Letters to the Editor - September 2001

letters-logo-oct95This seems like an issue that may interest your readers.

The major labels are quietly introducing “copy-protected” CDs into the market. These CDs contain errors in the audio data, which are not audible when the CDs are played in a regular CD player, but create clicks and pops when the audio is digitally extracted onto a hard drive. The intent is to combat mp3 trading over the Internet, but obviously it will also impact producers who are accustomed to ripping tracks for promos every day.

This is probably worthy of a heads-up, so your readers don’t waste time trying to troubleshoot computer problems when encountering digital glitches on these CDs. Since the analog audio output of CD players is error-corrected, the workaround is to record those songs into the computer through analog inputs instead of extracting them digitally. This shouldn’t make much audible difference to the sound of the final production, but it will be an inconvenience to do analog transfers (and a real blast from the past). Or, for those purists who feel they must work entirely in the digital domain, CNet news reports the protection schemes have already been hacked.

The labels aren’t saying which CDs are copy-protected or how widespread this is likely to become in the immediate future, but it should be obvious as soon as anyone tries to rip a track from one of them.

Dan Stark
Director of Imaging Services
MJI Broadcasting