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Sony officially lists 52 XCP infected CDs & faces a loss of sales

Posted at 19 November 2005 01:07 CEST by Seán Byrne
The controversial rootkit based copy protection used by Sony started out when the British company First 4 Internet had meetings with four major record labels in an aim to sell them the latest copy protection, XCP.  The intention was to restrict consumers to allow them to make only one copy of their original disc in an aim to defeat piracy.  At the time, EMI, Warner Music and Universal took on a limited form of the protection protection for pre-release promotional copies only as a trial. However, Sony BMG decided to go ahead with the product and released over 50 album titles on the market using this sophisticated Rootkit based copy protection, which in turn caused a major headache for Sony once it was revealed how the copy protection works and the serious problems it occurs.  This resulted in several class-action consumer lawsuits, calls for boycotts, problems from antivirus companies and so on.  Finally, Sony decided to discontinue these CDs and recall all CDs using this nasty XCP copy protection.   Unfortunately as Sony asked retailers to immediately remove affected discs from their shelves back on Monday, the replacements may not reach the shops until next Friday, thus causing lost sales for artists until that time, especially with Thanksgiving coming up next week in the US.  Thanks to Jim Kiler who used our news submit to let us know about the following news and the offical list of affected CDs: It sounded like music to record executives' ears. Copy-protection software that would to do the impossible: make CDs that couldn't be repeatedly copied. Britain's First 4 Internet landed meetings with the four major record labels, trying to sell software called XCP. The concept was that consumers could burn one copy and one copy only, defeating the rampant piracy that the industry says costs it billions in lost revenue. Each label signed up. EMI, Warner Music and Universal employed the company only for trials, using a limited form of XCP that scrambled the CD for pre-release promotional copies sent to critics. Sony BMG, the world's second-largest label, decided to go one step further, releasing more than 50 consumer titles with the strictest form of copy protection ever used by the music industry. The move backfired after a computer researcher blogged about his discovery of potentially grave problems: Hidden files on the CD made PCs susceptible to viruses if the disc was played on a computer. The full, in-detail article can be read here. CD's Containing XCP Content Protection Technology Note:  We will shortly be releasing new versions of these titles without the XCP software.  You therefore need to check this list for both the name of the album and the item number (which can be found on the spine of the CD).  If the item number is not listed below, your CD does not contain XCP content protection. Affected list (Artist - Album Title) A Static Lullaby - Faso Latido Acceptance - Phantoms Amerie - Touch Art Blakey - Drum Suite The Bad Plus - Suspicious Activity? Bette Midler - Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook Billie Holiday - The Great American Songbook Bob Brookmeyer - Bob Brookmeyer & Friends Buddy Jewell - Times Like These Burt Bacharach - At This Time Celine Dion - On Ne Change Pas Chayanne - Cautivo Chris Botti - To Love Again The Coral - The Invisible Invasion Cyndi Lauper - The Body Acoustic The Dead 60s - The Dead 60s Deniece Williams - This Is Niecy Dexter Gordon - Manhattan Symphonie Dion - The Essential Dion Earl Scruggs - I Saw the Light With Some Help From My Friends Elkland - Golden Emma Roberts - Unfabulous and More: Emma Roberts Flatt & Scruggs - Foggy Mountain Jamboree Frank Sinatra - The Great American Songbook G3 - Live in Tokyo George Jones - My Very Special Guests Gerry Mulligan - Jeru Horace Silver - Silver's Blue Jane Monheit - The Season Jon Randall - Walking Among the Living Life of Agony - Broken Valley Louis Armstrong - The Great American Songbook Mary Mary - Mary Mary Montgomery Gentry - Something to Be Proud of: The Best of 1999-2005 Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten Neil Diamond - 12 Songs Nivea - Complicated Our Lady Peace - Healthy in Paranoid Times Patty Loveless - Dreamin' My Dreams Pete Seeger - The Essential Pete Seeger Ray Charles - Friendship Rosanne Cash - Interiors  Rosanne Cash - King's Record Shop Rosanne Cash - Seven Year Ache Shel Silverstein - The Best Of Shel Silverstein Shelly Fairchild - Ride Susie Suh - Susie Suh Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound Teena Marie - Robbery Trey Anastasio - Shine Van Zant - Get Right With the Man Vivian Green - Vivian Note:  Two titles, Ricky Martin's "Life" and Peter Gallagher's "7 Days in Memphis" were released with a content protection grid on the back of the CD packaging but XCP content protection software was not actually included on the albums. Source: Sony BMG Music Entertainment Even though Sony BMG is unlikely ever to try out rootkit based copy protection again, this is a clear scenario of where using sophisticated copy-protection can cause a severe backfire and even a loss of sales. :p  As Sony BMG has even taken the step of having their copy-protected discs removed from shop shelves until new stock arrives next week, this is the first case I'm aware of where copy-protection can cause a serious loss of sales for the company as well as the affected artists, not to mention the costs involved in recalling all these discs and supplying replacements!  In my opinion, Sony BMG would have been far better off if they never used copy protection from the very start.  Source: USA Today - Money

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