By wyllys on Jun 18, 2004
I bought a new CD yesterday - Velvet Revolver (I'm a sucker for 80's hard rock/metal). It just so happens that this CD has the SunnComm DRM technology that \*tries\* to prevent you from doing bad things like burn copies for your car/office/computer, rip MP3s for your iPod, et etc. Needless to say, I took this as a challenge and as a personal insult. I don't use Kazaa or any other file sharing, but I do rip almost everything I have into my iPod for use on the road (plus, its alot more convenient than carrying a ton of CDs around).
I don't care to buy a full CD of music from the iTunes music store - the quality is not as good (128 bit AAC, not so great, I prefer 224 kpbs or higher) and you don't get album art, liner notes, and all the other things you get when you actually purchase a CD in a store. I don't mind sampling a single now and then from iTMS, but I refuse to buy a full album.
So, I put the CD in my home computer (Windows 2000, ugh, my wife insists on using AOL, so there is no hope of moving to JDS or some other non-Windows platform for home use). I was immediately prompted to accept some sort of license. I said "No thanks".
Eject CD. Re-insert CD while holding down SHIFT key. Ahhh -much better, no more stupid license to accept. Next step - try to rip songs with iTunes. It starts and seems to find everything OK. Play first song ripped - uh oh, it sounds like crap, lots of skipping and garbling. Hmmmm....
Next step - google for SunnComm copy protection and figure out how to get around this. Find J. Alex Halderman's excellent paper to see how to do it right. Basically, I had to disable a sneaky device driver that they slipped into my system. Despite the fact that I said "No thanks" to their licensing prompt, they still stuck a new driver on my system that made it hard to copy. Not very nice.
I also tried to grab the songs from Solaris using "cdrw -x -T wav 1 song1.wav", but this just ended up grabbing all of the audio (ungarbled, though) and sticking it into a single wav file. I think that is a bug, it should have just grabbed the first track.
I fear this will become the new trend. If record companies (BMG, in this case) are becoming bolder in rolling out DRM technology, so beware and be careful. Luckily, they haven't yet figured out that its a waste of time and money because someone will almost certainly break whatever DRM they add.