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Scientists Discover New Method to Uncover Bootleg CDs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 16 comments

{{A new technique proposed by the Department of Optics at University of Granada details a means to identify whether a CD has been recorded using a method different to the process used in the industrial production of CDs and thus, differentiate between the real thing and bootleg.}}

The idea is that the light diffraction from the surface of a real CD is different to what you’d get with a fake. Information on the study will appear in the American Journal of Physics the team from the University of Granada, which has filed a patent application.

One of the biggest problems with CDs was the rate at which people were burning them. Back in the day you could buy an album and then burn ten copies for your family and friends. 11 people get the CD and the record companies only got the profit for one purchase.

With the introduction of MP3 players, sales of CDs plummeted. No one wanted to buy CDs when they could just as easily get the same thing online (a lot of the time for free) and not have to carry around anything but their music player when they wanted to listen to music.

That said, that hasn’t stopped people making bootleg CDs. They can download the songs (again, downloading pirated music isn’t exactly unusual) and burn them to CDs to use in their cars or where ever else and the record company would see zip in profits.

While we’re not sure this new technology is going to stop the regular Joes and Janes from burning CDs for their friends, it could be pretty handy when it comes to people selling bootleg CDs in bulk and trying to pass them off as the real deal.

Read the [official release from the University of Granada here->].

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  • -1 Hide
    squatchman , December 8, 2008 8:38 PM
    I don't know. Unless they could get this technology down to the size of a keychain, I don't really see the market for it. At that size, local officials can test street stand merchandise or some-such without an arrest or sending a sample off for a lengthy and expensive lab examination.

    That still doesn't seem to be easier than checking the underside to see if it isn't silver.
  • 0 Hide
    cl_spdhax1 , December 8, 2008 8:47 PM
    lol, who buys cds anymore? cavemen?!?
  • 0 Hide
    Pei-chen , December 8, 2008 10:35 PM
    LOL, most bootleg CD/DVDs I see on the street are pressed.
  • Display all 16 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    elbert , December 8, 2008 11:07 PM
    This is ok but worthless. CD/DVD emulation kills it dead. Just take a burned CD/DVD and use an image. Doesn't matter what tech you have to read the CD/DVD. The emulation will tell the program its the real disk. Just adds a step that most already use to not have to find disks.
  • 2 Hide
    joex444 , December 8, 2008 11:38 PM
    While I do think it is interesting that they can differentiate between a burned CD and an original pressed one, you have to keep in mind that not all burned CDs are illegal. Backups are perfectly legal to make for personal use -- in fact, I would never put the original in my car. I've tried using CD-RW in my car and by the time I get back the sun has actually erased the disk (I left it in the CD Player). I was surprised by this, so I tried it again, and sure enough it was erased. (It is surprising because the laser erases CD-RW at 400F, but this is very quickly, I'm sure over a couple hours you could erase it at a mere 130F -- like a car in the sun during the summer).

    Oh, and the only way I would ever buy music is on CD, unless the artist is selling it in FLAC, WAV or APE. Regardless of whether I can hear the difference between the original WAV file and an MP3, I'm not going to pay money for something which is lower quality. CD is the best I can get, so that's what I want -- FLAC/WAV/APE are all equivelant to CD.
  • -2 Hide
    kelfen , December 9, 2008 1:18 AM
    epic fail!!!
  • 1 Hide
    RoadKillGrill , December 9, 2008 1:39 AM
    Hasn't this already been done, I remember for a while I could not read burned CDs in my first CD player. Whats it matter that they can intentionally make a cd player than can't read burned cds, there so many cd players on the market that there will be no shortage of functional cd players in the future.
    BTW I burn all my CDs for my car, the car wrecks them in about 6 months a cd. I have allot of signed copies I won't let them near that CD player.
  • 1 Hide
    hemelskonijn , December 9, 2008 6:39 AM
    Creating a cd player that doesn't read burned cd's would not be fair to a lot of people who actually pay extra tax over blank cd's to compensate the loss of sale from downloading.
    Here (Holland, The Netherlands if you prefer) you pay 11 cents per blank disk even if you use the disk for lets say ... a backup of your text documents.

    It would be unethical to let people pay for the use of blank cd's in combination with downloaded music wether they take use of it or not AND fix the hardware so they wont be able to take use of it. :s
  • 1 Hide
    enewmen , December 9, 2008 7:47 AM
    The police should do mass random metal/CD raids of pedestrians to see who carries CDs - also break into cars searching for CDs, then check if they are used with a different burn process. Enforce a zero tolerance policy. I won't be surprised if this really happens soon with the decline of civil liberties.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , December 9, 2008 5:34 PM
    This is moronic! CD burners can clearly tell the difference between different brands of media and adjust their write strategy appropriately, and I'm sure there is some property of the reflected laser beam that would allow a reader's electronics to easily tell the difference between stamped and burned CDS -- say the sharpness of the transition at the edge of each pit. Sounds like someone just filed another useless patent.
  • 0 Hide
    Kary , December 9, 2008 7:59 PM
    I hope the RIAA footed the bill for this and not the American public...
    "Finally, 3 years and 2 million dollars later we know CD-R's and CD-RW's aren't typically used to make CD's by the music industry."
  • 1 Hide
    Tindytim , December 10, 2008 4:24 AM
    I buy all my music on CD (buying music online is retarded).

    But do people even make bootleg CDs anymore? If someone was going to buy music from a shifty salesmen on a Disc that is real, it defeats the purpose of buying a CD. I buy CD's not only for the music, but for the decoration, and for something to put on my shelf.

    I'll just download it if I wanted it that bad.
  • 0 Hide
    bunz_of_steel , December 10, 2008 11:35 AM
    I don't care if the record companies get "zip" when people make illegal copies... good for them! Don't tell me about how they are losing money.... please :(  When was the last time you heard if ever about the record companies laying off workers. Why don't they lay off their VP staff and CEO's?? huh? oic rather tank the company and fire the workers instead of losing the guys sucking the company dry like a Vampire. I play MP3's or waves downloaded from Amazon (not Itunes they suk) because then ya gotta rip the DRM out. Which is easy enough but simply buying if from a company who listens to their clients is a more pleasurable buying experience.

  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , December 10, 2008 1:48 PM
    I buy all my CDs as the genuine article. I might buy most of them as second-hand items, but at least I'm buying them and helping to keep my local (not a big-box) record shop in business. Not everything turns up as used and I'll sometimes have to pay for a new copy, but at least it's brand new and should last a good while, so I don't consider that to be evil.
    Once I get home I rip them into glorious, lossless FLAC, burn a copy to take with me or play in the stereo, and keep the originals in their cases. That way I get an un-degraded digital copy, the original source, plus all the liner notes and album art. I can't afford to replace the CDs that get dinged up anymore.
    If I want something but don't feel like buying the whole album (it happens on occasion), I'll fire up the Amazon downloader and get legitimate, high quality, DRM-free MP3s at a reasonable price. Apple may have the majority share in online music services, but I'm supporting the competition who went about things the right way from the start (they even have a Linux client for their downloads).
    For discovering new music I hadn't heard before, is excellent. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be buying or having other gift me any of the music I'm getting this holiday season. Just make sure to turn off your ad-blocker for that site and help keep them afloat in the face of rising royalty costs. Seems the RIAA likes to shoot themselves in the foot and do everything they can to keep people from finding new music to buy.
  • 0 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , December 10, 2008 1:49 PM
    So basically, what is this new technique going to do for me?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 3, 2009 3:58 AM
    So, Does that mean that the bootleg sounds crummier/ lower quality than the real thing, or is this a bunch of poop because they both sound the same Record Company Quality? MP3`s sound digitized, thus purchasing the album, Right!?!, i Download, than if i like the recording/s , Than i buy the Whole Album, it has gotten easier sure. But the real type of music i like, i buy. I support my Favorites. D.J. Stewart Iil