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This is so neat!


bigmike's Avatar
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05-22-02, 09:48 AM   #1  
bigmike
This is so neat!

Technology buffs have cracked a music publishing giant's elaborate disc copy protection technology with a decidedly low tech method, blacking out around the rim of a disk with a felt tip marker.

Internet usenet newsgroups have been circulating news of the discovery for the past week, and in typical newsgroup style, users have pilloried Sony for deploying a copy protection that can be defeated by paying a visit to Wal-Mart.

"I wonder what type of copy protection will come next?" one posting on alt.music.prince read. "Maybe they'll ban markers."

The new technology aims to prevent us from copying, or "burning," music onto recordable CDs or onto our computer hard drives, which can then be shared with other users over file sharing Internet services such as Grokster.

Monday I obtained an ordinary copy of a new release which comes embedded with Sony's "Key2Audio" technology.

After an initial attempt to play the disc on a PC resulted in failure, I coated the edge of the shiny side of the disc with a black felt tip pen. The second attempt with the marked up CD played and copied to the hard drive without a glitch.

Postings claim that tape or even a sticky note can also be used to cover the security track, typically located on the outer rim of the disc. And there are suggestions that copy protection schemes used by other music labels can also be circumvented in a similar way.

The technology, deployed on many recent releases, works by adding a track to the copy a protected disc that contains bogus data.

Because computer hard drives are programmed to read the TOC data files first, the computer will continuously try to play the bogus track first. It never gets to play the music tracks located elsewhere on the disc.

The effect is that the copy protected disc will play on standard CD players but not on computer CD Rom drives, some portable devices and even some car stereos.

 
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05-22-02, 03:50 PM   #2  
andyman2002
Wonder if this would work the same for dvd's?

 
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05-26-02, 02:19 PM   #3  
Gary Tait
Not normal DVDs. The content is actually encrypted. The method
of copy protection used on the Sony CDs adds data that
screws up a computer CD-rom drive's ability to further read the CD. I suppose they could do the same for DVDs though.

 
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05-26-02, 08:03 PM   #4  
jerome
Wow! Cool find.
I, well someone I know, had previously messed with the idea of covering up part of the disk, but was doing it backwards.
Sometimes am curious of the bar codes on the middle of the disks.
Anyhow....
Yes, it will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

 
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05-29-02, 06:07 AM   #5  
frankus
Hey, guys, won't a felt tip marker get foreign material on the read "head" of the cd-rom ? I didn't think you were supposed to use them even on the back, that they would "bleed" through. I try to keep mine as clean as possible. Am I off on this matter ?

 
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05-29-02, 06:24 AM   #6  
bigmike
Welllll...

Oh your only off by a few years The CD Rom utilizes an optical laser to read the digital information from the disk. No physical contact is made. Keeping the disk clean is a good idea, if the pickup lens gets dusty it can affect or even disable a CD player/Rom. Cigarette smoke can also cover the lens and cause breakdowns. I was chief engineer at a local radio station for a few years and I had to ask the DJs to stop smoking in the on air booths and the production rooms. Tar was getting on everything, didnt even come to my mind that I am a hard core REFORMED non smoker

 
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