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on June 10, 2004
So I just bought the new Velvet Revolver CD. It showed up yesterday. There is a sticker on the package that says:
This CD is protected against unauthorized duplication. It is designed to play on standard playback devices and an appropriately configured computer. If you have questions or concerns visit [...]
Whatever. So I pop the CD in the computer so that I can rip it and put it on my iPod. The CD starts playing some auto play stuff and then an embedded Windows Media Player comes up in a web page and allows you to play the songs. Exit. I went into iTunes and hit Import to rip the tracks. When it finished I went to play the tracks and they were all garbled. What's going on? Guess I ought to read that web page.
So on that Sunncomm site it basically says the CD is protected. It will only allow you to play it on a computer with its technology. You cannot rip tracks from the CD. It specifically states that you cannot move the songs to an iPod because they (in so many words) don't like Apple and Apple isn't working with them so screw Apple. Huh? No, screw you. I like Apple and I just bought your music. But by the way, this album is available at the iTunes Music Store.
After doing some research, it turns out that this company is putting their copy protection on more and more CDs. This one happens to be the first one that I have bought. So now what? How does this work? Turns out that when Windows starts to auto-run the CD, it quickly installs a hidden driver on your machine that is used to garble the sound of CDs protected by this technology. So now my computer is "infected" with this driver. Some grad school student figured this out a while back and let the world know if you just hold down the shift key, Window's auto-run does not run and you have ready access to the CD. They threatened to sue him.
That solution is too late for me, I already have this installed. More research and system scans pointed me to a hidden driver on my machine called SbcpHid. You will find it in your Windows\System32\Drivers directory. So all you have to do is go into the Windows device manager, find it, stop it. Now you can rip. If you want it off your machine, you can uninstall it from there too.
While there was a sticker on the front of the CD, I found this to be very sneaky. I mean installing hidden drivers on your computer. The driver is not marked with any company name or details so you don't know what it is. The timestamp of the driver was manually adjusted so you couldn't tell that this was installed today. This sounds like most of the spyware that we are all trying to rid our computers of.
So where does that leave us? If you buy the music in a store, you can only play on these certain devices? If I would have bought this music at the iTunes music store, I am limited to what Apple wants me to do. So in this case, if I wanted a good old CD case and disc plus the music on my iPod, I would have to buy the same music 2 times according to the record company. That isn't right. Fair use law dictates it. If the industry doesn't get this figured out, we are going to be in trouble. For now, I guess you and I need to be selective about how we buy our music.
2424 comments933 of 1,097 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 8, 2004
OK, yes this Japanese import is more expensive than the normal version of Contraband, but you get two important bonuses:

1. NO DRM!!!! That's right, this is a normal CD without any of the copy-protection garbage. So you can copy it, rip it to mp3, put it on your iPod... do whatever you want with it.

2.) The bonus track (a live version of the Sex Pistol's classic "bodies") is excellent.

If you want Contraband, but don't want all the restrictions, this is the version to buy.
0Comment19 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 18, 2004
I am a huge fan of Stone Temple Pilots (I own all of their records and have been to several shows). I was really looking forward to this CD until I found out that it has copy restrictions. Purchasing a CD with copy restrictions (even easily defeatable restrictions) tells record labels that consumers will accept this erosion of their rights, and allows them to more easily introduce further restrictions in the future. If I can't backup the music that I purchased and convert it to whatever format that I wish, I'm not interested. It really makes me sick that Velvet Revolver would support this. Vote with your dollar.
22 comments45 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 18, 2004
Do not buy this CD. It is copy protected. Let the RIAA know how you feel. Vote with you dollar. Refuse to purchase crippled CDs.
0Comment60 of 69 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 18, 2004
First off, this is not an "audio CD" as defined by Philips 2 decades ago. Philps denounces these discs, as they do not adhere to the standard "Compact Disc Digital Audio" specification due to their copy protection mechanism. It's too bad Amazon doesn't tell you that anywhere in the description. I would call that false advertising.
That said... CDs don't last forever. Unless I leave it in my car stereo 100% of the time, it's going to get pulled out and put back into its sleeve hundreds of times, and it's going to get scuffed up, and maybe scratched, and eventually it'll be unreadable. Even if I'm as careful as I can be. That's why I don't carry any original CDs in my car - only backups. I leave the original in the house, in its jewel case, where it's safe. But here's a CD that I can't back up. Does that mean I'm supposed to pay for a second copy? I don't think so, since I supposedly bought a "license" for the music on the disc. But does that mean the license is worn out with the disc? Or not? If it's a license I bought, then I should be able to play it on my iPod/Walkman/Computer - not just my dedicated CD player. And if it's a license, I should be able to turn in my old, worn out piece of plastic for a new one, because after all, the plastic isn't what I paid for - the license is. The record companies need to figure out what they're selling before I'm going to buy any more music from them. If I could just give an artist $10 to be able to listen to their songs wherever I wanted, I would do it in a heartbeat. But if this CD is any sign of things to come, then music as I knew it is dead. I will be returning my copy for a full refund, as this is not a music CD as advertised. And I'll just download it from a P2P network somewhere, and now the artists don't get any of my money. Now I've spent all my words talking about corporate greed & monopolistic behaviors. What a shame. I do think it's a descent Rock CD.
33 comments53 of 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 6, 2005
Kudos to Amazon for clearly marking that this disc - it's not really a CD because it violates the Red Book standards with its DRM malware - is "CONTENT/COPY-PROTECTED." I know as soon as I see that not to buy such a disc because it does not allow me fair use of the music on the disc. I make mix CDs and travel CDs from discs that I buy. I can't do that with a disc such as this without violating the DMCA - which should be repealed, by the way.

Retailers and Velvet Revolver are going to suffer because of RCA's decision to not issue a true CD, but to release a disc loaded with malware instead.

Buy a real CD instead, preferably one NOT issued by Sony BMG.
0Comment22 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 15, 2004
I was eagerly awaiting the arrival for this CD, but to my surprise Velvet Revolver Contraband fell way short. I have given the CD three good honest listens and can't recommend it to any one, let alone have any desire to make copies for my children. I understand the artists not wanting their intellectual property copied and their music and hard work given away, but to install software on the CD to prevent this is just plain insulting. Maybe if record companies lowered their prices and paid the artists in a more timely manner people would not steal music. The guitar work on the album is good but, I feel the next CD from these guys will be better.
0Comment16 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 28, 2004
Wow, what a relief. This album could have easily made me give up on modern rock, but it definitely proved the powerful rock that a GNR and STP combination should be. I thought Scott Weiland's vocals wouldn't match Slash's guitarwork, but, in some cases, he does it even better than Axl Rose did. Here's what I think of the material.
1. 5/5 Sucker Train Blues - A good hard rocking start to the album, sets a standard with a pretty cool riff that carries throughtout the album. Also, look at the lyrics: some vicious social commentary.

2. 4/5 Do It For The Kids - Cool title. Cool Song, but something I might skip over to get at Big Machine. Scott's intro vocals are cool.

3. 5/5 Big Machine - Awesome song. Reminds me of STP and the grungy guitar work of the first few tracks of Shangri La Dee Da.
It's got an aggressive undertone to the vocals. One of my favs.

4. 3.5/5 Illegal i Song - Not the best, but Scott's vocals really save the song from mediocrity.

5. 4/5 Spectacle - Another straight out hardrocker. Vocals aren't the best, sounding a lot like some of the neo-suck punk bands out know what I mean. A lot of energy though.

6. 6/5 Fall to Pieces - Amazing song. Its one of the most powerful...power balads I've heard. Everything's on track here, with awesome vocals only matched by awesome guitarwork.

7. 5/5 Headspace - Now, this song is great. My brother refers to it as STP with Slash on guitar covering Soundgarden. Very powerful. Sounds a little bit like Wicked Garden.

8. Superhuman - 4.5/5 Cool kinda anti-drug song. Nice hardrocker with a nice stp feel.

9. 5/5 Set Me Free. Nice arena anthem type rocker.

10. 4.5/5 To Got No Right. Great song/ballad, has some energy in it. Scott totally rips off one of his vocal tracks from STP though (I think Wonderful). Has a Beatles reference ("inside a paper cup")

11. 6/5 Slither. Yep. Slither.

12. 5/5 Dirty Little Thing. The My Michelle type song of Velvet Revolver. Lots of energy, and has an anti-drug element to it.

13. 4/5 Loving the Alien. Good way to end the album, nice and sweet. Sounds like a lulaby though.

Well there you have it. If you don't really know much about GNR and STP I'd recommend you pick up Appetite for Destruction (GNR) and Core (STP) too because these are really great bands, and if you like Velvet Revolver, you'll probably like them too.

Rock on!
0Comment11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 6, 2005
Don't buy this CD!!! You will live to regret it if you put it in your computer!!! And BTW, it won't play in most car CD players and some home stereo CD players either. What good is the CD if you can't listen to it? Why doesn't Sony want us to be able to transfer our music the mp3 player of our choice? Because they want to force us to buy THEIR proprietary mp3 player with it's proprietary battery pack and its proprietary memory stick. Screw them!
0Comment15 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 17, 2004
This CD won't play on my PC. So I don't even know if the music is good or not.
0Comment33 of 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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