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"This audio CD is protected by SunnComm MediaCloQ Ver 1.0. It is designed to play in standard audio CD players only and is not intended for use in DVD players. Licensed copies of all music on this CD are available for downloading. Simply insert CD into your computer to begin."
——Fahrenheit CD disclaimer
CONSUMER FILES SUIT AGAINST COPY-PROTECTED CD
Disclaimer on Disc Incomplete, Also "Tribute" to Jim Reeves Seemed Phoned In
Those darned consumers, always wanting things to be convenient and fair and without infringement into personal privacy!

In yet another blow to the copy-protection camp, a California woman has filed a lawsuit against an independent record label for embedding technology in CDs that blocks people from listening to songs on a computer.

According to CNET, the suit, filed in California Superior Court in Marin County, alleges that Fahrenheit Entertainment misled consumers by failing to include an adequate disclaimer on CDs encoded with digital copyright-protection software. The suit also cites SunnComm, the software company that created the protection program as a preliminary measure to prevent people from distributing digital copies of the songs over the Internet.

The lawsuit said the protected album, Charley Pride: A Tribute to Jim Reeves, does not offer a disclaimer that it will not operate on computer CD players. It also requires a consumer to register personal information in a proprietary website before downloading the songs onto a computer, raising privacy concerns, the suit says.

"The law requires companies who are selling products to give the consumer material information that is relevant to making decisions about whether to buy the product or not, and Fahrenheit did not do that," attorney Ira Rothken said Friday (9/7a).

Since having their catalogs digitally pilfered by Napster, record labels have gotten more and more enamored with embedding copyright-protection technology in CDs, especially doing so without consumer knowledge. While many companies have been offering encryption solutions, most of the solutions have proven problematic, especially where actually playing the CDs is concerned. Many of the CDs will not play on PCs or on older CD players.

SunnComm's technology prohibits people from listening to a CD on a computer without registering on a separate website first, making it difficult to freely copy the album. The company already has a revenue deal with German media giant Bertelsmann.

Executives from Fahrenheit and SunnComm said they had not seen the complaint filed by Rothken.

"There's a disclaimer on the outside, and we're not preventing anyone from doing downloads," Fahrenheit chief Peter Trimarco told CNET. "But we're saying you have to go to the website to do it. It's not being designed to be a distraction."

The disclaimer reads as follows: "This audio CD is protected by SunnComm MediaCloQ Ver 1.0. It is designed to play in standard audio CD players only and is not intended for use in DVD players. Licensed copies of all music on this CD are available for downloading. Simply insert CD into your computer to begin."

Rothken criticized the disclaimer for what it left out, such as the inability to play the CD on a computer and the inability to transfer songs onto portable MP3 devices. "Fahrenheit has statements on its CD case which do not address these issues," Rothken said. "The omissions are also unfair business practices."

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against Fahrenheit and SunnComm that would keep them from tracking consumer habits and require them to provide adequate privacy notices on the CD case.

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