[vorbis] More on CD anti-copying techniques

Craig Dickson crdic at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 1 20:19:50 PDT 2001

Ross Levis wrote:

> Some CDs will include all the songs encoded with Windows Media, removing the
> the need for ripping.  Sounds like it has the potential to stomp out
> competition from other formats such as MP3 & OGG.
> http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-201-7320279-0.html

It has the potential to annoy the hell out of a lot of consumers. They
chose WMA because of its DRM features, meaning that it will be a pain to
move the files from one machine to another.

Additionally, placing WMA files on the CD significantly reduces the
amount of room on the CD for music, assuming the files are encoded at a
reasonable bit rate -- and even at reasonable bit rates, WMA doesn't
sound all that good. We're talking 10-20% of the CD here, so the audio
time available drops from 78 to 60-70 minutes.

And of course WMA files are useful only on Microsoft OS's. Is there even
a Mac decoder for WMA? There certainly isn't one for Linux. You might
think that Linux is such a small share of the market that that doesn't
matter, but remember that the average Linux or BSD user has a higher
level of technical skill than the average Windows or Mac user -- high
enough, in some cases, to work around whatever obstacles the CD makers
want to set in their path, and since WMA isn't available for those OS's,
those users still have an incentive to find a way to rip CDs even if the
WMA files sounded decent. And once MP3 or Vorbis files exist, they will
spread via the Internet.

So these protections, and the use of WMA as a lame attempt to defuse
consumer anger, aren't really going to accomplish much.


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