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Wednesday, April 03, 2002
Dion's new CD crashing party for some users

Celine Dion's latest release is generating heated discussions on Internet message boards. But the subject under fire is not the star's music -- it's that the CD will not play on computer CD drives.

Epic/Sony released "A New Day Has Come" embedded with Key2Audio copy protection in Germany and several other European countries. According to a spokeswoman for Sony Music Entertainment, it is clearly stated on the front of the booklet and on the back of the jewel box that the CD "will not play on a PC or a Mac" in the language of the country in which it is sold. Besides those notices, which the spokeswoman said were readable before purchase, the disc itself bears the same warning.

Should the consumer try to play Dion's CD on a PC or Macintosh, the computer likely will crash.

Some fans believe that the CD is more damaging than that, however. On the German discussion boards at MacFixit, Mac users claim that the CD will not eject using normal methods and that the intentional corruption of the disc's session data could unpredictably affect the drive's firmware. (Firmware is a combination of hardware and software instructions that are permanently embedded in the hardware's controlling chips, such as with a computer's CD-ROM, and altering it could cause permanent damage.)

Sony denied these allegations. "The CD will probably cause a system to crash, but it will not alter anything," the spokeswoman said. "And it won't eject properly, but that's just because the computer has crashed."

"New Day" was released in the United States on Tuesday. Industry watchers expect it to sell more than 500,000 copies by the end of its first week.

More than 10 million discs using Key2Audio CD-audio copy protection have been produced and sold, primarily in Europe. Key2Audio is a product of Sony DADC, a 100% affiliate of Sony Corp. of America headquartered in Austria.

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