A CD “protected” by the SunnComm anti-copying technology is now topping the music charts. This technology, you may recall, was the subject of a paper by Alex Halderman. The technology presents absolutely no barrier to copying on some PCs; on the remaining PCs, it can be defeated by holding down the Shift key when inserting the CD.
SunnComm execs say that this demonstrates consumer acceptance of their technology. A quick look at the consumer reviews at Amazon tells the real story: the technology causes significant problems for some law-abiding customers, and many customers dislike it. Many customers find the technology bearable only because it is so easily defeated, thereby allowing customers who, say, want to download songs from the album onto their iPods a way to do so.
Alex Halderman reports receiving at least three unsolicited emails this week thanking him for explaining how consumers can stop the SunnComm technology from impeding their fair use of this album. Here’s one:
Thanks for the great article on this topic. I just bought the new Velvet Revolver CD and was not able to listen to it on my computer or import it into my iTunes program. I did use their “Copy” option which saved the files as Windows Media Files but these couldn’t be converted by iTunes. Well this is not acceptable and within about 5 minutes I was able to find your article and disable the lame driver.
Keep up the great work!
Another, in addition to discussing the fair use issue, says this:
If I wasn’t such a fan of this band, I would have taken the CD back in protest. But alas, it’s the only way to be legal and I wish for the artist to reap their financial benefits.
Needless to say, the SunnComm technology has not kept the songs on this album off of the filesharing systems.