Computer Killah CDs

The new Celine Dion CD, which features copy-prevention technology that renders the CD unplayable on computers, kills iMacs dead. Apple has confirmed the problem and disclaims all responsibility and liability. Apple claims that these CDs are not really CDs and that attempting to play them on an iMac is a “misapplication of the product”. According to Apple:

Some audio discs use a copy protection technology that can prevent the disc from being read by a computer. This may also prevent the disc from being ejected. The audio discs are technically and legally not Compact Discs (CD format), and the CD logo has been removed from the disc. In the logo’s former place is the printed message: “Will not play on PC/Mac”

The CD logo is missing from these so-called CDs because Philips, the co-creator of the CD format, won’t allow the CD logo to be used on these deliberately damaged discs.

Philips, because of conformity issues, has warned the record labels that the discs are actually not CDs at all and must bear warning labels to inform consumers.

“We’ve made sure they would put a very clear warning that you’re not buying a compact disc, but something different,” Wirtz said. “We’ve been warning some labels to begin with, and they’ve adjusted their behavior.”

That means labels would also be barred from using the familiar “compact disc” logo that has been stamped on every CD since Philips and Sony jointly developed the technology in 1978.

Amusingly, the technology used to make these CDs unplayable on and damaging to computers can be easily thwarted with a felt tip pen (in German, bad English translation available here).

As one Philips executive opined, “We worry (the labels) don’t know what they’re doing.” That would seem to be a legitimate worry.