The Campaign for Digital Rights (CDR) is planning a "day of action" tomorrow against record stores all over the country to complain about copy-protected CDs.
Protestors plan to hand out leaflets against the technology outside HMV and Virgin stores in Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Newcastle and Rugby. The message apparently is: "The paying public are not your guinea pigs."
Copy-protected CDs are basically the music industry's way of protecting its status quo. Technological advances have made data transmission and manipulation very cheap and fast, with knock-on effects on the music industry's level of control.
But rather than come up with a new, expansive way of looking at the dissemination of music in society, the music industry has opted for enforced control mechanisms. Copy protection comes in various forms for CDs (often to the detriment of the quality of the "listening experience"). It will prevent the CDs being played on certain devices, such as CD-ROM drive, or ripped to be sent over the Internet or played before 9pm if it contains rude words (we made that last one up).
As soon as a new system is introduced someone finds a way of breaking it, but everytime the sound quality gets worse. Which is a bad thing.
A press release from CDR says: "If the record industries want to experiment with copy protection, let them do so in their laboratories, and not at the expense of the general public. And if they want to sell these CDs, let them make the warning labels prominent and truthful."
The campaign is building a database of CD titles and equipment which include copyright protection while it will then make publicly available - something that the music industry doesn't seem keen on doing itself.