Philips CDR880 CD-R/RW CD recorder Sneaky People

Sidebar 2: Sneaky People

I doubt that SCMS is at all effective against piracy. For one thing, there are lots of professional CD recorders out there without SCMS; for another, pirates don't really care much about sound quality. By now, everyone knows someone who has bought a bootleg videotape of Titanic. Were any of them even watchable? (New York magazine reported that 30% of the pirated copies of Titanic that have been seized by the NYPD were blank.)

Nah, SCMS penalizes ordinary folks who want to record their own, legally purchased CDs for their personal reuse.

Phooey, I say.

I would never do anything illegal, and it is certainly not my intention to encourage others to do so. But I have heard—heard, mind you—that some of the devices that reclock digital data to eliminate jitter will strip the SCMS subcode out of the signal as the unwanted artifact that it is. Remember, I don't actually recommend that you use such a tool, but as a purely theoretical exercise, it would work.

And just to set the record straight, so to speak, when I was trying to eliminate the differences in data storage from the equation, I discovered that it is possible to record data-grade CD-Rs by "tricking" the Philips CDR880. I recount this only to show how I was able to do so—it would be wrong, wrong, for you to do likewise.

If you place a consumer-audio disc in the '880 and let the player run the OPC function, you can then pry the drawer open by pulling on its bottom. Replace the consumer disc with a data-grade disc and you can record—but only if you record all the way through. Stop or pause the disc and the '880 will try to update the data—unsuccessfully. Record straight through and finalize the disc before removing it from the drawer and you have a disc that (almost) any CD player will recognize—that is, if you were the sort of person who would do such a thing. Since you read Stereophile, however, we all know that you wouldn't dream of it. It would be wrong.

Besides, the CDR880 has the Recorder Unique Identifier (RID) function. This 97-bit code is recorded onto the disc every 100 frames and uniquely identifies the recorder on which any specific disc was made. You'll be signing every copy you make.—Wes Phillips

Philips Electronics
64 Perimeter Center East
Atlanta, GA 30346-6401
(770) 821-2400
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