May 23, 2002

Foiled by a Sharpie!

Sony, like many others in the music industry, has recently begun distributing copy-protected CDs -- discs that can be played only in a music CD player, and not on a computer. The idea is to prevent people from using their legally protected Fair Use rights to make a single copy for personal use on a PC or MP3 player (e.g., iPod). The technology will actually cause some computers, such as the Macintosh, to crash.

CNN reports that Sony's scheme has finally been cracked -- by a magic marker. It seems that all you have to do to circumvent Sony's scheme is color the outside of the CD with a magic marker, thus rendering the 'security track' unreadable and harmless.

Maybe Sony will try to ban the sale of magic markers under DMCA, since they now qualify as a tool that can "circumvent a technological measure ... [meaning to] avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner."

Posted by Mike at May 23, 2002 09:40 AM