Question about "fair use" in audio CDs

I recently discovered that a band I like, (hed)pe, had a new album out on a new record label. I purchased the album Only In Amerika at Best Buy for $13.99 only to discover when I got it home that my computer is unable to recognize that it is even in the CD-ROM drive!

I was eventually able to explore the contents as if it were a CD-R and found that it comes with a little player/recorder program of it’s own, but the recorder only encodes the songs as .wma not .mp3. I’m not a fan of the .wma file type in the first place, but then I found it won’t play the songs on my Creative Nomad 2 jukebox.

Is this legal, to restrict me from copying these songs for my own use like this? I just want to make mp3s of the songs so I can listen to them on my jukebox while I jog, hike, etc. Do I have any recourse to get my money back if I can’t use the CD as I am accustomed to being able?

Uh, you mean like playing it like a CD in a CD player? Sure, though you’ll probably have to deal with Best Buy’s refund policy. I suspect that they’ll only replace an opened CD with a identical copy though. If you want a refund, you may need to demonstrate that it won’t play on a computer drive.

You’re not in australia, so I can’t really answer this with any certainty, but I do know that in Aus there’s no such “fair use” law, so you wouldn’t be legally allowed to copy those songs anyway, even if you wanted to.

There was a bit of an uproar a while ago about this sort of thing, on another board I went to. Most of the consensus seemed to be that if the CD wouldn’t play in an actual CD player, then yes you’d be able to get your money back, but if it didn’t work in your CD-ROM drive, or if it worked but not in the media player that you expected, then tough cookies because they supply you with a media player on the disk, and you should be using that.

But IANAL, and nobody else in that board was either.

Expect more and more technological measure like this – generally known as digital rights management – as it becomes more and more obvious that it’s nearly impossible to use legal means to restrict unauthorised use and copying.

Oh, yes, and it’s perfectly legal.

One thing that I’ve picked up about fair use is that even if you do have a legal right to copy an albums of songs that you have bought, say, to another medium, the company creating the album is certainly under no obligation to make it technically feasible or convenient for you to do so.

now to me, any system that keeps you from even playing the disc in a computer goes too far, and unless that was blazoned on the cover in bright red letters you’re entitled to your money back. But if the label refuses to sell it any other way, that’s their right too. (sighs.)

Feel your pain. I’m a huge MP3 player fan, with my collection (almost) all owned and personally ripped by me. It’s a shame, in a lot of ways, that the MP3 format has been so hugely associated with illegal duplication and filesharing. (But it’s so convenient that I suppose abuse was inevitable.)

It sucks, but AFAIK it’s ‘legal’. I don’t plan to allow record companies to install software on my PC, so I try to make sure the CDs I buy have the compact disc logo. The logo is owned by Philips Electronics, and they won’t let people use it unless the CD is a standard Red Book CD. (Though I missed that on one of my latest purchases… it’s hard).

Wikipedia has more info, including a decent section on copy protection.

Put the CD on the shelf. Download the songs off the internet in MP3 format. Ethically, you have the right to listen to that music however you please since you bought the rights to listen to the music along with the CD. Laws might say otherwise, but we’re the people who write them in the first place, I think it’s our right to disobey them if we feel they are unjust.

Well, the DMCA makes it illegal to use technological means to bypass copy protection, but then the courts have slowly recognized fair use. Which one is appropriate for GQ?

Well, I won’t tell you how to rip your CD, just in case. But I can give you technical details. Always remember that Google is your friend, and don’t forget the oft-overlooked

Your CD is very likely a multi-session CD, meaning that your operating system only sees the first session. “Session” isn’t the right word, since in Windows all sessions are really merged. In any casem the music part is hidden. You can find all kinds of free utilities to expose this for you. Remember, too, that if you have auto-run turned on in Windows, then auto-run programs will run when you insert a disk. Holding shift when you insert the disk will stop auto-run.

No doubt that it’s legal. The only way to fight this shit is with your wallet.

Take it back to the store, tell them that you’re returning it, tell them why, and tell them that you won’t be buying any more CDs from them while this sort of crap continues.

If enough people do this, maybe someone will pay attention.

All I can say is, good luck even getting Best Buy to exchange it for an unopened one. A former coworker of mine bought a DVD at Best Buy and found that it wouldn’t play in his DVD player or on the computer, but it worked on his X-Box. Thinking there was something messed up with the disc, he took it back to Best Buy and asked to exchange it for another copy. The salesman took the DVD, popped it into one of their DVD players, and it worked just fine, so he refused to even exchange it for another of the same title. YMMV.

Yep, no standard Compact Disc logo… thanks for the tip. I won’t be buying anymore CDs unless I see that logo on the cover.

I’ll also be writing a letter to Best Buy and to the record label explaining why I won’t be purchasing anymore CDs of this type. And when I see (hed)pe in concert, I’m going to wear a t-shirt that says “Fuck You and Your Copy Protection”. It oughta make my point nicely when I bean the lead singer in the head with this copy of his CD. :smiley:

This is the downside to this idea. It actually encourages piracy for those who want to convert the music they bought into other formats for their own personal use.

The idea itself stems from the ignorance of the majority. What they are trying to accomplish is theoretically impossible. There is no cryptographical method where Bob can encrypt a message to Jane so that Jane can read the message but Jane can’t read the message (It even logically sounds retarded).

It definitely will have a counter-productive effect, as far as this band and this record label are concerned. They gained one sale but lost any hope of more sales to me. And I will spread the word (already have) to fellow fans to avoid buying this album or any others like it.

Waddabuncha dumbasses.

Stop buying CDs and pirate them.

Eventually they’ll stop releasing so much garbage and/or start selling CDs at a reasonable price in formats that people want.

The idea sort of works because the music label has managed to twist the arm of legislators to make it somewhat diificult (although quite doable) to copy the encrypted message. This only is effective to the extent the DMCA is in the way.

Can anyone explain this new technology? HOW could I play this CD in my CD boombox? My CD boombox can’t play any .wma file.

I don’t think the CD is in .wma format. It should be in regular .cda (compact disc audio) format, but it’s encoded in some way so that a CR-ROM drive doesn’t see the .cda files. The player/recorder on the CD is what converts the .cda to .wma format.

This particular CD is supposed to play fine in a regular CD or DVD player… but I don’t have a regular CD player, and I don’t hang out in the living room except to watch movies.

Your boombox will supposedly play this CD fine, to answer your question, rfgdxm.

Two old women in restaurant:

First woman: “The pie here is terrible”

Second woman: “Yes, and the portions so small. Call the waiter over, I’m going to demand some more”.

I bet you can find a program to get past the protection.

But you could always just download the mp3s.

.cda files are fictional… Windows cooks them up when you insert an audio CD, since audio CDs don’t have filesystems. This protected disc does have a filesystem, so Windows doesn’t bother.

Copy protection for audio discs is all about making a computer think the audio tracks are unimportant or aren’t there at all, without breaking the spec so much that a player that’s only looking for audio tracks won’t be able to find them. Unfortunately, it gets in the way of playing the disc, some CD players don’t like it, and it’s ineffective in the end anyway - anyone who’s determined to copy those tracks and share them online will have no problem getting past it. You should definitely write to the store, the record label, and the band (who might not even know that the label ruined their CD), to let them know you’ll only buy CDs with the Compact Disc logo from now on.

It is legal for them to release a broken CD as long as they don’t put the CD logo on it. It’s illegal for you to circumvent an “access control” on a copyrighted work like a CD, even if you’re doing it to enjoy your fair use rights - thank your representatives in Congress for that one, if they were around for the passage of the DMCA in 1998.

However, it’s also legal for you to “format shift” music for your own personal use, if you can do it without violating the DMCA. So the question is, is the copy protection on the disc an “access control”? IANAL, but I believe it is not. Purchasing the disc gives you the right to access the unencrypted music stored on it, and you can already access it with most regular CD players. There’s a parallel to the Lexmark printer cartridge case, where Lexmark argued that using a third-party cartridge circumvents the access controls on the printer’s firmware code, and the judge decided that no, purchasing the printer already gives you the right to access that code.

How about this one…

First woman: “This slice of pie looks good, but I can’t open the box they served it in.”

Second woman: “I saw someone around the back ladling out scoops of pie filling. There’s no crust, but it tastes the same and at least we can eat it.”