OK, one last story about Sony’s failed copy-protection scheme. For now, at least. Information Week is reporting that you can prevent Sony’s spyware from installing by putting pieces of ordinary opaque sticky tape around the edges of the protected CDs.
According to Gartner analysts Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire, Sony’s XCP technology is stymied by sticking a fingernail-size piece of opaque tape on the outer edge of the CD.
That, the pair said in a brief posted online, renders “session 2 — which contains the self-loading DRM software — unreadable. The PC then treats the CD as an ordinary single-session music CD, and the commonly used CD ‘rip’ programs continue to work as usual.”
Such simple work-arounds, said Reynolds and McGuire, make Sony’s decision to copy protect is music CDs an even bigger mistake. “Sony BMG’s DRM technology will prevent neither informed casual copiers nor high-volume ‘pirates’ from doing whatever they like with the content the disc,” the analysts continued. “It does, however, load ‘stealth’ software — software that has been demonstrated to have suspect effects — on uninformed users’ machines.
But you may not even need tape; if the spyware really loads from the outer edge of the disc, then you can probably just use a whiteboard (dry erase) marker, then wipe it off when you’re done ripping the music to your computer. People began doing this a couple of years ago to avoid other copy protection and it worked just fine. Sounds much easier than dealing with sticky tape!