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Known Bad CDs
Here is a list of all the bad CDs that we are aware of in the UK
at the moment. Help us find more! See this page for details. Please post new
reports to firstname.lastname@example.org, and also
let us know if you have any new information about any of the CDs
listed below, or if you can confirm our reports. Thanks!
Note that Macs seem to be more resistant to some types of this
so-called "copy-protection" than PCs, so if you find that you can
extract the tracks on your Mac, don't be too surprised!
- "Greatest Hits" by Five: This is corrupt in the UK,
with similar Cactus protection to the Natalie Imbruglia CD, including
lo-fi 80kbps audio for Windows PCs and laptops, and problems with
PlayStation2 machines. There is no warning label, although the Midbar
copyright can be seen on the back if no pricing labels cover it. The
BMG hotline (0151 225 1159) offers `clean' (uncorrupted) replacement
CDs to anyone who takes the trouble to complain. It would be better
to get Woolworths, Virgin and HMV to stock the clean uncorrupted CD in
the first place, though -- so make sure you ask before buying it for
someone for Christmas.
- "White Lilies Island" by Natalie Imbruglia: This is
protected by Cactus in the UK. There is no warning label. See our
full report HERE. The
latest news (17-Nov-2001) is that both Virgin and HMV are
planning to replace their stock of this CD with a clean uncorrupted
version, so if you buy it, make sure you get the new version. Other
retailers, such as WHSmith and Tower appear to still be selling the
corrupt version. For the original corrupt CD, on Mac OS X, some
Windows PCs, Playstation 2 machines and some DVD players, track one
cannot be played at all. The CD cannot be recorded digitally to
MiniDisk. Audio cannot be extracted on many machines and OSs both due
to TOC corruption and errors in the audio tracks. On Windows, the
machine picks up a data partition that contains a custom MP3-style
player and 30Mb data file of poor-quality 80kbps 32kHz encoded audio.
Bugs have been found in this player on W2000/SP2. The Australian
version is not protected.
- "Greatest Hits (Chapter One)" by the Backstreet
Boys: Reported corrupt in the UK, with a warning in the fine print
on the back. However it seems that audio can be extracted on some
- "World Of Our Own" by Westlife: This is protected by
Cactus, but a different variety of Cactus to the Natalie Imbruglia CD.
This one typically won't play at all on a computer, and doesn't
include the lo-fi MP3 player application. There is no label, just the
copyright for Midbar on the back in the fine print. Similar reports
have been received from Portugal and Finland. In Finland, corrupt
stock has apparently been withdrawn.
- "The Best of Blondie": Suspected corrupt CD. One person
reports that it plays fine in his car CD player, but sounds awful on
his 9-year-old Philips player. This may be due to corrupt
error-correction codes. Can anyone else add to this report?
- "Genesis.1" CD single by VNVNation: This protected
by Cactus in Germany and the UK, and probably elsewhere as well, as it
was done with the approval of the artists (who since have apologised
for their mistake - see www.dependent.de). The UK version
of Genesis.1 is certainly protected (2 reports), but it appears that
Genesis.2 is not. Success?
- "Rain on Lens" by Smog: The UK release appears to
be protected. A computer completely fails to recognise the disk, and
the first two tracks fail to play in a 5-year-old CD player. There is
no warning label. Another person however reports no problems with
this CD on his equipment.
- "Superstylin" CD single by Groove Armada: Reported
copy-protected. According to one report, the copy-protection is
mentioned inside the front cover, so it is not possible to read
this before buying the CD. However, a Mac user reports no problems
extracting audio from the CD.
- "Celebrity" by N'Sync: Apparently protected in the
UK, with a printed warning on the back of the case. Plays okay on
PS2. Not possible to copy to MiniDisk from PS2 output. Not possible
to extract audio on Windows ME.
- "Pieces in a modern style" by William Orbit:
Suspected corrupt CD. Problems playing and extracting audio on a PC,
but plays fine on hi-fi equipment.
- "Simple Things" by Zero Seven: Suspected
copy-protected CD. When using digital playback on Windows, a lot of
noise is introduced, but analogue playback has no problem. Other
people report no problems with this CD, however.
- "The Best of Deacon Blue": Reported to have a "Won't play
on Mac or PC" sticker on the front in the UK.
- "Meddle" by Pink Floyd, "Very Best of ..."
by Robert Palmer and "Anthology" (2cds) by Bob
Newhart: These have all been found to be uncopyable on a consumer
hi-fi CD recorder. However, they can be copied to MiniDisk. Can
anyone confirm the status of these CDs on other equipment? (Meddle is
confirmed copy-protected in Germany, although a French version appears
to be fine.)
- 4-Hero's new album: Promo copies of the new album are
protected with a system that causes a two-second interruption every
minute. This appears to be a simple audio muting rather than any more
complex technique, however.
- Michael Jackson promo single "You Rock My World":
We have verified reports that promo copies of this CD are uncopyable
using a computer. The CD just spins in the drive without any success.
The same result was found on several different machines. No audio at
all could be extracted from the CD on any of the computers. It was
also impossible to play the CD normally on a computer, although the CD
played fine on a variety of professional and domestic audio CD
equipment. Copying via S/PDIF appears to work without noticeable
distortion. It seems that this CD doesn't use audio corruption, but
instead another type of session/TOC corruption. This is now known to
be protected by Key2Audio.
A Sony spokesperson claims that protection will not be used on the
public version of the CD.
- Charley Pride CD "A tribute to Jim Reeves": It turns
out that this CD (the subject of a lawsuit
in the US) is available in the UK from amazon.co.uk.
This uses the SunnComm protection that stops the CD from being played
in DVDs and computers. When put into a computer it redirects Windows
users to a web-site to download audio files for Windows Media Player
(about 3 hours download on a 56K modem). There is a very small label
on the package, which fails to fully describe the limitations of the
CD, with no mention at all on the Amazon site. See Dan Ackroyd's
Recent news is that the audio data is corrupted on the CD, and it
registers around 7/9 on the corruption scale of a pro-machine.
See also Fat
Chuck's site for more information on US releases. Since this is
such a big job, with different releases in different countries having
different levels of protection, we're trying to concentrate on the UK
CDs copy-protected elsewhere, and probably protected in the UK,
but not confirmed here yet
Please let us know if you've bought any of these CDs in the UK:
- "Swing when you're winning" by Robbie Williams:
Reported corrupt in Switzerland. Massive errors on the last 5 tracks
(probably error-correction code corruption). Extraction is possible
on a Mac.
- "Eyes the colour of the sky" by Valeriya: Reported
corrupt in Russia. There is a warning that it will not play on a
computer on the packaging. Extraction is impossible under both
Windows and Linux. The on-line retailer www.books.ru does not include
the warning message on their site, although they did agree to exchange
the CD for a clean one.
- "White Ladder" by David Gray: Reported corrupt in
Portugal. Plays on a normal CD player, but refuses to play on
computer CD-ROM or DVD drives.
- "Contact!" by Eiffel 65: Reported corrupt in
Germany/Switzerland/Austrian, although the Italian version is
- "Jukebox Heroes" by BeigeGT: Reported protected in
Germany. Small printed warning on reverse.
- "Gregorians Master of chant II" from Edel Germany: Reported
protected in Germany and Greenland.
- "Fredhead" by Right Said Fred: Reported protected in
- "The Dome 19": Reported copy-protected in Germany. First
in the series to be protected (1-18 are unprotected).
- Latest CD by Dutch group VOLUMIA!: Protected by Cactus in
Holland, very similar to Natalie Imbrulia CD, including TOC + track
corruption, and lo-fi 80kbps/32kHz encoded version for Windows.
- "Birthmarks" by Ozark Henry: This CD is protected
using Key2Audio in Belgium. Can anyone confirm the status of the UK
release of this CD?
- "STRATEGIES AGAINST ARCHITECTURE III 1991-2001" by
EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN: Reported protected, with "this cd is not
playable on computers" printed on the back of the packaging in tiny
letters. The label claims that this was a joke -- to be
- K's Choice's new 2CD-album "Live": Protected with
Key2Audio. Only available in Belgium for the moment.
- Yessongs by Yes and Greatest Hits by Hall & Oates: Reported proteced in Belgium.
CDs copy-protected elsewhere, but unprotected in the UK
- "druqks" by Aphex Twin: Reported protected by
key2audio in Germany. Can't be played on a computer, nor copied to
MiniDisc or a hi-fi CD recorder. UK release appears to be
unprotected (although does skip a bit in an old CD player).
- "All this Time" by Sting: This CD appears to be
protected in Denmark and Switzerland. The last 2-4 tracks won't play
on a Windows PC, and the tracks can't be extracted either. It plays
fine on a CD player and Pioneer DVD. It appears not to be protected
in the UK.
- "Just Hit Play" by Aerosmith: The US release of
this CD is reported as copy-protected for Windows, although it can be
ripped successfully on a Mac. The UK release is unprotected.
- Heather Nova CD "South" (Label V2 / ZOMBA): The
German and Swiss releases of this CD are protected. The CD won't play
on computers or CD/DVD drives. The UK version of the CD is
unprotected. The Dutch version is also reported to be