Digital rights groups have again hit out at the recording industry, after Natalie Imbruglia's latest album was found to be protected by the controversial Cactus Data Shield, but carried no warning.
Consumers have also complained that the album 'White Lilies Island' CD is unplayable in PC CD drives, except in poor quality format through a proprietary player included on the disc.
Along with the usual grouches about not being able to copy the CD to minidisc or rip it to MP3, users seem most concerned about the fact that the packaging does not warn buyers about the protection measures included on the disc.
The UK Campaign for Digital Rights darkly suggested that the recording industry may be throwing a number of protection mechanisms out into the market to "let us test them for them."
"CD format testing the open-source way - many hands make light work," said one member of the group. "This makes me sick. I wonder if Natalie Imbruglia is okay with this being done to her work?"
Other artists that have come under fire for using as yet untested protection methods include Michael Jackson and goth favourite VNV Nation, who have since apologised for backing the scheme.
The band said:"Recently we've received a large number of more or less incensed e-mails regarding the copy protection scheme. The end result is that many listeners are unable to play the CD on their computers. We'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to those fans, and acknowledge that this information should have been visible on the CD packaging."
But the public has yet to be convinced of the protection scheme, insisting that the CDs are effectively being 'crippled'.
"If I were to buy a car, Ford wouldn't tell me where I could drive it. If I wanted to drive it off-road or turn it into a convertible or give it a custom paint-job, Ford would not tell me I couldn't," said one consumer who fell foul of the scheme.
"If they want to push these deliberately crippled products into market, let them make them cheaper than non-crippled CD's. Reduced functionality equals reduced price," he said.
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