February 11, 2003
massive rage

So, I bought the new Massive Attack CD, 100th Window, today. Once I brought it home, I started to rip it to mp3s (as I do with all music I buy), and the thing will not rip. I take a closer look at the packaging, which has this:

This disc contains copy control technology. It is designed to be compatible with CD audio player, DVD players and PC-MS Windows 95, Pentium 2, 233Mhz, 64MB RAM or higher, MAC 8.6-9 *with the carbonlib extension and mac OS X. ... This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection.

(Aside: dig the meta-copyright notice.)

Also, the disc doesn't have the CD logo, which I guess means it's not a real CD.

Now, this pisses me off on several levels, but the biggest issue for me is this: I own this CD, and I believe I should be entitled to listen to it for personal use as I see fit. If I choose to do it in the form of mp3s, I should be able to do so. To abuse the CD format on the assumption that I'm going to let others copy from me (which I don't do) is the kind of thing that will make me an ex-customer. If all CDs were to go this route, I will stop buying them.

This sucks.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at February 11, 2003 06:52 PM

I happened upon this site while looking for anyone having to deal with the protection on the new MA CD... Im going to bookmark it because it looks damn good so far. On to my real deal:

I realized this protection when I bought it just today. I can't even play the thing with WMPlayer or the Audio CD player thing in Windows. Well, thats not the whole truth... I can't play the first track, all the other tracks play fine.

Have you found any remedy to this, or to your ripping problem yet?

Posted by: wes on February 14, 2003 3:37 PM

Well, so far I've managed to rip all but the first track under linux - the disc essentially has a mucked up table of contents that makes the first track look like a data track, even though it's actually music (I think).

Also, I've heard that if you can get the US version, it's a proper CD, not copy protected. I think Virgin is basically trying this out in smaller markets before doing it in a major way in the US.

Posted by: Bill Stilwell on February 14, 2003 3:44 PM

I got bit by this today too and I'm not impressed in the slightest.

I sent them a email:

I think I'm going to try and take it back tomorrow. There is a sticker on the front but it's tiny. Most of the sticker is devoted to some image which is presumably the trademark of the copy control technology people, the actual "this is copy protected" text is tiny.

Posted by: Paul McGarry on February 14, 2003 10:24 PM

damn this problem is pissing me off too. i get home with the fresh new cd, unwrap it, slap it in, just to find that some shitty little player thats on the cd loads up and starts playing. so i kill it and go into good old windows cd player. notice that the first track is skipped... odd.

decided to try that on cd player, but the audio quality is just plain shit!

my normal trick for making enhanced music cd's is to make a copy with clone cd, just a straight audio copy, so it leaves out the extra rubbish. tried this (when i put the cd in my other drive, it made some worrying ticking noises come from within... scary), but the resulting cd is even worse than the original. in win cd player, only the first track shows the time moving along, the rest just don't move. there is no sound in the first track. there are only 5 tracks, though the original has 9...

unless a way to get past this annoyance with minimum cost (ie none) i think i'll just do a line in recording of the cd.

Posted by: LordBug on February 15, 2003 4:28 AM

If you use Nero, you can actually select the songs manually. Maybe then, you'll be able to rip your burnt cd. Didn't try it yet.

Posted by: possoi on February 15, 2003 1:54 PM

If you have 'creative playcenter' the whole cd seems to work on the player. you can create a .wav file from that using creative recorder and then make a 'normal' copy of the cd for your personal use.

Posted by: Roge3r on February 15, 2003 6:46 PM

I am also quite pissed because the damned cd doesn't play in my $300 Sony personal cd player. I wonder if sony and virgin are aware of this problem. Someone didn't do their homework.

Posted by: Roge3r on February 15, 2003 6:49 PM

Popped the CD into a Macintosh, and much the same results. The CD plays fine with all CD playing apps, but iTunes (the apple playing/ripping software) will only extract about the first 5 seconds of each track. Toast Audio Extractor just throws up an error every time it tries to extract. The fact that it will play leads me to think in might be something to do with the speed. Maybe the audio section of the CD will only function at single speed, and no faster, or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely?

Posted by: matonman on February 16, 2003 4:41 AM

I made an audio copy of it using CloneCD v4.2.0.2 and I was able to rip it using Exact Audio Copy - but I had read errors on the first three tracks. I'll try some other ripping methods for those first three tracks and report back.


Posted by: shabbs on February 16, 2003 8:50 AM

Well - I had to rip the first three tracks using EAC in "burst mode" as "secure mode" could not rip it - reporting errors.

I'm not too pleased with Virgin/EMI records right now.

I guess we'll never see this album on the UberNode then eh?

Posted by: shabbs on February 16, 2003 9:36 AM

I exchanged 100th Window for the Zwan album today. I am slightly disappointed at myself for exchanging because I fear that HMV (and possibly EMI) may not see that as the same as the loss of a sale.

However I was very definately going to buy the Zwan album anyway today and I still want the Massive Attack album (but not in these circumstances) so this is the loss of a sale.

I was on my lunch hour and quite frankly had better things to be doing than arguing to get my money back to make a point and then spending it on the Zwan album straight away.

I was a little disappointed with the ease with which HMV took it back as I'd managed to work myself up quite a bit about the whole situation and could have done with a bit of a spleen venting over copy protection.

According to the sign behind the desk at HMV their return policy is that if you have the receipt and the goods are still in saleable condition they'll take it.

As such I didn't even have to bring up the copy protection. The girl behind the desk just looked at the disc and said they couldn't take it because of fingerprints on the disk (non-playing side) but when I rather curtly suggested she wipe them off she had no objections and the exchange was made.

She could probably tell that I was a bit irate, I wonder if she's had any other people returning 100th Window?

I don't think this is over yet for me.

I think I will be writing to HMV to point out that the copy protection has cost them a sale.

I think I will also write and make a complaint to the ACCC. Even though I have made my return I still think the insufficient labeling on the CD needs to be brought to their attention. A consumer should not need to spend their valuable time returning a good because the only disclosure is a tiny sticker with even tinier writing stuffed in the lower right hand corner (and therefore likely to be hidden under the thumb of any right handed person who picks up the CD to look at it).

Posted by: Paul McGarry on February 16, 2003 6:12 PM

i have mac os x, and the massive attack cd works fine for me. this is a stupid cd protection that works only on pc: there is an iso partition that contains a pc cd player.exe, and an audio cd partition. the pc sees only the iso one, so audio tracks remain hidden and can be viewed only by the included player.
on mac os x, instead, as you pop in the cd, it mounts both partitions, so you can see a standard audio-cd that you can hear (and rip perfectly) with itunes or whatever else.
these are the advantages of people not testing stuff on macs... ;)

Posted by: phti on February 17, 2003 6:41 AM

I shoved the CD in my laptop today with the same effect: I can't play it with the regular CD tools, only the software player written to the CD.

I saw the program "load up for the first time" today, on this laptop. I must have disregarded it a few days ago when I purchased the CD. Does anyone know what it is doing when it's "setting up for the first time?" (Hinsight is 20/20, I should have had CleanSweep loaded and recording the changes)


Posted by: wes on February 17, 2003 9:42 AM

I extract the 9 tracks with eac in win2k without any errors and the sound is perfect.

clone cd copy the cd but report some sector errors at the end of the last data track, the copy runs ok a my sony cd player, but cant play the copy at other pc (I think the application included in the cd test some information of the sectors of the last track) strange; the copy runs ok only at the computer only if the application from the original cd was installed before play the copy.

sorry for my english

Posted by: lofi on February 17, 2003 2:15 PM

Be sure to have your say on the Massive Attack forums


There's a growing number of dissaffected people posting there.

Posted by: Paul McGarry on February 17, 2003 3:04 PM

I just successfully and easily copied 100th window using EAC and my Pioneer DVD drive. This was after spending a long period of time using my Liteon CDRW drive. I even tried installing the Creative player as mentioned above first, with no luck

Posted by: Alan G on February 17, 2003 4:53 PM

I use Win2000 and have the latest Windows Media Player (version 9) and it plays fine in that.

The player does pop up automatically, but hold the SHIFT key down while you slide the CD in and it wont start any autoplay.exe files.

I too have the funny noises out of the CD drive though..

Posted by: SantoB on February 17, 2003 5:52 PM

Question for lofi: what rip method did you use in eac? were you able to use the secure method?

Posted by: shabbs on February 17, 2003 6:54 PM

Just a correction to my earlier post. Holding SHIFT does jack all..or maybe I have bad motor skills..

Either way, the funny noises from the CD player are not very pleasant.

Posted by: SantoB on February 17, 2003 7:39 PM

If you are in Australia then please report issues you have with this release to the ACCC.

See the discussions at

for more info and links.

We shouldn't need to be discussing ways of circumventing these mechanisms just so we can get normal usage from a product we've bought. If we don't complain now then when the next generation of copy protection comes out and is even harder to circumvent it may be too late.

Posted by: Paul McGarry on February 17, 2003 9:43 PM

As a bedroom DJ, it's annoying that this new CD I bought only "sometimes" works in the CDJ-1000 professional CD player (it's got pitch up+down etc). I did, however, buy both the vinyls (3 very nice and thick LPs, usually most albums are thin ones) and the CD. It wouldn't play in my Sony MP3 CD-Walkman, but it ripped fine in MusicMatch under Win2k inside my CD-R/RW drive (the DVD-Rom drive didn't recognize it), which was full RAW support. I have autorun disabled so the player never popped up, probably spyware anyways.

Posted by: Cybornut on February 18, 2003 1:56 AM

Sorry my previous post was not 100% accurate. I did manually pop open the player before I ripped. It added a new codec in my system in order to read it I think. It is CDS (in order to read the YUCCA.CDS fake cd image on the CD partition) Can someone confirm it is and which codec file (.ax) it is?

Posted by: Cybornut on February 18, 2003 2:24 AM

1st attempt to rip to MP3 (using Real Jukebox on win2k) resulted in 7 tracks ripped before RJ crashed.
2nd attempt resulted in all 9 tracks being ripped correctly.
I would have been v. unhappy had I been unable to rip - I have an MP3 CD head-unit in my car & consider it entirely reasonable that I should be able to compress music (which I have legitimately bought) into a suitable format for listening on the move.

Posted by: cwuk on February 18, 2003 6:13 AM

If you do let the CD run when you insert it, it will install a file called ACTIVESKIN.OCX to your System or System32 directory (without asking, of course). Not just that the music I bought is not accessible to me, they have the nerve to install software onto my computer with any notification or choice, that is unacceptable. Not to mention that ACTIVESKIN.OCX has very little to do with skinning.

Posted by: SR on February 19, 2003 12:17 AM

I bought 100th Window yesterday and it wouldn't play in my Mac OS X machine, but OS 9 was able to play and rip it without any problems.

Don't just sit there and rant. Go to the EMI Web site and tell their QC department that it won't work. They're sending me a replacement.

(I wonder if they are sending out copies without the copy protection on them.)

Posted by: darren on February 19, 2003 8:46 AM

I managed to have a friend rip this CD. Here is what he used:

Unless otherwise specified, the options are default.

- Exact Audio Copy version 0.9 beta 4 from 22 May 2002
- Plextor CD-R PX-W1210A

EAC Options
Extraction Tab
Extraction and Compression Quality - high
Error recovery quality - High

Filename Tab
Naming Scheme - "%A - %C - %N - %T"

Write Tab
Upper all characters - Not checked
Include artist in the CD-Text - Checked

Drive Options
Extraction Method Tab
Burst Mode

Drive Tab
Autodetect Read Command

Gap Detection Tab
Gap Retrieval Method - Detection Method A
Detection Accuracy - Accurate

Afterwards he said he Detected the TOC and GAPs manually, then input the correct album name, year etc (It didn't happen to pick up from FreeDB for some reason).

Here is a copy of his resulting CUE sheet:

PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
TITLE "100th Window"
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 01 - Future Proof.wav" WAVE
TITLE "Future Proof"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TITLE "What Your Soul Sings"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 05:36:00
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 02 - What Your Soul Sings.wav" WAVE
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TITLE "Everywhen"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 06:37:29
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 03 - Everywhen.wav" WAVE
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TITLE "Special Cases"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 07:36:69
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 04 - Special Cases.wav" WAVE
INDEX 01 00:00:00
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 05 - Butterfly Caught.wav" WAVE
TITLE "Butterfly Caught"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TITLE "A Prayer For England"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 07:33:48
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 06 - A Prayer For England.wav" WAVE
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TITLE "Smal Time Shot Away"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 05:44:41
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 07 - Smal Time Shot Away.wav" WAVE
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TITLE "Name Taken"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 07:57:23
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 08 - Name Taken.wav" WAVE
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TITLE "Antistar"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 07:47:44
FILE "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Massive Attack - 100th Window - 09 - Antistar.wav" WAVE
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TRACK 10 MODEx/2xxx
TITLE "Track10"
PERFORMER "Massive Attack"
INDEX 00 19:40:43

Perhaps this may be of some help to everyone.

Posted by: wes on February 22, 2003 10:21 AM

I am also a frustrated owner of the new Massive Attack album... My DVD player (a Denon DVD-2800) could play it once; all other attempts failed. After having tried using the DVD player, I became stubborn and let iTunes have a go using my old iBook (300MHz, OS 10.2.3), but without success... In a mix of desperation and frustration, I then tried using my 2001 iBook (600 MHz, OS 10.2.3), and this time it worked fine, although there are some dropouts in some of the tracks.

The conclusion? This ridiculous "Copy Control" system has forced me to rip the album to mp3-files in order to hear the album. I suspect thas wasn´t really the intention of Virgin Records?

It is quite frustrating to be (paying) part of an apparent full-scale testing of this amateurish software scheme, and it doesn' t really motivate me to spend more money on albums that I might or might not be able to play.

I can understand why the records companies are worried about pirate copying, but I hardly think that the solution is to come up with a scheme that aggravates and annoys normal record buyers...

Posted by: Lars Dela on February 22, 2003 2:26 PM

Years after mezzanine... A long wait... Bought it, and can't play anything on my Sun Ultra 10 workstation... Nasty clicking noise... If this did happened to Michael Jackson, I would have enjoyed the misadventure but to Massive Attack... I had respect for these guys! I will get a refund and download it from the web. Shame but this kind of experience makes you think twice about paying the full price instead of downloading or buying cheap copies on the street! Do your homework, you won't lose sales. Hope somebody will be responsible for that! Tell us when he gets the boot!

Posted by: former client on February 24, 2003 2:10 AM

I found some interesting information regarding the type of copy protection employed on the disc. It is called Cactus data Shield 200 (CDS200).

To quote one of the users in the EMI Australia forum http://www.emimusic.com.au/forum/thread.asp?threadid=9645 :

"100 Windows is protected using the Cactus Data Shield 200 protection scheme. While this doesn't help the Mac users, my PC has a Lite-On DVD drive; combined with the Exact Audio Copy ripping tool, I was successfully able to defeat the protection and rip the album."

I performed a search and came up with this URL: http://www.cdfreaks.com/document.php3?Doc=97&Page=9 ... which pointed me to a program for Plextor drives called PlexTools ...I suggest you download it: http://www.plextor.be/english/technical/plextools.html

Posted by: wes on February 24, 2003 4:31 AM

Lite-On 48x with Nero (using CD Copy defaults) copied this disc with no difficulty whatsoever.

When I buy discs (1 every 3 days or thereabouts) I make two copies - one for use at home, one in the car. The original goes in the closet, as I tend to scratch them up (they get a lot of use).

I will not support these restrictions.

Posted by: Petersko on February 24, 2003 8:59 PM

I recommed taking back any cd that has "Copy Control" and demand a full monetary refund.

Posted by: Music.ftm on February 25, 2003 12:03 AM

just use tape on the first track from outside to inside rip it to wavs and write it down haha sorry for my English

Posted by: jajas on February 25, 2003 2:27 PM

I used Toast Audio Extractor (with Titanium 5.0.3) in Mac OS 9.2.2, extracted it onto HD (no probs at all), then burned it as Aiff Files - ie. drag and drop into Audio window... whalah! it worked! all I can say is its never gonna be 100% fool proof, you can always play it through an external CD player and record through sound input on your computer (Mac or PC) its such a pointless attempt by the band and record company, a big finger to them all!!

Posted by: hokka on February 26, 2003 6:13 PM

Ripped it onto my Mac PB G4; plays in iTunes without a problem. Didn't even notice the copycontrol sticker till someone told me about it afterwards. :-)

Posted by: alan lockett on February 27, 2003 2:47 AM

I copied 100th Window with no problems at all, using Nero and Plextor 24/10/40A. There is no picture or writing on cd (silver only) is this normal?

Posted by: Big Lee on February 27, 2003 10:43 AM

I went to Sam the Record Man (Canadian record shop, now being privatized due to the owner going out of business, or whatever) and talked with the manager there.

I explained my problem at length as well as mentioned it to be a problem with the copy protection. I received a call a few days ago saying that EMI will be recalling the 100 Windows album, and most likely redistributing it without the copy protection (to me or to the region or country is unknown at this point).

I will be heading downtown tonight to talk with her, and I'll update everyone as to my progress later.

Posted by: wes on March 3, 2003 8:55 AM

I bought the Copy Protected Massive Attack CD 100th window and it wouldn't play on my OS 9.2.2 G4 Mac with superdrive (itunes) - kept wanting to re-format it. Noticed it would play just fine on an old G3 with itunes. At home I have an iMac about 18 months old with a CDR drive (but no DVDR) - answer - plays fine, rips fine, burns fine. I could supply the full details of the the drives if anyone is interested since I suspect this is the key but iI don't have the background knowledge. Interestingly the burned copy plays just fine on the G4!

This makes a big difference to me- most of my music listening is done whilst seated at my computer so a protected CD is just no good to me.

Happy playing! Beej

Posted by: beej on March 6, 2003 10:23 PM

I live in Italy. Just received 100th windows I bought on the internet, from a shop linked to Amazon in Houston, USA. The disk was made in canada, and looks to be intented for US market.
Don't know if EU copies has the same anti-piracy protection (very likely yes). WHAT PISS ME OFF, is that I play all cd's in my PC (plugged with a good qty hi-fi system), and the only way to play it is installing the provided player. It says 48 kbps per track!!!! Is this the qty I should expect? I have no standard CD player, I am a customer too that loves Massive, why should I not be able to listen to the disk in full qty??? I can agree with Virgin in trying to limit piracy, but not at this way. I am going to either try to rip it or downloading it with Winmx.

Posted by: Matteo on March 15, 2003 3:08 AM

To rip the CD with EAC you have to manually detect the TOC.

You also have to use burst mode for the troublesome tracks. Try and slow the burst mode rip to 4x (drive selection set-up) since this is what I did and succesfully got matching CRCs for over 4 different extractions. Extract using Test & Copy to easily check the consistency of your CRC values. At full speed I wasn't succesful.

Good luck.

Posted by: pj on March 18, 2003 1:20 PM

I just received a replacement CD from EMI that contains just the CD to be played in any audio player - ie, the CD has no form of copy-protection written to it.

Write qc@emimusic.ca and they will try and handle your request. I got a CD shipped to me personally by the person who handles that e-mail address.

Stick it to The Man if you've ever been screwed - this goes to show that you can!

Posted by: wes on March 18, 2003 4:57 PM

All you PC fanatics, apologise to your Mac-owning friends, because 100th Window ripped successfully and happily on Mac OSX 10.2.4 with iTunes 3.

Share and enjoy. I normally would not have said this, but EMI/Virgin/whoever thought it would be hilarious to confound Massive Attack fans and prevent them from taking their music on the road.

Nice try, you idiots, it's a workaround easier and dumber than the magic marker incident over at Sony.

Posted by: slugger on March 18, 2003 10:34 PM



Posted by: Baba on March 19, 2003 5:36 PM

They don't show up as cda CD due to the discs copy protection (ofcourse). The table of contents has been falsified. That along with the mastered errors on the disc causes a number of problems. You can get around this by using EAC (everyone should be using this anyway ...) and detecting the table of contents manually. See the rest of my post above ^^^

Posted by: pj on March 23, 2003 2:59 AM

Use CDX, a freeware cd ripper from http://cdexos.sourceforge.net/
rips with no problems at all!

Posted by: PK on March 24, 2003 12:48 AM

To make a MP3 clone of my CD on my hard-disc I use Nero Burning Rom.
As follows...
In the menu click Recorder/Save Track. When the titles are visible select all tracks accept the last one (this is a data track). Then start the MP3 ripping. On my Sony it works.

Posted by: MGS on April 7, 2003 1:30 PM

The files installed by this garbageware are:

In the root directory:
- install.log (you can see the details of the following files)
- unwise.exe

In the windows directory, they are:
- activeskin.ini
- activeskin.ocx (windows\system)

The worst is the changes at your registry. With, i.e, "registry crawler", if you look for the chain "activeskin", you'll find A LOT of new entries.

My advice: restart in MS-DOS mode and type "scanreg/restore", choosing to restore an older rb00X.cab file.


From Spain, spyr-1.

Posted by: spyr-1 on July 26, 2003 12:53 PM
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