple for repair service will not be Apple's responsibility.

You can find the full article at the AppleCare Support site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The first thing that should be clear to anyone: Do NOT buy these CDs, music disks, or whatever you wish to call them. Copy protection is a clear violation of your fair use rights, and these releases should be boycotted. Labels that don't get that we, as buyers of music, want to manage our music collections from our computers need to suffer the economic loss of not getting our money. Don't pirate it either. Send the musicians and artists (as the case may be) who allow their labels to copy protect their recordings the same message, but don't steal their work.

We are delighted to see Apple take a clear stance against this effort by the labels, and we are amused by their efforts to distinguish these abominations from CDs. Technically, Apple is right. These disks are not CDs, and they do not conform to the standards that fall under the "Compact Disc" trademark. It's too bad, however, that Apple has to put the blame on consumers who innocently buy these recordings, only to find they mess up their Macs. Still, it's not Apple's fault when this happens, and consumers need to educate themselves on what they are buying. In other words, Apple shouldn't have to foot the bill of this shameful effort from the RIAA and its members either. That brings us back to the fact that YOU NEED TO NOT BUY THESE COPY PROTECTED CDs! Boycott them at all costs.

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