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Sony copy protection taking heat again: now DVDs won't play

Erik Hanson
April 16, 2007
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Reports continue to filter in about DVDs that refuse to play on standard players from Toshiba, LG, Pioneer, Sony, and others. The culprit is titles that utilize Sony's ARccOS copy protection scheme, such as Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," The Weinstein Company's "Lucky Number Slevin," and Sony's "Casino Royale," "The Holiday," and "Stranger Than Fiction." ARccOS artificially scrambles sectors on the disc in an attempt to keep users from ripping the disc to a drive. Many older (or less sophisticated) players simply skip these corrupted areas as unreadable and continue on. Computers -- and unfortunately, some newer players -- try to perform error correction on these areas and fail playback. When contacted, Sony seems to deny the problem, much like Microsoft and the 360 disc scratching, and simply passes the buck onto the player manufacturers to upgrade their firmware. Meanwhile, many users have simply downloaded programs to bypass the protection and make copies without the "defect." So, is this a rootkit-like class action lawsuit in the making? Is it just overblown hype over a few players that don't follow standards? Another example of copy protection that bites legitimate users and ignores the real problem? And do average consumers even care?

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