To copy the 'protected' BMG Hamilton CD -
All you have to do to copy BMG's uncopy-able Anthony Hamilton CD is press the shift key when you're inserting it.
SunnComm crows that it's successfully completed "the external testing phase" of a way to prevent consumers from copying CDs while still retaining replay compatibility with most CD and DVD players.
Elsewhere, BMG brags its Arista Records is "the company's first label in the U.S." to release a commercial CD using copy management technology.
SunnComm and BMG were both talking about the former's much-vaunted technology demonstrated publicly on the latter's $14 CD, "Anthony Hamilton's Comin' From Where I'm From.
But within hours of the announcement, copies could be readily found on various p2p networks - not that Hamilton had enjoyed a sudden upsurge in popularity. Rather, saying, 'You can't copy this CD' was like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
It also prompted John Halderman at Princeton University's department of computer science to check it out in detail.
And, "most affected users can bypass the system entirely by holding the shift key while inserting the CD," he states, having analysed Comin' From Where I'm From.
"MediaMax's protections are ineffective because the driver program can easily be disabled or, depending on the system configuration, it might never be installed to begin with," Halderman says here.
"As a result, audio content is vulnerable to copying in virtually 100% of deployed systems. SunnComm's press release may be technically correct - if their testers always ran the MediaMax application before trying to copy audio, they likely would see protection in every case. However, in practice the software often fails to start, and when it does start, users can manually surpress it. Here are some examples:
"Computers running Linux or Mac OS 9 can't run the MediaMax software at all, so they can always copy the recording.
"Many users disable the autorun feature  (autostart on Mac OS), so their systems will be able to copy the disc unless the user manually launches MediaMax.
"Windows users who haven't disabled autorun can suspend it when they play a SunnComm-protected disc by holding down the shift key for a few seconds while inserting the CD. They can then copy the data normally.
"In all these cases, the audio tracks are left completely unprotected.
"These vulnerabilities will be difficult or impossible to repair. SunnComm's software can't take any corrective action if it isn't started, and all these flaws involve ways that it is prevented from running in the first place. To make matters worse, MediaMax, unlike earlier copy-prevention techniques, works entirely in software. This means a moderately skilled programmer could, in only a few minutes, write an application to watch for and unload the SbcpHid driver, neutralizing MediaMax's copy resistance while leaving all the disc's other features intact."
Nor, says Halderman, are SunnComm's claims of robust protection collapse when subjected to scrutiny, and their system's weaknesses, purely academic, citing the rapid appearance of Hamiton's release on Kazaa.
"If SunnComm or BMG really believed this disc was difficult to copy, then its actual weakness should be as embarrassing as the discovery in 2002 that Sony's key2audio scheme can be defeated using only a felt-tipped pen," he adds.