Rights issue dogs CD protection — "Yes, I know you’re doing this to protect my IP, but you still are making two copies." It’s times like these that tell you who your real friends are!
A dispute over royalty rights on copy-protected CDs and other types of music discs is helping to stall the release of some new music technology, and could result in record labels owing tens of millions of dollars in back payments to music publishers.
At issue are “double session” CDs that include two versions of each song on a disc, formatted for playback on different kinds of devices. The most widely distributed type are copy-protected discs that prevent CD tracks from being copied to a hard drive, but that also include a digital version of the songs, often in Microsoft’s Windows Media format, that can be transferred to a computer or portable digital music player.
Music publishers and songwriters, who are entitled to payments of a few cents for every copy of a song sold, contend that since these double-format discs hold two copies of songs, they should be paid for both copies. They’ve been negotiating with record labels for months, but already hundreds of millions of discs have been released around the world, raising the possibility of huge back payments.
Even more striking is this portion of the writeup, citing something that I bet the RIAA didn’t really expect would get stated quite so baldly:
In most of the double-session discs being released, the extra formats included on the disc are aimed at making it easier for consumers to use their music on multiple devices as digital audio technologies proliferate.
The copy-protection technology produced by Macrovision and others blocks people from ripping MP3s, a format that consumers can duplicate at will. The second session includes digital files that can be used on a computer or an MP3 player, with certain restrictions aimed at preventing tracks from being distributed endlessly on file-swapping networks such as Kazaa. While these discs remain controversial among American consumers, slowing release of the technology in the United States, the technology is far more widely accepted in Europe and Japan.
Similarly, on some Super Audio Compact Discs (SACD), a high-fidelity format sold in many record stores, ordinary CD-quality audio versions of songs are also included, so that the discs can be played in car stereos and other older players. Even hybrid DVDs are hitting markets, with such features as the entire soundtrack for a movie included along with the film itself.
This may be more convenient for consumers, but it worries publishers and songwriters. Their livelihoods have relied on people buying versions of their songs in multiple formats–once on a DVD, and again on the soundtrack album, for example. They’re worried that their income will be substantially reduced if people are able to buy a disc that combines multiple formats. [emphasis added]
Slashdot’s gleeful writeup: Record Labels May Have to Pay Double Royalties