More copy protected CDs are hitting the market – especially in Europe, but clearly the US is next. They corrupt the CD in ways that make many of them unplayable in a computer or in some car stereos. In fact, they no longer conform to the standards for “Compact Discs,” and the record labels have removed the “Compact Disc” logo from the case. A small label on the CD case advises, “Do not play in Mac or PC.”

Apple Computer has acknowledged a more serious problem. Inserting one of these copy protected disks into an IMac can sometimes cause the machine to go dead so deeply that a trip to a repair shop is required. The computer won’t start, the CD won’t eject, and there’s no remedy short of handing it to a repairman. Apple’s announced policy is that it is not responsible for the problems created by the recording industry and its deviation from the CD standard – so if you attempt to play a copy protected CD in an IMac, there will be no warranty coverage for fixing the problems. Here’s an article about the problem, and here’s Apple’s technical note.

Like most hardware manufacturers, Apple does not want copy protection shoved down its throat by the entertainment industry or by Congress. Apple’s stern response might help increase public awareness of the problems that lie ahead if the recording industry starts messing around with long-standing, utterly reliable standards for the sole purpose of lining its own pocket. With luck, people will start to get upset about it.

Now, I described all that calmly. But think about it! You buy a CD. You bring it home, sit down at the computer to do some work, and pop the CD in the drive. BANG! You’ve killed your computer. Is that incredible or what? What demon has possessed the recording industry and made them so evil?

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