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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The Register takes a look at the an upcoming CD copy-protection move by Macrovision dubbed CDS-300. Macrovision feels comfortable enough to send notes to its shareholders that it will be able to offer iPod compatibility via FairPlay DRM, which is currently used in the Protected AAC (m4p) formats used by the iTunes Music Store. The note to shareholders included the passage: ""support for iPod and iTunes... will be made available in a Q4 update [enabled] via FairPlay."

Macrovision called on Apple to license FairPlay earlier this year. It wants the technology to allow it to provide iTunes-ready compressed audio tracks alongside the Windows Media Audio files its CDS-300 copy protection mechanism already offers. Inclusion of the FairPlay tracks means that iTunes users will be able to participate fully with Macrovision's protected CD formats.
 

Freg3000

macrumors 68000
Sep 22, 2002
1,914
0
New York
While Apple has shunned Real's request, I would doubt that they are not making an effort to license Fairplay to a number of 3rd parties behind the scenes, waiting for a Macworld (or an Apple Expo Parios Philnote?) to announce a relationship which provides iTunes Music Store Song support.

Keep on going, Apple-especially this week when millions of Windows users suddenly are asked to try the MSN Music Store through WMP 10. :eek:
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
19,228
1,741
New Zealand
So far, I haven't come across a single CD that I haven't been able to rip on my Mac. Macrovision's copy protection probably only works on Windows and therefore shouldn't affect us :)
 

hob

macrumors 68010
Oct 4, 2003
2,004
0
London, UK
Nermal said:
So far, I haven't come across a single CD that I haven't been able to rip on my Mac. Macrovision's copy protection probably only works on Windows and therefore shouldn't affect us :)

Copy-protecting CD's is (apparantly) regular practice in mainland Europe, but I've only ever had 2 in the UK - Norah Jones' last album, and Star Wars Episode II soundtrack... and similarly, they both were decoded by iTunes.

Copy-protection is futile - the small home user looses out because maybe it won't play on their car stereo, and the big piraters are able to crack the code quite quickly! It just annoys the regular users...!

Hob
 

coumerelli

macrumors 6502
Apr 7, 2003
310
123
state of confusion.
It seems like this is a vary good idea - multiple 'formats' of DRM, if you will. As I was reading this, I thought it was a great idea - if you wanna rip/listen to the CD on your comp, you need iTunes, but that would be no freedom of choice (listen, I'm not pro-real's campaign at all, just conveniently there right now). Rather, the inclusion of a few competitor's DRM's will be good for innovation and thr forwarding of ideas.

I like it. But I have to agree with rendezvouscp.

I hope that it doesn't include AAC files that are already encoded, but rather encodes them how you want while attaching DRM to the result file.
 

gopy

macrumors newbie
Jul 24, 2003
27
0
rendezvouscp said:
I hope that it doesn't include AAC files that are already encoded, but rather encodes them how you want while attaching DRM to the result file.
–Chase

I have a feeling they'll already be encoded-- there's only so much information you can cram onto a CD. With WMA and FairPlay copies, everything is covered.
 

-hh

macrumors 68030
Jul 17, 2001
2,540
329
NJ Highlands, Earth
hob said:
Copy-protection is futile - the small home user looses out because maybe it won't play on their car stereo, and the big piraters are able to crack the code quite quickly! It just annoys the regular users...!


Each generation of corporate decision-makers seem to need to learn this lesson the hard way.

The reality here is that any setup that can "melt vinyl" can capture the tracks from any playable CD.

And from a legality standpoint, the DCMA's consumer-unfriendly (reduced Fair Use) restrictions probably don't apply, because a "melt" system parses the CD data through an analog wire.

If the customer can hear it, the signal can be re-digitized. Period.
Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.


-hh
 

cubist

macrumors 68020
Jul 4, 2002
2,075
0
Muncie, Indiana
gopy said:
I have a feeling they'll already be encoded-- there's only so much information you can cram onto a CD. With WMA and FairPlay copies, everything is covered.

What will be happening eventually is that we will lose the CDDA tracks, and regular CD players will no longer work. Perhaps there will be a slow transition to 3" DVD-ROM with these locked-up files.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,056
962
Canada
AAC/WMA-only music discs?

cubist said:
What will be happening eventually is that we will lose the CDDA tracks, and regular CD players will no longer work. Perhaps there will be a slow transition to 3" DVD-ROM with these locked-up files.

Why would we need 3" DVD-ROM discs? If we assume the files are 128kbps (11:1 ratio) and they include both AAC and WMA files (2:1 ratio), they'd only need ~120MB, and 3" CD-ROM discs are about 210MB.

This means that new format would increase the capacity to almost twice the time capacity of today's audio CDs, even if they include two formats. Of course we could all wish for higher bitrates instead of more (crappy) filling, but it probably won't happen (VHS vs Beta, anyone?)

In any case, it's a good sign to see AAC getting more and more support and WMA going pratically nowhere (it's only everywhere because MS is paying everyone to include it in their hardware, as opposed to AAC being added because people actually want to use it).

And why would the industry want to distribute 3" audio discs anyway? If you use a compressed audio file (either with your computer, iPod, etc) you always use the files from a mass storage device and store the physical format somewhere else. Internet distribution gives you more profit (no media, no shipping, no wharehouses, etc) and gives your customers instant gratification. iTMS gives you all that, right now.

The fact they are planning to include WMA and AAC files onto CDs is only a transition until everyone buys his music from iTMS. Then, they can re-make their purchase-your-music-again game (vinyl, tape, CD) with higher bitrates, up to lossless (which we'll never get of course). Of course we're talking long-term here, decades or so. But it'll happen.

I just wish there *was* a iTMS for Canada, though. Why is there puretracks.com but no Canadian iTMS? Apple, shake those music industry idiots a bit! We need the Canadian iTMS!
 

Porchland

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2004
1,071
0
Georgia
Good news

If I'm reading this right, this new copy protection would allow the buyer of, say, the new Bjork CD to listen to it in the car, in the house, in the computer, etc., but to rip ONLY in DRM'd AAC and WMA. There would likely be limitations on on copying the CD itself; otherwise, there's multiple copies with potentially hundreds of individual DRMs, and the copy protection doesn't really work.
 

Porchland

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2004
1,071
0
Georgia
And Apple woud have a logical licensing interest in coordinating its licensure from the labels with the licensure on printed discs. Everybody's happy.
 

biederman

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2003
17
0
We need higher bit-rate encoding

rendezvouscp said:
I hope that it doesn't include AAC files that are already encoded, but rather encodes them how you want while attaching DRM to the result file.
–Chase

Amen to this! The current 128k encoding for iTunes songs is completely unacceptable when played on a high-quality audio source. I won't buy any more iTunes songs - and will never buy 128k encoded CD's - because the audio quality is so poor. I'm hoping that Apple's new Lossless Encoder will lead to the introduction of user-selectable encoding bit-rates, and/or availability of AIFF or WAV music files.
 

zwida

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2001
593
20
NYC + Madison, WI
Porchland said:
And Apple woud have a logical licensing interest in coordinating its licensure from the labels with the licensure on printed discs. Everybody's happy.

This has GOT to be where they're headed. Apple managed to secure top-spot with their DRM technology and would be nutty to miss an opportunity to reinforce that spot.

Agreed, btw, on the crappiness of the 128 kbps tracks on iTunes. I buy the argument that it doesn't matter so much on an iPod, but that doesn't mean I'll accept such an appreciable loss of quality on my home system.
 

cnladd

macrumors regular
Feb 6, 2003
127
0
Northridge, CA
It's unfortunate that the music industry is still heading down this road. Not because of the "copy protection is bad" arguments or other such statements made by people who want to be able to copy their CDs, but instead because this shows that the music industry is still trying to protect their CD distribution channel.

I would much rather see the time and expense that's being put into protecting their current channel diverted into bolstering the output on online distribution channels like the iTMS.

I'm have always purchased music legitimately and, before the iTMS was open to the public, I purchased an average of two CDs a week. Through the iTMS I now buy much more than that. Physical CDs are too inconvenient of a format for me and I have happily done away with them.

The music industry should work on further developing their online distribution channels, instead of still trying to protect their old one.
 
There's an update to this story at the reg : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/25/review_cds-300_7/
where they have a disk up and running.

While Windows software only provides access to the DRM'd music, Macs appear to be able to read the audio session and this measure would appear to be more security through obscurity. The authors certainly managed to rip the music anyway but also note that they had a beta version:

CDS-300 version 7 is scheduled to be released next month. It's still in beta, so Macrovision may well have the Mac OS X issue sorted out by then, if it can figure out how to hide the CD Audio session from the OS.

Apple may also come under pressure to update iTunes but like ITMS, this sounds more like DRM-lite - if you make the effort you can work around it but most probably won't bother which is enough, for now, to satisfy the publishers.
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,109
76
Solon, OH
biederman said:
Amen to this! The current 128k encoding for iTunes songs is completely unacceptable when played on a high-quality audio source. I won't buy any more iTunes songs - and will never buy 128k encoded CD's - because the audio quality is so poor. I'm hoping that Apple's new Lossless Encoder will lead to the introduction of user-selectable encoding bit-rates, and/or availability of AIFF or WAV music files.
My guess is that we won't be seeing higher bit rates on the iTMS or anywhere else until adoption of broadband reaches 95% of those with Internet access. The big problem with higher bit rates is alienating dial-up users, for which even one 128 kbps AAC file takes a good while to download.
 

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,745
5,999
Canada
Actually, its apple dragging their feet.. ( from whats been submitted to these forums in the past by the Artists Union(? - some one will remember the exact organisation) person who has posted to MR before.

Yvan256 said:
I just wish there *was* a iTMS for Canada, though. Why is there puretracks.com but no Canadian iTMS? Apple, shake those music industry idiots a bit! We need the Canadian iTMS!
 

pooka

macrumors newbie
Jul 27, 2004
14
0
compression BAD... lossless GOOD...

wrldwzrd89 said:
My guess is that we won't be seeing higher bit rates on the iTMS or anywhere else until adoption of broadband reaches 95% of those with Internet access. The big problem with higher bit rates is alienating dial-up users, for which even one 128 kbps AAC file takes a good while to download.

So? Why not just batch encode two (or N) different bit-rates? They do it all in batch anyway, and it's not like Apple is releasing thousands of tracks every day... As for me, I won't buy anything that's compressed. Period. If I can buy the CD for say, $15, the whopping $5 savings on ITMS is not worth the loss of quality (not to mention the hassle of DRM) - especially when I can download an MP3 of equal (or greater) quality for FREE (yes, I have *flexible* morals.) The whole point of buying music online is to curb piracy - but as of now there's ADVANTAGE to buying the songs leagally. If they sold me loss-less (or say, 320K+ AAC) songs, then I would consider buying all of my music online. But as of now, there's simply no reason to do so.

-pooka
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,109
76
Solon, OH
pooka said:
So? Why not just batch encode two (or N) different bit-rates? They do it all in batch anyway, and it's not like Apple is releasing thousands of tracks every day... As for me, I won't buy anything that's compressed. Period. If I can buy the CD for say, $15, the whopping $5 savings on ITMS is not worth the loss of quality (not to mention the hassle of DRM) - especially when I can download an MP3 of equal (or greater) quality for FREE (yes, I have *flexible* morals.) The whole point of buying music online is to curb piracy - but as of now there's ADVANTAGE to buying the songs leagally. If they sold me loss-less (or say, 320K+ AAC) songs, then I would consider buying all of my music online. But as of now, there's simply no reason to do so.

-pooka
That's a great idea pooka - why don't you tell Apple? I wonder if Apple won't do it for other reasons - my guesses are (if it isn't broadband):
1. The music labels won't let Apple offer songs at a higher bit rate
2. Offering multiple versions of the same song would lower iTMS profits
3. Apple thinks that your solution would confuse consumers

...or possibly some combination of the above.
 

johnnyjibbs

macrumors 68030
Sep 18, 2003
2,960
118
London, UK
I don't like the breech of freedoms. As others have said, the people who do pirate will know how to crack it quickly, while the masses who don't will just be inconveninced. Thus this won't stop the bigger piracy picture.

And I hope that Apple doesn't tweak OS X so that OS audio session mounting does not continue to occur.

One thing about that register article someone provided a link to that threw me though was this comment on the third page:

"Ripping a CD you've bought so you can transfer it to your iPod remains illegal in the UK and other parts of the world, even if you haven't the slightest intention of giving the songs to anyone else."

So the iPod and iTunes are illegal in the UK? This sounds absurd!
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,827
603
Dornbirn (Austria)
johnnyjibbs said:
"Ripping a CD you've bought so you can transfer it to your iPod remains illegal in the UK and other parts of the world, even if you haven't the slightest intention of giving the songs to anyone else."

So the iPod and iTunes are illegal in the UK? This sounds absurd!

if the cd has a copy-protection and you find a way around it (via crack/program etc.) to copy the cd anyways ...then you are breaking the law (i think it's european)...but the nice thing is..even if the copy protection is unable to do anything...you are still breaking the law...

like "using a mac to rip a copy protected cd" ..the copy protection xyz doesn't work for a mac but when you rip it with your mac..it's still illegal

music industry lobbism at it's best...now those copy protections don't even have to work...
 

maestrospenny

macrumors newbie
Sep 18, 2004
1
0
No problem with DRM encoded versions of songs?

I try to stay up-to-date in regards to the copy-protection shenanigans, and I have yet to hear anyone publicly (outside of forums) voice their disapproval for the quality of the drm songs the cd's will offer. Is it me, or is there a major push by the tech companies that are devising these protective measures (and more certainly the record companies behind them) to restrict us from accessing the raw, unencoded songs? I care TREMENDOUSLY about the quality of my music. I RARELY buy from iTMS (it's usually a pop song I might like here and there), simply because 128ACC absolutely (and no, no one can convince me otherwise, as I've heard it on my stereo) PALES in comparison to the quality of a bought CD (who in their RIGHT MIND would buy a classical track from iTMS?). In the same line of thinking, I encode all of the CD's I buy in Apple Lossless. Now you're telling me that in a few years, possibly less, I won't be able to access the full quality tracks AT ALL? I simply don't understand the logic behind this thinking. Despite my absolute distaste for DRM in general, I would MUCH, MUCH rather these copy protection systems simply wrap the raw, uncompressed audio tracks in the particular DRM of their choice, instead of just offering me compressed versions and completely restricting access to the uncompressed tracks. In all honesty, the only reason I see these days (aside from cover art) of buying a physical CD, as opposed to iTMS, is the quality. It's a shame that the general public is going to let the record companies get away with this tactic, probably scott free...sigh.
 
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