Campaign for Digital Rights
Buying a new CD? Watch out for inferior imitations Friday October 19, 2018

Please note that these CD campaign pages have been frozen as of 14-1-2005, and will not be updated for the time being. However, they will still remain here as an information resource for people still encountering problems with their CDs.

corrupt disc, inferior audiocorrupt disc, inferior audio

Corrupt audio discs, aka "Copy-Protected CDs"

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Links + Background Reading

Here are a list of links that we have found interesting or relevant. Please note, however, that these only scratch the surface of the information that is available. You will find many more articles on any subject of your choosing by doing searches on Google or other search engines.

International campaign sites:

  A US site keeping a list of corrupt CDs for the US market
  A German campaign with an impressive bad-CD database (from c't magazine)
  A Norwegian campaign based on creating a petition. See also their English-language petition, launched Oct-2004.
  A Swedish campaign, mostly in Swedish, but with a few English pages
  A Brazilian campaign that successfully sued EMI and Sony
  A Canadian campaign site
  A Finnish campaign site (Electronic Frontier Finland)
  A New Zealand campaign site
  A French campaign site
  An Israeli campaign site, in Hebrew
  Another UK campaign -- with a forum
  A smaller Canadian campaign
  A French consumer site with a 'corrupt CD' section (type 'CD' into the 'recherche' box)
  Another German campaign with a database of bad CDs
  Yet another German campaign ... and another.

  DigitalConsumer -- campaigning for fair use rights
  Downhill Battle -- a well-organised campaign promoting major change in the record industry.
  A campaign persuading people to stop buying CDs altogether!

Other lists of links:

  MIT's CD copy-protection page
  CD Media World's list of CD-protection links

Technical descriptions of the CD format and analysis:

  Some UNIX software to do standards-conformance testing of CDs
  DiscTronics' guide to the various CD standards
  An explanation of Reed-Solomon error-correction codes
  A posting to our mailing list
  An article looking at the Macrovision/Midbar Cactus 200 format in depth

Recent articles:

  The BBC report that Sony have given up copy-controlled CD releases
  The Register's detailed review of Cactus-300 v7, a new copy-control approach from MacroVision
  "Forget the spin, taping is not killing music" from the Sydney Morning Herald
  Halderman of Princeton looks at SunnComm's MediaMax CD3 'protection'
  A Canadian newspaper article that resulted from the campaign there.
  An Australian article about the problems with EMI 'copy-control' discs.
  Germans find laws which might be used to fight corrupt CDs (in German); see also here
  "Fan to receive compensation for copy-protected CD" (Brazil); see here for an English translation
  Dust Traxx and other labels disapprove of RIAA tactics
  CD 'copy control' forces people to copy CDs, from Australia.
  An analysis of RIAA figures showing the record industry collapsed after Napster, not before (see also our press release)
  BBC reports that the music industry is losing its grip
  John Snyder, board member of NARAS, says "Embrace File-Sharing or Die"
  An economist's view of the situation
  Computing Which? in this report campaign for 'fair use' rights to be put into UK law
  Copy Protection Robs the Future by Dan Bricklin
  A paper analysing corrupt CDs from Felten's group (also cached in PDF format)
  CD Copy-Protection plans appear to be slowing down in the US -- success, perhaps?
  The British Federatation of Audio take a technical look at 'problem CDs'
  Dave Shapton's excellent article in Sound-on-Sound; scroll down to "copy rights, copy wrongs".
  Philips gives technical backing to the fight against corrupt CDs [original link now broken, but see local cache or web archive copy]
  See also this Wired article
  Earlier similar story in German (Mar-2002: now no longer accessible)
  A very good article in the LA Times [link now broken]. Also touches on the moral basis for copyright; very readable.
  Watchdog's feature on the CD issue in the UK [link now broken, but see web archive copy]
  Toby Slater's MusicWeek article, unfortunately not available on the MusicWeek site itself.

Musicians and songwriters taking a fresh look at the situation:

  Janis Ian's comprehensive article, giving her songwriter's view on the internet-music and corrupt-CD issues
  An article on Exile Inside, a successful band financed by their fans and based on the internet


  A satirical view, although not much more ludicrous than the situation we're actually dealing with
  "Can't do Shit", the future of computing -- again not too far from reality.

CD-drive compatibility with corrupt CDs

  Tom's Hardware Guide looks at how well different drives can handle making backups of 'copy-protected' discs

Some of the companies developing corrupt CD formats

  Midbar Tech, Israel (Cactus Data Shield) -- now owned by MacroVision
  Midbar's patent, including feature of damaging output circuitry
  The Key2Audio site. This is Sony's 'CD copy-protection' system.

Courtney Love's insider's view of the record industry [link now broken, but see web archive copy]

Michael Jackson corrupt promo CD-single coverage:,aid,63523,00.asp,,t269-s2095931,00.html

A very good article covering most concerns, and also the proposed dual-format CDs based on Microsoft proprietary technology:

Universal's announcement of 100% CD copy-protection within 6 months [link now broken, but see web archive copy]

SunnComm's CEO's views on the matter, and the lawsuit against them:,4586,5096761,00.html [link now broken, but see web archive copy]

Other relevant articles:

General background from the media to copy-protected CD issue

Theory and History of copyright

What's wrong with copy-protection, and related concerns

Technical details of CD error-correction [link now broken]

CD-R media levies in Canada, and European attempts [link now broken, but see web archive copy]

Comment on the case of Dmitry Sklyarov [link now broken, but see web archive copy]

Academic `chilling' effect of DMCA and EUCD legislation [now subscriber-only, but see this PDF],1285,44344,00.html,1283,46091,00.html

DMCA-related articles [link now broken, but see web archive copy]

SSSCA text and related info ("They want to turn your computer into a WebTV, and the internet into yet another content-distribution channel").,1283,46655,00.html [if broken, see mirror]

"What you should know about the Hague convention":