Tech: October 2003 Archives

October 7, 2003

I can't decide whether the record companies are hiring morons to design their protection schemes, or whether the people they are hiring are so ashamed of their employers they just can't bring themselves to do good work. Ed Felten has a post up about the latest CD "protection" scheme:

This technology is going to end up in the hall of fame beside the previous Sony technology that was famously defeated by drawing on the CD with a felt-tipped pen. This time, the technology can be defeated completely by holding down the computer's Shift key while inserting the CD.

All right, I suppose it's possible that most people will be using Windows, and that most people won't think to disable autorun (temporarily or otherwise) before putting in these CDs, but you can bet that a simple Google search will tell them how to copy those tracks once they realize something is interfering. Making the copy protection this easy to crack is ridiculous. I realize real protection is very difficult (read: impossible, at least as long as DRM isn't built into every layer of every CD-playing box on the planet), but if this is the best the record companies have, they might as well just quit trying.