What happens when bloggers get it wrong, but the MSM gets it right?

Saturday, January 07, 2006 | 02:00 PM

Here's a "Man Bites Dog" type story for you:

Late December, Cory at boingboing blogged about some absurd limitations on Coldplay's disc, X&Y:

"Coldplay's new CD comes with an insert that discloses all the rules enforced by the DRM they included on the disc. Of course, these rules are only visible after you've paid for the CD and brought it home, and as the disc's rules say, "Except for manufacturing problems, we do not accept product exchange, return or refund," so if you don't like the rules, that's tough.

What are the other rules? Here are some gems: "This CD can't be burnt onto a CD or hard disc, nor can it be converted to an MP3" and "This CD may not play in DVD players, car stereos, portable players, game players, all PCs and Macintosh PCs." Best of all, the insert explains that this is all "in order for you to enjoy a high quality music experience." Now, that's quality."

Its a perfect example of how a small omission on the internet can spiral into a series of larger errors.

Amazingly, the mainstream press did not -- to its credit --  get the significant details incorrect.

I had been given X&Y -- I ripped it to MP3s (and AACs), and played it in a DVD and a Car stereo -- so I knew at least the US version was not DRM protected.

The site that posted the original DRM lament was itch.in. The domain ".IN" denotes India -- not the U.S. or Britain.

Indeed, as the itch post stated:

"Virgin Records deserves a spanking. I’ll do what I want with the content I pay for, thank you very much. When will they realize that if it’s in bits and bytes, nothing’s ever secure?

Un. Fucking. Believable. This is India, Virgin. INDIA. Piracy started here, dammit. You can’t play Nazi with India." (emphasis added)

Not only did boingboing miss the India connection, but they also overstated the restrictions. Its not that you are not allowed to play the CD in car stereos or DVD players; Rather, the DRM crippled CD might not work in those devices.

Further, have a close look at the leaflet --

click for larger photo


Source: Itch.in


I sent this info to Cory, and after the long New Year's weekend, he posted a correction, with even more details, at boingboing at 10:19:22 PM on January 5, 2006.

"A knowledgeable source has identified this as a Macrovision DRM and disclaimer, and noted that the label only bought licenses to sell this CD with that DRM in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

However, the original report originates in India, which suggests that the CDs are either being exported out of the region, or that the label is issuing the discs without a license for their DRM.

But that was after the vlog Rocketboom picked up the week old tale -- and the details became even more muddied.

Rocketboom's lovely Amanda Congdon -- was that you on Lexington Avenue & 44rd the week of December 21st? -- repeated boingboing's overstatement. Again, its not that you are not allowed to play the CD in car stereos or DVD players; Rather, the DRM crippled CD might not work in those devices.

If you want ot be upset over this DRM issue, than my suggestion is to criticize the misleading labelling of the CD as a Compact disc -- when it is in fact not. That's the larger, legal issue not being discussed: Where are the trademark holders (Philips and Sony?) in this? They need to step up to the plate and defend their IP.

Indeed, as this snapshot shows, the packaging not only claims that it is  a compact disc, but is compatible with all these other players, as well as Mac OS:

click for larger photo

Source: Itch.in

here's the ironic part: The NYT's What's Online, to its credit, gets the details correct:

"ANTI-PIRACY FOLLIES Sometimes, real life is just too funny to be parodied. This week Boingboing.net takes a look at a new CD by the band Coldplay. Inside, some music fans outside the United States and Britain will find a hilariously long list of "rules" that are enforced by EMI's antipiracy software. Among them are no converting songs into MP3 format and no ripping and storing songs on a hard drive or CD. "Some" CD players, car stereos, DVD players and PC's will not play the CD. It cannot be played on a Mac. EMI, with no apparent irony, tells CD buyers that the rules are enforced "in order for you to enjoy high quality music."

I suspect that after the MSM screwed up the Bush National Guard forgery last year, the Press might have become increasingly conscious of fact checking. (That's just a guess on my part).

Kudos to the NYT for getting one right, and to boingboing for their correction.   

One minor nit to pick in the NYT's piece: X&Y is not a new CD -- it came out on June 7, 2005; It would have been more accurate to state it was Coldplay's "latest release" than a new CD . . .

A Blog That Blogs Corporate Blogs:
Published: January 7, 2006

ColdPlay CD DRM -- more information
Cory Doctorow
boing boing, Thursday, January 5, 2006  t 10:19:22 PM   http://www.boingboing.net/2006/01/05/coldplay_cd_drm_more.html

coldplay's new music CD has usage rules
amanda congdonRocketboom, thursday january 05, 2006 http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/archives/2006/01/rb_06_jan_05.html

Coldplay's new CD has rules: No MP3s, no DVD players, no car stereos
Cory Doctorow
boing boing, Friday, December 30, 2005  11:05:35 AM   

Bad, bad Coldplay

Saturday, January 07, 2006 | 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
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I've got to say, this is one among the two published entries (the other one's at RedHerring.com) that actually put things into perspective. You know it's gone too far when Amazon's listing of X&Y drops in popularity.

However, the repercussions of Copy Control technology are very real. Disabling autorun isn't enough - you've got to have auto insert notification turned off from the start (Tweak UI, downloadable from microsoft.com does this). Otherwise, you'd find yourself reinstalling windows, as I did yesterday - just to be able to access that CD on your windows computer.

Posted by: Arif | Jan 7, 2006 2:51:33 PM

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