on Sep 14, 2007
HOLLYWOOD, CA — Major record labels released a joint statement this week announcing their latest plan to combat music piracy: the Unreadable Compact Disc. Developed in association with Sony, the new discs will be unreadable and unplayable in all existing computers and CD players. This makes the discs nearly piracy-proof.
|(Left) A normal Compact Disc|
(Right) The new Sony Unreadable Compact Disc
According to a recently released technical document, the new system works by taking a readable CD and “dramatically reducing the depth of the protective surface layer in a non-uniform manner.” The result is a CD that is safe to distribute to the public without fear of users “ripping” the music to share on the internet. Consumers can identify a UCD by looking at the surface of the disc. If it features many deep grooves and the surface feels coarse to the touch, then the disc the new proprietary Sony UCD. Sony has already applied for several patents on the revolutionary process.
Critics pointed out that with the new system in place, nobody will be able to listen to the music. Hankel was quick to dismiss the claim, “We will of course be sending non-encrypted versions to radio stations so the songs can be heard on the air. This plan will only affect common consumers. We may also offer a readable copy of the music to the original artist for a nominal licensing fee.”
When asked about the reasoning behind the new discs, Hankel explained, “Earlier protection schemes made discs unplayable only to people using old CD players and computers, but sales of CDs using those schemes have been low. The only conclusion we can draw from this is that these units are still being pirated. So, we need to make the copy-protection even stronger.”
Despite the breakthrough, Sony is already planning the next step in the fight against piracy. Anticipating that someday determined pirates may eventually break the UCD encryption, Sony is developing the Aggressive Defense Compact Disc. The ADCD will react when it begins to spin, anticipating that someone may be trying to read the contents of the Disc. Razor sharp blades will then spring out of the surface, destroying the drive.
Asked why they would punish consumers this way, an RIAA spokeswoman replied, “Who do you think has been pirating our music all these years? Duh.”
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.