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The Music Industry Screws Up, Again 15 May 2002 Edition
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Once again the recording industry has shown just how much difficulty they're having coping with the threat modern technology poses to their profits.

The latest fiasco involves the Apple iMac personal computers and the industry's ridiculous belief that they can protect audio CDs from being copied.

According to reports, the latest Celine Dion album and the sound track CD from episode 2 of Star Wars are both causing significant grief to users of Apple's cute little tinted boxes.

Of course the disks concerned do carry a little warning that they are not designed for use in personal computers -- but I think the average person could be forgiven for thinking that this simply means they won't work.

Coming Up This Week
In response to reader demand, I'll be publishing and archiving an updated version of my guide to website promotion and online marketing. If you've got a website that needs more traffic, or if you're trying to sell products or services online then this is the type of information that you can pay big money for elsewhere. Don't miss it.

The reality however, is far more frightening.

iMac users who are silly enough to put one of their CDs into their computer suddenly find that the disk can't be ejected and that their machine won't boot up.

Apple have acknowledged the problem but say that it's not their fault and they bear no responsibility for the damage inflicted.

They do however, offer some suggestions to try and solve the problem -- but reports indicate that this work-around doesn't always produce the desired results and many iMac users are having to take their computers in to an authorised Apple service center for repair.

So who's really to blame here?

Is it the user's fault because they ignored the warning on the disk?

Is it the recording industry's fault because they should not be shipping non-compliant CDs that produce such a devastating effect on an otherwise perfectly fine piece of equipment?

Or, is it Apple's fault for building a computer that can be knocked out of service so easily by the simple insertion of a non-compliant CD?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • The Music Industry... - Nick
  • Kills iMacs... - Matt
  • Norton Antivirus Upgrade... - Graham
  • cds and viruses... - Brett
  • Have Your Say

    I suspect that this is something that will be debated for some time without much resolution.

    But here comes the crazy bit...

    The problems created by these CDs in an iMac are caused by the lame copy-protection scheme included on the disk. The recording industry keep telling us that they're forced to adopt this type of protection because pirates are burning CDs and ripping their contents for distribution over the Net.

    Well, as it turns out, this sophisticated copy-protection scheme can actually be circumvented by using common office or household items such as black marker pens or bits of sticky tape.

    This is one of the great things about such security systems -- they cost millions of dollars to develop and implement yet can often be foiled by using a few cents worth readily available of equipment (and some smart thinking).

    I'm afraid that the recording industry is rapidly running out of feet and bullets.

    Upgrades At Gunpoint?
    I'm working on a column for later this week which will deal with the way that some software companies are no longer relying on selling upgrades on the basis of the value they offer -- but are instead holding a gun to customers heads and saying "upgrade or else."

    If you've got a piece of software that has now locked you into a vicious upgrade cycle, please drop me a line -- I'd like to know about it.

    Note -- I already know about Microsoft's new upgrade policies so don't bother with those, its other vendors I'm interested in.

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