Words by c.z.robertson

Caught out by a crippled CD

2001-10-28 01:00:00 UTC

I've been aware that record companies are selling crippled CDs for some time. These CDs are made in such a way that they don't conform to the Red Book audio CD standard and they take advantage of the differences between audio CD players and CD-ROM drives. Most CD players will play them without problems, but CD-ROM drives will be unable to read or play them. This is done for the purposes of preventing digital copying.

I have always said that I would refuse to buy such a CD, but last week I was caught out by Einstürzende Neubauten's Berlin Babylon soundtrack. It's a great pity, because it's a brilliant piece of music, but I'm going to have to take it back to Selectadisc. I won't accept crippled CDs.

And I don't believe that the words "Diese CD kann nicht auf Computern abgespielt werden" in small type on the back of the packaging constitute an adequate warning that the CD is not fit for its usual purpose. Particularly not in England.

The Campaign for Digital Rights have some very informative pages about these copy-protection mechanisms.