Ed Driscoll


THE SMARTEST CD EVER MADE: Glenn Reynolds picks up the recent flap over the new Celine Dion CD, which will apparently crash any computer that tries to play it.

And when you reboot the computer it’ll crash it again. And you won’t be able to get it out of the CD drive — without prying it out with a paperclip — because, of course, it’s crashed the computer!

They’ve shipped an intentionally defective product and it’s causing lots of people problems with their computers. Not only will they be sued all over the place for this, and probably lose, but it occurs to me that there may be criminal liability under some of the antihacking and “computer sabotage” statutes. Anyone seen anything on that?

The normally extremely astute InstaPundit may be missing the big picture here. This may be a CD containing a computer program so intelligent that it makes the Turing Test look like something given to pre-schoolers. It’s smart enough to not want to listen to Celine Dion. And it knows you don’t want to listen to her, either!

Seriously, the ham-handed attempts by the record industry to prevent listeners from copying products that they already own (I have a CD burner, as well as a 300 CD carousel “jukebox”–I make copies to keep in my car, so that I don’t have to go rummaging through the jukebox to have some music to play while I’m driving has to be ultimately hurting the record companies, in the form of lawsuits and bad press than it helps. And people are already paying royalties on blank media for the ability to copy the stuff. Back in early January, Reynolds said:

I think some enterprising class-action plaintiffs’ lawyer should sue and demand that they disgorge all their blank-media royalties, or something equally rotten. Serves ’em right, as they’re rather fond of baseless lawsuits themselves.

The other problem that the record companies are facing is their current product is pretty lousy. It’s very rare for me to hear new music that I want to buy. And I suspect a lot of other people feel the same way. The poor ratings of this year’s Grammy Awards tend to indicate that as well.