July 15, 2003

Open Letter to "The Darkness"

To The Darkness,

I saw you play at Glastonbury, and thoroughly enjoyed your set. I returned home with every intention of buying your album. I walked into HMV yesterday and noticed your album, but I no longer intend on buying it. I noticed a terrible thing on the front of the album - a sticker claiming that the CD contains "Copy Protection". I listen to all of my music through my Apple iPod (as do, I think you'll find, many other people). The fact that I cannot transfer the tracks on your album into mp3 format for use on my iPod means that I would at most listen to your album once. I will not pay ?13 UKP (equivalent of 20.9 US Dollars!!) in order to buy an album that I can get no use out of.

I am writing this open letter and publishing it on the Internet to urge you to encourage your record company to re-consider this ridiculous decision. Sooner or later those who wish to illegally copy your material will do so, copy protection or no. All you are doing is stopping legitimate customers from listening to your music.

Yours Sincerely,

Simon Steele.

I hearby encourage anyone who agrees with this message (whether in relation to "The Darkness" or another artist that you have been prevented from listening to) to leave a comment attached to this letter expressing your views. You need not leave a real e-mail address, and any e-mail addresses entered will never be shown on the web page. If I get enough comments, I will forward them on to the record company "Atlantic Records". Please tell anyone you know who would be interested in signing this to do so!

Posted by Simon at July 15, 2003 10:35 AM | TrackBack


I've bought the album and only noticed the sticker once I tried, unsucessfully, to copy the tracks to my I-Pod. The quality of the "compressed" tracks on the disc which it will allow me to listen to are at an extremely lo-fi 48kbps, in other words, rubbish.

This disc will now be returned to Virgin for a refund. I feel the real losers here are the band who I enjoyed seeing support Def Leppard at Brixton Academy, but who will not now benefit from either my cash for this disc, or the possibility of me telling my friends how great it is and therefore further possible sales.

Let's hope both the band and Atlantic see sense and release a version of the album that the ever growing band of I-Pod owners can play too.


Ian Robertson.

Posted by Ian Robertson at Jul 28, 2003 4:32 PM

I bought this album from amazon.co.uk and am now returning it to them.

It won't play at all in my discman. It skips noisily over the entire first track when played in the dvd player. It won't play in my car stereo. It won't play on the PC without installing some software I don't want. A real shame as its an otherwise excellent album.

I have posted a review to amazon expressing this. Hopefully they will publish it and others will think twice about purchasing this, or feel moved to complain to Atlantic Records directly.


Posted by Day at Jul 30, 2003 6:45 PM

I have just encountered exactly the same problem. I have just emailed the bands manager with my complaint. I will shortly be sending out snail mail copies to every address on the CD and I suggest everyone else does the same. This is what I said to Sue Whitehouse of Whitehouse Management:

Dear Ms Whitehouse

Okay, first of all I realise that is probably nothing to do with the band or management, but you are the only contact I could get. If you know of a more suitable person to vent at, feel free to provide me their contact details.

I bought 'Permission To Land' last weekend, and dutifully proceeded to play it on my usual medium, my PC, only to find that it has some crappy copy protection meaning I have to have the CD in the drive constantly while playing it!

I have hundreds of hours of music on my hard-drive - EVERY SINGLE SECOND BOUGHT AND PAID FOR and I resent being assumed to be a criminal simply because of the medium I choose to listen to that music in.

I have NEVER pirated a record or copied a CD except for my own personal use (i.e. my own compilation CDs) because I have this strange ethic against ripping people off. It's a shame record companies don't share it!

I'm sad to say that this new tactic on behalf of the record companies will simply drive legitimate music consumers like myself into the arms of the digital download groups, reduce sales even further, and it will be the more marginal bands like the ones that you manage who ultimately pay the price. I for one will simply not buy CDs from companies who have the nerve to dictate how I listen to them.

Thank you for your time.

James Bradbrook

Posted by James Bradbrook at Jul 31, 2003 8:24 PM

Having heard a few Darkness tracks on the radio, I became an instant fan. However when I went to buy the album and notcied the sticker on the cover, I decided to forget it. I didn't want to risk the CD not playing properly on my PC and car CD player.

I wonder how many more sales this album mught have enjoyed if it wasn't for this stupid idea? Ironic considering that the idea was obviously to boost sales by preventing copying. If record companies continue to treat the public with such contempt over this issue, they will slowly but surely become the architects of their own demise.

Posted by Paul Mallon at Aug 22, 2003 8:47 AM

Another instant fan of The Darkness here - I resolved not to buy their album due the the contempt shown to honest consumers by copy protecting the CD, alas my resolve failed today, when I saw the album for £9.97 in Tesco.

Happily, the protection is easily bypassable using Clone Cd 4 - by using it to rip the CD image and mounting that image to a Virtual Clonedrive (included in the Clone CD installer), you can rip the album to mp3 format as if there was no protection.

Like many other people, I listen to the music I buy almost exclusively via my PC or similar device. If the intent of copy protection is to prevent people from sharing mp3s (which, incidentally, I do not do) by preventing them from creating mp3s, it is doomed to failure - you're only pissing off the people who actually buy the albums.

Ah, my mp3s are ready - time to rock!


Posted by insin at Aug 22, 2003 2:08 PM
The Darkness rock, but their CD is copy protected. So I sent an email to their management...
Read more in The Darkness rock... »
Trackbacked from harimanjaro.net Aug 25, 2003 8:44 PM

A couple of weeks ago I bought the Kings of Leon cd. It was protected with the cactus system. I ended up downloading a load of stuff to enable me to transfer the songs onto my minidisc. It took me an hour or so, and was a pita. The protection was absolutely pitiful. No deterent at all, just a bloody nuisance.

I just bought the new protected BRMC album. It won't play at all on my laptop, and I just can't be bothered, so back to the shop it's gone.

Enough's enough. It's a great shame, but even though I want to carry on supporting bands by buying their music, I'm only going to buy CDs in future that actually have the official Philips Compact Disc mark on them.

I love the way that these record companies have managed to completely alienate me so quickly. I've gone from long time customer to never again in two short moves.

Stable doors and bolting horses come to mind...

Posted by Mike at Aug 26, 2003 2:28 PM

I also really enjoyed listening to the darkness and nearly ended up buying the record if it hadn't been for the sticker on the front. I work at my pc and enjoy being able to listen easily to my music by having them stored on my Hard Drive. I also have a MP3 Cr stereo which i very much doubt will support the encryption enclosed on the CD.

This action taken by the music company and which i would imagine will be encouraged and grow in the future has had to be inforced as a last resort knowing it would cause upset but is neccessory due to the amount of piarcy trafficing around the internet.

It annoys me that i am unable to enjoy this album. but i don't blame the band or the management company. I blame the Pirates. Who have ruined it for the best of us.

Posted by Luke Hall at Sep 5, 2003 10:59 AM

Copy protection will stop me listening to this album which I bought before I noticed the dread sticker.

I listen to all my music on my Archos mp3 player - to which I can't copy this album.

This really smacks of the last-ditch attempt by the record industry to maintain their ludicrous pricing system. It doesn't really matter because already upcoming bands have realised the internet is the way forward for marketing and distribution of music - oh and by the way, it also means the artists will get a much higher share of the income for their efforts.

It's a shame about this album though - one hearing has convinced me they are a great band.

Won't hear 'em again though.

Posted by Tim Crannigan at Sep 6, 2003 11:28 AM

Having listened to the album for a while on MP3 anyway, I decided to take the plunge and buy the CD, because I've really enjoyed the music and I do believe that one needs to contribute to the artists that one gets pleasure from, plus the MP3's I had weren't of great quality - some noticible distortion on some tracks.

The CD came - from play.com - this morning, and there was certainly no copy protection warnings of any kind on the wrapper or case itself. Naturally, the first thing I did - without thinking - was put it into my PC and rip it to MP3, for that is my preferred method of listening to music these days. Lo and behold, the ripped tracks (ripped with Grip on Linux) display the same kind of distortion as my original MP3s. It doesn't sound like analogue clipping, which could've crept in the mastering stage, but a more high-end, static kind of distortion. I guess this could well be the copy protection being *almost* defeated, but not quite. ..

Posted by Paul at Sep 22, 2003 6:06 PM

I finally caved in the other day and bought a copy-protected album. However, I bought it on vinyl. I've no problems paying for music as such; I only object to being asked to pay for it in a format I don't trust to play properly on the equipment I have. (And one day if I get the right equipment I could actually burn a CD from my vinyl copy.)

Posted by James Russell at Sep 27, 2003 10:47 AM

More power to the darkness
I do not blame them....mp3's have been sucking the
the life outta new bands.....if you want to see a rockstar.....remember someone has to pay !!!!

Posted by Stephen at Nov 20, 2003 6:51 PM

I disagree, the only thing that they may have "sucked the life out of" is the profits of the big name bands. New bands do better out of music sharing because more people get to hear the music. I fully expect to pay for my music - read the article above. I just object to being treated like a criminal once I've paid.

Posted by Simon at Nov 21, 2003 8:30 AM

I'm with all of you here. I'm just about to go away travelling for a couple of years, and so I'm taking all my music on an iPod. Sadly, the Darkness (who I absolutely adore) can't accompany me on this trip.

When will the record companies learn that the way to hurt the dedicated pirates (who are much more tech-savvy than the rest of us) is not with technology?

Posted by Matt Frankish at Dec 9, 2003 1:42 AM

The CD didn't even have a 'copy protection' label on it when I bought it last November, and I only found out when it failed to play on my machine. Very disappointed with the band's management, especially when they've made such a big deal of the band doing everything themselves and not getting a good reception from the big labels.

Posted by Rich Hims at Jan 19, 2004 2:31 PM

i am very confused my friend say u have 2 albums but i dont no haw many album do u have

Posted by sarah clarkson at Feb 20, 2004 2:10 PM

if any one can anwer my last qustion plz email me on barbie_is_a_slut_84@hotmail.com thx

Posted by sarah clarkson at Feb 20, 2004 2:14 PM

On my computer, I have Windows ME, a CD-RW Drive, a DVD drive, and, a few years ago, I bought MUSICMATCH Jukebox. I also have a decade old Sony Discman. As a U. S. citizen I have the right to make one legal copy for archival purposes. I used Directec Easy CD Creater and made a copy. This the one I use so the orginal doesn't get scratched up. I've never had trouble playing it anywhere. I copied the tracks onto my computer so I could have a playlist of The Darkness tracks. Later I used those tracks to make a the CD-R version of a mixed tape. It all works just fine on my computer. And, as far as I know, it's all legal. I don't have an MP3 player though. I agree that the artist deserve to be paid for their work. I bought the CD, and I encourage others to do the same. It's a great CD!

Posted by Arrūniel at May 18, 2004 8:25 PM

OK, this is weird... I bought the Darkness album on a pre-order back in July and although it has the copy protected sticker on it there is no form of copy protection whatsoever... rips perfectly to top-quality MP3s - hence no problems with my iPod or anything. Maybe they forgot the copy protection on the first pressing...

What REALLY annoys me though is the copy protection on Aerosmith's O Yeah! album - which cannot even be detected in a CD-ROM drive! Not even any low-quality versions. Hence the 5 or so songs that aren't on any other album I can't listen to. Grrr

Posted by totalgridlock at Jun 8, 2004 4:37 PM

Yeah, I'm super pissed. I've bought over 300 albums and have them all ripped so that I can listen to them on my MP3 player, only to find that I can't convert this album to mp3!!! There was no sticker on the wrapping, which makes me even more pissed off as I don't own a discman anymore, so all I can do is listen to it on my stupid computer.

I'll be sending the album back and ask for a refund, and will further my boycott of "copy protected music" which will unfortunately include The Darkness.

Posted by Tyson at Jun 30, 2004 8:25 PM