Scotch Tape Stymies Sony Copy Protection - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
News
News
11/21/2005
01:18 PM
50%
50%

Scotch Tape Stymies Sony Copy Protection

With a small bit of tape on the outer edge of the CD, the PC then treats the disc as an ordinary single-session music CD and the commonly used music 'rip' programs continue to work as usual.

Sony BMG Music's controversial copy-protection scheme can be defeated with a small piece of tape, a research firm said Monday in a demonstration of the futility of digital rights management (DRM).

According to Gartner analysts Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire, Sony's XCP technology is stymied by sticking a fingernail-size piece of opaque tape on the outer edge of the CD.

That, the pair said in a brief posted online, renders "session 2 -- which contains the self-loading DRM software — unreadable. The PC then treats the CD as an ordinary single-session music CD, and the commonly used CD 'rip' programs continue to work as usual."

Such simple work-arounds, said Reynolds and McGuire, make Sony's decision to copy protect is music CDs an even bigger mistake. "Sony BMG's DRM technology will prevent neither informed casual copiers nor high-volume 'pirates' from doing whatever they like with the content the disc," the analysts continued. "It does, however, load 'stealth' software — software that has been demonstrated to have suspect effects — on uninformed users' machines.

"The bottom line: Sony BMG has created serious public-relations and legal issues for itself, and for no good reason."

Only after 10 days of mounting criticism about its surreptitious installation of a hacker-style "rootkit" to users' PCs did Sony announce that it would end the copy-protection; a week later it said it would recall all unsold CDs and exchange those already in consumers' hands with unprotected discs.

Sony's exchange program also gives buyers of the 52 in-question CDs the option of receiving unprotected MP3 files of the album's tracks, in large part because the disc exchange process takes three to six weeks.

Those users will receive an e-mail directing them to a site where they can download the MP3 files, Sony said on its exchange program Web page.

This isn't the first time that simple methods have defeated a Sony copy-protection plan. An earlier technology that Sony used could be circumvented by using a black marker to draw a line near the edge of the disc.

"After more than five years of trying, the recording industry has not yet demonstrated a workable DRM scheme for music CDs," concluded the Gartner analysts. "It will never achieve this goal as long as CDs must be playable by stand-alone CD players."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll