Roger Ebert has noticed the foolishness of copy-protected CDs. He goes even further than I did when I corresponded with Universal Records about it in January.
The late, unlamented DivX scheme represented the same idiotic marketing reasoning that the Universal Music Group has implemented. So did the Hollywood studios' original opposition to home video. We live in a time of buzz, when musical reputations are formed below the radar of the accountants of the music industry. The way to launch a new CD is to get it talked about�not to insult potential fans by making it unplayable on their equipment even after they buy it legitimately.
Peter Cohen reports that Universal plans to offer refunds to customers who buy a disc and find they cannot play it. He also observes, "Many retailers employ a no-return policy once the CD's wrapper is off." And wisely so, since it would be the easiest thing in the world to buy a disc, rip it to your computer through your stereo, post it on the Web, and then return the CD for a refund. Did I just say that?