Technologies like this never cease to amaze me. Sony BMG intends to stop the unauthorized duplication of CD’s by making more than one copy impossible (Engadget doesn’t note any technical details). The first workaround for this and any audio CD copy protection is so simple: If you can hear it, you can copy it. Having a CD which somehow limits duplication is just an annoyance for legitimate users — anyone who wishes to duplicate it could, at the very least, plug the audio out from a CD player to the line input on a computer and capture the audio.
Wired News provides slightly more information, mentioning that the discs will make use of Windows Media Audio for copy protection. I wasn’t aware that ripped audio tracks could use WMA — I thought they went straight to unencrypted WAV/AIFF when using a ripper like EAC (for Windows). They also mention that audio tracks will be unplayable on iPods “because Apple Computer has yet to license its FairPlay DRM for use on copy-protected discs.” Right, it’s Apple’s fault for not licensing their DRM. If this new copy protection didn’t exist in the first place, there would be no problem.
I wonder… Will all this copy protection will be as easy to defeat as Sony’s previous investment, which could be bypassed using a standard Sharpie marker?