The highly controversial XCP digital rights management (DRM) technology bundled by Sony BMG on 52 of its audio CD albums can be defeated by applying a small piece of tape to the discs, according to analyst firm Gartner.
Applying a piece of opaque tape to the outer edge of the disk renders the data track of the CD unreadable. A computer trying to play the CD will then skip to the music without accessing the bundled DRM technology.
"After more than five years of trying, the recording industry has not yet demonstrated a workable DRM scheme for music CDs," Gartner concluded in a newly published research note.
The use of a piece of tape will defeat any future DRM system on audio CDs designed to be played on a stand-alone CD player, the analyst said.
Gartner predicted that the music industry will start to lobby for legislation that requires computer makers to include DRM technology on their systems.
But the analyst advised that, instead of limiting what users can do with music they have already purchased, record labels should focus on tracking this use.
This would enable a "play-based" model where users are charged a fee based on how they consume music.
The technology sought to prevent users from making illegal copies of the music on Windows computers, but posed a major security risk and was capable of damaging the computer when users attempted to remove the software.
Gartner called the DRM scheme a "public relations and technology failure".
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