Will A Black Felt Tip Pen Beat Sony Musicís Copy Protection? 
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Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Wednesday, 22 May 2002

Will a black felt tip pen defeat Sony Music’s latest CD copy protection system?

CNN.com says it does. CNN obtained a copy of the new Celine Dion disc "A New Day has Come" distributed in Europe with much fanfare over how it can’t play in a PC and will crash a Mac.

CNN reportedly couldn’t get the CD to play on a PC but then covered the edges of the CD with a black felt tip pen (just like the old days of the green CD Stoplight pens) and voila – the CD played flawlessly in the PC.

The new audio formats like Sony’s SACD and DVD-Audio have far more complex copy protection systems to protect copywritten material however even these copy protection systems have easily been broken by hackers who then distributed the code to defeat the software on the internet for free.

The big question is why do people feel the need to hack the copy protection on a CD yet they are less likely do so on a DVD-Video disc or a video game? Ken Lopez of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music says, " The music industry has alienated their core audience known as Gen Y who are currently college age kids. They predominantly play their music on their PC and the music industry is making it difficult for them to hear the pre-recorded music that they buy when they want to listen to it."

Lopez went on to say "When they want to go to a concert handled by companies such as Clear Channel, Ticketmaster and greedy venues – a good ticket can cost over $75 for a top pop artist. They feel like they are getting bilked. CD prices are as high as ever and now more and more discs won’t play in Gen Y’s CD players. Top it off with the fact that much of today’s popular music stinks even by Gen Y standards. This is exactly when they are on-line downloading music – they are fed up and pissed off. No wonder the music sales were off 10 percent in 2001."

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